(Fair Warning: This post includes all details that came to my remembrance about giving birth, including those that are in the "too-much-information" category. For those of you who would rather avoid hearing about these specifics, or don't want to read a novel, there will be a summarized version on Denym's blog.)
It was Thursday, May 3rd when I first thought our little boy might be on his way. I had just been to a routine visit at the Rosemark Women's Clinic in Idaho Falls, and everything had transpired normally. I was still about a week away from my due date so I did not have them check for dilation or effacement. But my midwife did say that everything was looking good, and she would be surprised if she didn't see me in a few days for delivery. Hooray! After my appointment I was ravenous, so I took myself right on over to the Sizzler for a yummy salad buffet. As I sat there in my window booth, I felt some pretty strong contractions. Perhaps these are the beginning stages? So I timed a few and figured they were about 10 minutes apart. I called my little sister and told her to look up some info online. (She often does this for me, and is kind of my own personal Google accessory.) We had some fun speculating that "this was it", but made no definite conclusions about the signs I was experiencing. I told her I would let her know if anything changed. I had a chiropractor appointment scheduled right after that, so I decided to go and see what they thought. By the time I arrived, the contractions seemed to have subsided a bit, and he told me I was definitely not in labor. Hmmmm, okay then. I drove home, took a little nap, and any hint of the consistent contractions went away. Late that evening my little sister shows up at my house! I had told her not to come unless I called again, but I guess she got herself all worked up thinking I was going to go into labor and there she was! Ooops! I felt really bad for jumping the gun - She had arranged to leave work and everything. What if the baby didn't come until next week and she had already used up her time off? Oh well. I figured it was good she was there to help me get some freezer meals finished and other things ready.
The next morning, May 4th, I woke up around 6:00 a.m. to some beastly strong contractions. "THIS has GOT to be it", I thought --- I was excited. But I did not want to wake anyone up just yet, in case I was mistaken. My mind ran away with me a bit as I made sure my hospital bag was ready, and threw in a load of laundry. My being upstairs woke ShaNae, so I told her what was happening. I directly returned downstairs and woke Jake up to let him know that I was pretty sure this was labor. He gave me his funny groggy morning face, but it wasn't long before he was alert. I told him I was bleeding some, so he suggested I make a phone call to the birthing center. They said the amount and consistency was normal and confirmed that today was the day!
At this point I was determined to get a shower, and make sure my hair was dry and straightened. I wanted to look somewhat presentable in the pictures of this momentous occasion - I know, so vain! But while I was shampooing, I suddenly realized how painful the waves were. Owza! I had to sit on the edge of the tub multiple times just to make it through the shower. In the next hour, I could only hold the dryer between contractions, and was not making much progress in the beauty department. It was just so intense that every time I felt one coming I had to keep retreating to the toilet for a place to sit! At one point ShaNae came down to check on me and I am sure I scared her out of her wits; As I was on the toilet, mid-contraction, gripping the walls on either side of me. I was basically non-responsive as she asked me questions, but eventually gave her a few basic instructions. One of which was to get my Hypnobabies CD going while I got ready. (Hypnobabies is a 5 week program I followed to prepare me for childbirth. It basically teaches you how to think about the experience positively and gives you some ways to manage the pain. At first I thought it was a bit cheesy, but having given it a fair chance, I would now highly recommend it.) I entered the zone and just did my best to cope for a while.
Jake came into the bathroom and we decided he should go into work for a little bit and that I would call him when I needed to go to the hospital. We had heard from several different sources that it would seem like it was time to go in, but that we should wait at home for a good long while. The advice my older sister gave me was to wait until I couldn't take it any longer, then add 4 more hours and it might be time. So, I was under the impression that this was going to take all day... I even had plans to make cookies to take to the nurses. But I finally came to grips with the fact that there was no way I was doing any of that. I called Jake and said "TIME TO GO!" I crawled back into the shower, then braided my hair wet, and it was all I could do to get dressed in some scrub pants and a T-shirt. I am afraid I was kind of abrupt and bossy as I made my way to the car. Jake and I walked out the front door at a quarter to nine.
I was so glad ShaNae had trusted her gut and came the night before. She was able to do all the odds and ends that I was worrying about and get me out the door.
After having several contractions laying on the bed, I really wanted to try getting in the tub. My tentative birth plan involved a lot of tub time because I knew I would love the water. Well... I was wrong. I hated it. Spent about 2 minutes in the tub and that was that. Done and done. I moved to the toilet, as I had discovered it was a good place to cope while I was at home earlier - weird I know, but it really was the most comfortable place! Everyone was so good to let me try whatever I wanted. But as I did not want to be having a baby in the loo, I opted to try something else.
The short time the Dr. was there was absolutely the most painful few minutes. In my lifetime of bumped shins, stitches, and surgeries, I have come to find that my pain tolerance is pretty high - but he just came in and pushed me beyond my bubble of peace to a place that I will just call MEAN. I remember being angry that he was even there. I know I chose this place because it was adjacent to the hospital and it was good that doctors were on call for things such as this, but his nonchalant and insensitive manner of "checking things" during my contraction seemed totally unecessary. I dug deep for the amiable person inside of me and dealt with it until he left.
I had been pushing about 45 minutes, and I tried to maximize every contraction, but there was only so much I could do. I couldn't push any harder and I thought baby would never come. Time became unreal. But then there came an instant when I recognized that I was still very strong, and I know Heavenly Father helped me to see myself this way. The head finally came through, and all was right with the world. From there, his body found its own way out and...our little boy was born.
I know they put him up on my chest for a moment, and it felt like he belonged there. He wasn't as goopy as I expected - just tiny and holdable with lots of black messy hair. They handed Jake the scissors and had him cut the cord (the unusually short cord) very quickly. We couldn't wait for it to stop pulsing because they were concerned about the little guy, and wanted to check him over right away. He made just a few cute squeaky noises, so I experienced a flutter of concern about him not crying. But I received a reassuring word from one of the nurses that all was well, and he was soon placed back on my chest. Sometime in there I delivered the placenta, but I barely noticed. I got to look at it and briefly marveled that our miniature human had been inside it just an hour before.
This is our little warrior:
Denym General Free.
Denym General Free.
Born at 1:12 p.m.
6 lbs 15 oz. 20 inches.
6 lbs 15 oz. 20 inches.
In the new room, I got comfy, continued snacking, but mostly kept loving on our new little man. Meanwhile Jake made some phonecalls, and posted a picture on facebook. I chimed in here and there with some things I wanted people to know, but mostly listened in happy observance. I loved when Jake would tell people that "She handled it like a champ."
Denym got his first bath and a series of tests throughout the course of the day. I was glad I had not had an epidural so I was able to move about freely and witness all the happenings.
Jake was particularly excited about the little security footband they gave Denym to wear.
Grandma and Grandpa Hyde were there to share in the aftermath, and ShaNae had been there all along. After the initial craziness wore off, we all got some dinner: Grandpa and ShaNae went out to get Five Guys burgers and Jake got Cafe Rio. And albeit an odd request, I had him bring me a plain tortilla to munch on. The hospital had provided plenty of food for me, but I guess I was just feeling particularly spoiled. Evening settled in and all the pleasant chatter subsided as our company left. Then it was just Mommy, Daddy, and baby.
That night was so very peaceful. I was filled with gratitude and asked Jake to say a prayer with me. He thanked Heavenly Father for our beautiful new little family, for my strength, and baby's safe arrival.
In the days that followed, I learned so much. --- About babies, about my baby, and about myself. I truly cherished most of it, and was in a continuous state of awe. I loved to just stare at that cute little face and literally couldn't take my eyes off of him.
Even when I should have been sleeping, I just lay him on the pillow next to me and studied his features, listened to him breathe, or stroked his fuzzy head. His cry was so adorable that I didn't even mind waking up to it - It sounded like a little jungle monkey cheep, and I looked forward to hearing it.
Dad was nothing short of tremendous those couple of nights - (as he always is, but you know what I mean.) He changed ALL the diapers in the hospital except for the very first tar one that I sweet-talked the nurse into doing for me. Each time Denym needed to eat, Jake would get up and hand him to me so I didn't have to move much. And after feedings, Jake would burp him, swaddle him, and put him back to bed. Awww, could I be more lucky.
On the way home, we had to stop at a pharmacy and pick up an iron-supplement prescription for me to take. But when we got there, it was going to be a 20 minute wait, and I just wanted to get home. So Jake, being the incredible guy he is, drove me home and made sure I was comfortable - then drove all the way back to Idaho Falls to get the prescription.
Denym made himself right at home.