Friday 15 November 2013

Our Birth Story - a Joy to Share!

(You can read how we decided to have a natural birth at home here.)

A few years ago I would have thought it completely strange to be writing a "birth story".  I don't think I'd ever heard one, and I certainly wouldn't have been interested if the option presented itself!  However, as we found ourselves pregnant with our honeymoon baby - thinking about birth became something I did a bit more often!  That said, I am now practically a birth-story junkie!  And so I'm posting this for others like me now...and for those like me then.  Maybe this will be the first birth story you've ever read - and I pray it will be an encouragement to you that birth can be an amazing, positive experience!

Walking the hospital halls trying to keep things moving along!
January 10th - my due date - came and went.  As did January 11th, 12th, 13th.... By the morning of January 24th we had plans to meet with our midwife and an OBGYN at the local hospital, as I was officially two weeks overdue!  We were told the Doctor would push for induction (haha - get it!?).  We weren't super keen on this idea, as there was nothing from the ultrasounds which had shown the baby was in any danger, and the midwife had told us that the decision was ours, so we were planning to decline induction. (We loved our midwife!)

As it happens - thanks to many prayers and God's perfect timing - I went into labour that morning!  (I think it started very mildly the night before but I wasn't going to get all excited - I took two Graval (anti-nausea pills) throughout the night and slept until about 5:30am) .  We called the midwife at 8am and she decided to come meet us at the house.  After we confirmed that I really was in labour and things were moving along - she recommended that we have the baby at the hospital (although we had planned to have him at home) because I was technically post-term (more than two weeks overdue) which is when risk factors increase.  This was fine with us - I was so thankful not to have been induced!

Finding out he's a boy!
So I laboured at home until about noon and then we went to the hospital.  The whole time I was there it was only us, the midwives, and our birth photographer in the room.  It was so great to know EVERYONE who was around.  (Not the case if you are birthing with the OBGYN and nurses who are on call).

The amazing thing is that during the breaks between contractions I felt FINE.   (I tried to relax during the breaks and not think about the next contraction).  Sometimes I would feel like eating cookies, calling my mom, joking around, etc - and then a contraction would come - I'd focus on getting through it - knowing it will end - and the cycle continued.

One of my favourite pictures of Andrew ever - admiring his firstborn son.

Eventually around 3pm the midwife broke my water to try and get things moving along and I had to stay in bed after that hooked up to the fetal monitors (basically just bands around your belly that measure the baby's heart rate and your contractions).  The doctor had spoken with the midwife and said I should have them on.  This was the worst part, but I was able to take them off to go for long, leisurely bathroom breaks.  Also I was getting tired physically and so didn't mind lying down for the most part.

As contractions got harder I used nitrious oxide, which is essentially self-administered laughing gas which you can use during a contraction and it forces you to breathe deeply and slowly.  Some women say it makes them feel dizzy or high - I didn't experience this.   I started pushing probably around 6:20pm and honestly - people say this and I didn't believe them - but pushing is satisfying!  It doesn't really hurt it is just such hard work!  It was like I was being asked to do something that was too difficult - but it wasn't!  I did it!  Such a great feeling.
Celebrating God's goodness to us!
Again there were breaks during contractions where I was pushing - I even fell asleep during one of these - something I had read about women doing but also found hard to believe!  And so eventually I pushed that baby out!  It did hurt at the end when our baby's head was coming out but because I knew that meant I was MOMENTS away, it was practically a welcome pain!  I was actually annoyed early in the pushing that I wasn't feeling that specific burning pain because I knew that meant we weren't that close yet!  Andrew helped the midwife catch Jake and they put him right up on my skin.  (Holding your baby skin to skin as soon as possible is SUPER good for the baby - gets them the right temperature, helps their immune system kick in, and all sorts of other cool things).

Even though I knew I was in quite a bit of pain at the time, honestly, moments after it was over I was thinking "that wasn't so bad".   All of a sudden it was over, I felt no more pain, had to exert no more energy, and I was holding my BABY!  I don't know that it gets any better.

Our first family photo!

I was on the phone with my mom less than 6 minutes after Jake was out and had to hang up to birth the placenta!  (that was sorta funny!).  We had a whole bunch of relatives there within two hours and I felt GREAT.

Anyway - I hope this encourages someone that they can do it too and it can be AMAZING!  Also Andrew and I have been talking about how since having Jake we've been having the best days of our lives.  We are so happy we didn't decide to wait to have children, because there is nothing like it.  So hopefully this can encourage you in that way too - if it is something you are thinking about.

Welcome to the world! We loved you before we met you.

You can check out our previous post from this week to read how we had decided we wanted to try for a natural birth at home (which we obviously didn't get) - and also resources we would recommend to help prepare for one.