Wednesday, December 31, 2008

The birth story.

Here are all the knitty-gritty details of Aliah's birth...

How it all started: Early on Sunday morning I woke up at 3am, went to the bathroom, and realized that I was having mild contractions. They were coming about every five minutes. My first thought was “YES! Let’s get this over with!” I was so excited to finally end this pregnancy and have a baby in my arms.
Too excited to go back to sleep, I got up and made sure my hospital bag was ready, packed up the camera bag, and wrote out directions for my mother to get to the hospital. Took care of some bills and things on the computer, then at 4:30 am I woke up Mike. I shook his arm: “Honey, wake up”, but he didn’t move. Louder, I said “Wake up, we need to go the hospital soon, I’m having contractions!” He didn’t believe me; he mumbled something like “No you’re not. You’re kidding, you’re lying to me. Go back to sleep.” Finally he got up and stumbled to the kitchen, made some coffee.
I called the midwife to let her know that we’d be coming soon. She said “You sound too cheerful and friendly on the phone”, and didn’t believe that I was in real labor! She told me to take a walk for 20 or 30 minutes and call me back. So, at 5 am, there I was, walking around our neighborhood in the dark, by myself, completely alone (I did take my cell phone, just in case). The only other living thing I saw out there was a deer. I just enjoyed the early morning quiet. I spent some time praying. I walked about two miles.
When I got back to the house, I called back to confirm that I was indeed having contraction, coming ever 3 or 4 minutes now, and she agreed to meet me at the hospital. We got there around 6am, parked, and found our way to L&D. The sun was still down. Everything was very quiet and surreal.
By the time I finished signing consent forms and got into triage, it was 6:30. The midwife examined me at 7am and I was 6cm dilated. Nice! I was excited! They admitted me to a room, we got settled in, and took some more laps around the hospital.
Nothing much happened for the next 4 or 5 hours. I was still having contractions every 3 minutes, but they weren’t really getting stronger. We made jokes about how boring it was to wait around the hospital for the baby to come. The nurse and midwife kept saying “I can’t believe you’re in labor, you’re so calm and happy!” Mike watched a marathon of “HOUSE” on tv. I remember hearing another woman laboring in the next room, and shortly after, the cries of a newborn baby.
When we checked at 12:30pm I was still only 7 cm dilated. I was anxious to get things going, and at that point I was getting tired of just sitting and waiting for things to get moving, so we decided to break my water around 1pm. And from then on, it got very intense.
Contractions got much longer and harder and faster. Everything went really quickly. Tried a birthing ball but it didn’t feel right. For a little while I was walking around the room, leaning onto things for support, rocking my hips back and forth and panting through the pressure. But after maybe 20 minutes of that, my legs and feet were getting really tired, walking around so much, and it just wasn’t comfortable. After that, I mostly labored sitting up in bed. I sat up, with my back straight up, cross-legged on the bed, and each time a contraction would hit, I would push up on my hands, rock back and forth with my hips, and let gravity take over.
It took a very short time to go from 8cm to fully dilated. Soon I started moaning and groaning and growling, and I knew that it was time to start pushing. I had a VERY STRONG urge to push, but they made me wait through a few more contractions. The midwife helped push back a small bit of my cervix, and immediately, I was determined to get that baby out.
It was very empowering, to labor with no medical interventions, no pain meds, nothing hindering me. The only people in the room besides Mike and I were the midwife and a nurse. The atmosphere was very calm and serene. I couldn’t have been more pleased about this birth experience. I started pushing a little after 2:30pm, and our baby was born at 2:57 pm. And it was a girl! Mike couldn’t have been more surprised! He had us all convinced that we were having a boy, and when the baby came out and Meg held it up, he said “It’s a girl? We have a girl?” We weren't disappointed though!
ALIAH GRACE HUMMEL entered the world!
Mike cut the umbilical cord. There was a true knot in the cord. Another anomaly was that she came out sideways. She has a small bump on her head from trying to come out sideways. She was head-up, facing her daddy.
Four minutes after she was born, out came the placenta. I had a second-degree tear somewhere internally, so they spent a little while stitching me up.
She is such a miracle baby. We are just so thankful that she is healthy and well! She weighed 8lbs, 10.9 oz and was 21 ¼ inches long. (And with a 14 inch head, no wonder I’m so sore!) This was no small baby!
Hannah got the news right away, and was absolutely ecstatic that she now has a baby sister. She jumped up and down and said “IT’S A GIRL! I WAS RIGHT!” Must have been so cute, I’m sorry that I missed it!
Hannah and my mother were our first visitors. They arrived at the hospital about half an hour after the baby was born, and big sister Hannah got to help push the new baby in the bassinette, into the new hospital room. They weighed her again when we were moved into a recovery room, and she had somehow gained an ounce!
Mom and Baby had to stay in the hospital for 24 hours because there was some meconium, and they just wanted to make sure that everything was fine. At 3pm the next day, they did a hearing test and a newborn screening test with all kinds of blood draws, and finally let us go home.
It is very nice to be home, and we are all adjustong pretty well to being a family of four. Aliah is a good little eater, sleeps all the time, and seems to be a very content baby. My mom is here with us this week, and she has been a tremendous help.

I will post more pictures in a few days.

Have a very happy New Year!


Kimberly said...

Congrats, momma! Beautiful story.

HeatherV said...

What a great story. I think natural birth is just so empowering and wonderful. Congrats on making and bigger congrats and praise on the miracle of your little girl

Kendra said...

Thats so great Nicole! I am so proud of you for doing it naturally. I really don't know if I could but I guess we will see in about 5 months time. She is beautiful! I can't wait to see more pictures!

Sara Grieser said...

Beautiful! Congratulations Sweetie! I am so proud of you, natural birth and all that walking, my goodness! I don't even think I could walk that much now!! :)

I am so excited for you and your beautiful family of 4, with Heaven smiling.