Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Owen's Birth Story

I have sat down to write out the story of Owen's birth several times and end up getting interrupted for a million things. How could that possibly happen? It's not like there are three kids in this house, three and under who seem to constantly need something!! Or in the evening once they're all asleep, I can barely put a coherent sentence together in conversation with my husband (sleep deprivation I think is what you call it), let alone type a mini story.

So he is three weeks old, the excitement by others over his birth has probably died down (although not for me, his affectionate mother) and here I am to document his birth and relive those moments of bringing him into the world. So do not feel obligated to read. This is mostly for my sake, and his, if he ever cares to read it. Ha! I don't really see that happening.

The weekend of September 28th, my sister Maureen was visiting and I was so hopeful to go into labor while she was here. My due date was Sunday, the 29th. All weekend I was walking, sitting on my birthing ball, listening to hypnobirthing tracks on my ipod, all in the hopes of this baby being born. Saturday evening I was having contractions that were coming 5 minutes apart for well over 2 hours. They were still manageable but I didn't know, I felt like maybe we should go in. This really was my first true experience of labor starting on it's own and my body doing it all start to finish. With Hailey, she was breached and unable to turn so we knew we were having a c-section but my awesome doc and midwife still let her decide when she was coming. Five days past my due date, my water broke at home and we went in for the c-section. With Casey, he was 12 days "late" and so they induced me. I still had a natural birth, but it was all on pitocin. So this was really like my first time. And as a result I didn't quite know how to recognize true signs of labor. We went in 2am Sunday morning, the contractions stopped, they sent us home. My midwife, at that point, told me next time to go lie down on the bed and if they still continued then you would know if it was real labor. Wish I had known to do that. Still baffled why no one mentioned that to me beforehand.

Anyway, they checked me while we were there and I was 3cm dilated and 75% effaced and a -1 station. I then proceeded to have contractions ALL week long. They would sometimes be persistent, no matter what position I was in, and then stall out eventually, or they would come and go on and off all day, but man was it frustrating and keeping us all on our toes. Luke was checking in frequently from work. I would go to bed and have a ton but they didn't go anywhere. I would wake up each morning, so disappointed that I was still pregnant. Saturday, October 5th, I woke up and was so discouraged. I had really thought the baby was going to be born the night before due to the frequency of the contractions. Feeling down and desperate, I posted a prayer request on the Focus wives facebook page filling them in with a few details of what was going on. I had a 41 week appointment looming on Monday morning that I wanted to avoid having to go to so badly as I knew they would start talking induction. I knew I needed to just turn everything over to Our Lord, lean on the support of the prayers of so many of my wonderful mama friends and trust.

Luke, the kids and I decided to go to the pumpkin patch, where it was a sweltering 85 degrees. After getting our pumpkins and apples we went up to the grotto to light a candle, for the intention that our son would be born that weekend and for a safe delivery, healthy baby.

I was having some contractions but that was nothing new, and I think we all napped. Later that afternoon I checked back at the prayer request I posted and one mom had responded with a recommendation to check out a website called I had been on it before but had forgotten all about it. It emphasizes optimal fetal positioning and the things you can do to help. The page she linked for me specifically talked about how when you are having non-progressing contractions, the cause is more than likely because the baby's head is having a difficult time engaging in your pelvis. It was at that point I had this semi revelation that was exactly what was going on. I checked my hypnobirthing book and just as I suspected, the baby's head is considered engaged at +1 station, and I knew I was a -1 station when checked at the hospital the week before. We went to vigil mass and I had a few contractions and during them I would do an abdominal lift (one of the recommended maneuvers).

After putting the kids to bed that night, I immediately got to work doing all the recommended moves and stretches. They were to help create space in your pelvis, by widening your hips and loosening any tight muscles or ligaments. They all felt really good and I could feel tightness loosening up in my hips for sure. I did this from about 8 - midnight. Luke and I were talking, watching TV, I was reading the book my sister wrote and I had just gotten in the mail...I was feeling good.

We went to bed and woke up to Casey teething at 3am. We both got him back to sleep and when I went back to bed, the contractions started up. They were coming 10 minutes apart, so I let Luke know, but told him to sleep and I would let him know if it progressed. I could already tell these felt different but I wasn't going to get my hopes up. From 4-5am they were about 7 or 8 minutes apart. I thought maybe this could be it, so I decided to take a shower to relax more and let the warm water run on my back. In the shower I had 4 contractions. After the 4th one I got out immediately and asked Luke was time it was. I had only been in the shower for 15 min. I told him, this is it, we need to go, call the hospital. He was up instantly and got on the phone. While he was describing to them what was going (wife 41 weeks, already 3cm, we have a bit of a drive ahead of us to the hospital, contractions coming 7 min apart for the last hour but picking up, etc...asking if we can head in) and my water broke. He hurridly told them and they said yes yes come in right away.

He called our teammate Jenna to come over and I kept having to use the bathroom and stop talking/walking every time I had a contraction so we didn't leave till 6:30am. The contractions were coming 3min apart. This was the part I was DREADING. The drive to the hospital. The only way to get there is to go through the mountains. It's 40min of winding hilly road. Awful. I had my ipod in and was listening to Easy First Stage. I used my cue words of "peace" and "release" and turned my lightswitch off (all hypnobabies lingo) during each contraction. They were really intense but I focused on staying relaxed and made sure my face, mouth, hands, arms were all limp. In between them I would put my lightswitch in center so I could talk to Luke and would tell him to hurry, but be gentle on the turns. I was feeling nauseous and I knew I was in transition. I could NOT think about what was happening. If I thought about how close I was to having this baby and that we were driving through the mountains, I would have panicked. I had my eyes closed the whole time and just breathed through each one and took them one at a time. Luke got us there in 28 minutes (it was 7am) and when I got out of the car and stepped into the parking lot, my body froze.

As soon as I stood up, there was a shift in my body. I'm sure changing position and gravity had a lot to do with it, and the fact that I just went through transition. Everything in my being started bearing down. I was doing nothing, my body was taking over and started pushing. I couldn't move my legs. I tried and nothing happened. I remembering thinking "I'm going to have this baby in the parking lot." And looking down and seeing a cigarette butt at my feet and thinking, "no not right here...where?!?" Luke was saying he was going to go get me a wheelchair, I firmly told him he could not leave my side. I was thinking I needed a stretcher! I just needed to lie down and push this baby out! Finally out of sheer will I think, I was barely able to take 5 steps and then I would have a contraction. 5 more steps and then contraction. They were coming on top of each other and I was still feeling very pushy with each one. We got inside and Luke was checking us in and I was leaning my head against the wall and starting to moan. They brought a wheelchair and looked at Luke like, "are you kidding me?" How was I supposed to sit down?!? I did though and we finally were wheeled down to L&D, waiting a few minutes to be let in and finally we got to our room. As I was standing up the nurse was asking for a urine sample, gown is in the bathroom, etc and Luke and I both at the same time said, NO. This is happening. I was still moaning and then she got it. She started hollering for people to get in here, who is her doctor, where is the midwife, etc.

I got on the bed and was on my knees, facing the back of the bed, when my midwife comes in and tells me I need to turn over so she can check me. I'm thinking, that aint happening. But I do manage to turn over for her, she says, "yep, she's complete." I somehow switch the track on my ipod to Pushing Baby Out, and hear Luke say, "so this is happening now?" She said, "oh yeah, he'll be here on the next contraction." The most annoying thing was that as the baby is literally crowning and I'm pushing him out, the nurse is putting IVs in each of my hands. Unbelievable. I managed to ask, do you have to do that? She was like, "yes honey because your a vbac and in case of an emergency." Um, he is being born RIGHT NOW LADY!! I couldn't believe it. Two or three pushes (I can't remember) and he came flying out. My midwife starts saying, "ohmygosh, this is a big baby, this is a BIG baby, honey I don't know how you did that, did you see that? I don't know how she pushed him out. You pushed him out like butta, that was like butta!" I'm telling you, it's hypnobirthing. It works. He was born at 7:22am, just 10 minutes after actually getting into the hospital room. It was so fast Luke and I kind of just looked at each other like, "is it really over already?" It was almost anti-climatic in way. Obviously still wonderful, but after the 22 hours of labor during Casey's birth and the anticipation building all that time, this just felt like, "wait, what just happened? Oh there is a baby on my chest." When they eventually took him to weigh him and told us he was 10lbs 5oz, 23 and 1/4 inches long, I was just speechless in disbelief. He had quite a bit of facial bruising from the quick labor and delivery they said. However, I then thought back to all those non-progressing contractions I had all week. And some times during them, I recalled feeling a bumping or knocking feeling against my left hip area.....and then it dawned on me that with all the contractions Owen was trying to engage in my pelvis and he was having a hard time! It was literally like he was bumping into stuff trying to get into the right position and get locked in. And he had more bruising on his left cheek bone. Poor thing! He was such a champ. I was so so grateful to my friend for recommending that website and leading me to read up on how to get your baby's head to engage. If I hadn't spent that evening doing all those stretches and moves, I very well could have ended up with an induction like Casey!

I was so so happy and on cloud nine about his birth. I stayed calm and relaxed the whole time and even though it was intense and felt lots of pressure, I wouldn't call it "painful". The hypnobirthing is so powerful and effective. And we are just over the moon in love with our son. I love staring at him and watching him gaze back at me when I talk to him. He is such a good baby and an incredible eater! That boy can't get enough. Speaking of......

If you made it through, thanks for reading!! :)

Monday, October 14, 2013

Introducing....Owen Michael!

He is here! And a whole week old! Every day this past week I thought I would get on here and at least get some pictures up. But it just didn't happen. We have been busy nursing, bonding, sleeping, and simply enjoying being a family of 5!

So here are some quick stats, as I think he is revving up for another nursing sesh. He was born on Sunday, October 6th, at 7:22am, (contractions began at 3am) and we only barely made it to the hospital. More on his birth story later though! He is a whooping 10lbs 5oz, 23 inches of lovable goodness! 

Learning his size and we are in shock!

Meeting his siblings! This is my favorite picture of my three children!! Owen's like, umm, mom.....

Casey immediately wanted to be friends

Hanging out on the bili blanket. It was to help prevent him from becoming jaundice because he was at risk for it because his blood type is different than mine and he tested kums positive (no idea what that is, not a permanent thing, just something that was a red flag for jaundice). And he never did develop jaundice, yay!

Hailey was so excited when we came home!

I kept this piece of paper that I wrote out on my nightstand and would look at and read it every day. It says.....For this birth I will: have a quick, easy, gentle and comfortable birth; remain calm and relaxed; know when it is time to leave for the hospital; get to the hospital on time.

here is what our days have been looking like. 

We are loving every minute. The kids adore their brother. Every time he makes a sound, Hailey says, "Casey look!" And they both hover over him to see what he's doing. I can't thank you all enough for all of you prayers, love and support. We are so blessed and happy Owen is here at last and that everything went so smoothly. Thank you Jesus!