Four days late and after an unexpected induction, Alexander Justus was born at 8 pounds, 11 ounces on August 8th. He was 21 inches long. They say making a birth plan is a great idea—and it is, in the sense that it gets you to think about everything you may encounter and how you want to direct your birth—but at the same time, the only thing anyone can guarantee about your plan is that something will happen that you didn’t expect!
Take my experience. I had a basic plan, I hired a doula. I wanted to attempt a natural labor and birth without pain medication. Four days after I was due, however, I could no longer feel the baby move. Knowing that stillbirth has happened several times to my female relatives, I didn’t delay. I called my doctor and was told to head to the hospital.
Thankfully, the monitors showed a healthy heartbeat, but since I had been scheduled to have the membranes stripped the next day anyway, my OB said she would prefer to just do it then and admit me. Several hours later, they started me on Pitocin since I wasn’t dilating. A few hours after that, they broke my water.
Labor’s a You-Know-What
Up until they broke my water, I was rolling with the punches. I was making progress and riding the contractions with patience. Within twenty minutes of the water breaking, the contractions were through the roof—it was basically 0 to 60 in no time flat. The doula was away at the time, and it was already after midnight. I had a very hard time managing the new level of pain and requested an epidural.
Thankfully, the epidural took care of the back pain but still left me with the ability to move my legs. By about 5am, they told me I was ready to push (even though I didn’t feel the urge yet). I could feel pain and pressure in my bottom but not the back or abdomen. After three hours of pushing, AJ arrived.
I won’t get into all the gory details of pushing, but there was some considerable unpleasantness (um, no one tells you beforehand that vomiting is common…we’ll just leave it at that). Despite the pain and the lack of sleep and the messy wreck of a person I was by the end, when they put my son on my tummy, I felt only joy and relief (OK, and a few stitches, too).
I never realized I was capable of such immense love and happiness. In the blink of an eye, your heart grows to the point of bursting and you instantly realize how precious life is. Then came the exhaustion and anxiety.
The Hospital Stay and the First Five Weeks
Awake for about 36 hours before I was able to get some rest, the days in the hospital were tough. They come in every hour or two to check vitals—even if you’re doing fine and just trying to sleep. I had difficulty breastfeeding and was unable to latch even with the help of lactation consultants. Pumping was difficult and I was hardly able to collect any colostrum while in the hospital. To say I was stressed would have been an understatement.
After two nights, we got the go-ahead to go home. AJ had received his newborn screening tests, his circumcision, and a clean bill of health (as had I).
The first week or two, we kept AJ in the room with us, sleeping in a pack-and-play. I’m a very sensitive sleeper, though, and woke up with every little whimper or squirm. Plus I woke up even when he was quiet because I was afraid he had stopped breathing (I chalked it up to new parent anxiety). After becoming increasingly stressed due to lack of sleep, I decided to move him to his crib in the nursery across the hall. I couldn’t hear every little squeak, but I could definitely hear him cry when he was hungry or upset. It was a smart move.
Five weeks in, I’m back to work (at home for a bit) and we’re adjusting well. We’ve had tons of company around helping with the cooking, cleaning, and diaper changes. It’s amazing how time flies. He’s up to 11 pounds already, and occasionally sleeping for more than three hours at a time—what a blessing!
Anyway, it’s been a great experience sharing my life as the Preggers Geek. I count my blessings every day that I had a healthy pregnancy and delivery and a healthy baby, and I love being a Mom. Now that I’m the Parenting Geek, I wish you all the best. Enjoy your own adventures in pregnancy and parenting!
The (Previously) Preggers Geek