Monday, October 18, 2010
Can I please just take a minute to brag about my husband?! Before Rowan was born Russ was happy to learn about each stage of pregnancy and patiently sat through 6 Mondays (2 1/2 Hours each) of childbirth class. However, he said he wasn’t sure about the whole newborn thing. Russ had never changed a diaper in his life, but said he would try with our own baby. He also said he was looking forward to Rowan when he was old enough to play with. I think those are pretty common feelings for guys to have but it’s amazing to see Russ as a dad. He is a changed man. From the moment Rowan entered this world, Russ has been a natural. He has helped me tremendously. The nurses in the hospital all asked if they could clone him because of how hands on he is. It didn’t stop at the hospital though; whenever Russ is home and not working he wants to hold him, change his diapers, help with baths, etc… He even reads to him from his work manuals, haha. My favorite is seeing them nap on the couch together. Rowan looks so much like his daddy and he sure is one blessed little boy to have a great role model and example of Christ’s love.
Sunday, October 10, 2010
Since the moment I took a pregnancy test almost 9 months ago, I’ve been full of excitement, anticipation, questions and a little fear about the the whole labor process. Russ and I took a 6 week childbirth class which was a great way to learn the basics. i also talked with friends and read books, magazines, and internet articles. In my mind, I always figured I would try to go as long as possible without an epidural but that i would eventually get one since that seemed like the thing to do. Also, if you know me, you know I don’t do pain very well. When we took our birthing class, I really started to think about natural childbirth. I always thought that it was for hippies but after some time and thought, I decided that natural childbirth was really what I truly wanted. I believe that God designed our bodies to be able to do it. I didn’t so much go into it with the whole “ I am woman, hear me roar” mentality. It was much more for our precious little baby. I wanted him to be alert and awake when he was born and for me to really have the experience as odd as that might sound. I also wanted to avoid any interventions.I got a lot of different reactions whenever I told anyone that my intention was to try natural childbirth. Girlfriend’s who are already moms looked at me like “uh-huh…wait until you see what it’s like.” I definitely had a lot of doubts myself and decided that the ultimate desired outcome was healthy baby, healthy mom and if that meant that things didn’t go according to plan, then that was fine too. Russ and I decided to hire a doula (professional labor coach). I’m really glad we did! Jennifer was great- we met twice before the birth to discuss everything and then she was available by phone or email leading up to the big event for all of my questions (and believe me, I had a lot). Russ felt she would be a great support to him as well so he would “remember what to do!” ha! Okay…so now for the actual labor: The few weeks leading up to the big day were getting pretty uncomfortable. I was measuring about 4 weeks ahead and already dilated to 2 cm at about 36 weeks. On Monday, September 27th, I was at the gym on the elliptical and I barely thought I was going to make it home. I was super tired. By that evening I had some mild cramping. Russ was at his union hall for a class and I started to wonder if maybe our little guy would make an early appearance. The thought made me excited but I didn’t want to get my hopes up; especially since these symptoms can go on for days or weeks. at 4:15 AM on Tuesday morning Russ woke up and told me he couldn’t sleep. He said he was going to go sit in the baby room and read. Since I woke up I decided to make one of my many nightly trips to the bathroom. When I started to walk back to our room, I felt kind of funny, like I had to go again. All of a sudden there was a big gush..my water broke!! I wasn’t prepared for this because even though this is usually how it happens in the movies, only about 10% of women have their water break before they’re in active labor. It also went against my “plan” to stay home as long as possible in labor..go out to breakfast, on a walk, etc.. because as soon as your water breaks they want you in the hospital for risk of infection. I screamed out to Russ in surprise and excitement that my water just broke. We called the doctor, the doula, and my mom. The doctor wanted me at the hospital right away but I decided to at least take a little bit of time to take a shower, eat a little toast, and mentally prepare. Sometimes if your water breaks early on like that, contractions might not start for the next 24 hours or so. Mine came on right away…and strong. Two hours after my water broke, we were on our way to the hospital. I could still talk through my contractions but they were already coming anywhere from 1-5 minutes apart (this surprised me since I thought it took a long time to be in this active phase). We arrived at triage where they hooked me up to the monitor. I gave the nurse my birth plan. She took one look at the plan, then at me and gave me the first of many “yeah right” looks about my intent to go natural. She suggested that we go eat breakfast and walk around the hospital. I told her yeah right..that we needed a labor room. We got into the room and my contractions really started to pick up. I didn’t want to have an IV for fluids so I promised to drink as much as possible. My mom arrived shortly after we were in our room, and then Jennifer, our doula did too. At this point I decided to get into the jetted tub where I spent the next few hours. I was amazed at the intensity of the pain and the fact that I never got that so-called “rest” between contractions. I basically felt like I was having one big long contraction with peaks of sharp pain. I got a fever from the pain and was shaking. I kept my eyes closed for much of the time but had non-stop support. I always wondered if I would be annoyed with Russ but he was absolutely perfect. He seemed to know exactly what I needed without me saying so because at some point I couldn’t even answer a question. It was also great to have Jennifer there with her words of encouragement and ‘tricks’ to help me cope. My mom had a great calming presence and used her fingers to massage my scalp- the way only a mom knows how. A few hours in, they decided to check me to see how dilated I was. They hadn’t done so up until that point since my water had broken and they didn’t want to risk infection. I was only at a 4 and felt so discouraged. I tried to stand for awhile, sit on the yoga ball, and rock in the rocking chair. Everytime I changed positions the contractions would get a lot stronger. I felt scared and couldn’t imagine ever feeling okay again. The pain was unbearable and after a couple more hours they checked me again and I was at an 8. This gave me renewed energy because from everything i’ve read and learned, this stage called “transition” is supposed to be the most painful but should only last for about 20 minutes until you’re ready to push. I was at an 8 for TWO hours and then when I was at a 10, it took me a long time for him to move down enough for me to start pushing. I almost caved and asked for an epidural and probably would have if I would have known how much longer that stage would last. After two hours of pushing (and me feeling like I was going to die!) he was here! He came out screaming and they placed him on my stomach because his cord was a little short. After the cord stopped pulsing, Russ cut it, and they put him on my chest. I felt amazing. Such relief!! I was overjoyed and felt the natural rush from endorphins, rather than groggy from pain medication. I was also able to get up right away which was great. I”ll never forget seeing his little face for the first time and finally announcing his name. I was too overwhelmed to cry at first. Russ and I looked at each other and our new little family and felt so much love. Rowan is such a handsome little man with big blue eyes, blonde (not red! ha) hair, and the sweetest dimple in his chin. I think I had a really great birth experience and feel thankful to God and my amazing support system that I was able to bring him into the world without drugs or interventions. I have to say though…. thinking about doing it again makes me pretty nervous. Ask me in a few months! ;-)
Tuesday, October 5, 2010
Rowan Isaiah Dray is here! He decided to be a September baby, born on the 28th at 7:14 PM. He came out screaming at 7 lb 4 oz, 19 inches long. He is such a gift from God, more perfect than I thought possible. We all wondered if he might have Russ’ red hair but so far he looks like a little blondie. He has a little dimple in his chin and is such a good baby. Russ calls him his “Little Bubby”…don’t know where he got it from but it’s pretty cute. Here are some photos from the hospital photo shoot (amazing what they do nowadays huh?!).
Stay posted for my birth story. :)