Tuesday, April 1, 2014

Benjamin Walter's Birth Story

So since Benjamin is almost a month old, and I'm finally adjusting to this whole no-sleep thing, I figure it's about time for me to sit down and write his birth story-before I forget all the details!

Thursday, March 6th started out as any normal day. I was feeling good and was about a week away from my due date. I had finished up most of the work that I wanted to and my long term sub was in my class shadowing me for the week. Everything was going according to schedule. In fact, the day before I had an OB appointment where my midwife urged me to have Friday be my last day of work, so I could take some time to relax before the baby's arrival. I didn't quite agree, and planned to work right up until my due date, but as you will soon see-Ben had plans of his own...

So that day had been going as usual, I had just finished my lunch and picked up my two 2nd graders to work with. Well, about halfway through our lesson, around 12:30, I felt a little gush and excused myself to use the bathroom-my sub was in the room with my 5th graders. I was pretty sure my water had just broken. So, not knowing what to do, I ran down to the 5th grade teacher that I work with. She then brought me down to the nurse, who had me call my doctor and Nick. At this point, I still felt fine-just a lot of nervous anticipation. So, I said my good-byes to my students and fellow teachers and drove back home, still feeling perfectly fine. The midwife on call suggested that since my water had broken, I should come in that afternoon so they could check for blood or meconium.

At home, I had Nick make me a big pasta lunch so I could fuel up. I also took a bath-so I could shave my legs-priorities people! Then I just relaxed, ate some pasta and made a few calls to my parents and in-laws just to give them a heads up of what was going on. Once 3:45 rolled around, we finalized our hospital bags, packed up and headed in to get checked out. We arrived to the triage area of labor and delivery around 4:15. Here things started to pick up a bit, and I started having mild contractions. I was hooked up to a monitor and told that I could probably head home to labor after an hour or so of monitoring. They were monitoring my contractions and the baby's heart rate to see how he was handling the contractions.

At around 6 o'clock, a nurse came in and told us that they had seen a deceleration in the baby's heartbeat during a contraction and I would have to be monitored for another 2 hours. They were sure everything was fine but it was hospital policy. So, Nick ran across the street to get some food and at this point my contractions had strengthened so that it was no longer comfortable to lay in the bed.  I moved to a yoga ball which seemed to help and Nick was great about rubbing my back and applying pressure during contractions.

At around 9 o'clock that night, a nurse came in and told us that we could either go home to labor or be moved to a room in the labor and delivery ward. With the way my contractions were going, I couldn't really imagine getting in a car, so we decided to get admitted.  The nurses who came in and out were amazing. They were all on board with my decision to try for a natural childbirth and applied counter pressure and used massage to help ease contractions. My parents had driven up and came to the hospital to check in on us. I couldn't really hold much of a conversation at that point, the contractions had gotten pretty strong. One of the midwives suggested we walk the halls to let gravity help things move along. So out we headed to the hall, and I remember thinking how long the hallway seemed, and wondering how I would ever make it to the other end. Nick was such a big help and gave me points of reference along the way-like trying to make it to the nurses station before stopping to rest. This was a huge help and gave me something to focus on.

After a few rounds of hallway walking, I came back to the room and my parents headed back to our apartment to help take care of Gertie. One of the nurses suggested that I take some medicine to help me sleep, so I could save up my energy for the big event. The medicine helped me rest a little, but I could still feel some of the stronger contractions, so every few minutes I would sit up a bit and work through them. Around 3am I had some really strong ones that I had to get out of the bed and move around. Some of the contractions were so strong at this point that I was practically begging Nick to get the nurse so I could get an epidural-I was losing strength and ready to give up on my goals, but Nick was so strong and reminded me of my plan and that I just had to get through this one. He really helped me focus on that one moment, rather than the hours of work I had ahead-which is all I could think of.

That morning, March 7th around 7am, I got into the tub to see if that would help with contractions. It definitely did, and I labored in the tub for a few hours. The jets felt great, and Nick would constantly pour water over my stomach during contractions which also felt amazing. I didn't know this at the time-I was pretty out of it, but my parents and in-laws had arrived and were in the waiting room. At around 9am, the midwife had gone out to the waiting room and told the parents that the baby would be arriving at around 2pm.

The next few hours are pretty much a blur. I spent most of the time in the tub, continuing to labor drug-free. I will say the jets in the tub, Nick pouring water on me, and the support of all the nurses and midwives definitely helped me through. I don't think I could have done it without the support of all those people. There were literally about 6 women in the room with Nick and I-we had the head nurse, nursing intern, midwife, midwife's intern, the baby nurse and her intern-it was a little crazy, but I was so focused and in my own zone, I didn't even mind. I'm not exactly sure what time it was-somewhere around 1pm where I finally felt so much pressure and the urge to push. I moved out of the tub and onto the toilet to labor down for a bit. After a few contractions they moved me to the bed where things really got moving.

At around 1:30, I started pushing. This was the most intense pain I've ever felt in my life. I was literally screaming bloody murder at this point, there were just the most gutteral, animal-like sound coming from my body-I honestly felt bad for other women in the wing at that time-they were probably like 'get me the epidural, stat!' During the pushing-it felt like one step forward and two steps back. I remember thinking during a few pushes that I had given my all and had nothing left to give and that had to be the push that got his head out-but nope. That went on for what felt like an eternity.

At one point the midwife looked at me and said, "Your face shows fear-do not be afraid, you can do this, you are going to meet your son in the next few minutes". That just helped me get to a totally new place. I knew what I had to do to get my son out of there. A few pushes later, Nick grabbed him under the arms and pulled him up onto me and we met our son, face-to-face. 

There are no words to describe this moment. It was truly the best moment of my life. After an hour or so of skin-to-skin time, our family came in. We introduced them to Benjamin Walter through cheers and tears of joy. And so begins this crazy journey of parenthood. We couldn't be happier!