Sean's Birth Story - 2018
You may be scratching your head - after all, Sean is almost two and little Barrett arrived three weeks ago. And I've been promising Barrett's birth story.
I kept trying to write it. . . only to bang the backspace button a million times and sigh in frustration.
Because here's the thing, friend. To appreciate what went down, you gotta have the backstory! Aka, my first child's birth. :)
And... here's another thing. I've only told a few people all of the details of Sean's birth. I didn't realize until after I was pregnant with Barrett how traumatizing it was in some ways. Honestly, that is sad, because it did NOT have to be. I had a great labor in one sense, but didn't realize the shortcomings in the care I received until too late.
Travel back with me in time....... to 2018
Sean was born 2 weeks (did I say weeks? Ha! I mean y e a r s) after his due date (after a false alarm on said due date), and that was possibly the most miserable two weeks I have ever experienced. Ever, in my life. It was very sanctifying. (Also, something I'd like never to live through again.)
I really wanted to have an unmedicated birth, so I wasn't thrilled about being induced at 42 weeks. The weekend of my scheduled induction, Daniel and I spent Saturday packing for the hospital, cleaning house, and knocking out all of those last-minute nesting tasks. We fell into bed at midnight, planning to sleep late and rest before we had to be at the hospital at 7pm on Sunday. I'll never forget putting my head on his shoulder while he prayed for me to have peace and get rest. I kid you not, seconds after he said, "Amen" the baby kicked, something popped, and we were flooded. I gasped and Daniel said matter-of-factly, "Your water just broke." Ha! I believe the Lord gave me a sweet providence that night. I was overjoyed - and launched into intense active labor. Somehow I managed to get my makeup on in between contractions -- something I still secretly pride myself on. :)
My mom, midwife, and doula met us at the birth center facility, and the party was on. I was amazed at how completely I tuned out the entire world and only focused on the contractions and what my body was doing.
I was able to do it naturally, like I planned, but only because Daniel was my rock the entire time.
It was a good labor for all practical purposes, but during that time, I struggled with back labor, everything stalled at one point because of baby's position, and I needed IV fluids and nausea meds because I got extremely sick. I remember that moving around (a lot) helped me, and I needed to hold onto Daniel the entire time. That surprised me -- usually when I'm in pain I want to be left alone, but labor was a whole different story. Because of the back labor (something I wish upon no one) I needed counter-pressure on my back for 10 hours straight. Daniel and my mama tag-teamed on that job! The hot shower and the tub were also lifesavers -- highly recommend both!
I remember a conversation I had with a mama friend about natural labor while I was expecting. She talked about crossing a line in every one of her labors into a place where you feel like you can't do it anymore, and that is when you are actually in transition and getting close to pushing. Sure enough, I hit that line like a brick wall. It seems like I went straight from calmly thinking, "this isn't pleasant, but I can totally do this," to, "Oh God help me, I can't do this!"
I'll never forget my sweet husband getting down on his hands and knees in front of me and repeating gently, "Look at my eyes" to help me breathe through contractions.
I finally pushed for two and a half hours. By the end they were rushing to put me on oxygen because Sean's heart rate was dropping. I had to deliver him quickly and traumatically and tore just as traumatically. Ironically, he was born in a tub but I didn't have a water birth, because they started draining the water when his heart rate started dropping. Go figure!
Honestly, I didn't experience that immediate halo of bliss and angels singing that I'd heard about -- not in the first few minutes, anyway. I was so intensely worried about the baby being okay that the first emotions I remember were concern and then the most incredible relief that it was all over and he was okay.
We were overjoyed to have our first baby, and it was definitely a shorter, easier labor than a lot of first time moms! (10.5 hours total.) But Daniel and I both had to work through some significant emotional Stuff afterwards. I haven't gone into everything, but it was not an ideal experience in a lot of ways -- something I didn't realize until the birth of baby number two.
But lest I leave you on an unpleasant note (don't want to do that!), here's a snippet from my journal entry about the whole experience:
"I have never felt so completely exhausted in all my life! And neither have I felt so empowered and amazed at myself as I have since I gave birth naturally. That was the hardest thing I have ever done, but I DID IT. Me, myself. It really did make me feel like Superwoman and like I can conquer the world. It has changed my confidence and outlook on life in a very practical and noticeable way.
But most of all, Daniel and I have a baby. A precious, funny, adorable, special little person. And he's a gift to us from God. What a thought."
Anyway! *tap tap* You still there after all that reminiscing? Thanks for taking this trip down memory lane with me! I'll see you tomorrow for Part 2, aka kid number two... a Very Different Story!