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Thursday, May 7, 2020

Rose's Birth Story

It's taken me awhile to share it but I am so excited to talk about Rose's birth story. It is honestly so different from my first labor and birth experience (which you can read about here) and I am so happy with how it went. To the point where I couldn't sleep that first night after she was born, I was just happily reflecting on how it had all gone and I had to write up my experience. I have no regrets, it went practically perfectly. So I'm so happy to share it with all of you!

(Disclaimer-there's legit labor and birthing talk here. If you're uncomfortable with that kind of stuff I'd probably skip this lol). 

For about a week or so before I went into labor I'd been feeling like it was going to happen any minute (we'd been pretty sure most of my pregnancy that I'd go a little early). I was starting to feel more and more uncomfortable and at an appointment with my midwife a couple weeks prior I'd been told I was already a couple inches dilated and 80% effaced. So every day that came and went with no labor was starting to be frustrating, just waiting around wondering when it would start.

Then I woke up Thursday, February 20, 2020 and while I was getting James breakfast I started noticing that I may be having some mild contractions. I, luckily, had an appointment that Michael and James were coming to so I figured I'd find out more information when we were there. At the appointment I had borderline high blood pressure and this was the 2nd week in a row so when my midwife came in she said they would have to induce me. But, after she checked me, she said I was already in active labor (4-5 cm dilated and 90% effaced) so she just approved them to break my waters and told us we could go home, get everything sorted out, then head to the hospital. So we went home, called Michael's mom to come stay with James, and got everything together (while also giving our sweet boy lots of kisses and I tried not to cry about the fact that these were our last moments with him as an only child).

We got to the hospital around 11am, checked in, and got put into our birthing room (I requested one of the ones with birthing tubs and oh my lord it was epic-ly large). We met out nurse, Lauren, who was so sweet and right from the get-go so conscientious about checking in with me about my preferences and needs and just really supportive in general. She also added some mood lighting to my tub and picked pink because we were having a girl-which we found super adorable and hilarious. My blood pressure was good, my contractions were there but not bad AT ALL (like period cramps). We met with my midwife that was on call that day, whom I hadn't met before. Her name was Laura and she was absolutely incredible. She sat and chatted with us for awhile and got to know us and our situation. She was totally cool with my request to avoid breaking my water and said she'd just wait until my next dose of penicillin (Group B Strep, super fun) to check me and then worse case scenario maybe she'd just strip my membranes if I needed it. She also totally encouraged me snacking on the sly (hospital policy=no eating during labor but I brought snacks to eat secretly and she actually lightly suggested it and I was like "I brought stuff!" Ha! Considering I couldn't even drink water when in labor with James it was so different).

So yeah...then Michael and I watched a little Netflix on his phone, chatted with some people, and I felt weirdly ok for the next few hours. Around 5ish Laura came in and checked me and I was pretty much the same as I'd been at my appointment that morning so she stripped my membranes (she said they were paper thin) and Michael and I went for a little walk around the hallways. Around 5:30pm my water broke in the hallway and things got real. Contractions got much worse. After about an hour I asked if Laura would come check me again to see if I'd progressed enough for me to try laboring in the tub and I was 7-8cm so they started filling that puppy up. The tub felt so great but oh man the contractions hurt (still so much better than back labor-what I had with James-but intense in a different way since I was in transition which was the part I'd had an epidural during with him so it was all just very different and definitely not fun). One thing that was the same as my last labor was my need for poor Michael to provide counter pressure on my back. He was the best. And Laura stayed there and supported me the entire time, she spoke soothingly to me and reminded me all those contractions were moving Rose down, and to just push whenever I felt like I needed to. When I felt the need to push they started getting prepared but then it became clear I wasn't leaving the water (there was no way I was going to be able to climb out of there and I had no desire to leave the delightful water). I had some primal yells come out of me that frankly I never expected and it was all super intense but at the same time I had some nice breaks between the contractions. After a couple pushes Rose's head was like halfway out but then I just had a long rest with no contractions. It was actually nice but super weird to just have her head halfway out. Everyone kept talking about how much hair she had and I could feel it and see it floating in the water (!!!) Then, after a few more pushes, her head was out. I had some trouble with the rest of her so they had me stand and put a foot on a seat of the tub and then one good push and I saw her come out, looking around wildly(so technically she was fully born just over the water, not in it). I immediately recognized she had Michael's eyes. Pushing took about 20-30 minutes and Rose Selene was born at 7:59pm. They placed her on me and she and I just cuddled in the water for awhile (she was screaming pretty intensely the entire retrospect I suspect she was chilly) before they eventually cut the cord and we moved to the bed for all the afterbirth, etc.  And I got to nurse and stare at my brand new baby girl.

She weighed 8 lbs. 2 oz. and was 19.5 inches long-frankly much more of a chunk than I anticipated! A head full of hair that is still the 1st thing everyone comments on (followed by her cheeks, and then how much she resembles her brother). She took to breastfeeding brilliantly and is the perfect addition to our family. We all absolutely adore her.

This birth experience was amazing. I felt heard and supported and empowered and everyone kept saying how amazing it was to watch.  I’m so grateful for how different it was than how it went last time and how fantastic every single person was. Michael was applying counter pressure to my back the whole time, the nurses I had were so incredibly sweet, and there aren’t words for what a positive force Laura was for me in this labor. And I did it...I got to have an entirely natural labor where almost everything went the way I wanted and hoped. I’m so happy and so relieved and it really was redemptive.

And our hearts are so full. ❤️

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