Wednesday, September 29, 2010

1 week/Birth Story

It's been one week since Ezra was born. A whole week. It flew by and I'm not sure that I'm liking that.

Ezra Vincent Blaustein officially made his grand entrance at 12:30am on September 22, 2010. Born at home, as planned, and perfect as can be. The following will contain details that most people have no interest in reading or just generally knowing about. You've been warned. If you don't want the details, just scroll down to the photos and pretend that it's just jibberish.

Here's how it all went down...

As evidenced by my previous post(s) I woke up with contractions that were forcing me out of bed around 3:30/3:45am on 9/21. I'd have to roll out of bed quickly and bend over the bed because the cramping was pretty intense. Pretty intense, meaning, I could tell these were much different than the kind I'd been having for weeks. I had also started losing my mucus plug that morning. One big giant clot, followed by some bits. I know...but I warned you. I knew this would be going on for awhile, so I let Jordan sleep until around 8:30am. Woke him up by telling him we were having a kid that day or the next and should probably go ahead and finish up the last minute things we needed to do. He seemed to think I was kidding and took his sweet time getting out of bed to get ready for the day. Typical Jordan ;-)

I emailed Vickii to let her know what was going on. We had an appointment scheduled for that day anyways, so we went to that at 1pm. By this point the contractions were still getting more intense, but I was getting more and more used to them and just slowed down when I felt another coming on. No biggie. I was informed that the passing of the plug was good for a couple centimeters of dialation, so I was pleased. She suggested that since we were about to be in the house for awhile, we should get out and try to relax. It happened that a patient wanted to be seen by Jordan, so we headed to his office where he ended up treating another patient as well. While he did that, my contractions kept coming, getting more intense. This was about when I had to start closing my eyes and just zoning out during them. They were hurting but knowing it was going to get SO much worse, I just kept telling myself that this was the super-easy part.

By the time he was done, maybe around 3-3:30, we were both pretty hungry and decided to find some food. We parked a little closer to University Ave and started walking. Walking got the contractions to amp up even more. Great, but we just couldn't find the right place to eat. Well, I couldn't. Nothing sounded awesome (yeah, I'm a stellar decision-maker). We ended up hoofing it back to the car after many, many blocks and made our way to Baja Betty's. On the way to the car, my body seemed to want to have some fun with me and decided to time the contractions to the traffic signals. Knowing that you've got a limited amount of time to cross the street and trying to get through a contraction at the same time made it all very interesting. By this point, I was having to stop walking during them (except in the middle of the crosswalks) - people staring and all. I didn't exactly care.

Okay, so we make it to Baja Betty's and the waiter looks from my belly to my face and asks when I'm due. I responded "Anytime now...probably tonight." He looked concerned for the seat I was on. I continued having contractions, getting way more intense, while we ate. Well, Jordan ate. I got as much in as I could but when you're stopping every 3-4 minutes to try to get through a 1-2 minute don't get much food in. The people at the table next to us must have thought I was just a big baby since I kept sitting back and closing my eyes. I'm sure they thought this was the first time I'd felt a contraction and was overreacting.

At some point, I just told Jordan that we should probably get home because I was getting way to uncomfortable to do this in public much longer. Walking to the car, Jordan called my mom back and gave her an update. Things pretty much started getting turned up at this point. Took 3 times as long to get back to the car as it did going from it to the restaurant. The ride back was great fun. Let's just say that Hillcrest has a lot of dips and potholes. And I think we hit every red light on El Cajon Blvd. Also a road that I decided should be repaved. Not being able to move around (being stuck in a seatbelt) during the contractions was pretty awful. But we made it home.

I think this is when time gets a little blurry. I know that I said something to the effect of "shit is getting real."

I decided to try getting in the tub. At first, the warm water felt really good. I got through a few contractions before I started getting uncomfortable from the heat. Drained the tub...but couldn't get out. At this point, my body began pushing some during the contractions. At first I tried resisting it but finally gave in. My head kept telling me it seemed way too soon to be pushing. It felt a lot better to go with it, though, so I did. The pain was getting cranked up quickly and Jordan ended up calling Vickii. Like with the pushing feeling, it seemed too early to call her but he insisted.  Kinda glad he did.

She got here around 8pm. This was right around the time I threw up for the first time.  Do you understand the shame & humiliation involved in throwing up in front of someone you hold in high esteem?  I do now.  The salad I'd enjoyed for dinner was not pleasant as it came up. Black beans = bad. So, after a couple contractions, she asked to check me. I remember her asking, "What would you be happy with?" (dilation-wise) I just answered that I didn't care - thinking I was likely around 5cm and had awhile to go. When she told me that I was 9cm and my cervix was really, really soft, I confessed to being relieved because I felt like I HAD TO push but wasn't sure I should. She said to absolutely go ahead and push if that's what I felt. Awesome.

Thus began the dance. I went from the bed on all fours to on my side to standing and leaning on the footboard to the toilet and back again. A lot. I found that pushing felt the most gratifying and 'successful' on the toilet (go figure) and that I could relax a tad between contractions when I was on the bed. My water broke and the contractions actually felt better once that happened.

I was pretty zoned out. Minimal talking. Certainly no moaning or screaming or anything.  I was concerned I might be one of those howling laborers...but as it turns out, I'm not.

At one point, Vickii suggested reaching down and feeling the baby during some pushes so that I could tell what moved him and what didn't. I did. I was shocked that he was right there. So close, yet so far away ;-)  And he had hair! I also kept getting gushes of water. I had no idea there was so much fluid.

I kept pushing with each contraction but not much seemed to be happening. Apparently there is a correct way to push and I was getting it only some of the time. That's a hard thing to grasp in the throes of a contraction - someone saying push down - when that's what you thought you were doing all along.

Back on the bed, I ended up getting some progress on my back (I know, I know) while pulling my knees up. He kept coming down and retreating back up. Pretty frustrating for me and I started getting really tired. I took a couple spoonfuls of honey and that helped. By this point, I'd been told a few things. One - if I didn't pee soon, I'd be looking at getting a catheter. Two, the baby had pooped about an hour prior. And three - if I wanted to just go ahead and have the baby, I could...or else we'd be taking a forced break so that I could conserve some energy and not get so worn out. I answered her that I wanted the kid out and that's when we really got down to business. With some help/pressure applied during contractions, I was able to get him where he needed to be. During one particularly forceful push, there was a pop. My coccyx. I remember looking up at Vickii when I heard it and knowing immediately what it was. I'm not sure why I'd forgotten about the possibility of subluxating it. (I felt nothing aside from the actual movement of it until I went to get up/move later on. And feel it, I did.) When he started crowning, I started bleeding. There were no outside tears at that point, so it was pretty clear I was tearing from the inside. I was only aware this was happening because Jordan mentioned the blood to Vickii. I was only acutely aware that my crotch was on fire. Being told to slow down once you hit that point seems like a sick joke. All I wanted to do was give it one good push and get passed that firey inferno ;-) I listened and after a few smaller pushes, his head popped out. Oh. My. God. The relief. With the next contraction, which came pretty quickly, I pushed the rest of him out. That was the simple part :-) I couldn't believe he was finally out. I'd just had a baby!

Jordan caught him and put him on me immediately. The cord was only long enough for him to be placed on my belly. According to Jordan, as soon as his torso emerged, he raised his arm straight up to his head. He started crying a little immediately. With a little back rubbing, he let out his first scream. After the initial shock that he was out and here and real...I asked what we were working with and Jordan said he was a boy. I knew he was. The whole time, I was sure he was a boy. Turns out, I'm good.

We stayed like that for about 20 minutes or so until we moved me to a more sitting-up position. I felt another contraction and went ahead and pushed the placenta out. Much easier than a baby.

He stayed attached to the placenta for just under an hour, I think. Jordan cut the cord and we stayed in bed for awhile just enjoying him. Afterward, I took a quick shower and got back in bed to start nursing. It took a second and some help from Darynee, but we got it.

The stitching took some time. There was one big, bad, jagged tear and several not-quite-so-bad tears. Jordan fell asleep holding Ezra next to me on the bed as Vickii worked her magic to put me back together :-)

Once that mess was taken care of, we chatted for a bit about what to expect, etc and then they left us with our brand new baby. With the intention that we'd sleep. Ha. Ezra slept. We stared at him. Jordan slept a little and I dozed off for a couple minutes here and there. I just couldn't stop staring at him. He's beautiful. Perfect.

We've got the placenta in the freezer. Not sure what we are going to do with it. There's always encapsulation. Or planting it. We'll get around to doing something at some point before we forget that it's in there.

Having him at home was great. I simply cannot imagine doing it any other way. Or having had a different midwife. She was exactly what I needed at every single point in this process. Present but not overbearing when I was needing to be on my own and then completely there and reassuring and calm and nurturing when I needed it. It's clear that she is our midwife for the next one (or two, three...). She's seriously awesome.

So there it is. That's how I came to have this amazing little guy that I'm currently staring at as he sleeps next to me. I couldn't have asked for a better pregnancy or labor or delivery. And I certainly couldn't have asked for a more more perfect baby. I am in love.