Most of you know about my long, long labor with Simon and my anxiety about having to do all that again. With Simon, it was really important to me to try and go for a "natural" birth (I hate that word for it...let's call it "unmedicated"). This time, I had decided that I was open to an epidural, and by open, I mean I wanted one. BAD.
Starting at 36 weeks, my beloved OB started doing weekly internal exams. At 36 weeks, I was 2cm and mostly effaced. He told me that day, "Oh, this is gonna go fast." I think I smiled politely, but I definitely did not believe him. Sorry, Ed! The next week, I was 3cm and the week after, I was 4. When I went in for my 39-week appointment, I was nearly 6cm and fully effaced.
He asked me if I was having contractions.
"Nah, just Braxtons." I told him.
As I was saying this, he had his hand on my belly, checking for the baby's position. He looked at me and said, "What? You're having a big one right now. You don't feel that?"
Nerp. Just felt like someone was pulling my skin taut like a big ole drum on my belly.
He did a membrane sweep to try and get things a goin' for me. Again, there was no discomfort. It just felt like he was snapping his fingers...on my cervix. Odd. But not painful.
He then sent me home and made me promise that I'd call him if I felt anything consistent.
"Okie doke!" I said, fairly convinced I still wouldn't have a baby for a few more days.
I picked Simon up from my mom's house and continued unpacking the house. Did I mention that we moved two weeks before this? As I was bopping around, scrubbing toilets and oxy-cleaning the toddler stains out of clothes, I noticed that what I would describe as Braxton Hicks were happening every five-ish minutes. I ignored it, thinking that it couldn't be "real" until it started to get uncomfortable.
So, like any normal person having regular contractions, I went to Harris Teeter. I got an iced coffee. Simon got a cookie. We bought eggs, bread, coffee, creamer...necessities. As we bee-bopped up and down the aisles, I noticed that they were more like three-ish minutes apart. Still, though, on the pain scale, I was still a "0" so I figured I'd keep on keepin' on.
I called N. on the way home and told him I'd been timing them--that they were regular and three minutes apart.
"I'm coming home." He said.
"But they don't hurt!" I must have said this 3,800 times that day.
I called the doc, and he told me to meet him at the hospital. This guy doesn't say that willy-nilly. I told N, "I reckon we ought to get ourselves to the hospital, then."
Mimi came to get Simon, and N. and I packed up, still in disbelief that we'd actually have a baby soon. I got all misty saying "bye" to Simon. This was the last time he'd be my only baby.
When we got to the hospital, I put on my actress hat. I thought they'd send me home if I didn't look like I was dying, so each time I had a BH, I'd breathe all heavy so as to convince them that I really was in labor. A nurse hooked me up to a contraption to monitor my contractions, and sure enough, they were regular and strong as can be.
"Ooo that was a good one!" She'd say, and I had totally missed it.
"Yeah! Good one, whew!" Total faker.
|Getting monitored and trying to act like I was in labor. Bad poker face.|
|Y'all. These cups are the reason I have babies. Nah. Almost.|
Sweet Doctor Ed came in and told her to take me off that thing and warm up the room, "Why is it so freezing in here?" then put my feet in stirrups, checked me, said I was nearly 7cm and broke my water. "I can't send you home," he told me.
"It'll go fast from here, " he said, "I'll be in the cafeteria." Then he left and I sat on a birthing ball.
That was 6:45pm, and about 5 minutes later, I felt my first "real" contraction. From then on, they came FAST, about every 30 seconds or so and whoa baby. Those puppies hurt. For some reason, breathing into my balled up fist really helped me get through them. So strange and specific, but it helped. N. was, as always, as amazing coach. He cheered me through each one telling me how great I was doing.
As soon as they really started hurting, I told him, "I don't want to be scared. Pray against me being afraid." And he'd pray. Then I'd ask him again. I must have told him fifty-six times that I didn't want to be afraid. I knew the fear was the worst part.
I felt the baby drop when I was on the ball, and told the nurse. "She's coming down."
"Do you need to push?"
"No." I said.
Then I stood up from the ball to get into the bed, felt her drop again, and then wham! YESIREE BOB. I needed to push.
I don't remember individual contractions from this point on; they were just one on top of the other, and I was ready for that epidural, folks.
Everyone told me that they didn't think I had time, but--I think just to appease me--they tried setting up an IV. She poked and poked. I never did get that epidural. But they did give me a little shot Fentanyl, which felt like a few glasses of wine.
I moaned a lot this time; I yelled a lot last time. Anyway, pushing:
I told them that I liked using the pull-up bar to push last time. They looked at me, like We don't have time for that flim-flam and told me to pull my legs to my belly and start pushing.
My first push felt like I wasn't doing anything. I made all manner of prehistoric animal noises, and my sweet Doc said, "Brett, I know you think that's helpful, but it's not. Try to push without making that noise next time." So funny. Not at the time. But so funny now.
I pushed silently with all my might with the second push, looked down and saw her little head! The "ring of fire" that people talk about was never noticeable to me. Everything felt like it was on fire, what's a little perineum pain, amIright?!
"Little push this time, and she'll be out!" My doc said, and out she came at 8:09pm. Y'all. That's an hour and twenty minutes of labor. "Precipitous" they called it. I had to Google that.
They put little Owen Elizabeth on my chest and I looked at N. He's such a big daddy teddy bear-his eyes were teary as can be. I just kept saying, "Oh my gosh!" and "Hi!" to my baby girl. She was grayish blue from being born so fast. N. asked about it, and they said she would pink up on my chest, so I put her up under my shirt, and sure enough, she did.
|Look how gray! :(|
With Simon, I was exhausted. I didn't even have the strength to smile. With Owen, I had energy and presence. I was just so happy. It was the birth I had been praying for. Thank you, LORD!
N. and I just stared at her, so in love with her swollen little face and smushed nose and ears. Then, we ordered pizza, called family and I took selfies, obviously.
|Caught in the act. Selfie-guilty.|
When I was all stitched up and ready to head to our room, they had me try to get up and use the bathroom so my uterus would start contracting back again. When I tried to get up, my ears started ringing and the whole room went white. I told them I was going to pass out, and they had me lie down. This happened every time I tried to get up for a few hours. It was such a bummer, because I couldn't hold Owen. I just had to look at her in her little plastic bassinet. The nurse told me that three things were probably causing blood loss: 1) this "precipitous" birth 2) second babies make for "lazy" uteruses...(I'm like what? Did you see what that uterus just did? Jump. Off.) and 3) being a redhead! I never thought I was a red-head, but I'm fair-skinned and pink-toned, so they must have assumed. Also my eyebrows are red. So, there's that. Anyway, I had blood loss issues, which I guess is more common in Irish/English folks, but I was much better by the next morning and completely fine by the time I went home.
I can't describe how good this birth was for my soul. I feel like all of the trauma and fear from the first one has been wiped away. I know I had a lot of people praying for me, so thank you. You know who you are.
Many folks have asked us about her name. There was a female Owen in my cousin's bridal party, and N. and I loved it for a girl! It's such a beautiful name, and we felt like if anyone could pull it off, it would be the daughter of a female Brett. Right? Elizabeth was my maiden middle name, but also the middle name of my sweet Aunt Susan, who passed away suddenly last March. We wanted to honor her and all of the Battens by using that family name.
Owen is two weeks old today, and every inch of her is made of sugar. She's got her daddy's long fingers and toes, his ears, his button mouth. Needless to say, I think she's super cute!
|check out those talon feet|
|Simon calls his sister "Odie" which has stuck for the time being. Here he is offering her an apple. My heart!|
|Twins. Cute ones.|
|Owen Elizabeth 5.22.14|