A week ago at this time, Dan and I were at the hospital, listening to the baby's steady little heartbeat.
|Baby Izzy at two days old.|
Birthin' a baby was nothing like how I expected. While this isn't a baby blog (and I won't go into graphic detail, don't worry), I'd love to share my experience because the idea of birth was something I found really terrifying... and in reality is actually a pretty amazing, not that scary experience (and the best total body workout of your life)... even when things don't go quite the way you plan.
I felt like I went in to this experience with no real birth plan, but as the big day approached I realized there were definitely things I envisioned and things I really did not want to happen. I had some vague vision of labouring in the jacuzzi tub, rocking around on the birth ball, getting massages from Dan. I really wanted to avoid an inductions, as I heard they increase the pain and possible medical interventions... and I really didn't want to be stuck in a bed. But ultimately my birth plan was "get the baby out in the most efficient and safe way possible." After all, no matter what you plan on, your body and your baby call the shots.
My water broke early on Sunday Morning. It was not nearly as dramatic as in the movies. In fact, it took me a few hours to realize I'd better get by butt to the hospital. We went in at about 8 and got looked over. My doctor just happened to be doing rounds so he was able to check us out and send us home, with a plan to come in for monitoring every 12 hours or so. Between hospital visits, I felt great. We went out for lunch, ordered pizza, watched movies, tidied up the house... went back and forth to the hospital for check-ups. Finally at about 1:30 on Monday morning I started getting contractions. Never in my life was I so excited to have horrible stomach pains every 10, 9, 8... minutes! We waited until they were about 6 minutes apart, called the hospital, then headed in. We took a seat and waited to see a nurse.... and the contractions stopped. Completely just stopped.
We waited around a bit. There seemed to be a mini-baby boom at the hospital (a result of a brutal winter?), and things were very busy. I kept hoping that things would just happen "the way they should" but after 30+ hours of waiting for labour to start, we decided we'd induce. The crappy part was it had to be administered by IV, and I'm scared of needles and being stuck in a bed. I was surprised by how disappointed I felt about being induced, but at one week past my due date I was also pretty ready to be done being pregnant.
So, I got a few jabs, was set up in a delivery room, got comfortable in bed because I knew I'd be there for the next several hours, and we started the induction. Contractions started very fast, were regular, and we were rolling. I took a shot of some pain medication and we literally just chilled out with the nurse for about 4 hours or so, chatting, watching tv, and really just having a good time! The pain medication didn't really do anything for the pain, but definitely took away any anxiety. Between that, keeping your mind calm, and some practiced, yoga breathing, labour was really manageable and not scary.
I guess it must have been about 3:30 when the pain got really intense and I decided I'd give that epidural a try. I have to say, the pain wasn't the worst pain I've felt in my life, but I am of the mindset that if I can avoid being in really bad pain, why not? I was pretty freaked out by the idea of a spinal catheter, but in reality the procedure was quick and painless. By the time it was in place, the nurse looked at me and said "something is different, I think you're ready to have the baby." Sure enough, the epidural hardly had time to kick in and the baby was on her way. I was terrified that the epidural would leave me numb, but I still had a ton of feeling (and was walking around an hour after delivering). I pushed for an hour and a half, between which we were joking and laughing with our nurse and doctor, and at 5:36 pm my beautiful baby Isabel was resting on my chest. In total, I was only in active labor for about 5 and a half hours.
I wanted to share this story because as I was pregnant, I read a lot of scary things about "medicalized" deliveries. I had a very medical birth. Induction, pain medication, epidural, etc., and it in now way diminished my experience. I left the delivery room feeling so proud of myself for doing what I had done, and so happy with my experience... In fact, my experience couldn't have gone better and I've basically been raving about giving birth all week (ha! I never would have believed it). We were all calm, and relaxed, and most importantly, we ended up with the most beautiful, healthy baby girl. My advice to anyone about to have their first baby, or planning on having a baby is to go into things with an educated but open mind, and most importantly, do what you feel will be best for you and your little one.
Since Monday, I have spent hours just looking at her thinking "How on earth did I ever create something so beautiful?" I can easily say, she is the most amazing thing I've ever had the pleasure of being a part of...
We brought Oliver home from my parents last night and had our first real night as a "family" together. Oliver is adjusting well to having a very loud little sister, and Isabel doesn't seem to even be phased by Oliver's snorts and barks.
So, it's been an exhausting week, but I am so glad to have her out in the world with us! I'm sure I'll be spamming the blog soon with pictures... hope you don't mind. She really is adorable and has two very proud parents.
PS. I apologize in advance for typos, spelling errors, sentences that may just drift off... I'm running off of about 4 hours of sleep a day