After just over two hours of labor, Grace Gabriella entered the world on Tuesday, February 26th at 7:44am. (Two weeks early!) 8lbs 0oz and 20 inches of pure adorableness!
Michael and I decided back in October to go for a natural childbirth, meaning that unless it become medically necessary, we were going to avoid all pain medication (including the epidural), an induction, and a c-section.
Why? At the beginning, I was mostly curious to know what labor felt like without diminishing the pain. I wanted to experience the productive pain of bringing a life into the world. I knew that that was what my body was designed to do, and I figured that since women have given birth that way throughout time, I could do it too. After talking to some friends about natural childbirth, I also found out about other potential benefits: healthier baby, faster delivery, etc. So, we decided to sign up for a Bradley class and go for it! And it was a success!
Here is a rough outline of Grace's birth story. Since it went so fast, we were in frantic mode, definitely not watching the clock!
I woke up and couldn't go back to sleep. Good old pregnancy insomnia.
My water broke and I woke up Michael. We looked up how long it takes for contractions to start. Our resources said most people go into labor within 12 hours of their water breaking, but some can take 24 hours. We prayed it would come soon and went downstairs to get something to eat.
Contractions started. They felt like bad menstrual cramps. You're supposed to time them for an hour to get a feel for their spacing and length, so we began timing them right away.
It was pretty clear that the contractions were about five minutes apart lasting for about a minute and surprisingly painful already. I called my parents and sent a text to my siblings while Michael shot off a few texts/emails to cancel all of his work meetings and responsibilities for that day.
Looking at our contraction timer app on Michael's phone, we saw that they had moved from five minutes apart to four minutes apart and were getting close to three minutes apart. I was in quite a bit of pain and had to focus a lot to stay relaxed. When Michael saw how quickly I was progressing, he began to rush furiously around the house getting our prepacked bags and a couple other items. I putted around not believing that I was that far along.
All the times, except for the moment of her birth, are fuzzy guesses from now on.
The shortest stage of labor is at end right before you begin to push the baby out. It is called transition and is notorious for being super intense and painful with contractions coming almost one on top of the other. Looking back on that morning, I realize I went into transition sometime on that car ride to the hospital. We live about fifteen minutes from the hospital, but it took us a lot longer to get there because about halfway through the car ride, I started making Michael pull over for every contraction because the bumps and potholes combined with being unable to move around while buckled in were making the pain approach excruciating.
Sometime during this window, we arrived at the hospital. We checked in and walked into the little triage room. Our official check in time was 7:20am. We got me into my gown, gave a urine sample, and the nurses hooked me up to the heart rate monitor before leaving the room. At this point the pain had taken over my body.
Michael was comforting me and helping me relax. When I said, "Michael, this hurts so bad, I don't know if I can do this without pain meds" Michael knew that I was getting close. Sure enough, a few minutes later, pushing contractions began. Michael ran into the hallway to get a nurse, they rushed in, did a quick internal exam (mind you, this was the first internal check since I had arrived), pronounced me fully dilated, and rushed me into the delivery room.
Our obstetrician was busy at the moment so I breathed through the pushing trying to hold out and got on my hands and knees much to the dismay of the substitute OB (hands and knees gave me so much more control and less pain!) I breathed through several contractions.
Our doctor arrived in about three minutes and they told me to go for it. We called her "rocket girl" for a few days after she was born because she came out in about five contractions with about three pushes per contraction and, leaving behind a level three tear...
|I didn't even notice all the wet cheesiness |
when they put her on my chest!
Grace was born!
She was bright red, crying, wet, cheesy, and beautiful. In the first moments of seeing her, I had two thoughts. First, I was shocked at how big she was. I couldn't believe that she was what was inside of me. Second, I noticed her head full of black hair and just loved it immediately. The doctor popped her right onto my chest and we had our first family bonding moment.
And that's how our daughter entered the world. Natural childbirth was an incredible experience, but way more than that, we are beyond grateful to our girl in our arms in perfect health.
Welcome to the world, my little girl! We love you so much.
|Going home from the hospital.|