Jon isn't all that big on contributing to our family blog, which I am definitely not complaining about. But, I loved when he blogged about Rhode the night after he was born. I loved having his perspective on the whole experience.
I have been very patiently waiting for Jon to blog about our latest news but his time is up. Sorry dude.
So, instead of getting the cleaned up, outsider, "no pain involved" husband perspective, you are stuck with me and all my gory details. Or you can skip to the end and tell me how good looking my baby is. Totally up to you.
For whatever insane reason, I was convinced this child was coming early. I have been waiting in anxious anticipation for a week, shocked every night I went to bed without a single contraction. At my last doctor's appointment, I was already dilated to a 4. I was really hoping not to have to induce but I scheduled one for the next week anyway, hoping and praying I wouldn't have to use it.
My mom got into town Sunday evening at about 7:30 and we grabbed her from the airport and had a few hours to hang. This was the first time she had actually seen me so far along pregnant. For my other two kids she met us at the hospital with a baby already waiting for her to hold. We chatted, made plans for the next morning (I was scheduled to go in at 8:30 a.m.) and chatted some more. It was right around 10 p.m. that I felt my first contractions. I was so excited. I waited a while to make sure I wasn't just making things up and they kept coming. Yahoo! And ow...
Jon and my mom went to bed and I sat in my little rocking chair, reading a book and timing my contractions. I did a little Googleing on Jon's phone because I couldn't quite remember exactly when I was supposed to go to the hospital. I really did not want to go in too early but I was already at a 4 so how early could I possibly go? One site I found mentioned that with your third child, you shouldn't wait too long to go to the hospital because babies tend to come faster. They recommended going when your contractions were 8 to 10 minutes apart and I was already at about 4 minutes so I decided to go for it. I woke Jon up a little after midnight, he hopped in the shower and I had a bowl of cereal, packed a little, said goodbye to my mom and we were out the door a little after 1 a.m.
I went to Southern Hills Hospital this time which was about 15 minutes away. The hospital was a ghost town. We seriously ran into one person (a receptionist) all the way up to the maternity ward. There we found three nurses and a very, very quiet hospital floor.
"Wow, seems pretty quiet around here," Jon mentioned. Now even I know you don't go around cursing the fates in a maternity ward. All three nurses gave him a well deserved glare for inevitably changing the course of their evening.
I was gowned, strapped in, and checked, only to discover my last two and a half hours of labor had only gained me a 5 status. Enough to stick around but I was really hoping for a little more. So, they pincushioned me until they finally got an IV in, drew some blood that had to be checked before Mr. Happy Epidural could come in (they did the same with Scarlet, I don't know what that is about) and let me be.
It is about 2 a.m. at this point and suddenly, I am in some serious hurt. Contractions are strong and they are just not stopping. I would have three in a row before I would finally get like a minute break and then they would start again. I have a few friends who are all about the natural birth, even home birth and at that moment I thought they were the craziest people in the history of the world. I was just counting down the minutes until someone was willing to jab a large needle into my spine.
In the back of my mind, I remember thinking this seems like a lot of pain just to get to a 6 or a 7. I was nauseated and miserable, trying to look a little tougher than I felt. I must've faked it really well because no one seemed concerned with my progress.
At 3 a.m. the nurse brought in my favorite guy at the hospital. She asked me to sit on the edge of the bed right in the middle of a very painful contraction, I waited for the worst of it to subside and then just sat up in the middle of it, knowing the blessed moment of relief was here. She then asked me to scoot back a little, and that is when my birth story took a turn for the sitcom side.
Jon confessed too soon after the whole ordeal that this one was much more exciting than the others, almost meeting his craziest of expectations. Now I can almost agree with him, but at the moment he chose to mention it, he is lucky I didn't have the energy to sock him right in the nose.
And now back to the story. As I scooted back, my water broke everywhere. Like seriously, Jon and the nurse had to jump back to get out of the way. And then immediately afterwards there was pressure, lots and lots of pressure. The nurse laid me back down on the bed and checked to confirm that yes, I was having the baby right then. I was devastated as my last and only hope packed up his things and headed right back out my hospital room door.
"Seriously, no epidural?" I asked a little more desperately than I meant to.
"Sorry, it will not come even close to kicking in on time," the nurse informed me.
Then it started to get really crazy in there. There were about five nurses rushing around the room trying to get things ready. One was in the lobby desperately trying to get my doctor to hurry up and get here. Some were rushing to get all of the newborn baby stuff ready and then there was my nurse who was trying her hardest to get me to stop pushing.
I finally understand what people are talking about when they say, "they kept telling me not to push but there was nothing I could do about it." I did all I could to not push, I breathed every time she told me to but there was absolutely nothing I could do about it. After one particularly large contraction, I asked if what I thought was happening was actually happening.
"Yes," the nurse informed me, "that is definitely your baby's head." One contraction later, she gave up her fruitless effort to get me to stop pushing and, with one push, there was a baby lying at the foot of my bed. No doctor, no legs in stirrups, no one even really caught him. I had a brand new son laying at the foot of my bed.
It was amazing.
They cut the cord and laid him on my chest with all his new gooeyness. He was screaming like a banshee but I just admired his perfectness, his head of hair and his teeny littleness.
It took the doctor another good 10-15 minutes to get there. He then delivered my placenta and stitched me up (I tore through my old episiotomy and a few other places, not as bad as Scarlet but not super pleasant either). Finally, I was put back together, my baby was cleaned up and I got the chance to hold him again and nurse him for the first time.
Asher Wayne Nielsen was born at 3:15 a.m. (yes 15 minutes after my epidural walked out the door). He was 7 lbs. 2 oz. and 20 inches long. He is just so so tiny. He has a little head that is still just perfectly shaped (didn't spend too much time in the birthing canal I guess). Jon and I have known we wanted an Asher since we were finding names for Scarlet. One of Jon's favorite books is "My Name is Asher Lev" and one of mine is "The Giver". It is hard to say a name fits a newborn, but so far his is sticking nicely.
He definitely looks like my babies. Grey eyes, wide cheeks, small lips and a pointy little chin. He is an awesome nurser, not an awesome napper yet but we are getting there.
The kids came to visit a little later that morning and they were very excited. It helped that they had spent the morning getting spoiled by their grandma so they were pretty stoked on life anyway, but they were really excited to meet their little brother.
They were much more impressed with the hospital food than I was.
We had a few other visitors through the day but, after awhile, I sent Jon home to get some work done (remember my half-remodeled kitchen?) and Asher and I just got to hang.
I don't know if this is just how labor and delivery goes now or if it was just this hospital but it was so awesome to be left alone! I would go hours without someone coming in the room to take my blood pressure for the millionth time or berate me on how much I am letting my baby sleep (seriously, all three of my kids have nursed once and then crashed for eight hours before wanting to eat again. This is the first hospital that wasn't bugging me the whole time to wake them up.)
No one came in to wake me up in the middle of the night for even more tests. They were not overly concerned with my lack of updating the diaper/nursing chart. And they were all really pleasant! I had a great experience. The food was definitely better at St. Rose but I had enough visitors bringing me the good stuff to make that not matter so much.
Wednesday morning, with very little fanfare and no "feed your baby, clean your baby, don't drop your baby" classes, Jon picked us up and we headed home. We have been lounging and enjoying our new little one ever since.
Now that I have been able to step away from the experience a little, I have definitely gained some perspective on my unplanned natural birth. Yes, it helps that it all happened very quickly, but its not like I knew it was all going to be over in an hour and a half at the time. If you had asked me last week if I had any desire at all to go through a natural birth, I would have laughed. Loud. Other than maybe proving I could do it, I couldn't even have given you a good reason why anyone should. My perspective has definitely changed
Benefits of a Natural Birth:
Recovery is much nicer (no catheter, IV comes out quickly, no post-epidural shakes, I could walk around almost immediately afterward)
All of the things that hurt post-delivery don't seem nearly as bad (uterus contractions, nursing, healing all came with some pain perspective)
There is no question as to what to do when your doctor says to push (I was so numb with Scarlet I had no idea what needed pushing to get her out of me)
The difference of emotion of that last push and then having your baby there is pretty incredible.
Asher didn't seem to act any differently from my other two newborns so I didn't notice a difference for him. But I can definitely say, I enjoyed the experience. I am not sure I have completely pulled away from the epidural train but it is at least nice to appreciate both sides of the story.
And there, my little Asher man, is your first story. Welcome home.