Just like my pregnancy with Cole, this one with Micah was smooth sailing. I was hardly sick, and was able to keep up with teaching dance and chasing a busy little boy throughout those short 9 months. I felt incredibly blessed, and as I neared the end of my pregnancy, I almost wished that it wouldn't end!
|19 weeks, 20 weeks, 23 weeks, 27 weeks, 29 weeks, 34 weeks|
Shane and I had discussed the idea of me birthing Micah naturally, since my labor and delivery with Cole was so easy. This is coming from two people who NEVER thought of delivering naturally, and who even (sadly to say) had thought of women who did so as being selfish and in need of attention for doing something so "courageous". My mind began to be open to the thought of going natural after a close friend had decided to do so with her second child. After talking with her and studying on my own, I realized how wrong I had been about my views of childbirth. God made our bodies and unborn babies to work in harmony with each other, and I wanted to feel like I wasn't putting a wrench in that. Shane and I agreed (just as we had with Cole) that we wanted our baby to direct how and when he was going to arrive - this was HIS show, not ours.
The one idea I didn't adopt was that I needed to be committed to my decision of a natural childbirth before labor began. I never felt comfortable with this, because I knew better than to think that my labor would be as smooth and painless as it was with Cole. If I couldn't handle the pain as well as I'd hoped, I knew my anxiety level would be much too high, and I didn't want the baby to feel that from me. We decided to see how my body was handling labor and then I would make my choice.
The morning of February 20 rolled around and Shane and I headed to my OB appointment in the morning. I wanted him to do an internal check, but because my doctor knew that I wanted the baby to stay in as long as possible, he was very gentle with the exam. He didn't want to "rock the boat"! Shane and I were shocked to hear that I was already dilated to a 4+ and 90% effaced, with the baby in position for delivery. The doctor looked at us - surprised that we STILL hadn't gone into active labor - and said that he'd be surprised if he didn't see us later on that night in labor and delivery. As we left, I didn't have any feeling or notion that the baby would be coming soon. I felt so good, and I was willing this little baby boy to stay cozy until March rolled around.
That afternoon, Brooke and Mom had set up a little date for us to go out to lunch and get pedicures (the ONE thing I wanted to do before going into labor). We went to Zupas at 12:00, and got our pedicures at 1:00 where I chose BLUE as my polish - for baby boy of course! We got back to mom's around 2:15 and were chatting for a bit. I had been feeling contractions for a little while, but nothing more than normal. By 2:45, I wondered if I had been experiencing consistent contractions and not realizing it. I told mom that I thought I would head home and get things ready, just in case I actually did go into labor. She started tearing up because she was so excited! I laughed and told her to not get too worked up - I didn't think that there was any way the baby was coming today.
I got home and casually started doing laundry, putting the clean sheets on ours and Cole's beds, checking my hospital bag, and vacuuming. Soon my contractions (which I hadn't timed) began to feel more painful - mostly located in my back and groin. I figured that I should start packing Cole's things to stay with Grandparents. In the middle of packing, I started to really feel things moving along. Around 3:30 I opened Cole's bedroom window and hollered out to Shane (who was playing with Cole and Dundee), and asked if he could come in to help me. I think it surprised him, because we weren't expecting labor to be here already! We were trying to pack Cole's things when I realized that we also needed to get Dundee's belongings and plan for Duke. Shane strapped our messy little Cole into his high chair and turned on The Lorax (his favorite movie) to keep him entertained while we rushed around - he preparing the animals, and me preparing for Cole. Mom called and was informed by Shane that we MIGHT be in labor. Soon after that, I was trying to get dressed into my hospital outfit and Shane found me pausing every couple seconds to breathe. I was REALLY struggling to get dressed! He said "um…I think we need to hurry" and called mom back. She rushed down and told us not to worry about Cole and the animals - that she would take care of where they needed to go. At first I thought that was silly - we had PLENTY of time to take them to where they were going! But as we hopped into the car, I realized that I may have been wrong.
I had to keep my eyes closed during the drive, as to stay focused on my breathing and relaxation. Shane asked what music I wanted on the radio, and all I could muster out was "whatever is fine". About halfway there, I admitted to Shane that I was having a lot of pressure, the kind where you feel like you need to push. I wanted to panic, but didn't let it happen. I also wouldn't let Shane drop me off at emergency to go up in a wheelchair…I thought that sounded completely ridiculous! He found the closest parking spot available, where I basically jumped out and began speed walking to the front doors. Shane was trying to get me to walk slower, but I told him that it was now or never - I didn't want to have to stop and breathe during another wave of contractions in the middle of the parking lot! It was 4:30 pm.
We waited for the elevator. Got on. Breathe. Focus. Floor 4. Shane didn't know where to go. I did. I was feeling pretty good. We laughed that this was happening. What was I dilated to? Pushed the button. "My wife is in labor, and we'd LOVE to come in." Walked to reception. Waited. Keep your cool, Kenz. Waited. Don't show them that you're really feeling it. Shane muttering, "let's hurry this along!". Watched 3 women chatting. Waited some more. FINALLY, "what's your name, dear?"
The nurse slowly walked us back to triage and asked the small blonde nurse if she had any beds ready. She sweetly responded that she didn't, but that she could get one ready in a minute. In a minute?! How about like, right now?! Shane came with me into the bathroom and helped me change. He also added - "We made it this far, don't you dare birth that baby in the toilet." It made me laugh - but only for a second because laughing put too much pressure down there! We walked out and saw that a bed was about halfway ready for me. I walked over right as she pulled the first sheet on, put both my hands on the side of the bed, dropped my head and geared up for the contraction that was coming. The nurse said "you're in some pain, aren't you!" I didn't really respond, but then asked Shane to hurry and take a picture of me before we forgot, or ran out of time.
Then back to standing at the bedside. The nurse was prepping the bed and monitors when she paused and said, "Uh, I think I'm going to check you first". I reluctantly laid down (ouch). 7+, 100%, membranes were bulging. She looked right at me and said that they needed to call for the epidural NOW if I wanted it. I hesitated…I knew I wanted to do this naturally, but I was in much more pain than I had expected to be in. The nurse obviously felt my hesitation, looked at me straight in the eyes and said "Let's do this. YOU can do this. If you've come this far, you can definitely handle the rest."
Done. Decision made! She briskly walked me directly across the hall to delivery room #4 which is reserved for women wishing to birth naturally. The reception nurses who so graciously took their time checking us in were shocked that I was as far along as I was and felt badly that they hadn't rushed more.
I hardly remember getting there and onto the bed…nurses and techs were piling in like ants discovering chips at a picnic.
I had begun to shake almost uncontrollably, so I knew that I was getting close. Painful contractions were settling one on top of the other, leaving a few seconds in-between for any communication that I needed to get across to Shane.
Mom and Brooke arrived, and Mom walked right over to my left side, wrapped her arms around me the best she could and I literally buried my face into her. Nothing had ever felt so good to me - to have the comfort and confidence of my mom. As she let go, Shane took over at full speed. I was doing my very best to practice breathing and relaxation techniques during the contractions, as to help my body work in harmony with the baby. I knew that if I was too tense or fearful, the pain would only worsen. Shane rubbed my lower back and whispered calmly in my ear to breath, relax, focus. I ended up lying either on my back or side while enduring contractions, but all I could think of was how much I wanted to flip over onto my hands and knees.
My back carried most of the pain, but the worst part about my entire labor and delivery was the unbearable amount of acid reflux that wouldn't go away! I asked the nurses for anything to help with it, but she noted that by the time she sent the order in, the baby would already be here. She was right - I was incredibly close.
My Dad (who had JUST gotten off work at the surgical center…I am lucky that he made it) and Shane's parents then came into the room. I was so grateful to see everybody and have them be a part of this experience for my baby. Soon I notified the nurse that I was feeling the urge to push. Wow - what a rush! My awesome doctor quickly came into the room and it felt like time moved in slow motion as I watched him get gowned and gloved in preparation for the delivery. The bottom half of the bed was dropped, and instead of stirrups, foot rests were brought out. It was a huge feat to move my body down to the edge of the table, but I did it. Doctor Seale mentioned how cute it was that my toenails matched my hospital gown, to which I responded that I chose blue nail polish not to match, but to honor my little boys!
Nursery was called, and soon, their nurses began to enter the room as well. I honestly couldn't believe that this was happening…I was about to birth my baby and feel the WHOLE THING. I wasn't scared, I was excited.
My doctor broke my water, and it felt like the biggest relief. I began to push, and everything was so quiet. I was surprised to find that "pushing" really wasn't painful at all. Making it through the contractions was much more difficult and painful! My reaction to the pain of contractions and pressure of birthing was to zone in, focus, and silently stay calm…I didn't make any noise whatsoever unless it was to communicate what my body was doing. As my doctor stated, I was a champion at finding my "Zen" (he may have felt that way… ;) ).
Because of the debilitating acid reflux, I couldn't get a big enough breath to push very hard. It made me feel like my esophagus would burst open and I continually felt as though I would pass out. Because of this, it took me quite awhile to get the baby to the point of crowning - it felt like I couldn't find my groove. Pretty soon, I saw my doctor getting more excited and he and the nurses excitedly told me that "he was coming!! You can do this, push!" It was just what I needed to find the strength to keep going.
|My labor & delivery nurse is on the left, the triage nurse (who I described earlier as the "cute blonde" who had to get a bed made and helped me decide to birth naturally) is on the right.|
Shane and the nurse were holding my legs and feet, helping me to push. The nurse said, "you will begin to feel what we like to call, 'the ring of fire', but don't be afraid, it just means that you're almost there!" I had heard of this term, but you can't ever explain the feeling until you experience it yourself. My doctor asked for lidocane and I knew that meant he needed to do an episiotomy. The nurses didn't have any lidocane prepared, but it didn't really matter because right after that, I felt the baby emerging and told him that I needed to push him out -I needed to get him out! (Okay, it was a bit of panic moment…the 'ring of fire' is most definitely a REAL thing) I pushed as hard as I could and that cute little babe came out at 5:58 pm all in one piece - head, shoulders and all! Oh what an amazing, beautiful feeling - the joy, the relief of pain, the pride in my body - it was all so wonderful. They set that warm little boy on my body and I felt so much love. I was able to really take it all in - a few more contractions and the pain was gone.
Shane cut the cord and carried our cute, brand new baby over to be cleaned and weighed.
During this time, The doctor informed me that I had a second degree tear, right over my scar tissue from birthing Cole, and the granulation tissue repair I had to have done a few months later. I hadn't even felt the tear happen, but because the lidocane shot didn't work past the first couple stitches, I could feel most of the repair being completed. My doctor was so sweet and gentle, but it was difficult for me to feel the sensation of being sewn back together. Brooke came over and held my hand through it all so Shane could be with the baby. Her presence helped calm my nerves immensely. The repair felt like it took forever, but once it was complete, I was relieved. Dr. Seale then had to basically run a few rooms down where another woman was giving birth. I was SO grateful that I was able to have the baby quickly enough for our doctor to not miss out on another patient's delivery! I would have felt so awful if that woman had ended up with an on call physician, simply because my delivery took longer than expected.
|Although this picture is blurry, I love every part of it. I have such a loving, supportive family!|
We all enjoyed the first moments of having this brand new, un-named, sweet baby to behold (actually, while the baby was being weighed etc, Shane whispered in my ear, asking if he could announce that the baby's name was Micah. I said, "No! I haven't even really seen him yet!" So…because of me, poor Shane had to wait to announce his name).
After a successful feeding, we were transferred to our recovery room where little Micah was bathed and held again by each loving family member who had witnessed his amazing, un-medicated birth. It was then that we announced that his name was Micah Shane, to which everyone was very thrilled.
Once family left, Shane, Micah, and I took a nice walk around the hospital. I can't explain how good it felt to be free of any numbness, tingling, or pain. Seeing Micah comfortably asleep made me happy that he was able to arrive with his own timing, and in a way that I felt content with. He nursed well, slept well, and loved to be held skin to skin - all things that we weren't able to experience with our little Cole.
Since my experience with birthing naturally, Mom has asked if I would recommend it to anyone else. To this question, I say YES! If your mind is in the right place and you are doing it for the right reasons (the right reason being that it can be beneficial to the baby, not because you want to be labeled as "courageous"), then birthing naturally is incredible. No, it wasn't easy, but I wouldn't ever take back the experience I had doing it. That being said, being able to give birth to these sweet babies straight from Heaven is such a privilege and an honor, epidural or not. Everyone does things the way that works best for them! I would say, trust your instincts, and don't let the ideas of anyone else cloud what you desire for your experience. No matter what, it will ALWAYS be amazing.
February 20, 2014
6 pounds 9 ounces
20 inches long
...and filled with every ounce of love imaginable.