Alright, so this post is 10 weeks after the big event. You may all be over this and ready to move on. But since Declan's birth, I've tried to remember with more precision what the early days were like with Eleanor, and I have no record of that, which saddens me. I'd like to better know what I was thinking and feeling in the moment, and be cognizant of how it's changed this time around.
So, with that in mind, this is really a story of two very, very different births. To review, Eleanor was born 3 days after her due date. I woke up in the wee hours of the morning already experiencing some pretty intense contractions. I got a quick shower (Why? Because people had said to, and it was stuck in my head.) By the time I got out of the shower, my contractions were more intense. Still erratic, but wavering between 4 and 7 minutes apart.
After all my worry about what we'd do with the dog, we did nothing. It was the middle of the night, and he rolled over and went back to sleep. By the time he was ready to wake up in the morning, my in-laws were at the house to let him out.
The precise times are a bit fuzzy, but I think I woke up a little before 4am, checked into the hospital by 5ish ... and Eleanor was born at 9:14am. When we got to the hospital, I was experiencing a lot of lower back pain. I told Keith through gritted teeth that I wasn't sure I could go through with a natural birth. Bless him, he tried so hard to say the right thing.
"You can do it ... if you want to ... but if you don't it's okay .... but if you do, then I'm sure that you can...."
I settled in and decided to try and use breathing and visualization techniques to at least get me through the next few contractions. Then I could always re-evaluate.
What followed next seemed very independent of time or outside influence. When I felt a contraction coming on, I started my deep breathing and focused on my calming image: Beckett and I taking a nap on the living room couch on a hot, sunny, quiet afternoon. I kept my eyes closed during and between the contractions, and even fell asleep sometimes.
"Can I do anything?" Keith anxiously inquired. "Do you want a back massage?" Unbeknownst to me, he was worried because I was acting like the contractions were very intense, but they were barely even registering on the monitor ... until the nurse adjusted the monitoring belt, and then the next contraction was through the roof. Keith breathed a sigh of relief.
A nurse (on-call doctor maybe?) came to check and see how far along I was, to see when they should call the Ob-Gyn from my practice to come in and deliver. I think at that point I was already at an 8, or at least definitely further along than they were expecting.
When the doctor arrived and checked me, he was surprised (as we all were!) to find out that I was fully dilated and ready to push. Keith tells me I pushed for about 45 minutes (I had no clue about the time throughout the entire process). Finally, Eleanor was born.
to be continued