I posted Part One of T’s birth story on Tuesday. Here is the end!
It wasn’t long before it was time to push. That brings us back to that word again — Intense. The feeling of everything that was happening in my lower body was so big, so overwhelming, I can’t even begin to try to describe it. Everything was so intense. There was some pain, yes, but it was more than that. So much more. Feeling the baby move into and through my pelvis made me feel like I should be breaking apart. There was so much pressure everywhere. And while I wanted to push, my body had to push, I also didn’t want to because it honestly felt like there was a good possibility that I would turn myself inside out. I pushed for maybe 15 minutes, groaning and crying out, PB cheering me on. (I don’t know exactly what he said since I was so inside myself but I’m pretty sure he told me I was doing great and he told me after the fact that the midwife told him to quiet down. I guess he was getting a little enthusiastic in his support.) The room seemed chaotic between my vocalizations and PB, the nurses and the midwife all talking at once. I recall the nurse who was applying counter pressure on my hip telling me I could hold her hand at one point and I grabbed her hand like I was drowning. The midwife decided to break my water while I was pushing and things really got moving after that.
I knew the baby was right there because of how big everything felt, I gritted my way through a couple crazy intense pushes and the head was out. As soon as the baby’s head was out I just wanted to rest. I leaned against the head of the bed expecting at least a short reprieve but the cord was wrapped loosely around the baby’s neck and the midwife said to me, “Holly, I need you to push now.” I gathered myself and by the time she was repeating that statement I was forcing myself to push, even though all I really wanted to do was pause and rest. Another moment of intense pressure and the baby’s shoulders were out. The rest of the baby slid right out and into the midwife’s hands once the shoulders were free. The baby was born at 4:50 a.m.
Suddenly all the pressure and intensity were gone. Instant relief. I was in such a haze from the sudden cessation of all the crazy labor sensations and there was such a feeling of doneness that I have absolutely no idea what was happening around me. Was I still holding PB’s and the nurse’s hands? I have no idea. I’m sure the midwife was saying something but I have no idea what. I do recall PB saying, “It’s a boy!” but it sounded to me as if he were saying it from very far away (though I could hear the emotion and excitement in his voice). And then the baby was being passed up to me between my legs. I clutched him to me and clumsily turned around and sat down on the bed. I think I just stared at him, in awe of what I had just done. He was pink and alert. As soon as I saw him, I was amazed by how much he looked like his sister and said as much.
(Incidentally, my mom arrived at the hospital – had walked through the door to my room and was on the other side of the curtain — just in time to hear PB announce that the baby was a boy. I can only imagine what that moment was like for her.)
Somebody got the baby a blanket and I held him skin to skin while we waited for the cord to stop pulsing. After about 10-15 minutes, the midwife had PB cut the cord and then helped me deliver the placenta. I was not at all jazzed about needing to push again but it wasn’t too bad in the end. She gave me a quick check to make sure all was good. I had no tears from labor, though there were a couple small abrasions. Someone, I don’t recall if it was a nurse or the midwife, asked what his name was and PB and I looked at each other and just knew which of our name choices was right for him. I confidently told them that he was Tobias Edmund.
The nurses and midwife helped get me cleaned up a little, brought clean blankets for T and I and then invited my mom into the room. I continued to hold the baby skin to skin and he had his first go at breastfeeding. The midwife helped me get him latched on. I don’t think I really needed the help but it was nice to have the support regardless. He latched on pretty quickly and immediately started going to town. He was a natural just like his sister.
I continued to do skin to skin with T after he was finished nursing until the baby nurse showed up to get his measurements and evaluate him, which was about 45-60 minutes after he was born. I was really pleased to have had such a long time to keep him with me and hold him (and particularly to do skin to skin) after he was born. I remember I had to hand E over only a few minutes after she was born but she was much more purple when she came out. After they took him to get his weight, I noticed that he had peed and pooped while I was holding him (caught mostly by the blankets I had tucked around him). At birth the midwife and one of the nurses wanted to give him Apgar scores of 10 but one of the other nurses told her they don’t give 10s and so his Apgars were 9 and 9.
His weight was 8 pounds 10 ounces and he was 21.25 inches tall at birth. He was a tall little guy! He got the Hepatitis B and vitamin K shots and after he was all checked out by the nurse, PB got to hold his son for the very first time. Seeing the man you love hold one of his children for the first time is simply amazing. One of the nurses that came in after T was born told PB that she doesn’t normally get emotional at births anymore but that she was in the hall walking past our room when he called out, “It’s a boy!” and that all the emotion in his voice made her tear up.
By this point I was starving, so the nurse brought me a chicken salad sandwich, fig newtons and a fruit cup from the fridge in the L&D. It wasn’t the best thing ever but, like I said, I was starving, so I ate while PB and my mom got a closer look at T. Throughout this bonding time with baby, before they moved us over to the mother/baby unit, the nurses would now and then palpate my abdomen and make sure my uterus was shrinking like it was supposed to. That was very uncomfortable and painful. More so than I recall with E (but, of course, I had had an epidural with her). I wanted to swat their hands away even though I knew they were just doing their job.
Eventually our room in mother/baby was ready for us and a nurse came to help me get cleaned up and ready to go. Getting up and using the bathroom was a little bit of a horror show due to the blood but it felt good to get out of bed, get cleaned up and put a new hospital gown on. I’m sure I was tired by this point but I just remember talking happily with all the nurses and feeling rather elated.
We finally made it over to mother/baby shortly after 7 a.m. It was around then that I noticed that my tailbone was extremely sore and the contractions caused by the oxytocin released during breastfeeding were much stronger and more painful than they were when I nursed E after labor. Funny how much things are so much the same and yet so different.
Once we were settled in our room, we were focused on soaking up every moment with our new little man. We couldn’t believe we had a son, another sweet baby to love. It all seemed so surreal and it had happened so fast. Later that morning, my mom brought E over to meet her brother for the first time. She came in, climbed into bed with me and I held her in one arm and T in the other while my heart swelled and soared. I was so excited and happy to see her. E marveled at him, gently touched his cheek, gave him kisses and was immediately in love with him. She said she loved him and was just so sweet. She declared him to be “so strong” and said that he smelled like cupcakes.
Everything was wonderful, until late that night when T was admitted to the NICU, but that’s a story for another post.