Monday, January 20, 2014

The "Due Date" vs the "Birth Date"

So, I haven't posted in a very long time -sorry.  Before I forget all of the details leading up to the birth of Julia, I thought that I would do a blog post.  If you aren't into reading about another person's birth story, please feel free to stop reading right now.  So, why am I writing this today?  Well, today is Miss Julia's 1st birthday.  Time has truly flown by, and it amazes me that she at one time fit and grew over the course of nine months (give or take) in my belly.  In the midst of cleaning up from her Classic Winnie the Pooh 1st Birthday, I am going down memory lane and remembering all that led up to her birth.  By the way, I will try to do a post on her 1st Birthday Party shortly...

Let's start at the beginning of the end of my pregnancy.  On January 10th, 2013 Jordan and I enjoyed a fabulous dinner at one of my favorite (now non - existent) restaurants; Restaurant AVA.  The waiter couldn't believe that my due date was the very next day and that we were actually out eating.  Jordan and I knew that the chances of Miss Julia arriving on her due date were slim to nothing, especially since our goal was to have this birth all natural, which mean no inducing.  Needless to say, January 11th, 12th, 13th, 14th, and 15th rolled around, with no action.  I was feeling quite comfortable for being that far along.  I wasn't too concerned about being past my due date.  I had taken some fabulous Bradley classes and learned that the average 1st time mom is pregnant 8 days past her due date, and that the average 1st time mom was in labor for 17 hours.  To be honest, I was not wanting to speed up the whole 17 hours of labor.  While I was excited about eventually meeting Julia, I wasn't so up on the whole birth part.

Let me stop right here for a sec and answer a question that I have gotten in the past.  If I am not up on the whole pain of labor for 17 hours, why not use a hospital with pain meds?  That is a great question.  I will be the first to tell you that I don't like pain, and I will also be the first to tell you that I don't like the idea of staying at a hospital with sick people.  I also know that sometimes when you add in pain meds, you can actually slow the birth process down.  It can also be harder push and to know when to push if you are on pain meds.  While this isn't the case with all births involving pain meds, I know it is with some.  Jordan and I talked about it, and we both decided that it would be nice to be able to be home sooner than later.  I knew that I would be more comfortable recovering from the birth in my own home, my own bed, etc...  For these reasons we decided to have a baby at the Allen Birthing Center and to trust my body to know when it was time to have a baby.

Back to the story...  The evening of Wednesday, January 16th rolled around, and I had 6 hours of back labor.  It started around 8:30pm.  We truly thought "this" could be "it."  Because my contractions were not at consistent intervals, we stayed put for the evening.  We knew that the next day I would have an appointment at the birthing center.  At the appointment we were told that I was at a 4 and 80% effaced.  We were given the option to take measures to speed the process along and actually have Miss Julia that day.  Jordan and I were both exhausted and I felt as though I had no energy to labor.  We decided to go home that evening and let my body decide when Julia was to be born.

Jordan stayed home from work that Thursday and Friday, and I caught up on some sleep knowing that I wouldn't have many more days of a full nights rest once Miss Julia made her grand entrance.  Saturday rolled around, and I went and had a manicure, and then Jordan and I met up with his parents for an early celebration lunch for Jordan's birthday on the 22nd.  We had a relaxing evening at home.

7:30am on Sunday, January 20th my labor really started. There wasn't a buildup because the labor that I had the previous Wednesday night was the buildup.  I went from nothing to my contractions lasting a minute and being five minutes apart.  Jordan called my doula and let her know and she encouraged us to call the midwife to see what she suggested.  My doula was pretty sure that the midwife was going to want us to head to the birthing center and not wait around.  Sure enough, the midwife jumped in the the shower changed into her scrubs and called Jordan as she was leaving and had him load me in the car.  I know that at this point my brain wasn't working.  I was actually very frustrated and was nervous about going to the birthing center because I was afraid that I wasn't far enough along and that they would send me home.  It was like I had forgotten that I had already progressed on the previous Wednesday.  Needless to say, I wasn't the easiest person to convince to get into the car... Jordan had a time of it.

We pulled up to the birthing center, and my doula met us at the car and helped me get inside.  I was checked upon arriving - I was a 7 1/2, so I was staying put.  We went upstairs to the birthing suite.  Candles were lit, lights were dimmed, and relaxing music was played.  I labored on a birthing ball for a bit.  Jordan and Shannon (my doula) applied lots of pressure on my lower back, and Jordan made sure that I was getting plenty of apple juice, yogurt, apple sauce, etc... (Yes, at a birthing center or home birth, you eat food as you labor because you need energy to birth a baby.)  After awhile, I moved into a birthing pool/tub.  I wanted to relax if at all possible in the water.  As soon as I hit the water, I entered transition.  If you know anything about birth, this is the part for many that can be very hard and painful.  It was definitely very painful for me. Jordan would say that transition was when he would have gladly taken me to the hospital;  for him it was very scary.  Luckily we had a great doula, midwife, and birthing assistants.  Their calm demeanor really encouraged him.

When the birthing assistant suggested I could push whenever I felt ready, I thought she was crazy.  I knew that statistically I should be in labor for at least 17 hours.  It was no where near 17 hours at that point.  She checked me in order to reassure me that I could push when I felt ready.  I was a 9 or 9 1/2. When transition ended, I got up out of the tub and moved to the bed.  Twenty minutes later give or take a few, and Julia made  her grand entrance at 12:26pm.

So today, I celebrate not only Julia's birthday, but also my "birth date," which was not on my due date.  In a matter of seconds, I went from being a wife to being a wife and a mother.  We went from two to three.  Our lives are very richly blessed.