Happy 2nd Birthday to my littlest guy! Well, littlest guy right now. :) Baby brother will swipe that title sometime in the coming weeks.
My sweet baby turns two years old today! I truly cannot believe how the time has flown by! I can still vividly remember all of the prodromal labor, the real labor, and his most amazing entrance into this world. And so, to commemorate my sweet Muffin's birthday, I have written out his birth story, with photos! I had intended to write his birth story ever since his birth, but have been so occupied that I never got around to completing it! So, without further ado, The birth story of Nathanael (a.k.a. "Muffin") James:
The talker in me wants to elaborate on so any things, haha, but I will start Muffin's birth story from Monday, March 16th, 2009. I was past all of my other due dates (I had so many, since we were not sure of the date of our dates, so we relied on sonograms, but each one gave us a different due date), and two days away from my last given due date, which was March 18th.
That Monday (16th) morning I had a midwife appointment, which were on a weekly basis by that time. For some reason, Lucas and both of the older kids tagged along. My wonderful midwife Holly did my prenatal that day, and asked if I wanted to be checked again. I had been walking around 3 cm dilated for a couple of weeks already, with several random days of prodromal labor, that always ended in nothing.
Well, she checked me, and I was still a 3-4, and my "bag was bulging". She asked if I wanted her to strip my membranes, and I hastily agreed, even knowing it would be somewhat painful and may or may not help me progress into labor. Yes, it hurt.
Holly was sure I'd be calling in either that evening or that night, ready to have a baby! Needless to say, I started having regular contractions, and I even made a 2am call to the Midwife on call (Robin, <3) one night, because contractions were getting closer together (< 5 mins) and much stronger, and I thought it could indeed be time. Needless to say, her sweet advice was for me to try to go back to sleep and call her when things intensified. I worked hard to actually fall asleep, and was finally able to. When I awoke on Tuesday the 17th, the contractions were gone. I was in tears.
I felt so physically drained and weary from all of the "false alarms" I had been experiencing, and I spend most of the morning resting in bed. I got calls from family and wonderful friends, asking if there was any "news", and even one friend said she wondered if I forgot or changed my mind about having her at my birth, since she didn't get a call that night. I think I must have cried on the phone with at least 5 callers just that morning, haha! Oh the beautiful emotions of a hugely ripe and pregnant woman. :)
I'm not sure why, but I called the birth center around noon-ish, maybe just for sulking purposes? Haha, I don't remember my reasoning, but I'm glad I called. I spoke with yet another of their wonderful team of midwives, this time it was Sam (Samantha), and she listened to me cry, and she consoled me, and she gave me some fun advice. Her advice was to go to Olive Garden and have an Eggplant Parmigiana, and enjoy every bite of it!
I didn't get my olive garden, and I actually vaguely remember what else happened for a few hours of that day. But around 3:30pm, I felt the contractions return, once again, and with a vengeance. I "knew" it was just another false alarm, so I didn't give them any credit, or mention them to anyone, thinking I would just disappoint everyone yet again with another false alarm.
Well, that evening as I tried to cook a late dinner for the family, and continued on with life as usual, I found myself having to focus just a little bit more with each contraction. I still wasn't convinced that this would be "it", and was preparing myself for yet another disappointment. Sometime that evening, my best friend Michelle called to check in, and ask if she could visit. I am EVER so grateful for her call and her visit, as it helped to keep me calm and relaxed through what was early labor (even though I wasn't convinced at the time). She arrived just after we had put the kids into bed, and even took me to run a quick errand, which, embarrassingly, was to pick up an enema kit from Walgreens, haha, which I never did end up using. I remember the cashier at said Walgreens being quite concerned to learn that I was probably in labor while standing in her store, hehe.
Just before leaving Walgreens, Michelle suggested we pick up a movie to watch, to distract us in case I wasn't in labor, or if I was, it would help pass the time. There was a RedBox right outside the store, so we picked out one there, and I had a few contractions just while picking out the movie. :)
After we arrived home, around 11pm or so, believe it or not, I still wasn't convinced that it was "time", and kept wondering, at least inwardly, if the contractions would soon cease altogether, as they had so many times before. Michelle and I continued to talk and laugh, and I can never thank her enough for being there, because if she hadn't, I probably wouldn't have dealt with each contraction so calmly.
I don't know what Lucas was doing through all of this time, but at around midnight-ish, I began realizing this was probably the real deal, FINALLY! It was late when he made a quick trip to Walmart to pick up some last minute supplies and snacks, to get us through the labor and birth. Well, my hilarious husband decided to be funny, and pick up some scuba gear for our waterbirth. When he returned and showed me, I was not laughing, haha! I found it completely annoying. Said scuba gear was never used, and was returned, un-opened, a few weeks later. :)
I called my parents just before 1am or so, and my mom and sister arrived to stay with the kids around 1:45am. We made the real call to the on-call midwife, Sam, right around 2am, when I was finally completely convinced that these contractions were not going away. Sam later told me she couldn't asses me very well over the phone because I was so sweet and cordial. I even apologized for calling so late and waking her, hahaha! She couldn't imagine I was very far into labor, as most women would be in a much less "nice" state. I think I must have just been exhausted and delirious, rather than just "nice", :)
The drive to the birth center was, to put it lightly, the worst car ride ever imaginable! Not having the freedom to move around and change positions as I needed to was horrific! I also realized for the first time ever, that our vehicle did NOT have grip handles! I had never noticed before, but right then I needed something to grip during contractions (which inevitably got stronger and harder to manage on the car to the birth center), and there was NOTHING! I was livid about that fact, hehe.
We arrived and met Sam at the birth center around 2:45am. I was at 7cm and was able to get ready to get right into the birth tub! I was so afraid of arriving, only to find I was till at 4cm or something! I was so happy to know all of those contractions were making some progress! :D
Michelle followed us there in her car, and my wonderful Sister-in-Law, Yocasta met us there.
Let me just say, that having the birth tub there, was pure bliss! Although I do feel as though it didn't "fit" me very well (as in I could have definitely used something to grip onto, and push against the edge with my feet at times, but I was, and still am, haha, too short), the water itself was the most amazing, relaxing sensation! I had always wished to labor in water with my first two (which were hospital births), but that was never an option. Now I truly know how wonderful it really feels!
And here begin the photos! Disclaimer, hehe: I dislike and even loathe photos of me, no matter what! So some if these are obviously very unflattering, and also obviously, capture some of my most vulnerable moments. I consider myself to be a very modest person, and do not ever show the amount of skin that is about to be seen in these photos. But I love and am passionate about birth and natural birth, and am willing to open up, be vulnerable, and share with the world. There is NOTHING too graphic, and nothing even rated PG. It is all safe for all audiences, I assure you. I (obviously, since I am in them) did not take these photos. They were taken either by Lucas, Michelle, Yocasta, and maybe even one of the midwives? But I couldn't tell you who took what or when, as I was in "Labor Land". I only called out a few settings here and there, so many of them are poorly exposed, unfocused, etc. But who cares?! They may not be to professional standards, but I love them and cherish them, and go through them every few months, to remind myself of the wonderful, beautiful and amazing entrance that my son was able to make into this world. The end. :)
One of the moments of said joking and laughter! :)
Well, after who knows how long pushing on the birth stool (again, my sense of time was completely non-existent), he still wasn't descending like he should, and I was pushing with everything I had. I could sense that the midwives were sensing something was up. I tried not to worry and focus on opening up and getting my baby out. But worry just came. I had never pushed this long before, even with an epidural.
After pushing on my back for a few contractions, the super exhaustion set in. By that point I had been pushing for over two hours, and my body was physically exhausted, as well as mentally. I felt like giving up. I hit the wall. The wall I had read and heard about. I felt like I could not go any more. Like I could not give one more push. Although the words never came out of my mouth, I thought to myself "that's it, I tried, I can't do it anymore. I just need to go to the hospital and let them do a c-section." I was that exhausted, and obviously not thinking completely clearly either. My wonderful midwives believed in me, believed in my body, and believed I could do it. They never doubted me, they never made any sort of inclination that I might have to be transferred to the hospital, nothing. They were consistently encouraging and wonderful. Exhaustion had just taken over, and I felt like giving up.
Finally, they moved me to my left side, and THAT is what Muffin needed! That is what it took, and he descended like he was supposed to, and I was able to push him out! His head had been cocked to one side, as well as he had his hands up by his head/face. When I pushed and he wasn't engaged correctly, of course he couldn't descend! We could obviously see that one side of his head was swollen due to that fact, :(
I have not finished editing the text portion of the blog, but I am posting it for anyone who wants to see the photos and read what is up so far. To Be continued when it is not 5am. :)