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Conversation #197: No longer just a wife, but also a mother

So I didn’t mean to quit blogging for so long, but during the last weeks of pregnancy life seemed to be on fast forward.  Not only were we in full on nesting mode trying to get the house renos mostly done, but I was also busy trying to get work things taken care of as well.  Plus, I was hot and tired so blogging was not a priority.
However, our sweet boy is now already 4 weeks old, and I want to record his birth story so I don’t forget.  I am not sure if this will get long, but bear with me if you want to know how it all went down.
A couple of months ago the hubby and I took our childbirth classes.  Before going to the class, we were both pretty certain I would be getting an epidural.  I didn’t want a c-section, but no way did I think I could handle the pain.  Well during the class we did a relaxation time and I just focused on Jesus.  It was during this time and the remainder of the class (learning about all of the birth options) that I felt God leading me to a natural childbirth.  Well, He was doing the same for hubby so we set forward on that path. 
I am not morally opposed to epidurals, pain drugs, or c-sections.  I just knew it wasn’t what I wanted, and I really didn’t want to be induced.  Anyway, we ordered a couple of books and got to work preparing for a natural birth.  The main book I would recommend is Natural Childbirth the Bradley Method Revised Edition by Susan McCutcheon.  It gave great concrete techniques on how to cope with labor and also explained what would happen along each stage.  We also read Ina May’s Guide to Childbirth, which had helpful tips, but less on the techniques.
So we moved closer and closer to my due date and knew our babe was probably a good size (they were estimating 8 to 8.5 lbs).  I was terrified I would have to be induced and that a natural birth would become close to impossible.  We (hubby and I and family) all thought baby boy would come labor day weekend so after trying everything we could to naturally induce, we were pretty disappointed when he didn’t come.  My doctor was on call all weekend and I was already at 4cm and 90% effaced so that is why we were sure I would go into labor (plus my doc had stripped my membranes at my last appointment on the Thursday before Memorial Day weekened. Anyway, he didn’t come so back to work on Tuesday.
I had had some mild contractions here and there, but nothing serious.  Well around 3:30 PM while sitting at my desk, things started to feel weird.  I was pretty sure I was in labor, but didn’t know for sure so I tried walking around a bit at work.  However, the contractions never eased and I called my hubby and doctor sis to chat it over with each of them.  I decided that this felt real and I needed to go home so I told my boss that hopefully I wouldn’t be back the next day and home I went.
Hubby was going to come home so we could start laboring.  He was a little late, but I’ll forgive him :)  I actually started to panic because initially the contractions seemed stronger and more intense than I expected them to feel because I just hadn’t felt anything most of the day to that point.  Plus, I felt them a lot in my back and in my front so it was just hard to really gauge what was going on with my body. 
Okay, so hubby got home about 5 and we got down to business.  Since we wanted a natural childbirth, our plan was to labor at home as long as possible so we wouldn’t be tempted into anything at the hospital or pressured by hospital staff to get an epidural/c-section if things weren’t progressing as quickly as they thought they should (more on that later).  Also, we were both insistent upon having the birth at a hospital versus birthing center.  We knew that if something did go wrong, we wanted to be where they could immediately care for us, but we quickly realized we were an anomaly for having a “natural” childbirth at a hospital. 
Okay, back to labor, we spent the next few hours moving between the shower and the bedroom and drinking water, gatorade, and eating popsicles.  We had bought easily digestible food to munch on since we knew we couldn’t eat once at the hospital, but nothing sounded good to me while laboring.  In fact, thankfully my body had emptied itself during early labor at home so I didn’t have to worry about pooping during pushing (well I was pretty sure I wouldn’t and I didn’t!)  In fact, I didn’t even want to sit or lay down.  I knew my feet would probably hurt by the end, but I found it most comfortable to stand in a warm shower or sway back and forth with a heating pad on my back.  Thankfully at some point the contractions in front and back began to coincide so I had some break.  Really, I can’t even remember what it felt like at this point.  I knew it wouldn’t be a sharp pain but a working “laboring” pain of contracting muscles, and I guess that is the best way to describe it.
Finally, around 10:45 PM, we decided to call the doc so we could head to the hospital.  My doc wasn’t on-call so we talked to a different one in the practice and I know she wasn’t sure at first about having us come in.  However, my doc knew once I started laboring it wouldn’t be long and we finally convinced the on-call doc of that when I told her I was 4 cm and 90% effaced 6 days previous.  She told us to go in and we began loading up the car.  I started to worry about the ride (the hospital wasn’t far) but I was really coping with the heating pad and didn’t know how I would do in the car.  Well, genius hubby turned on the seat heater for me and it was perfect!  I remember saying at one point that showers were the best invention ever and then heated seats so I didn’t need much while in labor :)
We got to the hospital between 11:15 PM and 11:30 PM.  They direct admitted me and got me to our room.  They asked if I had progressed at all so I told them again about the 4cm, etc.  They said “OK, let’s check you now.”  I climbed into bed and we learned that I was between 7.5 and 8 cm!  We were ready to go.  I should have gotten out of bed at this point, but I thought I was supposed to stay in it so I think I slowed the labor down.  Finally, I knew I needed to stand, and this was when modesty went out the window.  My water was leaking, but it was preventing me from fully dilating so we needed to get it out of the way.  Well, standing next to the bed with nothing but a hospital gown on (and only tied at the top), I began laboring again, and the water started gushing and gushing and gushing.  It seemed like so much.  My L&D nurse, Patrice (who was awesome) kept checking me, but I seemed stalled at 9.5 cm forever and I already wanted to push so bad.  The pressure felt so weird and I wanted him out.  Finally the rest of the water moved out and I was complete.  Time to push!
Now this is the one part I was not prepared for at all.  I knew I would probably have to push more than three times or so, but I did not think I would have to push for almost two and half hours.  It was hard and exhausting.  Also, my contractions were 4 minutes apart, which was weird.  It gave me nice long breaks, but it also meant we had to wait forever to push again and 4 minutes seems like eternity when you want to meet your baby. Our nurse was just so awesome though.  I had prayed that we would have one either familiar with natural birth methods or at least one that wouldn’t be pushy with meds.  She was perfect.  She was supportive and encouraged me right along side Isaac, and I think was pretty amazed at my demeanor.  It was ALL God.  He walked me through it all, and I knew He would.  He was the one who told me to do this after all.
I made it to station 3+ (you have to get to 5+ and that is the baby’s head coming out I guess), and the doc came in and said she could help me with the vacuum if I wanted.  I decided to try a few more pushes, but I finally gave in.  I needed him out and I just didn’t have much energy left.  Once I said “help” the room transformed for delivery and I couldn’t wait to meet our son.
It was time to push with the vacuum, and it felt so weird and painful, but I think in a good way.  I just needed him out so I pushed as hard as I could, and finally his huge head emerged.  Then they told me to stop pushing so they could suction him, and that was horrible because I just NEEDED to push some more to get him out like TODAY.  Finally, we got him all out and that was when we realized our teeny Dean baby was HUGE.  At 6:21 AM on September 4, 2013, our son, Dean William Shutt was born weighing in at 9 lbs 11 oz and 21.5” long.  Yep, I birthed an almost 10 pound baby with no drugs or anything.  I have no idea if I would have gotten his huge head out without the vacuum or not (which I hated to use), but it didn’t matter.  Dean was finally here, in my arms!
Now, the consequence of a huge baby and not your doctor: she gave me an episiotomy during the vacuum pushing and I ended up with a 4th degree tear, the worst kind.  So for the next 45 minutes or so they had to put all of my downtown bits back together with just a local.  I wouldn’t want to do that everyday, but I managed then we finally got time with our sweet baby boy.  It was surreal.  Honestly, it still kind of is.  I look at him and can’t believe he is mine.  I sit in the nursery nursing him at night and forget that this nursery is in my house and I’m holding my baby. 
I will be honest, the last 4 weeks have been HARD, like the hardest of my life.  However, we are getting over the hump and I love him so much – more each day if that is even possible.  Eventually I will try to get back and share more about the first few weeks of newborn life (because I had NO idea it would be THIS hard).  However, I had my post-partum appointment today, and thankfully all is healing well.  We have a healthy baby and a healthy mom and life will never be the same.
Also, this may be the most important part - Isaac was the best labor partner and coach ever!!! Seriously, I can't say enough how amazing he was (and has been after too).  He didn't sit, eat, rest, go to the bathroom, drink, or anything but help me while I was in labor.  He fanned me, massaged me, held the heat pad, encouraged me, calmed me, and cheered me on.  It was an active process the whole way - there was no down time while laboring, and he just stayed with me every step of the way.  It was awesome to experience it with him, and he couldn't have been better.  All I can say about him was/is WOW.  My hubby is awesome!!!
If you made it through the recount mostly meant for me, then BRAVO!  Here are pictures of the sweet boy to reward you :)
2013-09-05 14.46.30 2013-09-06 14.22.10 2013-09-06 15.56.51 2013-09-13 12.38.04 2013-09-15 20.12.53 2013-09-17 15.17.21 2013-09-23 09.04.35 2013-09-25 12.58.16 2013-09-28 10.32.53

Comments

Gail said…
Jessica!!! I am just now reading this (don't know how I missed it earlier!) and have to say your story is beaUtiful! I love reading about birth stories and yours is precious...and so is your sweet baby! He's adorable! We have a lot to catch up on! :)

Have a great day!

Gail

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