This is going to be a long one so grab some coffee. I have been writing it for 3 weeks now and have had a hard time expressing my thoughts about this. Part of it is due to lack of sleep but it is also because the experience was so special that I wanted to be sure I did it justice.
The one thing I can say about Naia's birth is that it was about as different from my experience with Jack as it could be. After my experience with Jack's birth I decided that I would opt to use a midwife rather than an OB. I saw a group of 4 women who were wonderful. During my pregnancy I had 1 internal exam and a couple of blood draws. The midwives did not do any testing or exam that wasn't medically necessary or requested by me.
As my due date approached I was uncomfortable but saw no signs that baby was coming any time soon. Memorial Day weekend I was hoping would be the end but when Tuesday rolled around I was still pregnant and went back to work. Tuesday night I felt a little crampy but nothing more than normal period cramps. I had some several days prior as well and thought little of them even when they came and went during the night. In the morning I got ready for work and noticed that I was still getting them. I took Jack to daycare and casually started noting the time of each "cramp" and it turned out they were coming every 10 minutes. However they weren't getting stronger and seemed to vanish when I was walking around. I arrived at work and sat through an 8:30 meeting. During the meeting I was jotting down the times of the "cramps" and continued to see them every 10 minutes. I got back to my desk and worked for a while and around 10 am I decided it might be good to work from home. I was really concerned about my water breaking at work since with Jack that happened very early in labor. I called Dr. Nick and told him that I was headed home but that he didn't need to leave.
Once I got home I continued to work at my computer and called Nick around 11. I suggested that he might come home and work from home in the afternoon "just in case." At this point the "cramps" started to have a little bite to them and I was wondering if this was the beginning. Nick has an hour commute and I thought it would be best if he started heading home. I shut down my computer around noon and had some lunch. I decided I would call the midwives and just let them know what was going on but the office was closed for lunch. I opted to not leave a message and figured I would just call them back at 1:30 when they got back. I read for a bit and tried to relax. I tried to lay down on my bed and nap but that made the "cramps" feel a bit more strong. At this point I was having to focus a little when they hit and could not ignore them any longer. I got ahold of the midwives around 1:45 and they suggested I head to the hospital for a "labor check." I agreed and Nick and I packed up and headed out around 2pm.
I called daycare on our way out to let them know someone else would be picking up Jack. At this point things were still relatively manageable. About halfway to the hospital things kicked into gear and I got really uncomfortable. I just wanted to be out of the car. We arrived at about 2:40 and Nick dropped me at the door since there was no way I was walking from the parking lot at this point. As I stepped out of the van my water broke with a gush. You know, just like all the books say is so unlikely. Thank goodness I wasn't at work. Nick parked the car while I took the elevator up to the birth center. I vaguely remember signing some papers and then they took me to a triage room and gave me a gown. I believe at this point they were planning to "check" my cervix but when the midwife came in and saw the way the contractions were and that my water broke she allowed she didn't need to check a thing and they admitted me and moved me to my room. Nick had arrived before they moved me and helped me walk to the new room. At this point I was having to stop with each contraction and hang on to something.
Once we got into the new room things progressed very quickly. The pain went from tolerable to OMFG in about 5 minutes. There isn't much to say about this part. It hurt a lot and the midwife kept asking me to change positions which was horrible but kept things moving. At one point Nick told me I never had to do this again and I hung on to those words and told myself I can do anything once. I vaguely recall wondering if they were going to check my cervix but part of me didn't want them to for fear that I would only be at 3 cm. The entire time I labored they did not intervene in any way. I think they may have checked my BP once or twice and they stuck the baby heart monitor on my belly a few times but I wasn't strapped to anything nor did I have an IV. Time sort of ceased to exist during the worst of it and all I could do was try to relax between contractions and then breathe through them. Nick held my hand and kept a cold washcloth on my neck which helped a lot. I recall being extremely warm and annoyed by the gown and how big it was. After what felt like an eternity but was more like an hour and a half I felt the babies head pressing on my pelvic floor. It was incredibly painful but also very easy to push her out. That makes no sense but it was an incredible feeling to know that I did it myself and that my body just did everything it was supposed to. I think it took about 10 minutes tops. I never had the urge to push with Jack so this was a first for me. When Naia was born the only people in the room were Nick and I, the midwife, and a nurse. It was a really private and special time for just us. When Jack was born there were nearly 15 people in the room. I preferred this scenario by a long shot.
They placed Naia on my belly immediately while we waited for the umbilical cord to stop pulsing. Eventually Dr. Nick cut the cord. Naia came out screaming and also peed on me first thing. We hadn't picked a name out but when we met her and saw how she had a little fight in her we knew she was "Naia."
All they did with Naia was wrap her in a blanket, and give her to me. They didn't even diaper her for about a half hour. No tests right away and no bath, just bonding time with mom. It was amazing. They eventually did all of the required tests and the next day I asked for her to get a bath because she was getting a little funky smelling.
Since things went so smoothly and I didn't use any medication during the birth I was feeling about a million times better than I did after Jack was born. Our hospital stay was uneventful and we got to head home around lunchtime on Friday.
Now Naia is 3 weeks old and weighs about 9 lbs. She is a bit fussy but that seems to be related to gas/indigestion due to oversupply of milk and a strong letdown reflex on my end. We are working to correct that and make things more manageable for her and it seems to be helping. I have been able to take some walks with the stroller and already feel more normal. I still am carrying quite a bit of weight and my belly isn't done "shrinking" yet so I am still in maternity clothes. I am optimistic that it will come off quickly since I am able to get moving and the weather is cooperating.