Posts tagged babyhart
Arlo's Birth Part 2: Postpartum Shenanigans!
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WARING: Stop here if you don't want to read all the gory details because I'm not holding back! lol

Sweet Arlo was born at 1:08 Wednesday morning, November 22nd.  We felt such relief and were so ready to just hang out and get to know our new baby.  Of course a few things still had to be dealt with, which was expected.  First of all, I still had to deliver the placenta.  After 24 hours of contractions the last thing I wanted was a nurse pressing on my sore belly to try to get this thing out, but it was over soon enough.  Then there were the stitches.  They took Arlo to get weighed and measured while they cleaned me up and stitched the small tears I did have.  Again, nothing in comparison to the pain I'd just been through, but not super fun.  I was ready to be left alone already!

After that our parents got to come in and meet Arlo.  I was so happy to have them there.  Sometimes all you want is a good hug from Mom and Dad!  They were obviously super tired too so after a quick visit they headed back to my house so we could all get some sleep.  During that time I started to get concerned because I was still in pain.  The pressure and the uncontrollable shaking I'd felt during labor had not gone away entirely yet.  Was it possible it was even slowly getting worse again?  I mentioned this to the nurses and they advised to go to the bathroom and try to pee.  That was probably causing some pressure.  They helped me to the bathroom but peeing was not happening.  In fact it was excruciation just to sit on the toilet.  I felt so much pressure building when I sat it was unbearable.  Still convinced I needed to pee, they got me back in bed and put in an in and out catheter.  That was very successful but still, the pressure was building.  I felt like I was going to throw up so they gave me a zofran.  That helped with the nausea, but the pain was getting worse.  They finally gave me a dose of ibuprofen to take.  They said to wait about 30 minutes for it to kick in and I'd feel much better.

30 minutes passed and the pain and pressure was worse.  They met my concerns and tears with a attempts at comfort. "Oh honey I know, I've had a baby too.  There can be a lot of lingering soreness."  This was not soreness.  I was starting to wonder if there was a second baby getting ready to come out because the pressure was so intense, just like when he was getting very low in the birth canal.  At this point they gave me a tylenol and told me again to wait 30 minutes, but in the meantime we had to move to our room in the postpartum area.  They pulled up a wheelchair but there's no way I could sit.  The pressure and pain between my legs was too much.  Walking didn't seem very possible but I did my best.  That long trek through the hospital halls was terrible.  Barely dressed, trying to walk in some kind of wide legged squat position on my jello legs, holding myself up by my IV pole, and literally holding onto my bottom with the other hand for fear something was about to fall out!  Ryan pushed Arlo ahead of me, slowly so that I could keep up.

By the time we were settled in our new room I was loosing it.  I begged for something stronger to take away the pain.  Since I was not technically a patient at Vanderbilt they had to contact my primary care providers for permission to give me anything else.  So we waited again.  While we waited a nurse suggested a sitz bath. Yes!  I love baths!  I imagined my tub at baby+co where I labored.  Oh to be back in that tub and at least somewhat comfortable.  Well a sitz bath means you sit on the toilet(again, super painful) while a nurse tries unsuccessfully to squirt warm water on your butt for 30 seconds.  NOT HELPING! Finally I had approval for more meds.  This time it was a prescription strength pain medicine, can't remember what. Once again they promised this would kick in and work wonders if given about 30 minutes.  

30 minutes later I was on all fours in my hospital bed contracting and pushing again and screaming in agonizing pain in the middle of all these sleeping mothers and new babies. Not to mention my own new baby, somehow peacefully sleeping beside me. I knew there was nothing to push out, but if you've had a baby you know the urge to push is uncontrollable. It hurt like hell to push but I couldn't stop. It felt the same as the contractions I had had during the pushing stage but so much worse.  They were more intense, more painful, and no space between. Just one long contraction. Every time I'd give in and push I emptied my very full bladder all over the bed. This was miserable. I was DONE. I screamed at the nurses. I can't do this anymore. Do anything to me to make this go away. At this point being in so much pain for so long I had the thought that I don't know how I can survive much more. At what point does a body just stop? I was either going to die or pass out. And to not know what was happening or if it was ok. At least in labor I believed my encouragers when they told me this was normal and productive and would end. I no longer had that reassurance which was super scary. Maybe my panicked screams finally made them realize this wasn't normal because the next thing I heard is that they'd called a Dr to come take a look at me. While we waited for the Dr they gave me a percocet(I only remember that one because of the song lol).

I felt like wonder woman when I gave birth earlier that morning. Now I felt like a helpless little girl who can't handle pain. Were these nurses all rolling their eyes at me? Was I being a huge baby? Does anyone else scream like this?

It seemed like forever before the Dr finally got to our room.  I do know that at that point it was between 6:30am-7am. I'd be doing this since his birth at 1:08. The Dr finally took a look at me and saw what no one could see a few hours ago. I giant bulge had appeared(the second "baby's head" I'd been feeling). I had a vulvar hematoma, which since then has been affectionately named Timmy Owen after one of Ryan's many mispronunciations. The Dr told me that meant that at some point during labor or pushing I had burst a vein causing blood to slowly pool in that area. This results in a sort of internal bruise that turns into a large hard, pressurized mass. Think of getting hit in the head and having a big hard bump. So it's that, only a whole lot bigger, and in a very inconvenient area. And of course I can only imagine all that needless pushing only made it so much worse.

The Dr gave me the reassurance I desperately needed. He told me this is extremely rare(he'd only seen it maybe twice in his 20 years of practicing) and that the pain this must cause completely warranted my reaction so not to let anyone make me feel like I'm being a baby. "You just had a very long, all natural childbirth, you can handle pain!" Then he also told me oral drugs weren't going to do a thing for the level of pain this causes so we are going to get you some real relief. I'd been told relief was coming for so long now I'd stopped believing it, but a few minutes later an IV was being put in my arm and I whatever glorious drug they gave me crept up my arm and flooded my entire body, immediately taking away my pain and sending me into the first sleep I'd had in over 24 hours.

My poor sweet baby had to spend his first night in the hospital nursery. I felt so bad to have to ignore him in his first few hours of life. NOT what I wanted, but unfortunately necessary. After a couple hours of sleep they brought him to me to nurse. On so many different pain meds, I was still so loopy as Dr's and nurses came in and out, examining me and explaining things. I have no idea what all they said at that point. It was all I could do to keep my eyes open. My mom was already there with coffee and breakfast for us. Whatever magic drug they'd given me a few hours before was still in my arm and I had a little button to push whenever I needed more.  I was still in pain but nothing like the last night. Totally manageable as long as I was comfy in bed.

I couldn't get up and down to go to the bathroom, nor could I pee on my own because of all the swelling and blockage caused by the hematoma, so I had to have a catheter put in again. That took four nurses and finally a Dr to get it in. Kill Me Now!!!!  After the fifth try the Dr pushed passed the swelling and we were good. And I was grateful for not having to get up and pee on my own that day. Once I was somewhat coherent and out of pain the Dr came in and told me we needed to do a CT scan to see how deep the mass went and determine if it would resolve itself or if I'd need a surgical procedure to remove it. 

We waited all day Wednesday to be scheduled for the scan. That evening the Dr came back to check me again, this time bringing another Dr to give his opinion as well.  After they talked they decided that it seemed to have at least stabilized, and wasn't getting any bigger. This was good news. They told me that if left alone my body would reabsorb the hematoma on its own but it could take a while. Up to three weeks of bedrest. Bedrest meaning flat on my back, because I couldn't sit on it. Or they could do the procedure and possibly get faster results. Since it was left up to me I decided that if surgery wasn't necessary I'd let my body heal on its own. I mean, I feel like it's a no brainer. There are always risks with surgery so if you're telling me I don't actually need it, I'll pass. Plus, Ryan had the next three weeks off anyway so he could take care of me during my recovery.

If we had given birth at baby+co and all was normal, we would have been released after 4-6 hours to go home, and that was my plan. Obviously I'm so glad we were in the hospital due to my needs, but 4 hours turned into 4 days. Thank God for our parents who brought everything we needed to the hospital and took care of everything while we had to stay there. We spent Thanksgiving day in the hospital, surrounded by our family for the first time since we moved to Nashville, and our sweet friends even brought the Thanksgiving dinner we'd planned to the hospital! We felt so loved and supported. I am endlessly grateful for all of them.

Friday morning we were supposed to be discharged. We were SO ready to be home! My nurse came in and told me I was good to go. They just needed to get some prescriptions filled for me and get the paperwork all done. Arlo's nurse however, came in and told us that he had jaundice and would have to stay at least another day for treatment under the bilirubin lights in the nursery. I cried actual tears for the first time that week. I didn't want to spend one more minute in this hospital room, and definitely not without my baby. I was so sad thinking of him alone under the bright lights. He hated being naked and alone and near bright things! 

By some miracle the first nurse misinformed us about him having to be in the nursery and he was actually able to be under the lights in our room. One small win. But he still screamed all day, and we were unable to hold or comfort him. It was heartbreaking. They told us at 6pm they'd recheck his levels and if they were good he could go home, if not he'd have to stay under the lights through the night. 

As for myself, still in pain, barely able to walk, unable to sit up, on orders to be in bed and on all kinds of meds, was discharged. That would have been fine if I could have gone home to be in my own bed and be taken care of. But Arlo was still not released, so they moved us to a "family room." This was about half the size of our old room and no bed for me. All we have was a fold out love seat and two pillows for Ryan and myself. I'd had a hard time getting comfortable in my remote operated hospital bed, with 5 pillows and nurses waiting on me hand and foot. We were all SO MAD. Even Arlo's nurse was amazed that they had me in that room in my condition. I stood as long as my legs would hold me up just waiting for a nurse to walk through the door at any moment and tell me we could go home. After about 30 minutes of standing I couldn't do it anymore and Ryan and our parents helped lower me onto our new "bed" and went on a mission to find me more pillows. I just hoped and prayed with everything I had that we didn't have to stay the night. There's just no way. I could't even prop myself up to nurse, and no one was there to help me anymore since I was discharged. Thankfully Arlo's results came back normal! After just a couple hours in that awful room it was 9pm and we were finally headed home!

Being home felt amazing. Our family stayed through the weekend and helped with every little thing we needed. Friends came to visit over that first week and with our free time we watched movies and just relaxed so hard. Not a huge deal that I couldn't get up and around. Arlo was sleeping and pretty chill all the time so we just took advantage and enjoyed our time, even though I was in pain. I knew it'd be over soon. Up to 3 weeks, like the Dr said.  But now as I'm writing this, it's been 3 weeks and good ole Timmy Owen is the same size he was when I left the hospital. 

I will say I'm in so much less pain. Partially because the swelling, bruising, and stitches from normal childbirth are mostly healed. Also my chiropractic adjustments took away a lot of pain and stiffness I was having all over my body. And finally, as my midwife said, I'm probably just getting used to it. Learning weird ways to prop up and get around. But bottom line is, it's not getting smaller. So next week I go back to Vanderbilt to be examined and possibly undergo the surgery we originally talked about.

And now for a moment of brutal honesty and maybe a little plain bitching. I don't have to end this post with a silver lining or a "but it's all ok because...." because it's not. It doesn't feel ok. It feels so unfair. And of course Arlo is 100% worth it and I am absolutely in love with him. But having a newborn is hard. Everyone knows that I think. It's even harder when you feel worse physically than you ever have in your entire life and you can't even stop to take care of yourself. Figuring out how to breastfeed is hard enough, but I can't even sit up and try different positions. Totally pissed poor Arlo off a few times just not being able to get us comfy. My midwives and Dr's say to just get plenty of sleep. But you remember how I have a newborn, right? You know that means I haven't have a full night's sleep in 3 weeks, right? I'm all in for him. I'm here 100% for him and whatever he needs, so no, I don't have time for pain, or for rest and recovery, or for not being able to get up and down now that Ryan's back at work. Being a new mom is hard enough and that's all I really have the mental and physical energy for. So yeah, maybe this recent improvement is just that survival mode kicking in and saying nope, ain't got time for this! 

Looking back at when I was in labor, just getting through till the next brake, that's kind of what having a newborn is like too.  Of course this past week, now that Ryan is back at work my poor kid has decided to have tummy troubles and cries more than he sleeps. It's a constant cycle of nursing for 30 minutes, then burping and keeping him upright for 20 minutes so he doesn't throw the whole thing up, then a diaper change, then the crying, a good hour of trying to calm him down then if I'm successful maybe he'll nap an hour before we start the cycle all over. I'm getting the hang of it now, pain and all. But it really is the same thing. Just like making it through one more contraction. Making it through one more feeding, one more diaper change, one more rocking to sleep, then that amazing feeling when he's happy or passed out and I get an hour to sleep or eat or shower or return a phone call or work on this blog! But then there's this ridiculous thing(during the day at least) where after finally getting him down for a nap, 30 minutes passes and I miss him! Go figure.

In less than 4 weeks I go back to work. My nurse/midwife told me this week I shouldn't count on that being possible. But I am determined, because I have to. I'm not in a position to take anymore time off than I already have. I'm also about to go crazy not even being able to get out to even go on a walk or go get coffee, or anything outside my house. So whatever it needs to look like, natural healing or surgery, I'd so appreciate all your love, healing energy, prayers, or whatever you want to throw my way to get me healed in that amount of time.

To wrap this up in someway I guess I'll just say this. I don't feel negativity about this experience in general at all. This has been a truly amazing and life changing thing but it's hard to answer all the questions when people check in. How are you guys doing? Are you feeling better? No, I'm not doing great and not feeling better honestly so why do I feel the need to say "yes! Everything's great" when it's really not? Hopefully this doesn't sound negative, just honest. I know as a new mom I'm thankful for others that have posted their struggles instead of just the good stuff. It helps to know you're not crazy! And ok, here I go, I guess I am throwing in a silver lining anyway. One thing this experience has shown me that has been truly beautiful and amazing, is that I am so much stronger than I ever knew. I mean really, it takes something like this to bring out the deepest most animalistic side of our very being.  Our bodies were built for this and we will survive it. So even from my bed, in spit-up covered pjs and hair that hasn't been washed all week, I feel odly empowered.

Love,

Caitlin

Arlo's Birth Part 1: Labor and Delivery
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Hello everyone!  I feel so out of the loop right now but I'm slowly getting back into the swing of things and wanted to update you all with all the craziness of the past three weeks.  Also wanted to get Arlo's birth story written down while it's fresh in my mind so that I can always have this to look back on.  The reason I made this a two parter is because the drama was far from over when he was finally born.  I had some complications with birth that I'm still trying to heal from and I wanted that to be a separate story.  Also, way too long to read all at once, unless you really want to. So here's part 1 for ya.  The story of my labor and delivery of our sweet boy.

At 39 weeks I was super ready to have this baby!  Our birthing center only takes normal, low risk pregnancies between 37-42 weeks.  I was terrified of somehow going over and missing that window!  I was determined that he would come early or at least on time.  I was due November 26th, the Sunday after Thanksgiving.  We had plans to do Thanksgiving with our close friends and I had already bought all the supplies to make my favorite dishes.  At that point I said, ok let's just make it through Thanksgiving then you can come on little guy!  Monday night, the 20th we starting getting all our ducks in a row before the busy week took over.  We finished packing our bag for the birthing center, I washed and blow dried my hair, actually shaved my legs, and downloaded a contraction timing app.  

I'd been having Braxton Hicks contractions pretty regularly for the past few months.  It was normal to have them all night and for them to feel pretty strong.  Tonight didn't feel any different but I pulled out my new contraction timer just to test it out.  My Braxton Hicks were consistently 10 minutes apart for the whole evening.  Still, this felt like most other nights recently.  But I remember telling Ryan "I don't think we have to worry about this baby being late.  I feel like it could be soon."  He said "Like before Thanksgiving soon."  I didn't think so.  "Nah, we will get through Thanksgiving."

I finally put my app down and went to bed, Braxton Hicks still going.  Every hour or so throughout the night a contraction would wake me up.  This had never happened before.  They felt the same, but with a little crampy feeling, kinda like period cramps, or like you really need to poop!  I told myself I probably had gas.  That morning Ryan got up and left for work around 6:30 am as always.  I usually slept a couple more hours before leaving for work at 9:15.  But this morning I couldn't go back to sleep.  So crampy!  Around 7am I started timing again.  These contractions were about 6-7 minutes apart.  I called Ryan and let him know, but still didn't want him to panic or rush home.  I had a full book of clients and even still planned on going to work at this point! haha. I knew that these were contractions, but that didn't mean I was in labor or progressing in any way.  I'd had two friends recently having painful contractions on and off days and even weeks before giving birth.  Not going to get myself or anyone else excited.  I called my midwife and she said it sounded like I could be in early labor but to keep her updated and get ready to come in to the birthing center when my contractions had been 3 minutes apart for at least an hour.

By 8:30 I called Ryan and told him to come home. I still wouldn't say "This is it!" but they were getting more painful and I at least needed someone with me to keep me calm.  I also called into work and advised them to start moving my morning clients while I "got this under control" lol. Ryan got home and we tried to watch tv to stay distracted.  That didn't work.  I tried bouncing on my ball.  Nope!  Laying down.  Nope!  Standing is all that felt ok.  We called our parents and let them know what was happening but not to head this way just yet.  They are 5 hours away in AR and I didn't want them half way here just to have this fizzle out. I still wouldn't admit that I was in real labor but I remember thinking this better freaking be it because this hurts!  I thought early labor(if that's what this was) would be a breeze.  Something I wouldn't have to focus on.  Ryan reminded me to not use all my coping skills I'd learned right now, and to save them for when it was more intense.  But this was intense! Finally he convinced me to go on a walk.  That was great!  We walked around the block a few times, stopping for each contraction and hanging onto each other.  The weather was beautiful that day.  60's and sunny, not a cloud in the sky.  After a few rounds I wanted to keep going but we decided to go back inside because I didn't want to waste any more energy.  It was now early afternoon and at that point my legs were already getting weak from standing all morning.  

When we got back inside things seemed to pick up even more and I decided to get in the shower.  Contractions were even more intense and getting closer together but still sporadic.  Some 2 minutes apart, some 6, but on average 3-4. I couldn't focus anymore.  I was already feeling tired.  How on earth could I keep going?  How on earth is this going to get more intense and can I really handle this?  By this point I was already making some kind of noises during each contraction, trying to keep my sounds to low groans, trying to breathe while bracing myself against the shower wall.  I begged Ryan to call the midwife again and see if we could go ahead and come in.  I couldn't imagine getting in a car like this but definitely didn't want to wait till it was any worse.  Since I had tested positive for GBS and would need antibiotics in an IV during labor, she told me to come on in just to be safe.  Also it was 3:30 in Nashville which means we had about 30 minutes before we'd get stuck in traffic for an hour.

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Between contractions Ryan helped me get dressed and get into the car.  I felt like I might die if I did anything but stand during each contraction so the car ride was TORTURE!  I lifted myself as far out of that seat as possible with each one.  About 20 minutes and 5 contractions later, we pulled up at Baby+Co and were taken to our room.  After I let another contraction pass the midwife checked me(which hurt like hell!) and I was dilated to a 3.  I had mixed emotions.  It would have been great to be further along but at least I knew I was getting somewhere. This was real. This was it!  But 3 down, 7 to go was something I did not want to think about at this point.  She confirmed that I was in early labor but told me it was early enough I could go home for a while and come back later if I wanted to.  OH HELL NO!  There was no way I was getting back in that car.  

So Ryan and I got "comfortable" in our birthing suite.  I tried to get in the shower but the water wouldn't get hot!  I tried to lay down in the big comfy queen sized bed but that wasn't happening.  I just wanted to stand but my legs were shaking and giving out already from doing that all day. I think at that point I ended up on the toilet for quite a while.  At least it was a lovely heated toilet. After we got to the birthing center I really lost all track of time.  I don't think I looked at a clock or my phone the whole time, which I'd highly recommend.  While each contraction was it's own challenge, and in a way there was a feeling of "omg how long can this go on!?!?!", looking back, it really flew by.  We did nothing else but focus on getting through laboring together and at least now, looking back, all that time kind of runs together.  Ryan was so calm and comforting and kept me fed(chocolate chip cliff bars), hydrated(a sip of water between every contraction), and motivated with his kind and encouraging words.  

For a few hours it was just me and Ryan in the room but at some point once things progressed a bit more, they hooked me up to my IV of antibiotics and either our midwife Heather, or our nurse Grace, were in the room with us the whole time.  Once I was in a good active labor I moved to the tub.  That felt great!  And by "great" I mean "I think I can survive a little longer here." It's crazy how different it was than I expected.  How much harder.  But I was doing it!  Somehow it just got more and more intense, but very gradually, to where I almost didn't notice or have a chance to panic.  All I could do is focus on getting through each contraction.  Low groans and moans turned into something much louder, but I tried my best to keep my sounds productive and remain in control of them.  This is probably the only thing I remembered from birth class in the moment.  One thing that became very clear is that all the coping skills that we'd learned(essential oils, massage, breathing, using the tub or shower...) served a different purpose than I'd expected.  There is nothing in the world that was going to ease the feeling of a contraction.  I just had to survive them, one at a time.  But all of those other things were very important tools to help me relax between each contraction, which I did very well for a while.  While I still had 2-3 minutes between contractions I would lay in the tub and relax every muscle in my body.  I actually don't think I've ever felt better in my life than I did in those 2-3 minute breaks.  So relieved for a contraction to be over, in an amazing warm bath, breathing in lavender, with my husband saying nice things and massaging my head.  Haha, amazing!  And it was 100% necessary to have the physical and emotional strength to handle the next contraction.

At a certain point I started to get too tired to relax.  Contractions were too close together and my body wouldn't stop shaking long enough to calm down.  Enter: nitrous oxide.  When all the tricks we had up our sleeves stopped working, I was given the nitrous mask to hold and breath during contractions and to relax in between.  This worked wonders when it comes to getting me to calm down a little longer. 

Of course all good things come to an end, and there was a point where the nitrous stopping working as well.  Contractions were so intense and so close together, I was just about over it.  Honestly ready to give up.  But there's no off button you can suddenly push.  This was happening whether I liked it or not!  It was around 11:30 and our parent's had arrived and were in the lobby.  This gave me a little comfort to know I had even more cheerleaders just in the other room. My midwife asked to check me again.  I actually said no at first because I didn't think I could mentally handle it if it wasn't good news.  She insisted and when she checked me I was at a 7.  I tried to shut off my brain and just go into survival mode.  I have no choice, I have to get through this.  At this point she could tell I was fading.  I cried and said I don't want to do this anymore! She told me that she did not want me to look back at this experience as a traumatic one, and if I was in too much pain they could call an ambulance to take me to Vanderbilt to get an epidural.  I said no!  Even though that sounded great, I wanted to have my baby at the birthing center and bottom line, I wanted immediate relief and there was no way I was getting back in any kind of car like this! 

Right after she checked me and we had this conversation I had a massive contraction, I stood up off the bed where'd she'd been checking me, hung onto Ryan's shoulders and in that moment my water broke.  All over Ryan!  As soon as that happened the contractions changed.  Even the very short space between them was hurting and I felt the urge to push.  Was this transition?  Had I already been through transition?  Heather immediately checked me again and I was at 10!  I'd gone from 7 to 10 in that one contraction and was ready to push!  I don't want to say pushing felt good, but it was doable.  It was crazy intense but it was progress, it was a light at the end of the tunnel, it was knowing that this is almost over that gave me the mental energy to push with all the strength in my body.  Between each push they checked the baby's heart rate.  After just one or two rounds of pushing the baby's heart rate had dropped low enough for concern.  They calmly told us that just to be safe they were calling 911 to get an ambulance to take me to Vanderbilt just in case he ended up needing help.  The ambulance was minutes away but she told me we could try and get the baby out before they pulled up.  With the next contraction I pushed with all I had in me and definitely made some progress but the EMT's were ready for me and we had to go.  Not a stitch of clothing on, Ryan helped me into a nightgown and onto the stretcher.  Forced to lay down(my least favorite position) and legs literally strapped down to the stretcher, I was wheeled out through the lobby, past my parents, and into the ambulance, all while trying not to push and making some pretty scary noises I'm sure.  

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My midwife hopped in the ambulance with me but Ryan and my family had to drive there separately.  I found out later that Ryan had gotten lost and ended up at the VA emergency room instead of Vandy!  Thank God he found it after that and made it on time, and thank God I didn't know about that until after the fact!  One excruciating ambulance ride later, I was being wheeled into a labor and delivery room at Vanderbilt and lifted onto the bed.  Minutes later Ryan was by my side again and I was pushing.  Baby's heart rate had returned to normal even before we arrived so we weren't super worried anymore, just ready to get him out.  One more round of pushing and he was almost out.  My midwife was still running the show and helping me every step of the way.  At that point she pulled out a scary looking device and started talking about how they needed to cut me to allow him enough room to come out, at that moment I had another contraction and pushed him right out!  Close call with the almost episiotemy, but ended up with my perineum fully intact!  Only a few minor tears inside.  

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I thought I'd cry when I saw him.  Ryan thought he would too.  But we didn't.  They put him straight on my chest and I just looked at him in shock and relief.  I just remember saying "I did it! I did it!" and "It's over!!!"  I've never felt so much relief in my life. Ryan was all smiles as we looked in amazement at what had just shot out of my body. There he was, all slippery and writhing on my chest.  I didn't even think to look at what color hair he had or anything like that.  I was just shocked.  This actually happened.  I actually did it, all naturally, and we were all ok, and there was a tiny person here that wasn't here before. 

I was so thankful the pushing went so fast.  Our parent's on the other side of the wall said they heard it happen.  A giant scream from me, then a tiny cry from Arlo.  Arlo Simon Hart was born at 1:08am on Wednesday, November 22nd, the day before Thanksgiving.  He was 6 pounds 15 ounces, and 20 inches long.  

Even after all that, I'm so happy I made it through an all natural birth.  One thing I took away though is that I really don't think I could have done it in a hospital setting.  It was hard enough at baby+co where I had a whole beautiful suite to move around in, try out different positions and had every tool for relaxation at my disposal. In that small hospital birthing room, there's no way. And with drugs so readily available, I would have given in for sure in the moment, even though that's not what I wanted for us. 

At first I had so much relief.  Everyone kept telling me, it's almost over, once he's out, all this goes away.  I was so glad I'd made it.  But unfortunately it was not even close to being over for me.  That's why there's a part 2 to this thing!  Details of my rather dramatic postpartum experience coming soon.

Much love,

Caitlin