Ultrasound pictures, belly pictures, pregnancy journals and birth stories.
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So, to start off, I gave birth to Owen exactly two weeks early on Monday June 27th. The day before my husband and I took maternity photos and my work through me a surprise baby shower. Talk about good timing!
My first contraction came at 5:45 Monday morning. I woke up feeling what I thought was a slightly more intense braxton hicks contraction. I had to focus on breathing and relaxing through it which made me wonder if was actually a real contraction. I immediately felt a huge desire to get out of bed, so I got up and just kind of walked around my bathroom for about 30 min. I had this urge to get stuff done and I couldn't get myself to fall back to sleep. I also really wanted to wake up DH, but decided not to so he could get some sleep before going into work. I had a few lass painful contraction and then at 6:30 I had another intense one. I fell back to sleep and at 7:30 I had another intense contraction that woke me up. I woke up DH and told him I thought I was going into labor. At that point we both thought it might be early labor or false labor and he decided to go to work and told me to call if anything changed. I got out of bed at that time and started keeping track of my contractions on an on-line contraction counter. They were not very painful but were coming about 5 minutes apart. I had a ton of nervous energy and I spent the day cleaning my house; vacuuming, doing dishes and laundry, packing my hospital bag etc. Every time I had a contraction I would just pace around the house and practice deep breathing. They really weren't that painful and it surprised me that I could move through them so easily.
At about 10:00am I woke up my parents, who are staying with us this summer. I told my mom I thought I was in labor, but she didn't think I was because I wasn't in much pain. She thought that maybe I was in the early stages of labor and might have the baby in a few days or something. However, I had a feeling it was real and called my midwife. I live two hours away from the birth center so she told me I could come in and get checked if I wanted to just to be on the safe side. She also didn't think I was in active labor since I wasn't in that much pain and could walk and talk through my contractions. So, we got things packed up and my parents drove my down to the birth center at about 2:00pm. During the drive my contractions got progressively worse and an hour into the drive I was starting to feel a lot of pain. I got out of my seat belt and knelt against the back seat and swayed through the contractions. My mom also had me focus on her eyes and breath with her during the contractions. She was so great and really helped a lot! By this time I was starting to get panicky. I called my husband and told him to head down to the birth center ASAP. unfortunately everyone he worked with was at lunch and he had to wait about 30 minutes before he could even leave.
By the time I got to the birth center I was already dilated to 7cm. I was totally shocked! I thought that I would maybe be at 4cm tops. The midwife warned me that I was getting into the hardest part of labor, and she was not kidding! It got really intense from there on out. I got into my birthing suite and began by leaning over a birth ball during my contraction while the nurse showed my mom how to put pressure on my hips because my hips and back were killing me!
About 30 min later the birth tub was filled and I was able to get in. By the time I was in the tub my contractions were so intense I could barely breath through them and I was feeling exhausted, emotional and scared. I spent most of my time on my knees leaning over the side of the tub while my mom massaged my back and the nurse and midwife talked me through the contractions. I was totally shocked at how painful and intense they were. It was like nothing I would have ever expected. The feeling reminded me of vomiting, where your body just spasms so intensely with out any control, but times that by 100! At this point I was totally in my own little world. It was a very strange feeling, being so spacy and out of it. I couldn't even put together sentences, let alone remember any of my coping strategies or breathing exercises. Lucking I had a great team to coach me though.
About an hour after being in the birth tub I started to feel like I needed to push and the midwife checked me. I was dilated to a 91/2 with just a little lip of the cervix in the way. I was so happy I was so close because I was beginning to feel like I couldn't go on any longer. I was told I could start to bare down if I felt the urge. On the next contraction I had an intense urge to push and pushed a couple of short pushes through the contraction. I was shocked at how it felt to push. I thought it would make the contraction less painful but it didn't! It was really uncomfortable to push and it reminded me of being really sick and dry heaving vomit in the toilet! With each contraction I pushed, and pushed! I was screaming while pushing and the midwife told me to put my energy from screaming into the pushing. Once I did that, my pushes were super effective. After about four contraction my midwife told me to reach down and feel the baby's head! Just a little sliver of his head was poking out of my vagina and it felt so weird to feel it! At that point I got extremely scared because I could see no way that that was going to fit out of my body. But I just kept pushing and about four contractions later the head was out! I tore upward along the upper right labia as the head came out and that freaked me out. The midwife assured me I was okay even though I was certain I had been split in half (it wasn't that bad, it just felt like it!) One more contraction and his little body came sliding out! They put him on my chest and all I could do was say over and over again OH MY GOSH, OH MY GOSH! About a minute later my husband finally made it and he came running in! I couldn't believe he missed the birth by only a minute, but at least he was there for the first few moments of our babies life! He cut the umbilical cord a few minutes later and I got out of the tub to deliver the placenta while the nurse and DH cleaned off baby Owen and did the APGAR score test. All in all I pushed the baby out in less than 15 minutes and my labor was a total of 12 hours long from start to finish. I couldn't believe it was so short and if I had waited a little longer to leave my house I might have had Owen on the side of the road on the way to the birth center.
We spent about six hours recovering at the birth center. I got stitched up ( I needed four stitches I think) and nursed my little son for the first time. He was such a good nurser right off the bat! He weighed 6lbs and 10oz, and was 19 inches long. He is the most beautiful little thing I have ever seen! We spent the next two nights at a nice hotel down the street from the birth center so we could be close by just in case anything happened. The next day the nurse visited us at the hotel to check on me and baby. I was really sore and exhausted because I couldn't sleep, and breastfeeding was really painful, but Owen was doing really good. When we finally went home I was so excited to get in my own bed and was finally able to sleep for the first time in two days. I had no idea that it would be so exhausting after giving birth and I had really bad baby blues. My family was awesome and helped with the baby so much. Tomorrow Owen will be a week old. I am starting to finally feel less depressed. Breastfeeding is also getting much easier. Here are some pictures of our birth posted on the birth centers website.