For those of you who are interested in this sort of thing, I thought I’d share Nolan’s birth story while it is still fresh in my mind. I’ll try to keep the details to a gory minimum, but afterall, birth isn’t pretty.
I experienced “false” or “prodomal” labor for a week and a half before the real thing started. It was unbelievably frustrating. I would have regular contractions for 3 to 4 hours, only to have them stop completely just as I would start to take them seriously. I felt a whole host of other pre-labor symptoms at the same time. The emotional stress of waiting was really getting to me! I started doing acupuncture to induce labor naturally around 38 weeks. We also did a ton of walking each evening to get things on the move.
Finally, on the morning of January 12th I woke up with regular contractions. They were closer together than the previous false labor, so I hesitantly told Brian, “I think I’m in labor.” They weren’t painful, so he still went to work and we just kept it in the back of our minds. I spent the morning with some friends as planned, but around 11 I noticed that the contractions were getting much closer and I was becoming a bit shaky. Since a snowstorm was in the forecast, I decided it would be good to get home and have Brian there with me.
I got home around 12 and so did Brian. We called our doula and had our good friend Rochelle come over to watch Parker. I had already had an ultrasound and NST appointment schedule for 2:40, so we just figured I’d go to that and find out if this was the real deal. Until the appointment I frantically cleaned the house and got everything packed. We went to the appointment early so I could walk the halls before going in. During the NST we could see that Nolan’s heart rate kept decelerating during contractions. My doctor was concerned, so he said to check in to labor and delivery so I could be monitored for a full hour. I was dilated to 3 cm, so he said this could be it, but there was a 20% chance I’d go home if everything looked normal.
I ended up being monitored closer to 3 hours. The first hour I had to lay down, but after that my awesome nurse encouraged me to walk around with the electronic monitor. By 7 pm my doctor finally came in to check on the progress. Nolan’s heart rate looked fine, but since my contractions were 3 minutes apart, it looked like I’d be staying. I was at 4 cm and during the exam my water broke. We finally allowed ourselves to believe that this was it and we were having a baby boy in the next 24 hours!
The next three hours I was “in the zone”. You have never seen a more cooperative and active laboring woman! I walked, bounced on the ball, changed positions, did all the correct breathing, relaxed fully between contractions — I felt very in control and intentional. The contractions hurt, but were manageable and I just knew we were making good progress.
Everyone felt sure I was close to the pushing stage, so we decided to get another check. I was 4 cm. Absolutely devastated. I fell apart. I literally cried for an hour and said I was giving up. My contractions slowed considerably and I was completely limp, laying on the bed. They gave me some IV fluids to help give me some energy.
Between Brian, our doula, and the nurse I was somehow coaxed into rallying. I unenthusiastically followed orders and walked around the hospital in a daze. A new nurse came in and she encouraged me to try a new position. I was in an immense amount of pain at this point, mainly focused on my hips and tailbone. I couldn’t sit upright or Nolan’s heart rate would drop, but I couldn’t lay down because of the pain. I felt alternately hot and freezing, shaky, and nauseous. I don’t really know how I made it through the next hour, but by the next check (my doctor was threatening pitocin if I hadn’t made progress) I was at 7 cm. So much relief!
I kind of lost track of time after that, but after sometime laboring between the bathroom, the birth ball, and the bed I managed to make it to a “stretchy” 8. I was already having the urge to push, but was constantly reminded not to. The contractions were really close and really powerful (i.e. painful), until there was about a 6 minute lull. My nurse even commented, “wow, it’s nice you’re getting a little break here.” I sat up in the bed and exclaimed, “I HAVE TO PUSH!”
The nurse got really panicky, I think she thought that I wanted to be done so badly that I’d say anything. Much to her surprise, when she checked me she found Nolan’s head, just a push or two away from entering the world. Everyone jumped into action and my doctor barely made it in time. I pushed for about 10 minutes and we met our beautiful baby boy for the first time at 2:19 am, January 13. The cord was wrapped around Nolan’s neck twice, but the doctor was able to unwrap it without difficulty.
Despite the speedy delivery, I had no tears and required no stitches. I delivered the placenta about 5 minutes after the birth. I was bleeding more heavily than they liked, so they did administer some pitocin to stop the bleeding. After Brian cut the cord, I was able to enjoy cuddling with my little man and breastfed for awhile before they checked his stats. He was 8 lbs, 9 oz — after an ultrasound earlier that day had said 8 lbs, 1 oz. At 21 inches long, he was half an inch shorter than Parker, but weighed almost a pound more. Nolan was born at 38 weeks, 5 days gestation.
Recovery has been much faster this time around. We went home from the hospital about 30 hours after delivery. Nolan has taken to breastfeeding like a champ and everything with him just feels so natural. His blood sugars were all normal at birth, so we are officially done with gestational diabetes. The little man and I have incompatible blood types, so there is an increased risk of jaundice. So far so good! Nolan is a little love and hardly ever cries. He is definitely flipped with his sleeping schedule (goes about 3 hours between feedings during the day, but 1- 1.5 hours at night), but that’s to be expected with a newborn. We love our little man!!
Oh, and Parker loves Nolan too. He has adjusted remarkably well and is very zealous about giving hugs and kisses to Nolan. He likes to play peak-a-boo with Nolan and to name all of his body parts. He is especially intrigued by the umbilical stump. My heart swells so much when I have my two boys in my arms or when I see them with their daddy.
What an amazing thing to be a family of four!