So… I had a baby, finally! She is very astute and takes direction well, she came right on her due date which is apparently pretty rare. I was sure she would come early but I was wrong… Starting three weeks before her due date I was having pretty intense contractions, not Braxton Hicks, false labor contractions. There is a difference! False labor contractions hurt like the real thing but don’t progress labor, Braxton Hicks are mildly uncomfortable and don’t progress labor. I clarify because it was frustrating to me to have such painful contractions and have them be called Braxton Hicks. I’m fairly tough and don’t usually complain but those were uncomfortable. I was glad to have that issue cleared up at the hospital. So after three false labors in three weeks I finally transitioned over to real labor, it was terrifying but also welcome after five solid days of contractions no more or less than 10-12 minutes apart. That got old, fast. It was worse at night too so I didn’t get much sleep. On the fifth night they got a little stronger and I had had just about enough but the timing was spaced too far apart for a hospital visit still. I was lucky to be able to get a couple hours of a nap in earlier in the day because there was literally no sleeping on the fifth night. I tried everything I could!
I had the suggestion to drink a half a glass of wine, which I did and then took a hot shower around 3am. As soon a I got in the shower the contractions sped up, every other time the shower helped ease the pain. By the time I was out of the shower contractions were 6-8 minutes apart but not letting up. I was going crazy with no sleep so I woke James up to go to the hospital. I was sure they would send me home telling me I wasn’t in labor but I thought at least then I could trick my head into thinking the contractions don’t really hurt and I would be able to get some sleep. We got to the hospital around 4:30 in the morning and on the way there everything resembling a contraction completely stopped. I felt dumb for heading in. The hooked me up to the monitors for twenty minutes to get a baseline, not a single contraction. The checked to see how far along I was, only dilated to 3 cm, same as my last check up the week before… I felt more sheepish… The had me get up and walk around for a while, while the shifts changed. As soon as I started walking contractions were back on so I felt a little less sheepish. James started timing them and they were just over 2 minutes apart. We walked the halls for about 40 minutes, stopping every 2 minutes plus or minus and then went back to the room to be checked. The new nurse came in, she hooked me back up to the monitor and I was relieved to see the contractions actually registering. She was planning on sending me home because I wasn’t making any noises or acting like I was in labor but she checked me and I was dilated to 5 cm, so I was admitted. Then things got real and I got scared but excited :).
James went home to make sure Denny had his bag packed (we didn’t do it before we left because I was pretty certain I would just be sent home!) and was ready to be picked up by my brother. He got his food and toys together to go stay with Uncle Nater while we stayed at the hospital. James was back by my side before I knew it. I expected time to drag on but it actually went by very fast! Every so often my nurse would check in on me but for the most part we were just left alone so I could labor as I wanted. It was more privacy than I expected and very welcome as I like to do those sorts of things on my own, preferably without an audience. My particular midwife happened to have the day off, her only day off that week so I had a stand-in midwife who was also awesome. Both her and the nurse asked what I would like to do for pain management to which I replied ‘I have no idea how this will go, I’d like to try no meds but I am open to things changing if they need to’. The nurse said that based on how I was coping with things so far she didn’t think I would have any issues with a natural birth, that was reassuring to hear! She was awesome. She explained to me how everything would feel so that when I got to each point I knew I was progressing just as I should. She talked me through some contractions when I was getting closer to the end and I was panicking a bit and not relaxing in between as much as I should. I had sort of expected labor to just be pure ‘hard’, it wasn’t, there were contractions which hurt but then there were breaks in between. I noticed that so log as I could relax my body in between contractions (relax my shoulders and face, that was the best advice the nurse had for me!) I could rest enough to handle the next contraction, I just took it one contraction at a time for a couple hours until I was ready to start pushing the kid out!
A couple hours later there was a transition point that my body started to tell me to push, it was weird how it just switched over like that. The midwife and the nurse came in and helped to talk me through what was going to happen, how it was going to feel and how I can make things easier and faster. Since I was able to get this far without any drugs they said it would probably go much quicker since I could feel things better and could respond accordingly. It was right about this point, JUST before the big event that I panicked a little (giving birth is scary, more in theory than reality I think… not to say it doesn’t hurt but TV sure builds things up too much!). When I panicked I stopped relaxing in between contractions and that made them just compile on one and other and hurt a lot more! At this point I asked the nurse if I could take anything to which she really just didn’t reply. I took it as a no and went on my way with labor. I’ m glad she handled it that way, I was close enough to the end that it would have been a shame to get an epidural at that point, I just didn’t know how close I was, I expected things to take longer… Poor James had planned on staying above the waist but he got pulled into helping and had to watch the whole thing! I feel bad because honestly, that is not something I would want to see! Some things can’t be unseen. He took it like a trooper and even said he was glad he got to partake (I can’t understand why, honestly I don’t know if it is worse to be the one in labor or the one watching someone be in so much pain and not be able to do a thing to help!). It felt like I was making no progress at all but after a relatively short 35 minutes of pushing MiniM was born!
To that point in my life I had never held a baby, I really hadn’t spent much time around kids at all, I honestly had no idea how I would feel the moment she was born. I figured I would just go with it and see how things worked out though, nature has a way of making thing work out. In Lamaze class I remember watching one of the videos and a lady was giving birth (surprise, right, in a lamaze class! ;-)) but when the baby was born the midwife was handing the baby to the new mother and she wasn’t grabbing her. I thought that was so weird watching it and was thinking ‘why isn’t she grabbing her baby?’ Well, when MiniM was born she was purple and brownish, she had JUST come out and the midwife set her on my stomach and I thought about that video and I realized I was not grabbing my baby! I was a weirdo too! It turns out that was ok because her cord was wrapped around her ankles and I really couldn’t have grabbed her anyway until she was untangled so I didn’t look like a weirdo per-say but I had a moment of ‘what do I do’ none the less! As soon as she was untangled though the nurse brought her up to my chest for some skin to skin contact MiniM grabbed my hand and looked at my face, I was in love :). The midwife and nurse both told me that as soon as she was here I wouldn’t even feel the pain, that was totally not true, it still hurt! After she was here I asked for drugs, I didn’t want a natural birth for any magic reasons, I just wanted to limit the possibility of various interventions for MiniM’s sake, not for my own! Once she was out it was fair game, I was happy to just get some Ibuprofen again though, that worked for me!
We ended up staying two days in the hospital since it was the weekend and the nurses encouraged it for first time parents, it was nice to be able to get all of my questions answered and feel pretty good about things before being thrown to the wolves on my own. We are very lucky to have a very healthy and happy baby girl though! There was a little scare with jaundice in the hospital but from what I understand that is pretty common and we were able to just scoot by without needing any assistance with that. It was funny, I was basically on no sleep for several days but once she was here all I wanted to do was watch her. I spent most of the first night awake just looking at her :). It’s amazing how your body can just rise to the occasion and do what needs to be done and when you have such a sweet baby to look at you don’t even begrudge it in the least! Denver ven likes her! He had a funny look in his eye at first like he thought we got him a new stuffed animal to bat around but he quickly learned that she is not in fact a stuffed animal. He’s pretty sure I am hurting her at every diaper change and gets concerned for her but lets me do my thing :).
So, that is why I have been a little absent, James and I have been thoroughly enjoying our new baby girl. James has been a complete rock star helping out too. I am pretty lucky for that, I am really glad that I made all that food prior to D-day though, it’s easy for James to heat it up and we get to eat fairly healthy meals! Some of it has taken better to the freezer than others but it is far more nutritious than what I would be eating otherwise I’m sure! James has been keeping the tiny house clean for us too. MiniM has been visited by every aunt and uncle and grandparent too, what a lucky girl! Turns out I am not so bad at this mom thing either, she seems to like me. The milk coming in was a challenge, that wasn’t all that enjoyable but we are over the hump and feeding is going much better! I am very glad to have the tiny house, it’s working out oh-so-well in all of this!
We are trying the best we can to keep MiniM’s identity and personal details somewhat private, there are plenty of people who read this that know all of her details but I’d like to ask that if you are one of them that you keep things like her specific birthday and name private and not out in the open. I will still be referring to her as MiniM for this blogs sake :).
I meant to get this update out much sooner, and it probably could have been better but I am back at the point I was in the beginning of the tiny house build (babies are like tiny houses??) that it is probably better to get SOMETHING out instead of waiting until things are just perfect and not getting anything out. So there you have it, the last minute post because first thing in the morning James, Denver, MiniM and I are hitting the road and making our way from Idaho to North Carolina for the Tiny House Conference!
Hope everyone is well!