Saturday, July 3, 2010
It finally happened! I'm sure that those of you who read this already knew that Sylvia was born a week ago. It's been an amazing week getting used to having a baby, and I thought it was about time to write a little bit about it.
So here's how it happened. This is going to be a long one, sorry.
After my doctor's appointment on the 22nd, I had figured I would have a while to wait before we met our baby. It turns out it wasn't all that long. Last Friday night Blake and I went to his softball game as usual. Afterward we went to Bushwood and had pizza with some of the guys from the team. We got home around 11:00. Blake thought it would be funny to send a text to his friend Russ saying, "Katie's water broke. PSYCH!" It was funny, for about 10 minutes. I was laying on the bed, and I felt something weird. I got up and it felt like I was peeing my pants, but I couldn't do anything about it. After I told Blake what I thought might have happened, he ran around like crazy getting things together while I assured him it wasn't what I thought it might be. When I called the birthing center, they told me I better come in and they would check to see what was going on.
Well, there's really no suspense about what happened at this point, so we'll just say we ended up not coming home like I thought we would. On the way to the hospital, I wasn't feeling any contractions. I started thinking I was feeling some while we were waiting to find out if my water had really broke. They continued when we were moved to our room. One of my nurses checked to see how dilated I was, about 1.5 centimeters. They suggested I walk the halls a little bit to get things going. I let Blake sleep, there wasn't a whole lot he could do at the time, and I knew I would need him later on.
At about 5:00 they checked my cervix again. No change. I was disappointed because they told me we were going to start pitocin. I wanted to go natural, and I new that pitocin would make it more intense. They started my IV at 5:30. I woke Blake up around 6:30. Time just seemed to go so fast. It didn't feel like we had been in the hospital that long.
Contractions got more and more intense as the morning went on, and they got closer and closer together. I tried to remember that the more intense they were and the closer together they were, the closer we were to meeting our baby. Breathing was huge for me. Well, I realize it's huge for everyone; you kind of need to do it to live... but long slow breaths were what got me through just about all of the contractions.
I'm happy to say that I made it through without any pain meds. They waited three hours after the pitocin was started to check my cervix again. I was worried that nothing had changed. If it hadn't, I was worried I wouldn't be strong enough to make it on my own. Luckily, when they checked me, I was dilated to a 6. That made me feel really good, I had just about made it to what they told me was the worst of the contractions, and I knew I could handle more as long as things were progressing that way.
I labored the majority of the time standing, swaying helped me a lot with the pain. When they started to get intense enough that I wasn't sure I could stand through the peak of the contraction, I used the birthing ball. It was pretty awesome. I would definitely suggest it to anyone that can move around during labor.
Once I started feeling pressure, the nurses had me get on the table to check my progress. Dealing with contractions while I was flat on my back was not fun. The nurses told me I was at an 8 and if I thought I could handle it, turning onto my side for two or three contractions would probably get me the rest of the way there, and I could start pushing. At this point I was really feeling the urge to push, but I had to wait. That was pretty awful. Blake and the nurses were awesome, they kept me breathing through the contractions and helped me to not push.
I got through three (I think) contractions on my side and after checking me one more time, the nurse said I was ready to start pushing. For me, pushing was really scary. I never wished I had drugs at this point, but I was scared of how much the actual delivery was going to hurt. I pushed for half an hour. It was painful and scary, but I knew that the end result would be worth it. When the nurse told me I was doing so well and that she could already see a nickel sized area of the head, I said, "That's good?" and the nurses and Blake laughed at me. I thought if it already hurts this much and only a tiny bit of the head is showing, how badly is it going to hurt when the head actually comes out?! Turns out quite a bit but not as bad as my fear had made me expect.
The doctor came in just a few minutes before Sylvia was born. They put my feet in stir-ups but still pulled my legs back during contractions when I was pushing. I say this not to gross you out or give you nightmares, but to explain that Blake, who was not planning on watching the birth, really had no choice. I asked him later, and he said that he was actually kind of glad that he did see it. They asked me if I wanted a mirror... ummm, nope. I had no desire to watch, and I don't feel any different about it now. If how much it hurt was any indication of how gross it was, I'm thankful I didn't say yes.
Anywho, I was so happy when they told me if I pushed really hard on the next contraction, I would have that baby. That's definitely good motivation. I gave it all I had on the next contraction, which was a lot more than I would have thought given that I hadn't had a wink of sleep. I felt her head come out and the nurses told me my job was done. I didn't feel like it was. I knew there was more in there. Apparently you're not supposed to push after the head is out, though. The doctor maneuvered her shoulders out, that didn't hurt like I had expected, and the relief was awesome. It felt even better once the afterbirth was out.
We did skin to skin contact pretty much right after she was born. They wiped her off a little, which was nice. She was so pretty and her eyes were open. She had a good strong cry right away, and that was relieving.
I guess that's pretty much the birth story. Believe it or not, this is probably the short version of the story. It was so great to get to see Blake hold her. I'd had her for nine months, and it was nice to get to see Blake finally get to meet her. Here's a picture of the first time he held her. If you're wondering, his shirt says Proud To Be Awesome.