my postpartum journey to optimum health and performance
Sunday, May 30, 2010
It's a Boy! - Introducing Morgan
Morgan Perry Dodge, born at 7:23 a.m. on Saturday, May 29, 2010. He weighed 7 lbs 12 oz, is 19" long, with a 15" head circumference. Here is his story:
I woke up at 1:14 a.m. to a sharp, painful contraction. I went into the bathroom, not wanting to wake up Ben, and came back to bed a couple of minutes later. I tried to go to sleep but was awakened by another contraction at 1:27 a.m. Again, I headed to the bathroom, but at this point I was a little bit scared and shaken up, so when I came to bed, I woke up Ben. I told Ben that I had had 2 contractions and I wanted him to sit with me through the next one, and we could start to time them. I told Ben that I thought they felt much different than anything else I had felt before. I was a little shaky and feeling really scared, honestly. I think that I knew it was the real thing happening, but I didn't want to say it out loud.
We don't have any regular watches or anything to easily time the contractions, so Ben quickly downloaded an app for his Droid that times the contractions for you. Gotta love technology! After about 5 more contractions that came at most 5 minutes apart, we called the midwives (Rebecca Egbert and Erin Ellis of the Green Midwife Community Birth Services). Rebecca advised that we try to relax and sleep through them (yeah, right!), and that maybe we get into the water, and to call her back in an hour. We filled the tub and I sat in it for a few contractions, but I found that I wanted to move, and the tub wasn't big enough for me to move in. I really liked the hands and knees position, or the knees-to-chest position, so I sat through a few contractions on the bed in the knees to chest position. I really liked that.
At 3 a.m. or so, we called Rebecca again to give her an update, per her request. Again, she advised that we try to rest through the contractions and we agreed to call her back when we wanted her to come over.
Around 3:30 a.m. I decided that I should call my Mom to have her make the drive from Missoula. I hadn't wanted to call before 4 a.m., but at this point, I wasn't sure I she was going to make it if I called any later. We didn't tell her how close the contractions were (3 minutes from start to start!) because we were worried about her making the drive as it were, being so early in the morning.
Around 4 a.m., we called Rebecca again. I was feeling a little "pushy" but knew that I should be trying to resist the urge, because I didn't want to push before I was fully dilated. But, realizing that things were progressing quickly, we called Rebecca and told her we wanted her to come over. She told Ben that "She's probably only 2 or 3 cm right now, and she'd come over, but it still might be a while". Ben hung up the phone, relayed the message. In the next contraction my water broke (4:14 a.m.) and I told Ben that "if I'm only 2 or 3 cm dilated, I don't think I can do this!". It was intense, and because I had no previous experience to compare it to, I was worried that perhaps I was only 2 or 3 cm dilated and not just not nearly as "tough" as I thought I would be!
Rebecca made her way over, showed up at around 4:45, at which point I was laboring on the toilet or in the hands and knees position, hanging on Ben's lap. I was very vocal during the contractions, and I was surprised at how natural it felt to vocalize, and how I didn't feel self-conscious about it at all, even though I thought I would be. Rebecca took one look at me and said "Okay, I'll get set up", realizing I think that we didn't have as long as she thought we would with most first time mamas.
The advice to resist the urge to push continued, I'm not sure how long, but maybe for another hour even. I finally told Rebecca that I just couldn't resist anymore - it was taking all of my willpower and concentration, and I found myself pushing during contractions, like I couldn't help it. She did a quick check, determined I was fully dilated, and gave me the go-ahead to push!
Pushing was WAY better than not pushing. It hurt, sort of, but it was also incredibly rewarding. I could reach in and feel Morgan's head, and I could feel him enter the birth canal. It was awesome. It definitely did hurt a bit, and I was afraid of the "ring of fire" that I've heard about, which is the burning sensation you get as the tissues of the vagina get stretched to the maximum. However, I knew it was inevitable, so I might as well embrace it. We ended up pushing for about 30-35 minutes, primarily in the squat position, with me resting between contractions hanging on Ben's legs (he was seated behind me in a chair). We ended up giving the final push in the hands-to-knees position, which proved the absolute most effective at that point.
When he was born, Ben immediately said "It's a boy!" and I exclaimed "Oh! He's so cute!" I was expecting the typical Winston-Churchill look-alike newborn, but to me, MY baby was cute :) I guess that's the maternal love hormone cocktail working it's magic. I wish we had gotten the birth on video like we had planned, but everything happened so fast that I forgot to get the video camera upstairs, and for that matter, I didn't show anyone how to use it, and I even forgot that we had a video camera until I was pushing. We did get lots of birth photos that we are making a slideshow out of so I'll share those soon :)
Reflecting on the event, the thing that surprised me the most was that I never felt like I needed or wanted any drugs. The only time I had any self doubt was when the contractions started up for the first time. Well, and then when Rebecca said she thought I might be at 2 or 3 cm is all, but I knew that she wasn't here to see me so she was just guessing. At least, I had hoped she was very wrong!
Afterwards, Ben asked me if it was the hardest thing I've ever done. I thought for a minute, and said "No". It wasn't, really. It was intense, and it definitely wasn't easy, physically. But, it was easy in the sense that I trusted my body to do what it needed to do, and I knew that whatever was going to happen wasn't optional. My body was going to give me a certain amount of pain/stress, and it was up to me to handle that pain in the best way I could. I also knew that, like everything else in life, this too, shall pass. I just kept thinking about the fact that when this was over, the pain would be gone, and I would have my baby in my arms.
However, if Ben had asked me the same question sometime between 5 and 7 a.m., I might have had a very different answer for him. That's the thing about natural birth - it only sucks when you're in it, and then you immediately forget. Thanks, oxytocin!