karmik: (baby → cutest)
[personal profile] karmik
I just realized I never wrote my birthing story here on LJ, so I'm going to do it now! :) It's been almost 4 months, but I wrote this somewhere else in Finnish when Leo was just a few days old, so I can use that as a reference. Otherwise I probably wouldn't remember half of it, lol. Haha I ended up not looking at it even once! And I wrote even more than on the Finnish version!

Warning: While my labor was short (3h 53min), it was very very painful. I had hoped for a natural hospital birth, but I was in so much pain it was impossible for me. I will talk about the pain in this; however, otherwise it was all normal and nothing traumatizing happened aside from the pain.

Obviously there's also talk of the regular TMI stuff that happens before, during and after labor, so consider yourself warned. Nothing gruesome though and only SFW pictures :)


My due date was Thursday, July 19. I started having contractions after an hour's walk on Tuesday night, July 17. The contractions were regular and painful, but I had decided to stay home as long as I could, so I didn't even call the hospital yet. I remember being highly annoyed by the contractions on Tuesday and Wednesday nights; I was hoping things would start to pick up soon because it was really getting on my nerves that I was hurting so much every 10 to 15 minutes. On Tuesday night I also started losing the mucous plug.


I had a prenatal appointment scheduled on Thursday, my due date, and I told the nurse about the contractions and the mucous plug and such. She scheduled a new appointment for me for Monday, but she told me she found it highly unlikely that I would be pregnant after the weekend. :) That made me really excited and slightly scared too! I couldn't believe I'd have my little son with me in a few days!

I also packed my hospital bag on Thursday, but I still didn't call the hospital (my prenatal appointments were at a local health center, not the place where I'd eventually give birth). The contractions were there all the time, and sometimes they were as close as 3 to 5 minutes apart, but they were bearable and always slowed down after some time, so I didn't worry. I live about a 10-minute drive away from the hospital anyway, so I knew I could get there very quickly if need be.


On Friday, the contractions became quite painful and I was having a hard time talking or moving during them. I knew I was getting closer, but wasn't quite there yet. I phoned the hospital at about 4pm, and they told me I'm absolutely welcome to go there and they would take me in, but that I might end up being bored there because they wouldn't do anything to hurry things up and I was a first-timer. I debated going in for some time but decided against it. My older brother's family was visiting, so I spent the evening with them, which worked well as distraction.

I went to bed at around 11-12pm, and while the contractions were painful, I managed to fall asleep pretty quickly.


I slept until about 3:15am, when I woke up to a pop inside my belly--the sound made by my waters breaking--immediately followed by an excruciatingly painful contraction. The contractions had been painful so far, but now they hurt so much I couldn't even think straight during them. I was so out of it that for a while I just sat there on the bed and didn't know what to do! After some time I managed to go downstairs to the toilet, and then I woke my little brother up since I had told him I might need a ride during the night. My little brother's reaction was something along the lines of "oh shit!", hahah.

We left for the hospital immediately, I couldn't even call them because I was so completely out of it and couldn't do almost anything. I have no idea how far apart the contractions were but my guess is around 1-3 minutes. The car ride was absolutely agonizing because even the tiniest little bumps in the road made the contractions so much worse! I was still joking around with my brother between the contractions though, and I remember feeling really surreal when I saw a drunken young man puttering around at the side of the road. The sun was getting up (it was July in Finland, so yes, the sun indeed was getting up so early) and drunken people were heading home after spending the night at bars, while I was on my way to the hospital to give birth!

We were at the hospital at 3:45am, and I rang the bell so the night shift midwife let us in. I told her my waters had just broken and stuff like that, and told my brother that he can go back home. "Oh, right!"

(In case anyone is wondering at this point, yes, I intended to give birth alone. Plenty of people offered to come with me and I could have gotten a doula for 30e, but I wanted to do it on my own. I never once regretted that decision; it was the right thing for me!)


Anyway, the night shift midwife took me to another room and hooked me up on the machine that follows the baby's heartbeat (some kind of an EKG machine? sorry, I don't know these terms in English!). It was awful because the contractions made me hurt so bad. My entire belly went stiff and felt like it's on fire and ugh. I couldn't even think straight, honestly. D: The midwife was following the baby's heartbeat in the next room, her office, while she wrote down my information on the computer and on a piece of paper I would get when I'm discharged.

After about 10 to 15 minutes, the midwife took me to an examination room and checked me, and I was 3-4cm dilated at that point. I asked about pain medicine, because the pain was unbearable. I had read so much about natural birth in beforehand and I was really confident in my own body and my ability to give birth, and I really had hoped I would get a natural birth, but the pain was making it an extremely agonizing experience. NOTHING helped, no amount of visualizing and relaxing techniques made it better, and during the contractions I was completely out of it and between them I was just shaking and confused and scared.


I couldn't get anything right then and there of course, but the midwife went to prepare the delivery room while I changed my clothes to the hospital gown. Then she came to get me, took me to the delivery room, and gave me a shot of oxanest. She warned me that I might become nauseous and told me to go to the toilet now because I would most likely be dizzy too, haha. It was 4:50am at this point. (I'm reading the paper they gave me, I would have no idea of the exact times otherwise!)

I asked her if I'm allowed to eat (don't laugh, I had no idea!) and she said sure, and she also gave me some juice to drink. There was a wide bed in a corner of the delivery room (in addition to the normal hospital bed in the middle), and some chairs and a rocking chair, and a radio too. The midwife then turned off most of the lights and left me alone. The oxanest kicked in pretty soon and I started feeling SO much better. I got more relaxed and while the contractions were still awfully painful, the sharpest edge was dulled a little. I also felt a little high, which wasn't a bad thing because it made me much more excited and confident about the whole ordeal, haha.


I turned on the radio and ate some energy bars and drank juice, and soon started dozing off between the contractions! I think they were a little more spaced out at this point, and I spent about an hour in a haze, waking up to each contraction but managing to doze off immediately afterwards. I'm honestly really happy that I took the medicine because it made it so much more bearable. I think women who give birth without medication are amazing, but I know for a fact that I would have been severely traumatized by the pain if I hadn't gotten any medication. So I don't regret at all. :)

At 6:40 the contractions started getting worse again, so I rung the bell to get the midwife and asked her if I could get something else to relieve the pain. She asked me to move over to the delivery table and hooked me up on the EKG machine again, then left the room to get a doctor. I got a feeling she didn't take me too seriously when I told her I was in loads of pain--she probably thought I'm overreacting because I was a first-timer and "couldn't" be in that much pain so early. (I didn't like that midwife too much... She had a slight condescending air about her.)


While I was waiting for her to come back, the contractions got so bad I was almost delirious from the pain. I don't have much recollection of this part, I was so out of it. The midwife and doctor came to the delivery room and at 7:00, the doctor checked me to find out I was already fully dilated. I don't think they had realized at all how fast my labor was progressing! The doctor quickly gave me a pudendal nerve block and I remember her saying it would have been too late to do it just a few minutes later.

They also gave me gas at this point, and they didn't realize the machine wasn't working at first... I only vaguely remember it, but they had a very hard time talking to me because I couldn't concentrate on anything, and they had to raise their voices to get through to me (totally don't blame them for that!). They soon noticed that I wasn't getting any gas from the mask and fixed it, and then I got the gas and then I passed out. Literally. I only remember someone said "Tell me when you--" but got cut off because that's the exact moment when I passed out! They probably told me to tell them if I feel a need to push, but I don't know for sure.

After some time I woke up and the delivery room was EMPTY. I was confused and thirsty and had a strong urge to push. I croaked "is there anyone here?" but got no answer. I went through a few contractions with some half-assed pushing, still disoriented from the gas, thinking "oh well, I guess I can do this alone too." LOL. Thankfully I then realized I have a button right next to me so I could ring the bell. :P


At 7:18, another midwife came in, telling me they had had a shift change at 7:15! So that's why I was alone.

I started pushing at 7:20 (the midwife told me afterwards that it's a good thing I rang the bell to get her there, haha). I HATED IT. So much!!!!! I can't believe people say that pushing is when it gets easier! The contractions didn't hurt so much but oh my goodness the overwhelming urge to push was the most uncomfortable thing I have EVER felt! The midwife was absolutely lovely and supported me through the contractions REALLY well, even when I started losing faith because I couldn't feel the baby moving lower at all; I didn't get (or even want) an epidural but I think the nerve block and my delirious state were the main reasons why I didn't know how things progressed if they progressed at all. :p

And.. After no more than 9 minutes of pushing, at 7:29am on July 21st, Leo was born. I couldn't believe it had only been 9 minutes, haha.

My first emotions after Leo was born weren't overwhelming joy and love... but more like, "OMG I CAN'T BELIEVE IT'S OVER, I'M SO HAPPY, I'M NOT PREGNANT AND THE DELIVERY IS OVER, OHH MY BELLY FEELS SO EMPTY", hahah. My first words were something like "is that it, is it over?" to the midwife. XD Don't get me wrong--I love Leo and I was incredibly happy to have him, but I'm one of those moms who never bonded with the baby during pregnancy and so the baby felt like a stranger at first. But I was very protective of him from the get-go so the mommy hormones were definitely working their magic on me too!


I vaguely remember the midwife putting an injection of something on Leo's thigh and I asked her what it is, and she told me it was vitamin K. Then she cut the cord, put a cute little cap on Leo, lifted him on my breast and wrapped us up in a blanket. I delivered the placenta at 7:38 and then the midwife started stitching me up (I had two 2nd degree tears). She told me she hates to see moms hurting after going through labor so she used local anaesthesia and told me to use as much gas as I want to, LOL. Believe me, I used it a lot :P But I was a little more careful with it this time because I obviously didn't want to pass out again, so I took it only when I needed it.

At 8:30 she was finished and it was time to breastfeed the baby for the first time :) He latched on like a champ but I can't remember much anything else about it, haha! I was just lying exhausted on the delivery table while the baby did most of the work. I remember thinking that the baby is sticky, LOL. He was this warm tiny little STICKY thing on my chest, haha :)


At 9:00 it was time to wash the sticky little thing and measure him up! Another midwife came in to bring me some breakfast, so I sat up the best I could and ate a wonderfully tasty sandwich and drank a cup of coffee while the midwife was measuring Leo.

He weighed in at 3810 grams (8lbs 6oz) and was 52cm (20.5 inches) long. Not exactly tiny but smaller than I or my siblings have been when we were born!


Everything was fine with the baby and at 9:45, the midwife had swaddled him warmly and he was in a tiny baby bed next to me. The midwife asked me if I want to take a shower. Hell yes, I wanted... but I couldn't. It still remains a mystery as to why, but I was extremely weak and dizzy for the first day. The midwife helped clean me up and then she brought in another bed and helped me get on it. Even the ~1,5 metres from the delivery table to the bed was a challenge. I didn't lose that much blood or anything, but whenever I tried to stand up I got dizzy and my ears started ringing and my knees gave way. :x

So, the midwife helped me on the bed and put Leo next to me, and wheeled us to another part of the hospital to a room :) I shared the room with another mom but I didn't mind.

I was told I'm not allowed to even go to the toilet alone; the midwives were pretty worried about me. They also told me that if I can't go to the toilet, I need to have a catheter D: That didn't happen though, thankfully!

Despite being so exhausted, I couldn't sleep at all! Leo was mostly sleeping but I spent the time taking pictures of him on my Samsung Galaxy Tablet and uploading them on Facebook and all that, lol. I also sent a text message to family members, and the text message said something like "Healthy baby boy was born at 7:29! Now we're both going to rest so calls can wait until the evening", haha. I really didn't feel up to talking on the phone! Everyone got it and just sent me congratulatory text messages. :)


We spent 3 days at the hospital, which is common for first timers around here. I had been hoping I could get away sooner, but in the end I was glad to be able to stay for the 3 days. I was so weak the first day that I couldn't walk further than the toilet until after 9pm, when I hobbled out of the room to ask for some pain medicine for the night. The next day I was feeling a little better, but still very weak. I know giving birth is a very exhausting experience for everyone, but the midwives couldn't even show me around the hospital wing on the first day D: Even though they normally do it a few hours after mom has given birth! So I don't know why it drained me so badly despite my labor having been so short, but oh well. Such happens!

Another reason why we ended up staying 3 days in the hospital was that they were slightly concerned about my milk not coming in properly, but they didn't try to pressure me into giving him formula or anything like that, so that's great. (As my LJ friends and some other people know, my milk actually ended up never coming in properly and at 2 weeks baby was still losing weight daily and I had to start supplementing, but that's an entirely different story.)


Life with the baby hasn't been easy all the time, of course, but Leo is a wonderfully content little thing even now. We've had some reflux issues and supply issues and such, but in the end he's a pretty easy baby overall, so these 4 months haven't been nearly as exhausting as I would have expected. Giving birth to Leo was not much fun but it was definitely worth it. :)


Here's a bunch of early pictures of Leo!



Tiny little thing! ♥ Just 3 hours and 18 minutes old :)



5 hours and 7 minutes old



About 8 hours old, this is the picture I sent to my husband/his father, hahah!



Some 10 hours old



First night! ♥



A day old and sleepy!



First picture I got of him with even one eye slightly open :D



He looked so grumpy most of the time, hahah!



Okay, this one's not so grumpy :)





We had our first guests on the 22nd, when he was a day old :) I changed to my own clothes and put on some make-up, which made me feel so much more myself!



First picture where both his eyes were open! He didn't keep them open much at all during the first few days!







Grumpy little thing!



Angry caterpillar :D



After getting home, with a dog plushie from his dad (who is abroad, but found a webpage through which he could get flowers and a plushie delivered to us!)



8 days old. He was such a tiny little thing!




And here's how he is now, almost 4 months later :)


That got long! I'm leaving this public in case I want to link to it somewhere or if someone wanders over from one of the parenting communities I'm in.

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karmik

November 2012

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