If you missed part one or part two catch up with the first two installments below:
Where we last left this birth saga, I was finally at 10 cm and ready to start pushing! Yay! I will say some of these pictures might be a bit too real for lack of a better word, but I didn’t include any of the more graphic ones, so hopefully I don’t scar anyone.
Regarding pushing. It’s HARD. Insanely hard. You have to give 110% each push when you really only have the energy to push at like 48%. But 48% isn’t going to help you meet your child. So you push at 110% and you’re miserable. That’s the honest truth. Maybe it’s not as difficult after a shorter labor but my total time from start to finish was 31 hours and that includes two nights of no sleep. I felt pretty weak by the time it came to push.
They gave me some extra oxygen to help me take deeper breathes because the strategy to pushing is taking a deep breath, pausing, putting your chin to your chest (I did not find this helpful), and then bearing down as much as possible for a full ten counts. The Scottish was my counter. He did a great job and his voice would follow the action. For instance, when we were getting close to seeing baby boy’s head, his counting got louder and more excited which helped me push through to the end even when I felt like I only had enough breath for 8 counts.
Lucky me, I suffered from major heartburn during pushing. I swear, my body is such a weirdo during labor! I was burping and gagging and it felt awful so they finally gave me some medicine to help keep my indigestion at bay.
I also had a great cheering section that helped keep me going when I wanted to give up. The Sister and The BFF witnessed the birth of The Wee One and they both agreed it was definitely a miracle. Neither one had been planning to watch so I was surprised when they didn’t leave the room, but it was definitely special to have them there. Remember I have no modesty? And they’re family. I have more to say on the topic of watching someone give birth as well as a transcript of text messages The Sister sent The Mother during pushing but I’ll leave all that for a separate post.
The worst part of pushing was feeling all the pressure down there. Like I said earlier, my epidural had failed to numb everything. I could feel his head pressing down on my lower lady parts and it was awful. Normally with an epidural they tell you when you are having a contraction but I could tell, I could definitely tell which meant I was in charge of pushing. Sometimes I felt so much pressure we did four pushes in a row instead of the typical three. It was nice to dictate how things were going but they did have to tell me stop pushing until I got to the peak of the contraction because I would start to push as soon as I felt the added pressure.
When they asked if I wanted to watch using a mirror I said “Sure, why not?” It was really fun to see his head come down but it was really depressing to see his head go back up. The entire process is like that, two steps forward one step back and you have to be patient. I watched for a while, but then decided it was making me frustrated so I asked them to take it away. I also got to see myself poop. Oh the beauty of birth! 🙂
By the time he was close to being born I was screaming in between contractions because the pain was so intense. The only thing that felt good was pushing and even though I wanted him out, I was still terrified of the “ring of fire” or crowning.
Overall it took me 2.5 hours to push him out. I found out later that they had been preparing to take me to an emergency c-section outside my door. I’m sure it’s some sort of protocol for anyone who’s pushed over 2 hours but I cried when The Mother told me that because I was so grateful to have not known it was there. I am really happy I got to have the vaginal birth I wanted (even if it wasn’t entirely med-free) and knowing that there was a way out behind the door would have thrown me for a loop.
Remember how everyone predicted he would be HUGE? Well The Wee One was a perfectly normal sized baby at 7 lbs 13 oz. The reason for his slow decent was due to his little arm (not sure which one!) that was up by his head. I guess there was a moment of panic as he was born and a ton of extra nurses rushed in to help. My OB had to literally yank his one arm out because he was stuck and it was starting to get unsafe. I was completely unaware of what was happening but I remember them pushing on my stomach and forcing out the rest of his body. I shudder just remembering that part.
The Wee One was born covered in meconium (the name of a baby’s first stool) so they had to clean him up before putting him on my chest. While he was being cleaned, my OB helped me pass the placenta and then started to stitch me back up. I had a second degree tear, pretty typical and pretty good for how swollen she said I was. 2.5 hours of pushing will do that to you!
The moment they gave me my son for the first time was one of the most surreal moments of my life.
Full disclosure: I can’t say the moment was 100% joy filled, because there was so much going on in my head. I also felt relief, frustration, fear, happiness, confusion, and utter exhaustion. I had been so excited to meet my son for months and months but during labor and pushing, I was so focused on getting through it that I forgot to daydream about meeting him. I registered comments about how he was doing and his heart rate but I didn’t have time to imagine his face, let alone contemplate about how my life was about to change. In the moment it was about surviving and getting both of us through the experience safely. Consequently, his birth almost surprised me if that makes any sense.
I had a baby. He was mine. It was overwhelming and beautiful and everything in between. My face says it all.
I love that The Scottish’s hand was on my forehead while I held our son. At the time I had no idea he was even touching me.
The Mother actually entered the room as they were putting The Wee One on my chest for skin-to-skin time and she said it was such a gift to see her baby (me) meet her new baby (The Wee One).
This next photo must have been when they were pushing on my stomach (they do this every 15 minutes post birth to make sure your uterus starts to contract again and to make sure you don’t hemorrhage). It’s incredibly painful, although at this point, I’m not sure if there’s any part of this birth process that I wouldn’t say is painful, haha. Sorry, you’ll get no positive spin on this from me. At least not yet!
I must say the Wee One arrived looking amazing. Even the nurses agreed, he was one of the cutest babies they’d seen in a long time, and they see a lot of babies! He is my beautiful miracle. They say some people, mothers and fathers both, don’t connect with their babies right away. I totally get that. I would say I loved him before I met him but those first few moments didn’t feel real. It seemed too good to be true. It almost seemed like I was watching someone else’s life.
Isn’t he precious? I feel insanely blessed, and I would say after three weeks, it definitely feels real now. Life with a newborn is unlike anything else but it’s magical at the same time. Babies represent joy and new beginnings. And so does this birth story, in all it’s messy, painful glory. Thanks for reading.
That’s all for this week folks! I have so much to say regarding motherhood, newborns, and family so hopefully you are OK with a baby-focused few weeks. I can’t wait to share more.