Noah's Birth Story: Part Two

Mar 28, 2013

In case you missed it, Part One. And men, this is your warning. Be warned.

I was pretty confused by this point at what exactly my body was doing. Things were happening so fast, but I still had a ways to dilate. Lori admitted me and I was taken to my own room. Because the Midwives do intermittent monitoring with low risk patients, I did not have to be hooked up to the monitor and confined to the bed the entire time. I had wanted a room with a tub so badly, but they were all taken.  I expressed my need for the shower and after an initial twenty minutes on the monitor, I was free to do whatever I needed to do to get comfortable and relieve pain. It was so bad at this point that I really wasn't sure how much longer I could take it, especially if I was only at 4. Because I was not planning on any kind of drugs, I didn't even have an IV. I was completely free, and it felt so good. 

I remember the nurse that accompanied me to the delivery room was really getting on my nerves. She was nice. Too nice. She responded to everything I said or did with "Honey" or "Sweetie" or "Beautiful" tacked on the end of it and with an energy that left me mentally drained. When another nurse came in about half an hour later to relieve her, I was the one who was most relieved.

It was probably about 8:30 or 9 at that point and all I wanted to do was get in the shower and feel the hot water on my body. It was very painful even just walking from the bed to the shower and I needed a bench to sit on in the shower because my legs were giving out with each contraction. Any sense of modesty I had, which isn't much with medical professionals or my husband anyways, went out the door. I got completely naked, turned the water on hot and full pressure, and sat on the bench under the pulsing stream. This was around 9:15pm. The water felt SO good. The contractions were still hitting me every two minutes, and I felt a continual pressure even after the wave hit.

My nurse's name was Andrea and she was completely amazing. I truly think the Lord knew I needed her and intervened in that situation. I get tears in my eyes thinking about her even now. In fact, I meant to ask her if she was a believer. Something about her presence gave me a sense of the Spirit. She and Michael both were very attentive to me as I was in the shower. At some point during one of my contractions, my water broke. I had been slowly leaking fluid and blood since our arrival at the hospital, but this time I knew it had happened fully. I continued to labor in the shower. Another perk to being under the water is that all the fluid that was coming out was able to be washed off immediately.

Looking back, I now realize was in transition most of the time I was in the shower and I don't think anyone realized it. That explains the extreme pressure I was feeling. With each contraction, it honestly felt like I needed to be on the toilet. I kept telling Michael, if I could just GO I would feel a lot better. Obviously that isn't what needed to happen. I made my way from the shower to the toilet and back again several times. I remember thinking at one point, mid-contraction, "I know I can do this, but I don't know if I can do this ever again!". Michael was so sweet and he and Andrea were right there if I needed something. Because this was my first time, I ended up "updating" Andrea more frequently than was probably necessary on what I was feeling. I kept telling her, "I just need to push...there's so much pressure". And she would tell me, "You're not ready to push, you've got to breathe through this". She was so sweet and kind.

After about an hour in the shower, hospital protocol required an anesthesiologist to come in, debrief me on all my pain control options, and get me to sign something saying he did just that. So there I was, naked, on a bench, in the shower, soaking wet, mascara running, in transition, and a 30-something medical student on rotation at the hospital arrived to explain to me about all the things I was refusing. Apparently, he had only really done his spiel with patients who were laying in bed and somewhat calm. I was not getting out of the shower for anything, so after asking Michael to hand me a towel (which ended up being a small hand towel that did not cover much of anything), the anesthesiologist walked into the bathroom where I had the shower curtain cracked and was trying to breathe and grunt through another contraction. 

He leaned over and told Michael, 'This is the first time I've ever done this with someone while they were in the shower." I could tell it was awkward for him, but he started and gave me the most long-winded version of "this is what an epidural does, here are the risks, etc" I think has ever been given. This thought went through my mind- "Ok, I have been so nice and patient with everyone even though I'm in pain. Maybe, just with this guy, I'll let myself be rude. Maybe he'll shut up and leave. His voice is so annoying." Because my contractions were literally every two minutes, I would put my hand up, let out a quick "hold on" and grunt, yes literally grunt and moan, through another contraction. Meanwhile, I was concerned that my urge to GO might just happen in the shower in the middle of this "talk".  It took him forever to finish because I had to keep stopping him. Eventually he just kept talking through them and his voice was the most annoying sound on the planet at the time. I just kept thinking, "Shut. the. heck. up. Please. Just go. away.". He kept giving me examples of what he was talking about and they didn't even pertain to me or my labor He finally finished and then asked me to sign a few pages. I dried my hands off the best I could, signed his paper, got it all wet, and sighed a big sigh of relief as he left the room. Poor guy. 

Andrea came in about every twenty minutes and checked on Noah's heartrate. It was so nice that she was able to do this with a waterproof heart doppler and I was able to stay in the shower. I spent more time in the shower than I did the actual delivery room. It was the only place I wanted to be. I can't imagine having been confined to the bed the entire time. An hour... hour and a half...two hours passed with contractions coming every two minutes and lasting about a minute or thirty seconds, I think.

Sometime later, around 11:20pm, I was feeling so much pressure that I literally thought Noah, or something, was going to come right out. I knew that Noah was coming soon, but nobody really believed me. Even I wasn't sure it was possible because surely I was only about a 6 or 7. It had only been 3 hours. My body literally took control at that point. Michael reminded me to breathe, but I could not control my body's urge to push. With each contraction I was tensing up and bearing down. By that time I needed something different. I sat on the toilet for awhile, then finally made the transition to the bed. Every step getting there, onto the bed, and onto my side was painful. Noah was SO low. Once I was on my side, the only position that was remotely comfortable, it was too painful to try to move into any other position. Contractions were every 1.5 minutes, and I was for sure that I was needing to push. 

During all of this, my midwife Lori was with another patient who we later found out had pushed for two hours. Andrea left the room occasionally and by this time I was pulling the nurse cord with every few contractions. I'm not sure what I was wanting her to do, looking back, but having her around was helpful and comforting. She came in and together, she and Michael tried different things to help me through contractions. She rubbed my back and shoulders as he rubbed my thigh and held my hand. I don't know what I would have done without him. He was such an amazing support. It turned out that I found the touch from them to be more irritating than helpful. All I ended up wanting was for Michael to be by my side, close, and holding my hand. 

With each contraction, the pushing pressure built stronger and stronger. The noises coming out of me came on their own and couldn't be helped. I did a lot of groaning, grunting, and "Aggggghhhs". Because Andrea  didn't think I could be fully dilated, she kept encouraging me not to push. She and Michael both kept saying, "don't push, don't push, breathe..breeeaattthhheeee." The tears were flowing now, mostly out of frustration because my body was doing what it wanted at this point and the thought of having to keep up with this level of pain for even an hour more was overwhelming. I thought I had further to go. Andrea, although she knew I didn't want pain medication, encouraged me to try the nitrous oxide. After hesitation, I agreed. The same anesthesiologist, who was probably relieved to see me on the bed, came and administered the gas. I tried it through two contractions and sent it away. It left me feeling very strange, didn't help my perception of the pain, and trying to breathe in the mask left me feeling like I was hyperventilating. 

It was 11:50pm. Andrea left the room and it was just Michael and me. He helped me breathe through two more contractions then "wham". And I mean "WHAM". I felt the scariest, most thrilling sensation I have ever felt. I frantically told Michael to call the nurse. I was freaking out at this moment and when she came in, probably expecting me to tell her I was having a contraction again, I told her, "It feels like something came out, or is coming out, or something." She calmly told me that Lori was in with another patient right now and then asked if I wanted her to check me just to see what was going on and for my peace of mind. I quickly said "yes!". Michael and I will never forget the look on her face when she pulled up the sheet. Her eyes got huge and she looked at me and said, "DON'T PUSH.....I can see his head!" 

My heart was doing flips! I knew it! I knew I was closer than anyone thought! I looked at Michael and said, "We're going to have a baby, RIGHT NOW!" I think Andrea freaked out because she was the only one in the room and Noah was on his way out! I don't think anyone expected me to go from 4 to 10cm in less than four hours. She ran out in the hall, yelled for another nurse, and kept instructing me not to push yet. I couldn't help it at that point. Each contraction sent my body into push mode and my uterus did its thing. Andrea and another nurse got everything ready at the end of the bed for Noah's arrival. They were working so hard and fast and still waiting on either an OB or midwife to arrive. Andrea looked at me from where she was preparing everything and told me, "You're amazing, Kels, you're doing amazing, you're almost there, you're almost ready to meet your baby." After this, I lost it emotionally. 

All the sudden several people came flooding into the room-a team from the NICU and another midwife they managed to find at the last minute. Energy was high and everyone was doing exactly what they needed to be doing. Those few minutes feel like a fog to me. Looking back, it was a welcome distraction to be observing what they were doing. I knew we would get to meet Noah any minute. I knew he was right there

Michael was on my left, another nurse on my right, and I was on my back. In planning Noah's birth I was sure that I would be most comfortable on my hands and knees. But when the time came, the only position I could even move to was my back. The midwife finally gave me permission to push and everyone was in place. With both my hands being held, I began actively pushing with each contraction. I could feel Noah's head moving forward with each push. One of the nurses grabbed a large rolling mirror and placed it to where I could see what was happening. I appreciated that so much. It gave me a gauge on where each push was getting us. Michael and the nurse transitioned from holding my hand to helping me pull back my legs for a better push. 

With each move downward, I could feel the stretching and burning that I had read so many times about. It felt strange in that moment. My body was focused on pushing and reading each wave and pushing past the last push, to push some more. But my mind was calm and excited at the same time, focused on the thought that I would soon have Noah in my arms and that our lives would forever be changed. The midwife and nurses were cheering me on and so encouraging. I could see his brown hair in the mirror and warm tears filled my eyes. I finally pushed his head through and knew the rest would come easily. One more push allowed the midwife to pull his body through and with it a gush of fluid. 

12:13am. Early Tuesday, November 27th. A rainy, chilly night. Our sweet boy made his entrance into the world.

Because they noticed meconium in the fluid earlier in the pushing, Noah had to be taken right over to the NICU team to be cleaned off and looked over. He came out covered in green, and was placed on my belly for only a brief second before being taken to the corner. It only took that brief second for me to fall madly in love. They cleaned him off, made sure he was alright, then gave him to Michael to bring to me. My heart soared when he was placed in my arms... through the roof of the hospital and I've yet to regain it. It belongs to this sweet gift from God. I don't even think he cried after they swaddled him. 

Ideally I wanted skin-to-skin contact right away, but because he had to be with the NICU team, they wrapped him up first. After I looked his precious face over, I unwrapped him and put him to my breast. He latched on well after a couple tries and it just "clicked". Michael and I locked teary eyes and whispered I-can't-believe-its and "we have a son" and "You did it" and "I love you so much".

He was finally here. After months of thinking and planning and feeling and pregnancy firsts. The baby boy I had felt the past several months kicking and moving was now on the outside. Nothing else mattered. He was here and healthy and we were a family. I thanked God through smiles and tears.

While Noah nursed, the midwife delivered the placenta and stitched up a small tear that I didn't even notice I had. The pain from the fundal massage was intense. After spending about an hour in the delivery room, we were prepped to move to another room where we would complete the rest of our hospital stay. We chose to delay his bath and did not send him to the nursery. He roomed-in with us the entire time and was only taken to the nursery for a few tests and brought right back. My mom and both of Michael's parents were able to make it to the hospital shortly after Noah's arrival. It was hard for my dad and both of our siblings, with their work and school schedules, to make it because we were eight hours away. It helped to have planned times when we would see them and when they would get to meet Noah for the first time.

Noah's birth was amazing in so many ways. Having the freedom, and knowing I had that freedom, to move around, to be free of IV,monitors, drugs, and intervention, to use the water to aid my pain, to choose how I wanted to give birth, and to bring life into this was the most empowering thing I have ever experienced. It happened so fast, in a matter of about four hours, and the pain was intense, but nothing I couldn't handle. I'm grateful for the opportunity to labor in the way I wanted. 

I'm grateful that my recovery was quick. I'm thankful that this was a good experience. I'm thankful for an amazing support in my husband. I'm thankful for a Godsend of a nurse. I'm thankful for a sweet, baby boy who has made us a little family of three and whose life has brought such joy, perspective, and love to our lives. I never want to forget this moment and look forward to one day sharing these words and my story with the boy who made me a mommy for the first time

Noah: Four Months

Mar 27, 2013

Dear Noah,

You've made a ton of changes this month! Your neck and back strength has really improved and you can now hold your head up on your own. We can now hold you in one arm and not have to support your head or back with the other. We still do sometimes just to be safe, but we can really tell a difference. 

In the past two weeks, you've really become intentional about what you do with your hands. You know that they're capable of much more now, like grabbing at things! Our favorite thing you've done recently is take your pacifier out of your mouth and wave it around. You're not so successful at putting the right side back into your mouth, but you understand the concept. You even grab for it when it's within reach beside you. 

In the past week, you've also discovered your feet. Putting you in the bouncy seat with the toys by your feet has helped that, I think. You now grab at your feet and as I type this, you're putting your feet up on the toy piece that attaches to your bouncy seat and exploring. 

You still love bath time and kick like crazy in the water. Daddy gives you a bath almost every night and you have a blast. You are still SO vocal and love to use your voice. You've really gotten into squealing now and love to hear your own noises. Usually you wake up in the morning and immediately start making some kind of sounds. I love it. 

This month has been pretty relaxed for us, thankfully, and we've been able to enjoy time at home together. You are such a happy baby. During the day you enjoy exploring on your playmat and are really easy-going, but always active. You kick your legs a ton and don't like being without a toy or something in your hands.

No teeth yet, but still tons of slober! You love pulling things into your mouth to chew on them. You absolutely love being undressed. Taking off your clothes could change you from fussy to giggling in just a matter of seconds. We're able to get you to laugh a bit more now, and it's the cutest thing ever! 

  You've enjoyed a few playdates this month. The latest one was the most interaction you've had with a baby that was closer to your age. You were laughing at the other kids and making your cute, happy noises. You can't sit up on your own yet, but you enjoyed "playing" from between my legs on the floor or from my lap. 

You love Facetime with Nana, Papi, Gma, and Grandpa. You love hearing their voices and usually give them a few big smiles and some of your "talk". 

As far as eating and sleeping, you are still exclusively breastfed. We're super relaxed about you eating food and feel that when the time is right and you're ready, you'll show interest. You're still getting up once to three times at night to eat, but are doing so much better about going back to sleep in your own bed beside us. You go right back to sleep when I put you back and that has helped my sleep tremendously!

We are so proud of how you are growing and seem to be learning daily. You're such a joy to us! Every single day your Daddy and I comment to each other how big you're getting and how much we love you! Happy four months, baby!

Noah: Three Months

Mar 14, 2013

Dear Noah,

This is two weeks past due, but.....You are THREE MONTHS OLD! You have grown so fast this month, showing us the most noticeable changes yet! You are now holding your head up with hardly a bobble, and you love to use your voice most of the day. We've gotten "Guh" and "Gah" and "Cah" and this funny noise you make while sucking on your lower lip. You also kind of yell now when you're upset. It's not a cry, or a whine, but just a straight up yell. You know how to pull things towards your mouth, but still can't grab at something intentionally. It either has to be put on your hand for you to grab or be within reaching distance and you might "accidentally" clasp on to it. You're slowly learning arm control but have hit yourself in the face quite a few times because you're not quite there yet. You still don't really enjoy tummy time, but I've tried to give you some at least a little bit each day. While on your tummy you hold your head up and your legs up at the same time, doing a balancing act on your belly. Eventually your neck gets tired and you set your head down for a little break.

You are still a hungry boy and are eating every two to three hours with the occasional four hour stretch. Aunt Megan weighed you during our second visit to Virginia and you were a good, solid 15lbs. Everyone who holds you any amount of time usually feels it, too, and needs a bit of a break after awhile! Your hair is getting a bit thicker, although we can't figure out which color it's turning. Your eyebrows have red tint, but the hairs on your head are still brown. Your eyes are more blue than they were last month, but have a sunburst of golden brown in the middle. Almost everyone who comments says something about how alert and observant you seem, and that you are- your eyes are wide open, taking it all in.

You are still sleeping in our bedroom, half of the night in the pack and play and half the night next to Mommy eating then falling back asleep. We decided after a roller coaster end of your 2 months spent traveling and with guests over, that you seemed to do better when we had some sort of nighttime routine. Daddy has been traveling more for work and we get to go with him most of the time. We figured that a routine, no matter where we were, might help you sleep better and feel not so out of place. I have begun to put you in your crib in your room for naps. I find you sleep better and longer with the shades pulled and Sleep Sheep "raining" in the background. It has become my favorite part of the day to come get you once you've woken up. Your sleepy eyes find mine and mouth turns upward in the most beautiful and heart-melting smile I've ever seen. Those moments when you connect with me and respond because you know I'm your mommy, your safe place, your comfort- those are the best in the world. I know they won't be there forever, but I'll soak them in while I have the chance.

Daddy has kind of taken over bath time at night for which I am so appreciative. We've switched roles and he now gets the water ready, bathes you and helps you splash around some, while I take your wet little body in my arms, give you a coconut oil massage, and nurse you right to sleep. This relaxing routine has, for the most part, really helped you sink into a nice sleep right away.

In the past month we have made another trip to Virginia to see our family as a result of Daddy working close enough to drop us off there first! We spent over a week there and you were able to spend a bit longer with each family member there than during our Christmas trip. You got to meet some of our friends and were able to spend some good, quality time with both sets of great-grandparents. On the way there you were very fussy and we had to stop quite a few times. Just about the only thing that will calm you down is looking at yourself in my phone. It pacifies you long enough to find a place to stop, anyways! You're fascinated by it!

You have been to church a few times, once in Virginia and twice here at home. You've slept through each service and been pretty friendly once you're awake. Each time I've held you and silently prayed over you, asking God to show me how to do this- how to parent and how we should teach you about Him. I think the key, no matter what, is to do that every day. To ask for that same wisdom daily, constantly, intentionally. 

Happy three months, baby. I love you. so. much.