I was not, in fact, pushing the baby out. Thank you very much for your concern tho, Mrs. Nurse Lady. Happy to keep ya on your toes.
Once I, ahem, wrapped up that awkward moment, I walked over to the bed and climbed up to be checked. I think the nurses were trying to get in touch with my OB at that point, as he still wasn't at the hospital, but it was clear this baby was getting close to his moment of debut. So the on-call family medicine resident checked me again. You remember him, right? Mr. Conservative-At-Rating-Dilation. Thankfully this time he gave it to us straight.
At 3:11am, he announced: "Fully dilated with bulging bag."
Woohoo! From 6-ish cm to 10cm in less than two hours? I'll take it!
Not even a second after the doc said "bulging bag" . . . POP! My water broke.
I was lying on my back from the check, but was determined to push in any position but that one. Back pushing = working against gravity and pushing for longer and higher likelihood of tearing. I had stressed this to John and my doula for months leading up to the birth, so they knew it was time help me move. I think I even exclaimed, "I really don't want to push on my back!" just to remind them. So they helped me climb up and lean myself over the back of the bed. Even though I was exhausted, I had the option of resting all my weight against the bed, yet I was still completely upright. It seemed like a smart move.
Except as soon as I got upright, I started to feel like my entire body was splitting in half. The pain was so overwhelming, but with some heavy breathing and super loud moans and shouts of "THIS HURTS SO BAD!" I made it through.
In those first few seconds in that upright position, I was worried the position itself was causing all the pain. But in reality, it was baby rushing his way through the birth canal. I wasn't even pushing! But he was ready. Making his way out, and fast! And it was shocking everyone in the room.
There was no time for my OB to arrive, so suddenly there were 2 on-call family medicine docs in the room. Mr. Conservative and some 3rd year resident. They very clearly did not read my birth plan (womp wommmmp), so they kept asking me about things -- in the middle of delivering a baby no less -- that they should have already known the answer to.
So Dr. 3rd Year has the ballz to ask me, "Can you turn around please?" as I'm just getting myself situated in the upright-against-the-back-of-the-bed position. Umm. SAY WHAT?! This baby is about to be crowning and you're asking me to turn around so that you can deliver him more easily? Shyeah. How 'bout no.
Then he's all awkwardly putting his hands and some blue sheet under me to catch everything, while my doula is desperately trying to massage my perineum to help avoid tearing (something I had requested). But she can't get in there because Dr. 3rd Year is being all sloppy.
Meanwhile, I basically have no idea what's going on because BABY IS COMING and suddenly crowing and suddenly halfway out and I seriously don't remember having to push at all. That upright position, you guys. AMAZENESS.
Next thing I know, Dr. 3rd Year is asking me to stop pushing and I don't exactly know why in the moment, but later find out it's because baby has the cord wrapped around his torso. My doula and the nurses kept telling him to deliver the baby through the cord, but Dr. 3rd Year kept trying to unwrap the cord. And kept telling me to stop pushing. Sorry, dude, but if I had any control over this birth train, I would.
Eventually he got the memo to stop trying to remove the cord and instead birth baby through it, and suddenly baby was crying before he was even completely out! What a beautiful, wonderful sound!
Our baby boy arrived at 3:17am on January 30th, exactly 5 minutes after I got upright and didn't even push once. Wowz.
We still didn't know the gender, and I was facing the wall, so I couldn't see. And for a few seconds after we heard that sweet cry, John couldn't see either. So many people in the way. But as soon as he got a glimpse, he excitedly said, "It's a boy!" And I smiled. Because secretly I just knew baby was going to be a boy. And it was a joy to finally confirm it!
Wendy encouraged Dr. 3rd Year to pass the baby through my legs to me, since I was still facing the wall and hadn't gotten a peek yet. And the first thing (I think) I said when I saw him was, "He's so beautiful!" Which then quickly followed with, "He has hair!!!!" The amount of hair and dark coloring totally shocked me. It was adorable.
With placenta not birthed yet and baby still attached, I somehow figured out a way to turn my body around and finally sink down into the bed. Ahhhh! Sweet relaxation!
I was completely naked, so we easily snuggled up skin-to-skin and tried to establish breastfeeding while we waited for the cord to stop pulsing and the placenta to be birthed.
Dr. 3rd Year and Mr. Conservative seemed a little clueless about delayed cord clamping, asking if it was ready yet. Wendy gently encouraged them to keep waiting until there was no more pulsing. Thankfully they did, and then John got to cut the cord.
Then the placenta was taking its sweet time making its way out. Which can be totally normal. Except Dr. 3rd Year wasn't used to it. So again, he asks a question that he would have known the answer to had he read my birth plan: "Can we give you pitocin?" I just simply replied, "No pitocin please." Man, these docs are in such a rush to get the show on the road sometimes.
(To their credit, my birth was a bit of a rush, especially toward the end there, so I don't really blame them for not reading my birth plan. Nobody really knew my OB wasn't going to be there until the final few minutes. All the issues ended up being very minor and really just annoyances more than anything. The experience would have been a teeny bit more enjoyable had it been with my doc, but no big deal in the grand scheme of things.)
Sure enough, with a few extra minutes of waiting around, the placenta showed up on its own and all was well. Wendy remarked on how small my placenta was, which doesn't necessarily mean anything, but figured it's worth remembering. Just an odd little detail there.
A few minutes later and my OB finally arrived! Just in time to stitch me up. I ended up tearing again, somewhere between a 2nd and 3rd degree, just like John Paul's birth. I asked Wendy if it was because he came out too quickly, but she said no. And my OB chimed in and said usually you tear along the same line as the first birth since that's a weak point in the perineum. So there's that.
We spent a little over an hour snuggling skin-to-skin and it was blissful. Baby boy didn't quite figure out latching in that time because he was mostly interested in crying . . . a lot. It was such a sweet cry, though. And if I had to guess, probably related to the shock of flying out of his comfort zone so quickly. ;)
After all those great snuggles, we were happy to finally let the nursery staff weigh our little buddy and check his vitals and all that.
We had a feeling he was going to be a little smaller than John Paul just based on how he felt in my arms. John and I both guessed 7lb 6oz, and we were super close! 7lb 8oz, a whole 7oz less than John Paul was!
They took care of him quickly, and then it was back to mama and baby snuggles, and continuing trying to establish breastfeeding. It took him a while to latch for the first time, maybe 2 hours? But he's been a nursing champ ever since!
The next 36 hours in the hospital were spent snuggling up with our little man, napping when we could, enjoying a visit from the in-laws and our sweet John Paulie (who was so excited to meet his little brother!!), and wavering back and forth between two names.
Our little Jude wasn't officially named until a few hours before leaving the hospital. In fact, the whole first day of his life, we practiced calling him by our other favorite name, Blaise, and really thought that was going to be it! . . . until one of the nurses thought we were naming him Blaze. And then we just didn't feel like we could go through with it. Maybe next time though ;), if we're so blessed.
Welcome to the family, little bud. We love you with all that we have and can't wait to see where this life adventure takes you.
All praise be to God!