Monday, August 12, 2013

Birth Story - Levi Joseph

Well, something big happened. We had a baby. He is now 9 days old. I've heard that you very quickly forget the details of the birth, and that you should write it down to remember. I figured I might as well share it here. 

Everyone kept telling me that they didn't think I would go late, and I believed them! With a due date of July 27th and a move planned for August 15th, I was on a pretty tight schedule. As the day came and passed, and my husband and I kept having "last dinners out" and "last movies," etc., I was wondering if the baby was ever going to come. The due date was on a Saturday and my next appointment was on Thursday. I went in and my doc opened the conversation with, when do you want to be induced? Today or tomorrow? I was a little shocked. Though I was so ready to have the baby, I was not prepared for an induction, and it was very hard for me to process. I had really hoped to labor at home and try for a natural birth, and induction seemed to stack the cards against me. We scheduled the indiction for the following morning, and I had a very rest restful night, coming to peace with the decision. 

The next morning we called before our 8:00 appointment, and they said the ward was full and to call back in 2 hours. We did and they told us to come in for tests- the ward was still full and they wanted to make sure the baby was not in distress. We went in for a non-stress test and and ultrasound, and everything looked good. They did tell us they estimated that the baby was 9lbs 7oz, increasing my anxiety even more! Could I have a large baby, or would I need a C-Section? We went for chinese food and killed time until 6:00, when they told us to call again. They were still full and rescheduled the induction for Saturday morning. After a long day of waiting and uncertainly, we called up some friends in the neighborhood to hang out, to take our minds off of things a bit. As I was sharing my fears about induction with them, they shared that a friend took castor oil to induce labor, and it seemed to work.  

Now, I had read about castor oil and only seemed to find warnings against it- it can make you really sick and if it induces at all, can put both mom and baby at risk. But this information was from brief googling around. I called the woman who had used it, and she had done a little bit more legitimate research into it, and considering I was already 3-4 cm dilated and filly effaced, I thought it would be ok for me. We went to store with our friends and bought some. We spent the rest for the evening at their place, talking about being parents, our own parents, and our hopes for this baby. 

When we got home at about 11:00 I took about 2 tablespoons of the castor oil mixed with a small amount of orange juice. I watched a little TV to take my mind off things, and fell asleep at about midnight. At 1:00 sharp I woke up to go to the bathroom. When I got up I felt pain pretty quickly, and worried it was stomach cramps from the castor oil. Turns out, I was having contractions! I waited about a half an hour until I was sure before waking up my husband. The pain was manageable but growing with every contraction. He started timing them right away and they were already 30 mins apart. I used a birth ball and breathing to manage the pain, but a half an hour later they were coming on so strong and were 2.30 mins apart. We called the hospital who told us to come in. I ran to bath room to vomit before heading to the car. 

What a car ride that was! It only took 10-15 mins to get there, but every turn or bump while I was contracting was so painful! Already, I was second guessing my plan to avoid an epidural. We got to the hospital, and the contractions were coming on faster and more intensely. I was already 6 cm. I went to change in to the the hospital gown, and decided there that I wanted the epidural. They had hooked me up to the monitor to check the baby and were asking question after question, and I just could not get control of the pain. After beginning to shake and vomiting twice more from the pain, I asked for the epidural, and got it about 30 mins later. After that point I was deliriously happy. I knew things were progressing quickly, I could feel the contractions that were moving toward the session to push, and I knew we would be meeting our son so soon! 

After a quick nap and six hours after labor began, I started to push. An hour and a half later, little Levi Joseph was born. As he was coming, they kept telling me how long his hair was ("You could braid it!"). I found pushing to be very natural and finally felt like I was doing something to have this baby- it wasn't just my body on auto pilot. All in all everything went so smoothly and the second I saw him come out I loved him so much. I could not have asked for the labor to have gone any better, and I would not have changed anything. My husband was incredibly supportive and right there with me they whole way. I had some complications afterwards (blood loss; hemorrhage) but nothing we couldn't get past. He was 9lbs 1 oz, 22 inches long, and hearty! He weathered waiting for my milk to come in and a latch problem like a champ. Every step of the way he only seems to thrive. 

So this past week at home has been all about getting to know and falling in love with this very inconsistent baby. I can't quite tell his temperament yet, but he seems pretty easy going. We're slowly catching on to this breast feeding thing (such an emotional process!) just in time for a trip to Chicago in 3 days.

I'll continue to share more about Levi, our move to NC, and our new home in the coming weeks, but wanted to share this story while it was fresh in my mind. All I can say is that we are both so in awe of this little baby, and could not ask for anything more. We keep having to remind ourselves that yes, our dreams really have come true.