Jenny the Great

He is so tiny. He’s tiny for being over nine pounds of baby. When he sleeps, the noises and little content sounds of him dreaming get me right to the very center of me. He is, completely, absolutely, indescribably wonderful.

Monday night, I started having contractions on a fairly regular basis.

I had already lost my plug, I was leaking a bit of fluid when I moved, and my due date was that day anyway. The contractions weren’t anything to write home about, but they were three or so minutes apart, about 40 seconds long.

Went to bed that night, but the contractions stayed steady enough that I couldn’t really sleep well. I got up because the hip that I was laying on hurt way too much to stay in bed and I moved to the LoveSac in the birthing room for comfort with the hope of possible sleep. Didn’t happen. The contractions got bad enough where I woke my husband up at 5am to help massage and coach me through them. I managed about 45 minutes of sleep between 5 and 6, even sleeping up to the peak of a contraction or three.

Things started getting rougher as the morning progressed. Labor was seriously not what I had anticipated at all. My mom and sister came over, as well as my friend Carolyn, and they all helped me work through contractions as they got harder and harder. And they got harder. I had no idea, at all, how to get through this. I was crying almost every time, and feeling terribly beaten up after only a few hours despite the relaxation coaching by husband and family and friends. The midwife came by and did an exam and told me that I was only dilated about 3cm. She stretched me a bit to almost 4, then went home.

Frustrated, I got into the birthing tub of hot water and relaxed as well as I could. Jenny

I even got in some sleep between contractions, but I was still in high-stress mode because I didn’t know how to handle contraction after contraction like this (I have to say, though, that the birthing ball was infinitely helpful in easing the pain of some of the contractions. I *highly* recommend one of those things, and, at WalMart for only $10, they’re a heck of a cheap lifesaver).

The contractions got harder and I felt like I had to go to the bathroom, so I went into the bathroom and I started to meditate. “All the tension, all the stress, leaving my body through my hands and my feet…” This worked. This worked so well I used that technique up until I had to push. I just kept repeating that mantra, as well as using a signaling method of talking to the baby when I was in a contraction so people could be silent and let it pass.

When I was contracting, I would talk to the baby, saying things like, “You’re doing so great in there, baby. We’ll see you soon, baby. You’re our favorite baby. It’s okay, you’re doing fine.”

All conversation would stop around me until I was done. This would allow me to concentrate on just feeling my uterus; part of my meditation was to eliminate all focus except for what was happening to my uterus and muscles down there as they worked together to get baby out. Both of these techniques helped me concentrate, work with the contractions, and ease the pain of the rest of my body. I was going through hard, hard contractions without a grimace on my face. I wanted to get into the tub again, so we put more hot water in it and I hung out there.

The midwife came over again and did an exam while I was in the tub and said I was doing great and that I was 7-8cm already and there was a good bubble of my bag of waters in front of the head. About an hour later, I felt my attitude change and, upon examination, the midwife said I had just a tiny lip of cervix left and then I could push. I gave a few small test pushes to help move the lip out of the way, and then it came on full force.

My husband, mom, sister, Carolyn, and the midwife gathered around the pool. My sister turned the camera on, and I dunked myself deeper into the pool so I could put my pelvis out and up more. The first few pushes felt like burning way up inside, but it wasn’t anything I couldn’t handle. With each contraction, I took three deep breaths and held the last one while I pulled my legs up and back. I felt little happening minus the burning sensation deep inside, until I felt a POP and my water broke. It didn’t hurt but it did color the pool a little. With the next push, the midwife said she saw a dime’s size worth of the head.

Then the real pain started.

I knew I couldn’t back down now, but there was no way I was going forward willingly. I still did my legs-up pushing, but I didn’t push as hard as I could have because I knew what was coming. What was coming was the worst burning pain that I couldn’t have even imagined. I felt it up by my urethra, and I was terrified I was going to have some massive injury when this was all through. The midwife made me look at her and blow small blowy puffs of air to slow the pushing as the head came into view. I was so angry that I couldn’t stop or control the pushing urge at that point… it hurt and I wanted a break.

The head crowned, burning like crazy, and then there was none of that “steady even pressure.” With one more push that I couldn’t control, he was out and his body followed in a whoosh of more pain. I admit, I did yell, because the hurt was surprising. Very surprising. I was sure I had ripped from end to end. The pool was quickly filled with blood and bag fluid, so my midwife grabbed the baby and handed him to my husband, who put him on my chest. The cord was short and so it pulled against the bits down below that I was sure I had torn. I kept my hands on that cord as much as possible while the kid was in transit from water to chest.

I got to hold him there on my chest for a minute or two. Jennys Son

I didn’t know what to do; my reaction was one of shock and confusion and complete bewilderment. It was almost as if had forgotten why I was there. “There was … a lot of pain and … now, what’s this? Why is this here? What am I supposed to do?” One thing I did notice was that he was very alert and his eyes were looking everywhere. In the pictures, I look angry. I think I was angry because of the pain I had to go through.

I ended up getting out of the pool a few minutes later for my post-birth exam and placenta delivery. The cord was still pulsing for about five more minutes, so we focused on the placenta. Placenta came out with just a push or two, and it was inspected and declared healthy and normal. Once it was out and the cord was cut, baby was weighed and inspected and fussed over, and then we made an attempt at nursing. Baby took a few tries to latch on before he started nursing, and he only nursed briefly, but we got it down. And I hadn’t torn a bit.

Total stats:

9 pounds, 4 ounces

21.25 inches long

15 inch circumference head

Apgar 9/9

The first day after I was really looking forward to a shower, and I was starving but I didn’t want to eat anything. I watched him sleep next to me for hours. I couldn’t stop looking at him, touching him, rubbing his head, watching him open his eyes and look at everything… Man.

In the last three weeks, it’s only gotten better as we find out how to tend to him and make him happy and learn his little tricks.

I love this little man.

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