Cael Matthew was born on Sunday, September 4th, 2011 at 8:17pm. He weighed 8 pounds and was 20.5 inches long. My contractions started around 12:00-12:30 in the afternoon, so I only labored for 8 hours, and pushed for 20 minutes. Here is his birth story!
How I Spent My Labor Day weekend
Saturday, September 3, 2011
It's my due date - 40 weeks today! Since I made it to my due date, I was given an appointment in L&D to have a NST done - something done standard when you reach your due date. We went after Matt came home from work. We did manage to try and jump-start labor again by..::ahem:: you know..before we left for the appointment. The hope was that it would trigger contractions to start while I was having my NST done. But no such luck. Cael looked perfect on the NST, I wasn't having contractions, and we were good to go after only 20 minutes.
Sunday, September 4, 2011
Today I am 40 weeks 1 day. I couldn't help but think and fear that I would go WAY past my due date, and have to be induced. It's something I thought about every day - I really didn't want to be induced. Anyway, Matt and I slept in, and we woke up about 9:30ish. We decided, again, to try and see if we can "put me into labor". So we did that, and went about our morning, which consisted of Matt putting ESPN on the TV.
Around 12:00, I started feeling some light contractions. They were in my back, and after a few of them, they started getting stronger and more painful. I couldn't help but NOT be excited, as this has happened to me before, and my labor stopped after 13 hours. But these felt "different". They were more intense, and definitely more painful. I tried walking around, went to the bathroom, ate something, and even soaked in our jet tub. That helped a little, but they were still coming. At that point in the tub, they were about 5-6 minutes apart. By 12:30, I decided to start timing them, and they were 5 minutes, and getting stronger.
I had Matt putting counter-pressure on my back and hips because the pain was really bad with each contraction - a pain and discomfort I've never felt before. I was trying positions, like on my hands and knees. Matt asked me when I was going to call my midwife, and I just kept saying, "This can't be it. This happened before. Let me wait a few more contractions to see if they go away." Well, they didn't, and by 1:45, I put the call into my office. However, prior to this, Matt was secretly running around in between contractions getting the last minute things packed in our bags, and getting everything together. He knew.
We decided to go in and get checked to see if this was the real deal. The contractions were remaining at about 5 minutes apart and lasted over a minute each. They were getting even stronger, and continued to give me intense back pain and pressure, as well as pain/pressure that wrapped around the front of my pelvis. The car ride in Matt's truck (a lifted Toyota Tundra) was absolutely horrendous, and I was extremely uncomfortable.
We made it to the hospital at around 3:30 I believe, and this time I had Matt take me to L&D in a wheel-chair. I just couldn't walk up there, like I did 3 weeks prior. They took me right to a room (as opposed to the NST room), and didn't waste any time. They had me get into a gown, and this amazing OB nurse, W, checked me to see if anything was going on. I was 3cm, "working on 4cm" and 90% effaced! What?! This is the real thing? I guess it was. It certainly felt like the real thing, and a lot different than 3 weeks prior.
W then had me get into the bed so she could hook me up to the monitor to monitor my contractions and Cael's heart rate. Now, I can't even begin to describe the pain and discomfort I was in, so having me sit/lay in a bed for 20 minutes seemed near impossible. Cael looked beautiful, and my contractions were 4-5 minutes apart. To be quite honest, after that they didn't really seem too fixated on how far apart my contractions were, although they did monitor me a few more times between then and Cael's birth. So I really can't tell you how close they got.
W and Matt then got me out of bed, since I was so uncomfortable, and W gave me advice on positions that may help. Squatting being one of them. I used this one a lot, but it was very tiring, especially on my legs. When I would squat down to the floor, I would have Matt put counter-pressure on my lower back and hips. It didn't make the pain go away, and actually only seemed to lessen it a little, but it did help.
Since everything between then and when they broke my water is blur, I'll skip ahead. I do know that W had me try "knees to chest", laying on my side, bending over the bed, and sitting reverse on the toilet. Of all of them, the toilet one was my least favorite. Knees to chest and squatting were my favorite. I also know I was checked maybe one other time, and I was bleeding by now.
I do want to take a second to talk about my husband during this whole thing. He never once left my side - which made updating friends and family very difficult, as he only had the time between my contractions to do so. When I would have a contraction, I wouldn't even need to tell him - he just knew it was coming. He would immediately run to behind me, and press on my back. When I thought I couldn't do it anymore without medicine, he told me I could, and kept me going. He was always there with ice chips, water or apple juice when he just knew I needed it. I never had to ask. He was my Knight in Shining Armour, that is for damn sure. I couldn't have asked for him to be any better or do anything different than he did.
At some point, my guess would be 6:30ish maybe, my midwife came in to check me, and said she would get things going more for me, because she could see how much pain I was in. She checked me, and I was 100% effaced and 6cm, working on 7cm. She then broke my water. That is one of the weirdest feelings ever. I didn't feel anything inside, but just the immediate warmth I felt that ran all over and down my back - it felt different, but gross at the same time. My midwife also offered me some relief with Fentanyl. I said yes, but I wanted as little as possible. I didn't have an IV at this point, only a Heparin lock, so they gave me the medicine and hooked up a saline bag.
I was given half a normal dose of Fentanyl, and honestly, I didn't really feel any relief at all. Maybe a little woozy, but definitely nothing to hoot about. I was ok with this though, because I didn't want to be out of it, and I didn't really want to have a ton of pain meds pumped into me.
My midwife would then pull up the rocking chair that was in the room, and sit and talk to my husband while I was having contractions. I'm sure she was talking to me too, but I honestly can't remember. The contractions were coming harder and stronger - which I didn't think was possible - and I was having a lot more pressure now. I was checked again, and had progressed to 8cm, almost 9cm. My best guess is that this was around 7:15ish. My midwife signaled for the nurses to make a tray up, but leave it outside the door.
I do have to just mention, that at this point, I was completely naked except for a sports bra I had on. The robe just got in my way with all the positions I was moving into, so I ripped it off in a fit of rage during a contraction, saying I didn't care if I was naked. Honestly, it's nothing the nurses or my midwife haven't seen before. I would have taken my bra off too, but I had the IV hooked up, and I didn't want to bother with that.
I really felt like I needed to push with all the pressure, but they didn't want me to. Some more time went by, and I was eventually pushing a little. They had me get on the bed on all fours so that we could try to turn Cael. He was "sunny side up", and had been the entire time. My midwife offered me the second 1/2 dose of Fentanyl, and I said yes, only if I wasn't too close to delivery, because I didn't want Cael to be tired and drugged when he was born. They wanted to check me first, so they did. They checked me while on all four (weird), and I was 9-10cm. No Fentanyl for me, and I was perfectly fine with that. I really wanted to push, but they didn't want me to because they didn't want my cervix to swell.
Eventually, maybe around 7:45pm, I was just about 10cm, and they wanted me to start pushing. W had me push during contractions with her fingers still inside of me, so that she could try and move my cervix around Cael's head. I guess this prevented swelling. They also had me roll onto my left side first, push hard a few times, and then roll to the other side and push. We were trying to get him to turn. At this point, I was fully dilated, fully effaced, and would be meeting Cael soon. I couldn't believe that this was actually happening, that I was actually in labor, and that I had made it this far without any pain relief (I really don't consider the 1/2 dose of Fentanyl I got earlier pain relief, since it didn't do much of anything).
In these first stages of pushing, I couldn't even make it to a count of 10. I got maybe to 4 or 5. For some reason, I just couldn't do it, so I would have to stop for a second, take another breath in, and push again. Cael would come down a little, but then go back in. At this point, I remember a bunch of nurses filing into the room, bringing with them the warmer for Cael, and the tray for my midwife. She decided to get into her gown, and said that I'd be having him real soon.
The whole time, Matt was beside me in a chair. His poor knees from constantly squatting with me. But I must admit, I unfortunately don't remember anything about him being there at that point - what he was doing, if he was saying anything, etc. Everything in the room going on around me seemed like a blur. Almost like slow motion, although it wasn't moving slow. I later asked him what he was doing or if he was saying anything, and he said he was holding my right leg, and cradling the back of my head and neck.
Since I was having so much trouble pushing, they popped up these handles that were on either side of the bed. You basically grab them with your hands, and pull yourself forward, and it helps you push. Those things were GREAT! They helped me push so much better, and I remember pushing to a count of 10.
The weird thing though, at this point, is that I didn't remember feeling the contractions anymore. No more back/hip pain or pressure. Just the urge to push. It's amazing how your body just takes over, and knows what to do. What I did start to feel though, was him crowning. And let me tell you, everything they say about the "Ring of Fire" is true, plus some. It burned SO bad. I can't remember the pain now, oddly enough, but I know I felt it. My midwife grabbed my hand, and had me feel the top of his head. He was right there.
A couple of more pushes, and a lot more burning later, I felt his head come out. She told me to give one more small push, and the rest of his body was out. He was born at 8:17 pm, after pushing for only 20 minutes. The relief I felt when his body came out was amazing. She immediately put him on my belly, and he was the most beautiful thing I've ever seen. I turned to Matt and started to cry. I said, "We have a baby". They had me pull my bra up so that we could get the best skin-to-skin contact, and they started wiping him off. He wasn't really crying, but more of a wimpering. He was fine though, and he eventually let out a few cries.
A funny aside: Practically the whole time I was pushing towards the end, and after Cael was put on my chest, my midwife is down between my legs, discussing articles of research that she recently read, and was telling all the nurses in the room about it. One article in particular was letting the cord stop pulsing before you cut it - so leave it attached for at least 2-3 minutes she said. This was perfect, because this is what I wanted. It was odd though, because I felt the cord touching me "down there" the entire time we waited for the cord to stop pulsing.
As I continued to gaze at Cael in disbelief that he was finally here, and that I had just labored the way I wanted to (take that, people who said I couldn't do it without an epidural or pain medicine!), the cord was ready to be cut. My midwife turns to Matt and asks if he wanted to cut it, and he said NO! He had told me prior to going into labor, several times, that he didn't want to cut the cord. I, however, didn't know if he was serious or just joking around with me. She said "Alright", and at that moment, I said I'll cut it. "Really?" she said, and I said "Yes, I want to cut it." She handed me the scissors, and I cut my sons umbilical cord. For some reason, I didn't want a stranger doing it. It was pretty cool, and it's awesome to say that I cut his umbilical cord myself.
They kept him on my chest for about 30 minutes maybe, while I delivered the placenta (another weird feeling), and while the nurses did their "Anti-Abduction" procedures. This included finger printing me, and taking a foot print of Cael. I was bleeding a lot, so the nurses were pushing hard into my belly, trying to make my uterus contract. This really hurt despite the bliss I was in from holding Cael, and I guess you don't really hear about the pains of everything after delivery because a lot of women get epidurals, so they're numb. Maybe. I continued to bleed, so my midwife inserted a Cervidil suppository into my rectum, to further try to make my uterus contract. It eventually started to firm up, but I had lost a lot of blood.
Then the fun part - the stitching. I had only a 1st degree tear and a tear in my left labia, but she said it wasn't bad. But I FELT EVERYTHING! I felt the lidocaine, and I swear I even felt the pinching of the suture. She said I was a moving target, so she used a lot of lidocaine to numb me.
They eventually took Cael after about the 30 minutes or so and weighed him. He weighed in at 8 pounds exactly. They swaddled him up, and gave him back to me to nurse. He latched right on after 2 attempts, and nursed for an hour strait!! The nurses were impressed by this, since I guess that is a long time to nurse for a 1-hour old newborn. After he nursed, they took him and put him on the warmer while they cleaned me up and changed my bed. At my hospital, you labor, deliver and post-partum in the same room, in the same bed. It breaks down into all different positions.
Because of how much blood I lost, I spent the next 3 hours shivering uncontrollably. Unfortunately, and this is the only part that I'm seriously upset about, to this day too, Matt didn't get to hold Cael until after midnight! He laid on the warmer for about 3 hours, naked and flailing around (but not crying), until a nurse came in to give him his bath and measure his length. They apologized, saying it's normally done within an hour, but they became busy. I figured it out though - it was around shift-change.
When the nurse came in, I expressed how happy I was that she was finally here bathe Cael, because Matt had not held his son yet. The nurse was shocked and actually upset by this, considering it had been around 4 hours since his birth. I'm just happy that Matt's parents were there until around 1am, because Matt and them stayed right over Cael, touching him and making it known that he wasn't alone. He was awake the whole time too - didn't sleep at all in the 4 hours following his birth. I still cry thinking about how he was on that warmer for so long like that. That's not how it's supposed to be. He's supposed to be swaddled, or be on me, skin-to-skin.
He got his bath, was fresh and clean, and Matt finally held Cael for the first time.
We were discharged on the 6th, where Cael weighed 7 pounds 6 ounces. He's perfectly healthy, and breast feeding like a champ!