As C's birthday is coming up tomorrow on January 1st, I thought I'd take a moment to share his birth story finally. I can't believe that a year ago today we were just chilling out in the hospital room. :)
December 31st, 2012 is when it all began. I woke up that morning and was looking forward to a busy and full day, a great ending to a fantastic year. I went about my morning routine and in the process, thought that my water might have broken. I wasn't totally sure, but Matt and I headed to the hospital just to be safe. The nurses checked me out and told me that it was a false alarm (thankfully) and to go on with our day, so we did just that. We went to lunch with family visiting from out of town, came home for an afternoon rest, and then headed out to pick up Matt's dad for dinner. With my small bladder (thanks C!), I headed to the toilet one last time before leaving the hotel and that's when my water broke....or at least I thought so. I wasn't sure anymore as the first time had already been a false alarm. I really didn't want to go back to the hospital a second time in one day only to be told that it was all in my head, but Matt said we should go as it is better to be safe than sorry. He must have been super concerned as he even drove us to the hospital (and this was only his 3rd or 4th time driving in Chiang Mai)! The nurses checked me out for the second time and lo and behold, my water had partially broken and I was 1cm dilated! They then admitted me to the hospital even though I had yet to feel a single contraction.
Admitted to the hospital at 6:30pm and just waiting around for the contractions to start.
Once I was admitted, we had to figure out our plan as we were not really ready since C's anticipated delivery date was actually on Jan 12th. The nurses started by having me change into hospital clothes, wash off my toe nail polish (sad), and sent me to the delivery room. However, we didn't have our hospital bag with us and most importantly, our doctor wasn't even in town! This was a bit nerve wracking as we had some decisions to make about how to proceed as I wasn't having any contractions yet. Thankfully the nurses at the hospital tracked down our doctor and she eased our minds about her back up doctor and what our options were. Then when my mom came to the hospital, she and Matt left for a short time to get all of our stuff from home and brought it all back to the hospital. We were ready!
We rang in the New Year in the labor room with relatives
We decided to let nature take its course and hoped that the contractions would start at any moment. The doctor said she would give us till midnight before putting me on pitocin which would induce labor. So we (my husband, mother, and other Chinese relatives) hung out in the birthing room and welcomed in 2013 without a single contraction. Midnight came and the nurses put me on an IV and started me on pitocin. Not half an hour later, I felt my first contraction and our labor had finally begun. At 1:30 am, the doctor came in to check on us and to make sure things were happening, which thankfully they were as I was now 3 cm dilated! She broke the rest of my water and told us to just keep on going. We felt great and were excited by the progress. Then Matt and I were left to our own devices except for the brief visits from the nurses every half hour to check on my blood pressure, the baby's heartbeat, and to adjust the pitocin levels.
So then Matt and I labored together until 8am. During this whole time, Matt was awesome. He was such an amazing coach. He helped give me liquids to drink in order to stay hydrated, he had me try different poses to help with the contractions and the pain, he walked me to and from the bathroom, he rubbed my back and applied pressure to my lower back where I was experiencing really terrible back labor, he turned on the playlist he had created for us and sang to me, he talked to me, he listened to me, he reminded me to get some rest, he encouraged me to keep on going, he reminded me of my strength and the fact that my body was created to do this, he held my hand, and he told me he loved me repeatedly. I could not have done it without him.
Since we were doing this naturally, I worked really hard on relaxing through the contractions. The first little while was relatively easy as the contractions only lasted for a short amount of time and they weren't quite so painful. As time progressed though, the laboring became real work. I had to concentrate and worked on breathing through the pain. In order to keep my face relaxed, I would breathe in through my nose and breathe out through my mouth. I didn't just breathe out normally though. Instead, I blew the air out in a manner that made me sound like a horse as my lips would vibrate against one another. As we worked through the contractions, we also moved about quite a bit as I had a hard time getting comfortable due to my back labor which was really painful. So whatever position we were in had to be one where Matt had access to my back as I needed him to apply a ton of pressure on my lower back to help ease some of the pain.
When the doctor came to check on us at 8am, we were feeling tired, but positive. We were sure things were moving along as the contractions were getting closer together and lasting longer. However, the doctor informed us that nothing had changed and that I was still only 3cm dilated. That was when I broke down in tears. I felt so helpless and incapable and so very, very disappointed in myself. I told Matt that I needed drugs and that I couldn't do it any more. I just wanted the baby out of me. Instead, he called a labor coach (Lori - who we took our birthing class with) and she offered to come in to help us. Half an hour later, Lori came and got us back on track.
This was the position that worked best for me during the last few hours.
When Lori came, she redirected me and we continued to labor on without any drugs. She gave Matt a short break and helped me to work on relaxing even more. During this time, we tried a couple more positions until we came to one that worked the best for me. I sat on a yoga ball with Matt in front of me with pillows in his lap and Lori behind me with a heating pad. Between contractions, I would rest on the pillows. When I felt a contraction coming on, I would get up and tell them that a contraction was coming and then fall backwards onto Lori with my arms splayed out beside me and my legs pushed out under Matt's chair in front of me. Matt would hold onto me so I wouldn't fall and Lori would apply the heating pad and pressure to my lower back for the duration of the contractions which lasted anywhere between 60 to 90 seconds. Then when it was over, I would go back and rest on the pillows during my 30 second breaks.
At noon, the doctor came back to check on my progress and I finally made some progress from 3cm to 6cm dilated. I have to be honest though...at this point, things were pretty much a blur for me as I was EXHAUSTED. I seriously had been falling asleep during those 30 seconds between contractions and couldn't think beyond the moment I was in. I didn't beat myself up too much about how little we progressed, but rather just tried to power through. I continued to work on my breathing and started to become more vocal (groaning loudly) in order to get through the contractions. It was also at this point when I started telling myself out loud to "relax Melody" as the contractions were coming in order to get myself to relax from head to toe. I think this is what finally did it because about 20 minutes after being checked by the doctor, I had a desire to PUSH, which is basically the sign that the baby was going to be coming soon.
When I screamed out that I needed to push, everyone was confused and didn't really get things moving as the timing just didn't make sense. I was told to ignore it and not push as it wasn't time and pushing could end up hurting me and baby. However, my desire to push was so strong that Lori and Matt got me back on the bed to get me checked out just to be safe. The nurses were milling about and slowly getting things ready and not too concerned until Lori shouted at them that she could see the baby's head! That's right! I went from being 6 cm to being fully dilated and ready to push in about 20 minutes! What a rush.
From that point, the nurses rushed into position and the doctor came running into the room. I was finally allowed to push and it was such a relief! I pushed once. Then I pushed a second time and out popped his head! I remember asking "aren't I supposed to wait to push so that the baby can be checked out" at this point due to the information from the classes I had taken before hand. I was told to start panting and to not push again until the doctor could make sure that the baby was okay. Finally, after what felt like a life time, I was told to push again as hard as I could. So I pushed the third time and out he came! The relief was immediate.
As soon as he came out, the doctor caught him, wrapped a towel around him, and put him directly into my arms. He made it! He was beautiful and ours and was finally here! Matt and I were so relieved and happy and couldn't stop crying. I was absolutely exhausted, but so very thrilled to have my son in my arms. After giving us a long time to bond, it was time to get our baby all checked out to make sure everything was alright. Matt stayed with him the whole time and never left his side.
Our first moments with C, before the cutting of the umbilical cord.
We are officially a family of three!
Getting cleaned up and checked out.
Oh the initial tears....
Pampered from the beginning!
He didn't so much enjoy his first bath.
Holding onto daddy, who never left his side.
Getting warmed up as his body temperature was a bit low in the beginning.
It all finally sunk in. We have a son...I am a mommy...I am in love....
The first job of carrying him is over and the second job of caring for him is now here.
Daddy got emotional too...
Family of three!
Our little boy...