9.5cm dilated with just a teeny tiny super flexible lip left in the way!!
I wasn't quite allowed to push yet, but Dr. P, our NaPro OB, was on his way and pushing was most definitely going to happen soon.
When Dr. P arrived around 4:45am, I was mid-contraction and was SO exhausted from the intensity, I couldn't even lift my head off the birthing ball I was leaning on to say hi. Actually, it took me about 5 minutes to even process that I should say hi. A super muffled,"Hi, Dr. P," was all I could muster. I'm sure he understood, though.
At 5am, Dr. P gave me the go ahead to start pushing! Hallelujah!
From everything I had read, pushing is typically the favorite part for moms, since the contractions actually get a little easier and you actually feel like you're doing something productive finally. You can even watch your little one's head descend if you want. So I was ready. Exhausted, but ready.
In our birth preferences, we had written that I wanted to decide which position I pushed in. I figured I'd want to be squatting or kneeling on the bed, hanging over the back of it, something non-traditional like that. Especially because in those positions, you're less likely to tear. But when the time finally came, I was soooo exhausted, and still shaking uncontrollably from when transition started in the tub, that all I wanted to do was lie down. And so I did.
At this point I also decided I wanted to be completely naked. I wanted to be able to do skin-to-skin immediately and I thought complete nakedness would make that easiest. So off went the bikini top. And away went any shred of modesty I had left.
Before pushing started, I remember saying to Amy in a super wimpy, tired voice, "What if I'm bad at pushing?" I was so scared of getting stuck in the pushing phase, or needing assistance to pull baby out. She reassured me that I could do it and then the whole pushing ordeal started.
Turns out, I'm not like most moms. I hated pushing. It was way harder than I ever thought it'd be. First, contractions were still being mega felt in my bottom. So that didn't get any better. And on top of that, the pushing process is just complicated. You wait around for a contraction to start and then you hold your breath 'til you're bright red in the face and you PUSH with everything you've got, barely catching your breath between each push. And you've got to push to a very specific spot or else all your pushing energies are wasted. Of course, I kept pushing into the wrong spot. It wasn't 'til the end of the contraction that I'd figure out where to direct my pushing, and by then, I'd only get one short, perfect push in.
Finally, by around the 10th or so contraction of pushing, I had it figured out. I pretty much would push correctly the whole way through and we were making some serious progress. I was still hating every second of it, but I was doing it.
Soon, Dr. P and John and all the other spectators could see baby's head! I had told Dr. P at one of my prenatal appointments that I was pretty sure baby was going to be super baldy since both John and I were bald babes, so he decided that moment was the perfect time to make a joke. "This is the baldest baby I've ever delivered!" Totally funny to me now, not funny at all during delivery. I looked him dead in the eye and said, "Knock it off."
With the next contraction, baby was crowning! And WOW was that a special kind of pain. They call it the ring of fire and now I know why. It burrrrrrns! His head was half out and my contraction was over, so his head just sat there, burning my perineal tissue. Ouch! But letting him just sit there was also stretching it out, which I knew was good for avoiding a tear. So I just panted and whined through it... "Owww! It hurts SO much!"
Dr. P asked me if I wanted to reach down and feel the head during the next contraction and I just bluntly said, "NO." I mean, I could definitely feel it already, thank you very much, and something just weirded me out about touching a half-birthed head.
The next contraction came and with a push, his head was out!! Doc told me to stop pushing so he could check for a cord around baby's neck. No cord was there, so I pushed again to get baby's shoulders out and just like that, our baby was born!
They immediately put baby on my tummy and by the way they held baby up, I could easily tell we had a boy!! And our boy had a set of healthy lungs because he was crying up a storm already. Such a sweet, sweet cry!
I looked up at John and he was blubbering more than the baby. It was so beautiful to see him so emotional.
Meanwhile, I snuggled up with my newborn son and just quietly fell in love.
We cuddled skin-to-skin while Dr. P delivered the placenta and then stitched me up. I was still shaking uncontrollably at this point. Labor does some weird things to your body.
I ended up with a 2nd degree tear, close to a 3rd, which Dr. P thinks happened when John Paul's shoulders made their way out. He said I did a great job pushing slowly to avoid a tear, but those shoulders just caught me the wrong way, and so I tore. Ah well!
While he was stitching, I remember apologizing to Dr. P and the rest of the folks in the room for all the weird noises I made during labor. I was surprised when they said the noises weren't weird at all, but instead sounded like I was singing! I guess moaning isn't as embarrassing as I thought!
John Paul and I stayed skin-to-skin for a while and attempted a first breastfeed, but he wasn't maintaining his temperature, so they had to take him to the warmer for a little bit.
They weighed our big boy and he was 7lb 15oz!! He checked out perfectly in every way and soon he was warm enough to return to Mommy for more cuddles.
|Our doula, Amy|
We announced the good news by calling our parents and our siblings and texting pictures. It was so fun to tell folks, "You have a grandSON," or "You have a NEPHEW!"
It was also so fun to inspect all his little details. His soft skin, his fingers and toes, his fuzzy red hair. It was so easy to fall in love.
Soon enough, it was time to clean up and get wheeled down to the recovery room. John Paul still hadn't latched on or tried to feed and was honestly just more interested in crying and sleeping. It was easy to be ok with that though, since he was so dang cute.
And that's where this birth story ends and a lifetime of motherhood begins.
2 years of infertility, 1.5 years of NaPro treatment, 9 months of pregnancy, 12 hours of labor, and 40 minutes of pushing. So much heartache and sorrow and pain and joy in that time. But this little guy was worth it all. This little guy was worth the wait.
All praise be to God!