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Friday, February 8, 2013

Happy Birthday, Baby Sister

The beginning of the story is here.

After a lot of hard work and discussion with Mike – we decided to have Molly break my water.  I knew things were about to get REAL as soon as she did that – but I was getting tired, and I was starving.  I knew that if I didn’t progress further, and soon-ish, my energy level was only going to go down.  It was 100% our decision, there was no pressure by anyone to do this, which was great.

She said “that is one tough bag of water” which – I believe it!  And she wasn’t kidding about things getting real.  In our Bradley classes we discussed NOT having your water broken for a lot of reasons, but one of them is because it acts as a natural cushion – helping the contractions not to be too off-the-charts painful. 

The contraction after she broke my water – I noticed a huge difference.

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Photo Credit: Bella Rose Photography

I also HAD TO STAND UP RIGHT NOW. (again, having to change positions right.now is something we knew to expect in late first stage labor) My awesome nurse, Donna, warned me that when I stood up the contraction was going to hurt more and there would be a lot more pressure. Again, she knew what she was talking about – and I knew to expect that.  Molly stayed with me after this also, I think she may have left the room for a few minutes.

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Photo Credit: Bella Rose Photography

I stood through a few contractions,  Went to the bathroom (remember, I was drinking a lot of water! so being able to pee at my own will was awesome), came back, leaned against the bed and really worked through a few more contractions.  I also went and sat on the toilet for a few contractions – that legs wide open, gravity utilizing position helped relieve some pressure.

Something they teach you through Bradley is that when you get close to transition and toward second stage labor you literally can not help but to make “animal like” noises during contractions.  And, again, dead on.  Up until that point, I would breathe quietly through each contraction – and go about my conversations after they were over!  Well, I knew things were changing when I was standing up through a contraction and I heard myself making these grunting noises we heard about in class.  I say heard myself, because I had zero control of the sounds coming out of my mouth.

I kept telling myself, okay, you knew this would happen, don’t freak out.  I also didn’t fully realize I was making these noises out loud – it’s called being in labor land – sort of this crazy place between your mind and reality!

I did this a few times and then I HAD TO SIT DOWN RIGHT NOW.  Now, we knew all kinds of labor and birthing positions but I wanted to be sitting almost all the way upright with my legs sort of down (those hospital beds do all kinds of crazy stuff, so I was able to sort of sit on the “edge” of the bed with my legs dropped down – again, using gravity to my advantage).  Donna the nurse, again, was awesome – she validated everything I was feeling as normal.

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Photo Credit: Bella Rose Photography

Pretty much as soon as I got comfortable transition started.  My legs started shaking, my shoulders started shaking – I had my eyes closed but I thought everyone could see what was happening – but, no, they actually couldn’t.  At least not until my teeth started chattering uncontrollably and I told Mike (even though, again, I KNEW what was happening) “why is this happening to me” – he KNEW then what was going without question. 

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Photo Credit: Bella Rose Photography

I kept thinking to myself, again, I thought I was saying it out loud, “this is so annoying”.  Mike, Donna and Molly again were awesome at assuring me things were going in the right direction and not to be afraid.  Mike kept saying, this is it and my mom stood by my side and held my hand.  I know I thought several times “why am I doing this. I don’t want to do this anymore” – again, exactly what they told us would happen in our Bradley class!

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Photo Credit: Bella Rose Photography

Molly verified what we all knew, it was time to get this baby out! I was allowed to push when I wanted to.  Except, I sort of freaked out inside my head – and I would start to say with each contraction “I can’t” but everyone pretty much in unison would say “yes you can!”

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Photo Credit: Bella Rose Photography

I started sweating like a mad women and I was using my mom and Mike’s hands as leverage to push – I probably nearly broke their fingers.  But my hands were so dang sweaty, I was getting frustrated because I kept losing my grip!  Because at first I couldn’t get  my mind straight around the whole “if you just push, it WILL FEEL BETTER” idea at first – my first few contractions weren’t all that productive.

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Photo Credit: Bella Rose Photography

I could feel her head starting to engage, and the awesome thing about being in control of your own body, is knowing when you need to take a break.  I didn’t push through one whole contraction because I just knew I needed to let things stretch out, if you will. After that, I was ready – my mind and body were finally working together.

I kept my eyes closed through pretty much all of second stage – I just listened to Mike, Mom, Donna and Molly. I heard Molly tell me she had hair!

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Photo Credit: Bella Rose Photography

Or, I sort of listened to them – they kept telling me to pull my legs back because if I did this baby would fly right out.  But I really couldn’t do it – I don’t know why – but I could not let them move my legs and I could not move them myself.  (but notice how mike is pushing me up? that was perfect and he knew to do it without me saying anything)

I felt her start to crown and I was pushing so hard but then I had to breathe and I couldn’t keep pushing and take a deep enough breath – I felt her slide back in as I took a breath and said “no, don’t go back in!”.

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Photo Credit: Bella Rose Photography

that was all the motivation I needed – the next contraction I used all of the energy I had – I pushed through the ring of fire (yes, it does burn, but only for a second) and felt her head come out and then her shoulders and body just slide right out.

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Photo Credit: Bella Rose Photography

That is when I opened my eyes.  At 8:28pm* on February 1, 2013 my second daughter was born.373(2)

Photo Credit: Bella Rose Photography

I have never ever in a million years felt anything like this – this intense emotion of HOLY SHIT I JUST DID THAT and HOLY SHIT, THAT’S MY BABY!

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Photo Credit: Bella Rose Photography

When they handed her to me – I said “oh, hello!”

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Photo Credit: Bella Rose Photography

And I said a bunch of other nonsense that, again, during our classes I swore I wouldn’t say. It just kind of comes out and you can’t control it!  Lots of “I love you’s” and “I waited so long for you” comments.

I couldn’t take my eyes off of her – I did look at Mike and Mom, but I just focused all of my attention on her.  She was so alert – I can’t even explain how alert she was – her eyes stayed open almost the whole time.

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Photo Credit: Bella Rose Photography

We did skin to skin for a long while – during that time Mike cut the cord, she got her eyes taken care of and her vitamin K shot – all while snug in my arms. 

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Photo Credit: Bella Rose Photography

Third stage labor happened (seriously, when they say delivering the placenta feels like a warm massage, that is no joke.  it felt so good… very strange, but good!).

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Photo Credit: Bella Rose Photography

Donna took her to get all the appropriate measurements and weights.  I got one stitch.  Daddy & Grandma got to hold her. 

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Photo Credit: Bella Rose Photography

And then I got my baby back to feed her.

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Photo Credit: Bella Rose Photography

This is a new experience for me – and so far, so good.

Eventually we were ready to move to our recovery room – I was up, out of bed, within two hours of having her (I had to pee again!) and all things considered – feeling very awesome.  And ready to eat!

We did it.  Mike and I, together, created this gorgeous life and brought her in to the world the way my body was made to do it.  And it was, without a doubt, the most empowering experience of my life. 

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Photo Credit: Bella Rose Photography

I owe a ton of credit to Gayle, our Bradley instructor for an awesome class – she prepared us so wonderfully for this.  And, get this, was responding to our texts that day from PARIS! How awesome is that?  Mike was the greatest coach you could ever want – he was so attentive and in tune to what was going on. He may now officially be a bigger natural birth advocate than me!  My mom was the perfect assistant coach – she snuck me snacks, told me what I needed to hear, and just having your mommy near by is sometimes all you need.

So welcome to the world, Aleesia Marie – I hardly remember life before you were in it.

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Photo Credit: me!

*ironically, Gianna was born at 8:29am!

4 comments:

Sara said...

Congratulations! I'm so glad you had a great experience and have another beautiful daughter!

Kara Foster said...

Oh Andrea! I am so happy for you and proud of you! I am sobbing right now. Your birth story is amazing and I am so glad for everything you experienced. She is absolutely amazing. Much Love!!

alison said...

I love her. You did it, I knew you would! xo

JoyBelle said...

Love that those last pics captioned "Photo Credit: Me!"

There is nothing like giving birth without meds; it's just indescribable unless you've experienced it and that's not to say others who choose a different path are making bad choices. Just different ones! You used descriptive words that I haven't been able to articulate regarding how it feels; very beautiful!

She is gorgeous!!!