Thursday, December 13, 2012

Every Birth is Unique

Every birth (all two I've experienced) has been different but also similar in many ways.  Which makes sense... I mean how many ways can you have a baby, right?  Avram's birth started out pretty much the same as Jadyn's.  I woke up in the wee hours of the morning with moderate menstrualish crampage - 3am to be precise and spent about an hour timing the cramping and wondering if I were really in labor.  While deliberating I browsed the wool forum on Diaper Swappers and found a really cute pair of girly toddler longies for Jadyn. 

At four my contractions were three or four minutes apart but they still just felt like cramping without any tightening sensations - similar to my experience with Jadyn.  I guess this is my normal.  :-)  So I decided to take a shower and see if that stopped the contractions.  At this point Kenneth's alarm went off and he woke up.  I told him what was going on and he wondered why I didn't wake him up and call Alice.  I explained that I wasn't sure I was in labor and was going to take a shower to find out.    So I took a shower and while that did increase the time between contractions back to six minutes apart they were still coming with regular frequency and intensity. 

Reluctantly I called Alice (I hate the thought of waking her up for a false alarm) and Kenneth went to take care of the barn.  Alice arrived at about 5:00 - shortly after Dad woke up.  Since Jadyn was still asleep in our bedroom we went upstairs to the playroom/spare bedroom so that Alice could check my progress.  I was about three centimeters dilated, fully effaced, and extremely posterior.  More pelvic tilts - oh joy! 

The Birth Supplies
Kenneth and Alice got out the birthing pool and liner and started setting up.  Jadyn slept through the noise of the air pump thing just across the hall but woke up when it quit... crazy child.  I got her out of bed and the second she saw the pool she yelled "Baby!"  I told her, yes, we were having our baby today.  I had explained to her about a month ago that when it was time to have the baby that we would set up a pool and have the baby in that.  I guess she remembered because she knew exactly what was going on.  She was so excited about having a baby that she was shaking as I was changing her diaper.  She then raced back in the room to "help" Daddy and Miss Alice.  

So they finished setting up the pool under Jadyn's supervision.
Inspecting the liner
Kenneth was planning to use the shower to hook up the hose but when he went to hook it up it wouldn't fit right.
Dad suggested the laundry room
That worked but required a second hose to get it to stretch all the way to our room.
    Travis arrived at some point (I decided to give birth on the first day of the Nutcracker tour... very convenient... not) and after commenting that we were either setting up a meth lab or having a baby he and dad left to go set up the ballet in Tell City. 

Well, Kenneth got the hose hooked up and turned the water on.  Dirty water came gushing out into my previously sterile pool liner.  Deja Vu. With Jadyn we had this issue because we hooked up to our water heater - this time it was because he didn't flush the hose.  Oops.  He took the liner out and washed it in the bathtub.  

Finally he was able to start filling the pool.
Then he ordered me to eat.

We learned after Jadyn's birth that it was really important for me to eat early in my labor and to eat something more substantial than a grapefruit.  So I warmed up some leftover broccoli casserole courtesy of the Shinabarger Family and ate pretty much all of it.  I also ate apple slices with peanut butter.  Even Kenneth was satisfied with my food intake.  ;-)  I also drank lots of juice and water which made me have to pee all the time which made the contractions really owie for some reason.

Alice checked me again to see if my cervix had decided to get where it was supposed to be.  Nope.  Still super posterior but more dilated - five centimeters!  She asked if I was up for a walk.  I'm thinking no, not really... what I really wanted to do was get in the nice hot birth pool and relax!  But I had plenty of energy and there was no good reason why I couldn't walk so I said sure.  At this point my contractions were painful enough that I had to stop and kind of catch my breath if that makes sense so I wasn't real crazy about the idea of walking down Mill Road... I could just see people stopping to ask if I was all right.  Yup!  I'm fine... just having a baby!  No, I don't want to go to the hospital... haha

Before beginning my walk I bought those cute longies for Jadyn then headed downstairs and got on the treadmill.  Alice suggested a 30 minute walk so I set it for 30 minutes and started the beginner walking program.  It's really not fun to walk when you're having a contraction, by the way... So I'm walking and the contractions are getting a lot harder and a lot closer together and lasting FOREVER!  At the end they were about a minute and a half long with 30 seconds in between.  About this time something lets loose and I have this uncontrollable gushing thing going on.  I'm like okay.. either my water just broke or I had the pee of my life all over myself.  Thankfully my nice thick comfy sweatpants soaked it all up and spared the treadmill. 

I finish up all but the last minute of my walk (really uncomfortable especially now that I'm all wet) and go to the bathroom.  Then I head back upstairs and announce to Kenneth that I'm getting in the pool and that I think my water broke.  He asks if he should tell Alice (who had a rough night and is trying to rest in the playroom) I told him not to worry about bothering her.  I don my maternity bathing suit top and enter the pool.  Bliss!  It definitely slowed the contractions back down but I was cool with that as I wasn't sure if my cervix was still posterior and didn't want to go through hours of hard labor if my cervix wasn't being cooperative.

Kenneth puts on some music, lights candles, and we chill.  Jadyn pops in to check on me every so often.  She especially liked Mama's "kite".  (the fish net thing)  She wanted to get in with me but I told her the water was too hot for her so she just played with the "kite".  So cute.

I think my contractions started speeding back up again and I was having a hard time talking through them even in the pool and that was what prompted Kenneth to wake up Alice.  At any rate Alice came down and checked me.  My cervix was finally cooperating and had moved.  I was also up to 8 centimeters dilated.

When my contractions got pretty hard we sent Jadyn to the living room where she watched Blue's Clues with Grammy and Micah. 

Alice asked if I was feeling an "urge to push".  No...not really.  But I only got that during the last 10 minutes of pushing with Jadyn so no surprises there.  She told me I could start pushing whenever I felt like it.  So after a couple more really owie contractions I felt a bit of an urge and decided to get this show on the road.  I pushed a couple times in a semi reclining position but then switched to a squatting position with Kenneth supporting me from behind.  I was apparently much easier to support while in the water rather than out because Kenneth wasn't nearly as sore and tired the next day...  I hadn't been pushing very long when Alice said that she thought the baby would be emerging with the next push.  I was super excited and thinking wow that was fast.  So I push really hard and I see this grayish thing emerging and then all of a sudden it pops.  What?!?  "Where did my baby go," I ask.  I'm looking in the water for the baby and then I look up at Alice and she says "I thought you said your water broke."  I'm like "I thought it did, I guess I just peed all over myself..."

This is hilarious now but at the time I was seriously ticked off.  I was supposed to be holding a sweet baby at this point and instead I had to push some more.  I hate pushing.  I think we covered this in Jadyn's birth story.  Apparently I looked really bummed out because Alice quickly assured me that the baby was right there, in the birth canal and that we were still really close to the end, she told me I could feel him if I put my hand down there.  That was pretty cool but I was still irritated that I wasn't holding him so I started pushing a lot harder.  (I thought I was already pushing as hard as I could... apparently not)  I think it was only two or three pushes later when he actually emerged.  I had my hand down there on his head and watched as he came out into the world.  It was sooooo cool!  I think I was saying "ow ow ow!" at the time because once again I was getting that lovely ripping feeling.  That was a bit of a bummer because I was thinking I wouldn't be repeating that fabulous experience with our second child.

Anyway.  His head and shoulders had emerged with that push and I'm staring down in the water at a baby!  I hear Alice say "Go ahead and push again to get him the rest of the way out".  Oh yeah!  Oops.  So we get him out and I'm holding him and I look down and announce that he was a boy!  Kenneth was surprised - he thought for sure we were having another girl.  Jadyn had said all nine months that we were having a girl until that morning.  Alice asked her if she thought she was going to have a sister or a brother and she said, without hesitation, "brother".  That was the first time she had said the word brother - it was too cute.  So yeah, Jadyn wasn't surprised by the gender.  ;-)

So I'm holding him and cuddling and waiting for the cord to finish transferring all its goodies.
I tell Kenneth that Jadyn could probably come in now so he goes and brings her in.  She wasn't bothered by all the blood and mess - thank goodness - and was super excited to see her little brother.  She gives him kisses and strokes his head as Alice instructs Kenneth in how to cut the cord.  Then they get him all wrapped up and Daddy holds him for the first time.

Now it's time to deliver the placenta.  I don't remember delivering Jadyn's but I was exhausted and pretty out of it at the time.  I think hers just came out on its own.  This time around I was wide awake and energetic, almost hyper.  So Avram's had come out partially on its own - probably while we were waiting for the cord to finish but I didn't notice when.  So I give a few pushes and the thing finally finished coming out.  It hurt a bit which surprised me for some reason.  Also, it seemed harder pushing it out that it did pushing Avram.  I'm assuming because I wasn't as motivated - it's kind of hard to get excited about a  huge bloody blob. 

Got a picture of the placenta this time!
Then I climb carefully out of the pool and get somewhat dried off and we go in the bathroom to clean me up a bit, don a depends, and get changed out of my soaking wet bathing suit top.  I'm feeling really good, a bit shaky, really sore of course but still good.  Especially compared to the way I felt after Jadyn's birth.  I get in bed and start nursing my little guy.  My waitstaff brings me peanut butter crackers and juice cubes.  Jadyn climbs in bed to snuggle with us and share my snack. 

After making sure I'm doing okay Alice and Kenneth start the cleanup.  

Kenneth used a sump pump to drain the pool into the bathtub, nearly overflowing the bathtub at one point.  Oops!
When they had mostly finished cleaning and Avram had finished eating we checked out the carnage.  Yup.  I tore.  Yippee.  It was a weird tear.  I tore sideways in a funny spot.  Alice wasn't sure why I tore there.  Perhaps because his head and shoulders came out all at once instead of easing the shoulders out?  I don't know.  Regardless of the reason the end result was the same... stitches.  Remember when I threw up when she was stitching me up after Jadyn?  Or maybe I left that part out.  I don't remember.  Anyway.  I didn't throw up, thank goodness, but I'm such a baby about it it's embarrassing.  Seriously, just three little stitches and I was literally shaking.  "Can't we just superglue it," I pleaded.  "Superglue," Alice asked incredulously.  "Yeah, superglue.  We do it all the time instead of going to the doctor for stitches, don't we, Kenneth?"  I ask, looking at him for support.  He shakes his head.  "We've never superglued anything like that."  I think he had visions of my hooha accidently glued shut. 

So I resigned myself to being sewn up and just about squeezed Kenneth's hand off during the process.  Meanwhile Micah and Jadyn get to enjoy Avram while Grammy takes a shower and gets ready to leave for the Nutcracker performance.

Finally I'm cleaned up and Avram's cleaned up and everyone is happy.  Except for Micah and Grammy who have to leave this adorable little guy to go dance. :-P

Avram Harvest
This little guy weighed 7lbs. 7oz. and was 18.5 inches long - 3 lbs and 3 inches smaller than Jadyn was at birth!  No wonder it only took me 7 minutes to push him out!  Recovery has also been easier in a lot of ways.  I was definitely disappointed about all the post labor contractions.  Didn't really have those too much with Jadyn - I'm told it gets worse with every birth... something to look forward too!  But after my uterus finished its shrinkage I pretty much felt back to normal.  Well, except for being extremely sore... :-)  And since I felt so good I jumped right back into my daily routine.  Which apparently was a bad idea - my tear didn't heal completely before the stitches dissolved and Alice had to put one back in.  "You're resting, right?"  She asked on Tuesday.  Um no, not really.  "I take a nap every once in a while."  "But are you back to your normal routine or still taking it easy."  "Um, I'm pretty much back to normal."  "Well having a baby is hard on your body and you need to rest."  Yeah.  So I'm not supposed to walk around now so that I can give that last little spot a chance to heal.  It's very frustrating not being able to do what you want to do.  It would be different if I felt like crap but aside from some soreness I feel great.  Grr.  The upside is now I have a little more time for things like posting pictures, writing thank you notes, and writing this insanely long birth story.  Oh and cuddling with my amazing husband and kids.  It's so cool being able to say kids.  I'm a mama of two!!!  

Thanks for reading!  

Jadyn holding Avram for the first time.


  1. Was I officially Avram's first visitor??? can't leave that out!!! LOL Great job Gwen and Kenneth!

  2. Yup! Sorry about that... didn't want to make anyone jealous... ;-)