Almost two months after he arrived, here it is! Things have been hectic lately, plus I’ve been limiting my internet usage, so I haven’t had time to post as often. But a friend encouraged me to get this done, and here it is, long and probably boring to anyone but me. Hopefully Markus (or his wife) will appreciate it someday. 🙂
Markus’ birth story actually starts a few weeks before he was born.
I woke the morning of January 1, and I couldn’t feel the baby moving. I drank juice, had Husband press on my belly, ate something sugary, danced around…nothing. I started to panic, and Husband suggested I call the midwife on call. I did just that, and it happened to be my midwife. My voice broke several times while I spoke with her. I could tell she was trying to keep her own voice in check as she said, “Why don’t you come in and we’ll monitor the baby for awhile?” We got Anja up, shoved some food and books in the diaper bag, and took off for the hospital.
When I got there (to the ER entrance, since it was New Year’s Day), they walked me up and got me settled in right away. Within minutes they found Baby’s heartbeat. I was so overjoyed, giggling even as tears of relief began streaming down my cheeks. Baby still wasn’t being very active, so they made me eat more food and drink some juice to get things going. After 90 minutes, they determined Baby was fine and we could go home.
The next morning, I went back for a scheduled ultrasound. Baby had been breech up to that point, though my midwife had said at my appointment on Wednesday that she thought he/she had turned. Sure enough, at 37 ½ weeks, Baby had turned! No version or other procedures needed. I was very pleased.
Strong Braxton Hicks continued all week. I had never had them with Anja, so I was hopeful that they might help me progress more quickly than I did with her.
Around 2 a.m. on Monday the 11th, I started having real contractions, ranging from 7 minutes apart to 5 minutes apart. This was about how my labor with Anja started, and hers lasted a long time, so I didn’t let myself get too excited. When, at 4:15 a.m., they were still limping along, I had Husband come in and rig up the laptop for me so I could time my contractions with minimal effort (he wrote me a spreadsheet for it last time around). As soon as he left the room, the contractions stopped. Bummed, I went to sleep.
I woke up four hours later and went to the bathroom. As I stood up from the toilet, a giant gush of water went all over the floor. Pretty sure that I hadn’t left that much pee in my bladder, I yelled, “Husband! Husband! My water just broke!” Fluid continued to trickle down onto the floor, so I sat back down and asked him to bring me the phone. The midwife on call asked if I was having contractions. Nope. She said my options were to come in and be induced or to wait until labor started in earnest. If I hadn’t started laboring by the next morning, they would probably induce me anyway. I’m a big fan of The Natural, so I told her I’d wait around for awhile.
Contractions started soonish, but they were mild and far apart. Around 11:00 a.m., they kicked it up a notch. Husband called his sister at the school where she teaches and told her we’d probably need her to come be with Anja. She arrived early afternoon as we were doing some last-minute packing, and we left for the hospital around 3:00.
Once we got all checked in, they monitored me for awhile. My contractions had been about every three minutes, but as I sat on the bed, they slowed considerably. Once they took the monitor off, Husband and I walked the halls, and my contractions sped up again. I paused every couple of minutes and worked through a contraction while holding onto the railings or the wall. Since I wasn’t having back labor this time, I found that deep breathing and a rocking motion were my best way to get through contractions. Husband was thankful, as last time he had to press on my back every couple minutes for hours and hours!
After what seemed like forever (8 p.m.), they finally checked my cervix, and I was only dilated to a 5. I felt like weeping at that point. They reminded me that it took the longest to get there, and it would go much faster from here. Not entirely encouraged, I decided to labor in the tub for awhile. My hospital has fabulously large tubs where even a pregnant woman can just float about.
I only lasted in the tub for 20 minutes or so; it got my contractions going even faster. I decided to go back to walking, as it helped keep my mind off the pain better.
Around 11:00 p.m., they checked my cervix again. I had told the midwife that I envisioned myself going at 1 cm per hour, and I had progressed to about an 8. Yay! I was feeling pretty fatigued, having only had about 4 hours of sleep the night before. I asked if there was anything they could give me that would allow me to rest but not affect the baby. They said the best thing they could give me was a tiny dose of fentanyl. Drugs and I don’t mix well, and that proved to be the case with fentanyl. Instead of feeling rested or having any pain relief, it made my whole body get the shakes, and my mind felt mushy like I didn’t have control. Thankfully, the dose they gave me wore off in 20 or 30 minutes, so I was able to get back to business.
The nurse and midwife helped me with counter-pressure on my hips for awhile to give Husband a break. I had the urge to push pretty much right away, so they let me do little grunts and kind of “pretend push.” I climbed back out of bed and continued to labor on my feet. Rocking and bouncing (by bending my knees) were the most comfortable way to labor.
I remember at one point leaning on the bed across from the midwife, looking her in the eye, and saying, “I don’t remember it being this hard!” She just gave me a small smile and nodded. How she could be so calm when I was clearly about to die was beyond me.
Soon it came time to push for real. Around 12:45 I longed to climb back into the bed, but every time I moved in the least it would produce a contraction. The midwife and I decided that I would try pushing while standing up, leaning on the bed. I asked for an oxygen mask, and I held it and breathed into it when I needed to. Husband continued to provide pressure on my back or hips as needed, and the midwife sat on the floor to keep track of the baby’s progress down the birth canal.
Anja had come out so quickly that I don’t remember the feeling of crowning. Wow, is it odd and painful! Having something so huge coming through between your legs is a very strange sensation. After about an hour of pretty progressive pushing, Markus Scott came squidging out and the midwife caught him. “It’s a boy!” she shouted, and handed him up to me between my legs. The tears of joy and relief came, and I rejoiced, in awe over this little man of mine. I’ll admit a bit of surprise over it being a boy. I thought the pregnancy was so similar to Anja’s that it must be a girl. Looking back, I definitely see some differences, but still don’t know that I would have been able to tell.
With some help I cut the cord myself (Husband did last time and didn’t really care to again) and climbed into bed to hold Markus while I delivered the placenta.
I tore again, though not as extensively as last time, so the midwife stitched me up herself. They weighed Markus and informed a surprised mama that her boy was 9 lbs 1 oz (!). Glad he decided to come a week early instead of a week late like his sister! Because he was so big but I hadn’t had any complications, they tested him for diabetes three times in the first day. He was perfectly normal. Just a big boy!
Markus was a champion nurser from the get-go, and within the first hour he had eaten on both sides.
We spent a couple of hours enjoying our sweet boy, then all tried to get some rest.