Pregnancy Journal - Forty Weeks

Israel Cid Adams entered the world Wednesday, April 3 at 10:58pm, just an hour shy of forty weeks. Our little Izzy weighed in at 8 lbs 10 oz and is 21 inches long. He has his daddy's chin and mouth and his mama's cheeks (dimple on the right included) and (maybe) nose.

Labor was interesting as I slowly dilated to 6 cm over the course of several weeks starting at week 28 when the OB found I was already starting to dilate and I was subsequently put on bed rest. All those weeks of "contractions" had only gotten me so far. I say "contractions" because now that I know what active labor feels like, though very important to my progress, they were a drop in the bucket compared to what I eventually felt.

When ever I told anyone that I was already dilated to a 6 (or a 4 or 5 for that matter) the reactions I received were always the same. "Why are you not at the hospital??" We knew that if we went to the hospital and I wasn't in active labor (meaning the contractions hurt!) they would want to induce me due to how far I had dilated. I committed myself to unmedicated childbirth long, long ago and the Captain had become fully supportive after some convincing. But, knowing that this baby was just getting bigger as my due date approached, we were getting more and more anxious to see more progress.

this is happening!
Wednesday morning I called my midwife and asked her about the prospect of breaking my waters manually as it seemed like it could take my body forever to begin active labor. She suggested I start with the infamous castor oil instead and then come in to get checked. I took two doses of the awful stuff and then waited for the magic. My contractions (still not painful) started to pick up and become regular (every 3-5 minutes) around noon. I went into the drs office later in the afternoon, had a quick consultation to find I had dilated a little bit more to a 7 and called the Captain. We decided that he would cancel his evening patients and meet me at the hospital. I had taken the subway to my consult, so he would also swing by the house to grab our hospital bag and then take a cab to avoid ridiculous parking fees.

trying not to "push into my face"
At the hospital, I handed my pre-filled in paperwork to the registrar and pointed out my handwritten note at the top stating I was already in the system and none on my information had changed. I was, for the first time in all of my visits, the only woman in labor in the waiting room. Yes, I have seen full term mamas waiting for a labor and delivery room or even just to be seen in triage. Once other waiting room patrons realized I was there to have a baby, the conversations seemed to change. "You're in labor?" "Uh, yep! (big smile on my face) "You seem really calm, that's amazing." What do I say to that? "Well, my contractions don't hurt..." Blank stares.

We were admitted and taken to a very spacious L&D room at 6:00 pm where we waited for my midwife whose office hours ended at 7:00 pm. I changed into a beautiful and flattering gown (hehe) and grippy bottomed socks and was put through some calisthenics by the Captain. He figured if we could get my water to break on its own, we'd be that much further ahead of the game. Lunges, squatting, work on the birthing ball, jumping jacks. Why yes, this IS our first child birth. How did you know? Next time I'll just relax and reserve my strength.

Elisabeth, my midwife, arrived just after 7 and broke my water at 7:30. The very next contraction took my breath away and the intensity just kept building from there. After having contractions for months, I finally felt what a real, working contraction feels like. The Captain says after the third hard contraction I  said, "I can't do this?" to which he laughed and said, "Oh, you're doing this!" I don't remember this conversation at all. :)

He was the sweetest birth coach, running from one side of the bed to the other, grabbing my ice chips, whispering encouragement, pushing on my lower back...once he starting pushing on my lower back I wouldn't let him do anything else. That alone provided the most relief. We had prepared for birth using the Bradley Method, which is all about the position you're in during labor (called "the running man position" lying on your side, almost stomach with the top leg bent up resting on a pillow) and total relaxation during each contraction...just breathing through them. With all my previous yoga practice, focusing on the breath is not difficult for me to do, but by about 9:30 pm I was having a difficult time breathing through them.

At this point, Elisabeth turned to me (she had been sitting by the monitors reading a book the whole time, periodically checking in and checking my progress) suggested that I was probably in transition and may feel better laboring in the shower and to come back to the bed when I felt the urge to push. Is was the best suggestion as the hot water pelting my body was so comforting and distracting, even relaxing. Because the bathroom was so steamy, the Captain brought his iPhone in playing the Caribbean channel on Pandora. So I transitioned imagining I was laying on the beach ;). Though that makes it sound like it was easy, which it was not. Not. One. Bit.

Once I felt the urge to push I waited for a break between contractions and made a beeline back to the bed. I moved through several different pushing positions. First in a full squat using a squatting bar. Then on my left side, then right side, back and back to my side and ended up on my back. But to say I was on my back is not super accurate since the back of the bed was elevated to about 45 degrees and  the Captain and our nurse were at each side holding my legs. I was, in essence in a squat without the help of gravity, but neither did I have to utilize any more strength trying to keep myself upright. On my side, the baby's progress would stall. He was caught on my pubic bone. Moving to my back helped, but his little heart rate would decrease. They gave me oxygen to breath during the rest periods.

The encouragement I received from our little team (the Captain, Elisabeth and my L&D nurse) was motivating, but the best motivation was the mirror I had asked for. Being able to watch the baby's progress and descent was what I needed to keep going and not give up. I could visually associate what a "good push" looked like with how it felt. I know it's not an experience every woman wants to have, but being able to see his little head crowning and then watch Elisabeth pull his little arm out, which was up by his head just like it had been for the last several months in the womb, and then his shoulders, torso, and finally his legs was nothing short of miraculous.

To say giving birth was the hardest and most painful experience I have had and ever hope to have is an understatement. But the thing is, as soon as Izzy's little legs were out and he was placed on my abdomen the pain was gone and wiped from memory. It is truly a miracle. I do have recovery pain, but this little guy is worth every ounce of ache.
juiciest lips!

Thus far he has been a calm and peaceful baby, so easy to sooth. He has brought new meaning to our lives and a deep sense of purpose.  His arrival was long awaited and I truly love being his mommy. Thanks be to God who in His mercy has found us worthy to be parents and to experience the best and biggest miracle.

1 comment:

Lindsay said...

I know I've already heard snippets of your birth story, but I love hearing them again. So glad that adorable baby boy is finally here with you!