***To the squeamish: This is a birth story. I promise the delicate details are minimal, but still, head’s UP.***
Hello from the other side. If experiencing (99% of) natural childbirth and wrangling 2 kids for a week can be considered a “crossing to the other side” worthy feat, that is.
Ira Stacy Peters joined our family on his new and improved due date, 12-29-15 at 11:06 pm. Punctual and cute from the very beginning, he weighed in at 6 pounds 10 ounces and 19 & 3/4” tall. And while I’m on the spoiler track, the rumors are true: it’s totally possible to be completely head-over-heels for two tiny humans at the same time.
His December arrival alleviated a lot stress. I didn’t want to have what the nurses called a “deduction induction.” I wanted the little guy to come on his own, even though my adult self knew that getting a 2015 tax credit, not having to restart our deductible and having my entire family in town (and some due to leave soon) would make a sooner-rather-than-later arrival best. But anyone who’s waited for a baby knows that they come when they come, it’s the first indication that so much of parenting is completely out of your control.
Ira’s birthday was wonderful from start to finish. After enjoying Christmas with the Peters (complete with an in-theaters Star Wars screening and Making a Murderer binge), my family came for the post-Christmas week. The morning of the 29th, my siblings and I went to breakfast at Arsaga’s (which would easily classify any day as “wonderful” by itself), followed by some used book and record shopping. Obsessed as always, I purchased Healthy Sleep Habits, Happy Child with some Christmas money.
We headed home in time for Ike and I to get to my appointment. My doctor had ordered a non-stress test since Ira and I had made it all the way to 40 weeks. She reported that he was the happiest baby she’d seen all day and had us make another appointment for Thursday.
Ike and I headed to Target (are you seeing the wonderful trend continue?) and I picked up some last minute baby things. No newborn should enter the world without his very own set of fuzzy hooded towels, right? This nesting mama thought not.
On the way home, I finally had my first non-Braxton Hicks contraction. It was probably 5 or so. The doctors and nurses had been asking for weeks about contractions and I kept saying no. At least I was pretty sure I hadn’t had any. With that first one I knew I was right all along: this, finally, was the real deal.
By the time I got home, I announced to the family I was having “mild, irregular contractions.” Still playing semi-hostess, I went to the store with my dad for some taco ingredients and then helped him cook dinner.
Around 7, Ike and I put the overstimulated/exhausted Elliott to bed (a week with family WILL do that). While we were reading, the mild, irregular contractions started becoming stronger, every 3-5 minute contractions. Still not wanting to be the pregnant lady who cried wolf, I timed my contractions until around 8. They did not give in, so Ike and I headed to the hospital.
We probably got to the triage around 8:20 pm, and I was still slightly worried that I would be sent home with a pat on the head. I stood at the desk calmly filling out forms and answering questions. I think even the nurses doubted I would need to stay.
Nevertheless, I was given a room and told to change. They connected me to the monitor and after a quick progress check I heard the nurse say, “Oh, yeah. She’s staying.” I was at a 4-5 (from a 2-3 that afternoon).
Then started the slow progression to the promised land: the epidural. Although I’m anti-induction and pro-breastfeeding, my plan for pain was to take advantage of what modern medicine had to offer. I hadn’t spent one second studying any of the methods to guide yourself through a natural childbirth experience, but I had had many conversations about it. Hey, it’s what married ladies my age talk about...a lot.
So I knew I couldn’t fight or be afraid of the pain. I remained calm. And honestly, hoping and counting down to the epidural kept me going. I was stuck in triage until about 9:15, getting my IV and blood drawn.
We finally got moved to a labor and delivery room, but it STILL wasn’t time for the epidural. So I continued to stay calm, breath and hope, as I received the allotted 30 minutes of fluids. By the time the anesthesiologist arrived (who just happened to be my suitemate from Sophomore year at college) and the fluids were done, the nurse asked if I felt the urge to push. I had to admit that I did. She checked me -- I was at a 10.
At that point, I was still afraid of the final push of labor so to speak, so I went ahead and actually got the epidural. The nurse let me wait about 20 minutes then said that whatever relief I had now was as good as it was going to get. It may have taken the edge off, but I could still feel quite a lot, if not everything.
Right then, my water broke and my doctor (who was on call!) came in. Much like last time, pushing was actually the very best/most relieving part of the process. After about 4 (could be a few more?) contractions, Ira was born.
My body does not mess around with labor. And really, I was able to walk and talk through the contractions to the very end. Even though it was the scariest/hardest part of my life, I think I have my wreck injuries to “thank.” Just like with Elliott’s birth, I could really only feel the contractions on my right side. With that, and my body’s speedy delivery methods, I’m probably one of the best candidates out there for natural childbirth.
If I could be assured that it would go as fast as it did with Ira, then I would even consider skipping the last minute epidural if I ever have the opportunity to make such a decision again. I would just need a new hope...perhaps those first few precious moments with my new little one?
Those moments really do erase the pain immediately.
The rest of his birthday (not much!) was left to moments like these. Moments that you have to read so I can remember them for the rest of my life. I love my boys and I’m so thankful that Ira arrived here safely.
More on life with two kiddos soon (have to admit, I’m still on two kids light with a constant set of extra hands...for now). So far I’m happy to report that the recovery has been much smoother thanks to much less substantial...birthing injuries, if you catch my drift. If not, don’t think about it and move on!
And at a week in, Ira has been getting better and better with sleeping. That really is the difference maker right there between loving and hating life with a newborn. At the hospital and the first night at home, he really didn’t do much sleeping unless he was being held. But with some nap training in his bassinet, he’s been putting in 3-4 hour stretches at night consistently. I don’t think I will declare it a permanent trend yet, but I am hopeful and as well rested as I could expect at this point.
Elliott, on the other hand, is the one who makes me a little nervous. He completely skipped one of his naps this week, which is unlike him. He NEEDS his nap, and I NEED him to take it. As an oldest myself, I get it. He’s going through a lot and I’ve been really trying to spend some quality one-on-one time with him.
I guess the only thing I’ve learned so far is that I may not have named my boys as well as I could.
Elliott will constantly have to tell people, “No, with two T’s.” And Ira will probably surprise a few teachers on the first day of school by being a boy. I was quite surprised how many people have thought he was a girl when they hear his name. Sorry buddy! The ones who listen to NPR will know...the good ones;)
It’s one of my 2016 goals to blog at least once a week, so I hope you’ll be hearing from me soon! Don’t judge if I miss a few, please! Especially as I attempt to start writing for clients again in February. Am I crazy? Time will tell!