Our sweet little boy is here!
Cormac Thomas Schindler arrived at 2:08am this morning (8/25). He’s 7lbs 14oz and 21″ long and just beautiful.
I had been having prodromal labor for weeks and was unsure if I would know when to go into the birth center when the real deal hit. I was really hoping that my water would just break so that I would know for sure. To add to that, Tyson’s work schedule had me really anxious that he wouldn’t be here for the birth.
On Monday 8/22, I mentioned to my midwife that I hadn’t been feeling the baby move as much as normal. She opted to do a non-stress test to see how the baby was doing. The test was reactive, meaning that he passed, but his heart rate did dip into the 110s a few times. It bounced back quickly each time, but just to be on the safe side, she scheduled me for a BPP (biophysical profile – another test involving an ultrasound) on Wednesday 8/24. Tyson was scheduled to leave that morning to Chicago for four days for work. I was very nervous that the BPP wouldn’t turn out well and that I’d be forced into an induction or c-section.
I decided to do everything I could to get baby here before Wednesday so that the threat of induction wouldn’t be looming over me, and so that Tyson could be present for his son’s birth. My midwife prescribed cotton root bark, which is an herb used for natural induction. We also tried pretty much all of the old wives’ suggestions for naturally inducing labor. And while they brought on moderate and regular contractions, they always petered out. I also realized that the baby was in the posterior position, commonly referred to as “sunny side up”. Since this makes it more difficult for baby to enter the pelvis and for a more painful labor, I had really been focused on getting him to rotate. I had tried all the body positions that are recommended or this and had been swimming a lot, but he wouldn’t turn. On Tuesday morning I finally went to see a chiropractor that’s trained in the Webster technique (a method that involves adjusting the pelvis and applying pressure to ligaments, not adjusting the baby himself). During the adjustment I felt the baby rotate (ouch!) and he stayed in the proper position. Yay!
On Wednesday, Tyson left and we both felt fairly apprehensive about it. I went to my BPP appointment that afternoon. During the BPP I had to lay on my back and I started to have contractions. They were fairly mild, and since I’d been having them for weeks, I didn’t think much of it. The results of the BPP were good, and I was sent home. I continued to contract about every 10 minutes or so – still very mild. I called Tyson because I knew he would be leaving the airport to go back to his hotel at about 6:30 and the last flight of the night to Austin leaves at about 8:30. I let him know that I was contracting and that it was his call as to whether or not he wanted to come home. He opted to stay at the airport and we agreed to talk closer to the flight’s departure time.
Our friend Liam is staying with us for awhile while he writes his dissertation and he arrived back at our house Wednesday afternoon after traveling for a month. He cooked dinner for my friend Amanda, Daphne and I – he makes delicious crepes. During dinner, I felt and heard (!) a pop that was followed by a torrent of fluid. My water broke! I couldn’t believe it. I immediately called Tyson, it was about 8pm. He was so excited and made sure to get a seat on the flight home. Amanda brought me a towel and I proceeded to finish my crepes…priorities.
After I was done eating, I called my midwife and arranged to meet her at the birthing center at 9pm. I took a shower and my Amanda helped me pack up the car. I was able to put Daphne to bed and tell her that in the morning she’d have a new baby brother. She was VERY excited…might not have been the best thing to tell her when she needed to go to sleep. It was great that I was able to leave her at home with Liam. We had arrangements with our sweet neighbors across the street to take care of her if need be, but it was just so easy to have her sleep in her own bed.
On the way to the birthing center, I felt my first contraction since my water broke. It was moderate and I was easily able to breathe through it. When we got there, we were met by the midwife I’d seen on Monday. She wanted to test to make sure that my water had broken, but then decided it wasn’t necessary when she saw the sheer volume of fluid that I was still leaking…it was CRAZY how much fluid I was leaking. No wonder I had been so big! By the time I stopped leaking later that night, I looked 6 months pregnant instead of 11 months pregnant.
I was able to breathe through my contractions with the help of Amanda and the two midwives…the midwife on call, who happens to be my favorite one, had arrived by that time to take over. I moved from the chair to a birthing ball and was comfortable enough between contractions to laugh and joke. At this point, they were coming every 2-3 minutes and were moderate in intensity. At about 10:45, Tyson texted to say that his flight had gotten in early and he was heading straight to the center. I was so happy when he finally arrived.
Amanda left shortly after he arrived because she had her first clinical day of the semester starting at 6:45am the next morning. My body must have been holding out on heavy labor until Tyson got there because about ten minutes after he arrived, my first really hard contraction hit me. I wanted to get in the birthing tub, but I wanted to make sure I was far enough along that labor wouldn’t stall once I got into the water. I had been 2cm dilated on Monday. When the midwife checked me, I was a “stretchy 5cm”. I opted to get in the beautiful tub. The water felt great at first. I was able to get through the intense contractions pretty well, especially when Tyson applied pressure to my lower back.
I only labored in the tub for about 30 minutes because I got really, really hot. I was in the water from about 12:15-12:45. I got out and got back on the birth ball. With each contraction, Tyson would put really firm pressure on my lower back and it made a huge difference. I tried to listen to my Hypnobabies tracks, but the lady’s voice was really irritating to me and instead I listened to the Fleet Foxes and Iron and Wine – good birthing music.
Around 1am, things started to get very, very intense. I knew that I was in transition. I was making far more noise than I ever thought I would. Not screaming or yelling, but deep primal noises. I have to say that I’m relieved I delivered in the middle of the night so that no first time moms were waiting in the lobby for appointments…I would have terrified them. With every contraction I repeated a mantra to myself “This will only last a minute and then I can rest. I’m doing this, and I’m going to birth this baby soon. I’m doing this.” It helped to keep me calm, although with almost every break between contractions I asked the baby for a little longer break. At this point, the contractions were every 2 minutes, lasting for a full minute. There was not much time for rest.
I started feeling like I had to push, so my midwife checked me again. I was 9cm, really I had just a small lip of cervix left on one side. She told me that when I could no longer control the urge, to go ahead and push, because I would probably be complete then. She convinced me to move onto my side on the bed. I was very hesitant to move because throughout my labor every time I would change positions, the next contraction was unbearable. Being on my side wasn’t as bad as I thought. By this time, the midwife assistant and postpartum midwife had arrived to help. They helped hold my legs while Tyson pushed hard with his fists into my lower back. I held onto the bed frame so tightly and for so long that my wrists and hands are stills sore now. The midwife checked me again after a couple of contractions and I was complete. She encouraged me to push as hard as I could when I felt the urge. This was about 1:45am.
Pushing was very painful, but to me it was much more tolerable than transition because I could do something about it. Everyone was very calm and encouraging…nobody was asking me to push when I didn’t feel it and nobody was counting at me. They just kept telling me how good I was doing and how I was almost done. It was perfect. When he was low enough, I heard Tyson exclaim that he had tons of hair – this was surprising because Daphne was nearly bald until she was 18 months old. I realized then just how little work I had left to do before I could meet my son. It really motivated me and I pushed like crazy. A couple more pushes and he was out. I for sure felt the talked about “ring of fire” as his head was born…I’m pretty sure I commented that I was “@#%$!ing on fire”. Oops.
After his head came out, he slid right out and they placed him directly on my chest. He had a really long umbilical cord, but it wasn’t wrapped around him at all. I remember commenting “I did it! I’m awesome!” and then “I never have to do that again!” I was so, so happy to have delivered him without medication and in a peaceful, beautiful environment. He cried a little bit, but then looked at us for a minute and calmed right down. He pretty much immediately started rooting around trying to nurse. His Apgars were 8 and 9. Healthy and perfect.
Thanks to my fantastic midwife, I only needed one minor stitch, not a big deal. I’ve been on a fantastic endorphin high all day. Delivering in the birth center was amazing. I feel so much better and more energetic than I did after Daphne’s birth. Seriously, I remember thinking the day after Daphne’s birth that I never wanted to go through childbirth again. After this birth, I totally feel like I could do it again. Yes, it hurt and was super crazy intense. But, I finished feeling so strong and empowered and just awesome…and I have this beautiful little person. Childbirth is a strong drug.
We stayed at the center for about 6 hours after the birth so that they could monitor us. The home visit RN is coming to visit Saturday morning. We’re taking Mac to see the pediatrician tomorrow morning.
He’s nursing like a champ and so far is very sweet and calm. His big sister is totally in love with him. She showers him in kisses and wants to be right next to him all the time. She was disappointed that he couldn’t take a nap in her room with her because “she wanted to talk to him”. At one point she said “mama, I love my baby brother so much” and it just melted my heart. I’m really looking forward to watching them grow together.
Phew, that was long!