Monday, April 26, 2010

"Certainly not more than 8 lbs..."

Yes, that is what I was told at my OB appt the day I delivered my 9lb 4 oz son.

The "size" debate had started a few weeks previously when I started noticing my first belly stretch marks. I say, "first" because somehow I made it through both previous pregnancy's (8lbs 5 oz Isaiah, and 8lbs 15oz Joshua) without a single belly stretch mark. Amazing, I know. These attractive tell tale signs on my lower abdomen got the wheels turning... how big??

It was hard to know if I was just carrying the baby lower (and/or differently), or if I really was bigger. I felt huge. But then... I always feel huge when I'm pregnant. And some people tell me I look huge (mind your manners people!! You NEVER tell a pregnant woman she looks huge!!) but I must say, more people told me I looked small.

My weight gain was right on "target" and very close to what I gained with Joshua (35lbs), and much less than the whopping 45lbs I gained with my first baby. I felt fine too. Sure a few maternity tops were a big snug, but that always happens when you're pregnant--- who even invented extra small maternity clothing????

But the stretch marks did make me curious, and perhaps a bit worried. For a gal who was planning a second VBAC, you can't help but feel that the bigger the baby the greater the chance for failure (and needing a c-section). Whether it's true or not, that's how you feel.

So you can imagine that when my OB provider (a wonderful midwife) told me "certainly not more than 8lbs" I was quite relieved and content to think I had a "normal" size baby in the oven.

Later that afternoon, the contractions started coming. Thankfully, Nick was home from school (45 minutes away) and we discussed whether "this was it" or not. I had had so many pre-labor contractions earlier in the week, I didn't want to overreact and head into the hospital too soon. But after waiting a bit (and walking a bit), it was pretty clear the contractions were getting harder and were definitely painful enough to be the real thing.

Its funny how those first real contractions bring a mixture of excitement and fear. Finally labor had started and I wouldn't really be pregnant FOREVER!!! Along with: if this is what the beginning phase feels like, can I really make it through the whole process??!!

So the plan was to wait until the contractions got a bit closer together and a bit more regular. We called the babysitter and gave her the heads up (but not the "official" call) and sat down to eat dinner. I couldn't eat (too excited... and a little nauseated). We busied ourselves around the house, checked and rechecked the hospital bag, pulled out the infant car seat, and cleaned a bit (funny that the "nesting" phenomenon doesn't stop until its time to push!!)

The contractions had been coming for about 1 hour but were still 7-10 minutes apart and a bit irregular.

However, the next contraction broke my water and then the contractions started coming HARD and FAST. Things quickly changed from, "we have plenty of time" to "Ahhh! Will we make it to the hospital in time!?!" Both Nick and I had thoughts of my labor with Joshua where he was born 20 minutes after my water broke (including pushing time!!) and we knew we were close to 20 minutes away from the hospital!!! Plus, we still had the boys with us and not with the baby sitter. And again, the contractions were harder and faster, about 2-3 minutes apart.

I admit, I panicked and started crying. The pain was intense and I hardly had a break between contractions, but even more so, while home births are great-- they are not my thing, especially when my husband doens't second as a midwife and my kids are still running around. But praise the Lord, my husband doesn't panic and is the strongest, most steady person out there. He called the babysitter to meet us as the hospital while also loading the boys in the car (without even putting on their shoes). We grabbed the carseat and the hospital bag and off we went.

It was hard to stay calm as I worried about making it to the hospital in time. But my motivation was the little boys in the back seat... we all cheered when we got through the gate onto post and could see the hospital. It's interesting to note how (I think) my panic played into the whole process. They always say that the "fear-panic-tension cycle" slows down labor... and what do you know, the contractions slowed down to 5-7 minutes apart by the time we got onto post. A thankful and much needed calming agent while I headed up to Labor and Delivery without Nick (ahh, scary thought!!), while he stayed with the boys till the babysitter arrived.

Again, the Lord blessed us, the contractions stayed 7 minutes apart while Nick waited downstairs for the babysitter. And I was able to get checked in and settled. And I was quite relieved to discover I was only at 5cm and that the likelihood of delivering the baby in the next few minutes were slim. Nick made it up to our room and things progressed quickly from there.

The plans was to go "all natural" like I had with Josh and not use any pain medications. And again, Praise the Lord, we did just that. Nick coached me through every contraction, kept me focused and calm, and we labored along...till little Noah was born 2 hours later.

My labor was just over 4 hours long, start to finish. It was very fast and intense, but I'm so thankful it wasn't any longer!! Noah was in the proper position (head down, facing my back) and I pushed for just about 15 minutes. Another shocker I know. And did I mention that his head was 15 1/2 inches around?!?!?! Wow!! Little Kathryn delivered a 9lbs 4 oz baby and didn't have to push for 6 hours... I'm still amazed. And still praising the Lord for such a smooth and uncomplicated delivery. All I can say is all the squats, stretches, and cross-legged sitting really paid off!!

Of course, I'm sure some of you are wondering what the "damage" was after having such a big baby, but I am amazed and again so thankful to be able to say there was none. Seriously. No episiotomy. No tearing. Just a few minor stitches after delivery. I'm not sure what to attribute this to (except clearly the Lord's mercy!!), but I do think that the fact that I continued pushing in between contactions helped . It hurt too much to just sit and wait for the next contraction, so I pushed in between. My "little" pushes seemed to ease the baby through more slowly and gently than with the big uterine contractions.

I can't tell you the emotional high that followed Noah's arrival. I had just undergone the 4 most intense and painful hours of my life, yet I couldn't even think about sleep or rest. I couldn't stop praising my Savior for His lovingkindness and tender mercies throughout the whole process.

-A beautiful healthy baby lay in my arms... with perfect little fingers and toes, sweet round cheeks...
-My loving and faithful husband at my side... a true soul mate and companion through life's most challenging journeys
-Making it to the hospital in time
-A short (but not too short) labor
-A successful VBAC
-A natural unmedicated birth
-No tearing
-No labor and delivery complications for mom or baby
-A healthy baby!!
-Good friends who babysit
-Good friends/family who pray
-and, last but not least, a surprisingly small pregnant belly for these moose like children I have hiding inside!! :)


Dolly said...

WOW! What a great story! You are amazing. Ethan and I both think my belly is bigger this time around. But thankfully my biggest baby was only 7lbs13oz. I guess you never know!

Alicia said...

What a fantastic birth! So glad to read about it and it gives me more confidence for having a VBAC someday. Thanks for sharing!

Anonymous said...

Thanks for sharing that Kathryn :)
What a story!
We love you guys so much!

Anna said...

Thanks for sharing. Your story (every part of it) is so encouraging for me personally (only a little more than three weeks away from my due date). I'm starting to get the "you're too small to be due that soon" comments from everyone. It's so nice to hear a great birth story instead of the horrible ones right before it's your turn. :) Thank you!


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