the natural labour express

I have been wanting to post the email I sent out after E's birth for awhile and just have not done it. It is the story of how he was born. I never posted it as a blog post because I was in a different place back then, more focused on keeping personal parts about our life as private as possible. We had also just moved to Denmark a couple months earlier so we had a lot more people we were only communicating with through email.
But it is a good snapshot of where we were at right after the biggest change of our lives, right before we knew how big a change it was going to be. I am posting it because I am sure at least one post of compare and contrast is on the way. Also, I am having some struggles with writing while pregnant (another future topic), so this is an easy post to make as I am too pregnant to do any of the things that are really left on my to-do list.
We are ready for our second baby to join us and just waiting until it is ready as well. The feeling is like when you are in the front car of a roller coaster and it is climbing and climbing to the top of the first hill. At the top you hang over the drop a little bit just waiting for the rest of the train to finish the climb... that moment of anticipation and deep breathing before the ride really begins. You know whats coming but it still feels overwhelming and really exciting. All you can do is just wait for it though.
When E was born it was more like being at the back of the roller coaster train- wait, wait, wait and then suddenly get pulled into things with very little warning. This time around we have been hanging over this edge for almost a month. As in, I have frequently had days where the only thing telling me I am not in active labour is my brain. Even my brain was on board once this past week, but the ride didn't start. So this pregnancy feels prolonged and a lot more annoying right now than the one with E- a general theme these past 40 weeks that I still have not accepted! In reality, I have four more days before I am more over due with this baby than I was with E.

But this is what I wrote to all our friends and family two days after we rode in a back car of the Natural Labour Express and welcomed E into our world.

For context, what preceded this email was:
1. An email I had sent a few days before saying we were sent home from the hospital and we would let everyone know when we were headed back.
2. A facebook status update by my sister that she posted after we left a message on her phone telling her we had the baby. The message was broken up and she didn't hear the name correctly but she posted her incorrect guess anyway. This was how most of our close friends and family found out we were officially new parents.
3. A quick email sent by Marc from the hospital the morning after the birth (because we learned the news was out via facebook). While Marc and I had named E, we had not ever written out the name or discussed the spelling before he wrote the email...

Hello Everyone! 
-insert big sigh-
I just want to thank everyone for their support and love for us, we feel so blessed right now. Nothing like an inbox full of love to give a boost of energy; you guys are all so awesome. 
First, let me say that we're sorry we didn't have chance to let everyone know we were going back to the hospital- things happened very quickly and I will give a (much) more detailed account shortly.  Second, we also want to apologize for the brevity of the email we sent out saying that we had the baby- we know it was lacking details and it wasn't how we wanted to inform you all. It was more of a "damage control" email.  And on that note, we also want to apologize to those of you who had to find out through my little sister's facebook status instead of from us. We're really disappointed we didn't get a chance to let everyone know in our own way, but we know it was just an expression of extreme love and excitement on her part- We love you Alison, please don't feel bad. 
In the same vein, I've attached a few pictures that I hope aren't too big for the email. Please don't post them on facebook! or any other social networking sites.  We're really not keen to have pics of our baby up online right now; when we're ready, we'll post them. Feel free to share them with people in more "old fashioned" ways though, and if you do send electronic copies via email please make sure the people who get them know not to put them up online. 
Ok one other thing before I get all "narrator" on you guys.  We've decided to change the spelling of E's name- see it's different now :-D.  Actually, we realized that if we spell it "[original announcement way]" he will be called "[a different name]" in Danish and we wanted to limit the inevitable confusion, as "[the different name]" is an entirely different name.  As it is, the pronunciation is a little different between the two languages, but spelling it E makes his name much clearer to the Danes and (hopefully) limits some inevitable confusion between the phonetics of the two alphabets. So, his name is E.  He gets both last names because mine is that way and the system here doesn't give any choice: the mothers last name is the baby's last name- we're happy with that though.  We haven't submitted E's paperwork to the state church yet so we can do whatever we want to his name... we actually debated changing it entirely for a few minutes today, but decided we're just happy with changing the spelling. 
Ok so let me just start from the beginning... 
I started getting regular contractions on Sunday morning about 1am our time.  At 8am the contractions were long enough and close enough together that we called the labour ward at the hospital and they told me to come in and get checked. We took our time getting to the hospital, we arrived about 10am. They monitored the baby and I for a half hour.  Everything looked good and I was only dilated 1 centimeter.  I was told I could stay if I wanted, but they thought I should go home and rest.  The midwife that checked me told us to come back when my contractions were 2-3 minutes apart, so we went home (We kept you guys updated for that part :-)  Sunday night I kicked butt at Spades against Marc and my mom while having pretty irregular contractions. Monday morning Marc got up and went to work because my contractions we're still very irregular and didn't seem to be getting anywhere close to a 2-3 minute frequency. Marc came home for lunch, we went for a walk, he returned to work about 1:30pm and at around 2pm everything changed for me. Suddenly, I couldn't tell when the contractions were starting or stopping; things were still varied intensity-wise but everything felt really different. I didn't want to be sent home from the hospital again (and I needed to verify with myself that I wasn't just being a drama queen) so I just kind of paced the apartment, had a snack, let my mom braid my hair and tried to wait until Marc came home from work for the day. But after an hour of that I changed my mind, called Marc to come home and we all headed to the hospital- we were checked in by 4pm and they assured me I wasn't going to be sent home again. I was at 2cm when they checked me in and reached 3cm within a half hour of being at the hospital. 
The first four hours of labour at the hospital I had to stay connected to a monitor and that was hard. E's heartbeat was way too high for about 2.5 of those hours; that's why I needed to be monitored. I was having a lot of pain in my back and my hips initially. The back pain was solved by our amazing midwife, Lise Lotte (sounds like Lisa-lotta), with a few injections of sterile water. She gave me heat packs, but really the only way I could control the hip pain was by swaying back and forth or sitting in "butterfly" position. We tried monitoring in both positions, standing up gave E more room and he didn't move around as much which eventually got his heart rate back into a normal range. Once the heartbeat did drop to normal, the midwife put in an internal monitor, but she wanted to make sure the heartbeat stayed low so I was still attached to the machine for awhile. Through the monitoring I did a straight hour and a half vertical, swaying back and forth and breathing through the contractions. Marc swayed with me the entire time and he was about to lay the smack down like a good labour coach and help me find a new way to solve my hip problems (because what I was doing was totally not sustainable) when the midwife said that I didn't have to be monitored continuously anymore and could get into the big bath basin if I wanted. We had been waiting to get permission to go in the basin because at home being in the bath had also relieved my hip pain. Before I got into the bath (this was just after 8pm), the midwife checked me- I was 4cm and I can honestly say I felt totally demoralized. The first four hours had been so intense, and really I hadn't progressed very much. Our midwife said that if I wasn't more dilated after being in the bath for a half hour she would want to give me oxytocin (which is what they call pitocin here) to help my contractions become more effective- that was hard for Marc and I to hear. 
So the first ten minutes in the basin were the worst part of labour for me. I really didn't think I was going to be able to get through the labour without having pain medication and I felt devastated. I truly didn't even want to try anymore because I didn't think I was going to be able to succeed. I remember thinking "this is why people just sign up for c-sections!" Marc gave me an amazing pep-talk, reminding me that everyone reaches the point where they think they can't do it and this was the hardest part to get through; he said a whole bunch of other wonderfully supportive things as well about how he knew I could get through it. The midwife told me that if I spent a half hour in the bath and still was not more dilated we could talk about pain relief options then. I can honestly say I didn't think Marc was right. I assumed I would end up having to get oxytocin and then need an epidural. But I resolved to suck it up for the rest of the time in the basin, and I changed the prayer in my head from "God please get this over with quickly" to "God please give me the strength to do this." Within minutes my contractions got so intense, I couldn't help but bear down. I didn't think I was supposed to let that happen, but the midwife said it was a good thing so I stopped trying to fight the contractions and let them do their (totally brutal) work. By the time my half and hour in the basin was up I was 7cm. After, I think, ten minutes more in the water, and then a double check from another midwife to confirm that the baby's head was on it's way out first and not the butt, I was 9cm. I moved from the bath to the bed. The midwife asked to give me an injection of something to help with my elasticity. I don't know what it was, but she said it wasn't a pain killer and it wouldn't affect the baby so we said ok. 
I don't really know how long I laboured on the delivery bed for. but it wasn't long. I was on my side the whole time. Marc held my leg up forever and every time he would switch with my mom or our midwife to get a break, I begged for him back because he did it right. It felt like forever, but I finally was allowed to push. It took me a bit and I can say that pushing out a baby is seriously the WEIRDEST experience I have ever had. In my head it was a "thing" and every time someone would say anything to me about it being a little human I needed them to stop talking to me cause I just couldn't go there mentally.  I delivered Euan just before 10 pm. Everyone was so happy and overwhelmed, it took a few minutes before the midwife lifted the baby legs to see what it was. 
All the "aftermath" took a little bit of time.  Euan hung out on my chest with one thing on his mind: boob. I was in too awkward a position to actually help him breastfeed, but I tried. Once the "clean up" was done, Marc, Euan and I were left alone for a bit. My mom left around midnight and headed back to our apartment in Brande for the night. Marc and I were in the delivery room with Euan for a few hours, with our midwife in and out.  Euan did get to breastfeed and eventually they weighed and measured him. He was 3.4 kg, 51 cm long. I have yet to do the conversion from metric, but he's a little guy with a full head of hair. The midwife had Marc dress him, which was incredibly sweet to watch and also funny because the midwife had trouble giving him instructions in English. 
We picked the name, which happened pretty randomly just going back a forth with each other. Marc was more opinionated about what he liked and didn't like, so the story will probably eventually go that Marc really named him and I helped. I tried to get Marc to agree to giving him the middle name of "Alison" and he wasn't down.  He said if I wanted something like that we could use his brother's middle name "Francis" because it was "actually a real man's middle name." I also tried to give E my middle name "Jean"  It's a family name, but also my mom has been calling the baby "Eugene" after her dad for the entire pregnancy because of how close the due date was to her father's birthday. In all, the name conversation really just had us laughing pretty hard at what we could do, but eventually we settled on E because we liked the way it sounds in both English and Danish. 
We stayed the night at the hospital and came home yesterday afternoon.  Marc is taking the rest of the week off work and maybe some days next week too.  My mom is leaving Friday night and I will be sad to see her go. E is doing so well, he mostly sleeps and eats at this point (not much pooping yet :-D). We have had some time where he has been very alert and he seems to focus a lot on the photographs we have up on the wall. He really isn't too fussy and settles very quickly, especially for Marc. My mom is LOVING him because he doesn't fuss when she holds him; she keeps finding reasons to be the one that gets to hold him and I think it is so funny and sweet.  I think E's sold her on being a Grandma. 
So that is about it. I feel indebted to the Danish system because I really don't think I would have had the same outcome in Canada. I couldn't have got through everything without Marc, my mom and Lise Lotte for sure. I feel amazed and incredibly blessed that I can say I had a natural childbirth- I really can't take credit for any of it. Truly, God made it all happen for me. 
SO I hope that was enough detail :-)  I avoided talking about my placenta (even though I think it's really cool) so you're all welcome :-D 
Love you all so so much, we miss you all and can't wait for everyone to meet E. 
[paragraph about people setting up Skype if they wanted to chat with us]
Ok, for real I'm done now.  Love,
Catherine (and Marc and E)

No comments:

Post a Comment

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...