Birth of Blayne, 2010
In fall 2007, my husband announced that he wanted another baby. I gave him a weird look. Not because I didn’t want another baby, but because it shocked me that he wanted another one so soon (we had both said we were done after our second) I said, “I just thought I wouldn’t hear you say that for a really long time”. And so, to make a long story short, we decided we wanted another baby and I stopped taking birth control, but not until spring of 2008. I was nervous at the thought of having 2 born so close together (less than our previous 3 year, 10 month age gap).
I wasn’t sure what I wanted from our next birth, but I knew I needed something different. Something more. I turned to the internet. I searched natural birth. I found talk of homebirth and midwives and fell in love with the idea. I was very disappointed to find “that homebirth is illegal in Nebraska” (it’s NOT, but that is what the internet told me) That was all I found on the topic. I sadly gave in to the idea of another hospital birth, and stopped looking online. I still dreamed of a homebirth. Of where I’d labor. What it might look like, staying home to have a baby. I started learning about things that happen in hospital births that aren’t evidence based. I had begun my journey to falling in love with all things birth.
In August 2009, almost a year and a half after stopping birth control, we finally had a positive pregnancy test.
I started a pregnancy journal. I tracked my tummy measurements and weight, and journaled about his birth while in the hospital, when it was fresh in my mind.
I bought a baby book, gender neutral. Prepped baby clothes, bought my usual “preemie size” outfits – one boy, one girl – so there was something to fit immediately for either gender.
During pregnancy, I asked my doctor questions about everything I had found. She was already ok with no ultrasounds, as she was my doctor with my previous baby and we’d already been down that path. We did have Tricare (military insurance) this time, which covers absolutely everything in a hospital birth, but I used the logic that I had gone previously with no ultrasound so I didn’t need one this time either. When I asked her about delayed cord clamping she told me “it’s done in a minute or 2. Because when we draw cord blood, it’s hard to get out at that point”
To which I responded, “but we aren’t banking cord blood…”
She said “oh, we just draw blood for testing”
I didn’t know what to say. Had it been me now, perhaps I would’ve responded with “well, you didn’t explain that to me, therefore you didn’t obtain informed consent and I do not give my consent for you to take my baby’s blood” … but… I said nothing.
When I asked her about not having an IV, she said they really did need that. In my head, I resolved to refuse it, but didn’t say anything. I also don’t think I tried to avoid any other “routine testing”. Of course, this was either before some of the testing was done, or my doctor knew I liked things naturally so didn’t even bring it up. I’m not sure. Either way, I was happy with my prenatal care, overall. I still had so much to learn.
I don’t remember if she brought up induction, so I either blocked it out or it didn’t happen this time around. This was the same doctor I had used with my previous 2 births, our family doctor.
We moved to a new house when I was around 30 weeks. It was hard for me. I felt miserable, tired, tons of pelvic pressure when I stood a lot. And here we were… moving. And cleaning the old house. Two or three (I forget ….) short weeks after we moved, my husband had 2 weeks annual training with the Army, and of course, it was in Germany. Travel time included, he was gone a day longer than 3 weeks, coming back home on Easter Sunday… well, almost. He got in like at 11:30pm Saturday night.
We (by we, I mean my husband) retiled the bathroom, and tried to “move in” before baby came. I hate unpacking. I’m sure I still have boxes in the back of the closet and we’ve lived here 7 years now … shhh don’t tell.
I was 40 weeks + 5 days the Friday morning I went into labor. It had been 8 years since having gone into labor on my own, since I had been induced before. I wasn’t sure if I was really in labor or not. I did some dishes, leaned over the counter through contractions. Tried going back to bed, was on my hands and knees in bed. I started timing contractions at 4am, called the doctor’s office at 5:50 am. A nurse called me back shortly. When I told her I wasn’t sure if this was labor or not, and then that this was my 3rd baby, she laughed at me. Not something a mama in labor needs – being laughed at ☹ It was decided that I should head in (I felt I needed permission, to be told that yes, I was in labor) and I woke up David at 6 am, and called my mother in law to babysit while he got dressed.
We arrived at the hospital at 7:00. Knowing what I know now, I really wish I’d had a doula. I caved on so many things. I planned to walk upstairs, but when a wheelchair was offered, I dutifully sat. We got upstairs in L&D by 7:15, with contractions 2-3 minutes apart. I was prepping things I wanted to have handy. The baby book, camera, my journal. The doctor wanted me to lie down to be checked. I thought “I don’t want to”, but I did as I was told. If only I’d been vocal. If only I’d had a doula to remind me of what I wanted. I laid down to let her check my cervix. They also took this opportunity to break my water – I did “consent” to this, but not once was anything explained to me as to what all this means (risk of cord prolapse, for example), at 8:15, which increased the intensity of my contractions.
When the nurse tried starting an IV, I was saying to myself in my head “tell them no. just say no. don’t let them do this. You weren’t going to let them do this. SAY NO!!”, but I kept silent. I was “a good little patient” and let them do whatever they wanted. Even when they had poked me 3 times, my arm hurt, and they still didn’t have an IV in. Another nurse came to get it in, she said she’d use a smaller size this time, I was still yelling at myself “stop! No! don’t give me an IV!” but these words didn’t pass my lips. I sat in silence, still. And afterwards I felt sad at myself for not having said no. I knew I couldn’t fight them when I was in labor, so I didn’t even try. I remember telling myself to “get up!” and “move!” and yet I felt like I was “supposed to” stay in bed. And I was raised to do as I was told (not a trait I possess any longer!). I rolled from side to side, trying to move, but I didn’t let myself get up.
I already felt as though I wasn’t in control. Ever since they told me to lie down, I felt I was giving up my desires. When they told me it was time to push, the bright lights came on, the extra nurses and their equipment came in. My feet were put in stirrups, my body “bathed” in icy cold iodine, while everyone watched me. They watched and waited. I remember talking, but not what I said. I also remember the nurses talking to each other. One said “I can’t believe she’s talking normal between contractions!” The other said something about not many actually go all natural. Them talking took me out of my primal brain even further than I already was. I thought “what am I supposed to be talking like? …. This isn’t normal?!?” it felt normal to be “talking normal” I didn’t understand why she would say that. The next contraction demanded my focus. At one point I reached for David’s hand, and I felt better for a few contractions, while I had it to hold. The nurses counted to 10 while screaming at me to PUSH! PUSH! PUSH! PUSH! I said yes when they asked if I wanted a mirror, but I closed my eyes while pushing and the nurse didn’t hold it up anymore, when with the next contraction I wanted to see, but the mirror was no longer there. After his head, then his shoulders were born I had no more urge to push. My doctor screamed at me “YOU NEED TO PUSH!” I screamed back “I CAN’T!” she screamed again “YOU HAVE TO!” I remember this more than I remember the birth. It makes me sad to this day. Why is this part of my birth story?!?!? She pulled. I tried to push, but my body wasn’t ready yet. Finally she was putting him on my chest, she had pulled him the rest of the way out. He was born at 8:51am. I checked immediately to see the sex. I had to do a double take. I thought for sure this baby was a girl. I pulled open legs and thought “what the heck is THAT doing there! You’re not a girl!” *smile* and a half second later it didn’t matter. Because it really didn’t matter.
I don’t remember the birth of the placenta, and they were worried because he was a bit blue (all babies are blue at first). They wouldn’t stop talking about that, but decided he was just bruised. They had worried me with their chatter about it, yet there was nothing wrong. They had taken him, weighed him. While weighing him I joked that “wouldn’t it be funny if he’s 8 lbs 14 ounces? Since Sierha was 6#14 and little David was 7#14?!?” … he weighed 8 pounds, 14 ounces
We started breastfeeding around 9:15. He wasn’t quite ready, so it took a bit to get him drinking, but it was easy this time. I was so relieved after the trouble I’d had with little David. David left around 9:45 to go find food, and me and our new squish got better acquainted. David came back briefly, with some snacks, and went home “to finish the bathroom tile”.
I didn’t give him his first bath, the nurses did that while I showered, around 11:30. He cried the whole time. Oh, how I wish I’d learned more and not bathed him so early! After that, he slept most of this first day. Then from 5am the next morning, to until about 2pm he nursed almost non-stop. He met his older siblings next. Seeing him convinced his big brother that he was finally out of mommy’s belly.
We finally decided on a name on Saturday afternoon. Blayne Daniel.
Sunday morning (Mother’s Day) his bilirubin was 15.9, so they wanted him under the lights, which were in the NICU. At 3:30 they checked again and it was 18. They didn’t explain that many babies have some level of jaundice, that it goes up before it goes down, that the lights don’t actually make it go away, but just help his body process it better, and I didn’t know anything about it, or even which questions to ask. In hindsight, I’m so glad my milk came in quickly this time, and that I had a “more naturally minded” doctor. She asked me if I felt like my milk was in, and said if not they’d need formula. But she said I can just nurse, since I felt my milk was in. (colostrum is actually VERY efficient at moving the jaundice out via poop!) Sunday evening his bili count was back down to 15.9. Monday morning before we left, it was 12.9, but they wanted him under the lights until we discharged that afternoon.
The nurse who “installed the car seat” clearly didn’t know how. I could SEE it wasn’t tight enough, but didn’t feel I could just do it myself.
Breastfeeding went perfectly this time around! He nursed 15-20 hours a day for about 3 months straight. It was challenging, sometimes downright hard and stressful, but so much worth every moment!
I started out using a “Moses basket” basinet. I had it in whatever room we were in, when I wasn’t holding him. I would put him to bed in that, then when he woke to nurse I’d bring him back to bed with me. That soon phased out and this is how we started co-sleeping. It was just so much easier and I got so much more sleep. I was beginning to find *my* parenting style. If only I’d listened to myself sooner. It’s weird how I have no regrets and yet many. I have regrets, because “when you know better, you do better”. But I don’t have regrets because “you don’t know what you don’t know”.
I had said I’d never give him a pacifier, but one night my kids were hungry, I had to make supper, and I gave him a pacifier so I could get through making dinner. I started giving it to him more and more, and he was hooked. It resulted in my fertility coming back sooner than it might have otherwise and on a week after his first birthday, I had a positive pregnancy test, with baby #4.