Tuesday, February 3, 2015

Luke Anthony's Birth Story

Luke Anthony Horton
Born March 24th, 2014 at 9:13 PM
9lbs 8oz, 21 1/2" long

Finding out that I was again pregnant, not three months after going through the worst pain of my life, to say I wanted to be in denial and was depressed is an understatement. I was a mess. Crying every day, feeling like a failure, and dealing with my husband having to travel for his new job and me home in a dark city apartment trapped with nothing other than a fussy baby and my thoughts.

I wanted to be mad at the baby. I wanted to forget he or she existed. That I would just bond after the birth.

God had other plans.

I couldn't help myself. I fell in love with the little being in my womb. His kicks and how he reacted to his older brother's voice and kisses on my belly. Excitement to meet him and longing to see what he looked like, whether or not he would have dark hair.

I was also deathly afraid of him having birth defects, or having other issues because of me having two babies so close together. There are a lot of opinions about women who do not space their babies the 'appropriate' two or three years apart. I felt looked down on and scared that they would be right. I also feared going through the pain of labor. Amnesia - what a joke. I had no idea what other moms were talking about, labor was seared into my memory like a hot brand. It wasn't until recently that the memory has started to fade and I can imagine going through it all again. What conflicting emotions in my soul, but God brought me through.

Since his older brother was almost 2 weeks overdue, I prepared to go late.

The night of my due date, the 21st, my water broke up high, so I woke up to occasional trickles of liquid. My last labor it didn't break until baby exited my body, so I anticipated a quick labor!

It was not to be.

After reflection, I realize that since baby was transverse (exactly same position as Jed, apparently I have an ideal spot in my uterus lol ;)) and I did not work very hard to move him into a better position, the labor process dragged on longer than it needed to. Next time I will keep this in mind.

Contractions came every 10-15 minutes until morning, then slowed down. The next two nights were the same, and these contractions HURT!

Three days later, on the morning of the 24th, the contractions were 6-7 minutes apart, but slowed down whenever I lay down. I took a nap, frustrated. Worried, because I knew that after water breaks the clock starts ticking before the possibility of infection and other issues becomes enough of a reason to go to the hospital. Also frustrating not to be able to see if I was dilating, since we decided to forgo regular checks in order to keep risk of infection as low as possible.

Finally, we checked and my progress was maybe 4-5 cm. I begged my midwife Desiree to tell me some things I could do to try and get labor going, and immediately after starting homeopathics and directed breast pump stimulation, contractions came 4-5 minutes apart and stayed that way even when I stopped using the breast pump.

These contractions also felt more 'real' and LESS painful - which is ironic!

Within a few hours, at 5 PM I was dilated to 7.5 and I labored for a few hours in the tub. These contractions did not hurt very bad. I still had to breath through them, but I wasn't feeling any panic like last time. Isaac was my rock through the whole process, we talked and he made me laugh at his jokes between contractions. He held my hands every time I needed him.

Man, I love that guy <3

I began to feel a faint urge to push, but they were completely ineffective. When Desiree checked me again, no progress had been made and she noticed a bulge of the water sac protruding between my cervix and baby's head, keeping it from dilating.

While she was checking, I had a huge contraction and at that moment she made the executive decison to break my water. YIKES! That was the strongest feeling, a huge dull hurting POP and huge gush of warm water.

It's hard to remember too clearly, but everything went very quickly after that.

I got back on my hands and knees, hung onto Isaac's arms for dear life on the edge of the tub as I could feel my body gearing itself up for some major contractions. Contraction one started and then I was pushing. Isaac recalls the midwife telling me

"don't push yet, Emily, you aren't ready. Just relax!"

and me yelling back

"I have to get him OOUUUUTTTT!!!"

Needless to say, my body won out on that argument.

One push so intense it wracked my whole body and lifted me out of the water, and I felt baby's head slide into the birth canal, and the next two he crowned and was out. Seriously the most powerful urge in the world, and so much faster than the first time. Mere minutes between water breaking and baby out.

Holding my precious baby Luke felt SO much more natural this time! Like I knew what I was doing. I kept crying "thank you, God!" "hello little Luke, I love you!" over and over. I was thrilled beyond words to see the fruit of my months depression, anxiety and aches. He was worth every. single. bit.

I didn't tear at all this time. Again, my placenta came out with much effort and what seemed to be more bleeding. Herbs helped. My midwife mentioned I may have a cervix that closes extra quickly and therefore we may need to plan to get the placenta out earlier next time.

Healing-wise, I felt better almost immediately. Cramps were much less than my first birth (unlike what I have been told is the norm), and my only issue was having to carry my one year old and go up and down the stairs due to not having much help with my two babies. That was difficult. Isaac had some time off, but worked at the shop most days and needed his sleep at night (did I mention he is a very sound sleeper?). So I ended up on the downstairs couch with a crying infant some nights. Oh well, I hardly even remember that time, so soon does that season pass.

Jeddie was so curious about his little brother. Patted him on the head and called him "kitty-kitty" - his first and only word at the time ;) Watched me change Luke's diaper and acted concerned when he cried. I didn't notice much jealousy, but he would start whacking him every time I turned my back, not realizing he was a fragile little baby who couldn't play rough yet.

I remember when Desiree (who had listened to my fears of not being able to have a successfully nursing baby) helped me get Luke to latch on within an hour of birth and he just instinctively started to suck. I sobbed, I was so thankful and relieved. That was probably the single biggest worry of my entire pregnancy, not sure if it would be a nightmarish ordeal like last time. I was also able to pump an extra 10-20 ounces a day for Jed's bottles - sweet sense of vindication to be able to do that for him!

All in all, I love being a second time mom. Luke has been pretty easy going and I get so much less frustrated when he cries because I can nurse him happy. I just feel so bad that Jeddie had to play a lot by himself and many of his 'firsts' were dwarfed by my preoccupation with a newborn.

God knows. He wanted this little one even more than we did. Which is saying a lot, Luke is the light of our lives. His smile brings sunshine wherever he goes!

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