warning: I don't think I get too graphic, but this is the story of Jack's birth. You were warned.
Click here to read part one of our birth story.
Click here to read part two of our birth story.
At about 8:00 a.m., after being in labor for more than 30 hours, it was time...
Even with the epidural, I could still feel every contraction. It wasn't really painful – more of just a feeling of pressure. John held my left leg and I think Sara was holding my right leg. The nurse explained how to push with the epidural, and we tried a couple of practice pushes. I put all my strength and energy into each push, thinking that each push would be “the one” that would bring our baby to us.
Well, not so much. More than three hours later and the baby was still not out, despite my awesome pushing skills.
Dr. Carr had gone off duty at 8:00 a.m., and so Dr. Widstrom came in to talk to us about our options. The baby was still doing really well, but I was getting pretty exhausted and the baby didn't seem to be coming out on his own. His head was right there for everyone to see. And with each push, his head would come down a little, and then scoot right back in. He told us about vacuum assisted delivery – the suction cup. We decided that this would be our best bet. The baby was so close – maybe he just needed a little coaxing. Dr. Widstrom explained that sometimes the vacuum could pop off of the baby's head. They would only give it three “pops,” and that's it. After that, we were looking at a c-section. At the mention of the C word, I was even more determined to get this baby out.
Once we decided to try the vacuum, the room filled with people – residents, a med student, nurses, etc. I remember Sara saying that when the room filled up, that meant the baby was close; neither John nor I made that connection at the time. I think we both thought it would be another three hours...
Dr. Widstrom hooked up the suction cup, and instructed me to push. I pushed with all my might and then some. The next contraction came and I pushed even harder. Then I heard a loud “pop” and everyone in the room gasped. The vacuum had popped off. Dr. Widstrom quickly said, “That one doesn't count! My hand accidentally hit the release... Doesn't count!” Everyone exhaled. On the second attempt with the vacuum, the baby's head came out. Another push, and the rest of him slid out. The nurse wiped him up a bit and then put him on my chest. Baby Jack was finally here!
I can't describe the feelings that came next. I did my fair share of partying in college, but I had never experienced a high like this! I'm sure I cried, but mostly I remember laughing and smiling. It was pure joy. I felt so excited to be meeting this little person who had lived inside me for so long. And I felt like I had known him all my life. He looked into my eyes and I melted. He knew exactly who I was -- his Momma.
John fell in love instantly, too. He was so overcome with emotion that he couldn't talk, tears of joy, exhaustion and love running down his cheeks. He rushed out to the waiting room and invited everyone in to meet Jack.
Jack weighed 9 pounds, 8 ounces and had a 15 inch head at birth. No wonder he wouldn't come out! I vaguely remember making a comment about having the world's largest vagina, and immediately wondering, “did I say that out loud?!?” I did have a second degree tear, shaped like a capital L. It took them forever to stitch me up – they didn't keep track of the stitches, but I estimate about a million or so! Luckily, the epidural was still working so the stitching was no problem.
The worst part of the whole ordeal came after Jack's birth. He was born at 11:45 a.m. I slept off and on for the next few hours. By about 4:30 p.m., I was in so much pain I could barely talk. The afternoon nurse had never come to get me up to use the bathroom, and by that time I was so swollen downstairs that I couldn't pee. I don't think I've ever experienced that level of pain. It was off the charts. After another shot of Dilaudid, I was catheterized and immediately filled up a 2 liter bag with urine. Sweet relief!
After that, everything else was a breeze. Jack immediately took to breast feeding like a champ. Daddy took to poopy diaper changing like a champ! And even though our labor and delivery story ended up being drastically different from the birth plan in my mind, I would not have changed a thing. I know that we did what we needed to do to get Jack safely into our arms. I don't have any regrets. In fact, I'm amazed at how perfectly the whole thing went. We are very lucky. And we have this amazing little family to prove it!