Anthony’s Birth Story

Get ready…it’s long. Then again, anything as monumental as bringing a human life into the world deserves such!

The very short, abbreviated version: Active abor started around 5pm (according to us, we’re not exactly sure when the start time would be. Perhaps the hospital would say it started when we arrived?). We checked into the hospital at 6:20pm. I started pushing somewhere around 9:50, and Anthony was born at 10:10!

Even though I asked for it at the very end (during transition, come to find, only minutes before Anthony was born!), the hospital never once even mentioned an epidural, or drugs of any kind. My midwife shrugged it off, both times I asked (she knew I would regret it, and also knew it would be too late!). I was also not given an IV until a few hours after Anthony was born, when a few bleeding complications began. Again, they didn’t even ask, because they knew I didn’t want one unless absolutely necessary. So, hospital birth enabling natural childbirth? Total 100% check. Tried, tested and approved.

Part 1– Pre-labor

Last Friday, my chiropractor told me that often, a woman doesn’t give birth until she’s really had it with waiting– like really had it. She said that the woman reaches this desperate place where that baby must come out or ELSE!

I’ve been close to “that place” for weeks, but it wasn’t until Monday that I truly reached it. Much if this had to do with the fact that I kept going into pre-labor for hours at a time, mostly in the wee hours of the night. It was hard to keep living my life, because being up all night with contractions is not exactly conducive to living life during the day! Luckily, despite being awake nearly every night, I was able to stay well rested. I have 2 weeks of Spring Break and one awesome husband to thank for that! Every morning he woke up with G, allowing me to sleep until noon on many days.

Anyways, Monday and Tuesday, the beginning of our 2nd week of break, were miserable days for me. Depressed and miserable, I waddled moped around the house. Jesse did a good job of trying to take me on little outings to Pier One and Trader Joes, but I was a total grump. It didn’t help that early Tuesday a.m. held a particularly convincing bout of pre-labor. Later that night, I watched a 2 minute computer animated video of the stages of birth. No real people, no touching music, just the scientific facts. I was bawling by the end of it. I was so tired of being pregnant, and I just wanted to go into labor sooo badly.

That night, when I fell asleep, Anthony was peaceful for the first time in days. No gymnastics, punches or kicks, no contractions. I slept a solid 3 hours, the longest stretch in weeks. I woke up, adrenaline pumping. I felt this sudden urge to clean out our car at 3 am the morning, I kid you not! Instead, I read a few things on my laptop and fell back asleep by 4am for another super long stretch of sleep. It was heavenly! Those two short stretches of sleep left me feeling more rested than I had since March.

My 40 week prenatal appt. was scheduled for 9:40 am the next morning (Wednesday), so Jesse woke me up at 8:45 to get ready. I had time to grab a small bowl of Raisin Bran (curse that Raisin Bran! more on that later) and run out the door in my sweats. We had decided to leave G at home with my mom since we had decided to ask the midwife to strip my membranes. We didn’t want him to get worried about mama 🙂

To back up, my 39 week appt. had been a bit discouraging. I was still only 1 cm dilated, 0 station. I had been that way for weeks! The midwife gave me the option of stripping the membranes that day, but I had opted out, mostly because she said that I was still “presenting” pretty posterior and it would hurt. She said that I could always come back on Thursday or Friday, but it never happened. We just kept “waiting”.

But today, everything had changed. I was now 3 cm dilated, 50% effaced, and at -2 station! Our midwife, Lisa, said that Anthony would probably remain that low until I started pushing! Then, she asked if I still wanted her to strip the membranes. I asked her how much further up she’d have to go, and she said she was already there, fingers actually feeling Anthony’s head. So I said yes. And she was right– it didn’t hurt at all (and, no, that’s not relative in retrospect).

Lisa then told us to go pick up some Red Raspberry Leaf tea, since it can help turn false labor contractions into stronger, more productive contractions. So Jesse and I headed to one of our favorite shopping centers in SLO that includes a BevMo, Costco, Marshalls and New Frontiers (our version of a Whole Foods). We first had a mini coffee date at SLO Grind, complete with a yummy pastry. I was cramping pretty badly, but I was so used to it that I barely gave it a 2nd thought. We went in to Costco so that Jesse could look at gin prices. I was starting to feel pretty icky by that time, however. I kept wondering why, until I realized with a start that all the “cramping” I thought I was having were actually pretty strong contractions! I let Jesse know and we started timing them– 10 minutes apart.

Jesse did decide to buy a bottle of Proseco wine (our “wine country Costco” has the biggest wine selection ever! You should be jealous), and we headed over to Marshalls and New Frontiers. I had to stop a couple times and lean on Jesse to breathe through a few of the contractions, they were so strong, but nothing I’d really call “painful” (okay, that one might totally be relative when looking back 😉 ). We bought the Red Raspberry Leaf tea, even though the thought suddenly crossed our minds that we might not even need it.

On our way home, the contractions slowed back down to every 10-15 minutes, but they were still often and strong enough that I didn’t feel discouraged. On our way home, we had two errands to run– picking up Claire from the groomer, and picking up our money from the escrow office. Claire wasn’t ready yet, so we headed to the escrow office. The contractions were continuing pretty consistently– it was semi- funny that I was having to pause in between signing pieces of paper in order to breathe through them! I tried to hide this from the escrow officer, and she didn’t ask, so I wonder if she noticed?

Since the house was only 3 blocks away from both of these errands, Jesse dropped me off before heading back out to get Claire from the groomer. I sat down, played some basketball with G and talked with my parents. Jesse got home, and we continued to chill. I thought contractions were slowing down a bit, but all of a sudden, in the middle of a conversation with my mom, I had a really strong one. And then, the weirdest sensation happened– the contraction stopped, but I felt as though Anthony kept going! Despite the fact that nothing was forcing him, he was still moving down, as an after-effect. Wide-eyed, I told my mom what had happened. She begged me not to have the baby in her living room. I laughed. Miss “21-Hour-Labor-of-2010”? No way.

It was about 3:30 pm, so I took a shower, exfoliated myself and used some bathroom appurtenances that included Balance Activ products. I then came out and rested on the couch, just as Janelle and my mom left for a shopping trip to Target. Jesse brought me the huge protein power smoothie that my doula, Kelly, had left for me on one of my false labor days. He had called her, so she was on her way from her yoga studio. We also texted Tess, who we’d invited to be at the birth, just to give her a heads up that things might be happening. My mother in law also stopped by on her way home from Arroyo Grande, just to say hi.

And then, once everyone got there, the contractions that had been happening all day completely stopped. I started realizing this around 5 pm, so Jesse made me a huge cup of that Raspberry Leaf tea, and I quickly gulped it down. We then decided that my mother in law would stay and play with G while Kelly, Jesse and I went on a walk around the neighborhood. Luckily, the rain that had been pouring all morning had subsided, leaving the air cool and fresh– perfect.

Part 2– Active Labor

No sooner had I put on my shoes when I had another contraction. I had another 5 minutes later, not 100 yards from the front door. I was still able to walk through them– nothing too major. Two more contractions later, each 5-7 minutes away from each other, I felt a sudden gush of water. Jesse, who had been watching me, thinking another contraction was starting, saw my surprised/startled look and asked what had happened. I said that I was pretty sure my water had broken! I was so stoked. We walked a few more steps, and that suspicion felt more and more substantiated, as I felt more trickling. The 3 of us started heading back to the house. The contractions were a little bit worse now, still about 5-7 minutes apart.

By the time we got back to the house, 10 minutes later, it was getting harder to smile and talk in between contractions. I went straight to the bathroom and tore it apart, looking for a pad. There were none in any of the cabinets (seriously?), and I was starting to get cranky. I came out, found one in my purse (probably 2 years old), then put my pillow on our yoga ball and rested my head on it. Kelly came up behind me and started giving me a wonderful back massage. As the contractions got stronger, she started doing this wonderful hip squeeze, using pressure points. WOW, was it ever helpful! I wasn’t experiencing back labor like I did with G, but the pain/pressure in the front more than made up for it.

While I was managing contractions on the ball, Jesse ran around collecting last minute items, calling the midwife and the hospital to let them know we were coming, and texting family. G was as sweet as could be, giving me hugs and “lovies”, aware that something was going on. I hugged him whenever I could between contractions, trying to ease his concern. He was obviously in a fragile place, however– he got slightly scolded for grabbing Kelly’s coffee and trying to hand it o me. Immediately, he walked away, embarrassed, lip quivering, trying so hard not to cry. I reached out to hold him and make him feel better.

Making it to the car was work!

Right around this time was when Tess arrived, along with my sister and mom who were returning from their shopping trip in a hurry after getting a text from Jesse. The contractions were strong enough now that I was having to moan through them to keep it manageable. Once again, Kelly was invaluable in this regard– every time I forgot, and started whining, she reminded me to “let it out”, even mimicking for me the sounds I should be making. I really needed this reminder, all the way through labor. It was so hard to keep from resorting to normal “ouch ouch!” (aka, unhelpful!) sounds. She also whispered all sorts of analogies and helpful visualizations to keep me working “with” my body, instead of against it.

We got in the car around this time. I just prayed that the contractions which had been happening every 5 minutes could perhaps spread back out, just for the 20 min. ride to the hospital? Instead, I had at least 4, some as close together as 3 minutes. Even then, sitting wasn’t as unbearable as I thought it might be. Kelly gave me a shoulder/back massage from the backseat the entire drive.

It was now 6:20pm. We’d already done all of our paperwork weeks beforehand, so when we got to the hospital we grabbed our stuff and marched straight back to the maternity/family birth center ward. They had a room waiting for us, complete with the birthing tub I had requested. Jesse quickly put our things in the wardrobe they had available, while Kelly plugged in her lavender aromatherapy/Ipod station. Then, the nurse came in and took a few of my vitals. She asked if she could see the pad I was wearing to be sure whether my water had, indeed, broken, but it was too dry to get any evidence, so they had me lie on my back and used a paper strip test. She also checked me and and said that I was still between 3-4 cm dilated– not much different than the morning. The test showed to be inconclusive (faint lines leave room for doubt, apparently 🙂 ) as to whether or not my water had broken, but she took one look at me and said that she would not be sending me home. Instead, she suggested that we walk around the grounds for a bit.

By this time, I was getting kind of miserable. I was lying on my side at this point, and felt despair rushing in. No progress, after all that work? I started feeling like this was going to be another day long labor, and I felt like I just couldn’t take it. Little did I know that I was only 3.5 hours away from meeting Anthony!

My little team!

This is where I KNOW God gave me the right team full of people to get me through this. They remained upbeat and positive, first, convincing me to get up from the bed (I didn’t want to move at ALL) and getting me dressed for the walk (I’d already changed into my birthing gown, so they just threw sweatpants and a sweatshirt on me). By this time, Tess had joined us (she had stopped along the way to pick up dinner for Jesse), along with my mom. The 5 of us walked down  the hallway, down 2 flights of stairs to the parking lot. The weather really was so nice and cool, and walking around made everything feel so much better– lying on the bed was, apparently, way more painful for me. Every time a contraction hit (every 3 minutes), I would lean on Jesse, while Kelly would do the hip squeeze/pressure point exercise, helping me vocalize through each contraction. In between, we all just walked and talked. It was such a nice distraction to just listen to them all joke around– I wasn’t at a serious enough place yet for this to be distracting and/or maddening. Tess was obviously super stoked to be there (she’d been watching birth videos for weeks in preparation!). I’d invited her and also given her the task of taking pictures. She took her job very seriously, as you can see 😉

Kelly performing her magic

At 7pm, 45 minutes later, we made it back to our room. Some of the contractions were only 2 min. apart, and at other times they were 3-4. When we arrived back at the room, Lisa was there. It was the first time I’d seen her since that morning. I remember feeling like it was so odd that she was still wearing the same clothes she’d had on at the appt.– so much had happened to me since then, that I couldn’t wrap my mind around it. She asked if she could check me once more and see what progress had been made. This was the first time I felt hope– 6 cm! I’d doubled my progress in less than an hour. Apparently, all that walking had done a world of good.

I remember only bits and pieces after this. I remember our nurse, Marcie, asking if we were Christians. When Jesse said yes, she broke out into a quick prayer, asking Jesus to be with us (I remember being so touched by this at the time, but unable to communicate such). I was unable to get up from the bed at this point– I just felt like I was in too much pain. The contractions felt too strong and too close together. Eventually, my “team” got me off the bed and onto a birthing ball at the side. Kelly continued to massage from the back while I leaned on Jesse in the front. At the end of every contraction, a wave of intense nausea washed over me. Jesse remembered last time with G where I couldn’t stop throwing up, so the minute I started gagging, someone quickly brought a bowl (however, I never actually threw up).

Laboring on the ball, right before the bathroom

Lisa asked if I’d used the bathroom yet (I had, right when we arrived) and told me she wanted me to labor on the toilet for a while. I asked if I could just pee right there on the ball (I had arrived at the point where I had ceased to care about anything other than survival), and she said no. I remember thinking, “why not? Claire totally gets to pee wherever she wants, why not me?” Apparently, I was missing the whole point of actually laboring on the toilet (it spreads everything and moves the baby down).

Somehow, I made it to the toilet. Lisa came and sat right opposite of me, helping me visualize and breathe through every contraction. After a while like this, I suddenly felt like I could feel his head, so I told her such. She felt too and said no, that wasn’t his head, but she should check again and see if I was ready to push.

Again, I don’t know how I made it back to the bed, I don’t remember any of it. It was pretty slow going, that’s for sure! Every time I was asked to move, I felt like it was the biggest deal, and why couldn’t they all just understand that I wanted to stay put??? The contractions were right on top of each other too– only a minute or two in between for some, back to back contractions for others. I remember leaning on the bed and saying something like, “Come on, baby, give Momma a little break! Just 30 seconds? Please!”

Somehow, I got on the bed. Lisa checked and I was only 7 cm. I sat on the side of the bed, and felt like crying. I can’t take any more of this! I thought to myself. I was still preparing myself for the hours and hours that had to pass in between any sort of progress, like they did with Gregory. The pain was so great, I knew I couldn’t take it. I started begging Jesse and Kelly to order me an epidural. They talked me down, saying that I could do it, and I was making great progress, it wouldn’t be long. I said something like, “But how do you KNOW?” It seemed odd that everyone was telling me what they would only know if they were me? Then again, Jesse has reminded me since, a woman in labor doesn’t exactly have the most objective of viewpoints 😉 When they told me I could do it, I said that we would need to find another way to manage this then, because laying/sitting on the bed SURE WASN’T cutting it. We’d talked about using the tub all along, and apparently it had already been filled. A nurse came in and gave me a consent form to use the tub (legalities?).

Before I got in the tub, Lisa had a serious talk with me. She reminded me that the hospital wasn’t licensed to deliver a baby in the actual tub, and that when the time came to push, I’d HAVE to get out, or they’d have someone carry me. She said that she had to be firm about this, because I’d been so resistant to movement of any kind and she had to make sure I understood.

Despite “the talk”, I decided to try the tub. With help, I got off the bed. I felt a definite gush of liquid then, and there was no doubt about the water breaking, as there was lots of liquid on the bed after I got up. Jesse and Kelly helped me get fully undressed and into the tub.

Oh my word….everyone should labor in a tub, seriously! I immediately knelt on my hands and knees at the side, and laid my head on a pillow on the side. Jesse was right there on the outside of the tub, holding me through each contraction.

I think that this entire part was where I arrived at transition. It was more intense than anything I’ve ever gone through. I actually felt my hip bones spreading apart. For the first time that day, my lower back seized up like someone was jabbing knives in (probably my tailbone moving out of the way), or like my entire back was on fire. Also, the only negative aspect to the tub was that it was hard for Kelly to reach my back for a massage, right when I needed it most. I was in utter and complete agony.

This is when I started asking in earnest (aka, talking to Jesse and Kelly) about wanting an epidural. I just knew that I couldn’t handle that kind of pain any longer. They reassured me that the end was close, that by the time it kicked in Anthony would already be here, but I didn’t believe them. I remembered being told soo many times during my labor with Gregory that I was “almost there”, and then it was another couple of hours! So maybe it’s a tad understandable that I was convinced I was going to have to endure for a while longer?

Waiting family

I wish I had remembered what our birth instructor had taught us in our Bradley classes. She said that if you reach the point where the pain seems blinding and unbearable, you are probably in transition and very close to the pushing stage. It’s excruciating because…well, does anyone think that a baby scrambling up your pelvic bones could be anything less?

Anyways, right then, as I was begging for an epidural, another contraction came on. I started moaning through it, low and guttural, like Kelly was modeling for me, and all of a sudden, my moaning turned into pushing! Without me doing a darn thing. It just…happened. During the next contraction, (less than 30 seconds later), the same thing happened– no moaning, just pushing. And I suddenly felt a giant POP (which turned out to be the “bloody show” everyone talks about). And that’s when I knew.

“He’s coming!” I said to Kelly and Jesse. “He’s definitely coming, NOW.”

Well, that sure sent people scurrying. I was aware enough to realize that everyone was kicking into high gear. I was told immediately to get out of the tub, per our previous agreement (Tess said she was kind of disappointed that she didn’t get to carry me out!). I was taken to the bed, where I made it to my side. Lisa checked and, sure enough, 10 cm, ready to go!

They asked me to turn onto my back, but I just couldn’t. So I pushed for one or two contractions while on my side. It was so involuntary, I can’t even describe it. My body just took over– I couldn’t have stopped if I tried!

Somewhere in the middle of one of these contractions, someone flipped me onto my back (which really helped, actually). Both my mom and Kelly (I think?) helped me hold my legs up, while I clung to bedrail. After one or two more contractions, (a total of about 5 minutes, even though it felt like eternity!), Lisa said something to the effect of needing to work better with my body. Here’s the part where the Raisin Bran comes back in– all day long, I’d had this deep seated fear of pooping in front of everybody (well, wouldn’t you?). I’d been telling Jesse all day about that Raisin Bran, and how I hadn’t….seen it again, if you know what I mean 😉 Without realizing it, I was holding back while pushing, for fear of pooping!

So I said to Lisa, “But if I help push, I’ll poop! I feel like I need to poop!” (the words might’ve been different, but this is what I was trying to say, at any rate.

“No, that’s not poop– that’s the BABY. What you’re feeling is the baby.” she responded, emphatically.

Well, that little “heart to heart” set me free and I stopped working against my body. I think I only pushed one or two more times (for a total of somewhere around 10 times total) before Anthony was crowning.

“Do you want to feel his head?” Lisa asked. I gave a very emphatic NO, even though I was actually thinking, “NO WAY IN HELL, LADY! GET THIS BABY OUT OF ME BEFORE I DIE!”

But Lisa slowed me down, even though I felt like, with my newly found triumph over my poop fears (turns out, working with one’s body is quite effective!), so that she could apply warm compresses and help ease his head out, all to reduce tearing (it worked! I only tore a slight bit!). And then, the weirdest thing happened– twice! The contraction ceased, but everything “down there” kept moving. Lisa looked at me, surprised.

“Is he…punching? In the birth canal?”

Yup, he totally was. Pushing off some organ of mine with his feet, whilst boxing his way out. Weirdest. Feeling. EVER!

From here, things got a little dicey. I don’t like thinking about it much, unsurprising, so I’ll just make it real short and to the point. On the next push, Lisa found out why Anthony’s heart rate had been dropping– the cord was wrapped twice around his neck, and TIGHT. Lisa very firmly told me to STOP pushing, which was way easier said than done– I remember begging my body, out loud, to stop stop stop, but it took a minute. The urge to push was so super strong that I could hardly slow it down, much less stop it.

Lisa acted very quickly and calmly, but everyone that was there said their hearts stopped. Tess, who was filming, put down the camera and just held her breath. Lisa asked Jesse to hold onto Anthony’s barely emerged head, put two clamps under the cord on either side of his neck, and cut it.

Blood splattered everywhere…and I mean, everywhere. All over my face, pillow, Jesse’s arms, and even Lisa’s face! Apparently, this can happen when the cord is wrapped super tight with so much pressure.  After this, it was one more push and he was completely out.

They pulled him up to my chest, but he was all blue and not crying. A team of nurses quickly rushed him over to a table by the bed, and started their work, trying to get him to breathe.

I remember being so scared, and asking them why he wasn’t crying. I kept saying that Gregory cried, why wasn’t Anthony crying? What was going on?

apparently, this is the picture that was taken at this time

Luckily, after a few minutes, he did cry– a very small, weak and quiet cry. They kept working on him, and he finally pinked up a little bit. After what seemed like FOREVER, I finally got to hold him.

Part 3– Recovery

Just a few minutes after delivery, Lisa pulled out the placenta, all in one piece. The amniotic sac, however, was torn to shreds (sorry to be specific, it became important later).

Since I had torn a little bit, Lisa asked if I wanted a few stitches. I remembered how much easier they made recovery after Gregory, so I said yes. While the team of nurses took Anthony back to work on him further (suctioning all the fluid out of his lungs–he was wheezing, and still not crying much), she put in 4 stitches. Easy peasy, done.

After cleaning things up considerably, I was able to feed Anthony for the first time. It was a breeze, which is much different than with Gregory, who absolutely refused to feed on one side! Anthony was latched on well within seconds, and fed for 50 minutes!

Eating food, happy to be done!

After we were done, the family came in. We had celebratory beer, and I ate everything in sight. All was joyous and happy! It was so wonderful having so much family there to celebrate with us!

I’m so impressed that French Hospital let us bring beer in!

Since it was nearly 1am, everyone decided it was time to clear out. Right as they all tried to leave, however, a fire alarm went off in the hospital. Our nurse came in and told us everyone would have to stay put for the time being. It was 20 minutes before it went off.

Unfortunately, this couldn’t have come at a worse time. Just as everyone had decided to leave for the first time, I had also realized that I was still bleeding– a lot. And not in the, “I just gave birth” kind of way. But I figured that I could tell the nurse the moment everyone left. That moment became 20, due to the fire alarm. By the time everyone finally made it out, I was actually bleeding through the 2 blankets they had over me.

I called for the nurse, Marcie, thinking I just needed to get cleaned up again. Instead, she pulled aside the blanket and we realized that I was sitting in blood 3 inches deep. All she said was, “Oh dear, oh dear, oh dear”. Not exactly words you want to hear! She started pressing the red call button, moved around the room pulling different equipment towards me, pressed the red button a few more times saying, “Where ARE they?” and kept preparing things.

A few nurses rushed in. “Get Lisa,” Marcie said. “She might be hemorraghing. There’s a lot of blood. We need to move.”

Lisa was there in a second, as she was also attending a birth in another room down the hall. Man, am I glad she hadn’t gone home during those 3 hours!

She checked me and then broke the news– “You have blood clots left in there from the amniotic sac” she said. “I don’t know how many, but they are keeping your uterus from cramping down, which is why you’re bleeding so much.”

And then, she broke the worse news– “I’m going to have to go back in there to get them out.”

What happened next was so painful, it almost beats out transition or when Anthony was crowning. In order to get the clots out, she had to fish waaaay up and scrape out my uterus. This would be mildly excruciating to begin with, but add onto it the fact that I’d had stitches? No numbing pain meds? Plus, since it had been 3 hours since delivery, most of my endorphins had worn off. Whereas I couldn’t feel pain right after Anthony was born, it seemed like I felt everything now, times ten.

Agony would be a light term for it. I was writhing all over the bed, cussing up a storm, crying, wailing, I’m not sure what else. Jesse was holding Anthony with one arm and holding my hand with the other. Finally, I begged her to stop, just for a moment. I just couldn’t take the pain!

While this was going on, one nurse was ordered to shoot some sort of drug into my leg. It hurt pretty bad– I asked, “Did that go into my BONE?” She said, sympathetically, “No, just deep into the muscle tissue”. Apparently this was a drug similar to pitocin, meant to make the uterus cramp down.

Marcie also started an IV (she had to try twice, since the first snapped and came out. Agh, there was so much blood on my arm, it was gross) to get a pitocin drip in.

At my begging, Lisa waited until these things were done (in a matter of minutes), but then informed me that although she’d pulled out a dozen or so clots (Jesse said that many of them were as big as silver dollars!), there were more and she had to go back in. I started crying, and begged her to use more of the Lidocaine that she’d used to numb me before the stitches. I tried to explain to her that while the “scraping” hurt, the outside movement all around the stitches was what was sending me over the edge. She paused, thought about it, then asked the nurse to bring her another bottle of the stuff. Instead of giving me another shot at the site, she simply dumped it down there. Awesome. Numb in seconds. I could’ve kissed her.

She also had to stuff a 3rd pitocin-like drug “up where the sun don’t shine”. So awkward.

Round 2 commenced, and it wasn’t nearly as bad as the first time (although it still SUCKED HARDCORE). After she pulled a few more out, she said that she was pretty sure we were done for the time being. Unfortunately, the whole ordeal had popped one of my stitches. Unsurprisingly, I did not ask her to re-stitch it– I just wanted to be DONE.

Whew, it was all over. Well, not quite. All 3 of the uterine cramping drugs sure did the trick– within minutes, I was cramping so hard, they felt like intense contractions all over again. I felt positively sick, and so so cheated– I mean, just an hour before, I was having a celebration with my family! Wasn’t it supposed to be over, gosh darn it???

I asked for painkillers, and they said the most they could offer was Vicodin (I’d already taken Ibuprofen, right after Anthony was out), as anything else would transfer into the breast milk.  I loathe Vicodin, so I only took half a capsule. It helped, but what actually ended up doing the trick for the pain was a super hot heating pad (which was so hot, I had a heat rash from it the next day! But it worked, which is what mattered).

This whole ordeal caused a few other complications– for instance, I had to pee SUPER BAD, but they didn’t want me to stand up and walk, for fear of hemorrhaging. So…I had to learn to use a bedpan. Super awkward, but I had arrived at the point of not caring, I had to go so badly. I kid you not, that will go down as my favorite peeing session of all time, even though I had to do it in front of both Jesse and the nurse. I felt 100x better afterwards. Later on, when I tried to stand, I still felt light-headed, so they brought over a “bedside commode”. Um, where was this during the 3rd Trimester? Seriously, why walk all the way to the bathroom 6 times a night, when you can have a bedside toilet? Best invention ever!

By the next day, however, the blood test (that they had drawn from me in the middle of the night, but I didn’t even remember!) came back positive– blood count high, not even any anemia. I was finally allowed to take out the IV and was given the all clear to go home the next morning. That night (Thursday, if you’re keeping track!), the whole family came to the hospital and we had a pizza party 🙂 It turned out that we didn’t go home until later in the afternoon on Friday, however, because they were keeping an eye on Anthony’s jaundice levels.

Long and short, alls well that ends well! We got the all natural birth we wanted, and it was beautiful. Marcie, our nurse, said that she doesn’t tear up at many births, but was super moved by ours. She said that she felt the Lord’s presence very tangibly the entire time (thanks for all of your prayers!). Kelly said it was one of the most calm and peaceful births she had ever attended. She also said that Jesse was the best and most supportive birth partner she’d ever worked with (I happen to think he’s pretty awesome myself!) Tess was incredibly giddy about the entire thing– whenever they asked, “Do you want to see <  >?” I would say, “Ew, no!” and Tess would also exclaim, “YEAH!” (she even took pretty graphic pictures of the placenta…ick). Everyone thought that I was so calm and in control (um, yeah right? Maybe on the outside it appeared that way?) and said that it was really neat to watch.

Regardless, it’s hard to argue with the fact that we now have another baby in our family, and he’s super awesome. I never should’ve worried that I wouldn’t love him as much as Gregory. It’s different, because I haven’t had as much time to love Anthony, but I don’t love either of them more. We are so blessed!

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Anthony’s 1 year old!
  • Beth

    Thanks for sharing the story! Now I need to go back and brush up on G’s birth story.

    The picture of Jesse holding you in the tub was so sweet I literally teared up at the sight of it. And the cord experience with Anthony is exactly what we went through with Avery and it’s so horrifying. I’m so glad you got to have your natural childbirth, but with all the complications I’m SO GLAD you were in the hospital just in case! And I can’t believe Anthony nursed for 50 minutes! That’s INSANE! 🙂 And my final thought on the post: Jesse is a champ! Holding Anthony in one arm and your hand while they took out the clots (that also made me cry, by the way, but mostly out of pity, haha).

    Awesome job, guys! And what a handsome little guy you have to show for it. Totally worth it 🙂

    • Kelly

      Aw, thanks Beth! I think he’s a pretty handsome little guy too 🙂 Too bad we’re not having ANY more kids… 😉 Just kidding. Maybe.

  • Christina

    Thanks for sharing. Good work! I can’t imagine the agony of the blood clots. I’m so glad you are and Anthony are ok. Also, I can’t believe he was pushing off without a contraction. Sounds like he wanted to be out as much as you wanted him to be. 🙂 Also, your hospital sounds amazing!

  • Hope

    I’m so glad you’re both OK! The part where Anthony was blue and not breathing had me nervous, even though I know he’s fine now. Congratulations and great work 🙂

  • bespoken

    I love this! The pictures are fabulous, Jesse is an awesome husband, and you did brilliantly! THIS is the birth I hoped you would have the first time (minus the aftermath, of course!)

    P.S. I had to walk away from reading a few times because I kept crying… 😛

    • Kelly

      Aww! Elise! You are so sweet. Btw, I think you’d make an AWESOME labor and delivery nurse! I actually thought of you when I was there!

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