February 15, 2011

Birth Story (and family porttrait)

Here is our first family portrait. A self take in Eliot's bed.

Ok, and now Silas' birth story, before I forget it.

Jan. 7, 2011. 2:35 a.m. Everyone in the house is asleep. But I wake up with some discomfort in my uterus. Are they contractions? I go to the bathroom. I wait 20 minutes. Then I wake Brady up and say, "I think I might be having contractions. They might just be Braxton-Hicks. But they feel different." Brady starts timing them. They seem to be regular, at about 4 minutes apart, and they are getting stronger. They are definitely contractions!

We call the midwife who lives closest to us. She says she will come over and bring the birth tub. She gets here 30 minutes (roughly) later. I guess it's almost 4 am by now. She starts setting up the birth tub. Brady starts doing lots of different things: attaching the hose to fill the birth tub, making me eggs, finding things the midwife needs, coming to me when I have a contraction and pressing on my hips to ease some of the pain. He's running everywhere. I'm staying upstairs, just walking around between contractions, and standing and swaying during contractions. The second midwife arrives. The birth tub is still being set up. I have a contraction in the bathroom and then, after, lay down on the floor because I just needed a rest. That must have been about 5:30 a.m. And I never got up until after Silas came out.

So, I was on the bathroom floor, on my side, having contractions. Brady is holding up my top leg. Eventually I needed to push. I tried pushing gingerly at first, to see if it was really time, if it felt right. It felt right. So, during each contraction, I started pushing. The senior midwife, Laura, said the birth tub was not going to be ready in time. "I think you're going to have this baby right here," she said, or something like that. She asked if I wanted to move to the bed, said I looked uncomfortable. I said, "No. The only way I'm moving off this floor is if I can get in the tub." She said, no, it wouldn't be ready in time. They had just started filling it. My labor was happening very fast. She asked again if I wanted to move to the bed. "No!" I said. Had she not heard me the first time? "I'm fine. I'm not uncomfortable. Is the birth tub ready? Because if not, I'm not leaving the floor." She asked Brady and Angela, the other midwife, to help lift my hips so she could slide a towel underneath me. I suddenly understood why Eliot gets soooo irritated when I put a sweater on him, or socks, even though he swears he's not cold.

I pushed for 40 minutes. Once Silas' head crowned, it took I think 4 pushes until his head came out. I think two more pushes and his shoulders and the rest of him came out. I asked Brady, "Boy or girl?" He looked. Boy! They pulled my shirt up and put Silas on my chest. Then a few minutes later, I pushed the placenta out (which Angela caught in a glass salad bowl... I guess they hadn't seen the stainless steel bowls in the kitchen). I was relieved that it was over and that I would never have to be pregnant or give birth again (even though it's also an amazing experience...). Silas was born at 6:11 am. The whole thing lasted 3 1/2 hours. Laura and Angela said I give birth like they both do, "Fast and furious."

I must have stayed on the floor for another 20-30 minutes. They waited for the cord to stop pulsing, then Angela clamped it and Brady cut it. They helped me up and moved me to the bed. Eventually the midwives took the baby for a checkup, and I took a shower. Silas started nursing after the shower I think... but not sure. Might have been before. And I tore a little, so eventually Laura stitched me up in bed, with the help of some lidacaine (sp?) and local anesthesia (no, midwives do not shun all medication. They also gave me four Advil right after the birth, to ease the cramping, which was significant for a few days).

And that was that. Now Silas is 5.5 weeks old, and he is sleeping well, right in bed with us, between Eliot and Brady, waking 2-3 times per night to nurse. I am sleeping okay. The bad nights now are only when Silas has painful intestinal gas, which is more rare now, although did happen again last night. But he was able to sleep well by 11 pm, which was an improvement over two weeks ago when he couldn't sleep until 3 am. Plus, with the nanny coming 2.5 days per week to watch Eliot, I am getting help during the days which allows me to rest some during the day and get some chores done, or just tend to Silas if he is needy that day. All in all, things are going well. And, Silas has started to smile, which goes a long way in extending mom and dad's patience with him. =)


Kate C said...

I hadn't seen this yet. Beautiful story Natalie. So different than the first birth in many ways. I know fast and furious. I remember thinking "thank god that is over" about Eliza's birth. But luckily i forget exactly why ;) Congratulations on your beautiful family. I love the image of you all in bed together.

amy said...

Such a beautiful birth story! Silas was so ready to be born. Natalie, you and Silas were on the same page. Let's do it! I love how clear you were about your position and needs. Awesome! You are a powerful and strong woman, and an awesome team with Brady.
I'm also impressed with how you and Brady sequestered you and Silas for the first days. (with just the 4 of you snuggle times) It makes me feel good ,as a mother, that you were kind to your body post-partum. Silas is so beautiful.