Friday, September 14, 2012

Nolan James Odasso

The birth story. It's a little long. Sorry!    




     I believe it started on Wednesday, the 5th. I was one week "overdue" (I use quotes around the word overdue because babies are not phone bills or car insurance payments. They come when they are good and ready). I had had my membranes stripped the day before and now I started having a few contractions! While mommy brain has already erased some details, I do know that there were a few, though not really consistent. Thursday, they were coming often enough for me to write them down. Every ten minutes for a few hours. Then every FIVE minutes for a few hours. Then I went to sleep and poof! Gone. Friday, on and off. Saturday, on and off. I was able to convince Brad to take me to the state fair, where they started coming every 5 minutes again. Woo! They slowed down after leaving the fair, which left me feeling pretty discouraged, but as the night wore on, they continued, even if still half an hour apart. At some point, I fell asleep and I remember waking up at least twice to breathe my way through a contraction. Again, not very close together. But then, something crazy happened. Right around 3:30, I SHOT out of bed with a painful contraction! Exactly 5 minutes later, another painful one. I stood next to the bed, leaning over onto it to breathe my way through it. I think I might have gone to the bathroom after that and the next contraction hit only 4 minutes after the previous. Another one that wasn't too bad yet. But the next one was only 3 minutes away. They were moving fast! The next was another 3 minutes and this time I dropped to my knees in pain. Now they were every 3 minutes and I couldn't even stand during them. Breathing was getting difficult. I had Brad call the student midwife, who said she would call us back. I'm not sure she grasped that this was it! I knew it was progressing WAY fast and we needed to get moving! I texted my sister-in-law, Jenna, to let her know it was time. She had asked if she could be there for the birth and I was happy to say yes! (although she might be forever traumatized now. Lol!). At that point it was just about 4:30 in the morning on Sunday. Brad woke up my parents so that they could get ready. My mom was coming with us and my dad was going to stay here with Katie until after the baby was born. And then, we waited. And waited. It felt like forever waiting for the midwife to call back, although it'd only been about 15 minutes. I decided that we couldn't wait any longer and that we needed to get moving. My contractions had been getting worse and worse and were now 2 minutes apart. The drive to the birth center takes half an hour, though at 4:50 in the morning, I think we got there in 20-25. The car ride was AWFUL. Contractions every 1-2 minutes and sitting was so painful. I found myself on my knees on the floor in front of my seat, with my upper body laying across the dashboard, just in so much pain. As we were driving, I went ahead and called the student midwife again and told her that my contractions were 1-2 minutes apart and very painful. She apologized for not getting back to me yet because another baby had just been born at the center. She went to check with the midwife on call to make sure I could come in (too bad, i'm already on my way!) and then she said that I could. Anyway, we arrived and the next hour was just pure pain, basically. All I wanted to do was get in that big, warm bathtub, but the midwives had me in a hands and knees position to help my cervix dilate more.
I wish I could describe the pain, but you probably wouldn't want to even hear it. Mostly, it just feels like the worst way to die. A few times I got off the bed and squatted on the floor instead because that was MUCH more comfortable. One of those times my water broke, which was actually pretty awesome. I didn't see that when I had Katie, so it was exciting to see that my body was doing what it needed to and that the time was pretty close! Finally, the midwives consented to letting me get in the tub!
 It was a little annoying when they asked "do you want a water birth?" because I was pretty sure I had mentioned that a few times before! Anyway, after reading online about water births, I was honestly expecting a little more pain relief than I got. It did feel nice, but not much was going to ease my pain! The one wonderful thing about it, however, was that I could move so easily! I was able to get into different positions so much easier with the water supporting my weight. It was awesome. At this point, it was probably around 6 in the morning and I had a number of contractions before I decided that I was going to just start pushing. I'm not sure I felt like my body was telling me to push yet, but I was going to push anyway. This needed to end! I told the midwives that I was going to start pushing and then it started. The screaming. Holy moly, the screaming. I swear, Brad, my mom, Jenna, the midwives, and the poor new mother in the other room are probably all traumatized now. The main midwife was very helpful though in telling me to keep that energy in (by energy, she meant the screaming, haha!) and to focus it all on pushing. While it was very hard to keep myself from screaming anymore, being quiet and just focusing really, really helped. At one point I asked, "is that the head?!" because I could just feel his head in there. It was so incredible to be able to actually feel what was going on, to feel that I was actually moving this baby out with each push. I knew what my body was doing and what I needed to do to help it. After 14 minutes, I felt his little head pop out and one more push brought out the shoulders and the rest of this tiny baby. I grabbed his little body under the water and pulled him up to me and it was just incredible. Here he was! 6:37 a.m. 3 hours of labor. I did this! (Did I mention that during labor, I must have said the words "I can't do this" about a hundred times?)
     I held him close while they rubbed him down a bit. After a while, I pushed out the placenta, which was so neat. I didn't get to see it, or even the umbilical cord, after Katie was born. Once the cord stopped pulsing (pumping the remainder of his blood from the placenta back into his body), they clamped it off and Brad cut it. And then we just cuddled in the tub for a while, mommy and baby.
 I nursed him for a little bit and eventually we got out of the tub to go lay in bed. Lots more cuddling and one big nursing session. My dad showed up with Katie, though being woken up at 6:30 in the morning, she wasn't very interested in him.
 Brad brought me some juice and some cereal and the grandparents bonded with little Nolan for a bit. The midwives came to stitch me up at some point and help me to the bathroom. Then they weighed him, 8 lbs, 10 oz, and took all his other measurements- length, head circumference and all the other baby body circumferences. They checked out all his little body parts and made sure everything was ok. The student told me that he was very symmetrical. I think it was around 9 o'clock at this point, Jenna had left earlier and my parents and Katie had left, and the midwives did the most wonderful thing. They also left. Haha! Not that they weren't great, but they told Brad and I to take a nap. So with little Nolan between us, we all took a nice 2 1/2 hour nap. No hospital beeps. No nurses coming in to poke and prod me and Nolan. No doctors and people randomly walking in to do things. Just peace and quiet on a Sunday morning.
     When everything is healthy and looking great, you don't stay at the birth center very long. Our check-out time was 1:15 that same afternoon, which was just fine with me. I absolutely hated being held at the hospital for so long with Katie. I'd had her at 5:30 in the morning on a Friday and they kept me there until noon the next day! All I wanted was to be home and start enjoying my new family. To take a shower in my own bathroom and eat my own food and just relax in my own bed. Anyway, we woke up around noon and one of the helpers at the birth center brought us some lunch. I think it was around 12:45 when we decided we were ready to leave, so we did. We just packed up our things, brought our dishes down to the kitchen, and came home. It was awesome.

     Since then, things have been great. Nolan is so wonderful and I can't stop staring at his sweet little face. Breastfeeding has been a little bit of a challenge, but nothing I can't push through. I just make WAY more milk than he can handle right now, and he also burps and spits up which honestly is something we didn't really experience with Katie. He does love to eat though and has gained almost 4 ounces in less than a week! Katie loves him and I found myself in tears yesterday watching her hold his hand and give him kisses. It is rough going from 1 to 2, especially when it comes to getting them in and out of the car by myself, but oh goodness, I love my little family. I love my husband Brad for all of his loving support and for being so strong for me while I was in labor. I know it was a scary and heartbreaking experience for him to see me so vulnerable and in so much pain. For being patient with me as the "baby blues" hit really strongly and I found myself crying all day about being overwhelmed and my "failures" as a mother. For reassuring me and changing diapers in the middle of the night. I love my children, for the amazing spirits they have and for allowing me to love them so much. I'm so grateful that Katie loves her little brother and is so willing to help me in any way she can. I'm thankful that i've been blessed with little Nolan and his sweet smiles and silly faces and soft, squishy body that I just love to cuddle all day long. I am just a woman in love with my little family. I can't get enough of them! Despite the struggles and pains and sleepiness, I want to thank my Heavenly Father for this family that I have been blessed with, and for my ability to love them so much. My heart is full. Thank you.