To be completely fair, this is a very raw and detailed story of Jason's birth. It may gross you out, so if you're squeamish or just don't want to know that much, feel free to skip it. There are some pictures in here at the end. Most of them are totally benign, but the first one may be a little gross too. Just so that you're warned!
Wow, where to begin with telling the story of Jason's birth. It's hard to say how long labor really was. I feel like it was in two separate parts. Friday morning, I had a good 6-8 hours of early labor, consistent contractions that I had to concentrate on, but nothing super intense. They petered out about 10:30am, and didn't really do much after that. I did get them going again around 1:30pm, but they didn't last long. At about 5:30pm, after checking in throughout the day, I talked with the midwife Cindie and we decided to just forget about it for the night. She told me not to try to force anything, because it may lead to something I would regret. It was still 10 days before the due date, and there was no medical reason to try and force it. So Steve and I went home from my mom's house, but left Jilly there so we could actually rest. I'd only gotten, maybe 3 hours of sleep total since Thursday morning, so I was exhausted. We went home, snoozed, watched TV, ordered pizza and just hung out. I was feeling discouraged it hadn't turned into "real" labor, and that I'd gotten everyone psyched up about it, but knew it was better just to let it happen as it needed to. If it wasn't turning into real labor, there had to be a reason for it, and it was safer for everyone to just let it be. Throughout the evening I had contractions, and when they came, I had to vocalize (kind of an open mouthed hum) through them, but they were still few and far between.
I crawled in bed at 10:30pm, read for a little bit and was asleep by 11:30pm. I woke up every once in a while with a contraction and had to make noise through it still. Steve (who had been asleep on the living room floor since 10pm) came to bed around 3am, and I warned him I might start randomly making noise right in his face. But I wasn't taking anything seriously or even looking at the clock during this time. I got up to pee once every hour or less, which was annoying, but what could you do? Around 4:15am, I woke up with a couple contractions in a row that I could not lay down through. I was nauseous too, so I got up, went to the bathroom and drank something. I ended up being awake for like 30 minutes, and had quite a few contractions, but still wasn't taken them seriously, so I went back to bed. A half hour after that, I had a contraction so intense, I jumped out of bed from the pain. I then realized immediately that I was going to throw up AND was having abdominal cramps (like when you have diarrhea). I ran to the bathroom and began one of the most horrible moments of my life. I was bouncing up and down on the toilet seat (sitting made the contraction super awful, but it also made the cramps feel better, and I couldn't decide which feeling was worse so I went back and forth), all while holding the trash can and ralphing. My back was killing me from the contraction and Steve had to come push on it at one point. I think I had about two or three contractions all in a row, and then finally threw up and got some stool out. The contraction faded and I felt so relieved. Steve said right away, "We need to go to your mom's house. NOW." Until he suggested that, I didn't really believe I was in labor. I thought I'd just gotten sick from eating Thai curry and pizza that day. But when he said it, I couldn't argue with him. I told we did need to call Cindie first. By the time we'd cleaned up myself and the trash can, and could call Cindie, I had had a couple more contractions and realized I couldn't talk through them and they were too close for me to talk to her. Steve paged her and then spoke with her when she called right back. I told him to tell her I had vomited and was feeling shaky, both signs of transition I knew. I still wasn't convinced I was in transition, and if I was, I couldn't be fully dilated yet. But it was serious and we did need to get to Mom's ASAP so I could relax in the bathtub. Cindie agreed, told us to get our butts over there and she'd be on her way right then. I called Mom, didn't even say hello, just "We're heading over. NOW. Cindie is coming too. See you soon." I wasn't in the mood for pleasantries or explanations. Mom could tell I was different too.
I had a bunch of contractions in a row right before we left the house and was getting louder and louder (from a low pitched humming noise to a more speaking volume level or slightly louder). I had one right before I got in the car, and then sat straight up with the heat bag pressed against my lower back. I got lucky and only had one contraction IN the car, during the entire 10 minute drive (yeah, Steve didn't pay super close attention to the speed limit signs. I appreciated and whole heartedly endorsed it.) But the one contraction I did have felt different. I really had to pee (which normally didn't happen during a contraction) and I thought it might be more of an urge to push, though it was up front and not rectal pressure. That contraction was insane though, because I couldn't move around very easily, with my seatbelt on. I was pulling myself up off the seat with the handle above the door, wriggling from side to side and not really finding any relief. Steve started squeezing and rubbing my thigh, while helped both the pain and distracting me. He kept doing that until we go to Mom's. As soon as we parked, I jumped out of the car and another contraction hit. I made it into the house before bending over on the counter, squatting and moaning super loud. I ran to the bathroom next because I was having rectal pressure and needed to poop. I stayed there for 3 or 4 contractions, while barking out orders in between (Katie, run the bath now! Get the compresses going!!) then ran to the bathtub. The water felt so much better! It was very warm which relaxed some of my back muscles. It also rounded off the edges of the sharp back labor and focused it a bit more. Don't get me wrong, it still hurt like hell but I definitely preferred being in the water. I got into more of a hands and knee, squatting position. I think it was just a little before 6am at that point. I opened my eyes maybe twice more until he was born, so I wasn't really aware of who was in there and what they were doing. The contractions started changing a liitle, the pressure increased and I couldn't help but push a liitle. I mentioned this, so everyone knew what I was feeling. My mom cried, "Don't do that! Don't push!" because Cindie wasn't there yet. The words "Kiss my ass," along with a death glare were sent her way quickly (yhough this was the more tame version of what I was actually thinking, since I needed a minute to catch my breath and say it.) Just after that Cindie arrived.
Also at this point, my sounds went from moaning to full on roaring/yelling. It sometimes even went up into a scream. That was also the time, I really started pushing. It was all so instinctive, there was no conscious decision to do any of that. It was just what needed to be done right then, so I did it. Cindie checked me and sure enough, I was fully dilated and he was moving down. The roaring really helped me move him down and pretty soon I felt the ring of fire. I can't remember if it was before or after that, but I felt the water break right around then. It was literally a POP, and I told everyone that I'd just felt it. As soon as he got down onto the perineum and was crowning, I felt a lot better actually! The pain was focused and not really in my back anymore. Cindie told my mom he was crowning and to get anyone in there who was supposed to be. All my yelling had woken up Jilly, so Katie brought her in as well. I didn't realize this until someone was talking to her and she made some noise. Paul was running around trying to get the camera to work, and Andy was still sound asleep in the family room. Steve was rubbing my back at this point, and talking to me. It was wonderful. I pushed and let things stretch, and I could feel him moving farther and farther down. Cindie wasn't really coaching me, other than a couple instructions to let things stretch and try and control it, but otherwise just let me do what I needed to. I was also able to get some actual rest in between contractions at that point, which felt like such a relief. Finally the pressure really built up and I gave a couple big pushes and his head came out! I could totally feel it and it felt SO much better! Everyone saw it, including Jilly. Because of the way I was positioned, they could all see his face (he was facing the right way after all, who knows why I was having the back labor), Cindie commented on his big, rosy lips. After a couple more minutes (I think), of resting and him wriggling around, I was able to push the rest of him out. That felt so much better! I couldn't believe it! The midwife passed him to me, under the water and I brought him up to my tummy. I was in shock!! I kept saying, "I can't believe I just had a baby! How did that happen?!" and just looking at everyone to explain it to me. Here's a picture of that moment:
It was amazing. We stayed like that for awhile, I wasn't in an hurry or getting uncomfortable at first. After several minutes though, I could feel the cramping start to get the placenta out, so my mom cut the cord and we passed Jason to Steve. They wrapped him up and took him out to the living room. Pretty much everyone else left too, so it was just Cindie and me in the bathroom. I stayed in the tub for a while, and got the placenta out about 30 minutes after he was born. I felt really good at that point, not really sore or in pain at all. After relaxing some more, I got into the shower and cleaned up, then crawled in to the bed in the guest room that had been set up for me. Cindie checked everything out and found that I had in fact torn, about a 2nd degree, but it wasn't bad and should heal just fine with some stitches. That was much different from the 3rd degree plus tear that I'd had with Jilly. I was a little disappointed that I tore at all, but not surprised (especially with how fast he came) and happy it wasn't worse.
While I was in the bath, Jason was out in the living room with Steve, Jilly, Auntie Katie and Grandpa Paul. They sat on the couch and introduced Jilly to her brother. You can see her (behind Steve) giving him a little kiss.
She kept looking at him and staring.
She seemed a bit confused at times, but knew that it was "A baby! A baby!"
Auntie Katie was so proud to have her little nephew there. It was nice too, that she didn't have to take another day off work in order to see him be born.
Granny Sam even took Jason into Uncle Andy at one point, who had slept through everything!!! She laid Jason next to him first, but he didn't stir, so she put Jason on top of his chest and woke him up. Andy was so confused as to why there was a baby on him, and where the baby came from! It took some convincing from Katie and my mom, to get him to realize it was Jason, and he had just been born! Hahaha.
Grandpa Paul was very excited to have his grandson there. He took great pictures and held him like a pro.
After awhile, I nursed Jason for a long time, then ate and drank something for breakfast myself. I was feeling pretty good, but was very tired, so I kept laying down. Eventually we got around to giving him the newborn exam. Everything checked out great, he was 7lbs 9oz, 21 inches long, head is about 13 1/2 inches around, and very healthy. That makes him 2 ounces and 1 1/2 inches bigger than Jilly was! And she was a full 40 weeks, while he was 9 days early! Crazy! There are a couple things you can see on him, that are from being a little early. He is REALLY FUZZY! He has hair everywhere! Most of it is blond and short, but his face is fuzzy, his shoulders and back, and he has long sideburns. It's super funny, and I call him Fuzzy Face sometimes. I was also right about him being long. He had been feeling long to me, so I was glad to see that validated. From being unwrapped during the newborn exam and a little before, his temperature dropped, so my mom did some skin to skin with him, with a heating pad on top.
Right around then, Auntie Juliet came over to say hello and meet her new grand-nephew. While she was there, I came out and sat in the chair, taking over skin to skin duties. Cindie left then, with plans to check in with us today and then come over to our house on Monday to check on both of us.
I got some time to cuddle with both my kiddos in bed. Jilly wanted to climb up and see me and her brother. She laid down on the pillow next to us to cuddle too. It was very sweet.
We spent the rest of the day, just hanging out and relaxing. I feel so much better than I did inmmediately postpartum with Jilly! Not having the epidural made things easier to move around and have some energy. I was certainly still tired, but also had this high from all the endorphins and couldn't get into a deep rest. It was so nice to be at my parents' house and settled and relaxed, with so many people around to wait on me, hand and foot. There was no shortage of arms wanting to hold him! It was heavenly really. We went home around 6:30pm or so, stopping at the store and Taco Bell on the way, getting home at like 7:30pm. Jilly fell sound asleep in her high chair (Bobblehead Jilly!) really fast, because she'd been woken up early the second morning in a row and not taken a nap that day. Two year olds running on 6 hours of sleep are not the most enjoyable creatures. So Steve got her settled into bed, where she slept over 12 hours. We went watched a movie, then went to bed. The night went fairly well. Jason still hasn't really cried too much, except when we change his diaper, understandably, and is soothed quickly. Jilly vacillates between ignoring him and totally doting on him. It's quite cute, she wants to give him kisses and when she sees him she'll say "A baby! A baby!". Very sweet. He's been getting better about eating. He's a good nurser once he starts sucking, but hasn't shown tons of interest in nursing. He's getting better and more interested as today goes on.
We're feeling so blessed and watched over. Everything went very fast, but so well. I'm feeling good, Steve is taking great care of us, and the kids are both eating, sleeping and pooping well. What more can you ask for?! If anyone wants to visit, we would be totally happy to have you! Just give us a call first. My cell phone isn't working, so we're swapping out our SIM cards in Steve's every so often. So if you try one of us and it goes straight to voicemail, call the other phone, only one is on at a time. Thank you for all your prayers, well-wishes and congratulations! We appreciate them more than we can express. We're so happy to have our little Jason Emmanuel here! He is a blessing to our family!!