Dear Julien … Letters to my second son.

Saturday, 6th August, 2005

Birth Story!

Filed under: 39 Weeks,Birth,General,Pictures,Year 1 — Beth @ 14:45

Warning – this is a birth story and rather graphic.

Julien Robert was born on August 4th, 2005 at 18:22pm about 7 hours from the onset of active labor. He weighed 7lbs 15oz and measured 20 3/4 inches. I had what some might call a textbook labor up until the actual delivery. The contractions that died off the night before picked back up again when I got up in the morning and stablized at five minutes apart, one minute long between 10 and 11am.

They’d been regular and 6-7 minutes apart starting around 9am when I got up, so I called my doctor and they told me to come into the office for a check. Dr. G. saw me around 11am and said I was nearly completely effaced and 3cm dilated. Given what happened with Vic’s labor, Dr. G thought it best that we go over to the hospital, which we did, straight from the office.

When we got there just before noon, I was at 4cm, they monitored me for about half an hour and my water broke while I was being evaluated. They checked me into an LDR room and there was more monitoring, then Dr. H. came over and checked me again and broke a forebag of water that was in the way and then left us to settle in and labor.

Things progressed at that stately pace of 1cm dilation per hour, roughly. I used everything I learned in my Bradley classes with this labor that I didn’t get to use for Vic’s labor. I walked, rocked, squatted, hopped into the shower and swayed through contractions, did tension release exercises, thoe whole nine yards.

At 5:30pm I hit 6cm dilation and about 15 minutes later, just like with Victor things got very hectic. I hopped into the shower because I could feel transition coming on and knew I’d need the warm water to take the edge off. This worked really well, for most of transition, and let me stay on top of the contractions which were pretty much coming one right on top of the other with no break. I started to feel a little like pushing while I was still in the shower. They made me get out at that point, because they needed to check on things and get things set up.

And just like with Vic I was being … stubborn. I did get out of the shower and moseyed over to the bed, but trying to get up on that thing just felt wrong. It hurt to pull my legs up in towards my body, so there I was leaning against the bed, rocking through each contraction and then I had the urge to squat. I squatted down, leaning across the bed and just breathed and breathed and breathed, trying to stay focused.

I should have known that this meant business, but once again I was too far gone to really make sense out of anything, let alone express what I was feeling. It all came out in ineffective words: “No no no, I can’t I can’t I can’t” meaning – I can’t get up on the damn bed.

I was vaguely aware of the fact that my mother was using her very best Mom voice on me and Dr. H was threatening me with an internal fetal monitor if they couldn’t find the baby’s heartbeat, which they’d completely lost and couldn’t get because I couldn’t turn around. I could hear Sabs saying stuff too, but I don’t remember what now, or what I said to him in response. He says that I wasn’t answering anyone else’s questions – only responding to him.

I managed to lean off the bed long enough to sit in the rocker again, to let them try to find the heartbeat and they still couldn’t get it. I lunged forward to try to get on the bed, and got stuck there again, leaning against it and then wham, the urge to push just hit me over and over again like a ton of bricks. I know they were still telling me to get up on the bed and turn around so they could get a monitor on Julien, but it was like everything was coming to me from under water.

My body did some very funky things in the next few minutes. It’s not in any of the labor books I’ve ever read, the position I wound up in. The closest I can think of, for anyone who’s ever done yoga, is the Downward Dog. I had my hands on the bed, and my feet braced out behind me somewhere and I was pushing my butt up into the air with every contraction.

This happened twice, while they were still trying to get me up on the bed, and then Dr. H. wise woman that she is, just got down next to me, and stuck her hand in there, and said “Never mind, let’s just have a baby.” Turns out there was still a little bit of a forebag of waters in the way but Julien’s head was right there. I was only at 9cm, so I think she did some quick monkeying around to stretch me the rest of the way and clear the remaining bag. And then BAM, Downward Dog again for me and this huge powerful push with a hint of stinging in it (no Ring of Fire this time) and there was water and meconium everywhere and Dr. H. caught Jules and then I collapsed backward into my mother’s arms and just sat there staring in shock at this naked baby boy on a towel on the floor! “It’s a boy!” I remember hearing myself say, in complete surprise and awe and delight.

It was a complete and total mess of course, baby poop, amniotic fluid, blood, and Julien’s cord stretching between me and him. Dr. H. had only had time to stick on some protective gear for her feet and legs but she just waded right in, clamped and snipped his cord and handed him up to the nurses right quick to get his mouth and nose cleaned out and his lungs checked. While they were dealing with Julien, Mom helped me up to the bed, which I could finally do, now that the baby was out of me, and within just a few minutes, the placenta arrived, without incident. I took a shot of pitocin again, just to be sure and Dr. H. had a look as things got all cleaned up and she winked at me over my knees. “Guess how many stitches?” she asked, because I remember babbling something about bad tears when I saw all the blood on the floor. “One? Two?” I hazarded and she grinned. “Zero, honey, great job, just a little skid.” I gaped at her than laughed delightedly. There was more laughter when they cleaned me up a bit later with hot water and it tickled, from both me and the folks around me.

I got Julien back within only 15 minutes or so of his birth, Sabs stayed with him while they cleaned him up just like he did with Vic and then he cuddled up with me and got to nursing almost right away.

The little guy is a champion nurser – he nursed for 45 minutes right off the bat and then conked out for a bit. He’s kept up the good nursing for the last 48 hours, at least 30 minutes every time and that boy sure can -sleep-.

We’ll see if this keeps up, but the recovery from this labor and Vic’s are miles apart. I had a little bit of shaking after Julien was born, but it was quite minor and I was able to hold him and warm him up myself. Later during his first night, he was cold in his bassinet and the nurse, just unwrapped him briskly, tucked him in on my chest under my nightie, put the blankets over us both, flipped off the lights and said “Good night!” I was able to warm Julien up all by myself then too, and he’s been much better about regulating his own temp since.

We both got lots of rest in the hospital, so far he seems to like to sleep in 4-6 hour cycles already, instead of the shorter ones his big brother favored. He’s also very laid back about all the noise Vic makes, likely accustomed to it from hearing it all the time in the womb.

We’re home now, and adjusting to being a family of four, so far so good for Vic, though he’s been just a little bit strident about his needs.

So there you go, I have another whacky labor story to go with Vic’s, different, but just as whacky, and I couldn’t be happier.

My Boys

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