Friday, October 3, 2008

Juju's Birth Story

This took me a while to muster the mental and emotional energy to write, but here it is, hopefully, it doesn't embarrass my grandparents or others I respect.

I always wanted to do things as naturally as possible. Besides, quadrillions of women since Eve have been giving birth without any pain killers, why couldn't I do it? I always imagine the settler's wife jumping off the wagon train, giving birth beside a rock along the road then jumping back on the wagon train. I don't know, I heard once that had happened.

Thursday was Ben's birthday and my mom watched Z so we could have a date. We went to Quiznos then to the mall to shop for clothes for Ben. I was having a lot of pelvic pressure and had to walk super slow. I ate a bunch of guacamole for lunch as I heard that can help bring on labor and I think it was starting to kick in. Around 10:30pm I was pretty sure I was in labor and called Ben's sister, Debbi, at Messiah College in PA so she could make sure her car was fueled and bags packed. I had to pause for a contraction while we were talking, so I count 10:30pm as my labor start time. Ben said, "I'm going to bed, sounds like it could be a long night." He got about 45 minutes of sleep, when he heard me on the phone talking to his mom about my contractions. I had heard they were supposed to be five minutes apart, one minute in length for one hour. Mine were only 30 seconds long, but they were growing in intensity and getting closer together.

By the time we left for the hospital (an hour away), they were three minutes apart, but still short in duration. I had invited all of Ben's sisters, his Gramma H. and Aunt Val to come witness the birth. Debbi had taken her chances and just left for OH when I called even though I hadn't known for sure I was in labor. Gramma H. called everyone else for me around midnight when we left for the hospital.

Shortly after checking in (see checking in story) I was in the tub and though that alleviated the pain initially, it relaxed me and the contractions got stronger and longer quickly. Gramma H. and my sister-in-law, Bekah, arrived pretty early on. I remember once between contractions asking the others to tell me when Debbi got there. My bane at this time was the IV port they made me get and the antibiotic I had to get for being positive for Group B strep this time. The antibiotic hurt my whole arm like a giant bee sting and I had trouble not complaining about it. I told them I expected the labor pains, but not the arm pains! I didn't have to get that with Z's birth.
I had a little back labor with Z and really hoped it wouldn't happen again, but alas, it was worse. My mother-in-law, Bobbi, said the baby was slightly anterior and caused more back labor this time. Thankfully, I was more alert this time around and more relaxed so I was able to expediate the process by relaxing the best I could through contractions. Ben constantly rubbed my lower back as each contraction came. I remember wanting him right with me just like with Z's birth. I remember praying three prayers, "Thank you, Lord, for this honor," "Lord, be with me and help the pain to go away," and, "Why does it have to hurt again, Lord?" The only thing that I found super motivating was the thought of having to get a C-section if I didn't keep on trucking. They had me get out of the tub at around 8cm dilated to push. Evidently, it's not kosher to push in the tub, they'll only let you stay if the baby jumps out while you're in there. I remember going from freezing cold to boiling hot as I started pushing. There was a time Bobbi told me to not push, evidently she was moving things around down there to make the pathway clear. Then, I was allowed to push again and once her head was out, she came flying out. Ben cut the cord, and then I got to hold my baby girl for the first time.
She had a little trouble getting her temperature to stabilize at first, but after a few hours she got there and all was well. She took a little longer to learn to latch on for nursing than Z did, but within a day she got it. I ripped a little just like last time and moments after I was stitched up, Debbi arrived! She made it in record time (five hours from Eastern PA), but we were quicker! Four hours from the time we got to the hospital, six hours of labor all together. I didn't sleep much that first day due to all the excitement, but caught up that night and we checked out a day early to keep our hospital bill down.

Here's the crew from left to right: my mother-in-law/midwife, Bobbi; Gramma H., me and Juju, Ben, and two of my sisters-in-law, Bekah and Debbi. Four generations! It was special to have our kid's grandma deliver them, but this time it was also special because Ben's Gramma H. had never seen her daughter work her wonders as a midwife before. My mom was able to be with Z the whole night, which was a super big relief. If we hadn't moved her arrival date up, she wouldn't have been here. She came up to the hospital that morning with Z and we spent the morning together. Last time, I was talking about baby #2 within an hour of Z's birth. This time, I remember thinking, "I'm OK if I never do this again." We'll see if I can remember that once my baby is getting big and I see other babies I want to hold.
Update: Z got a cold the weekend she was born and Juju caught it at one week old. It's been sad watching her struggle to breathe through her nose, but thankfully, it's just a cold. Without comparing our children too much, Juju has been a super easy baby. We had no idea when Z was born that he wasn't. Juju sleeps a ton (practically through the night already!!!), she nurses for 15 minute intervals and can go hours without nursing. My own experience of nursing has made that easier too - keep lips flanged out, take Lecithin to prevent mastitis, and knowing different positions and ways to get her to latch on. All around I feel completely blessed that this experience has been so much easier than I anticipated.

Another sister-in-law, Biz, came to visit over the weekend (I have four!), and we did one week old "Glamour Shots" with her fancy camera. Check out the swirly in the middle of her forehead! Can you say, "Cow-lick"? Hoo boy, that'll be fun to watch as it grows out! Well, that's Juju's birth story, only slightly censored for world-wide viewing. It hurt more than the first time, but was quicker by a couple of hours. Pretty sure I couldn't have done it alone beside the wagon train like the Colonial women, in fact, I doubt that story's even true. I knew what to expect this time and in the chaos of my nesting and preparations, I didn't spend much time thinking about the little girl that was about to enter the world. I've bonded much quicker this time and spend hours, just as I did with Z, watching her with wonderment. In fact, I've called her my "Joy Surprise". All the pain and labor was such a small price to pay for such a gift of joy.


Anonymous said...

Beautiful story... and a beautiful little girl. thanks for sharing. :)

Kristin said...

What a great story! I'm so glad that everyone is doing well! :)

Dana said...

ugh, i've never tested positive for group b strep, but with zosia my doctor totally forgot to order that test done (we had a other things to think about with the single artery umbilical cord) so i had to have the antibiotics. that was the worst part!!!! i said the same thing... i didn't expect the arm to hurt... that really distracted me from focusing on relaxing to relieve the labor pains.

holly said...

Hi - I followed you here from your blog, I love reading birth stories.

I had the antibiotics with my first, and I should have with my second but I showed up at the hospital ready to push and the order for the antibiotics came in after she was born.