Whew. We’ve officially survived week one of having two kids. Although today is the first day I’m technically on my own. We had my mother-in-law with us for the birth and then P took off the last 3 days from work but now, now I’m back on lone mommy duty. So far so good. All mouths have been fed (including my own which is a total bonus) and butts have been changed. (however not my own, it’s amazing how making a quick trip to pee gets postponed all morning) Although the thought of getting everyone upstairs and dressed is just a bit too daunting, hence why I’m opting to stay put on the couch & blog. But hey, one step at a time right?
*note- I started writing this post at 8:45 am, it’s now 6:11 pm & I’m still writing. It’s been a lonnnnng day…
Samster is adjusting really well. She’s super sweet to the baby, everytime she sees her she goes, “Awwwwwwwww, baby! Sooo cute! Soooo tiny!”She loves to help out, in fact that seems like the key to keeping the peace. Giving her little tasks like hand mommy a diaper, put the blanket on the baby, hold the baby’s hand while mommy nurses her…she gets a big smile and jumps right in. I won’t say it’s been all roses though, I’m hearing lots of “I DON’T WANNA!” She doesn’t wanna take a bath, doesn’t wanna eat her dinner…but I keep telling myself it’s to be expected. I’m trying to do little things with her too when Sophie is napping, although selfishly I just want to catch a little catnap myself. But, we’re surviving.
So about the birth…I’ve been dying to blog about this because I’m so excited!! It was everything I dreamed it would be, I just can’t get over how different it was…but let me start at the beginning.
As you know a couple of Tuesdays ago I had “prodromal labor“. We thought it was the real thing but I had no cervical change despite a whole day of regular, increasing contractions. We were eventually discharged & sent home to “wait it out”. The days that followed were some of the same, little spurts of contractions that would start to grow closer together & stronger but eventually would fizzle out.
It was infuriating.
Like a big ol’ birth tease.
Then a week later I went to the Dr & she said I had dilated another centimeter (2.5 cm at that point), Woohoo! At least all the contractions were doing something. That was on a Tuesday & since I would be 39 weeks that Friday she decided to go ahead & strip my membranes to see if it would get the contractions going more regularly. Well let me tell you, from the second she did that through the whole night & next morning I had the worst menstrual-like cramps of my life. Lots of people had told me early labor could start as cramps & then turn into contractions but mine weren’t, they were just continuous cramping. The next morning they still wouldn’t stop so around noon I called the Dr’s office just to make sure that was ok. I knew having your membranes stripped could cause some cramping but I just wasn’t sure it should cause it for that long. They said go ahead and come in & we’ll put you on the monitor. When P came home we headed in to the Dr. with every expectation of coming home a few hours later, we’d been through this drill before.
I was in a really crabby mood when we got there…too many cramps, too big of a belly, no sleep…I was DONE. All of that melted away when the Dr examined me. I had dilated to 3.5 cm & all those cramps were actually contractions!!! I was in early labor all morning and didn’t even know it! (I had even hosted a playdate at our house that morning, isn’t that crazy? I thought having friends over would be a nice distraction from the cramps…who knew I was in labor?!) My Dr. said my water was “bulging” and she thought if they broke it the baby would drop, put more pressure on my cervix & labor would go fast after that. She called & admitted us to the hospital, I was ECSTATIC!!!
We got checked into our room at 2:30pm & they started me on a slow drip of pitocin (the nurse described it as “just a whiff” of pitocin) to get things going a bit until the Dr could come over & break my water. The contractions picked up a bit but I was able to keep complete control during them. I did my breathing, listened to music, P made jokes & we watched a “Real Housewives of New Jersey” marathon. It was actually kind of fun. Then around 4pm my Dr arrived & broke my water, they also turned up the pitocin because nothing had changed in the time I’d been there.
That’s when the *$%# hit the fan.
Sorry to be crass but I can’t think of a better phrase to describe how quickly & harshly things changed. Within 5 minutes, FIVE, I was in full-blown active labor & I WAS DYING. It totally caught me off guard, I was not prepared to be in so much pain so quickly. In all honesty, I had no idea pain could feel that bad. And yes, I’m probably a bit of a dramatic person but I think even the most reserved girl would’ve agreed with me. The contractions were about a minute or two apart, as soon as I got through one the next was right there waiting for me. I tried my best to get a grip, I really hadn’t wanted an epidural but I just could not get control of my pain. P was incredible, I was pulling on his shirt, yelling & crying at him & resisting the urge to bite him (I know that sounds silly but I just wanted to bite something SO bad, perhaps too many vampire movies) but the whole time he just looked right in my eyes & talked me through every second of it. We tried the hypnobirthing CD’s to help me calm down but I just couldn’t hear them, after about 20 min I was in panic mode & wanted to run away. I kept thinking “Get a grip Natasha, just get your mind right for a minute & then you can get through each contraction one at a time” but then another one would hit & I would just fall apart. It was bad. I called the nurse because I really thought the baby was coming out but when she checked me I was still 4cm, as soon as I heard that I said, “I want drugs NOW!” It felt like a movie. Like you know in Baby Mama how Amy Polar tries to steal people’s IVs as they’re wheeling her down the hall…that was me. It was ridiculous. The anaesthesiologist came in soon after & every fear I had of an epidural went right out the window. She was truly an angel dropped down from heaven, my bff from here on out.
The epidural kicked in fully after about 20 minutes & I WAS HAPPY. I was able to relax & actually enjoy the experience, the Dr came back an hour & a half later & I couldn’t believe the news, I had dilated another 4cm! I guess it really is true that some people just need to relax to dilate, I was such a big ball of stress when I was in pain. I’m scared to think of how long my labor would’ve lasted if I hadn’t gotten some relief, not to mention how exhausted I’d be by the time I was ready to push. Major kudos to you superwomen who have had an unmedicated birth, I tried my best & I just don’t know how you do it.
Now my favorite part, it was finally time to push. This may sound weird but I’ve always thought I’d be good at pushing…I was really looking forward to it. Is that weird? And you know what, it was even better than I had hoped. The part I wasn’t expecting was how calm & chill the environment would be. There weren’t a bunch of people running in & out like you see in the movies…it was just us, our Dr & the nurse. The lights were kept dim & no one yelled at me to push, I just told them when a contraction was coming & everyone would count to ten 3x while I pushed my darndest. I had thought I’d like a mirror but wasn’t going to use one because P thought he’d be super squeemish at the sight but much to my surprise I looked over to see him peeking down, he was so excited that he could see the head! I asked for the mirror and at the end of each push I’d open my eyes & take a peek. It was INCREDIBLE. I don’t think P or I were prepared for how much we wanted to see her actually being born, it’s just one of those things where once you’re in the situation you can’t help but look. With the next push her head popped out & the Dr. asked me to wait while she suctioned her out. (“Um sure, I can just hold it right here with a small watermelon 1/2 out of me.”) One more push & out she flew, I put my arms out for her & was able to pull her right onto my chest. AMAZING.What a difference from my c-section where I was shaky & out of it from the spinal anesthesia, scared because I was on an operating table & was not able to hold or see my baby until she was weighed & cleaned and even then I couldn’t hold her because my arms were too weak.
This time I was the first to hold her & I kept her for as long as I wanted. I’ll never forget it.
I don’t even need to tell you about the difference in recovery time, last time I couldn’t even get out of bed much less walk around. This time I was up walking, talking & even peeing within 20 minutes of giving birth. (Peeing on your own is a luxury you take for granted until you can’t do it) We even were able to go home the next night! Yep, 24 hrs later & I was sleeping in my own bed with my beautiful baby! (With Samster we were in the hospital for 4 nights) Not to mention it was such a relief to be able to put Sam down to bed that night, she was already wondering where the heck we were.
So there it is, if you’re interested in having a VBAC the best advice I could ever give you is to have a Dr. you completely trust who is supportive of your decision. If you’re unsure about someone than move on, there are great Dr’s out there who are on the same page as you, it’s just a matter of finding them. I interviewed 3 different practices before finding my Dr, at the time I wondered if I was wasting my time but now I’m so glad I did it. Sophie’s birth was everything I had ever wanted and then some. (:
Ok, as you can see by the post time blogging is going to be a bit more difficult than I had anticipated. I’m going to try my best though, I have about a dozen different things I want to do & write about now that the baby’s here but for the immediate future all I can think about is how much sleep I’m not getting & how does one get two kids in & out of carseats. Baby steps Samster Mommy, baby steps.