22 July 2009

The anticipation is over! Tiny little Miss Long-Awaited is here at last.

The quickie details first: Olivia Margaret arrived at 2:50 am on July 21, weighing in at 8 lbs 6 oz. She was born into her Daddy's hands, bum first and ready to make her opinions known!

The more interesting, detailed version:

After weeks of random daily contractions, things started to get underway on Sunday the 19th. During the day, I had more contractions than were usual for me and when we went out for supper that night with Meghan and Preston the contractions became more frequent and consistent. Since I was convinced that things would go quickly with this birth I assumed that I'd have a baby that nigh. Things petered outaround midnight, though, and I went to bed frustrated and disappointed yet again.

I had some contractions during the night that were painful enough to wake me up and when I got up on Monday morning I was tired and annoyed. Still no baby, still no real labour going on. I told Liam that I needed him to stay home that day because if things picked up again I didn't know that him being a 30 minute bike commute away would be close enough.

As the morning went on, the contractions started up again but they were all over the place in their frequency. Sometimes they were 15 minutes apart, sometimes 45. I didn't know if I was really in labour or if I was just in another state of pre-labour limbo. I used some black and blue cohosh tincture to see if they'd help things to get settled and underway, but I didn't really notice any changes as a result. Liam and the kids and I went for a walk around the block at one point and although I had a few decent contractions while we walked, I didn't really feel like I was making any progress.

Around lunch, I called my friend Arie for some advice on getting things to pick up. She gave me some pointers on things to try, but the biggest thing I got from the phone call was an emotional pick-me-up. I laughed for the first time that day and felt much better after having a chance to vent my fears and frustrations.

When I got off the phone I got Liam to give me a neck massage with some peppermint massage oil (thanks Lee-Ann!) and then I put on some more upbeat music. I also did the stairway lunges that Nancy had suggested and I laughed at how dumb I felt trying to hard to pull myself up the stairs two steps at a time. I felt my energy level pick up as my mood shifted. I also did a few doses of the cohoshes again and things seemed to start moving forward.

By suppertime, I was hungry enough to eat some of my food but couldn't deal with eating an entire meal. I spent my time between contractions walking around the house or sitting, and eventually they became strong enough that I would stand up and sway whenever one came on.

Liam alternated between hanging out with the kids and supporting me. He and Lily did a bunch of puzzles in the kithchen and Nick mostly sat around reading until it was time for bed. I'd given Lily lots of warning that I wasn't going to be able to snuggle with her at bedtime since things were getting too intense for me, but when the time came for the lights to go out she was really upset and sobbed instead of going to sleep. Liam ended up setting her up with a movie upstairs so that I could get some peace and focus on myself.

I was getting really uncomfortable around 10:30 and decided to get into the birthing pool. I'd been putting it off for a while because I was worried about getting in too early and causing labour to stall out yet again, but I figured I could get in to relax a bit and then get out if things stopped progressing. It turned out that my contractions chugged along at a good rate and I was really enjoying being in the water as it was so much more confortable. Around 11:30, Lily's movie ended and she was still wide awake so I got out of the water and went to bed with her. She fell asleep quickly and I ended up dozing off for a few minutes with her which made for a really nice break.

After midnight things continued to get more intense. I started hanging off of Liam during my contractions, which made them much easier to work through. My lower back was getting really achy, so I would sit between contractions and then stand up when I felt them coming on. At one point I went outside for a bit and stared up at the night sky which made for a nice break from pacing around the house. I got to the point where I couldn't get comfortable whether I was walking, sitting, standing or swaying and I decided to get back into the water around 1:30.

The next hour was filled with increasingly strong contractions and my lovely Liam doing the never-ending job of keeping the water warm for me. The pool was filled right up to the fill line, so every time I started to get chilled he had to empty some of the cool water and then add some hot water, all of which he did with many trips to and from the sink with pots! When he wasn't busy with that he held by hands or rubbed my head while encouraging me by telling me what a fantastic job I was doing. This really helped me when I was feeling discouraged or overwhelmed.

I'd been switching back and forth between sitting in the pool and kneeling while draping my upper body over the edge of the pool. Eventually I started dozing off between the contractions which really helped in being able to cope with them. Vocalizing was a huge relief, just as it had been during Lily's birth, and Liam kept encouraging me to let everything out. Near the end, "letting it out" also included some crying and outright yelling!

During one contraction when I was up on my knees, I suddenly found myself pushing. I hadn't thought that I was that close yet but all of a sudden there I was pushing and feeling my baby shooting straight down. I pushed a few times during that contraction and felt the baby beginning to come out. After the contraction ended, Liam asked if I'd been pushing and I confirmed that I had indeed so he got ready to catch our little baby.

On the next contraction I pushed like crazy trying to get the baby's head to come out and eventually I felt her emerge. I heard Liam say "The baby's head is out!" and then a few moments later "That's not a head!". I continued to push and the rest of our little breech baby slid out into Liam's hands.

I got myself sitting down while Liam held our baby and confirmed that we'd given birth to a little girl. He handed her to me and I held her, staring at her in total amazement. I must have said to her "I didn't think you were ever going to come out!" about a dozen times before I fully came to the realization that she was born and labour was over. It was truly amazing!

We hung out in the pool for a while waiting for the placenta to come out and Liam took some pictures as I held her and nursed her. I started getting impatient because the water was getting cold, but about 15 minutes after baby's arrival I delivered the placenta and we tied and cut the cord.

Liam wrapped the baby in some blankets and snuggled with her while I took a quick shower to warm up since I was pretty chilled at that point. I got dressed in some nice cozy pj's and the three of us sat on the couch to stare at each other.

Not too long after, Nick came stumbling up the stairs, upset almost to the point of tears because the baby's crying had woken him up. He knew that he wasn't supposed to be up at 3:30 in the morning but he couldn't get back to sleep. Liam and I assured him that it really was ok since it was a special day and that we'd make sure that he got the chance to rest later on in the day.

Nick cheered up and woke up the rest of the way and met his little sister. He laughed at all the noises she was making and he helped Liam and I to confirm that this little baby did indeed look like an Olivia Margaret. He also helped us to weigh her and I was shocked to see that she was 8 lbs 6 oz, much bigger than my other babies who came in just on either side of 7 lbs!

Once things settled down a bit around 5:30, Liam went downstiars to get some sleep and I went upstairs with Olivia to see if we could get some sleep too. Nick watched some TV while waiting for the rest of us lazy bums to wake up.

An hour or so later, I woke up and needed food and water more than I needed more sleep. Olivia and I came back downstairs and I ate and drank then sat on the couch with Nick. Not too long after, Lily woke up and met her little sister. She was so excited to finally meet the baby and insisted on holding her and snuggling her a whole bunch.

And so...that's that. This is how our lovely and dear Olivia made her entrance into the world! She's fantasticly squishy and fuzzy with blonde shoulder hair and a full head of dark brown hair. She's a very enthusiastic nursling, and not even 36 hours after her birth my milk has come in. We're all really enjoying getting to know her and I'm greatly looking forward to the weeks and months ahead.


El Cliff said...

Awesome! Congratulations to all of you.

Jessica said...

wow, congrats!!

Nora said...

What a great birth story!!! Congrats! -Nora

Kelly said...

Grats on the little lady guys. She looks perfect.

Arie said...

Such an awesome birth story :) You & Liam worked beautifully together. I love that you went outside- that sounds magical.

Lee-Ann said...

Kim, I'm so happy for you guys. I knew the massage oil would come in handy. I hope the birth bath is healing and relaxing you too!

Amber Morrisey said...

Thank you so much for sharing this story with me!

Congratulations, she is beautiful.

Nev said...

What a birth! I am in awe of you doing this on your own especially since she was breech. At the same time it fills me with pain because I wasn't able to deliver my breech baby the natural way. :( But well done, Mama. :D

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