Another baby, another birth! (You can read EZ's right here if you want a throw back.) And this will be long... so yea. But it's my blog and I'll long-windedly write if I want to.
Coming off an unexpected c-section with EZ, I was trying my best to stay positive about my second go around. And I really wanted to have a VBAC, which meant I would try to have as little intervention as possible if everything went that direction. I tried my best to stay as physically fit and mentally calm as possible this pregnancy, and worked out until the very end as well as breathing/meditation exercises on the daily (somewhat like hypnobirthing but not using their prompts... although a lot of the info from the class we took when I was pregnant with EZ was very helpful this time.)
My official due date was February 26th, but as of Feb 18th I was measuring a full 40 weeks... and with EZ coming 3 weeks early we had been heavily anticipating any signs of labor. On the 17th of February (Wednesday) I had about 2 hours of contractions in the middle of the night, but they peter'd out and never turned into anything.
Then on Friday the 19th I came down with a terrible chest cold that left me sick all weekend (it hurt to breathe! so much snot! oy oy oy!) and Matt and EZ suffered some of the same stuff. Bad news. We then started to pray that the baby wouldn't come so we wouldn't have to wear masks to meet our sweet newborn. I asked my dad, Matt, and David to give me a Priesthood blessing on Sunday for help with healing and peace, because I was getting nervous for labor (especially with the sickness upon me) and it helped so much. The peace we've had for the last two weeks has been amazing, and I know part of that is directly related to the blessing. I also asked my mom to put special mama-emphasis into her prayers and meditations in order to send good labor vibes my way (she birthed 5 babies... so knows what good vibes mean to a woman in pain.)
By Tuesday the 24th of Feb I was feeling mostly on the mend, until that night when I suffered from about 4 hours of food poisoning (it was a rough week for my body!) I woke up Wednesday the 26th all crampy (but figured it was from the previous night's bathroom festivities.) I headed into work for my last day since we had an on-site visitor and I figured I'd help out since I hadn't had a baby yet. I worked from 8-1pm and during that time my cramps started turning into something more, and I was pretty sure that these were contractions coming on irregularly. I left work and walked around a store until it was time to pick up EZ from school. We went home, had a snack, and then EZ and I took Guido on a walk (surges were coming on every 8-9 minutes or so and lasting 35 seconds) and I didn't want them to stop so I refused to do anything but walk. By the time Matt got home from work around 6, I was still talking through the contractions but they were coming on closer to 6 minutes apart. I did laundry, tidy'd the bathroom (including a clean mirror!), and Matt did the dishes. We had dinner as a family, and then at 8 o'clock we sent EZ off to his grandparent's because we hoped that we'd be heading to the hospital sometime that night.
I was super nervous that things would fade if I stopped moving, so I kept walking and doing chores around the house until about 10 pm. We sat down to watch some TV and the contractions went from 5 minutes apart to 9 minutes... which was deflating. But instead of lasting 40 seconds they started lasting just over a minute.... but still. We tried to go to sleep (and Matt did get about an hour and a half) but I went to the living room and did some meditation prompts and practiced my breathing. I really wanted labor to progress as naturally as possible, so I held out as long as I felt comfortable at home. At midnight things were getting more intense and they were coming on every 3-4 minutes and I had to stop what I was doing to breathe through them, so I woke Matt up and said it was time to head to the hospital. We checked in right before 1:00 am on February 27th and my sister in law, Megan, met us there right away. Oh, Megan! I will write her a poem one day for her help during labor. She basically acted as my doula and was so annoyingly good at making me not give in to drugs (blast that wonderful woman!)
So from 1 a.m. to 2 a.m. the contractions came on very hard and I kept saying "this is stupid. this is hard. i need an epidural. megan, this is stupid!" I checked into the hospital dilated to 4cm and I thought in one hour I could not have progressed enough to really make any progress. Matt was loving and supportive and Megan manipulated me by saying "let's just get through 2 more and then we'll have the nurse check you." She was very good at saying "just one more" or other crap like that ;)
Nurse checks me around 2:11 and I'm dilated to 7cm and my water breaks while she's doing her thing down there... pretty good progress for an hour! And also... no freaking wonder that it was so hard during that time. Around this time I started noticing the contractions are coming stronger in my back, and the nurse informs us that the baby is posterior (face down instead of face up) and he had probably switched because I wasn't having much back labor when we first got there... (possibly when my water broke?) So the wonderfully crafty nurses had me go on my hands and knees while Matt and Megan took turns applying pressure on my hips, and then they wrapped a sheet around my belly and would twist it tight during each contraction to try to help Sully flip to face up. This was hard work and mostly I just remember being pissed. Ha... it's true. I was quite angsty during labor (although when I watch the videos, I'm tamer than my brain told me I was being.)
My mom arrived just after 3 a.m. and it was a breath of fresh air (I turned all "my mommy!" for a moment even.) Some time after she arrived I sat down facing forward on the bed (with my feet lower on the bed) and suddenly felt comfortable. I even smiled a moment! So weird since I was like dilated to 8.5cm and the contractions were coming like less than 2 minutes a part, but something about that position seemed way easier than the hands/knees position (and he flipped! so he wasn't posterior anymore hallelujah!), so I went with it until like 4:30 or so. At this point I was at 9.5cm but seemed to be stalling a bit, so they made me change positions and it was freaking hard. The nurse at one point said something like "I bet in 2 more contractions you'll be ready to push" and I looked at her and waved my pointer finger and said "You're a liar. I'll do 50 more of these before I'm done... and I don't see my doctor so I know we're not close yet!" She also made me have a contraction lying down with her fingers up my hoohah and I may have cussed her out... because that was crazy. CRAZY.
Matt was super supportive the whole time, even when I snapped a "get it right!" when he fudged up moving the bed the right way or something. I only made eye contact with him a few times because I was so focused (and sort of closed eye'd zombie) the whole time, but when I did I'd get a flood of warm fuzzies because I just loved him so much. And every once in a while I caught my mom or Megan smiling and cheering me on, but they knew better to do it in front of me while I was obviously miserable ;) I love those women. (And my sister who couldn't be there in person, but encouraged me while I was in the beginning stages of labor and has had 2 successful unmedicated births to lead the way.) It's good to have so many wonderful women around.
So right before 5 a.m. I start complaining about my poor bum... oh my bum! This is probably TMI for the internet, but it's factual so we're going with it. The pressure and the burning and the pain was so intense all I remember feeling was angry and tired and slightly concerned my bum was going to burst from so much pressure. At this point I was sweaty and I just wanted it to be over, and then the nurse said that she'd check me right at 5 a.m. and we'd probably be ready to start pushing. And thank the heavens, she was right. Well, "thank the heavens" until I realized how freaking hard pushing would be. I thought that during labor I'd feel really powerful and warrior mother in the middle of labor, but mostly I felt like it was hard and stupid... and I just sort of gave in to the fact that I had to do it (and everyone said it was too late for drugs anyway, even if they were lying.) I had all of these thoughts like I was behaving crazy and complaining and stuff, but seriously when I watched the videos Megan took afterward, I am like way proud. I stayed calm, I breathed/moaned through every contraction (I was noisy!), I was mostly able to rest in between the surges (with help from oxygen at the end there), and I sort of feel like I owned it (but I did not think these thoughts until after it was over... in the middle of it I just remember thinking it was hard.)
So right at like 5:11 a.m. I start actively pushing and phew! That was freakin' work. And the nurses and my people were being so encouraging and all I could say was "but my doctor isn't here yet, so it can't be that close!" Even when I felt the burning ring of fire when he started to crown they still hadn't called the doc, so I just thought I'd push forever. I got super intense though, and Matt said he'd never seen the fire in my eyes like he saw when I was pushing (and I have some video/pictures of it... and it's a crazy face! I seriously almost laughed my stitches out when I watched the videos for the first time! haha... fire in my eyes is very accurate.) I think I just felt the only way to make all this pain/pressure/burning stop was to keep pushing, so I cussed a few times and just kept pushing. At 5:38 they called for my doctor, she entered the room at like 5:41, Sullivan's head came out and everyone is talking and exclaiming "his head is out, Carla!" and I'm just zoned in on pushing ... so without anyone telling me to do so, I pushed so hard that he came zooming into this world at 5:44 a.m. (so quickly that it almost looked like the doc didn't catch him!)
Oh the relief! They placed him right up on me and I saw his squishy face and was sort of surprised. I was so focused on birthing that I sort of forgot about the baby at the end... and suddenly here he was!! It was incredible and surreal, and he was so squishy and soft and perfect! He had a nice, round head even without a c-section and they were able to clean & suction him off while he was on me, and Matt cut his cord. It was very emotional and I felt overwhelmed that he was here safely and also that he came VBAC... it worked!! We had done it!!!
There was some, ahem, clean up to do down there & that was seriously crazy painful. Also, I had just exerted so much calm into labor, that I think I allowed myself to be tense and panicked as my doctor sewed up the nearly 3rd degree tearing... (and let's just get it out there... OUCH.) It was also very messy, and since we would be staying in the same room for recovery, I opted for the nurses to help me immediately walk to the shower and hose myself off while they cleaned up the bed. I walked minutes after I birthed my baby! That was crazy awesome because I don't think I was able to walk for almost 48 hours after EZ because of all the meds/catheter/etc from the c-section. I cleaned up while they weighed and cleaned Sully, Matt held him tight and tried to stop his crying (he's loud!) and then I sat down in the rocking chair and nursed my baby boy for the first time. It was beautiful and amazing and really surreal.
These next few pictures were taken like an hour or so after Sully arrived, and I can't believe how happy and calm I look. I don't know that I'm jumping for joy to do it all again next time around, but give me some time and I think that I'll be even more convinced to do it unmedicated. It's crazy and hard and sort of insane, but also was really peaceful and awesome and empowering.
Oh! And Sullivan!! My Sully bear! What a dream. He was a pound and a half bigger than EZ with tons of squish, velvet skin, dark peach fuzz hair, and dark round eyes. He was wide eye'd and awake for about 30 minutes after birth, he calmed his crying down when he was placed on my chest, and after a few minutes of lying there and syncing his breathing with mine, he nursed like a champion. It seemed so natural to have him here, and that's how it's stayed since bringing him home. He just always fit.
Recovery has been a doozy... and sort of bizarre because this vaginal birth is a whole new world in regards to recovery. (Especially with stitches & tearing!) It's almost been three weeks since he came, but I can already tell you that I'll do everything possible to have another VBAC. This experience has been so drastically different than EZ's, it's hard to even compare the two... but I do think I prefer sore lady parts to surgery (if I get to make that choice.)
I'm just so thankful he's here and here safely. I'm thankful that our bodies did what they were designed to do to get him here, and I'm incredibly thankful for the people who surrounded us to make it happen. Sometimes I feel giddy and just starting cheering stuff like "I did it! Woo! Birth!" and crazy stuff like that because it's become a very fond (intense) memory, and I'm so grateful it worked out how it did.
Thanks, Megan, for being my super strong coach & picture taker & friend & sister.
Thanks, Mama, for rubbing me with oils and doing voo-doo energy work over me while I labored. Oh, and giving me life. You're the calm, strong one who I always want in my corner.
Thanks, Dad, for giving me life and also being the nicest guy around.
Thanks, Doctor, for showing up in the nick of time... and... sewing me up? I guess you're ok.
Thanks, Nursing staff, you weren't liars and I did have a baby, and I'm glad you were so helpful and wonderful and even sort of funny sometimes. You deserve more credit than any doctor, any day.
Thanks, Thorups, for watching EZ so I didn't have to worry about him for one minute.
Thanks, Matty, for being you. I'm so glad we're a team and you're my knucklehead.
Thanks, EZ, for being my first born little love and a great big brother.
And Thanks, Sully, for entering this world just as I'd imagined and hoped, and for being squishy and sweet and a little bit sassy too. You'll forever be our favorite monster.