I am proud to say that we have now welcomed our new son into this world. Julian (Jude) Marshall James was born on Tuesday, March 1st, 2011 at 6:30 am. After what felt like a long day of indecisive labor, our new love blessed us with a peaceful entrance into this world. A whopping 9 lbs. 2 oz., little Jude is truly a blessing to everyone in his life. This is the story of how Jude made it to us...
On Monday morning, I awoke to some mild cramping and a concern of whether or not my water had broken slightly throughout the night. As everyone who has been pregnant knows, frequent trips to the bathroom throughout the night are a necessity...especially in late pregnancy. But even after my 3rd trip, I still awoke to wet pajama bottoms and thought maybe my labor was about to begin. I called my midwife and made an appointment to come go in to confirm.
I got in to see my midwife right away that morning only to be told that I tested negative for my water breaking. I was a little embarrassed because, well, let's face it. I must have leaked urine in my sleep. So I went back home and continued my day with the continuous thought that any day now, my son would be ready to come. I have been feeling my body prepare for weeks. And although I was still a week early, I knew that the time was drawing very near.
At 2 pm, just minutes after I fell asleep for our nap time, I was jolted by a strong contraction. Immediately following just this one contraction, I knew that labor was going to begin. This contraction was much different than the ones I'd been having for weeks and it followed with a lot of cramping. So I got up and began to prepare. I called my husband and told him to head home. I called my doula, Lena, and told her what was going on. And we called my mother in law to let her know Park would be needing her for the next day or so.
Everyone got to the house by 6 pm where my contractions had still been coming and coming on stronger but were extremely inconsistent. I was beginning to doubt whether labor would continue to progress or whether it was just a practice day. Everyone stuck around and we got prepared just in case. Marshall and our doula went through what to expect and how to handle scenarios...thank you so much Lena!!! And Grandma and Park played and did their own thing. I continued to go about my day, resting when I had the chance and trying to relax during the contractions.
By 10 or 11that night, I was exhausted from the day and with it being my normal bed time, I desperately wanted to lie down and get some rest. At the same time, I was worried that if I did rest...my contractions would subside and I really wanted to continue with my labor. So Marshall and I went for a walk outside. Then we came back and decided to get some rest. For the next few hours, we lay in bed. We slept in between my contractions then breathed through each one...only to quickly fall back asleep when it was over. I quit keeping track of how far apart my contractions were and how long they were lasting. I was just so exhausted and really wanted to be relaxed enough in my mind and body to tolerate the pain from the contractions. Finally, around 1:30 am, I realized my contractions were coming every 6-7 minutes consistently so I woke everyone up and decided I wanted to head up to the hospital in Park City. I let my midwife know I was headed up and we left shortly thereafter.
By the time we were checked in to the hospital, I was dilated to a 3/4. I continued to labor for another 4 hours...finding any way to ease the discomfort by utilizing what the hospital had on hand for laboring mothers. I tried the bath, the toilet, the bed, and the birthing ball. But mostly, I relied on my body to tell me what was comfortable and productive and the I tried to remain focused. My husband was a wonderful support along with my doula Lena, our midwife Danielle (of course!) and the rest of the hospital staff. We had the greatest staff a girl could ever ask for!
By around 6:15 a.m., I was quite miserable, my contractions were so painful I can't even describe them and they were very close together. My midwife checked me and told me I was dilated to a 9. Yippee!!! I was so ecstatic about making it that far. She decided to break my water since that was pretty much the only thing keeping my baby from descending faster. The minute, no second, she did so...my baby was there and ready to begin his final descent. My midwife told me to sit on the toilet for a few more contractions then we would try the birthing stool. If you've ever sat on a toilet during contractions, you would know how productive it works. It opens you up and relaxes you just enough to get the process on the right track and get you on your way. As painful as it was, I tried to relax my pelvic area more than I've ever done so in the past just to make the contractions their full worth.
As soon as I did so, my contractions were insane! I felt my son move RIGHT where he needed to be and felt this overwhelming urge to push. When I say overwhelming, I mean the only pain at that point was that urge. Holding back from it was so painful, I let out quite the animalistic screams and moans. I couldn't even stop it if I tried...but you would never want to. I told them I wanted to push and made my way to the birthing stool.
So I made it to the birthing stool where my midwife sat in front of it and my husband behind. I leaned my body back and rested my arms on my husbands thighs. Apparently, the stool opens your pelvic area up perfectly...and it did. I let out a few more screams of urgency that I had no control over. My body was in effect pushing my son out during those screams. And trying to hold back from it in anyway was 100 times more painful than any contractions.
You always hear about the "ring of fire" or how the most pain felt during pushing is when the head of the baby begins to emerge. For me, I didn't feel any of that. In fact, I could have cared less about the pain caused from my baby coming out of me. The pain TRULY was for me NOT being able to let him come out quickly enough. My midwife explained to me to let my body take over, to listen to what it was telling me and just let it do what was necessary. In my case, my body was telling me to push and scream and don't stop. My midwife told me to slow down because she didn't want me to tear...but I felt like I couldn't. My doula got in my ear and told me to listen to her carefully and do as she said. She told me to breath fast while my midwife got my perineum pushed back just enough so not to tear. I did that...I don't know how I was able to resist the urge to push, but I did. And as soon as she was finished getting my body ready for the baby to emerge, my midwife told me to "gently" nudge him out. I did that and as fast as we had begun the final endeavor, my son was there. It was so crazy, I didn't even realize that that was it! Marshall and I reached down and grabbed out baby Jude. It was so surreal, so amazing, so much that I cannot even explain. And the minute he was born, any ounce of pain/discomfort I had felt before had suddenly disappeared. It really felt like nothing had ever happened.
I've always been supportive of woman's choices in their birthing, even if I disagree with all the unnecessary interventions and inductions. Because we are all entitled to the same respect and honor as any mother who endures pregnancy and childbirth. But I MUST say, because I wouldn't be true to myself if I didn't and because I've experienced both, that natural childbirth is far more productive and much much healthier and safer for the mother and the baby, the experience more real, and the outcome its full potential. I will forever be a natural childbirth advocate. I know that some births must take different turns, such as mine did with my son Park. And often times those changes to birth plans are done with the best of intentions and for the safety of everyone involved. But all too often natural childbirth is ignored in this country. It's the norm to do so. It's common to have an episiotomy, to have drugs to induce a very abnormal labor and to schedule unnecessary c-sections. To deny yourself and your child the chance at what nature truly only intended is completely devastating in all aspects..
Although a little on the tired side, I physically feel amazing. I never tore, despite the size of my baby (9 pounds!) I never received an epidural or pitocin, which I know the effects from since I had an epidural with Park and pitocin following to help shrink my uterus back. I feel like I could go outside in this beautiful day and exercise, although I know I must refrain from until my body is healed. My spirit has been rejuvenated. My son is a very peaceful little boy, sleeping well and relaxing easily. And as my midwife commented, why shouldn't he be? He was brought into this world in a very calming way and into a very calming environment.
I feel so blessed for this experience, for my beautiful family and for the wonderful support system I was given during pregnancy, labor and deliver and after. Thank you to all for your kind words and unending support.