She’s finally here! Mary Elizabeth (but we’re just calling her Mary) arrived a fashionable 11 days late, on December 3rd 2013 at 4:31 am. At a whopping 7 lbs, 1 oz it’s hard to say that she was “late” at all, but rather most likely right on time. We think she’s pretty darn good looking:
She’s named after my husband’s grandmother who passed away a month before our wedding and a long line of women with the first or middle name of Elizabeth on my side (7 generations!). If she’s even half as tough, stubborn, strong, and self-sufficient as her namesakes she will certainly be a force to be reckoned with!
Prior to actually having her I was planning on writing out my birth story and posting it on here, but as time goes by I realize that I’m not so sure I want to throw those precious hours out onto the internet for anyone to read. So I’ll spare you the insanely long story sharing every detail and just give some tidbits about how her birth went down, what I learned through the process, and what I wasn’t expecting. Before I say all that I think I need a disclaimer though:
I/We have been insanely lucky (or just that good, but I’m guessing it has a lot more to do with luck) with a lot of things – I had a relatively “easy” labor in retrospect (though while it was happening it seemed quite difficult!), our baby was completely healthy, she basically came into the world searching for the teat and we have had no trouble breastfeeding (which is HUGE), I recovered faster than I could ever have imagined, etc etc. Everyone has a different birth story and while mine went almost exactly according to how I imagined it, it didn’t always seem like that while it was happening. AND I’m acutely aware that at any time our story could have been very different. I’m so thankful for the journey we had but labor and delivery is not a race, or a competition and really no matter how your baby arrives if he/she is healthy it is a success. The end. 🙂
Actually, now that so much time has passed by I need another disclaimer…
I was going to share all this knowledge I learned throughout the labor/birth process. But after nearly four weeks I find that my sleep deprived brain has forgotten most of that knowledge. Plus now new things are happening that i want to talk about…You know, like sleep deprivation, cloth diapering, and my return to exercising.
Labor: By the Numbers
25: hours of labor, almost to the minute. Contractions started at 3:40 am Monday morning and Mary was born at 4:31 am Tuesday.
15: hours of labor that I considered “easy” – low pain contractions that were anywhere from 5-10 minutes apart, I was able to go for several walks, eat normally, take a few naps, etc.
4: hours of labor that were not so easy that I endured at home. The goal was to wait as long as possible before going to the hospital. Contractions started 3-4 minutes apart and then by the time we left for the hospital they were 2-3 minutes apart, start to start.
6: hours elapsed from the time I arrived at the hospital until the time Mary arrived (again, almost to the minute)
2: hours, of those 6 at the hospital, that I spent in triage while they were “deciding if I was in labor” HAH!
20: minutes spent pushing Mary out. After being fully dilated but “trying not to push” for what felt like ages but was really more like an hour while we waited for my midwife to arrive I was SO EXCITED TO PUSH.
5: number of stitches needed
3,409 – number of stitches I thought I was going to need
3: number of times I said “I don’t think I can do this”
437: number of times I thought, but didn’t say “I don’t think I can do this”
20: hours it took for me to dilate 1 cm (from 0.5 to 1.5)
2: hours it took for me to dilate from 1.5 cm – 4 cm
1.5: hours it took for me to dilate from 4 cm – 10 cm
Other tidbits/things I learned/things I didn’t expect:
- For me, the unknown was one of the hardest parts of this experience. Not knowing how long a stage was going to last or how long a contraction was going to last, not knowing how much worse the pain would get, not knowing what it was “supposed” to feel like, these things brought me the most anxiety. Later on, during contractions I would say “I think I need the epidural” and then as soon as the contraction ended I’d be like “no, no I’m OK I can wait”
- Another thing I wasn’t expecting is that the contractions/transition were way way more painful for me than the actual pushing her out part. I did not get an epidural but I did get some Nubain injected into my IV. I’m pretty sure this just made me a little loopy for about half an hour and didn’t do a lick of anything for my pain though.
- I HATED being in the hospital after she was born. People came into our room literally every hour the entire 48 hours we were there. I just wanted to be left alone.
- Cervical dilation IS NOT LINEAR. I dilated 6 cm in a little over an hour and a half. My poor midwife was told at 11:30pm that I was 1.5cm and then the next thing she heard it was around 3am and I was 9.5cm. They didn’t call her when they checked me in between and found that I was 4cm because they thought it would take a while for me to get any further, and that I would get an epidural.
- I cannot imagine having to push after having an epidural. It was so easy for me to push because I could feel everything and my midwife was able to coach me through everything pretty easily.
And that’s about it from the birth front…hopefully I’ll have another post ready to go soon but this “taking care of a small human” stuff is no joke and eating+showering+sleeping win out over blogging any day 🙂