Friday, September 13, 2013
I woke up around 5:45am after having a good night's sleep. I went to birth group the night before and I had one of the ladies give me a few tips for going into labor. She said she expressed some milk and did some hip rotations on an exercise ball. I thought my exercise ball might still be out in the garage, but since I was the only one awake I thought I would try expressing milk first. She said she had her baby within ten hours, so I thought it would be good to get an early start.
It was a Friday morning, which is what I had been hoping for all along. Bryce recently started a new job which meant he didn't have any sick time or vacation time, so having our baby at the beginning of the weekend would be perfect for him to be home with us for the next few days. My mom also had Fridays off and we were planning to have her come watch the kids when I went into labor. The last few Fridays I was hopeful as well, but our little girl just wasn't ready yet.
So I sat on the couch trying to express some colostrum. I wasn't sure if I was doing it right, nothing was coming out. But after about five minutes on each side I felt a few small contractions. I gave up and went back to bed to snuggle with Bryce. I had been having regular contractions on and off for the last month, so I definitely wasn't getting excited.
After laying down with Bryce for a few minutes I felt uncomfortable. I figured my body did not want to lay down any longer. I sat up while Bryce and I talked about plans for the day. I said, "I will call you if I go into labor, but don't get your hopes up." I had said that many days, this was my longest pregnancy. My contractions were really starting to get my attention at this point. I told Bryce we should probably get ready and finish packing the birth bag. I texted my Doula, Twyla, to let her know I was having contractions, just giving her a heads up. I also texted Chris, the midwife, to let her know things were starting up. Bryce decided he would shower, that panicked me a bit to be left alone. My next contraction was really painful and I didn't want him to leave me even for a minute. While he was in the shower it went from exciting to scary for me. I had never felt contractions like this before. I was leaning over the side of my bed and focusing on groaning and breathing. The contractions were about every 2 minutes apart and really intense. In the next few minutes I told Twyla I was ready for her help and let my mom know to head over. My mom lives an hour away and I didn't want to wait too long.
Within just a few more minutes I changed plans. We needed everyone to meet us at the birth center. There wasn't going to be time to labor at home. The contractions were so painful that I couldn't do anything. In the short time between contractions I managed to throw some clothes on. Bryce was grabbing all of his things and woke the kids up to get ready to leave. They were amazing and completely ready to go in about 5 minutes - in their school clothes. They helped grab snacks and the food we had planned for our birth breakfast. Maddie grabbed me a towel and a bucket - at this point I thought I was going to throw up.
I remember standing at the counter, I was going to attempt to help gather things. Instead I ended up leaning over the counter trying to cry through a contraction. Jonathon was standing in the hallway watching me with concern. After the contraction was over I reassured him that I was ok, this is how it is supposed to happen. I heard him tell Luke that he thought I was crying. Maddie was so helpful to remind them that I was ok, and helped get them excited about the baby coming.
Everyone went out to the car and I started having another contraction by the small couch. I remember leaning over the couch and just burying my face into the big cushion. I felt like I couldn't handle the pain anymore and I was really scared. It was at that point that I remembered I wanted to do this. I knew I could do it if I relied on Heavenly Father to help me. I said a quick prayer right there that He would be with me and help me. I knew I needed to relax more and trust Him. Bryce helped me get up and started walking me to the car. I told him I wasn't going to make it to the birth center. I knew the baby was coming fast. I was really worried about spending 20 minutes in the car with how much pain I was already in.
Bryce gave me a blessing in the driveway right before I sat down in the car. He mentioned in the blessing that everything was going to be ok. I remember the part that stood out to me was he said I was going through transition. I hadn't realized that for some reason, and that made me happy to know that Heavenly Father knew what my body was doing. I was also nervous because I know birth isn't far behind transition. As we started driving I tried to find a comfortable position that I could hopefully relax in. Bryce suggested the kids sing a primary song to me. All four of them sang their best and I loved it. I could definitely feel the Spirit, and although I was still in pain I was able to relax much more than I had been. After a few primary songs they switched to singing a song they had learned at school. I could immediately feel a difference in the Spirit and I wasn't as relaxed. I asked them to sing more primary songs and attempted to sing with them between contractions. I was feeling the need to push during the contractions, but I just tried to breathe and relax as much as I could. It was comforting to me when Bryce said that Twyla was right behind us, following us to the Birth Center. I hoped Chris wasn't far behind.
We arrived at the Birth Center and everyone got out of the car. I had been leaning back and to the side and started to get up. Twyla and Bryce came to the passenger door to help me and told me that Chris wasn't there yet. I knew I couldn't get out of the car until I absolutely had too. I rested my head back by the top of the seat belt and tried to breathe slowly. I told Twyla that I felt like I needed to push and she reminded me to relax and breathe. She did really good talking to me and trying to keep me calm. It was only a few minutes before Chris arrived and told us to hurry and come in. Bryce and Twyla helped me walk to the stairs, but I had to stop for a contraction before going up. Twyla held onto me from behind and Bryce was holding my arms in front. It was then that my water broke. I could feel it going down my legs and I told them the baby was coming. I heard a little panic in Twyla's voice when she called for Chris. I can't remember who said it, but they said to hurry and get me upstairs. I remember having a lot of help getting up the two sets of stairs, although Bryce and Twyla said I did it by myself. The kids followed behind us and I directed them to go play in the toy room for a minute.
We walked into the birthing room and I kind of froze by the side of the bed because I didn't know what to do. Bryce and Twyla got my sandals and pants off and helped me climb up on the bed. They stacked a bunch of pillows in front of me and I leaned over and buried my face in them. They said the baby was ready, and they could already see her head. It hurt so bad, I was too scared to push. They were encouraging me and letting me know I could do it. I knew it would be over faster if I did my best to push her out. I took a breath and waited for the next urge and I pushed as hard as I dared. It was so much more painful than I had imagined. I was screaming, saying it hurts, saying I was going to die. Bryce was getting ready to catch and I pushed again, screaming at the same time. It was so incredible to feel her body slide out, and I knew Bryce caught her. I was in shock about everything that was happening, the memories seem blurry like a dream. Bryce slid her on the bed underneath me so I could see her. I stayed in my position because I didn't think I could move. I think the first thing I asked was, "Is it really a girl?" Bryce assured me that he had checked and Yes, it was a girl. I listened to her grunt and fuss and had memories of when Jonathon was born. He wasn't breathing right and they took him to the NICU for the next two weeks - I didn't want that to happen again. I kept asking if she was ok and everyone answered that she was perfect. Healthy, pink, big and perfect.
The kids got to come in and see her while I was still on my hands and knees. They had put some covers over me so that I wasn't exposed. It was so neat that they got to see her while she was so brand new, even before I had delivered the placenta. I think my mom got there around that time and was surprised to find that I had already delivered the baby. We had her put on a movie for the kids while I tried to get more comfortable and get ready for the after birth. I was surprised when I felt painful contractions again, I thought after the baby was out I was done. I was not happy about delivering the placenta, and I was in a lot of pain. I think I may have been slightly cranky at that point.
I was so happy to get to hold my new baby, we still hadn't decided on her name yet. She latched right on when I went to nurse her, it was great. We were both pretty messy at this point still. The kids and my mom came back in and Chris showed them the placenta. The kids put gloves on and got to touch it and Chris showed them how it worked and what it did. It was really fun to see their different reactions. Maddie got to cut the umbilical cord and was pretty excited about that. I was incredibly happy that my kids were there with us, it made everything sweeter for me. Not long after that I was able to take a shower while they cleaned up the baby. Maddie got to help with the baby's first bath.
It felt so good to be clean and to hold a clean baby. I was still having a lot of cramping and pain from the birth, but I was happy. Bryce went to work making us all a nice breakfast. We had hash browns, omelets, bacon, orange juice, chocolate milk and krispy kreme doughnuts. It was perfect. After filling my belly I felt really worn out and wanted to rest for a little bit. Bryce took the kids home to get their back packs and go to school, and also stopped to get the car seat that we hadn't forgotten in the rush that morning. While my mom held Gabby I thought I would try to sleep. I was apparently still too traumatized from the whole experience to rest my mind. I kept replaying the events in my head and feeling the fear and stress I had felt earlier. I finally decided to give up on sleeping and started packing up and getting ready to go instead.
I was so relieved that I hadn't torn during the delivery. I had always had episiotomies before. This was the best recovery I have ever had. I was so happy to get to bring my baby home and finish recovering there. It took us till the next day to settle on her name: Gabriella AnnaMarie Sherwood. We have both loved the name Gabriella, and AnnaMarie is Ilse's middle name. (Bryce's grandma) She was 9lbs 9oz and 20 1/2 inches long, born at 7:38 am. She is perfect! We have bonded to her so quickly and have been much happier about losing sleep than we have been in the past. I wouldn't change a thing about how she was born, the Spirit was so strong. I found out other things later that added to the strong Spirit we felt. We were very blessed and I know we had Heavenly help through the whole process.