Saturday, July 29, 2017

weston's birth story | part three

The next few minutes after deciding to head to the hospital were a bit of a hurried whirlwind. I had completely forgotten to pack a hospital bag, just in case, and my sister, Martin, and the student midwife ran around trying to pack my bag for me! I was way too consumed with my contractions to be of much help and later laughed when I was getting ready to leave the hospital in my bathrobe because the clothes they packed me didn't quite fit my postpartum body :) We didn't pack much and forgot a bunch of things like the car seat(don't worry, Martin went and got it later that day :)and my camera, but in that moment I would have gone to the hospital naked if it meant we could just leave already so I could get some relief. 

The sun was just beginning to rise as we began to all caravan to our new destination. Let's just say that was the longest 10 minute car ride of my life. I'm thankful it was early morning and there were few people on the road. I sat in the backseat of the car with my hands clenching Martin's headrest, muttering a few curse words under my breath, and praying that we wouldn't hit any red lights. I didn't want anybody pulling up next to us and seeing a very pregnant lady in serious labor! I'm sure I was scaring Martin half to death with each contraction, but he drove steadily and quickly and was probably so glad when I got out of the car! 

When we arrived at the hospital they were all ready to take me upstairs. My midwife had called ahead and let them know we were coming. I am so so thankful that my midwives and sister stayed with me the entire time. They were my voice and advocate while we were there. I knew that I wouldn't have control over certain things now, but I still wanted to be able to make decisions that we felt were best without feeling pressure from the hospital staff and my midwife was able to help us do that.  

The anesthesiologist was quick to get started and I was truly thankful for that. As I sat up on the edge of the bed I had one of the biggest and longest contractions I had had yet. It felt like it just wouldn't let go of my body. I remember yelling out, "WHY IS THIS TAKING SO LONG!" and then in my politeness added..."I'M TALKING ABOUT THE CONTRACTION!" so the anesthesiologist didn't think I was being rude thinking he was taking too long to get everything set up :) So many people we talked to were curious about why were choosing to have our baby at home. Our plan for a home birth was not because I don't believe in epidurals or pain relief during labor, but it was more about the environment that I wanted to bring my baby into. I wanted to be in the place where I felt the safest and calmest. Where it was quiet and where we could be surrounded by the comforts of home with a midwife who we had gotten to know and trust so well. In the end, I am so thankful for the time I did get to labor at home. Those hours were beautiful, intimate, empowering, and peaceful. 

By 7am my body could finally rest. After about 12 hours of the most intense labor of my life, I felt a sense of calm wash over me and I knew I had made the right decision for myself. There's no way to know if I would have made it through my entire labor at home, or if my body would have suddenly dilated to 10 cm in an hour (one can hope :) It's hard for me to not think about the what ifs. These past few weeks have been about accepting my decision and being at peace with it and all I can say is that at that moment I was so happy to be able to sleep for a little while. And sure enough, that's exactly what my body needed me to do. 

We spent the next couple of hours sleeping on and off again. We drew the shades and turned off the lights and let ourselves relax. I was progressing much faster now and by about 11am I was ready to start pushing. I remember my sister coming over to the bedside and brushing the hair out of my face as everyone around us prepared for the arrival of our baby. At that moment I just started crying. I think I just needed to release the past 9 months...all the anxiety, emotions, and excitement. The disappointment of these past few hours...she gave me a big hug and told me not much longer.  

With everyone by my side, encouraging me through about an hour of pushing, it was finally time to hold my baby. Martin got ready to announce if we had a boy or girl and with one last push he cried out that we had a boy! I was so incredibly relieved our baby was here safely and I truly couldn't believe we had a son! All those months of guessing and wondering! I don't think there was a dry eye in the room as the midwife quickly placed him on my chest. I held him close and kissed his tiny nose. He looked so much like his sister! He was perfect and he was ours. 

What an incredible moment it is to meet the little soul you've been carrying for nine months. It was him all along and I felt like I'd known him forever. 

Part one here
Part two here

Tuesday, July 25, 2017

a little birthday trip to estes

Yesterday we headed to one of our favorite places in the mountains, Estes Park! It's only about 40 minutes from our house and we love to wander along the river, people watching, and enjoying the cooler temperatures from the city.  We decided to take Everdeen to celebrate her 5th birthday and to of course find some special birthday ice cream :) 

It was such a beautiful day! Estes was swarming with people, but we were able to find a peaceful and quiet place near the river to eat our lunch and just listen to the rushing river. It was the perfect white noise to help Weston stay asleep in his wrap! 

These family outings are everything to me. We haven't been able to do as much this summer with our new little one, so the times we can escape as a family of four are so special. 
My  F I V E  year old! 

Other Estes Adventures :)

Monday, July 24, 2017

weston's birth story | part two

It was about 7:30pm had only been about 30 minutes since my water had broken and my contractions were intensifying quickly. I thought maybe this labor would be fast and I told Martin we needed to head back inside from our walk. 

I threw the pile of laundry I'd been folding into the closet...out of sight out of mind ;) and we prepared our room for labor. Martin filled up the diffusers with my favorite essential oils, lit some candles, and helped make up the bed. I texted my midwife again to let her know how I was feeling and I remember her texting back that I must be in early labor if I can still text her :) That changed really fast! 

My older sister, Elizabeth, arrived by about 8:30pm and by then I was telling Martin he needed to call the midwife back. My contractions were still about 4 minutes apart, but wow were they powerful and I definitely could not talk through them anymore. I will probably say it a thousand times throughout this story, but my sister was incredible during my labor. She held my hand the entire time (even when I was squeezing it so hard she probably thought I was going to break it :)and talked me through each contraction. She stayed up with me the whole night, encouraging me, and guiding me all the while being five months pregnant herself! She slept between my contractions on the bed with me and I truly wouldn't have made it as far as I did without her. 

.   .   .   .   .

I didn't hear my midwives arrive until I felt a soft hand stroking my hair back. They quickly checked the baby and myself and then headed downstairs to let me keep laboring. I loved how my midwife let me work through my labor, never interfering until she needed to check the baby's heart rate or my blood pressure. It felt safe and calm in our home and she knew I would instinctually do what I needed to do.

Not long after the midwives arrived my contractions started taking over my whole body. There's something about being in labor that makes you sort of let go of all insecurities and being self conscious. I definitely started vocalizing through each contraction at this point. Suddenly I felt the urge to push! Could this be it?! Part of me was so hopeful that it was and part of me thought back to Everdeen's labor when I had the same sensation and was told I was only 3 cm dilated. My sister got my midwife and she decided she would check me to see if it was time to meet our baby. The news of only being 4cm hit me like a wall. Not again! Why were my contractions so incredibly painful if I wasn't as far along as I thought? I began to feel so discouraged, but I also knew that my body could also make progress quickly. My midwife asked if I wanted her to apply some Clary Sage essential oil and I happily obliged. I knew that Clary Sage could really get things moving and wow did it. The intensity of my contractions doubled!

Soon after I was checked, I really don't remember much. I know at some point I got in the bath and had the shower run over my back until we ran out of hot water. I labored for hours on my knees at the edge of the bed, working through each wave that hit my body. Holding onto my sister or to Martin until the contraction peaked, trying to sleep in the 3-4 minutes before the next one started.  

I had no sense of time and I tried to not think of the next contraction coming, but instead be present with either my rest or the contraction I was having. But I was really struggling. I remember calling out multiple times that I could not do this anymore! My midwife and sister gently reminded me that I was doing it! About this time I started to hear the birds chirping outside my bedroom window. I had grown accustomed to hearing the chorus of birdsong every morning around 4am due to my pregnancy insomnia. I remember asking why the birds were chirping at this hour...thinking it was maybe midnight. But it was already nearing 4am. 

It had been 9 hours since my water had broken and about 14 hours since my contractions had really started that afternoon. I was tired. Emotionally, physically, and mentally. Around 5am My midwife decided to check me again (usually she doesn't check after your water has broken, but I think she knew I needed to hear some good news about my progress.) I reluctantly got onto the bed. Laying down through contractions felt terrible and I just wanted to stay where I was. She checked me and gently said, "You're about 5cm." I had only progressed 1 cm in about 6 hours. I began to cry as my midwife helped me sit up. I told her I couldn't do this anymore and that I thought I needed to go to the hospital for pain relief. She rubbed my back as I cried and I remember telling her through my tears that I felt like I had failed. Everyone in the room told me over and over that the most important thing was to have this baby...however it happened. I then made the very very difficult decision that we would head to the hospital. 

Part one here
Part three here

Friday, July 21, 2017

weston's birth story | part one

May first. It was the first day of my maternity leave and the months and weeks leading up to this day had been stressful and overwhelming to say the least. Preparing a months worth of lessons is no joke and at some point you just have to let go and trust that everything will run smoothly without you...the kids will be just fine, and you will soon forget that you spent hours and hours making plans late into the night.
That morning I woke up feeling, for the first time in months, a sense of peace. This was my birth month! And our little one would soon be joining us. My due date was still 11 days away and I was hopeful that I wouldn't go two weeks late like I did with Everdeen.  

I spent the next week nesting like a mad woman. My mom was over almost every day helping me to purge and organize every corner of my house. I felt relieved that we could finally bring the baby into this world in a clean house :) We gathered up the final birth supplies that we would need and set them in the closet...waiting for those first signs of labor. 

I continued to meet with my midwife weekly, who had been insisting my entire pregnancy that I needed to see a chiropractor to hopefully help the baby come on time and make my labor shorter. I finally gave in at 38 weeks pregnant and went for my first adjustment. I had been having contractions on and off again and it felt eerily similar to the way Everdeen's labor had begun. Lots of evenings where we thought it was possibly go time, but by morning, all was calm. I worried that I would spend another two weeks like this so I scheduled a second chiropractor appointment. I left that appointment hopeful that I wouldn't have to go again next week.  

We continued to keep busy through the weekend...enjoying our last days as a family of three. I was trying to walk multiple times a day to help get things going. Waiting is one of the hardest parts. As you inch closer and closer to your due date it becomes a bit of a mind game. I kept reminding myself that my due date is just a guess...that baby comes when they're ready and when I'm ready. I spent a lot of quiet time by myself while Martin was at work and Everdeen at preschool, reminding myself of this. Trying to not let my anxiety creep up and be at peace with the present moment.  

The beginning of the new week brought on more of the same. I debated whether or not to schedule another chiropractor appointment and told myself to hold off for maybe one more day. By early Tuesday afternoon, my contractions were feeling much stronger. They were about 12 minutes apart, but I could tell these were different. I think I knew my labor had started, but I didn't say anything to Martin. By now I had thought my labor had started three different times :) and I wanted to just make sure.  That evening I was upstairs folding the laundry through contractions, when I felt an incredibly powerful surge go through my body. I started to walk to the stairs to tell Martin, when my water broke. Okay! This really is it! I remember walking down the stairs, meeting Martin half way and just bursting into tears. He held me and gave me the pep talk I needed to hear to re-ground myself. I took some deep breaths and called my midwife to let her know what was happening. She was so calm on the phone and it reminded me that everything was okay. Millions of women have done this, I have done this before! I called my older sister and she immediately hopped in her car and started the hour drive to our home. 
Martin and I took Everdeen outside so I could do some walking. The sun had set and Everdeen thought it was the most exciting thing ever to be going for a night walk. We didn't make it very far when my contractions began coming every 4 minutes. They intensified so quickly that I really had to concentrate through them. The most amazing thing though, is that in-between my contractions was complete stillness. There was no lingering pain...almost as if I hadn't had a huge wave through my body minutes before. I leaned against a tree while Everdeen ran up and down the hill behind our house, oblivious to what was happening. The full moon was up and it felt like tonight indeed was the night we would meet our baby.