Cecelia turned two weeks old yesterday, so it's high time I get her birth story written out for all you baby fans out there! This post may have a few details that are TMI for some, so if you don't want to read the words "mucous plug" again, stop reading and just look at the adorable pictures. Awww...
My early labor was actually a couple days long. I lost my (wait for it) mucous plug and started having bloody show on Friday morning (May 23). I gave birth to my first two babies two days after this sign, so I knew baby Cecelia would be here soon! I started having some contractions that day, and Nathan and I went for a hike that evening at Twin Creeks Metropark in Germantown (pictured above) to try to get labor to progress. It did, indeed, bring on more contractions that grew progressively more uncomfortable.
I woke up during the night with some pretty good contractions so I was up for a while, but eventually was able to get back to sleep after relaxing on my big exercise ball. The next day I continued to have lots of bloody show and stronger contractions that came and went all day.
Saturday night I woke up with strong contractions at around 2:00 in the morning that got to be about four minutes apart, so I called my doula, Megan, as well as the birth center and midwife to let them know I'd probably be coming in soon. Megan came over to sit with me shortly after that. I mostly sat on the birth ball during that time and talked with Megan. I had to breathe through the contractions (in and out slowly through the nose- this was immensely helpful! I also used a visualization technique of ocean water filling a glass orb as a contraction built, and the waves rushing back out as it subsided. Sounds weird, but I think putting my focus on that instead of the discomfort was very effective). Megan probably sat with me for an hour or two, and during that time my contractions got further and further apart. I decided we should all try to get some sleep, so Megan went home and I went to bed.
I woke up at around 7:30 Sunday morning (May 25) with MUCH stronger contractions, but they were very far apart- around 15 minutes. It was very uncomfortable to lay in bed with them. I got up and around, and by 9:30 the contractions were 5 minutes apart and very strong. I was hesitant to go to the hospital because I had thought it was "time" a couple times before, but we decided to go ahead and go in. I called everyone I needed to (again) and Robin stayed home from church to watch the boys (They had just gotten over a stomach virus).
They sent me to walk for an hour, so Nathan, Megan, and I did laps around the floor. They checked the baby's heartbeat again and sent me to walk for another hour. It was lunch time and we were all getting hungry, so Nathan walked to Chipotle and we took a break from walking to eat. I exercised self control and only ate half of my burrito (yes, I usually eat the whole thing). I was so happy to be able to eat during labor!! Yay, Family Beginnings Birth Center! We finished out the last few minutes of walking and I was checked again. I had progressed to 5 cm and 80%! They also had a room at the birth center ready for me, which was a huge relief! They only have three rooms, so I was a bit worried they wouldn't be able to get me in. The room was great... looked more like a hotel than a hospital room!
Once we were taken to our room I was just encouraged to do whatever felt best and keep moving and changing positions. I was happy to take a break from walking because my lower back and hips were getting sore, so I got on my knees on the floor and leaned forward on a birth ball. We turned on relaxing music and Nathan and Megan took turns rubbing my back. I just rocked and focused on relaxing through contractions. During that half an hour the contractions got much closer together- they were about three minutes apart, I believe. Megan and I then walked for another half hour... I kind of wanted to keep relaxing, but more than that I wanted my labor to continue progressing!
After our walk I got back in the same position with the birth ball, but this time on the bed. I don't know how long we were there- it didn't seem very long. Megan was rubbing my shoulders and Nathan my lower back when I felt a huge POP (Nathan felt it too, I I think we may have even heard it). The contraction instantly got MUCH more intense and I felt an immense amount of pressure. I was asking, "what was that??" I thought it may have been my water breaking, so when the contraction ended I reached down, and my pants were indeed wet. I went to the bathroom and sat on the toilet while Nathan got the nurse and Megan helped me through the next contraction. It was so intense. I felt so much pressure that I was afraid Cecelia might come out, so I was resisting the contraction, and that made it hurt much more. The nurse had me come to the bed and lay back so she could check my cervix- I was at 7 cm. She went to start filling the birthing tub and I had the next two contractions laying on my back which was so hard. Again, I think I was afraid she was going to come out right there, so I was resisting. I did a lot of low moaning ("ohhhh" sounds) starting at this point.
The tub was filling up so they helped me get in. It was very warm which was nice, but I was already really hot so Nathan and Megan kept bringing me cold cloths for my head and neck. I had the first contraction sitting up holding Nathan and Megan's hands, but I felt very unstable. Nathan turned me over to my knees with my arms up on the side of the tub which felt much better. Just a few contractions later I felt my body start pushing! Megan ran to get the nurse and she came back with the midwife and doctor. I had my eyes closed the whole time so I took Nathan's word for it! This part of labor was INTENSE. I don't know if I would even describe it as super painful (of course contractions hurt and I do remember some burning during pushing)... just incredibly, indescribably intense! My body totally took over for the pushing... I just tried my best to stay in control and resist the urge to totally bear down. Afterward the staff kept telling me what good control I had. I remember at one point I noticed I was making more frantic, high-pitched sounds, so I said "lower," and Nathan thought I was talking to him so he moved from rubbing my shoulders to rubbing my back, but I said, "not you, I was talking to myself. Low sounds. Like a cow." Haha! That's something I read in a book... another thing that sounds ridiculous but I believe is actually great advice! During the pushing phase the midwife massaged my perineum the whole time (which I only vaguely felt). The midwife (or someone) asked if I had touched Cecelia's head yet... I hadn't, but I said "I can't" because there's no way I could have gotten my head around moving my arms at that point! Someone checked Cece's heartbeat with a doppler and I could hear that it was very slow, so they encouraged me to push her out. I think I pushed hard about two times and I felt her head come out. I asked, "is she out??" And they told me just her head and helped me move my legs further apart again ;) I pushed hard one more time and her body came out! It was only about 15 minutes from the time I got in the tub to the time she was born- only half an hour from 7cm to 10!
Because I birthed Cecelia on my knees and she was lifted out behind me, I had to turn around and lift one leg over the umbilical cord in order to hold her! Haha! She quieted down as soon as I held her, just like a good baby should ;) I kept saying "I did it! I can't believe I did it!" I was totally elated. Nathan cut Cecelia's umbilical cord and the nurse took her out of the bathroom so I could get out of the tub. It was really weird to walk to the bed while the clamped cord was still attached to me!
I laid on the bed to deliver the placenta (which took one push) while Nathan watched Cece get weighed and cleaned up. I was thrilled to get the report that I had no tearing of the perineum!! I was surprised, however, how much that area hurt anyway, especially right after the birth. After they applied an ice pack I felt better. They helped me sit up and wanted me to turn to sit in the bed so I could nurse, but I had to stay right where I was for a good long while because I hurt and I had the shakes (which I was very happy waited to show up until after the birth instead of during labor like my boys' births!). Eventually Nathan literally picked me up and put me where I needed to be so I was able to nurse Cece. She was a great nurser right away! ...and also a great pooper. She pooped for the nurses right away, and then pooped on my hand the first time I nursed her (she didn't even have a diaper on yet). My gifted girl.
7 lbs 12 oz, 19 3/4 inches
Unfortunately, we were moved to a recovery room late that night because another laboring woman needed the birthing room. I was a bit bummed we didn't get to sleep in that nice big bed and enjoy the room, but I would rather someone else be able to deliver their baby at the birth center! The recovery room was teeny but worked just fine.
Cece was such a good baby at the hospital! She slept SO much that we were able to rest, and she didn't have any trouble nursing.
I had plenty of discomfort from childbirth, but that subsided within the week. Nothing compared to recovery from an episiotomy or tear! The worst pain of recovery was actually the contractions/cramps during nursing. I took Vicodin for the first couple days and that really helped. They probably stopped 3 or 4 days after her birth. The fact that I felt good enough to take a shower at the hospital proves that I was doing well! Even being able to get up and use the restroom on my own right after birth was pretty great.
Nathan's parents brought Orion and Desmond to visit their new sister the day after she was born. Des was instantly in love and couldn't get enough of touching her and holding her. Orion was hesitant at first, but I think seeing the attention Desy was getting from holding her was enough to make him want to do it too. Orion loves his sister, but he prefers to do it from afar. ;) They have both been great with their sister so far!
We stayed at the hospital two nights and went home Tuesday morning. I'm glad we stayed as long as we did, but by that point I was sore from sitting in bed and we were ready to go home! Cecelia was a great passenger on the car ride home, and has continued to be a great little traveler since then.
Her first flower from Daddy
Cece is such a good baby! She sleeps a lot and is a good eater (she typically eats every 2-3 hours around the clock). She was up to 8 lbs by 9 days old and her doctor says she's perfect. Cecelia has met a lot of family and friends already, and we can't wait to share her with more. I'm very thankful for all the help we've received from family, as well as many wonderful gifts from family and friends. Cecelia is two weeks old now and it feels like she's been a part of our family forever. It's amazing how love multiplies.