Today marks 3 weeks postpartum. It has been a crazy, exhausting, emotional 3 weeks. On one hand, it still doesn't feel real that I am a mom to a beautiful baby girl, but on the other hand, I can't imagine life without her.
I'll get more into life with an infant in future posts, but wanted to share a bit of my birth story with you. We hired a doula to help with the pregnancy and delivery pretty much as soon as I found out I was pregnant. She was wonderful! I could not say enough nice things about Dawn. If you are in the Denver area and are thinking about using a doula, use Dawn! Here's her website.
Dawn met with us a few times throughout my pregnancy - talking me off the ledge about actually delivering the baby (to say I was terrified is an understatement), discussing birth positions, my birth plan and infant care. I think I have a pretty high pain tolerance, so wanted to try child birth naturally, if I could, although I wasn't exactly opposed to having help from drugs if needed, especially if the labor was taking a long time. I had read some books and articles and watched some videos on breathing techniques, as well as positions to manage pain.
The day after my due date, I went to the dr to be checked. There was no change from the previous week (maybe 1 cm and 40% effaced). The dr scheduled me to be induced the following Monday. To say I was discouraged was an understatement. I scheduled a massage at a fancy spa to have them hit the spots on my body that are tied to my uterus to hopefully cause some kind of contraction (I hadn't been feeling anything prior). I don't know if it worked or some other things I tried, but that night, real contractions started and didn't really let up.
They told me not to call anyone until the contractions were consistently 5 minutes apart. They never were. Not even once we got to the hospital and things were progressing. Fast forward 15 hours of non-stop contractions with lots of back pain at home and I couldn't deal with the pain anymore, I went to the hospital and they told me I wasn't going anywhere. Thankfully the contractions let up a bit so I could catch my breath and start the real labor.
Dawn and Chris were wonderful. Since I wasn't hooked up to anything, I had the freedom to move around the room and labor in different positions, including a ball and the tub. You all know how much I love moving, so that really helped. There were most definitely movements where I didn't think I could take one more contraction, but Dawn and Chris helped with words of affirmation to get me through each contraction. And with the help from the good Lord, labor progressed pretty quickly. From the time I was emitted to the time we found out we had a girl, was only 6 hours. I did not use any drugs - other than oxygen since her heart rate kept dropping through the contractions.
The dr, nurses and Dawn all told me I was a rock star for delivering her naturally. I guess most people take the drugs. Sure, there were points where I wanted to, but the way I looked at it was what Dawn had told me to do at one of our previous sessions. She said to take each contraction as they come, breathe through it and let it go. Not to think back how painful it was and to think about the long road ahead or even the next contraction. Just take each one as it came. And that helped tremendously. I didn't think about pushing when I was laboring to be ready to push. I just tried to breathe through each one and let it go. Sure, I looked back and thought, well I made it through 20 hours of this, what's a few more. But that's what I do with regular activities. Like on a hike, instead of thinking oh I have X miles left to go if I am struggling, I turn around and look back to where I came from and physch myself up for already doing x miles.
I think that's a great way to look at life. We need to be in the present, not to dwell on the past or freak out over the future. Enjoy the moments we are given because we never know what the future will bring.
Because I was so exhausted from the previous 24 hours, it took until the next day for me to actually connect with my daughter and to have it really feel real. Aside from now having a beautiful little girl to look after, I have to tell you that I am so glad not to be pregnant anymore! I can't say I was a huge fan! It's nice to be able to see my feet again, to be able to bend over and put shoes on and to sit up in bed without having to roll over. And I get to look at this face most of the day (for the most part she isn't screaming either). :)