I've been meaning to write Wyatt's "birth story" for weeks now. It was such a life-changing event, it seems almost silly to write it out in a little blog post. There is so much I could say about the whole ordeal that I'd much rather have a conversation about it than have to organize all my thoughts into paragraphs, but I'm going to try my best. Also, looking back at these photos again makes my heart want to explode. Such a special time, back when he could barely open his eyes because his eyelids were too chubby, and everything was just so brand new and he was so tiny.
Click through to read about Wyatt's birth day below...
For personal reasons, I knew even before I got pregnant that I wanted to have a natural, unmedicated birth (without the use of an epidural or other pain meds). I have nothing against epidurals, and I don't think a non-epidural birth is anything to really brag about (millions & billions of other women have done it!), but since I didn't know how many opportunities I will get in my lifetime to have a child, it was important to me to truly feel what it was like to give birth. I knew that it would obviously be more "challenging" (read: painful) if I went this route, but I figured if this was going to be the biggest event in my life, I might as well live it up and take advantage of it! Childbirth is supposed to be a struggle, I think, and I've come to learn that the pain/discomfort related to it is nothing to be afraid of. It is rewarding and fulfilling, and an absolute privilege that women get to have.
On the morning of Tuesday, October 29th around 6:30am, my water broke. It was not a huge gush (sorry to be so graphic! ha), so Aaron & I were in denial about it a little bit. I decided to play dumb since I knew I had a doctors appointment later that morning at 11:30am anyways. So that morning Aaron went to work, and—anticipating that this was the day, and that chances were I would not be coming home for a few days—I took a shower, had a good breakfast, finished packing my hospital bag, and made sure our apartment was spick-and-span for when we brought our baby home (!!!).
Soon after my water broke I started feeling tiny little tinges of discomfort, which I assumed were contractions. They lasted no more than 5 seconds and were about every 15 minutes. At least I was hoping these were contractions, because I knew if I was not progressing on my own that there would be talk of pitocin, which I was trying to avoid at all costs.
I went in for my doctors appointment at 11:30am, and sure enough, I was in early labor! The doctor called in to let the hospital know I was coming, and I told her I was going to wait for Aaron to meet me before checking in, and she said that was okay. My contractions were still coming and they were still very light, about every 8-10 minutes by this point, I think. While I waited for Aaron to get to the hospital I painted my nails in the car and took a walk around the parking lot.
We checked in to the hospital around 1:30pm, went over my birth plan with our nurse, and then I got hooked up with the fetal monitoring belt. My doctor agreed to let me have intermittent monitoring, so I only had to wear the belt for 20 minutes every hour. For my first monitoring I was laying in the bed, but was glad when it was over because things started to get uncomfortable. After getting out of the bed, Aaron & I took a walk down the hall, and tried doing some of the things we had learned in our Bradley Method birthing classes we took. Eventually, though, I ended up in the rocking chair that was in my room, which turned out to be an absolute dream. That rocking chair & I were BFF's that day. It was my saving grace, for sure, as I sat in it for hours through all of my contractions & all the way up until the point I was getting ready to push.
My entire "active labor" happened in that rocking chair, from about 4pm until around 8:15pm. Since we were already at the hospital, there was no need to time my contractions or keep track of how far apart they were. I just knew they were coming consistently and gradually getting stronger. This ended up being a very good thing, and helped me lose track of time. I really had no concept of what time it was, other than I could tell it was getting darker outside. Luckily I never felt like things were dragging on, and the whole day went by fast, to be honest.
The contractions kept coming & kept getting stronger, so I just kept rocking back and forth in my beloved rocking chair. During contractions, the only thing on my mind was trying to stay 100% completely relaxed. I would constantly check in with myself to make sure there was no tension at all in my face, jaw, neck, shoulders, arms, chest, stomach, hands, and legs (my whole body). I was total rag doll. Here I was, going through one of the more/most physically uncomfortable experiences of my life, and I swear I've never been so relaxed. It was awesome. (I had been practicing my relaxations/meditations for weeks & months in preparation for this.) I loved the silence in the room, and the way I handled the pain was to just focus on keeping my entire body relaxed, and also to remind myself that the stronger the contraction, the closer I was to meeting my baby boy.
I think around 8:00pm I was going through a contraction and felt the urge to push. Hallelujah, I thought! Game time! I told the nurse what I felt, and she said to go through a few more contractions and let her know if I felt the pushing again. I went through another 5 or 6 contractions probably (by this point I was doing deep breaths in and moaning & groaning on the exhale...somehow that helped), and felt like pushing on a few of them. Eventually the nurse had me get up out of the rocking chair and asked me to lay down on the bed so she could check how many cm I was dilated. She checked me, but I asked that she not tell me the number. She said to go through a few more contractions, and then I would be ready to push.
Finally, at 8:50pm I got the okay to start pushing! Or rather, to push along with the pushing my body was already doing. This stage is pretty self explanatory...I pushed my baby out!! This was the most painful part for me, but you just do what you have to do to get the baby out, which is to push—really hard. And it's true what they say...the breaks between pushing contractions are much more rejuvenating. The nurse & doctor kind of let me do my own thing and push at my own pace. I also had a mirror to see how things were progressing, and Aaron actually got a photo of Wyatt half in/half out, which obviously I won't be sharing on my blog ever, but is still one of my most favorite photos. Having Wyatt's entrance into the world captured in a photograph is incredible. (Thank you, Aaron!!)
After pushing for a little less than an hour, Wyatt was born at 9:43pm. The moment he was placed on me will obviously be the most pivotal moment in my life, and I can still remember the feeling in my arms of his soft, chubby, warm, purple/pink-skinned body. It didn't take very long for Wyatt to start crying. He cried, I cried, and I held him so tight. I was finally a mother, and I had never felt more alive, more powerful, more strong, or more honored & humbled than I did in that moment when I held my brand new baby. It was better than every good feeling I had ever felt, times infinity. My whole life changed in an instant. I've thought back on that moment, and there is nothing I wouldn't do to feel that again. (Give me more babies!!) Carrying him within me for 9 months, going through the intense struggle to bring him into this world, and then getting to hold him for the first time...the whole experience was overwhelming, to say the least. I'll stop trying to describe it, because there just aren't words good enough.
Aaron & I had some time alone with our new baby shortly after he was born, and we felt such a peace in our room as we marveled at this precious gift that was given to us. I knew that it would be amazing to finally have him here with us, but honestly, nothing could have prepared me for the love that I feel for my sweet baby boy. I'll always remember October 29th as the night we all arrived—together as a family at last.
**P.S. Wasn't sure where to fit this in, so I will add it here... To prepare for the birth day, Aaron & I took Bradley Method classes, like I mentioned, and I was also reading loooots of books, including HypnoBirthing by Marie Mongan. The classes were great & very helpful for Aaron especially, but listening to the HypnoBirthing meditations were so helpful for me. I was doing 30-minute meditations two (sometimes three) times a day for the last few weeks leading up to my due date. It was good practice to get my body familiar with being in complete relaxation. Also, reading positive affirmations at least once a day helped me be more confident in my decision to go without an epidural, and assured me that my body would know what to do on the birth day. And sure enough, it did! I feel very blessed that my pregnancy and labor & delivery went as well as it did. I remember feeling right after the birth that I loved being a woman. There's just no nice way to say it....men are totally missing out!! ;)
(This birth story was pretty long, and I still left a lot of things out. If anyone has any questions you can email me or leave a comment. I love talking about this kind of stuff!)