Sunday, May 16, 2010

Chuck's version

So here is Chuck's version of the birth. Strangely enough, his is a little longer than mine. Keep in mind that by the time he got home I was in active labor. The next time we have a kid I think he'll come home a little faster :)

FYI, all of his references to me being in "early labor" are supposed to be "pre labor". Apparently he wasn't paying as much attention in our classes as I thought...

"So there I was…
It’s 0400 on 27 Apr 10 and I feel Erin nudging me to wake me and get my attention. “I think the baby is coming today” I hear from her while coming out of a deep sleep. I know there was some sort of conversation that followed, but frankly at that time of day everything blends together. She told me that she had been having contractions for a couple of hours but I didn’t take that for much since we learned that early labor can last for a couple of days and much longer at times. In a sort of frantic huff, I can hear Erin packing all the things we had gathered together for her “over-night” bag. Listening to her, I remember thinking to myself, “I really hope the baby doesn’t come today, we just barely got ready [having just finished the nursery].”
The rest of the morning played out as any other day would begin (yet, along with contractions) with me going to work and Erin mining the store at home. Work has been quite busy for some time now but I was hoping to be able to get out early if Erin needed me. I had as good of an excuse as any having to go to the dentist for them to take a biopsy of some gum tissue. It was quite an ordeal, as the preparation I think actually took longer than the procedure itself. In the typical fashion of a doctor asking how things are going prior to an appointment I told him that my wife was having contractions. A dentist’s chair is not exactly what I would call ideal while contractions are going on; nor in the bathroom changing out bloody gauze while waiting at the pharmacy for Motrin.
Erin on the other hand, was driving to Virginia Beach for a chiropractor appointment and meeting a friend for lunch back in Newport News. We weren’t sure about all the driving she would have to do considering the contractions but after Erin talked to our doulas they gave her the “go-ahead” since she’s only in early labor.
By mid-afternoon Erin seemed to become a little more anxious and I was just looking forward to going home early…or so I thought. Go figure, just as I’m about to wrap things up at my desk I remember a tasker that is due later that day that I need to finish. I certainly didn’t like staying longer but Erin was only in early labor, it’s not like the baby was coming out tonight. I am finally able to leave around 1530 (which is still leaving early but considering 1430 was my goal, a little discouraging) but by this time Erin’s intensity in voice and texting is starting to rise. Before I could go home I needed to make a Target run on the way home. Erin was going to do this earlier but as the day went on so did her contractions and by lunchtime she wasn’t in any mood to go to Target. Anyone who really knows me probably knows that I’m not a quick shopper, even with a list. I did the best I could knowing that Erin wasn’t very comfortable but still quite unaware of what was waiting for me when I got home. Earlier, Erin had asked me to get some fries from Five Guys after Target but by the time I was done she wanted me home now! That was probably the moment when the realization hit me that this really might be the day. So after all my intensions of getting home earlier, I make it home at 1700, not exactly what I had in mind.
Once home, I could tell that the contractions were giving Erin a hard time. She told me that she had spoken with Christi earlier and her advice was to relax and ignore the contractions as best she can, to watch a movie, take a bath, etc. Erin wanted pizza for dinner so she gave me the task to place the order. Looking through the coupons I found an online deal that gave us two mediums, breadsticks, cinnasticks and a two-liter for $20. I was pretty excited about that deal. After making the order I went upstairs to check on Erin, she was in the shower trying to relax but said to me, “If this is all early labor I don’t think I can do this.” I reassured her that she can do this, and that she is doing it. I also told her that God has designed her body to do this very thing and that He has given her everything she needs to have this baby. The pizza was delivered around 1900 but by this time Erin’s contractions were strong enough to keep her from having a conversation. We called the OB just to touch base but she didn’t give us a whole lot to go on. There were also a handful of calls between us and Aimee and Christi during this time. At 1930, Erin stood up to go to the bathroom, or something like that, and immediately puked all over the floor. Fortunately, it was primarily water so she was properly hydrating herself but it was just another sign of getting closer. A little bit after that Erin was talking to Aimee and had a contraction. Erin had to pause because she couldn’t talk and immediately Aimee said that it was time that one of them got over here. Next, I got the tub ready for a bath for Erin but she didn’t stay in it long. It wasn’t long before she got out and made a home on the toilet in the guest bathroom.
At this time, if it hadn’t happened yet, we both knew that the baby was coming tonight. Throughout the evening I remember helping Erin keep her tone low and maintain proper breathing through all the contractions. It did feel a little weird constantly making a low, groaning sound but I was there to help her and from what I could tell, Erin was doing a great job. While she was on the toilet, I began to make sure we had everything that we wanted to bring to the hospital. With Aimee on the way the hospital couldn’t be that far off. I started to make the calls to our parents too. Both sets were in “stand-by” mode waiting for the call that we were on our way to the hospital. When calling my parents and telling them “this is ‘the call’” my mom kept asking, “What call?” “The baby is on its way,” I said. But then she only replied with, “But it’s not May yet.” Erin’s mom was a bit different wanting hard confirmation that the baby definitely was on its way before she bought her plane ticket. Since we were still at home, I don’t think she was too convinced despite everything else leading up to this point.
Aimee arrived sometime around 2115 and the dogs promptly greeted her with their incessant desire for attention—sorry girls, she’s not here for you. Aimee went upstairs and talked with Erin for a little bit and I remember her asking this question, “What number will you be disappointed with at the hospital (referring to dilation)?” I don’t remember Erin giving an answer but Aimee continued to give encouragement and reassurance that what was happening was just as it should be. We also discussed our birth plan and the importance of telling the doctors and nurses just exactly what our intentions were, but there wasn’t much time between Aimee arriving and her decision to press to the hospital. At 2130 we had things packed up, in the car and ready to go.
There are two interesting things about the hospital, one of them ironic. First of all, I have never been to the hospital. The only reason I knew which entrance to use was from Erin pointing it out to me in passing as we drove by it one day. As to exactly where to go and what to do once I pulled in the drive was still a mystery. The second, and ironic, thing is that Erin and I were going to do a tour at the hospital this very evening. Every Tuesday evening Riverside gives a tour for expectant families. I was unable to go the first time we had it planned, though Erin was able to, so this was our second attempt for me to see the facilities. Well, I certainly was able to, albeit without a tour guide. The forecast for the evening had called for rain but fortunately it hadn’t started…that is until we were in the car on the way. While walking through the parking lot Erin doubled over with another contraction. I don’t remember having an umbrella but I can imagine that the cool mist was more of a relief to Erin than a nuisance. Considering the time we were arriving the doors were locked but I swear no quicker than Erin could say, “I’m in labor” the doors were unlocked.
What happened in the next ten minutes was perhaps the most perplexing thing of this labor story. When we reached the maternity ward check-in window we were told that there were no rooms available, to go wait in the waiting room and they would come get us when one became available. I paused for a second and said, “Huh, that’s weird, the nurse from the class we took said that the rooms were rarely ever ‘all full’. Interesting.” Erin had this look on her face like “you’ve gotta be kidding me” but Aimee reassured us that they would not allow her to have the baby in the waiting room. She calmly said, “let’s go” and we slowly started walking. However, not more than twenty feet later Erin got another contraction that drove her to all fours on the floor. Conveniently, she stopped right under the door frame of two automatic doors. I thought I was helping by propping one door open as if they operated like elevator doors but since they were on a hinge I realized that me holding this door would do nothing for the other door that would close on Erin if it did swing shut. Fortunately, not more than thirty seconds or so later we had a team of nurses rushing to Erin’s aid, one of which saying, “Honey, let’s get you in a room.” And another nurse saying, “Room 7 is ready to go.” And I thought they didn’t have any rooms available when we arrived—I certainly didn’t see anyone leaving the minute following us being told to go to the waiting room… (After hearing Room 7 I knew this was a lucky night because of lucky 7, Joe Mauer’s number, and the Twins were currently winning too.)
The room was spotless and clean, crisp sheets on the bed and ready to go. Not that I had anything to compare to but the room was quite larger than expected. We also had more stuff than I realized, an overnight bad, two camera bags, and a lunch box. Amazing how we took over that room so quickly. Immediately, the nurses wanted to check Erin and get the fetal monitor hooked up. I was still getting things settled in when I heard the nurse say, “Wow, I’d say you’re between an eight and nine.” Perhaps that was the single-most encouraging thing we heard all night. Wow, she was an eight or nine? Incredible. I think we all were stunned to hear that. If someone wasn’t convinced that the baby was coming tonight they had to be now.
What transpired over the next two and a half hours was nothing short of amazing. Two things stand out to me as I reflect back on that time. One, everything happened so fast and two, Erin was incredible. There is no other way to say it other than she was amazing. The best way to describe it is she met the challenge head-on and didn’t back down, she took the bull by the horns, she was kicking butt and taking names…any other clich├ęs I can come up with? The bottom line is that I was so impressed with how she handled it all. She went back and forth to the bathroom a few times and the nurses were probably a little frustrated that she didn’t stay in one place and when she was on/near the bed her positioning was conducive for fetal monitoring. All in all, the nursing staff and Dr. Casanova were great. I know there was a lot of concern going to Riverside and some of the questionable standards they hold but we told them our plan, that we wanted this to be a natural birth, that we wanted to delay cord clamping, that we didn’t want an IV right off the bat and they respected us. I think much credit was immediately given to Erin when she initially measured out to an eight or nine and how well she was handling labor while at the hospital. Aimee was a great help and Erin and I are blessed to have someone so knowledgeable, compassionate and ready to serve. She was all over it getting washcloths ready among working other creature comforts for Erin. And…since Erin and I had horrible cell coverage Aimee let us use her phone to make important calls to family and friends.
As the labor progressed I kept a close watch of the clock and for some reason I didn’t want the baby born on the 27th. I have no real reason for that, but perhaps because it goes back to 0400, 18 hours ago, thinking that the baby wasn’t coming today. I was fine with the 28th but not the 27th. I have no idea what that all means. Around 2350 Erin’s water finally broke giving Aimee quite a jolt. Going back to what I said about Erin being amazing she continued to labor with such confidence and finally I could see the baby’s head making its way down the birth canal. Moments later the head emerged and Dr. Casanova gave it a little twist and out came the baby. All this time up until now we still didn’t know the sex. However, the way the baby came out with the umbilical cord I couldn’t see what sex it was. I remember Erin asking (with a firm voice), “What is it?” and my response was “I can’t see.” The doctor finally helped me and I saw that it was a girl. I had fully expected myself to be bawling at this time but surprisingly I wasn’t. There were some tears but, in fact, I was more shaking than anything. I think the full magnitude began to settle in that I am now a father.
It was an amazing experience and I was so impressed with Erin and how she labored. She never once appeared to back down or even say that she couldn’t do this after her shower earlier in the evening. And what’s more, after all this, she never got any of that great pizza deal for dinner."

Thursday, May 13, 2010

My birth story

So I realize this is extremely long and I certainly don't expect all of you to read it, but I just thought I would share my experience. I am SO glad I went with a non-medicated labor... I wouldn't do it any other way. Chuck also wrote his version of the story and our doula wrote one as well (albeit, a much shorter one, haha). If people want to see the others, let me know and I'll post them as well.
"As a first-time mom with a due date of May 7th, I certainly wasn’t expecting to have my baby in April. Don’t get me wrong, I wanted to have my baby early, but I was trying to be patient and not expect anything. I kept telling myself that I would most likely go overdue and that I would be freakishly uncomfortable for a little while longer.
On April the 27th at about midnight I woke up feeling more uncomfortable than usual. I honestly thought that I was constipated and tried to use the restroom. When I wasn’t able to, I went back to sleep. I did this 4 or 5 times I think and then I finally went downstairs to take something for the constipation. I took some nasty chalk-tasting Phillips and then got on the computer to wait for it to work. I stayed up about an hour and this is when I noticed that the “constipation” was coming in waves. It was not constipation at all. It was contractions.
I went back upstairs to try to relax. I started drinking water and took a bath, both things we were taught to do in our class. The contractions just kept on coming, so I realized this wasn’t “false labor”. I must admit, I was pretty excited. I laid down after my bath to try to sleep. It was around 4 am and my mind would not let me rest. I woke Chuck up and told him I thought we were going to have the baby that day and he basically blew me off. I realized I hadn’t packed my hospital bag and knew I wouldn’t be able to sleep until I had done that. I started packing my bag, Chuck asked me if I needed help and when I said no he went back to sleep.
I wasn’t able to get much sleep after that because I couldn’t sleep through the contractions and they were coming pretty regularly. I wasn’t timing them, but I definitely felt like they were fairly close together. Around 6 we decided to call our doula. Christi said that she thought I was in prelabor and that this could last days or even weeks. She told me not to take my normal walk, but other than that to go about my day as normal and try to ignore the contractions.
After we talked, I took a benadryl and was able to go to sleep. When I woke up, I expected the contractions to be gone but they weren’t. I had a chiropractor appointment in Virginia Beach that I really didn’t want to go to, but Christi encouraged me to. She said it could speed up labor and that while the location wasn’t ideal, it would probably be good for me to go. I got ready and drove down there. Afterwards, I had lunch with a friend. I was having contractions the whole time but I still wasn’t timing them and they weren’t too intense.
I got back home around 2 and called Christi again and let her know they hadn’t stopped. She gave me advice on how to ignore the contractions- take a shower, watch a movie, drink a little glass of wine, etc. My contractions were feeling more intense but I was still trying to ignore them. I put Gilmore Girls on and laid on my left side and started pounding water. Sometime between 2 and 4 I realized that I could no longer lay down for the contractions. I had to get up to walk through them or something… I just had to move. I told Chuck to go to Target and get home- Gilmore Girls was no longer distracting me.
When he came home I decided to take a shower. This was the only point during the whole process that I said “I can’t do this”. The contractions were getting more and more intense. I looked at Chuck and said “if this is pre-labor, then I’m done… there’s no way I can take a whole lot more than this”. He assured me that I could, but I’ll admit that at this point I was a little scared that my plans for a med-free delivery were going to fly out the window because this freakin hurt.
I told Chuck to order some pizza because I was hungry. I laid on the bed and tried to get some rest and couldn’t. I wanted to dry my hair and it took what felt like forever because I had to stop and breathe through every contraction.
By the time the pizza got there, the smell of food disgusted me. I went to the bathroom and realized that I was having my bloody show. Honestly, this made me super happy because it meant that all these contractions were doing something. We called Christi and Aimee to let them know and they said that it didn’t guarantee something would happen that night. Chuck talked to one of them and I heard him telling her that I really didn’t think this was prelabor and was started to get scared. The bleeding continued for longer than I thought it would and was heavier than I expected so I talked to Aimee about that. I had a contraction while I was on the phone and she said “it sounds like one of us needs to get over there” and I said “thank God, I’m not crazy… this is it”.
After getting off the phone, another contraction hit and I stood up to work through it. The next thing I know, I am throwing up ALL over the floor. Luckily, it was hardwood floor and the throw up was 95% water but it went everywhere. Poor Chuck had to clean that up. I’m pretty sure I threw up 3 or 4 times. It just kept pouring out of me.
Christi and Aimee had encouraged me to take a bath so Chuck went upstairs to get that ready for me. He did such a good job- lighting all my candles and everything. I grabbed my book and crawled in. Between contractions I was able to relax, which I wasn’t able to do outside of the tub, so that was nice. But during contractions I felt awful. The tub was too constricting and I kept turning over to try to get in a comfortable position and wound up getting out after just a few contractions. At this point, I told Chuck “when she gets here, we’re going to the hospital”. I had planned to labor at home for as long as possible, and I felt like I had pretty much done that.
I sat on the toilet for a while at this point. I was still bleeding pretty heavily and felt like I needed to poop. I’m not sure how long it was between when I got out of the tub and when Aimee got there, but it felt like an eternity. When she knocked on the door I breathed a sigh of relief. I felt like someone that actually knew what was going on was there.
I think we were probably at the house for about 15-30 minutes after she came. I remember telling her how the bath was and telling her that I was ready to go to the hospital. She said that I was still having a lot of bloody show and it was definitely time to go. Chuck started running around doing something-packing the car I presume. I really don’t know. It was so nice to have Aimee there because I didn’t care what he was doing because I wasn’t alone. Aimee helped me get dressed (yes, I needed help) and we headed to the hospital. You couldn’t have paid me to sit in the seat the “normal” way, so I got on my knees and hugged the back of the seat. I was so grateful our hospital was close. On the way there, I told Chuck that I hoped the baby was a girl because we had never decided on a boy’s name.
We got to the hospital and made our way up to labor and delivery. I checked in at the nurse’s station and they informed me that they didn’t have any rooms and I would have to wait in the waiting room. I remember thinking they were crazy, but not really having the energy to argue. Aimee assured me they would not let me have my baby in the waiting room. When we walked away from the window, a contraction hit and I got on my hands and knees in the middle of the hallway. Apparently this is the magic key to get a room… instantly there was a nurse at my side taking me to room 7.
When we got into the room, I changed into my gown and laid on the bed for them to check me. I was so scared they were going to tell me I was 4 centimeters dilated, but they said I was between an 8 and a 9 and at that point I KNEW that I could do this.
They let me get into a comfortable position and monitored the baby for a while and everything was fine. I really don’t remember much at this point… I knew that I needed to pee and tried to go but was completely unable to. On the way back to the bed, a contraction hit and I squatted and peed all over the floor. I almost wanted to laugh at how much I just didn’t care. I was in a hospital… they’ve seen pee before.
They checked me again and I was fully dilated and effaced. They called the doctor and broke the bed down. I was so thankful that they did not make me lay down. They put the squat bar up and I used that for a while. Chuck got on the bed behind me and I was able to lean back on him between contractions. Although I liked that position, my feet kept falling asleep so I wound up facing the head of the bed with the top all the way up on my knees. The doctor came and asked me if I had the urge to push and I said “no”. To my surprise, no one rushed me… she just sat back. I can’t remember when I started pushing or how long I pushed. At one point I told Chuck that the baby was never going to come out and he assured me that it would.
When the doctor could see the head, she called Chuck down and he took a look. He got really excited, which gave me some motivation. I truly was getting somewhere. The next thing I know, the head was crowing and Chuck and Aimee were telling me to blow and not push to try to minimize tearing. When I started pushing again, it was the weirdest feeling in the world. It felt like the baby just fell out.
I immediately look to Chuck for him to tell me if it’s a girl or a boy. He says “I can’t tell” and I say “what do you mean you can’t tell??” Then the doctor moved the umbilical cord out of the way and he told me that it was a girl. I guess God knew we didn’t have a name for a boy J
I tried to turn around and really look at her, but I forgot that I was still attached. The doctor tugged on the cord a little and then the placenta came. I really didn’t even feel it. Then I was able to turn around and hold my baby girl, which was the most amazing thing in the world.
The doctor said that I had torn and she was going to have to stitch me up. I have no idea how many stitches I have, but I felt like she was sewing me up forever.
When she was done, we put Jade back on my chest and tried breastfeeding. She did really well, which was really encouraging. They left us alone for over and hour before they took her to the nursery. Her APGARS were 9 and 9.
She was delivered almost exactly 2 and a half hours after getting to the hospital. 12:13 am, Wednesday April 28. 19.5 inches, 7 lbs 12 ozs.

Chuck being an extremely good husband.

Proof that just because you don't take man-made drugs doesn't mean that you're not high on something- thank you Jesus for endorphins :)

Relaxing between contractions.

Hello world :)

Saturday, May 1, 2010

Miss Jade is here!

Well, I apologize for never posting pictures of the nursery but I've been a bit busy ;)

Christiana Jade Benbow was born at 12:13 am Wednesday April 28th. She was 7 lbs 12 oz and 19.5 inches long. I was able to do the completely med free delivery that I wanted and wouldn't have it any other way. I woke up with contractions at around 2 on Tuesday... so overall things lasted about 24 hours. Tuesday I went to the chiropractor and lunch with a friend and then came home. I truly thought I was in pre-labor and would be having contractions for a while, but they started coming closer and closer together and I realized that this was really "it".

I labored at home as long as possible, got to the hospital at 9:45 and when they checked me I was in between 8 and 9 cm which made me SOOO happy :) Jade was here 2 and a half hours later.

We were discharged from the hospital Friday and so far things are going really well. Breastfeeding has been a challenge, so I would appreciate prayers for that. Both sets of grandparents are here and we are relishing their help.

Here are some photos... also, you can go to this website and see the pictures that were taken in the hospital. If it asks, the code is 56991296610232.

This is me at 38 weeks. Little did I know this would be my last belly picture :)

This is us when she was 1 day old.
We have a ton more pictures, but for some reason they're not on my computer and I don't have time to upload them and such now. We'll get there eventually :)

Love you guys!