Birth is... an adventure. But it is all so worth it!
Introducing: Jackson Matthew Iveson
Born: March 26, 2012
Length: 20.5 inches
Weight: 7 lbs. 3 oz.
He is so handsome!
So... our story.
For the entire week before he arrived I had begun feeling contractions. I could tell my middle was contracting for a long while before that, but there was no pain associated. The contractions still weren't painful, but I could feel a twang with each one. For the entire weekend (beginning around Thursday) I thought the contractions were getting closer together and much more regular. Sunday around 1:00 pm I suggested we begin to track the contractions. At that time they were around 10-20 minutes apart. Throughout the afternoon we kept track off and on. Around 10 pm my contractions were around 5 minutes apart and lasting 1 minute or longer. According to birth class I was supposed to head to the hospital at this point. They still weren't super painful so I decided to wait. I wasn't able to sleep so I just sat around feeling those contractions.
Between then and 3 am I took two long baths (which helped the pain enormously) and walked around in the bedroom a lot. At 3 am I woke up Matt to encourage me. I still didn't think we needed to go to the hospital, but I needed someone to distract me. The contractions started getting much stronger so Matt went to take a shower and shave. Don't want to go to the hospital all grungy when you don't know how long the labor will last! I planned to take a shower and braid my hair to keep it out of my face... yeah, that didn't happen. I just wanted to get to the hospital and have that baby!
We arrived at the hospital around 4:30 am. While we were at the registration desk I had two contractions. Semi-embarrassing but I know that it's nothing the labor and delivery nurses haven't seen before! Had a check up to be sure I was actually in labor and there was no question! I was 6 cm and having very regular, strong contractions. As the nurse was checking me I told her, "If this isn't real labor then it's a really cruel joke!". We got admitted to our room around 5 am.
Baby and I were monitored until around 6 am. For this time I mainly leaned over my bed and rocked back and forth through the contractions. At this point there were several peaks (or so it seemed) to each contraction and when it was "over" it had the pain level of the contractions I had when I woke Matt up. That sentence is confusing, but basically there was no rest period between contractions which was less than ideal. You hear that you won't care what comes out of your mouth during labor... I thought I would be embarrassed and try to keep all my grunting/gasping inside. Yeah, not happening. It's true! You don't care what you sound or look like! Matt was wonderful! I was extremely unpleasant to him and almost broke all his fingers! I got in the tub and it no longer helped... at all. I think it actually made the labor worse! By this time my arms and legs were shaking uncontrollably. I tried to get them to stop but there was no doing. Matt kept telling me to relax, but I physically couldn't. Breathing wasn't helping and when I got into a breathing rhythm that did help the nurse told me not to do it that way. (Excuse me, was she feeling the contractions?) I was worried my calves would cramp up (as they often do) with all the shaking.
I decided to get an epidural. I had weighed the pros and cons and decided to go for it. The anesthesiologist was amazing! I was having a contraction while he was placing the epidural so it was not comfortable, but he worked quickly and literally within one second of him saying the "Ok" I felt immediate relief. They had prepared me for a 5-15 minute wait for the meds to kick in. The nurse told me I was having a contraction and I couldn't feel it at all! A sense of euphoria set in then (we realized this later). I was so thrilled that the pain was gone! The difference in my demeanor was immediate. I have no regrets in getting the epidural. I was able to relax during the last part of labor and just bask in the excitement of having my baby! This was around 7 am and I was 7 cm at that time.
Around 10 am the nurses checked me again. While I felt no pain, I still had feeling in my legs. It felt like when they fall asleep, all rubbery. I was 8 cm... so still making progress and no need for Pitocin, which was good since I was opposed to using that drug. Matt asked me when I thought the baby would arrive. I guessed before 2 pm. He guessed before 4 pm. During this exam my water broke and there was meconium in it. This meant that baby would need to be suctioned immediately after birth so my plan for skin-to-skin immediately after birth was foiled. While I was slightly disappointed in this, it is much more important to be sure baby is safe and hasn't inhaled any of the meconium.
At 11:45 am the Doctor came in to check my progress. Before he checked he warned me that if I wasn't still progressing they would begin pitocin to speed things along. I was opposed to using pitocin, but figured we could argue about this if need be. We were all surprised that I was 10 cm and at a positive station. We're ready to go! While I was slightly nervous about the next stage, I was so excited to be ready!
Ar 12:20 pm it was time to start pushing. At first it was just the nurse, Matt, and I. It was interesting pushing without feeling. I tried to concentrate on that area, but wasn't sure how successful I was being. The nurse and Matt told me I was doing well and making progress. Eventually Matt was able to see the top of baby's head. I laughed at that and it ruined that push, but we were that much closer to our baby! They asked if I wanted to use a mirror to watch. I had no interest in a mirror throughout my entire pregnancy, but Matt convinced me to at least try. It was amazing being able to see my baby emerge little by little. It helped tremendously to see when the baby would slip back inside during certain pushes. When I saw that I would push harder!
Around 1:20 pm the Doctor came in. The head was crowning and he said we were good to get that baby born! Only 26 minutes later... our little man was born! Again, I couldn't feel any pain (such a blessing) but I could feel the pressure of having an infant pushed through me. Such a strange feeling.
At 1:46 pm Jackson Matthew fully emerged. He was placed on my abdomen while the cord was being cut. (later Matt told me that the umbilical cord had been wrapped around Jack's neck. He noticed it when Jack was first emerging, but before he could grow alarmed the Dr. slipped the cord around Jack's head and began to suction his nose and mouth. I'm so thankful no one said anything about it at the time because I probably would have freaked out just a little) Immediately I began to cry. It was such a rush of emotions. I'm sure some of it was hormonal, but also I was hit with this intense love for my little boy! I couldn't help but stroke his head, face, arms. Matt cut the cord and we were pleased to hear our baby's first cries. The doctor had told us that was a good indicator that he had not inhaled any meconium. He did go over to the peds nurses to be suctioned out just to be safe. They worked quickly and brought Jack back to me as soon as possible. As he lay on my chest I was so thankful for this wonderful little blessing.
This is me moments after receiving my baby boy. Here he is a little grey, but he colored up real nice in the next couple or hours.
I lay there stroking Jackson's beautiful hair and kissing him. I had two tears (a small one in front and a second degree tear in back) that the doctor stitched up and Jackson had his first little meal. Then it was time for Jackson's first bath. Daddy went to the corner of the room with Jackson and the nurses and watched his bath and measurements. Such a handsome little baby!
Our first picture as a family! We are so thrilled with our baby. He is so beautiful and perfect!
Daddy's first time holding baby Jackson. Jack calmed down whenever Matt or I held him. We would talk to him while we held him and he would stop crying and just relax. He has been hearing both of our voices while in utero, which we hoped would help when he was out. Mission accomplished!
We then moved to our room in the mother/baby unit for our 48 hour stay. We had a very roomy room and it was a wonderful stay. More on that later, I plan to write weekly updates on Jackson. Week one (next Monday) will include our hospital stay and the recovery period.
We love you so much, baby Jackson!