Saturday, April 26, 2014

August James {Birth Story}

My perfect, beautiful son was born on Wednesday, April 23rd 2014- just as I hoped he'd be.
I delivered him at 7:15pm vaginally with an epidural after 15 hours of labor and 3 ish hours of pushing.
He was 8 lbs 7 oz, 20.5 inches long.


I'd gone into the doctor for my 38 week appointment exactly a week before, hoping to have my membrane stripped- but I was not even 1cm dilated! Doctor Laine couldn't strip me. I was very disappointed.
But over the next week, I spent several days having consistent, regular contractions. I even had contractions that were only 4 minutes apart, consistent for over two hours on Monday, but when I went in to get checked out- the disgruntled nurse sent me home with an eyeroll and "You're not in labor, drink more water."
I had an early morning appointment on Wednesday morning at 8:30am, where the doctor was planning on once again trying to strip my membrane (to send me into labor.)
I woke up at 1:30 am the night before with a really painful contraction. I fell back asleep right away and woke to a second one, then a third- but when I looked at the clock, only like 8 minutes had passed since I woke up the first time.
I sat up in bed to time my contractions, and they were coming long, hard, and every 2-3 minutes.
They were so painful that after about three more of them, I had to get up and start walking around to ease the pain.
I started slowly wandering around my house, collecting last minute items for my hospital bag and picking toys up off the floor to distract myself.
But since I had been sent home two days before when I thought I was in labor and I had an appointment in just 7 hours, I told myself to calm down and wait it out.
After about 40 minutes, I had changed my mind and told myself to just wait for two hours of steady contractions- since twice now, I'd had steady contractions for two hours before they disappeared.
I took a shower and got dressed and woke up Travis around 2:30.
At 3:00am I decided that I couldn't actually wait 2 hours, and we called our downstairs neighbor to come up and sleep with the boys.
On the way to the hospital, I was freaking out. I was in a lot of pain, but really worried that they'd just send me home- and it's a lot worse getting sent home at 3am than 10am.
The nurse told me later that because there was a huge storm that night, tons of women had gone into labor! They filled all their rooms and had to start sending women to other hospitals to deliver. When I was finally pushing, there were at least 4 other women pushing, too! (And it's a small hospital that usually delivers only a half-dozen or so babies a day.)

We got to the hospital and they hooked me up to a cordless monitor to monitor my contractions and the baby's heartbeat for at least an hour. Because this pregnancy was to be an attempted VBAC, they had to be monitoring me at all times. But at least I could move around. During contractions, the only thing that eased my pain was to lean heavily on Travis and bounce (like I was doing squats) or rock back and forth like middle schoolers slow dancing.

I liked to watch those contractions peak and head back down. Each one was a mountain that I had victoriously scaled. Okay, roll  your eyes. It helped to think of them that way, though.
My contractions were still long and hard, every 2-3 minutes- but when the nurses checked me, I was still only 1 cm dilated! I was 80% effaced though, so the doctor on call (not my doctor) decided to admit me. By then it was about 5am. They said my own doctor would get there at about 7:30 am and probably break my water.
The anesthesiologist came by to ask what my plan was, and remind me that things would get worse after my membranes had been ruptured.
Since I was already in a lot of pain, and figured it would only get worse, I decided to get my epidural right away.
I had sort of hoped that I could do it without drugs- but I was already SO TIRED and hadn't eaten in about 12 hours, so I was starving too.
Poor Travis had only slept about 2 hours before I woke him, since he'd been up late editing a piece and he was exhausted from me putting all my weight on him for several hours.
Once I got the epidural though, we were able to doze a little. I could still feel my contractions, but they felt like the Braxton Hicks contractions that I'd gotten used to sleeping through.
My doctor didn't get there until about 8:30 in the morning, but when she checked me, I hadn't progressed at all. She said that she probably wouldn't have even admitted me last night, and suggested that I lose the epidural and go home.
The idea of going home was so terrible to me! I had finally allowed myself to think that this boy could be born today. I asked her to help me proceed with labor instead.
So she broke my water, and said she'd be back in four hours to check my progress.
My contractions immediately became painful enough that I could feel them through the epidural (though they still were mild enough that it wasn't too uncomfortable.)
I texted my mom and sister some updates and hospital selfies
And tried to get more rest.
I threw up a few times through out the day from the nausea caused by the epidural. (Even once while pushing, which really moved the baby along!)

When I was checked again four hours later, I was only at 3 cm, but 100% effaced. So I had made some progress, but not much. I felt really discouraged and assumed I'd have several more hours of waiting and widening ahead of me.
I was really tired from a recent epidural dose and starting to fall asleep, so I told Travis he could dash home to shower and run errands.
It was about 2:30pm when he left.
I started to feel a bit woozy and weak, so I called the nurse in. She noticed I was bleeding, so changed my sheets and decided to check me to see if I'd made progress.
She felt around for a few minutes, occasionally saying things like "Oh, I found your little ear," and "He has his hands right up here at his face."
Before she looked up and said, "Well, you're there. You're ready."
"What do you mean?"
"You're a ten."
I had gone from a 3 to a 10 in like 2 hours! Having been misled by television, I imagined that the doctor would be in any minute and I would push for a half hour, and I'd have a baby by 3pm! In a panic I texted Travis to come back.
He rushed back to the hospital within 20 minutes, only to find that the doctor wasn't there or even coming immediately- but wanted me to "wait and descend."
So, I had to let the baby keep pushing his own way out- while we waited for my epidural to wear off enough for me to feel like I should push.
At 4:00, they decided I was ready to push- the problem was, my contractions weren't that close together anymore- only every five minutes or so. So I would push hard through a contraction, and then while we rested and waited for the next contraction, the baby's head would slowly slip back in, making it seem like we made no progress.
After the first few contractions  I asked to have a mirror brought in, even though the idea had originally horrified me.
But even though I could feel the contractions and pushing a bit, I was still pretty numb- and wanted to be able to see myself making progress.
Each time I pushed, the baby's head came a little farther out before sinking back in- but it actually helped me feel like I had some control. After an hour of pushing, though, the baby still wasn't that close to coming and I was exhausted. The doctor decided to again have me wait and rest for a while.
I felt so frustrated! I wanted to keep pushing, and my contractions were starting to come a bit closer together, every four minutes or so.
But I rested for about a half-hour before the doctor came back, gowned up, and told me it was time to get the baby out already.
I pushed for another hour and a half or so- and seeing myself in the mirror was awesome. Each time the baby's head came a little more.


My doctor said, "It's like putting on a boot, you push and push and nothing happens, and then suddenly it pops into place."
And that's how it felt. Even after three hours of pushing, I felt like I hadn't made very much progress- and then suddenly, there was a pop (and a lot of tearing) and his entire little body came tumbling out. I really did seem like the doctor had to catch him before he spilled out over the side of the bed.
I felt so startled, not just by his "sudden" appearance, but by his entire appearance! I kept expecting a scrawny, blond, little Micah or Grey.
But he wasn't his brothers, he was his own little self! Chub, dark hair, and a round, purple face.
He curled right up on my chest and opened his eyes, even lifting his head to turn and stare at me- before he'd even been wiped clean! He was so strong and alert.
He stayed awake and quiet, staring around at us while he was patted clean and rubbed into a pink, baby-color. (I couldn't believe how purple he was! Like, proper-lilac-purple, too. Even now, he's so much redder than Grey and Micah were.)


Only when he was set on the scale did he finally open his lungs and wail, and it was so blasted cute! After that, he latched right on to the breast and nursed for over half an hour, then he only pulled away to let out a big, huge burp!
He hardly has cried since he's been born- even if he's hungry, he'll just let out an angry little squawk and if we don't respond immediately, he goes to sleep.
He'll sleep for four hours before I wake him and feed him, but if I don't wake him- I bet he'd sleep longer. He's been a really good eater, though he loves to nurse for five minutes, fall asleep and then wake up 10 minutes later and eat his own hand with a vigor.
I can't believe how strong his little jaw is. When Grey and Micah would fall asleep nursing, their mouths would slowly fall away from the breast, and milk would dribble down their little chins- but even when August is 100% asleep- I can't pull myself out of his mouth. He's clamped on with these magic suction lips.
I have spent several minutes trying to wiggle my finger into his mouth- to let some air break the suction between us, so I can pull away from him- but it's still REALLY painful to pull away from him nursing because of his iron latch.


August has also been really alert. He will spend half an hour at a time staring around at us and making sweet baby sounds. He's lightening fast at getting unswaddled and will lift his head and turn it to get a different view. I don't remember if newborns are usually quite so strong, but I know my little preemies weren't!
Travis seems to think that August is this magical child that will always be well-behaved, happy, and never whiny, but I suspect that August will wake up a little more in the next few weeks, and we'll see more of his personality- good and bad, quiet and noisy.
I am so excited to find out who this boy is! Prepare yourselves for lots of baby updates, my friends.



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13 comments:

Camille Spencer said...

OOOO, thanks for the updates! I'm glad he is here and everything is well. Love you guys

jeremy and erin said...

Good job mom! He is adorable! I hope you recover quickly!

Kristen said...

Congratulations! He is perfect, and I love his name! I hope your recovery goes well and I really really hope that you do a post that explains how you decided on such an awesome name :)

Beverly Houpt said...

Congratulations! I look forward to the baby updates :)

Emily said...

He is so adorable! I just had my second girl four months ago, and all of your Instagram videos and pictures have already made me baby hungry. There is nothing better than a chubby, sleepy, newborn! Enjoy the snuggles!

Polly said...

I can't even believe you, writing a blog post already. You are crazy. The video is beautiful and amazing. I love it. I can't wait to get there so I can hold him.

Polly said...

I can't even believe you, writing a blog post already. You are crazy. The video is beautiful and amazing. I love it. I can't wait to get there so I can hold him.

Jocelyn said...

Congratulations!!! :D He's adorable.

deedeesoapoperation said...

So beautiful! Congratulations. I love the family photo at the end :)

-Danica- said...

Congrats mama of THREE :) he is so darling. My little guy is only 3 months so this feels all too familiar. This whole new baby thing is so spiritual and amazing.
I hope post partum isn't too rough on you. So happy for you and your family!

Amanda said...

What a gorgeous fat little baby boy! Congratulations on the birth of August!

Natalie said...

congratulations mamma! incredible.

Nadia Gelin said...

great Post! i love seeing the boys holding their brother. Such a blessing. Congrats!