Friday, April 15, 2016

Meet Gabriel- A Birth Story

We welcomed Gabriel Patrick to our family on June 2nd at 2:21am!  He weighed in at 8 pounds, 11 ounces and measured 20 inches long!  (If you're wondering, Cameron was 7 pounds, 15 ounces and 21 inches long)

Monday, June 1st, was Gabe's due date.  I woke up hoping for something awesome.  Like Hubby had joked so many, probably too many, times maybe this baby was just going to be very punctual "Like his daddy."  If you know my husband, you know that he is punctual according to his own clock.  He doesn't see it like that, he thinks he is always five minutes early.  I tried to remind him that he is only early if it's an event he wants to get to.  If it's something that I want to get to, there is always time to stop for any number of extra things he wants to do.  He took his joke even further and said "Or maybe he will be late, like his mommy."  Really?  Sometimes my husband needs lessons on what not to say to a pregnant person.  I was feeling very pregnant, in fact, I was the most pregnant I had ever been!  And I was still discouraged that despite the random contractions I had been having, I still didn't have a baby. 

I was really excited to get to my appointment and hear that Surprise!  I was dilated to an 8 and they needed to admit me!  Or I thought maybe the contractions would start on the way to the clinic!  So I optimistically packed my hospital bag into my aunt's car.  She didn't want me driving all the way to my appointment on my own, so she offered to take me.  Which meant I had someone to watch Cameron so he didn't have to come in to my appointment.  Woo hoo!

When I got to my appointment, I could hardly wait to hear how much progress I had made since my last visit.  I had been stuck at 4 cm for quite a while, so I knew it had to be better than that.  She checked me.  I told my midwife that I had my bag with me if she thought I might just need to go to the hospital instead.  She said if I was at an 8 she would drive me over to the hospital herself.  No luck.  I was still at a 4!  She did a membrane sweep, but after some research I learned that might not make any difference at all.  Some people have results quickly and some don't.  My midwife told me that she didn't need to see me back for another week, and that we would do an ultrasound before that appointment just to make sure baby still had enough fluid.  WHAT A BUMMER.  

We headed back home and I unloaded my hospital bag from the car for the millionth time.  I was still determined to have this baby on his due date so I said we better go for our walk.  I had one contraction on our walk.  It didn't even hurt.  Not the results I was hoping for.

Hubby and I decided to have steak for supper.  He asked me if we had time to make the steak or if we needed to head to the hospital instead.  Obviously we had time for steak.  I told him that I had given up on my "due date"baby.  At this point I was just hoping for anything before next week.  People always say that they weren't very hungry before they went into labor, and I was starving.  So I knew that it wasn't going to happen any time soon.  I ate my whole meal and even had room left over for a giant ice cream cone!  If I was going to be gaining two pounds every week, I decided I better make them count.  After supper I had some random contractions, but they were still so sporadic I wasn't going to get everyone excited.

We headed to bed.  I had a couple of contractions.  I could really feel these.  They were strong enough to make me remember what they were supposed to feel like and I thought how silly I was for all of my false alarms.  I decided to try timing them, but they were still mostly random.  However, they were stronger!  Must be making progress, I thought.  It was about 10:30 when I decided to get up and walk around.  While I was busy walking (and hubby was busy sleeping) it occurred to me that I had very little free space on my phone.  I decided to try do a back up in case I needed to delete something to take new pictures at the hospital whenever baby finally decided he was ready.  I was trying to get my computer to cooperate but the contractions were getting so strong that I was having trouble doing anything!  I decided to call labor and delivery to tell them about my contractions.  They still weren't regular.  I explained that I lived about 45 minutes away, but that I wasn't really sure.  While I was on the phone with her, the contractions were so powerful I had to stop talking.  I said "I don't want to have a car baby."  She said, "Do you have someone to watch your other son?  Because I think you should leave your house now."

I called my mom to stay with Cameron and Pepper.  I changed out of my pajamas and packed the last few things I needed into my bag.  Hubby was awake now and repacking the car.  We were on the road shortly after 11.  At the time I didn't think of it, but now I realize that I had been driving around for weeks sitting on a plastic bag just in case my water broke, but we didn't move the plastic bag over to my seat now that I was in active labor.

The contractions were increasingly strong and uncomfortable, but still no more structured than they had been.  I suppose it was nice having a 10 minute break between them instead of having them every 2-3 minutes like they say it should be happening.  We called Hubby's mom as we were pulling in to the hospital parking lot to let her know.  When we got to the hospital there was quite the check-in process.  I didn't realize they were going to ask for so much information, especially since I had already filled out all the forms and mailed them in.  The man at the desk asked if I'd like a wheel chair.  I said "I've made it standing this long, I suppose I can make it to my room, too." or something equally snarky.

We got to the room and my nurses were fantastic.  I had been planning to labor in the tub for as long as I could, but was still not certain about doing a water birth.  I told them we would wait and see what happened when it was time to push.  They went through the rest of the paperwork and necessary information with me in record speed.  She said she would skip the part about the epidural and I told her that she better read it to me because I might decide I need it.  She looked at me and said "Nah, you don't want it."  The contractions were stronger than I remembered them being with Cameron.  The midwife came and checked me.  She asked if I wanted her to break my water so that we could really get things moving.

Um, YES.  Let's meet this baby!

So she broke my water and I was finally able to get in the delightfully warm and relaxing lavender water tub.  Hubby was asking what music I wanted like I had prepared a special playlist.  No, dear husband.  All of my last minute backups/playlist making/ etc were interrupted by contractions so there was no special labor playlist.  He said he wasn't going to pick the music so I pushed the first one that popped up on the screen.  Houseboat Honeymoon Playlist.  It is a really good playlist for drinking beer or slush and hanging out at the lake.  I don't know if it was the best choice for a relaxing and peaceful labor.  It worked though.  Actually, it was a hoot.  My nurses and midwife sang along.  We chatted about the lake.  I focused during contractions, but the atmosphere was very casual.

Someone came in to take my blood.    

My midwife told me I could start pushing any time.  I loved that they let me be so in control of my birth experience.  So when I was ready I tried a little push.


Then they had to give me some encouragement.  I told them I didn't want it.  It hurt and I was scared. My birth team was so amazing at talking me back down from my panic.

I tried a bigger push and felt a big pop!  That was it!  He must be born!

Keep going, he's so close!

I was shocked.

You mean that wasn't him?  He wasn't born yet? 

Now that I think about it, I'm surprised they didn't laugh at me.  The contractions were so strong and painful that I honestly thought I had pushed out a baby.  I guess it was just another burst of amniotic fluid.  I was crushed and I'm sure it showed.

We chatted more about the music.  "Womanizer" by Brittany Spears came on and one of the nurses suggested I don't push too hard during this song.  We chatted about my awesome hospital bag and pillow cases.  They thought it was so cool that I had made them.

More pushing.

And finally he was here!  They helped me pull him up out of the water and put him on my chest.  It is such an incredible feeling to have a baby go from being tucked away safe inside your body to snuggled on you in just moments.

We sat in the tub for a long time, just taking it all in.  Hubby got to cut the umbilical cord and stayed with Gabe when they did all the measuring and weighing.  He mentioned to one of the nurses that it was so much easier the second time around.  Imagine the eyeroll I gave him for that comment.    

Throughout our stay at the hospital, various nurses that had to check on us mentioned that they had heard about how we snuck in in the middle of the night and had a baby like it was no big deal.  My midwife said it was one of her favorite births she's ever been present at.  I could never pick a favorite birth experience, because I honestly enjoyed them both (as much as a person can, I think).  However, Gabe's was faster. ;) 

When they took my blood again they were shocked at the results.  Whatever it is they test for, mine had not decreased (they test to make sure you didn't lose too much during birth) but increased.  I told them it was obviously because I had stuffed myself full of steak a few hours before giving birth. 

I was only at the hospital for about 2 hours before he was born.  I was in the tub about 30 minutes and had 8 minutes of active pushing.  I've been so blessed with quick labors and deliveries.

So Gabriel was only a little late, I suppose like his Mommy. 


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