My Oldest is 5 years old today. The past five year have been nothing short of amazing. We typically go into our kids room to wake them gently with the Birthday Song but this morning I was greeted by a smiling face at my bedside. I enjoyed my morning with the birthday boy. On the way to school we stopped at Dunkin Donuts to pick up Birthday Donuts for him and his class. He was so excited. After I dropped him off I went home and pulled up the images I have from his birth. I did not hire a professional (I immediately regretted it). My sister had my point and shoot camera and took what she could. I went through them and decided to re-edit them to the best I could given the jpeg quality (face.palm). I of course want to also share with you the story of his birth…
5 years ago… Tuesday April 26th
Joe and I went in for a midwife appointment. Since we were 41 weeks along on that day they had to do a few tests. They started with hooking me up to the monitor for a Non-Stress Test. Once that was finished, they did a quick ultrasound to make sure Michael had enough fluid. They said that anything above a 6 is good and I was at a 10 (not sure how they measure but I figure 4 points higher than 6 had to be good!). Rita (my Midwife) checked me and found that I was 3cm dilated. I was quite floored since I hadn’t felt any pain up to this point. Yes…braxton hicks here and there but nothing painful. So I was very excited to learn that I have earned myself 3 free centimeters! We were close there was no doubt but we didn’t know how close just yet. Rita gave us some advice on how to get things moving along. Sex was at the top of her list! She said, “Go home and have sex!”
“We did that last night though,” I said.
“Do it again… and once more. I mean once the baby comes it will be a while until you get the chance to do it so take advantage now,” Rita explained.
“Oh,” was all that came out of my mouth while Joe was sitting there winking at me. What a Geep *nerd name I used to call my husband.
She also said to eat something that will upset my stomach.
“So let me get this straight… you want me to eat crap food for dinner?” I asked.
“Yup pretty much,” said Rita.
Joe chimed in with his big grin… “McDonalds it is then!”
So we went on our way back to Beaufort. Yes, we had crap food that night for dinner and I made sure to eat all my fries, but my stomach cooperated with me and didn’t get upset. Ugh…now I just had a bunch of calories that were unnecessary! So we went to bed that night and I had a great nights sleep. (Probably to prepare for what was about to come…)
5 years ago… Wednesday April 27th
Joe went to work that morning and left around 7am. I laid in bed for a little while after he left. I then started feeling twinges in my lower abdomen around 8am. They felt a little like menstrual cramps but they were different! Finally I thought this could be it! They were mild as first, I felt them grow to a peak, and then they tapered off and I was pain free. I thought for sure these were contrx. So I started to time them. They were only 10 minutes apart (give or take). So it was early and we had some time!
I called Joe and made him come home. I was home alone and didn’t really want to do this all by myself. I then called Mom and she hopped in the car to head this way very shortly after the call. With her 5 hours away, she was not going to chance anything, so left right away. My sister also got a call and she left work early to get on the road as well.
Joe got home…I was still contracting. Nothing painful, so I took this time to relax and clean a little. We walked Aria (our dog) to daycare. Joe and I went to lunch with Julie. We met my good friend Julie for a Mexican (of course) lunch. I wanted to make sure these contrx were going to stick! Spicy food was also supposed to help the contrx so I made sure to eat lots of salsa! I had a great time…it was thrilling to know that Michael was coming! Julie was also very excited for us as well!
After lunch Joe and I laid down…He slept, I did not, but the contrx were getting a little stronger.
Mom got to the house and Ashley was only 30 min behind her. We started to time the contrax again and they were at 6 min apart. They were getting to the point where I was having a hard time getting comfortable but nothing unmanageable.
So we called Birth Center and the Midwife, Rita, said to take a walk and eat some dinner. Not what I wanted to hear of course, but I tried to oblige. I sat at the dining room table and started to eat a turkey sandwich. I took about 4 bites and I couldn’t sit anymore. The pain was increasing and the time between contrx was decreasing. Sitting was just not an option anymore. I only felt relief leaning over something.
I gave Joe the phone and said…“HERE call Rita and tell her we are on our way. AND DON’T LET HER TALK YOU OUT OF IT! Just tell her we did all she asked and now they are closer and stronger!”
Joe looked like a deer I headlights…poor guy. But he did call Rita and he informed her that we were an hour away (give or take) and about to get in the car. Now I thought about this car ride a lot. I knew it wasn’t going to be pleasant, but I made the choice to go to Savannah so no one to blame but myself. So the time had come to get in the car and I did not want to sit! No choice…I was told by my mom. And she was right! We laid the seat back so that all the pressure was not on my bottom and that helped.
We started off on the 45 minute car ride (Joe drove great by the way!). During that period of time I experienced about 15 contrx. Yup, no fun, but I had Joe’s hand and my yoga breathing techniques and we made it! Of course when we got there no one was there. I had to get out of the car so I was leaning against the car during contrx. Sabrina (my Doula) arrived first and then Rita got there.
Once we were in the Birth Center, Rita hooked me up to the Fetal Monitor. This is protocol to make sure the baby is handling the contrx well. This also shows when you have contrx, they don’t measure intensity but Joe and Ashley sure thought it did – Ashley and Joe’s eyeballs about popped out of their head when they saw the number climb from 0 to 70 or 80. If my face and breathing didn’t give it away, the number on the machine sure did. Thank goodness I couldn’t see the machine. I think watching the peaks get higher and higher would have been more torturous. The element of surprise played an integral part during this portion of labor.
After about 1 hour of monitoring, Rita checked me to see how far along I was.
With certainty she told me, “Seven centimeters.”
My mouth dropped and all I could say was, “Holy Shit!” The pain I was feeling was strong, but I didn’t expect 7cm. With how people explain the pain of labor, always saying how ‘horrible’ and it’s the ‘worst pain in their life,’ I was thinking maybe I was 5 cm. What I was feeling was painful no doubt, but manageable. I knew my body wasn’t going to give me anything I couldn’t handle. I was very relieved with 7 cm. I was almost there!
I was the only one at the Birth Center so I got my choice of room…so I chose the room with dark furniture. Not thinking…it was also the room furthest away from where I was at that moment. I immediately regretted my decision as I walked past the other room during a contrx. Once we got to the room I was immediately given an IV so that they could give me antibiotics because I was group B strep positive. It only took 20 min to get the medicine in me, but laying on the bed was a nice little break. I then opted to have Rita break my water. She was able to break the sac however just a trickle came out. She figured that his head was so engaged that it acted as a plug…Getting closer I thought to myself!
After the antibiotics were in, I wanted to get in the tub. Joe got in there with me, he sat behind me so I could lean on his thighs. Sabrina was sitting outside the tub in front of me. She held my hand and talked me through the contrx. She kept reminding me to stay relaxed in my jaw. She also had me say ‘open’ or ‘out’ when I would breathe out. After a while I was tired of saying those two words so I found a new favorite; ‘Owie!’ Joe found this particularly funny since he had never heard me say this word before. According to him I did/said a lot of stuff that wasn’t ‘me’. I stayed light hearted and tried to joke between contrx. Sabrina made a great point later on that Rita was the perfect match for us, she was able to keep the mood light and we all joked off each other which brought laughs and smiles. It was quite wonderful! I was in the tub for about an hour I think, and my back was killing me. Joe asked if he could do anything and I told him to, “Stop moving the water!” A silly request I know, but the slight movement of water was hurting my back even more.
I remember asking Rita how I was going to know when to push. Her response was, “Oh you will know.”
“Really?” I asked. Rita nodded. “Because I want to push right now. It hurts and I want him out!”
“Trust me, you will come to the point where you will NEED to push and you will know,” she explained.
We tried the shower next. Rita wanted me on my knees…funny I thought! I was concerned about being able to get up, but she assured me that with all these people they would be able to help me. So I was down on my knees leaning over the seat and Rita was running the water over my back. The whole position hurt but I knew (or suspected) that Michael was sunny side up so I needed to turn him. This was a good position to achieve just that, but again my back was killing me. The pain in my back hurt worse than the contrx…I can’t even explain it.
After the shower I laid back down in the bed for another cervical check. I was 8 cm…so we are getting somewhere. Rita wanted me in another position, she called it the ‘cookie’ position. It was me laying on my side/stomach to aid in turning the baby from sunny side up. Not the most comfortable, but I knew it needed to happen. Joe was right there next to the bed holding my hand. Looking into his eyes helped with the pain. I know it may sound a bit crazy, but connecting with him kept my mind off the pain. I would even smile during some contrx. I don’t know how long I was there but Rita was right…I felt the urge to push. It was intense. Lots or pressure and pushing sounded like the only solution. So I rolled over and Rita checked me again. I was almost at 10 cm…still technically at 9 cm but Rita thought she could slip the lip of my cervix over during a push.
Let the pushing begin! After a few pushes Rita was able to get his head through the cervix so now it was up to me. I must say that pushing was the best part . I was most afraid of this…but it actually felt good to push. It was a different pain, a pain that I knew was going to get me a baby really soon! I got to reach down and feel his head. That was weird but very neat at the same time! They brought a mirror around so I could see just how close I was. Once I saw that I knew there was a light at the end of the tunnel so I gathered all my energy to keep pushing.
I pushed for 44 min and finally his head was out. In my daze I heard someone say the head was out and all I could say in response was, “Yeah I know!!! I CAN FEEL IT!”
The next push came the shoulders, and I reached down and pulled Michael the rest of the way and brought him to my chest. Amazing! All I kept saying was…“Oh my God, I love him!” and, “I can’t believe I just did that!” It was truly an amazing experience. He was a dirty, slippery, warm mess but he was so beautiful! I can’t even explain the feelings that I felt when I finally got to look into his eyes and see his face! Joe cut the cord shortly after midnight, and for the first time Michael and I were no longer one. I passed him over to Joe so he could hold him! I loved watching them bond. He fell so in love with him and watching that moment was so rewarding; forever will that be in my memories!
Michael Adam-James, born at 11:54pm at the Savannah Midwife Group & Birth Center.
Weighing 8lbs 10oz and 20.5 inches long.
Here are some of the photos from his birth.
*All the photos taken that next morning are taken by Julie Gayler*