31 December, 2013

The {Birth} Story of Millie

On Saturday morning (the 21st), I woke up with some contractions. I was all set to go to the hospital and then.... They faded - completely. So instead of heading to the hospital, I headed to town for groceries. Afterward, I unknowingly snapped my very last pregnant picture. =)

I spent the rest of the afternoon frustrated, eating pineapple, and attempting to bounce on my exercise ball. Kinda hard to do with a toddler around!! Nothing was happening, so I made dinner, we gave Charlotte a bath and put her to bed. 

The contractions came back after that, and I seriously considered going to the hospital again. I even texted our babysitter and my MIL to let them know the situation. Once again, nothing happened. The contractions slowed down and then stopped by the time I got ready for bed. 

Then around midnight I started having contractions about every 20 minutes or so. They weren't too bad, but they were kind of annoying since I was trying to get some rest and all. Around 3am I decided just to get up and move to the living room. I didn't want to wake Joe if the contractions were just going to go away again, and I thought the exercise ball might help with the pain. (Which it did.) I spent the next 2 hours doing random stuff around the house, bouncing on the ball, and leaning on the kitchen counters during contractions. A little after 5, I was so tired and out of things to do, so I headed back to bed. The contractions slowed down a bit so I could get some rest, but they were getting fairly strong. I think I ended up waking Joe around 7, and then Charlotte woke up so we all got up and had breakfast. Or attempted to...

Halfway through breakfast I felt like I might vomit. It was at that point I decided we really should go to the hospital. We texted the babysitter and called my MIL. It took the babysitter (which was actually a couple from our small group at church and their 2.5 yr old son) about 20 minutes to get here, so we got ready while we waited. Surprisingly, I was still able to move around and do stuff. Charlotte kept asking me if I was okay during contractions - "Okay, mommy?" It was seriously the cutest thing ever. She is such a sweetie. =) She almost had a meltdown as we left for the hospital, but thankfully she's easily distracted.

I had one strong contraction on the way to the hospital, and another as soon as I got out of the car to walk in. (Yes. I walked in. Because I'm stubborn and was determined to walk that baby out!) Once we got in L&D and into a room, the nurse asked me about a gazillion questions, and finally checked my cervix. 

I walked into the hospital dilated to 7cm.

Joe was shocked. LOL! I'm pretty sure my nurse was shocked, but she hid it pretty well. I had a feeling I was at least 5cm, but you just never know. So, obviously, I got admitted and we got prepped to have a baby!

After being in early-ish labor for about a day, I was totally ready to have this baby!

I don't think Daddy was quite as prepared as I was. ;-)

I'm assuming that they set up our room so quickly since I was already at 7cm. 

My nurse and the baby's nurse felt pretty certain I'd have her by lunch time. But babies come when they come, and Millie was in no hurry to make her entrance. Yet.

Unfortunately, my OB was not on call this weekend. Her call started the next day...so I was seen by her "partner". He seemed nice enough, but I was kind of upset that my fantastic OB was going to miss this. But, my nurse, Carman, was pretty awesome so that helped make up for it. She made sure I was able to do as many things on my birth plan as possible. A lot of women go there for natural births (since they're the most "baby-friendly" hospital in the area), so that was really nice.

Once I dilated a bit more, I was able to sit on their labor ball. I was on that thing for most of the afternoon. I bounced and rocked back and forth, and side to side. Between that and having Joe put counter-pressure on my back during contractions, I'm not sure I would have made it. Not only does the rocking help with contractions, bouncing (and just sitting on it) helps the baby's head get into the right place. 

After an hour or two on the ball, I started to get really uncomfortable. My nurse helped me change positions - or just stand up, leaning on Joe - several times. Not long before Millie was born, I ended up leaning over the back of the bed, squatting into each contraction. No lie - it was hard work. But it really did help with the pain. There's also something to be said for controlled breathing. It hurt so much worse when I wasn't taking deep breaths.

I also had Joe pray for me/us several times while we were there. Not just for the pain aspect, but also that her birth would be expedient. I was getting tired, and I was really ready to meet her and just be done

At some point between getting off the ball and back on the bed, my nurse checked me. I hadn't dilated much, but I had started to feel lots of pressure. We considered going ahead and telling the on-call doctor to come in, but I'm not sure if we ever reached a decision. What I do remember is this:

I got back in bed, laying on my side. The contractions got way more intense and closer together. So much so, that I could hardly think. At some point, I started feeling the "ring of fire." I mentioned it to my nurse (who hadn't left my side in a while) and I'm pretty sure she left the room to call the doctor at that point. Everything is hazy because I was completely in "labor land." 

Soon after, my nurse started telling me not to push and to try and breathe through the contractions differently. I completely understand why she didn't want me to push yet (no doctor!), but telling a woman who feels the urge to push to not push should be considered torture. At that point, I got a little cranky. I distinctly remember telling her to stop pressing on the monitor on my belly because it hurt so much. I think I asked her to stop several times. Joe was in the bed with me, putting counter-pressure on my back still, and reminding me to breathe. I can't tell you how many times I told both of them that I couldn't not push. It hurt to not push. And really, my body was doing 95% of the work. I wasn't voluntarily doing it, it was just happening - kind of like instinct, I guess.

Eventually, I think my nurse got the gist that this baby was coming whether the doctor was here or not. I remember her all but running to the door, and yelling at the nurses' station, "Someone make sure Dr. Charity is on his way!" I really wanted to laugh, but, you know...contractions, baby in the birth canal and all. Next thing I know (as my body is still doing most of the pushing), I'm surrounded by nurses, and 2 of them are trying to flip me to my back. This hurt like crazy, first of all. I think I may have yelled at them, but I don't remember what I said. LOL! I remember my nurse telling me to push 3 times. Twice for her head, once for her little body. And there she was. I felt her little arms and legs flop onto my legs, because they didn't even have time to break down the bed for her arrival. 3 pushes, you guys. My body did all the work before that. Amazing. And seriously, what relief I felt after she was born! All the other natural/drug-free birth stories I've read talk about this high you get...I was totally there. =)

I had wanted a mirror to see her birth, but obviously things happened to quickly for that. I also had wanted to delay clamping/cutting her cord, but we weren't able to for two reasons: 1) A nurse delivered her instead of a doctor, so they followed 'protocol.' 2) Her cord was wrapped around her neck twice, so they wanted to make sure she was okay. After that, the doctor walked in. Then the baby nurse (who was fantastic, by the way) handed me my vernix-covered little girl for some skin-to-skin time.

Yes, I made Joe snap a shot of our first feeding.
I look like a hot mess, but that's what happens when you birth a baby. ;-)

I can't remember how long we got to hang out like that, but after just a few minutes she started bobbing her head and making her way to the breast for her first feeding! This moment was second only to pushing her out. It felt so great to be able to have that time, and for her to feed all on her own.

The only downside of her fast, non-medicated birth is that I did end up tearing this time, and so needed stitches. I can honestly say I have never disliked a doctor more in that period of time than I did this guy. He was not very gentle (unlike the OB that I hand-picked), and apparently he didn't realize that most redheads need more medicine to actually get numb that other people do. I had to tell him repeatedly that I could feel what he was doing. 

Overall, I feel great about her birth. I feel great about myself - knowing that my body can do this without any help. I also feel so much better physically than I did after Charlotte's birth. The recovery has been different because of the tear, but I feel so much more myself this time - and not in a haze from all the drugs.

Daddy and Millie =)

Thanks to my doctor, who stopped by the next morning, we were able to go home after only 24 hours in the hospital. That, my friends, is another upside to having a non-medicated birth! 

Took my rainbow baby home in her rainbow blanket from Auntie Anna!

Things have been great and also difficult since being home... We had help for the first week, but now we're on our own! I know we'll get the hang of having two littles eventually, but right now it's a roller coaster. So, we'd appreciate your prayers! 

We are so thankful to have this little rainbow baby of ours...and also for her big sister, who has been very sweet to her. Perfect way to end the year. =)

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