My first birth story

I recently made my family blog private, so I am moving my birth stories over to this blog.

Here is the story of my first birth. I added some commentary in italics of things I would have done differently, if I had the knowledge I have now.

max is here! he is such a sweet sweet baby and we are so in love with him. he's absolutely beautiful.

he weighed 8 lbs. 12 oz. (the exact same as me when i was born!) and was 19 1/2 inches long...a pretty healthy size, i'd say!! he was born last night (april 20th) at 8:16 pm. the best part is that he is not bald! he has tons of hair and it's actually way darker than i expected!

He was actually 7 lbs. 12 oz. We found out his "real" weight the next day. Someone just shouted out the wrong weight when they weighed him!

i started having contractions at about midnight on the 20th and they became more regular at about 4:30 am. i woke travis up and said "hey...i think i'm in labor!" he got teary eyed cuz he was so excited. i wasn't sure i was really in labor though. the contractions were about 10 minutes apart and were hurting pretty bad, but i figured it had to be false labor...i didn't want to get my hopes up! we skipped church (hey, i was in labor!) and went for a walk, but my contractions subsided from that. they came back though, pretty strong, and around 2:30 pm i decided that i really wanted to go to the hospital because the pain was getting so intense. i still was wondering if i was "really" in labor, but i figured, the worst they could do was send me home, right? we got to the hospital at about 4:00 and when the nurse checked me, i was dilated to 6 cm!!! i was NOT expecting that...but i was so happy to hear that i was really in labor and that we would have a baby shortly! at about 5:00 i was dilated to 8 and decided i was really wanting an epidural...i was teeter-tottering between getting an epidural and going natural, but the pain was getting so unbearable that i decided to have the epidural. i am glad i got it because i was able to relax after not being able to relax since midnight, but i am proud of myself that i labored so long naturally. so, i sorta got both of the things i was wanting (to experience labor but to also be able to enjoy it and relax). the doctor broke my water at about 7:25 and i began pushing around 7:45. i am grateful i only had to push for about 30 minutes because it was so much harder than i thought it would be! it didn't hurt a single bit (thank you epidural!) but i just had the hardest time finding enough breath to push for 10 seconds, 3 times in a row. it was a lot of work. it was pretty funny because the doctor guessed that max would weigh about 7 1/2 pounds and he also said he was definitely face down (in the right position). well, we sure fooled him! max was a lot bigger than that and he was also face up! that's right everyone...i quickly and successfully delivered a large, posterior baby! everyone was really surprised.

I would have definitely labored in different positions rather than just on my back in the hospital bed. I really think that if I would have had more support (a doula) I would have been able to birth naturally. I got scared when I got to the hospital and had the thoughts "how much longer will this last?" Now that I think of it, I was probably in transition when I was asking myself that. I would have requested no IV, or just a hep lock, and I would have made myself more comfortable. I did not realize that I had choices...I just did as I was told. If I could re-do it, I would be the one in charge, and I would do anything I needed to relieve the pain (showering, birth ball, walking, hands and knees, etc). I also hated the controlled pushing and if I could have changed that and pushed as I needed to, I definitely would have.

i am so happy that everything went well. i didn't end up needing an episiotomy, which i really didn't want to get in the first place. i also had a very quick labor. it was only 4 hours from the time we got to the hospital to the time i delivered! it was such a surreal experience and really, it was marvelous. it couldn't have gone better and that makes me so happy.

Right when Max was born, he was taken to the side and given oxygen because he didn't pink up immediately. I had asked to have him placed on my belly immediately if nothing was wrong with him. Looking back, nothing was wrong with him, he was just slow to start breathing. Many hospitals and most midwives still put the baby with the mother during this time, as the evidence shows this to be beneficial. It was about 15 minutes before I even got to hold him and when they finally gave him to me, he was all wrapped up in a blanket, with a hat on. I could hardly see him. Looking back, I would have unwrapped him and done skin-to-skin time with him. I did try to breastfeed him at that time but he was not interested. No wonder! He was all wrapped up, super comfortable, and sleepy! After that, they took him and my husband down to the nursery to do whatever they do in the nursery, while I was taken to my postpartum room. I waited in my room for two hours before he was brought back to me. I asked the nurse two different times where my baby was and if he was okay. I was worried sick! If I could re-do it, I would demand to go to the nursery and see him, or to go with him to the nursery in the first place. I hated that separation, it was almost barbaric. He had been with me constantly for nine months, and then to be away from him all of the sudden was really hard for me. I can imagine that it was probably really hard for him too. I am grateful that he breastfed really well from the beginning despite the separation that happened between us at birth. And, I am grateful that our bond was so strong.

we love this baby so much. he is so perfect. he was awesome last night. i didn't sleep a wink because i was pretty uncomfortable after the epidural for reasons i won't explain and then max woke up at 4:30 to eat and then was wide awake. but, seriously, he doesn't cry! he is such a wonderful baby...let's hope he keeps this calm personality up!

The complication I had from the epidural was this: Afterwards, I could not urinate. It was so hard and I tried and tried, and just couldn't. Finally, at 3 am, the nurse said she would put a catheter in so I could  have some relief. Usually about 200 cc of urine is held in the bladder, but the nurse got 1500 cc out of me. I was pretty darn uncomfortable to say the least! I was so happy to have that catheter to have the relief, but they left it in the entire two days I was in the hospital. That made it so I couldn't get up and walk around without being scared I'd rip it out. It made it really uncomfortable. I was sore where the catheter was inserted for about four months afterwards.

All in all, my son's birth was a beautiful experience. He made me a mother, and that was marvelous. But sometimes, I can't help but feel sad when I look back on the experience. I wish that things would have been different. But I am working on realizing that the past cannot be changed and all that can be changed is the future. His birth is what drove me to have the type of birth I had with my second baby. There were so many things about his birth I would have changed, and I am proud of myself to say that through my hard work studying and researching and learning and praying, I was able to have the type of birth I so desired. 

Stay tuned for my second birth!