*Catch Part 1 right here!*
So, when we left off I had just received my epidural and it was around 5:30am on Friday, April 6th. I had been in labor for nearly 24 hours – just 15 minutes shy of that mark!
I don’t know what time this picture was taken but, as you can tell, I was feeling much better! I never did end up getting to sleep, mostly because I was too excited/nervous to do so. I did squeeze in a 30 minute nap at one point, though.
After we had settled into our room, the doula, my parents, sister and mother-in-law eventually all trickled in and we began the waiting game. Periodically, I was checked by our nurse or my OB. Unfortunately, I wasn’t making much progress despite the fact that my contractions were staying consistently strong.
Since my water hadn’t yet broken, the doula suggested I ask if my OB could break it. She did that around 10:00am. Let me tell you, for all the worrying and stressing I did, wondering if I would know when my water broke… there is no mistaking it. It feels so strange, almost like constantly peeing your pants. After having my water broken, I jumped from 4cm to 7cm and it was looking like my baby boy would soon be making his appearance!
Unfortunately, once again, my labor stalled out. After a couple hours of being at 7cm, my OB suggested I start a pitocin drip. The nurse administered a small dose through my IV and it was the jumpstart I needed. When I was checked around 12:30pm I was at 8cm.
At that point, my family started leaving in shifts to get lunch and I was able to get a 30 minute cat nap in. It was really good timing on my part with that nap. When my OB came in at 1:45pm to check me, I was still at 8cm but she decided she could stretch me the rest of the way if I was willing to start pushing. Without a single hesitation, I said yes!
I remember going into this mode of intense concentration. As I mentioned in Part 1, my epidural began to wear off when I was pushing. I started to feel my contractions, which was great because then I knew when I need to push instead of relying on the nurse reading my monitor and telling me when I should. Alex got back from lunch right as things were setup for me to start pushing. He was on my right side and the doula was on my left. I had only wanted Alex and the doula (plus nurses and my OB!) in the room during actual labor.
When I think back on what I thought I would want during labor, I realize how hard it is to predict anything. I had a birth plan, but it pretty much went out the window. I thought I would want music, but in the moment I wanted complete silence. I thought I wanted it to be med-free, but I had no way of knowing I would be in labor for 33 hours. I thought I didn’t want any photos at all, but as it turned out I did. I thought I wouldn’t want to have a mirror during labor, but I actually asked for one. It’s just impossible to know.
I started pushing at 1:55pm. Pushing was unlike anything I have ever experienced. You feel out of control, but in control. You feel in pain, but you don’t really notice it either. You feel afraid of your body, but in awe of what it can accomplish. It was a surreal experience, but it was wonderful.
I was thankful for the mirror the nurse brought in. I never – and I mean never! – thought I would want to see anything that happened during labor, but it was a major motivator. It was also terrifying. But I am so thankful I had it because I think that’s why I pushed for only 45 minutes. Just seeing how close I was really helped me to keep going. The thought of pushing for hours on end made me feel exhausted.
I remember those initial pushes, just trying to get his head under my pelvic bone so he would begin crowning. It was so hard to have to wait for each contraction. I remember pulling my body in so tightly, my face getting so red, just holding my breath with each push, trying to get that little head to cooperate and come on out. It was so helpful to have Alex, the doula, the nurses and my OB encouraging me and telling me I was doing a great job. Never underestimate the power of a kind word!
And then, finally, he started crowning! It happened sooner than my OB thought it would and she asked me to hold his head in place while she and the nurses quickly prepared the instruments. It felt like an eternity but it was likely just a matter of seconds. Once everything was ready, it was time to push out his head. After that, the rest of his body came out with a few pushes and before I knew it, my son was placed on my chest.
After that moment, the rest of what was going on around us was a blur. At some point, a nurse did take him to weigh, measure and clean him up. I distinctly remember not wanting him out of my arms for a single second and waiting for the nurse to bring him back to me dragged on and on!
Alex and I both weighed around 7 pounds and some odd ounces when we were born. Our baby was 7 pounds 3 ounces at birth and 19.5″ long. I gave birth to him when I was 38 weeks 5 days, so I think if he had gone on to his due date, he easily would have been in the 8 pound range.
At the time, we forgot to ask what his Apgar scores were. We later found out he scored a 9 at both tests. I know the Apgar scores don’t really mean anything in the long run, but a mama can’t help but be proud her son scored so high on his first “test”!
Once he was all cleaned up, Alex had a chance to hold him. I never thought I would be emotional during labor and delivery, but seeing Alex hold our son definitely made me a little teary. It’s more than two weeks later since that moment, and I honestly can’t believe – still – that we created this baby… that he’s a blend of the two of us. It’s mind-blowing and humbling and amazing all at once.
Soon after Alex held him, I had the chance to nurse him for the first time. He knew what to do before I even had it figured out! That moment was so thrilling – just knowing that I was able to provide something that he needed, and that I could take care of him in that way.
While all of that was happening, my OB was cleaning me up and the nurses were cleaning up the room. The rooms at the hospital I delivered in are recovery and post-partum rooms as well as labor and delivery, which is great because then you don’t need to leave your room at all. Oddly enough, in my memory, it feels like we were in 4 different rooms even though I know we never left. So much happened that it seems impossible it all occurred in just one room.
I think because the pushing phase went so quickly that that’s why I ended up with a 2nd degree tear (though most first time moms will have a first or second degree tear). I’m now 2 weeks and 2 days post-partum and haven’t experienced any issues with the tear healing which has been a major blessing.
Eventually, all the cleaning and fixing was done and it was just Alex, our son and me in the quiet room. Believe it or not, we still hadn’t thought of a name. We had a couple on our minds as possibilities, but we had been waiting for this moment to see his face before really make our choice.
The name we ended up going with was not one we had thought we would choose. We had been debating either Nicholas or Micah. But a few days prior to what turned out to be his birthday, we had begun thinking about the name Ezra.
And after about 10 minutes of thinking about it and talking about it, that’s the name we chose. Alex went out to tell our family and friends who were waiting in the waiting area for us. He also went out to press this button at the nurse’s station that plays a lullaby throughout the L&D floor, letting everyone know a baby was born. It’s really sweet.
I had a few uninterrupted moments with Ezra while Alex was giving everyone the news. I just stared at him. I could not believe he was mine. Ours.
I still can’t. I have never had anyone depend on me like Ezra does. I’ve never had someone who completely and totally belongs to and with me. I have never been a part of something like this before. It’s pretty amazing. I love him more and more every day, and I just hope I can be the best mama Ezra deserves.