Thursday, April 11, 2013

David Elliot's Birth Story

I can’t believe it’s been almost 5 months since that happy morning. My heart still tingles with warm feelings at the thought of holding baby David Elliot for first time.  However the little details of the experience have started to slip from my memory. So, to honor my son and to crystallize the beauty of his birth in our family memory book, I have decided to put the whole experience in writing. It will be awesome to come back to this account some years from now and know that even though time has galloped in front of our eyes, the imprint of the beginning remains here and we can still enjoy it and celebrate it. I hope this is also a blessing for other pregnant women. I know it sounds like a cliche,  but giving birth truly is an empowering and life-changing experience!

The face of happiness at 5 months..

So, without any further ado, here it is how it all happened:
David Elliot was born a Thursday morning in the Cape Canaveral Hospital in Cocoa Beach, Florida. The same place our first son was born 2 years ago. We loved this hospital. I think it’s probably its smallness which gives it a familiar feeling as opposed to the “sterile” feeling of other medical facilities. Plus we love their “baby friendly” policies, where rooming-in with your baby is encouraged and they give you all the support you need to have a natural birth, and to get a head start on your breastfeeding journey. All the staff that helped us this time around was very helpful and professional, so much that I really felt like being pampered during my short stay. It was so nice to have so many people tending to us so that we could just freely focus on giving our baby the best start possible with nursing! We had considered having a home birth but our insurance made it almost impossible! But now that I think back, not having to deal with cleaning, laundry and cooking for a few days is a big deal with a new born! I have to say that there a couple of cons, like they don't have a NICU, but since we didn't have a "high risk" pregnancy, that wasn't a factor for us. Also, they are yet to get more comfortable beds for the Hubs who has to work hand on hand through the night with you. But we were able to get away with bringing our inflatable mattress. So we made it work! ;)

See what I'm talking about..
Ok, but as good as the hospital stay was, we knew better this second time around to labor for as long as we could at home! What a wise decision! My labor started 2 weeks prior to estimated due date. I still chuckle at the thought of my husband, as techie and nerdy as he is; excitingly jumping to get the contraction-tracker app he had exclusively gotten to fulfill his job duty. He went and got it out at the first and very doubtful mention of an almost imperceptible change of my contractions. Honestly I just thought it was another of my Braxton Hicks which usually tend to happen more often toward the end of the third trimester. I don’t know if in fact your second birth, as most mothers say, is easier, but if it weren’t for that tracker app and my husband insisting on a recurrent pattern, I wouldn’t had realized I was in labor! Or maybe I was hypnotized by my husband to give birth early? Ha!

"See, I told you!"..=)

I’m so grateful for my husband's wisdom that earlier on that day, had encouraged me to get a cleaning lady to complete all the nesting for baby that I hadn't been able to get to. Up to that point I was still in denial, thinking that I still had weeks to prepare. I remember the cleaning lady agreeing with hubby saying that the baby would be born the next morning. I don’t remember exactly how far apart my contractions were at the moment he started timing them, but I do remember that night we met our doula for last time to review our birth plan. We were planning to have 2 more weeks to plan everything. So little did we know that we would be calling her a few hours later to announce that our labor had in effect started!

The Bush team!

So even as the contractions had a sort of pattern at the beginning, they were not painful at all, so we were able to go to sleep as our doula had recommended. Rest as your body prepares for your birthing marathon is gold! I need to highlight hubby’s diligence and love to not only leave everything ready in the car in case of a sudden emergency, but also to take the time to decorate our room and bathroom with candles to create a calming environment for a laboring mommy. He also gets a lot of credit for coping with my “anal” tendencies when it comes to readiness, I think entering labor a bit earlier than expected set off a never ending stream of last minute tasks that I asked him to get ready before leaving. To which he lovingly responded: “it’s been taking care of honey”. Awesome.

Wait a minute..THIS is the complete team! =)

Anyway, getting back to the story, I woke up around 3a with a little more discomfort. It wasn't really pain, but the contractions were growing closer together, so I decided to wake hubby up and ask him to prepare the bath tub to help relax the muscles and my back. As he speedily prepared the tub, my contractions got more intense, I would say the pain level jumped from 3 to 5, we both decided that it was time to call Staci, our doula. She arrived timely about an hour later, and found me soaking in the tub, praying and praising God through every contraction. I know it sounds unusual, but that is exactly what I was doing, and it was working to keep me calmed! I am so grateful for the role that God gave her during David Elliot’s birth. You see, labor and delivery is an experience where emotions are very tender, the true colors of your personality and vulnerabilities come to the surface and I just felt that she had the ability to click with me and adjust perfectly to the idiosyncrasies of our family while guiding us and helping us walk through our birthing journey with a perfect combination of professionalism and compassion. I will never forget how she gently guided hubby on some great ways to effectively provide support and be an active participant of the whole process. I’m glad that we decided to have Staci with us, I think the whole labor and delivery run much more smoother not only by the fact of having another woman that could relate with me at a “female” level, but also by all the support she provided in taking turns with hubby when it came to holding me up while finding positions to relieve discomfort thru contractions, massaging, etc, Most importantly, she found her way to become an active part of praying our baby into this world. I think this last thing was completely instrumental in making our experience as peaceful, pain and stress-free and memorable as it was.

And even if it would've hurt more..this little one was so worthy!

I need to share that as I was preparing myself emotionally and mentally for delivery, I felt the need to ask a few close friends to join me in prayer during delivery. I am so grateful to those that decided to lift us up. The Lord listened and responded so faithfully! I also found some resources online that helped me focus on God’s promises of strength and the beauty of giving birth instead of focusing on fears and negativity. I found a lot of encouragement and information from this lady regarding how to invite God’s presence into our childbirth experience. What a difference did that make! After all He is the designer of life, pregnancy, delivery and the author of our very stories. I can testify that listening, meditating on scripture, praying and calling out to the name of the Lord as I walked thru the stages of my childbirth was completely awesome and empowering! If you are pregnant and are reading this, I encourage you to select some passages from the scripture that you think may inspire you and give you strength during the process. Lindsay from Passionate Homemaking has very good selections here if you can’t think of specific ones. I really enjoyed reading her articles. She also recommends reading the book “Redeeming Childbirth”, which I didn't get to because baby’s early arrival! =) I personally used a list of verses I was given on a retreat that meant a lot to me. I had both Hubby and Staci read them to me both during contractions and while I waited, and let me tell you, personally there wasn't any other more powerful pain-medication that I could have used! Really.

I actually remained on level 5 pain for a while. However as we continue timing the contractions they were getting closer and closer together, which was a sign of entering active labor. So we decided to start getting ready to go take off to the hospital. We got out of the tub and use the birthing ball for more relaxation. At that point my contractions were getting more intense, longer and within a range of 3 to 6 minutes apart. The pain labor had probably jumped up by a point, so It was nice to be able to move freely and found the most comfortable position to handle the discomfort. In my case, I found that seating on a reclining-forward position on the ball, while both Staci and Dave held me up strongly by my hands while praying and rubbing my back was best. That’s when we decided it was time to go to the hospital.

We arrived at the hospital around 8:30a. When they checked me out, I was 6cm dilated and completely effaced. We reviewed my birth plan with the nurse on duty, and they were very respectful of my choices. I guess they saw I was calmed and working through the contractions with so much confidence that they didn't bother to offer any medication nor saw the need to alter my experience. So they pretty much stay out of the room until I requested them. I was just letting my body guide me through the journey. Whether standing, kneeling or seating on the ball, I moved with the rhythm my body and baby were singing.

Yes Mommy, what a wonderful "Duet" we made! =)

My doctor arrived shortly after to confirm that the bun was about to get out of the oven! We were really in the very last stretch of the road. I remember that I got to the point were the most comfortable position was to lay on my side while hubby held my hand as that allowed me to rest my back and legs. And as I laid in that position, I remember starting to feel the urge to push. I called for the doctor and apparently they were all standing by the door, because in less than minute the medical staff got in, and I was given complete green light to push. I remember pushing two times and feeling a significant increase of pain, however, it wasn't until the third contraction that I really felt pain. I was probably half of a second into feeling this surreal pain, and I thought for myself. Well, "I think this is the stage of the process where I had to completely depend on God"..and I was getting ready to experience a lot more pain. But before the same second was over, baby David Elliot was born. My fears and resolve to keep on going where quieted by his beautiful face, and skin, and smell. 

Praise God for His workmanship! 

He was born at 11:30 that morning.  He was completely adorable, healthy and wanted to nurse immediately!  What a joy it was to hold him on my chest at that moment. I remember that I was so lost into enjoying him, that I was completely oblivious to delivering the placenta and a few stitches from a very minor tear. And whatever else it may have transpired around me. But it was ok, It was over and it was time to start all over again. I was holding my new beginning close to my heart, and that was all it mattered at that moment!

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