Hi, friends! In honor of Rowan's 1 month birthday, I wanted to share his birth story with you all. If you had been following along during my pregnancy, you might remember that I had some pretty specific ideas about how the day he was born would go. The first thing I'll say is that it was nothing like I imagined. His birth was perfect. I didn't have the "perfect" natural birth I had been planning for, but it exceeded my expectations in every way. Fair warning: this is not the sugar coated version so proceed with that in mind!
On Friday, June 14th I woke up around 8:30 with no contractions. Nothing happening. I had my membrane stripped on Wednesday and was really hoping that would set off my labor but it didn't look like this was going to be the day. I had an induction scheduled for the next Monday as I was already a week overdue at this point. I went back to bed, frustrated and discouraged. About an hour later I woke up with three very intense contractions. Thinking that they would probably fade, I went to get a glass of water and swirl on my labor ball.
During the next contraction, the pain was so intense that I believed I had become incontinent. I was thinking, "am I in labor? did I just pee? what is happening?!". Looking back, it's so obvious I was in labor. Silly me. I had Isaiah time the contractions just to make sure they were coming closer together. I had 3 or 4 within 10 minutes. It was time!
We packed up the car, all while I paced around the house trying to make it to the car between contractions. We drove the 20 minutes to Munson Medical Center on bumpy roads. It was a sunny and gorgeous summer day. It was Isaiah's grandpa's birthday. I thought about what was happening... it was time to meet our son! Even through the intense pain I was so excited. The car ride was excruciating. We got up to the Women's Clinic for me to be checked. I was already dilated to 5 cm and my water came gushing as she checked me. (I warned you about the real details). They wheeled me to the maternity area and got me immediately into a room. I was super happy my favorite nurse was there to help.
Even before this point I had decided that I didn't want to deal with the pain of contractions. I opted to get the epidural, which was a huge change of heart. Isaiah was a great supporter, saying, "I'm just reminding you that you really didn't want the epidural. Of course it's up to you!". There was no hesitation, I asked the nurse almost immediately once we were in the room. My contractions were coming closer together, starting low in my abdomen and radiating to the top of my uterus. The nurses had to make sure I was hydrated and monitor baby's heart rate for 20 minutes before they could order the epidural. It felt like an eternity with blood pressure cuffs, needles, two monitors, no underwear, an ugly hospital gown.. I remember thinking "Okay, just get the medicine and you'll be able to catch your breath and adjust everything." With every contraction I leaned forward and let my belly hang low between my legs. I could feel my cervix opening up. It was time to meet our baby.
Around noon the anesthesiologist came to the room. Nobody let us see an needles (not that we asked). It took her about a half an hour to do what she had to do. It was painful dealing with the needle on top of the contractions but I felt very calm inside. I knew that the pain would dissipate soon and our son would be born. I remember thinking, this is the way he should come. I don't want to be in pain. I could do it, I just don't want to have to. I want to be calm and peaceful today. As soon as the epidural set in I couldn't even feel my contractions, what a relief. I even fell asleep for about 20 minutes.
It was around 1 in the afternoon when the midwife checked me. I was making steady progress. It took another 2 and a half hours for my to finish dilating. That time went by so quickly. Isaiah and I talked about how crazy it all was. I was glad that he was there to support me in that way. It was just right. When I was fully dilated I still didn't feel the "urge to push". The doctor also told me that he was lying posterior and we needed to flip him. I went on my hands and knees but that didn't work. They dialed back my epidural by half so I could feel more sensation.
Eventually I was able to feel pressure in my bottom, and a true urge to push. Ladies, it really does feel like you have to poop. So I just went with it and figured that the poop has to come out before the baby so I better just get on with it. It's not as bad as you think. I was pushing on my left side. The nurse coached me through pushing but only when I felt the urge. Apparently I was a really good pusher. :)
His heart rate started dropping significantly while I was pushing so we decided it would be best for me to push with every other contraction. They gave me an oxygen mask to wear during recovery and they needed to monitor him internally. This didn't bother me nearly as much as I thought it would. Because my pain medication was dialed back to much, I could definitely feel what was going on. It wasn't too painful, more like an intense workout. I gripped my right knee and used my left to hold the mask. It was intense. I felt powerful. Isaiah was right there cheering me on. My number one guy.
When the doctor came back to check on me, she declared that she would be staying. She couldn't believe how much progress I had made! It had been about 2 hours. I remember her asking me if I wanted to keep my socks. Ha! I said, "I don't know, okay, sure" . That's when I knew for sure that he was close. I pushed and pushed, through the ring of fire until his body was born. (A truly unique sensation). In what seemed like a millisecond he was on my chest. He let out the sweetest little cry and Isaiah and I were overcome with emotion. There is nothing like meeting your baby for the first time. He looked into my eyes and I lost it. He was perfect. I held his hands and rubbed his back and marveled at just how amazing he was. His hair, his fingers and toes. Our baby was here. Little Rowan, you are perfection.
So that is the somewhat abbreviated version of Rowan's birth. If you have questions about what happens next, or anything about my experience I would be happy to share!