Wednesday, February 5, 2014

A Perfect Birth

Hi there!! I am so happy to announce the arrival of our son Greyson James Cooper. He was born on 02/04/14 at 5:27pm. He weighed 8lbs 7oz and measured at 22 and 1/4 inches. His story is a great one and even though things didn't go according to my birth plan, it was the best possible birth for him and I wouldn't have changed a thing.

I went into labor on my due date on 02/03 and actually had a doctors appointment earlier that day. We did an NST (non stress test) just to see how he was doing since it was his due date and he was SUPER ACTIVE-trying to kick the monitors off and such, just wouldn't stay still. I had a cervical check done and I was barely dilated to a full 2cm. Earlier that day, I ran around 3 miles at the gym to help get things going. After my appointment, I headed back to the gym and since I had no energy for another run, I figured I would walk 1.5 miles to kill time while my husband was still at work. 

We went home and I made dinner. I noticed I had been having some super regular Braxton Hicks contractions-nothing painful, just very very noticeable. My husband and I settled into bed around 7:30pm that night (my husband wakes up around 4am for work) and that's when I started feeling it. My Braxton Hicks contractions were getting painful. BUT, this was no oddity as this had happened to me a couple of times the week prior and I toughed it out and went to bed previously. We have had so many false alarms and I wasn't sure what to expect when it came to real and false labor because it would all seem so real. Guess that's a typical first time mom thing!

The contractions got worse as Iaid in bed. They got so bad, I cried out in pain and gripped the bed sheets. This was new. So to debunk these contractions as being real, I got up and moved around. It eased them but not completely. Then like clockwork, 5 minutes later, they were back. They got so intense, I was doubled over in my bathroom as I timed them and I started crying. I had never felt contractions THIS bad. 

I didn't want to wake my husband up for a false alarm to drive 40 minutes to our hospital when he had to wake up so early and part of me still wasn't convinced THIS was the real thing. Denial is funny isn't it? Two hours later, I knew in my heart: it was time to GO and NOW.

Luckily, everything was packed up since it was my due date (something I recommend everyone do!). Pack ahead of time and it'll save your life! We headed to the hospital around 9:30pm, got there at 10:00pm. I was put immediately into triage and they had to make sure I was in labor before being admitted. On the way to the hospital, my contractions became 2-3 minutes apart and more and more painful. When we got checked, I was a good 3cm at 10:00pm. They hooked me up to the monitor and called my doctor and sure enough, this was the real thing. I was obviously in labor and a heavily progressing one at that.

I was admitted and placed directly into a room. By this time, the contractions were now 20 seconds apart and I could get no relief which was very odd. I could not recover from one contraction to the next. They say to "take one contraction at a time" but literally there was NO time in between them for me to recover. They were brutal. I had a decision to make. Pain relief or not. My whole entire pregnancy I was against the thought of NOT having a natural birth. Natural birth is something I wanted to give Greyson so badly. At this point, I knew if I did not get relief, I would live to HATE this labor and delivery experience and I did not want that memory. But before I made a decison, I wanted to know facts. 

Apparently, I had a lot of misconceptions about epidurals. I had heard such horrible things, but to my surprise, they do not affect baby at all. The IV pain meds are what cross over to and affect baby because it's systemic while epidurals are local. When I learned this, I was more open to getting one. I was still so torn and had my worries. What if it slowed my labor or interfered? What if I couldn't feel myself pushing? These were thoughts I had and why I aimed for natural labor. I started crying because I felt so guilty. But after having such brutal contractions without relief or a way to control them, I opted for the epidural. I not only was given an epidural, but the nurse also gave me a spinal combo due to the severity of the pain. I had lots of backlabor  because he was still facing the front of me. 

Around 12:30am, I was then dilated to 5cm and was given the medication. I felt the relief right away and I felt like a new person. As much as I had hoped and prayed for a natural drug free experience, this was definitely what I needed to do. And as labor went on and things became difficult, my decison had become clearer and clearer.

Around 6:30am, after getting much needed rest, my doctor Jennifer Esses (who is amazing!) had arrived and checked me. I was dilated to a good 8cm and was so happy that getting an epidural did not affect my progress. My water still had not broken at this time so she broke it for me. Time went on and a couple of hours later, I went to 9cm of dilation. It was almost showtime! Or so we thought... 

Around 9ish, I started to feel a "bearing down" feeling that's associated with the urge to push during birth. Along with it was a terrible cervical pain that not even my epidural could fix. I was checked again and was about at 9.5cm dilation. We decided to attempt pushing and discovered that a "flap" of my cervix was inverted inward, keeping my son's head from passing through. It was almost as if it were holding him in. We tried to push and nothing happened-instead, this actually caused my cervix to swell which was not a good thing. We decided to change my position frequently and wait it out till I was completely dilated.

I ended up staying at about 9.5cm or so for about 6-7 hours. To make things more difficult, my epidural wore off on my left side so I felt contractions in my belly and back on that side, along with the cervical swelling pain & bearing down discomfort. They ended up giving me Pitocin to speed things up.

I felt like giving up. I felt so defeated, this was not the birth I had pictured. My doctor noticed the swelling and that nothing was really progressing along. This was one big baby! We also noticed he was facing the front and not the back like an ideal vaginal birth should.The idea that a cesarean section might be the only option became our main focus. A C-section was the absolute last thing I wanted so we decided to give it a few hours. During this time, I did everything I could. I got on my hands and knees and rocked him and swayed him. I prayed and I prayed that he would turn around and get into position. I prayed that the cervical  swelling would stop.

At 4pm, my doctor came in to check me one last time before discussing our last resort option of the cesarean section. I was so scared but I figured nothing had changed. But when she checked, he had turned every so slightly to the side! This gave us a chance we needed to push him out! So we got ready and began to push.

Pushing lasted an hour and a half roughly. We started at 4:00 and I birthed him at 5:27. I was so weak from being in labor for 22 hours without food and without drink. I was so weak from the pain I still experienced from my epidural essentially not working on one side of my body. I was so weak from lack of sleep. But I had a job to do. I was going to take this chance that God had given me and push him out with all of my might. Though it took a little longer than I had expected, I did it. I honestly couldn't have imagined going through my 22 hour labor without an epidural-I no longer feel guilty for getting one. 

The moment I first saw him, I couldn't believe it. My doctor laid Greyson on my chest and he stopped crying immediately and looked up at me. Grady started crying. I started crying. This was our son. 

When they weighed him, Grady and I were both stunned! 8lbs and 7oz was more than we had bet on. No wonder I almost couldn't push him through my cervix. And he was so long at 22.25 inches-he will be tall like his 6ft 3in daddy. I am so blessed to announce this healthy baby of mine. He is absolutely perfect in every way.

Recovering has not been too bad at all. I did have a first degree tear which makes things uncomfortable, but certainly bearable. My lower extremities (legs, feet, pelvic region) swelled a whole lot during labor, but are slowly improving. I haven't really given one thought to my postpartum body or how ill bounce back. Most of the 30lbs I've gained is virtually gone naturally. Right now my main concern is breast feeding my son and making him strong! Cuddling with him has been the best. I look forward to enjoying this time with my new little family and I can't wait to get back to some light walking within a few weeks. I will certainly put my jogging stroller to good use.

I might not be on the blog as much as I enjoy my first few weeks at home with my son, but I will be on when I can.
We appreciate all of the well wishes and the congrats! Thank you all.


To read how I lost my postpartum weight in one week,

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