To all my devoted readers: I’m sorry for the temporary delay in posting! Having a new baby has been an amazing adventure so far, but has left me with little time to write. However, I do want to continue sharing my stories of motherhood and my little adventures with baby Cole. At long last, here is his birth story. A lot of details are missing, which I’m sure for those of you who have given birth can understand. The whole experience is truly indescribable and a lot of it is blurry already. Enjoy and more to come!
On week 38 of my pregnancy our doctor strongly recommended an induction. Ultra sounds showed that Cole was estimating to be in the first percentile in size for his gestational age. They explained the risks in not having an induction, and also the risks in having an induction. Greg and I weighed our options and agreed to an induction since Cole did not seem to be thriving in my belly anymore and we feared for his safety. It was time for him to enter the world!
The induction was scheduled for the following morning, but in the meantime I didn’t think it would hurt to try and push things along a bit. Greg and I dined at PF Chang’s and ordered some spicy foods. I drank Raspberry Red Leaf tea. I walked and walked and walked some more. You name it, I probably tried it. I had already been having contractions for several weeks, and by 3:30AM on the morning of my induction, the contractions were coming every 6 – 7 minutes. I was confident that at least my body had started the dilation process which would improve my chances of a successful induction. Around 4AM that morning I couldn’t sleep so I decided to make butterscotch cookies for the nurses. At 9:30AM Greg and I received the call to head to the hospital. It was time to have our baby!
Greg and I got settled into the labor and delivery room and I changed into my birthing skirt. Yes, there is such a thing as a birthing skirt, and yes, I bought it. I thought I’d be more comfortable in my own clothes than in a hospital gown. My mantra of the day was: “I’m not sick, I’m having a baby!” We had made some playlists and brought speakers, so Greg’s first order of business was to set the mood. I was truly nervous about having Pitocin administered to jump start my labor, so I was trying my best to control every detail I could to make the best of my birthing experience.
My team for the day (besides the hospital nurses) was Greg, my mom, and my doula, Ilanit. All of them played special and individual roles for me and I’m so thankful for their unwavering support during this experience. Ilanit’s calm energy helped me stay focused on remaining relaxed and reminded me of helpful techniques to cope with each contraction. My mom was a gentle spirit in the room cheering me on as loudly or as softly as I needed her to be. Greg was my rock. Every time I looked in his eyes I saw the little baby that would soon be in our arms.
It was a long, intense labor, but I’ll share a few details about the experience. Because I did not receive an epidural I was able to walk up and down and up and down (and up and down) the hall all day. During contractions I would lean against the wall or lean against whomever was walking with me (usually Ilanit). Thanks to the hypnobirthing class I took I was able to listen to music and relax enough to take a nap when I was around 3 centimeters dilated. Once I was 5 centimeters dilated (truly active labor) they were able to take me off of the Pitocin. At this point the contractions were coming very hard and very fast. It took from 11:30AM to 9PM for me to get to 5 centimeters. My lowest point of the day was realizing how long it took to get this far, and trying to cope with the idea that it could take just as long to dilate the next 5 centimeters! But I brushed off the fear and kept telling myself that each contraction was “one less” and got me closer to seeing my baby. Soon it became too difficult to walk the halls, so looked for comfortable positions in the hospital bed. My mom performed Reiki on me by putting pressure on points on my ankle which is supposed to help labor progress. Soon afterwards I became nauseous and vomited, which I was actually excited about because this is characteristic of the “transition phase” in labor before it’s time to push.
And then after only 1 ½ hours from the time they told me I was 5 centimeters dilated, I felt the desire to push. I told the nurse, but she didn’t believe me (boy do I have stories about her). So I turned to Greg and yelled, “get the doctor this baby is coming!!” The doctor came in and gave me the green light that it was time to push. It was a long hour of pushing, and at one point the doctor wanted to extract my baby out with a vacuum tool that they have, but I assured her I could do it on my own. And then baby Cole was born. They couldn’t give him to me right away because the cord was wrapped around his neck and he wasn’t breathing right away. Greg was with him the whole time the doctors examined him, and eventually after what seemed like an hour, but was probably only a few minutes, I held my baby boy for the first time. The first thing I said out loud (with a mouth full of saltines that my mom was feeding me) was, “He looks like me!”
I fell in love the moment I saw my little 5 pound, 5 ounce miracle. Every step it took to get to that moment was worth it a hundred times over. When we looked at each other for the first time it was like we already knew one another. My baby was safe, and the fun was about to begin…after I got some sleep!