Sunday, January 31, 2016

William's Birth

William Clark Johns
7 lbs 10 oz 20 inches
On Thursday night (January 21) I got home from a church activity feeling pretty tired. Ty and I went to bed at about 10:30, and at 11:45 I woke up thinking I probably needed to pee. It only took me a few seconds to realize that I actually was having my first “real” contraction. (I'd had Braxton Hicks, but nothing very significant or intense).

Anyway, I went back to sleep because I didn't want to pay attention too soon or get myself excited if I was going to be in labor for a long time. Then I woke up again 10 minutes later. This went on for about an hour. At that point I woke up thinking I had peed a little. (Unfortunately that was a serious possibility. I had been losing bladder control little by little a day at a time). I got to the bathroom though and experienced a gush of fluid that I knew was amniotic fluid. I decided to shower and go back to sleep since it was 1 am and our strategy was to ignore labor as long as we could.

I decided not to wake Ty up since I wanted us both to be well rested for what was ahead, but when I got out of the shower, he was awake. He tried to go back to sleep but ended up rubbing my back and supporting me through the contractions which were about 6 minutes apart. I did text my midwife just to check in, and I texted my mom since she was going to attend the birth as well. Ty and I stayed in bed as long as we could, but by 6:30 I was feeling a little restless. We moved into the living room, and I kept laboring.

My mom got to our apartment at 7:30, and her presence was greatly appreciated. Ty was able to sleep for a few hours while my mom and I went on a walk and she helped me relax and breathe through contractions. Things seemed to be picking up, and I talked to my midwife. She recommended that I labor at home as long as possible which was our plan anyway, but since my water had broken, she decided that we needed to check in at The Birth Center at 1pm, 12 hours after my water broke.

When we got to The Birth Center, I was dilated to a 3. Katelin, the attending midwife, swept my membranes (some of them were still intact), and I was then at a 4. Because of the risk of infection when water has broken, we needed to get labor moving a little more. While Katelin was getting some herbs and homeopathics ready for that, I threw up my lunch. I was frustrated because I knew I needed the energy from the food to sustain me through labor. Also, I was shaking like crazy because of the hormones, and that was frustrating to me as well.

Anyway, Katelin brought me some castor oil in a smoothie which I drank and then threw up a few minutes later. Luckily I didn't throw up the homeopathics, and I kept laboring. I spent a little while in the shower, letting the water pound on my back which brought some relief, but I could feel myself fading a little bit at a time. It was around 3:30, and I was exhausted. This was a hard time for me. I had tried so hard to be prepared for the rigors of labor, and I had to face the fact that I was not really prepared. Even with the healthy perspective I had tried to maintain, I was wholly unprepared. At this point, I knew I had to surrender to the process. My prayers shifted as I asked God to guide my body and keep the baby healthy and safe.

After the stress in the shower, I tried to rest in the bed, and I got a little cat nap, but lying down was so uncomfortable that I felt like I had to get up. I ended up sitting backwards on the toilet for a while with my mom behind me rubbing my back and shoulders and Ty next to me holding my hand and talking me through the contractions. After a little while, I had lines on my legs from sitting on the toilet, and I felt really strongly that I wanted to be in the tub. I got into the tub just before 5, and the relief was amazing. The contractions were getting more intense, but the water made me feel lighter and rejuvenated.

Ty put his swimsuit on and sat on the edge of the tub behind me supporting my back and shoulders while my mom knelt outside of the tub and provided counter pressure on my knees. It worked for a little while, but when I started to feel the urge to push, I knew I needed to shift. I ended up on my knees with Ty holding my hands and talking me through everything while my mom, Katlin, and the birth assistant, Adrianna, were more at my hips and side. I pushed for a while, and even though everyone was offering encouragement and support, I hardly heard it. I was locked into my body, and aside from that I was really only aware of Ty as he held onto me and talked to me softly.

At one point, Katelin asked me if I wanted to feel the baby's head. Reaching down and feeling his wet, fuzzy head was miraculous. I felt emotional and relieved that I was making progress. After that, I focused in even more, knowing my baby was almost ready to come out and meet Ty and me. I pushed somewhere between 30 and 40 minutes. I kept trying to picture our baby boy. As he was being born, Ty mentioned that he might move, so he could see the baby better when he was born, but I clung to him and asked him to stay right with me. I'm so glad he did. There is no way I could have given birth without him.

We had arranged beforehand for my mom to catch the baby, so she was waiting, and because of my positioning, the first thing she saw was his little face. When she saw him, she said, “He looks just like Ty!” I took a deep breath and he was all the way born a few moments later.

As he was placed on my chest, I couldn't help crying tears of joy and amazement and relief and every other emotion that comes with the miracle of a baby's birth. Will was so quiet. He was breathing just fine, but he didn't cry. He whimpered a little and opened his eyes right away. He was so alert and everyone commented on his amazing coloring. I was just overwhelmed and overjoyed. Ty and I just kept admiring him. I was so wrapped up in William that I didn't realize I had hemorrhaged about 1100 cubic centimeters. We moved from the tub to the bed to wait for the placenta.
The bed in the birth suite was nice and big, so Ty was able to be next to me in bed the 
whole time the birth staff was managing my hemorrhage and the placenta was being born. I was so happy to keep my baby with me instead if having him be whisked away from me. I got an IV to replenish my fluids, and Ty and I enjoyed little William (whose name was not yet decided).

We ate a snack and talked about names for a little while. I had been given some drugs for the hemorrhage, and my body did not love them. I threw up again, but luckily I was able to eat right after that. My mom was able to get us some dinner at a Mediterranean restaurant, and that settled my stomach a lot. Meanwhile, we decided that our baby would be named William Clark after Ty's Grandpa Bill, my Grandad (George William), and my dad, Clark. We think his name fits him perfectly. We had a hard time nursing at first, but we're figuring it out day by day, and he's a champ now! He only lost 3% of his body weight in two days and is gaining well now.

Even though I had lost a lot of blood, I felt really good. I was confident walking by myself and even showered without assistance. We got home around 12:30 and tried to catch up on some of the missed sleep from the long day of laboring. Giving birth is one of the most powerful and empowering experiences I've ever had. After giving birth, I know I can do anything. I'm still in awe of this tiny human in my arms. He's so beautiful and perfect, and we can't wait to keep discovering his personality  Ty and I feel so blessed and grateful that things went so well and that our eternal family is expanding.

Our birth team (minus my mom)

Taking William home

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