2.19.2014

Our Birth Story

To say Jack's early arrival was a surprise is an understatement. Everyone was telling me Jack would be late. I had mentally prepared myself to have a March baby, not one 2 weeks early! But God's timing is perfect and he knew Jack's birthday well in advance and helped me and Steven prepare for an early arrival unknowingly. 

The Saturday before Jack came, Steven and I spent the day preparing --making freezer meals, installing his carseat, washing all his clothes, deep cleaning, etc.--  and then I started my work week out like any other. After work on Tuesday I went to my 38 week midwife appointment and told them I thought Jack was quite comfy in there and wouldn't come for quite some time... Little did I know I'd be back there holding my sweet babe in my arms less than 24 hours later.

(FYI, I'm writing down all the details more for my sake than anyone else's. Meaning, if birth and all the goo that comes with it grosses you out, I'd quite reading now. K?)
I woke up at 1:30am to my very first contraction. I honestly didn't think much of it and went back to bed. I woke up again at 3:30 to use the restroom. While climbing out of bed I heard a slight pop and felt a small gush of fluid run down my leg. I thought, "either my water just broke or I peed on the carpet." The second option seemed more likely to be the case since I thought there was no way Jack was coming anytime soon, but almost immediately my contractions started getting more intense. I thought it best to let Steven continue to sleep, thinking my labor would be at least 30+ hours. However, from that point on, I got no sleep. I couldn't lay down because the contractions were so terrible. I thought the best thing to do was stay busy and try to ignore them until Steven's alarm went off. So I got up and decided to do a load of laundry and pluck my eyebrows. Yep, I plucked my eyebrows.

Before Steven's alarm went off at 5:30 I found myself struggling to stay relaxed with each contraction. The pain was so bad I kept thinking that if this is early stage labor there is no way I'm getting the unmedicated birth I'd practiced and planned for. When Steven woke up I told him I was in hard labor. Like the good husband he is, he didn't believe me ;). After all, it had only been 4 hours since my very first contraction. We scrambled around for about an hour or so throwing things into our hospital bag and shooting off emails to work, but every time a contraction hit I was doubled over in pain. I couldn't keep moving through them. I had to either hold on to Steven, resting all my weight on him and allowing my body to go limp, or I would squat down and rest my arms and forehead on my bed. With every contraction I keep thinking this can't be early labor, this can't be early labor.

Shortly thereafter, my contractions starting coming one right after the other. I was getting no break in between and it took every fiber within my being to stay relaxed each time a wave hit. Steven timed my contractions and we discovered they were less than a minute apart and lasting about  90 seconds. I think at this point he still thought there was no way I was this progressed in labor, and I too was skeptical and afraid to leave for the birth center too early. But in the end I know my body. My baby was coming and he was coming soon.

At 9:30 we made our way to the birth center in Bellevue. I listened to a relaxation CD given to me by my Bradley instructor over and over again. It helped me stay relaxed and in tune with my body. Each time a contraction hit, I just prayed to God that he would help me get through just this one! He answered and at about 10:15 we pulled up to the birth center.

They quickly checked my progress and told me I was 6-7 cm dilated and fully effaced. I couldn't believe it. My baby was coming! My baby was coming today! I continued to labor with Steven holding me up and supporting my weight or by squatting down knee to knee and forehead to forehead with him. He was so amazing! It brings tears to my eyes just thinking about it. I couldn't have done this without him.
The midwives started preparing a bath for me. It felt so great to get into the water! A warm bath really is nature's epidural! The only position that felt good to me while in there though was squatting and leaning over the tub with my arms on the ledge. After about an hour of working through my contractions in there my feet were turning blue and I needed a change. I decided to step out of the tub and go into the bathroom. I sat on the toilet there for a couple minutes and then it hit me --I needed to push. I decided I didn't want Jack to be birthed on the toilet. I asked the midwives to warm up the tub again and made my way back into the water.

Pushing was, as one would expect, hard. The midwife kept reminding me to work with my contractions. If I felt like I needed to push --PUSH! Some women describe the pushing stage as feeling good. It didn't feel good at all, but it did feel necessary, unavoidable, primal --and so I pushed. I pushed for about an hour until one of the midwives announced that she could feel his head. I reached down and felt Jack's perfect, hair-filled head. It was the most amazing moment of my life. These 9 months, the classes, the research, the eating healthy, the singing, talking, and praying for my little man all came to a head. He was almost here and my heart was bursting....but my contractions stopped.

I kept hearing that I needed to work with my contractions, but I wasn't having them anymore. His head was almost halfway out and I no longer had the strength or the contractions I needed to finish the job. I felt immense panic and for the first time started to cry. Steven and my amazing midwife kept encouraging me, contractions or not, to push my little man out. I prayed, pushed, and made noises I never knew I was capable of. Then I reached down and caught my son in my arms.

At 12:51 Jack was born. Less than 3 hours after arriving to the birth center.
I couldn't believe it. Jack was here! I was so consumed in looking at my perfect boy, kissing his sweet lips, counting his tiny finger and toes, and smelling his sweet skin that I was oblivious to what was actually happening to me. Steven and the midwives helped me stand up with Jack still in my arms to make my way back to the bed. I was hemorrhaging and they needed to get me to lay down. Steven said that when I stood up the amount of blood he saw literally gushing from my body was terrifying. I had no idea as I held my little boy and laid on the bed like the midwives instructed. I felt the prick in my leg as they shot the pitocin in me, I noticed the sting on my arm as the hooked up the pitocin IV drip, and I felt and pressure of them pushing on my stomach, but I didn't know how bad it was until I looked up smiling to tell Steven how perfect Jack was, expecting to see him smiling down at our little boy, but I noticed he wasn't looking at me or Jack. Steven had his eyes closed and was praying for me.

I don't want to go into much detail of my postpartum. It was pretty bad, but the beauty of my birth experience overrides it. All I know is I was severely hemorrhaging. They had to reach up and remove a few blood clots (which was more painful then any part of the birth itself), manually try to clamp down my uterus, and insert a catheter to see if a full bladder was the issue. I was oblivious to the severity of my situation though and simply kept staring at my beautiful baby boy.

Finally, my bleeding did subside. They made me a protein shake and told me I needed to keep eating. I was severely dehydrated and had low blood sugar, I was shaking from head to toe, and for the first time I looked around me and noticed the blood covering my legs, feet, abdomen. I held my baby and cried thinking how blessed I was and how perfect he is. Then I asked Steven if I could have a turkey sub.   :)
The midwives kept me at the birth center for about 5 hours for monitoring. My bleeding continued to subside and my color and energy started to return. At 5pm they said we could go home. We packed up and heading out with our little guy knowing our lives would never be the same. On the car ride home I stared at Jack, marveling over his blonde hair just like his daddy's and his cute button nose. I couldn't believe they were letting this perfect little being come home with us! 
Today Jack is one week old. Time is flying and, I must admit, I hate that! I already am in tears over the fact that I can do nothing to stop him from growing up. Every time I hold him in his arms and feel him snuggle in tightly against my chest, I can't help but pray and thank God for our little miracle. Thank God for the honor He's bestowed on me to raise him. Thank God for my life, for my husband, for my health, for my son.

25 comments:

Libby Boyes said...

Danielle he is absolutely beautiful! I'm so happy for all of you for your new perfect little family and I am so glad everything went okay!! Congratulations Momma!!

Sarah said...

So glad everything ended up going well. Sounds like you had a great time by your side. He is so precious!

Eloquent Obi said...

oh my beautiful story and son! Thank you for sharing and continued blessings! hope you ate!

Callie Nicole said...

What a beautiful story - and Jack is just adorable! So scary about the hemorrhaging though - I hemorrhaged too with my first, and I don't remember much except hearing blood splashing out of me and then eventually almost passing out - it's just hard to focus on much else when you've got a brand new baby to marvel at! It's a good thing to have caregivers there at times like that to make sure mom is okay. So glad you and baby are doing well!

Calcy said...

So sweet! Glad to hear that all is well!

Pamela said...

Awww he is precious!! Congrats!! :)

Cara said...

Beautiful. I'm so happy for you guys. He is such a sweet baby! I can't wait to see more pictures and I'm so glad that you all are doing great. Congrats!

From Foothills to Fog said...

This had me in tears! What a beautiful birth story. I'm so glad that you are both safe and home, enjoying this first week bonding! Isn't it amazing how meeting your little one completely overrides all the pain and work that comes with labor? Truly amazing. Also, my friend that had the same due date as you, had her son on Monday! Both your boys wanted to come early! xo

Mrs. V said...

Tears!!! Such a sweet story! Love how Steven was there with you and caring for you the whole time! So sweet!!
Jack is just adorable! Glad he came early for you!! I could just snuggle him up! :)

bashashhazbaz said...

wow! congrats to you guys! he is so adorable!

Kaity said...

That's remarkable how quickly it all happened! So glad you and Jack are happy and healthy :)

..:danielle:.. said...

what a beautiful story... im crying reading it! and seriously... dont blink. mine turns 9 months tomorrow, i still cant believe it.

Delia Barnas said...

Wow, this was an amazing and beautiful read, it had me in tears! Such a real look into a crazy whirlwind of an event that you'll be so glad you wrote about down the road.

coreymarie said...

This is beautiful, you are beautiful, he is beautiful. I love it all. Congratulations! I am beyond happy for you!

Jennie said...

He is perfect. I am so very happy for the both of you and glad that everything turned out okay and that you and baby are safe! God is so good! Enjoy every little minute they truly grow to fast!

Sarah Alway said...

Oh my goodness I LOVE this, thank you so much for sharing! You have so much willpower, I think I would have to wake my husband up at the very first sign of contractions! Congratulations on the birth of your beautiful baby boy!!!

-Heather- said...

What a beautiful story!! I bet asking for that turkey sub gave your husband a sign of normalcy! Jack is adorable.

Jeff Krauss said...

Oh Danielle, how happy we are for you guys. Thank you for so openly sharing the story of the expansion of your family.
I love hearing the parts about Steven's support for you. He is such a good man and such a good husband. He will be a wonderful father.
Oh, so happy for your joy and for all the blessings that will come through the joys and struggles you will have as your family grows.

Tiff said...

What an amazing birth story! I was reading it this morning around 3 am while my little one was rolling around kicking her feet into my ribs,so that combined with your story definitely has me looking forward to the labor and birth process. It was awesome to read about a natural birth at a birthing center since that is my plan too! I'm glad you are both doing well and enjoying your time together at home!

Laura-Hyde said...

Congratulations! What a beautiful birth story and a beauty baby boy :) x

Maggie said...

I had tears in my eyes by the time I finished this! What a miracle and blessing God gave us to produce life.

Praise Him for keeping you and sweet Jack safe during this! Thank you for sharing your story!

Kate said...

So sweet!! Glad you are doing well! Jack is adorable!! xo

Vicki said...

CONGRATULATIONS!! I absolutely love all birth stories. They just make my heart so happy. I'm glad everything turned out great in the end. :) He's absolutely beautiful!

Sarah @ The Not Quite Military Wife said...

What a beautiful story!!!

Beth W said...

I'm so glad you're both OK, and how wonderful to have pure love, instead of fear, to focus on in those moments. Jack is gorgeous, and I'm sure every moment of his growing up is going to be exciting. :)