This is my birth story continued. See part 1 here and part 2 here. The same goes with this one as parts 1 and 2. I’ve only read through it once so I likely missed some editing errors. Please let me know and I’ll fix them!
The version you are reading here is the condensed, man-safe, squeamish-free version. The unabridged version is here, and the password is my name, all lower case. (If you have trouble accessing it, just let me know)
Wednesday, February 20, 2013. Inanna Birth & Women’s Care. (continued)
She came completely out in one fell swoop!
That was it!
She was out!
I was DONE!
She surprised everyone because since she was so big, they thought that her shoulders would be the hardest part of labor for me. They had two midwives there for that very reason! The midwives had planned on suctioning her nose and mouth with a machine when her head came out, but before her body came out. She had had a bowel movement in utero and they didn’t want her to breathe in the meconium so this suction would have ensured it was out of all of her orifices. Well, she came out so quickly that they didn’t have a chance to use the machine. She went from tops of ears to completely out rather than stopping at the shoulders like they thought she would (or like most babies do). Immediately after she came out, both of them quickly suctioned her mouth and nose manually and luckily she did not have a chance to breathe in any meconium.
I wanted to hold my baby. At the time, I didn’t really know what they were doing and what was taking so long. I thought the second she came out, she would be on my belly! It felt like an eternity, even though I know it was only a few seconds. The short delay was necessary to ensure she didn’t breathe in the meconium. They put her on my tummy right after they cleared her airways and then put some warm towels over her and me.
Getting to hold her….
She laid on my chest and looked around and took everything in. She was so alert and interested in everything. She was even trying to turn her head around! I’ve never seen anything like it! I still didn’t really know what she looked like. I really couldn’t get a good look at her face from the angle she was at but I didn’t want to move her. I wanted to hold her tight to my chest and never let her go. I was crying and at the same time shaking uncontrollably. I thought I might be cold but it turns out it was a side effect of something they had given me during labor that makes you shaky for a few minutes. The shakes subsided after about 20 or 30 minutes after she was born.
First picture of baby girl! She had a mushy face, but no cone head!
I talked to someone on the phone (my dad?) while she was laying there but I can’t exactly remember who. Around that time my mom came in as well. I’m glad that the hormones or whatever is running through your body make you just don’t care because if I were in my right mind, I probably wouldn’t have wanted her to come in until they cleaned everything up and got me a little more presentable. Somewhere in all that, maybe 5 minutes after she was born, it was time for the cord to be cut. I remember thinking how quickly it was happening. I thought it would take much longer for all the blood to transfer from the placenta to her. I even asked Betty because I was concerned. I absolutely didn’t want the cord cut until it had been drained and the cord stopped pulsing. But the midwife said she had confirmed it had stopped pulsing! So, Leighton cut her cord! I don’t really remember it happening, I just know he did it.
Anyway, about 5 minutes later, we gave her to her daddy, skin to skin, so that I could finish the birthing process. Yes, there’s more, but I won’t go into details here. :) Daddy took off his shirt and he took his baby girl into his arms for the first time. Now, this was very soon after her cord was cut and it ended up draining down his belly. We actually have a great picture of him making this awful face and my mom in the background with an expression of pure joy. Absolutely hilarious!
Next, they started doing, what I consider, the painful part (aside from birth). They checked my uterus to make sure it was shrinking and the bleeding was slowing by pressing and grabbing hard at my belly. After that, my mom handed me my baby girl so I could hold her some more. Leighton had handed her to my mom so she could hold her while they were doing all the stuff to me. They continued check my uterus every few minutes for the next few hours and it was incredibly uncomfortable every time! Definitely my least favorite part about the whole thing.
Next, Betty started checking me out down there. I’m not really sure what all she and Jean did. I was talking to my mom, Leighton, calling dad, grandma and others…sending texts. Finally Betty let me know that I did tear, but it wasn’t serious. I can’t even remember what degree she assigned it…first or second. Probably second degree but no stitches!
After the initial checks, I don’t remember pain so much at this point but I remember numbness and being very uncomfortable. I had to get up and try to pee several times. I wasn’t allowed to leave until I went to the restroom. About this time, we decided to put a diaper on her just in case she decided to go potty. This is where we discovered just how big she was! All we had brought with us were newborn diapers! Well, those just barely fit her little hiney! Luckily we were next door to a Walgreens and my mom offered to go pick up a pack of size 1 diapers for us. For now, Betty somehow got the newborn diaper to fit her. Ha!
They told me that I needed to eat something now. Really, all I wanted to do was hold and look at my new baby…but, I knew better and that my body had just been through hell so it might be in my best interest to eat! I had brought a Marie Calendar’s Chicken Pot Pie. I just remember being so uninterested. I ate a couple bites here and there, but I really didn’t eat much at all. I may have eaten a third or even a quarter of it at the most. I’m not sure I ate anything until the next day…and I can’t even think of what that was!
After we got her in a diaper, I got to try my hand at breastfeeding for the first time. I get teary eyed just thinking about it now. I remember thinking right before how I wish I’d read the breastfeeding books that I had. I had gotten just a few chapters into the Dr. Sears one. Well, lucky for me, this girl came out a pro. They gave her to me and this was the first time I really got a good look at her face. I remember how red she was, how very round her face was, and how squished up it was! I was instantly in love. When I put her to my chest she opened wide and latched right on. I didn’t think she was latched correctly, though. Everything that I had read to that point said that it should not hurt. If it hurts, the latch is incorrect. Well, the birth assistant and my doula, Brittany, both checked her latch and said it was perfect! So, let me tell you, breastfeeding hurts at first. Not doubled-over-in-pain hurt. Just a dull pain. She nursed on my left side first. She nursed for, what I felt like, was a really long time at first! I didn’t think she would nurse long since her tummy is so small at this point. They let me know that, while she seemed to be nursing for a long time, not much was coming out. They said tiny drops at the most right now. A little while later I nursed her again on the right side. I remember asking if I could hold her in the football position (like I had to ask permission or something! haha!) because I didn’t really know how to hold a baby in my right arm! Well, she nursed great the second time as well.
Once she had fed twice, once on each side, we decided to get her an outfit on. I would hopefully be leaving soon so we wanted to get her ready. When you birth at a birth center, you usually go home within 2 to 4 hours of giving birth. We were probably right at the 2 hour mark at this point. Anyway, I’m pretty savvy with babies because I’ve been around babies all my life. Leighton, on the other hand, had probably barely even held a baby at that point! So, Betty, or maybe it was the birth assistant, showed him how to change her diaper and how to get her dressed. It was absolutely precious! Nothing like seeing a daddy with his brand new baby girl. We had brought a newborn outfit and a 0-3 month outfit. Since she didn’t fit into newborn diapers, we put her in the 0-3 month outfit. Come to find out later, she would have fit in the newborn. It was so cute! Wish we had at least tried it! :)
Waiting to be released
So at this point, we are just waiting to be released. My uterus had not shrunk back down enough to make way for my bladder (or, that’s what I remember them saying) so, until it had shrunk enough for that, it just wasn’t safe to send me home. While we waited, we filled out paperwork and also had to try and decide what her name would be. She still didn’t have a name! If you want to see the story of how she got her name, you can read it here. We named this beauty Vivienne Emma-Leigh. We decided we would call her Vivi for short. Shortly after we decided on her name, I was able to finally be released to go home.
Before we left, the birth assistant went through all the medical stuff with us. What’s normal, what’s not, when to call, etc. Leighton packed everything up and started loading the car. I had put on my super soft, comfy black nightgown and my robe to go over it. I was wearing my new awesome shoes I had gotten at Journeys. They were so comfy! She taught us how to buckle her in her carseat, took a family photo, then sent us on our way!
I remember stepping outside of the birthing center and immediately regretting not bringing a jacket! See, it was late February, but this is Texas! I don’t remember the exact temperature when I left for the birthing center, but I remember that I didn’t even need a light jacket. When I went outside after she was born, it was around midnight and it was FREEZING! I was so cold! I had to wait while Leighton got Vivienne buckled in. It was probably only 10 or 15 seconds, but it was enough to have me hopping around. After he got her in, I eased myself into the back seat next to my little angel. That’s a scary thing after giving birth. You know….sitting. I told Leighton to be very careful because bumps would hurt! He joked and said he was going to go 20 mph all the way home! I’m sure he was a nervous daddy driving his 4 1/2 hour-old baby home. He turned on 101.1 so it would be a soothing sound for her. In fact, the radio stayed on 101.1 for weeks afterwards. She was awake much, or maybe even all, of the ride home. Looking and taking it all in.
When we got home we were greeted by my mom, my dad, and my sister, Cassie. My daddy had a nightcap on. What a goof! He was also still wearing a boot from where he had broken his ankle a few days before. I went to the restroom as soon as we got home while Leighton unbuckled our little girl and showed her off to them and also revealed her name. She let everyone hold her and then after a few minutes, started acting like she wanted to eat so I went in the dining room to feed her. The dining room was right behind our living room and for whatever reason, our glider was in there…so that’s where I went! After I fed her, my mom told us to get into bed and get some sleep. I remember thinking that, even though it’s almost 2 a.m., I am wide awake! My adrenaline was still pumping! I decided to take her advice, though. They all left and we went to bed.
We had a cradle in our room right next to the bed. I put her in it and the minute I laid her down, she started to whine and fuss a little bit. I remember looking up at Leighton helpless. Like, “What do I do??” Neither of us knew what to do to get her to sleep without her crying. I looked at him and told him that I was just going to put her in bed with us. She didn’t cry when I held her and I didn’t have the energy to try to figure out ways to get her to sleep. In hindsight I’m SO glad I did that. I cringe at the thought of my 7 hour old baby sleeping alone! Going from comfy, cozy, momma’s womb to a giant (relatively) cradle all alone! We all fell asleep pretty quickly. When we woke up, it was daylight. Leighton and I woke about the same time. The first thing I noticed was that neither of us had moved an inch the entire night! She was still cradled right between us in the bed. The second thing I noticed was that she was wide awake. She wasn’t fussing or crying. She was just looking. Studying. Taking it all in. I immediately thought about how blessed we were already. I asked Leighton what time it was and we learned that it was after 10 a.m.! What the…?? She slept over 7 hours?! I thought babies only slept 2 hours at a time!?!? Well, come to find out, many babies have a very long sleep the first night after being born. Birth was just as rough on them as it is momma! They’re pooped too! I will always be thankful my girl gave us nearly 8 hours sleep on our first night home. It made getting through the next few days much easier.
I could keep writing and writing about her first day, her first few days, her first few weeks…but I suppose I need to stop somewhere and I guess this is where I should stop! In conclusion, I will say this…
Home? So fast??
Some people question why or how I went home so quickly. That they can’t imagine being made to get up and leave so quickly! I, however, cannot imagine it the other way around. I was ready to go home 2 hours after she was born. I wanted out of there! I was ready to be in my own home, in my own bed. Also, I know if I had been in a hospital, I wouldn’t have gotten a full night’s rest the first night. I think its a huge misconception that, by staying in the hospital, you get more sleep. I just don’t know how you could with people coming in and poking, prodding, and bugging you every hour or two!
I loved my experience at the birth center and I would absolutely do it again in a heartbeat. I wouldn’t change anything about it. It was perfect and it was beautiful. I feel great about the way in which my daughter was born into this world. No drugs, no intervention, nothing. Now, I don’t judge if you do use or do any of those things, I just don’t think they’re what is best for the baby in 90% (maybe more) of the cases. Your body knows what to do. It’s time we start trusting our bodies!
Ohhh the pain. The questions about the pain. I get so many. The pain hurt. Yes, it hurt. A watermelon came out of a tiny hole in my body. It’s gonna hurt. However, this pain is much different than any other. It is pain with a purpose. It is pain with a light at the end of the tunnel. It is manageable pain. To be successful at it, you have to go in with the mindset that intervention is not an option. (within reason. I’m not a crazy anti-any-intervention-ever person) If you say in the back of your head that “if it gets bad enough” you’ll get an epidural, you’ll get an epidural. I think coaching and support has a lot to do with it as well. My doula and my husband (and maybe a small fear of needles) were HUGE parts in keeping my eyes on the goal. My entire birth team was supportive of the decision I was making and they all knew my exact wishes and supported them 100%. I had a great birth prep class and I had also read quite a bit about it. I think this all contributed to the success of an intervention-free, drug-free birth. I think the alertness of my daughter showed the success of a drug-free birth as well. That’s all I’ll say about that before I get on my soapbox!! ;)
Well, there you have it ladies & gents. Part 3! She’s home, she’s healthy, she’s amazing. Six months and going strong!