So if you've read Part One and Part Two of Grey's birth story you would have read that I was in labor for 26 hours and pushed for 4 hours. We had a completely medication, intervention free natural labor and birth that was not without it's complications.
Within moments of Grey being born I started losing a lot of blood. My uterus had worked so hard, too hard, and I had to be administered many medications to get my bleeding under control. I was also in a great deal of pain, having also torn in multiple places, and skin to skin wasn't what I had always imagined it to be. I had to ask Mr. Charming to take him from my chest. 26 hours of natural labor to feel connected, euphoric, and that endorphin rush was elusive.
I felt robbed of that moment, and it took me a long time to accept what had happened. What had gone wrong. I wanted to feel empowered, strong, and I know now that I am. But it messed with my mind a lot, that had I done that, birthed him naturally in the exact way that I did, anywhere but in a hospital, I probably would have died.
And that shook me to my core.
In the days following his birth I had to have a double blood transfusion because of the blood loss and I will be honest and say fear totally stepped in at that point. But with MUCH prayer, an AMAZING nursing staff, a competent doctor and my beautiful husband and baby to distract me, I got through it. Praise Jesus yet again. And again and again. And in everything, always.
Following the traumatic experience I endured, our little one became severely jaundiced and had to be put under lights for 18 hours. They brought him to me to nurse every three hours though, so I got my cuddles in and Mr. Charming walked to check on him often. While he was in the nursery the hospital treated the hubs and I to a filet mignon dinner with sparkling cider to celebrate and we stayed up well into the night talking and having our last date night before we'd go home as a family of three!
We stayed in the hospital an extra day to watch both mine and Grey's recovery and then we got to pack up to take our babes home!
He is a dream. Our son, our moon and our stars and we now see why God's timing is perfect. If it wasn't at this time, it wouldn't be Grey, and we can't picture our little one being anyone but him. Our mini Mr. Charming. Our little love. Our rainbow.
For information on our doula and her company, visit: http://lovebugdoula.com/
Continued from Part One...
Once in a delivery room we continued in our pattern set by our doula. Three contractions on the ball, three in the bed, three standing (those sucked the most), three on the toilet and walk around, repeat. My room had a shower though and I will tell you, when my labor progressed to 8, 9 centimeters that shower was a GOD SEND. Hot water felt SO good.
I must take a moment to speak about my labor in general. I grew up an anxious person. I grew up fearing the day I'd have to give birth. Before marrying Mr. Charming I actually had decided I wouldn't birth children. That the pain looked to great for "someone like me" and I'd just adopt. Then I married my other half. And I wanted, more than anything, to see the beautiful babies we could make together and God put it in our hearts to make a baby together. And while we were on the long journey to finally meeting our rainbow baby, I prayed. I prayed that God would be with me EVERY STEP OF THE WAY. That he would hold me fiercly and tightly and not let go. That I could know His peace in birth the way I knew His peace during our first loss and He didn't let me down. Because He is God.
I had affirmations and Bible verses play on a screen during my entire labor, Christian songs I had downloaded that speak of strength, purpose in pain, God's love and of motherhood played in the hospital room, our doula and Mr. Charming spoke love and affirmations to me the entire time and my sister recited bible verses over me in labor. It was pure beauty and I can say, with all the gratefulness in my heart, that I felt God's immense peace THE ENTIRE TIME. From the moment I felt my first contraction until I was holding our son in my arms, I wasn't anxious once. I never felt an ounce of fear. I never felt I couldn't do it.
Was it painful? The most painful thing I've ever endured.
Was it hard? Yes. Really hard.
I said a couple of times "Guys, not sure I'm still cool with this" haha, I even did joke a couple of times. Maybe not toward the very end, haha. But yes, of course it was hard and intense and I wasn't sure I'd want to do it again in those moments. But He got me through it. Using my amazing birth team and being in that room with us the entire time, He showed me a strength I never knew could come from within me. And it was because I called upon HIS strength and not my own, to birth my son into this world. And, it was just beautiful.
Fast forward HOURS. I stayed between 7 and 8 centimeters from 3pm until 1am on August 5th. Yep, guys. That was not awesome. But I didn't want intervention and baby's heart rate was PERFECT the entire time (praise Jesus!) so there wasn't a medical need for anything else to move us forward but time itself and so we kept working hard.
At around 12 we came to the conclusion, along with my amazing nurse and doctor, that the baby was stuck on my pelvic bone (not a shock to me with how messed up I've been down there from an old dance injury) and that it would take a lot of work for me to birth him naturally at this point.
I was determined. I was determined not to have drugs. I was determined not to have surgery. For him. For myself too. But mostly for him.
at 1 AM I had reached almost ten centimeters and at 2:27 I was able to start pushing! What I thought was the short light at the end of the tunnel ended up being another lengthy part of the process and it took me four hours to push little man out into the world.
At 5 am, and beyond exhausted, I wanted to be done. My doctor actually had a flight to catch and said we could administer Pitocin as my contractions had slowed and become weaker due to my uterus being so worn out. I knew I DIDN'T want drugs and in my exhausted haze I actually told her I'd rather have an episiotomy and the use of the vacuum. My doula and husband suggested of those two options to take the Pitocin. Seeing this exchange my doctor stepped out of the room and cancelled her flight (which I didn't know until much later, she is an angel) and said we were going to do this the natural way. No drugs, no cutting, just hard work.
So I pushed. And pushed. And pushed. And at 6:13 our baby Grey was born. Mr. Charming looked at him and cried and I fell deeper in love with my husband in that moment. A big beautiful love. Beyond anything I could have fathomed.
And then I held him. Our little miracle. Our wonder of wonders and I just couldn't believe the beauty I saw in him.
Unfortunately, due to what my body had to endure, complications arose immediately following his birth, read Part Three to understand why it's taken me many months to finally write our story.
And of course to see many more photos of this cutie.
It's taken me a little longer to write this story than I planned. And much longer than most bloggers take to write their little one's birth stories. There were reasons, physical and mental, that went into the reasoning behind that. Reasons that will be touched on here. But I feel my heart is ready to share the story about how our little man entered this world early one summer morning.
At 35 weeks we met with our doula to come up with a game plan of how the day would go if I was able to go into labor on my own. This was something I was praying HARD for as I didn't want to be induced if little man decided to take his time arriving. My goal was to have a medication-free, intervention-free birth at the local hospital. My OB was great throughout my whole pregnancy and knows my healthy crunchy mama way and supported this plan from the get-go.
We had spoken about how when I went into early labor, that I was to eat and shower and sleep if I could. That I could work on the computer and take a walk. Basically a plan to maintain normalcy until active labor started. At that time we were to call her and she would come over and try to keep me at home until we hit transition so we could make our way to the hospital. Our hospital is across the street so I trusted her with this plan.
However, God, my body and little man had a different plan to how things would progress. At around 2 am on August 4th I started getting contractions. Hard and three minutes apart. I had been a little uncomfortable the day before, but not with anything I would have thought to call contractions or early labor. Just sme braxton hicks tightening and a little mucous lost but nothing major. I thought for sure he'd be staying in until 41 or 42 weeks based on my symptoms thus far.
I was totally wrong.
After over an hour of these contractions, still coming hard and 3 minutes apart (to which my contraction app kept saying in ALL CAPS - GO TO THE HOSPITAL - I thought surely I had a ton of time because this must be early labor still, I JUST STARTED. Haha.
At around 3:30AM I had Mr. Charming call our doula because things were getting REAL folks. She had him put me on the phone and she told me to try to lay down (ha) and that when things got to the point where I couldn't really talk anymore to get into a warm bath and that she would head over. By 6am it was painful beyond wanting to speak so I got into the tub and by 7:30 am she was by my side, along with my hubs. I met our doula, Ashley Wain of Lovebug Doula, at a local event just two months prior and I firmly believe God led us straight to her. She has such a warm personality, amazing heart and I will say this a million times in our story, we couldn't have done it, I couldn't have gotten through this the way that I did without first and foremost God, her and my husband as a rock star birth team.
I labored with her and Mr. Charming until noon or so, when I decided I may want to head to the hospital. The contractions were STILL coming 3 minutes apart, however, it didn't feel much different than it had all night. Ashley had me walk the stairs (that suuuuuuuuucked, but probably helped the baby move down) and I labored in bed, then on the toilet, back in the bathtub, on the yoga ball, being held by both Mr. Charming and Ashley and we kept up this rotation to help progress my labor.
Having struggled with pelvic floor issues for years, Ashley thought that that may be a reason to my stalling labor and why I was in a strange pattern so she called a pelvic floor therapist who makes house calls. At 1pm an amazing pelvic floor therapist was at the house to work on my sacrum, pelvic floor and hips to try to open me a little more to encourage baby. While it was super awesome painful, I was excited to see if it would help. I also asked her to guess my dilation and she guessed a 2.
A 2. I wanted to cry. I also felt like something telling me to go to the hospital. We did one more round of bed, toilet, yoga ball contractions and then Mr. Charming got me, and our hospital bags, into the car and zoomed us to the hospital by 2:30 PM on August 4th.
Ashley wheeled me to labor and delivery while Mr. Charming parked the car. We arrived and got checked-in (not before I snapped at some family members who were there to see someone else having a baby because I was in total pain, STILL sorry by the way.)
Once we got to triage (with me still disappointed that I was only dilated 2) I was checked and it turns out I had gotten to 6 or 7 at home! With me being that far along they sent me straight to a delivery room, as we thought surely the baby would be making an appearance soon!
Again. We were so wrong. Haha.
Read More and Watch Us Welcome Baby In Part Two
I have so many thoughts lately that blogging has been a challenge because I have so much to say. That, mixed with no time to really think or process or write it out TO say it. I'm actually really excited for maternity leave. Focus issues and fatigue are NO JOKE at Week 35. People don't just say it. It's legit.
29 days, guys. 29 days until my due date and it's become really real. Mr. Charming finished the wainscoting this past weekend and tonight he paints. Then all of the furniture can go back and decorating can resume! We are waiting until Baby P arrives to add a majority of the "decor" elements because of the color palettes we chose, but there will be enough to make it feel homey and lovely and ready for our little boy or girl to come home to.
We've been receiving beautiful neutral baby gifts ever since the baby shower, like the adorable grey onesie and shoes in the nursery above. Mr. Charming and I have been reading book after book after book devouring all the information we can on birth partnering, the Bradley Method, natural birth and naturally birthing in a hospital setting. Which brings me to our big decision.
We decided to hire a doula.
Now, for most of you who are readers or clients of mine, it probably wouldn't shock you so much since you know my lifestyle and most of you live a similar lifestyle. And natural labor and birth care is just the norm. However, I knew this decision would be a controversial one in family and friend circles and I actually took pause before making the choice. Then I realized, this is my birth. This is our baby and our experience. No one elses. So I called her, signed the contract and something in me relaxed. To have that extra professional support for Mr. Charming and myself through the biggest day of our lives is something that was important to me.
Having gone back and forth on it, and studying it like crazy like I do, Mr. Charming and I both got on board and I feel like God led me to the right birth team for me. And that's all that matters. I have to remember that. Little people pleasing Mandi needs to remember that.
She's been a wonderful coach thus far and got me going on Red Raspberry Leaf tea to prepare my uterus, dates to prepare my cervix and my chiropractor has been an awesome part of our team as well to help align everything for the birth. We are coming down to the wire to where it's just going to be us, having studied and prepared as much as we could, labor and birth is going to be what it is going to be.
It's going to be what God planned it to be. And I'm telling myself daily, I can fight it or accept it. And I know in my heart, mind and soul, that accepting it is the only option, haha.
Off to start packing my hospital bag!
9 Months tomorrow. Where did time go?