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Monday, August 13, 2007

Nicholas Logan's Birth Story

This is the long detailed version of Nicholas' birth story.

He was due Saturday, August 11th. I was very big, hot, tired and ready to be done by then. My primary midwife, Elaine, was going on vacation that day, and the secondary midwife, Jolene, was so new to the practice that she didn't have hospital priveleges yet. They did tell me that she'd be able to be there for the birth however, which I was grateful for, just not to do the actual "catching."

Saturday during the day I started having false labor contractions. These were basically the same as regular contractions, but they weren't in any kind of pattern and were all over 10 minutes apart. Had them all Saturday, Saturday night, and Sunday morning. Sunday morning, I thought they were regular to every 7 minutes or so, and called my mom to come over and watch Daniel. Wouldn't you know it, after I got out of the shower, they stalled out! Went back to being very far apart again. So mom went home, and I tried to rest.

I took a nap that afternoon, or tried to, but they started getting strong enough that I wanted Doug to provide some counter pressure on my back. (Doug and I had been trained in the Bradley birth method, for any who are curious, which is strong on husband-support and relaxation techniques.) Doug started timing them for me at 2pm, and they were regular again to every 7 minutes or so. We called mom back over, puttered around at home a little bit to make sure, and headed into the hospital around 4ish. I had not been able to reach Jolene on her pager, so called the office to let them know I was coming in. The doctor on call said he wasn't even sure Jolene's pager was working yet, but to come in and get checked out to see if this was it.

When we got there, we were checked into the room around 5 I believe. The doctor came in to check me around 5:20. Now, I was very nervous about having a complete stranger instead of my midwife, and a male at that. But the first words out of his mouth were "I was a former Bradley instructor" and I knew we had the perfect match! He was totally on board with our birth plan. I was hooked up to the monitor, and he checked me and said I was about 3-4 cm, so get comfy. (We actually ended up switching rooms at this point, as I wanted one with a jacuzzi labor tub instead of just a plain shower. The staff there was so accommodating!) We did notice that the contractions were much closer than 7-8 minutes. I think I was able to relax once I was in the hospital, oddly enough, as I had been nervous about making it there in time based on Daniel's quick birth.

Once in the new room, I tried out the tub first. I had heard great things about laboring in water, but found for myself that I wasn't able to keep a handle on the contractions while in there. So I got out, and tried walking around some. That worked a little bit, but still wasn't the best position for me, as I couldn't get myself to relax. Finally around 6ish I decided to try laying on my side on the bed. (This was a position that totally did NOT work for me when I was laboring with Daniel!) Doug sat in a chair beside me, ready to provide pressure on my back. I started to realize that I actually didn't want him to do that, as it was distracting me more. So he backed off completely and just basically sat and watched me. (And scarfed down half my tuna sandwich they had brought for me earlier, I might add!)

As I lay there, I just kept telling myself in my head "Don't fight the contractions, let your body do what it needs to do. Relax, work with it." I did that for every contraction, and totally concentrated on staying relaxed, to the point where Doug was only able to tell I was having contractions once or twice. Otherwise, I basically looked like I was sleeping. He later said he figured we'd be in for a long night of it, just based on how quiet I was.

(Now, I'm not saying that the contractions didn't hurt, because they did. However, once I decided to stop fighting them and work with them, it was much easier to get through each one. There was only a small time for each one that was hard, and once I got through that time, I knew it would get easier.)

After a while, I started to realize that I was feeling a lot of rectal pressure at the end of each contraction. I felt this for about 3 contractions and was thinking of having a nurse check on my progress just as my new nurse came in. The ob also came in at this point to check on me. I believe this was around 7:20ish. The nurse asked me how I wanted to be monitered, for 10 minutes every hour or 15 minutes every 2 hours. I chose the second, and chatted with her calmly in between contractions while she hooked me up. The ob asked how I was doing, and I told him about the pressure and asked if he'd check my progress. He said sure, as it had been about 2 hours since he'd last checked me. (Remember, that was 3-4 cm.) So he checked, and said I was almost complete, with only a little anterior lip left! I had basically not even noticed transition, practically slept myself through it. The ob said he could break my water for me, and the resulting pressure of the baby's head would probably start me pushing soon. I was very much in shock that I had gone to almost complete in 2 hours, and asked him to clarify again exactly what would happen if he broke my waters. I said "So I'm past transition? I didn't even notice it!" He told me there was such a thing as a silent labor, which I guess is how you would describe what I had been doing. (Doug later said the ob looked a bit surprised too when he checked me.) I decided to go for it. He said they'd get some things ready first, and would be right back. While I was waiting, I was chatting with the nurse again, and I remember asking her if it was normal for me to be chatting with her like that. She said she wouldn't describe it as "normal" but she's known for it to happen before!

After some preparations, and one more contraction which the ob said pretty much brought me to completely dilated, he broke my waters. After that he said go ahead and push if I felt like it. Now, I had been very calm and relaxed up to this point, but for some reason, during pushing, I didn't know what the heck to do. Being on my side didn't work, being on my hands and knees didn't work. I just didn't have control anymore. I finally asked Doug to come sit behind me on the bed so I could lean back against him. I also told myself again to stop fighting my body and work with it and push with it. I think some of my problem was I still couldn't believe it was "safe" to push! Anyway, I finally started to do some honest to goodness pushes, and was totally the opposite of how I was during labor. Instead of being silent, I hollered like a banshee! Not an "OMG this hurts!" kind of holler, more like a primal, karate chop, force be with you holler. What can I say, it seemed to help me push! Doug said if he'd had more hair on the back of his neck that it would have stood up. After a few pushes his head was out, and I recall saying "Oh good, the rest will be easier right?" It pretty much was! Nicholas Logan was fully delivered at 7:41pm August 12th, less than 3 hours after we entered the hospital. They put him on my chest right away while the ob stitched up my old tear that had reopened and the placenta was delivered. He scored a 9/9 on his Apgars! We did try to nurse not long afterward, but it was awkward and he wasn't ready. He and I did much better with that a little bit later.

(I'll update this later with Daniel's first visit with his new baby brother.)

The next morning, the pediatrician said Nicholas looked great, and he was fine with him going home with me whenever I was ready. Boy was I ready! The room, while lovely, had not a single soft surface in it. The bed was basically 2 inches of foam padding on plywood, I swear. When the ob came in to check on me, he said I could go home whenever I wanted to as well. So we spent the morning doing paperwork and other final tests. I need to bring Nicholas back in Wednesday morning for another PKU test and to have his cord clamp removed. We went home around 2pm, less than 24 hours after arriving! It is so good to be home now. Nick is doing great, he's very mellow and seems to be a champion nurser already. My dad and stepmom and mom are taking turns providing us with dinners this week, which I HUGELY appreciate! (Thanks guys!) Doug has the week off, and I'm looking forward to getting to know this new little guy. Daniel is too! I'll have to post more later about how "big brother" is adjusting. (Very well, I might add.)

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