I thought I'd share Oliver's birth story along with some of my favorite pictures captured by our birth photographer Andrea Lythgoe at Maternal Focus.
I think she did a wonderful job.
I'm thrilled with the moments that were captured.
Jordan and I prepared for this birth by going to hypnobirthing classes. With our last baby, Jett, we did Briobirth. Both are wonderful.
I didn't have the marvelous pain free, relaxing, even orgasmic birth that some women experience. Although I certainly prepared for one or all of the above.
Pain free? Yes please.
Relaxing? I want my name at the top of that list.
Orgasmic? I can think of extreme awkwardness with my mother and mother in law in the room. And two photographers and a slew of midwives and student midwives and my children. However, if someone had offered me orgasmic verses the pain, I would have said call me Jenna Jameson, lets go!
With that said, I was as prepared as I could be and I have no regrets. The extreme pain and joy are like nothing anyone could ever understand, except through birthing.
We have chosen to have our births at birth centers with midwifes and thankfully me and my babes have been lucky enough to be healthy and able to do so. We also hired a Doula, Stacie Nelson and I am so glad I did.
To me a doula meant having someone to rub my knitted brow to remind me to relax my face.
To give me gentle pep talks.
To even laugh with me while I'm layed up like an orangutan being gutted.
For me, it was such a piece of mind having someone there who would watch and time my contractions and pay attention to details that I didn't want to have to worry about. I wanted to focus on relaxing. Not how long my contractions were, how many contractions I was having, how long I had even been in labor, etc.
Time means nothing to me while I'm laboring. Two hours can feel like five minutes and five minutes can feel like two hours depending on what stage of labor I was in.
My labor started very early in the morning while I slept. My contractions finally woke me up at 7 am and I realized I had been having them for quite a while and had incorporated them into my dreams. I realized with the intensity of them that it was the real deal and not braxton hicks. I remember feeling hesitant to accept that it was really labor and I would be holding my new born baby within hours.
I got out of bed and started to time my contractions as I went about my morning tasks. Jordan had stayed up so late working I didn't want to wake him unless I was certain this was the real deal. So after an hour of timing, I gently woke him and told him the news and then immediately started crying.
Crying because deep down I knew what I was about to go through.
Crying because I was so excited to finally be done with being pregnant.
Crying because I was going to nuzzle my face against that precious new born babies neck and lay his tiny warm body against my chest after hours of hard work.
Crying because I had a river of hormones rushing through my body.
Jordan's first words were "Are you serious?"
He got right out of bed and helped me continue timing and getting things ready to go to the birthing center. I was rushing around stuffing things I needed into a bag (I was a bit of a procrastinator packing a bag this time) trying to straighten the kitchen and bedrooms. Because having a spotless house is essential to a perfect birth. Craziness.
He made the necessary calls to moms and midwifes while I showered and ate and paused for contractions on my birthing ball. With each contraction I realized this was really happening. And fast.
My mother in law arrived and just as I opened the door I layed on her for support during a strong contraction. It was a long hug. It was perfect timing. She jumped right in helping with the kids while we scrambled around to get out the door.
I had text my doula Stacie to give her a heads up so she was prepared to go sometime that day. But within the hour I called to tell her it was happening quicker than I had thought and she had better come soon to be safe.
By the time Stacie had gotten there I was on all fours (an overpowering urge to stop and drop every time) during my contractions. We headed out the door at 9:00 a.m. to the birthing center and another contraction hit me on our four flights of stairs down to the car. That was fun. So on my hands and knees I went. Thank goodness no one was coming up or down those stairs, but there may have been some people checking through the peep holes for the wounded animal noises coming from outside.
The midwifes wanted to check me and see how far along I was once I got upstairs in my room. I was nervous. The last thing I wanted to hear was that I was only a few centimeters dilated.
To my relief I was dilated to at least a 7. I was relieved and immediately got into a warm bath. I'm a huge fan of some water while laboring.
I was able to relax pretty well through my contractions. But once transition hit, it was so intense. To my husband it seemed I handled them very calmly and quickly. To me, it seemed like surgery without anesthesia. Ok not that bad, but maybe.
Pretty soon I was crowning. I could reach down and feel the babies head and for some reason I thought I was feeling the sac even though my water had already broken. It didn't feel hard enough to be the head.
It was the head.
They call this the ring of fire. And for a good reason. Breathing through this and not just wooshing him out with one big push was very hard. But I did not want to tear. This was the most intense part for me. Knowing he's just seconds away from being in my arms and I am just seconds away from relief of this pain, but I have to breathe through it long enough to stretch it slowly. Very. Hard. Then the intense flood of relief and joy.
That wonderful smell. Their warm, warm, skin. The high of hormones. It is finally all over.
Laboring is some seriously hard work. But it really is beautiful and very much worth while. I wouldn't trade my birthing experiences for anything.
Now for the juggling of sleep, laundry, and the occasional shower.