Sunday, June 23, 2013

Owen, your birth story

Owen, I cannot believe that you are four weeks old today! Two nights ago, I tried putting a clean change of clothes on you, newborn size, and realized that newborn size no longer fits! Time passes so quickly. I know this to be true so I wrote down your birth story just days after you arrived, so I wouldn't forget all the details of my thoughts and experience of that wonderful day. Then I sat on it a few weeks to make sure it was what I felt comfortable sharing. In the end, I didn't change a thing. This is your birth story.

Dear Owen,

The night before you were born, I couldn't sleep. Around 6:30 a.m. I heard your brothers Carter and Finn stirring so I went to get them and brought them downstairs. My pajama pants were quite wet and my stomach was  cramping. "Could this really be the day?" I wondered (although in my heart I knew).

This was the day you'd be born.

Everett got up and then Colin and I sat there on the couch with your brothers knowing that this was probably the last time we'd do this morning ritual of cuddling on the couch and watching Sesame Street with milk sippy cups, just us. Life was about shift and change once again as we welcomed another.

I took this picture:

I told Colin first.

While Elmo danced on T.V, I leaned over and whispered, "Guess what? Baby Owen is going to be born today."

He was THRILLED. For nine months now, he's been asking when you'd arrive and finally I could say with certainty, "Today. Today is the day."

Then I went and woke your Dad and Mom-mom. Thank God your Mom-mom and Pop-pop were here!

I labored at home for a bit and then finally (reluctantly) went to the hospital around 9:00 a.m. I wasn't sure it was time to go and honestly I was scared to go because I knew I could relax through contractions much more easily at home than at the hospital. I was hoping for a natural birth and I knew laboring at home for as long as possible would help. However, the doctors thought that you might come fast and so reluctantly I headed into the hospital. Although the contractions already seemed pretty darn strong, I was only 3 cm when I arrived at the hospital. That was so discouraging! I stuck to my plan of no drug intervention for the next 4+ hours only to be still at 5 cm. I was so tired, hungry and getting scared. This labor was taking longer than I'd expected (only because I'd expected to go fast). As it turns out, my bag of water was only partially broken and there was still a small cushiony bag of water between your head and my cervix, preventing you from descending and in turn slowing labor.

By about 1:30 I was exhausted, discouraged from my lack of progress and getting overwhelmed by the pain. I had flashbacks of Colin's birth, where the pain ended up completely overwhelming me. At a certain point while laboring in the shower, I peeked out and told Chris, "I think I'm ready for an epidural". As with everything, he backed my decision 100 percent.

Boy is that epidural a game changer! Wow! Soon I was resting comfortably, texting with friends and family and feeling completely relaxed. I think natural childbirth can be a wonderful, empowering experience.... but this time around I learned that knowing yourself and being willing to change plans mid course based on what's best for you, can also be empowering.

I have no regrets. The nurse even commented that my contractions on the monitor resembled contractions of someone who'd been given pitocin although I hadn't been. They were strong and almost continuous. But by that point, I was pain free, completely relaxed and giddy with excitement to meet you.

The doctor eventually broke the rest of my water bag and soon after I felt pressure to push. Things started happening quickly. The doctor was immediately paged and the nurse started positioning me to push, telling me that you were right there ready to arrive! Your dad was taking a nap (hee hee) and so I quickly woke him. "CHRIS!! GET UP! IT'S TIME!!!" What makes me laugh out loud even now is that he actually said something like, "Give me a minute to wake up." You were not waiting!

There was just one nurse and the doctor in the room to help you into this world (unlike with both Colin's birth and obviously the triplets birth). It was a beautiful day and I remember the sunshine beaming through the window as I got ready to push. Your dad was to my right supporting me and watching your birth. Our doctor wore glasses and so I could also see you being born in her reflection. I was able to put my hands down to feel your head and help you out. Nothing about this was scary. It was just peaceful and beautiful. The next thing I knew Owen, you were on my chest, all chubby, a little bloody and covered in baby goo. I watched your Dad cut the cord.

I never thought I'd have the experience of having my baby immediately laid on my chest after giving birth (Colin and each of the triplets needed to be taken away for brief monitoring before we could hold them. Chris had never cut the cord before). Yet there we were this time and it was all happening.

Owen, you are SO cute. Before you were born everyone had been pondering who you might look like but in the moment our eyes met, I realized that you just looked like you. You immediately filled a space in my heart that I hadn't even realized was vacant. A space that had been there waiting all this time.

Waiting for you.

Colin's birth story is here (written back when no one knew I wrote a blog and I also didn't use Colin's real name).

The triplets birth story is here.

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