Friday, January 2, 2015

Ethan David

 So this post has been a long time coming! I've thought so many times that I needed to sit down and write it, but I have so many other things that take priority these days!

I can hardly believe I haven't written a post here since this past MAY. My goodness I am neglectful! But for good reason. So what's gone on with me since May 8th?

My pregnancy continued on, for the most part very easy and healthy, although I had trouble with too many contractions once I hit the third trimester. I can't remember exactly when it started but it was enough that it worried me quite a bit and I contacted my midwife multiple times while we tried to figure out how to calm them down! We got them to where they were manageable, but I spent many nights up until midnight or later in a hot shower trying to relax (let me tell you now that relaxing in the shower is a HORRID thing to try to do compared to relaxing in a tub! But alas and alack! A tub I lack!).

Birth kit supplies, ready and waiting...
At my 37 week home visit with Debbie, she found, much to her surprise that I was progressing quite well! I was excited but not terribly surprised! I'd been having contractions that seemed like more than typical Braxton Hicks for a while, plus I'd had a feeling since I found out I was pregnant that I would go early (at least for a first-time mom!). A few days later, more obvious progress and I had my first serious "I realize now there is no escaping labor," moment. I kept having more than typical contractions for a primipara, but they weren't progressing in a way that had my sweet midwife concerned -- just excited! I wanted them to stop. I wanted total rest before labor. But she thought it was awesome. Of course, now that we were at the "safe to have a homebirth" point in the pregnancy, I was growing increasingly excited about them, too! Ethan was on his way!

I also remembered to ask finally where to get the birth kit when she was there. She was like, "Uhhh, you don't have it yet?" Oops! Needless to say I was really thankful when the birth kit arrived a few days later, since I still felt he'd be coming a bit early.

All ready for our little Ethan.
On August 21st I knew for sure he'd be here soon -- I had a total emotional meltdown for no reason at all. That was a funny thing to experience! David had come home for lunch and at some point I just started sobbing and when he asked what was wrong I was clueless! I think we both had a bit of a laugh about that.

The next day, David went to work with his sister's husband as he had been doing on and off for a while. I wasn't happy about it at all, feeling that our last bit of time as just the two of us was being robbed from us -- or at least my vision of how it "should" have gone was. In the end I think it turned out good because his being away allowed me to spend more of my time resting than I might have if he had been home. So that day I was having what I strongly suspected to be "real" contractions all day, though they were only somewhat painful. Then at some point in the mid-late afternoon I got a total break from them for a few hours and slept, slept, slept! By 6ish I texted him asking if he would be home in time for us to go to a church event that night. He said no, but that I should go with his parents. I debated with myself the wisdom of that, considering how my day had gone, but went for it! Less than two minutes into the drive to church though I realized that was not my brightest move ever as the car brought the contractions back with a vengeance! At some point I texted David again hoping he would be there soon. I wanted to go hoooome, but didn't really feel like telling anyone/everyone that I thought I was in labor since I still wasn't 100% sure. He finally showed up, but instead of going home we stuck around! Looking back on that all I can think is, "What?!" But hey, we did what we did! We even stopped at a friends house on the way home, by which point we were becoming increasingly convinced that I was in labor.

I was in denial though. My doula had literally just left town less than a few hours prior to take a mini-vacation with her family. "No way I'll go into labor when she's trying to take a day or two off, right?" WRONG. :) Because that's how I roll.

By the time we got home, it was evident that this was the real thing, though I kept saying maybe it wasn't! Because I really did not want to recall my doula from her getaway! Nor was I really feeling up to the task at hand. Ha! But things continued to progress and just before 10PM my water broke! That was a surprise to me. So many of the books and websites you read, and other moms you talk to say it may not happen prior to "serious" labor, or may be so minor you don't notice. Um. I noticed. At that point I texted both my doula and my midwife (midwife first!) to tell them this was definitely real. My sweet doula had her husband turn around and hightail it back here!

That's when things get blurry. I know I talked to my midwife on the phone a few times. At first she
was going to go to another client who was also in labor and already further along than I was. By the time she talked to me again probably less than 10 minutes later she changed her mind and said she was coming to me. I was SO relieved! I remember David going around trying to get everything ready (the tub inflated and filled, music, and trying to be there for me in between all that, a task that I am sure was NOT easy at all) and feeling concerned that neither my midwife or doula would arrive before Ethan came. I think David was more stressed about it than I was though, because at that point it was really taking all of my focus to get through each frequent contraction. I also remember Debbie telling me I could get in the tub then! That was some of the best news I had ever heard in my entire life, I kid you not! I would highly recommend water birth to anyone and everyone! There were two points during labor when I had to get out of the water temporarily and they were the worst parts of labor hands down. Even worse than the birth itself, and I am not exaggerating. The water doesn't eliminate the pain, but it definitely eases it! Poor man's (er, woman's!) epidural, indeed!

At some point, Debbie arrived with her assistant midwife, Abby. I will adore them both forever and ever. I know that Ethan would have been born whether they made it or not, but it feels like it couldn't have happened without Debbie. The closest I've ever felt to not adoring that woman is when she made me get out of the tub when they arrived so she could assess where I was. Ahhhh! That was so seriously uncool. But I forgive her since everything she does is in the interest of making sure everything is going okay. ;) I guess things just kind of kept on at that point -- and then maybe an hour or so later, my doula showed up. I just remember getting through a contraction and then Debbie (or somebody!) saying, "Look whose here!" and I looked up and Shauna was standing in my bedroom doorway, smelling of lavender and glowing like an angel (okay, so it was just a light on in the living room behind her head, but she looked and smell divine!). I remember getting really, really horrible leg cramps at one point, and Abby suggested coconut water or magnesium water or something. David disappeared and I was SO glad Shauna was there! I would have freaked out at that point to have nobody there (so much for my, "I don't want anybody but David around," idea...). The coconut/magnesium water helped really quickly and I was glad! The leg cramps were so painful they were actually distracting me from labor, but most of all distracting me from relaxing between contractions. I remember other things vaguely, like a fly landing on my belly at one point and actually shooing it away. Mostly I just remember resting my head on the side of the tub and holding David's and/or Shauna's hands, and sipping delicious coconut water that I wanted to gulp. But I was pretty excited that I hadn't thrown up yet (not even during my whole pregnancy) so I didn't want to risk it by overfilling my stomach. Ha ha ha. Yes, I WAS thinking about my "record" even during labor. There are other things I remember, but not a lot more. I just remember it being really fast and furious. My midwife would later call it a "freight train labor". Perfect description!

Towards the end, my midwife asked me to get out of the tub so that the pain relieving effects of the water wouldn't be completely lost -- too long in the tub and it does start to lose it's effect! Bummer! I couldn't believe how different it felt laboring outside of the tub vs inside! In that moment (that felt like eternity!) I decided I will never, ever, willingly do anything besides a water birth!

I think it was relatively shortly after I got back into the tub that Ethan was born! It was crazy how sudden it seemed, but then they told me it was 2:53AM and I realized I had just lost all track of time. It was still quite fast for a first timer, but not nearly as fast as it felt. By the time they got me situated in bed with Ethan and David I was telling everybody I was ready to do it again. And I meant it!

This is my, "I just got permission to get in the tub." face.
At our first PP visit with Debbie (at home!)!

Our new little family, and beloved midwife. ♥
Same day, Shauna and her PP visit! 
And here is the boy today, just over 4 months old! He's grown like a little champ since he was born and now weighs over 19lbs and is over 27in long! He's been in the 90th + percentiles on weight and height almost his entire 4 months and is very close to the 100th percentile for height. He is a very happy, healthy little boy and we could not be more thankful for the gift of him! God is gracious, and we will never forget, thanks to this beautiful little reminder. ♥

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