Finley’s Birth Story!

For those who hadn’t heard, my sweet lady made her appearance two weeks early! She arrived July 18 at 9:20 in the morning. We named her Finley Jeanne. She weighed a mere 6lbs 10oz, compared to her brothers at nearly 9 pounds. And she’s 19 3/4 inches. Tall and skinny.

Her birth story is mostly boring with a few interesting tidbits, but here it is for those of you who love a good birth story:

On Monday morning (July 17), I ate a bowl of cereal and then for the rest of the day, I felt sick. Like I had eaten something bad, or had gotten the stomach flu or something. Not a lot of vomiting, but a terrible stomach ache and no desire to eat. I wasn’t having any contractions. This is quite similar to the way my labor with Bowie started, but his started with a bang. Violent vomiting and the trots, heavy contractions.

In the evening, things got a little worse and a little worse until I was having contractions. Still very mild, but enough to make me wonder if things were getting started. I called Labor and Delivery, and because of my history of being dilated well before my due date, they wanted to see me.

While getting admitted, I had to jet off and do some major damage to a hospital bathroom, and though there was still no bleeding, I was pretty sure this was it.

Once hooked up to the monitor, they could see I was indeed having regular contractions, albeit mild. I was at 3cm and held there for a very long time. Pretty much all night. I walked around the halls of the hospital, I bounced around on a birthing ball, but not much happened. I went to bed and tried to sleep, it was about midnight at the point. I had a few contractions strong enough to wake me up, but still nothing to really write home about.

in the hospital

After I got up in the morning, I turned a corner. The contractions got really uncomfortable, and finally some blood showed up to the party. Then suddenly, after hours of seeing no one, a nurse came in and said some really antsy OB wanted to put me on Pitocin (though I don’t know what the rush was, given that they had no recovery rooms available for hours after I gave birth). I not so politely declined, saying I was having strong contractions, and no one had checked my cervix for hours, and I had never needed it in the past and certainly wasn’t going to be put on it for no reason. (Kind of a breakthrough moment for me really, I have a very hard time questioning anyone in the field of medicine. I digress.)

I was only at 6cm, but things were moving quickly. I was in a lot of pain, and seemed to be going nowhere, so I asked for an epidural. They had seriously asked me every 5 minutes since my arrival if I wanted an epidural. But suddenly the dude was nowhere to be found. In the 45 minutes that it took for the anesthesiologist to show up and hook me up to the magic juice, I had dilated from 6cm to 10cm and my water broke and it was time to deliver her. My feet and lower legs were numb, but I could feel everything else. All the contractions, the ring of fire, all of it.

I felt so damn foolish for asking for it! I did without one with Ferris, after all. But the rate at which I was dilating made the pain unbearable. I thought, if I’m only at 6cm, and this is what the contractions are like, I don’t think I can handle this anymore.  I just had no idea that I was dilating at the speed of light.

Just as the OB suggested they break my water for me, my water broke on its own. And exactly like my labor with Ferris, I immediately felt the insatiable need to push. I think about 5 pushes later, she was out. They kept saying, I see her head! Her head is out! Here come her shoulders! But I wasn’t believing a word they said. It felt like I was pushing and pushing and getting nowhere. Then, they dropped that dirty, bloody, beautiful baby girl onto my belly. One of the most surreal moments of my life. From beginning to end, this pregnancy did not seem real. Did not seem possible. And then suddenly, there she was.

We did skin-to-skin for hours, and it was glorious. She nursed within 10 minutes of being born, and I hardly even had to help her latch. Total natural. (And now she never! stops! eating!) I was not in a lot of pain afterward, but I had to sit around and wait for that stupid, worthless epidural to wear off.

And then there were the blood clots. Apparently, I had a lot of large clots in my uterus, which can sometimes mean trouble. So, they had to “massage” my uterus about every 15 minutes to get out what they could, and make sure there was no placenta left. And by “massage”, I basically mean “jackhammer.” It was extremely painful, and would cause me to have more contractions every time. And blood got everywhere. But hey, better safe than sorry.

After hours and hours of waiting for a recovery room (see earlier where I mention no need to make my labor go faster), and having visitors, and already having the billing department tell us we needed to drop $2000 before leaving (story for another time), I finally got moved to a recovery room, with a much nicer, softer bed.

Brien went home that night to be with the boys, and it was very overwhelming being all alone with this brand new baby who I knew nothing about. She would nurse for a few minutes and fall asleep. I’d put her in the bassinet and she’d wake up 10 minutes later, wanting to eat again. She wanted to nurse constantly, which, after several hours of this, I finally figured out meant she needed a pacifier. And I was just so worried, being all sleep deprived and having hormones coursing through me. I barely slept at all that first night. And there’d be many sleepless or very-little-sleep nights to come. The hospital didn’t have a nursery (!!!) or I’d definitely have taken advantage.

We arrived at home very late the next night. I kept waking up (when I would be able to snooze) and wondering when the nurse was going to come in. I was completely delusional. But, I had Brien there to help, which was a huge relief. As was learning she likes the pacifier. Total game changer.

We are a family of five now, and I still can’t believe it. It’s amazing how this perfect little something comes from basically nothing, and it’s all yours to love and cherish forever. That’s the hormones talking. We will revisit in a year, when she’s tearing through the house and making me crazy.

finley day 1

Ferris’ Birth Story. If you’re into that kind of thing. The word ‘placenta’ makes an appearance.

My birth story with Ferris begins with an unofficial Monday visit for a quick exam on the labor and delivery floor of the hospital. The midwife I had seen the Friday before couldn’t get me a regular appointment at the clinic, so she said, “I’m working in labor and delivery on Monday, just stop by and I’ll fit you in.”

So, Monday, I waddle in, and she’s totally busy, which is what I expected. I kept myself busy in the waiting room for 45 minutes (thank God for smart phones) and she finally emerged, fresh from her second delivery of twins in 24 hours, and says there’s not much space for an exam, and would I walk back over to the clinic with her for the exam.

Finally at the clinic, she sneaks me into an unused room, and does the exam. I was expecting to be at least a centimeter or two dilated, given the number of Braxton Hicks I’d been having over the past week. And that maybe we could do a membrane sweep and get things moving.

I could tell by the way her eyes widened that she had better news for me. “You’re at FIVE CENTIMETERS.”

For anyone reading this who’s never had a baby, I will explain to you that 5cm is basically halfway done with labor. And I hadn’t felt a thing. It also means, baby is coming at any second.

At that point she figured she should do a full exam, to make sure things were ok. So, she took my blood pressure moments later, which was understandably incredibly high. She took it a few more times, and it was normal, but then I also had a wee bit of protein in my urine. So, we walked back over to labor and delivery so I could be monitored. She joked that my water could break just from that short walk, I was THISCLOSE to being in labor.

They got me a bed, hooked me up to a blood pressure monitor, and a fetal monitor. I had normal blood pressure. And regular contractions. Very regular. And because it takes about 20 to 30 minutes to get from our house to the hospital, in good traffic, they were very hesitant to let me go.

Which is about when I started actually feeling the contractions. They theorized that the exam was enough to trigger the beginning of real labor, and that this was it. Baby was a-comin’. I called my husband, who was home taking care of Bowie, who some of you may remember had conveniently woken up that very morning running a fever of 101. I had my husband finish packing up my hospital bag, and pack up a bag for Bowie and deliver him to my sister-in-law’s house, whose schedule had so thankfully been wide open for her to take my sick kiddo so I wouldn’t have to unleash that on one of the preschool families, or anyone in the hospital.

My labor was pretty manageable for the next few hours. But, I could tell things were moving quickly. I don’t recall the exact time, but a few hours before Ferris was actually born, the labor hit me suddenly, like three tons of bricks. I had been walking the halls to keep things moving steadily, and I no longer felt like I could stand during a contraction. I spent some time on the birthing ball (a big yoga ball), but eventually was so uncomfortable, all I wanted to do was lay on the bed in the fetal position (no pun intended, but fitting, yes?).

Eventually, I felt the way I did when my labor with Bowie first began–loose bowels, vomiting, the shakes, and very powerful contractions. And I remembered that during that labor, I went from 0 to 4cm in a matter of hours, and I was feeling hopeful that things had really progressed and it was almost time to push. I was in a lot of pain, and was even starting to think epidural, which I have mentioned on here before that I really wanted to do without. Brien managed to talk me out of it. But a quick exam revealed that I was “7cm, but I can stretch you to 9” and I was devastated, thinking it would be another zillion years, and more of these intense contractions than I could possibly handle.

But then, I started to feel pressure. The pressure they talk about in all the books that I never felt with Bowie because I’d had the epidural. Out of the blue, and with a giant gush, my water broke, and MY GOD, THE PRESSURE. I think I was even yelling “so much pressure! so much pressure! so much pressure!” in between my obscenities. I got scared, because she had told me I was only 7cm, that they would tell me I couldn’t push yet. Because my BODY was pushing. I couldn’t help it! My body was doing so much of the work of getting my baby out for me.

I said, “I have to push! I can’t help it!” and, she said the best words I’d heard all day, “Go ahead. Just go with it.”

Like I said, my body was doing so much of the work. But, I pushed as hard as I could, both because that made it feel a hell of a lot better, and because it’s time to push! My sweet baby boy will be here any second!

At one point, after 2 or 3 pushes, it felt to me like maybe his head was halfway out. But, shortly after that the midwife announced, “He’s out!”

I looked down, completely in shock, “He IS?!”

And there he was. A mere 6 hours after the initial exam.

The best part: I was so aware for that moment. I wasn’t groggy from lack of sleep, I wasn’t exhausted from 18 hours of labor, I wasn’t nauseous and shaking from an epidural. I was awake, aware and fully there. So. much. better.

Also, best part: no tears. Which meant no stitches. Which meant, I felt amazing just minutes after delivering. I took pain medication in the hospital for uterine cramping, not for my patched up undercarriage. This also made things so much smoother for getting up and down on my own in the hospital, and getting to go home quickly, and of course taking care of things at home. Only a week after delivery, I was dropping Bowie off at preschool, and everyone was amazed to see me there. But, I just felt so good.

I never wrote down my Bowie birth story. I wasn’t blogging yet back then, so maybe I didn’t see the point. I’d love to write it up now, but I don’t remember much of it. I remember the highlights, but so many of those 18 hours are a complete blur. I’m ever-grateful to have Ferris’ birth story fresh in my mind, and to have had a positive experience to share as well.

This picture of me was taken minutes after delivery. I hadn’t even delivered the placenta yet. What a difference from my first labor.

Mother of Two

So. Yeah. Didn’t mean to ditch you there. That was the quickest week of my life. Wow. And just like that, I’m a mama of two. Thanks so much for all the love on Twitter and Facebook, welcoming my baby Ferris into this world. You guys are awesome.

Here’s a pic of me from earlier today, one week post partum (minus a few hours).

(You’ll notice I didn’t clean the mirror for you this time. That requires two hands!)

I feel so good. Compared to how I felt after having Bowie, I don’t even feel like I gave birth. Not that it was a whole lot easier this time. I mean, in some ways yes. 18 hours of labor compared to 6 hours of labor = amazeballs easier. But, epidural compared to no epidural = NO FREAKING WALK IN THE PARK. Overall, things went very well, and recovery is going great.

I will be posting the birth story here in a few days, after I gather my thoughts and can think straight again. Pregnancy Brain was pretty bad this go around, but I totally forgot how bad New Mom Brain is, wowza.

I just wanted to check in with you and let you know I’m doing so great. Learning to make Bowie’s lunch with one hand, nursing a baby in the other. Re-learning how to change a poopy diaper on a wiggly newborn by nightlight.

Our little family is adjusting perfectly to the new addition. And I am so, so, so looking forward to watching Ferris grow. (Just not too fast, ok?)

Here’s a super sweet picture my husband took at the hospital when Bowie first came to meet baby brother:

Love you guys. Stick around, there’s so much more to come on my journey through motherhood!

 

Ready to Rock (Mama, at least)

The bump, 32 weeks:

We took a tour this week of the labor and delivery ward, and the recovery floor at the hospital. We had Bowie at the same hospital, and truthfully could have lived without taking the tour a second time. But, it’s free and the last time we were there is a bit of a blur for me, so I signed us up.

I remember taking the tour the first time, and how anxious and nervous and unprepared it made me feel. The sight of the OR made me break out into a cold sweat. I had no idea what I was in for. I knew contractions hurt, and I was afraid I wouldn’t be able to handle it. And I had just learned the term “Ring of Fire” as applied to labor and delivery. I was freaking out.

We were the only couple on the tour this time who had an older child, and I could see the fear in the other women’s eyes, but me? I was cool as a cucumber. I wanted to give them all a big hug and let them know, “Yes, you CAN do this! It’s not that scary! It’s not that bad!” One of the women even asked in horror if she might poo on the table. Adorable.

My attitude was more like, “Ok, there’s a free room? Let’s do this thing people. What? You mean I still have two months left? Come on.”

Neither I nor my husband could really remember for sure, but we think the recovery room she took everyone in to see was the one we were staying in when we had Bowie. And, it probably wasn’t the same delivery room she showed us, but they’re all the same. I remember everything looking so much bigger before. More intimidating or something. Kind of like when I left middle school for high school, and a year or so later I was back in the middle school building and everything looked so tiny to me. It was that exact feeling.

Especially the hallway from the recovery room to the front desk. That hallway was LONG and OMINOUS at 18 hours into recovery, when everyone was saying, “Just go take a walk around!” Yeah, no big deal, it’s not like you have half a dozen stitches in your hoo-ha or anything! When I looked at that “hallway” on the tour, I realized it was more like…a corner?

I don’t feel like a totally seasoned expert or anything. I mean, I’ve only done this once before, 4 years ago. There’s still a small amount of fear, given that I actually know this time what contractions feel like. And I pretty well remember the anarchist revolt that was my digestive system reacting to labor. And I don’t think I want another epidural, but what will that be like? What if I do want one, will it be the same as before? And recovery with a 4 year old, what’s that like?

But, I do feel pretty confident and empowered. Not at all like I did on my first tour all those years ago. So, get all your growing on, little man, but feel free to make your grand entrance a little early, it’s okay with mama.