Friday, October 12, 2012

Gabriel's Birth Story

I've been meaning to write this one for a while (like two months!) but we've been busy adjusting to our life as a family of four.  Gabe is a great baby and Alena loves being a big sister.  Lately when he gets fussy she says, "It's okay Gabe, I'm right here."  I know she hears me say it and repeats but it's just so sweet to see how much she cares about him.

Alena was born 12 days late, and while I was actually in early labor, we went into to hospital for an induction and just had my water broken.  Nothing went wrong and it was a great birth but I really, really wanted to labor completely on my own with Gabe. Lots of people told me I would go earlier with him but as my due date came and went I was convinced he would also be born after 41 weeks.  Knowing that, however, did not make waiting easier.  This pregnancy was a lot tougher that my first.  Nothing major but I just felt HUGE and had icky heartburn for the last half.  It was really hard to get up and walk those last couple months too because it was so hot.  We walked Wal-Mart, Target, and the mall many times.  I also had much more "activity" before official labor and those practice contractions were very annoying.  It was so hard to wake up every morning in my bed and realize that nothing had started overnight.

My doctor's office consists of one OB doc and one midwife.  I switched practices since Alena was born but they were both part of the old practice.  The office is amazing.  It's small and they take huge efforts to make it feel comfortable.  They both share my philosophy on childbirth and were huge cheerleaders for me through the whole pregnancy.  They really let me be in charge of my care and just were there to monitor.  I love this when there are so many docs out there who take control of pregnant women and make decisions based on convenience.  Towards the end of my pregnancy my midwife, Liane, told me she would be out of town for two weeks right around my due date.  I was hoping she would be at my birth but would have been just as happy with the doctor there as well since she acts like a midwife too.  At our last appointment before her vacation she gave me a hug and said to have a great birth!  Then she said, you know you could still be pregnant when I get back.  I laughed and said I hope not.

Fast forward over two weeks later and she walked in the door laughing.  I mentioned something about this being all her fault.  It was her first day back from vacation.  I had her check me and do a membrane sweep.  That's an intervention I'm okay with because I was so far along (41+2 I think).  After 42 weeks many docs start getting a little worried and require frequent ultrasounds and non-stress tests.  I really didn't want to go through that since the office was almost an hour away.  The biggest risk of membrane stripping is water breaking and I was okay with that at this point.  She told me I felt very "good" and went ahead and hooked me up to the monitor for a few mins.  I was having some contractions but couldn't really feel them.  Oh, and I  was 4cm dilated.  She told me to go home, drink some wine, and call her when we were ready to head to the hospital.  She thought it would probably be sometime that night.

We did some shopping, including a long trip to Bed, Bath and Beyond where I found the most amazing leg massager.  I seriously did not get up for like twenty minutes.     Then we drove all the way home, joking that we would be right back really soon.  Alena had been with us all day and she was super clingy.  She's like that all the time now, since my time is shared, but this was the beginning.  It was like she knew!  My sister had also flown down from Philadelphia and was only here for a few days.  We got home, and I rested and watched the Olympics.  So glad that was on the last few weeks of my pregnancy, I had run out of good shows on Netflix.  Alena went to bed and Neto and my sister went to get some food.  I requested fries and ketchup from Whataburger and a blizzard from Dairy Queen.  Lovely.  I had started timing contractions before they left but wasn't convinced I was really in labor yet.  When they came back I no longer felt like I could eat and contractions were getting longer and closer together.  So they ate and then convinced me I needed to head to the hospital.  Megan stayed with Alena and we took off a little after 10pm.  I called my midwife on the way and she said that it sounded like a good idea for me to come in. We got there and chatted at the nurses station for a few minutes.  My mom works on that unit now and she had already called to check up on me before we arrived.  Also, our nurse from Alena's birth was there.  She was about to get off but walked us to a room.  We got settled and my midwife checked me and found I was at 6cm.  She told me I was officially in active labor and then told us she would leave us alone until we asked for her.  The nurses were also very supportive.  Our nurse said "I'm going to say this once and never mention it again.  We have pain medication available if you need it."  I said okay and it was never brought up again.  I love how supportive they were of our birth plan.  And, possibly our nurse from last time told them I had this down!  I had a saline lock inserted (just the needle part of an iv) just in case I needed hydration or meds later but it was never used.

We walked the halls, I took showers, and paced the room once things got a little more intense.  Just like my previous birth, I hated being in bed.  I got in to be monitored every so often but as soon as we were done I would be up and moving again.  Neto was great and very encouraging the whole time.  Around 2am I asked to be checked and was at 8cm but my water still hadn't broken.  Neto had requested that our baby be born "in the caul" a few weeks before, which means with the amniotic sac still intact.  We're so weird...  I told him that's vary rare and would not happen.  I was hitting transition at this point though and things were getting pretty uncomfortable.  I stayed focused throughout my contractions and I actually felt like they were more spaced apart and less extreme than with my first labor.  Still intense though.  Around 4am Liane came back in and I had her check me one more time, I was pretty much complete.  She told me to try staying in bed and laying on my side.  I was not happy about this and asked to get up and shower again.  She told me to give it a try.  I threw up (very normal and a good sign...means rapid dilation) and a few minutes later was ready to push.  So, she knew what she was talking about when she asked me to stay in the bed!  I pushed for almost two hours with Alena so I was geared up for this taking some time.  Instead it was fast and Gabe was out in just a few pushes.  He got a little stuck and I had to do some maneuvering with the last push.  He was also *almost* born without my water breaking, it finally broke right before his head emerged.  I heard it looked cool, I'll leave that though to the people who were watching.  I'm not sure I would have felt the same way!  We found out why he got stuck (and why I had felt so different towards the end of my pregnancy) when they weighed him and he was nine pounds and five oz.  Not expected at all...he was huge!

Gabe nursed immediately for almost an hour and I was able to go without the routine pitocin shot.  We had discussed not getting it unless I had excessive bleeding and my midwife was on board with that.  We were between two names (I think, there may have still be a few more) but the top ones were Gabriel and Isiah.  Liane mentioned that she had a son named Gabe and that may have influenced the decision a little ;)  We love her so much.  We requested that Gabe not go to the nursery at all in the beginning and did not want him to have a bath.  That first bath washes off all the healthy vernix and drops body temp requiring baby to spend more time in the nursery under the warmer.  It was so nice to just spend all that time snuggling with him.  We waited until after 6am to call family since this all went down in the middle of the night.  We were also super excited to share his name with Neto's family.  Neto's grandfather's birthday had been the day before and we picked Roman as Gabe's middle name in honor of him.

We spend the day resting and visiting with family.  Gabe and I were great and able to go home at about 36 hours.  Gabe had his first pedi appointment a couple days later and was already above his birth weight and doing awesome.  We also had a home visit from our midwife (another reason they are so amazing) and she told me I was a labor rock star.

Labor really is my favorite part of being pregnant.  I feel so alive and in tune with my body during that time.  It's hard, and intense, but you end up with a baby and that's the most amazing thing ever.  I'm such a birth junkie...but we're done for at least a while.  Two kiddos is a lot of work!

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