Sprout has arrived! His birth story…

14 Mar

Our son is finally here. The moment we lived for for so long has finally come and we have met this precious little being that we will love until the end of time…He’s actually one week old already. How time flies! We’ve been working on getting the hang of new mommyhood and I’ve been trying to write here and there when I’ve had any time.

First a little follow up from the last post about my wife and her health conditions. A sigh of relief came over us (finally) when her oncology results came back and the doctor confirmed that they were able to clear all margins of her tumors. They got it all with the surgery and we don’t have to worry about chemo. She will continue to get checked for the next few years on a very regular basis but overall we have have come into calm waters and things appear to be smooth sailing.

We got to spend a few weeks after that news focusing on the impending arrival of our son. We worked on his room, we made a belly cast of my tummy, we got some maternity photos taken, all very good things for us. We reconnected with each other and tried to focus on the positive and how our lives were going to change…and then they did.

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At 2am on March 6th, I woke up and realized I was having contractions that were “different” than the Braxton Hicks I had been feeling. I was only 38 weeks and a few days pregnant so I decided to try to go back to sleep and see if they passed. It wasn’t uncommon to have some sessions of contractions that would stop leading toward my due date. I noticed that they were timeable. Only about every 10-12 minutes apart, but they did keep coming. I woke my wife up just to let her know that I may be in labor but that I was going to go back to sleep. We were expecting a big snow storm in the morning so I also texted my doula and our midwife just to give them a heads up that I could need them to be able to get to our house later. For those of you just tuning in, we have been planning a home birth.

I did fall back asleep but woke more frequently and by about 9am things had really picked up and my contractions were about every 3 minutes apart. I was using meditation techniques, a warm shower and lots of breathing to manage them myself as best I could. My wife was busy around the house preparing for the birth and making sure that I had what I needed to stay comfortable. Our midwife arrived and checked on me to find that I was already about 7cm dialated. She started inflating her birth tub immediately and said she didn’t think it would be very long until this little man joined the world. I was so happy with our progress! Our doula took lots of beautiful photos that I will treasure forever and I’ll share some so you can see what it was like along the way. I can’t say I look good in them at all, but I’m going to hope I get brave points for doing it because they are so intimate and honest.

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The warm water really was amazing.

I got in the birth tub when it was ready and it felt SOOOOO good. I knew I would be soothed by the warm water but didn’t realize just how amazingly calming it would be. I spent a lot of time with my eyes closed, focused on progressing through labor and working hard. Even though I felt so much weightlessness, I felt that I wanted more support, so my wife got in the birth tub with me and was able to help me move and hold me up at times when I could not do it for myself. Our doula and our midwife’s intern had arrived and we found our groove in our “sacred space” around the tub. We had candles burning, music playing, I was being massaged and nurtured and it was all the peaceful things that I wanted. Our birth team was an amazing support to me and I truly felt safe in that space even in the face of so much discomfort.

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Our midwife checks the baby’s heart rate and my wife supports me in the tub

Somewhere in the afternoon hours, my midwife checked me and realized that there was a roadblock. I had a polyp on my cervix, possibly resulting from scar tissue caused by my endometriosis. It was causing me to dilate asymmetrically and we were hoping that it would just resolve itself as I continued. While in the tub,I started to feel the urge to push and they directed me to go with my instinct, so I did however I did so mildly and cautiously so we could keep an eye on the polyp. Well, once I started pushing it was hard to stop. The urge to push at the end of labor is like no other urge I’ve ever experienced. Once you feel it it’s nearly impossible not to bear down. There was a problem though…the pushing had started to cause swelling and instead of continuing to dilate, I actually began to swell more closed. We also realized around this point that the baby’s head was acynclitic, meaning that he had his head tilted to the side, making it a little more difficult to make the descent through the birth canal.

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I just have to state how much I love the one above…here I am laboring away and my wife is chilling with a cup o’ joe. Priceless.

As evening hours  approached I got out of the tub and tried to labor in our bedroom on a birth stool so my midwife could monitor the polyp more closely. It wasn’t good. I tried not to push but the swelling continued. We also realized that I was not able to urinate anymore, which is a big deal in labor. On top of the swelling, I had a full bladder adding more pressure and pain to the mix of my contractions. I wasn’t getting many breaks in between at this point and I feel like there were a few hours of contractions every minute or so apart. I really wasn’t getting much rest at all. We tried different techniques, inversions, things to move the baby (rebozo), I laid in bed laboring on my side for a few hours with just my doula while she massaged me and tried to get me to “blow through” the contractions instead of pushing when I felt the urge. That may have been the single hardest 2 hours of my entire life. Little did I know that my wife, midwife and the intern were downstairs starting to discuss a transfer to the hospital. The polyp had gotten bigger and more swollen and she was very concerned that now with my bladder complication, if I pushed the baby past it that it could rupture and result in a hemorrage  We didn’t want to have an emergency on our hands so they came upstairs and started presenting me with their plan.

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I was not happy in the least, but I was also very tired. It was about 11pm and I had been laboring at home for nearly 20 hours, over half of which was near transition and trying to get past issues. Otherwise, my birth had been great. I hadn’t had anything unnatural to help me through. At one point, they called my cousin and asked her to run to the natural foods store and pick up some Arnica for me (an herb used for pain relief) and I was getting massaged with lots of essential oils but as far as aids went, that’s all we used and I was very happy about it. But I knew that was all about to change. They started cleaning up the house to get ready to transfer to the hospital and I labored in the bathroom with one person always attending me until we were ready to go. That’s the point when I started to get very aggravated. I knew there would be a resolution when we got to the hospital and I was just ready to go and get it started. Somehow, I got dressed, walked down the stairs and got in our doula’s van with my wife while she drove us to the hospital. That car ride was the hardest of my life. I was 8cm dilated, barely conscious  feeling so sick, exhausted and beside myself that our plan hadn’t panned out. I’m not sure how I didn’t cry the entire way there. My midwife had called ahead and luckily it was late and they were not very busy so they pretty much met us at the door with a wheelchair and took me directly to a labor and delivery room.

The assessment was done quickly and the decision was that I would have to get an epidural (to overcome the pushing urge), rest and continue to try to give my body a chance for the swelling to come down and dilate fully. I hated it, but at that point I was all in. My only other hope for me and my baby was a c-section and I hated that even more. I also needed a catheter, but they thought it would be incredibly painful for me at this point with the placement of the polyp and the baby’s head (he was +2 station already. Really low.) They wanted me to get the epidural first but the caveat was that I had to take a full bag of IV fluids before I could get it…on top of an already very full bladder. I felt like this was some kind of cruel joke but I had already come so far, I knew this would only bring me closer to rest and us closer to our son’s arrival.

I got the fluids and then luckily the anesthesiologist showed up quickly to administer my epidural. It took about 20 minutes to get it in and unfortunately, you have to be very still (NOT easy with 8cm contractions!) and the hospital policy was so that my wife could not even stay in the room while I got it. I clung to a nurse that I barely knew and within 20 more minutes started to finally feel some relief. I was also able to get the catheter then and for a few blissful hours, we turned the lights out and I tried to rest and let my body heal and progress. I must say, I have heard horror stories about epidurals and although I really didn’t want one, mine was wonderful. If I had to do it again, I would still try to avoid one but for our purposes this one probably saved mine and my son’s life.

By 9am the few people in our lives that knew I was in labor were kind of freaking out…My Mom included. She came to the hospital to see us and bring my birth team and wife some food because she knew that I was in the final stage of resting and it wouldn’t be long. It did feel really nice to see her once things were under control. I do not think I could have handled her when things were scary at home and it would have just been added stress but now it was comforting. Moments after she arrived, a hospital midwife came in to check my progress and stated that I had dilated fully, swelling had really gone down, the baby’s head had already come down past the polyp on it’s own and that it was now time to have a baby. I was elated and a little scared at the news. It was finally time to meet our son! She pulled up a cart and a few nurses rushed around the room hurriedly preparing. My wife held one of my legs and my midwife and doula were at the other. My Mom hung back in the doorway to the bathroom but she was still very much there and I remember being moved just having such an amazing group of women gathered in my line of sight for what was about to happen.

At 9:32am, I started pushing….and I think I only pushed about 6 times. My wife and I both felt his head as he crowned and she started to cry. At 9:40am, our son was finally born and they laid him on my chest. His first wailing cry was the best sound I had ever heard in my life. He was here and he was perfect. We had about 10 minutes to stare at him in awe before they took him to the other side of the room for weighing and measuring. He was 7lbs on the dot and 20 1/2 inches long . He breastfed successfully about 20 minutes after he was born and has been going strong ever since.  I hate that we had to be in a hospital for those moments, but ultimately am just so very glad that we were all safe.

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Best day of our lives

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We named him Anderson Jamescott. Anderson because it was a name that we both fell in love with and also the name of the town where my wife’s Mom was from in Indiana (She passed away about 5 years ago and we wanted some way to incorporate her into his name). Jamescott was something we cooked up a while ago inspired by great men in our lives. James was my Grandfather’s middle name, I’ve stated before how much he meant to me. Anderson also has a very pronounced chin dimple for an infant, which is a strong physical characteristic I have always associated with my Grandpa. I think he has it for a reason. Scott is a very near and dear friend of ours and so we combined the two names to make a new one. We like how distinguished it sounds, but also plan on calling him “AJ” for short. We gave him my wife’s last name and later I plan to change mine too so that we will all have the same.

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Anderson has two Mommies. We’re pretty sure he loves it that way.

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We only stayed at the hospital for about 24 hours after he was born. I would have liked to go home even sooner but I still had some bladder issues after the birth and I had to keep a catheter in overnight. We came home last Friday afternoon and have been trying to settle in and get the hang of things. We really couldn’t ask for a better baby. Sure, he has his moments but he’s been very laid back and patient with his new Mommies as they try to figure out how to take care of him.

We are cherishing every moment and it’s hard to believe that we’ve already had a week of them. Life goes so fast. And on that note, I’m heading off to scoop up my beautiful baby boy stare into his eyes and remind myself again what a blessing he is (instead of proofing this post, so please excuse the errors). Thank you to everyone for reading along and following our journey so far. It really is just beginning.

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4 Responses to “Sprout has arrived! His birth story…”

  1. Alida March 14, 2013 at 11:39 pm #

    I’m sorry you weren’t able to have the birth you wanted, but elated that everyone is happy and healthy. I’m glad that you were able to try every possible alternative before transferring. Your birthing team sounds fantastic and it’s good that you had them on your side when the unexpected happened.

    He really is beautiful. It’s nice when such a long, complicated road can have a truly wonderful and rewarding ending.

  2. Shannon March 15, 2013 at 5:38 am #

    Thank you for sharing your story. Beautiful baby, beautiful family. Wishing you all blessings and joy.

    Goodness, do I ever adore AJ!

  3. Isa March 15, 2013 at 2:02 pm #

    Congratulations! He (and his awesome dimpled chin) is adorable! The birth story is also pretty amazing–I’m glad you got to do most of your laboring at home, even if you did end up in the hospital in the end. Enjoy your sweet little guy!

  4. Lex March 30, 2013 at 7:08 pm #

    Congrats! What a wonderful birth story. I’m sorry that your plans for a homebirth couldn’t happen, but it sounds like you were in very good hands and were incredibly strong through it all. So glad that everyone is healthy.

    He’s gorgeous! Good luck with these first few weeks.

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