Elliott is one week old today! I can hardly believe it! He had a home visit from a midwife yesterday (perks of the Scottish Health System-I love that they come to us and I don’t have to take Elliott out for a checkup yet!), and he had already gained 3 ounces! Clearly he isn’t starving, and has caught on quite well to the whole eating thing which is his main occupation these days.
This is a brief birth story. While I didn’t include any crazy details, I know this isn’t everyone’s thing, so feel free to skip this. This is for those of you who asked for it.
I’d been having contractions since Sunday afternoon. If you’ve had a long pre-labor period, you know how frustrating this is. These were stronger in intensity than Braxton Hicks, and at times very consistent for several hours at a time, but they would never go anywhere. All it seemed to do was leave me tired from lack of sleep, and frustrated. I was fairly relaxed about the timing of his birth. I didn’t have my heart set on it being any specific time and was ready to go past my due date, but if you’re going to have contractions, at least have them lead to something, you know?
By Thursday I had started to get sick. Just a really bad cough and congestion that simply had me feeling crummy and, along with the contractions, extremely tired. Friday, I was basically out of commission all day because of being sick, and Brian stayed home to help with the kids.
It’s hard to explain but around 5 pm both of us sensed a change. I wasn’t really experiencing any more contractions, so I’m not exactly sure what it was, but Brian says my body language started changing and that’s when he wondered if we would be having a baby that night. We had a normal evening, however, put the kids to bed, and Brian and I watched a movie.
I went to bed and had a really strong contraction. I mean, really strong. It took my breath away, and I thought, “oh my goodness, we’re going to have a baby tonight!” The strong contractions came every 10 minutes very consistently. I was actually surprised. I thought that with all the pre-labor things would move quickly, so I thought it strange that my contractions were a full 10 minutes apart, but extremely strong. Little did I know that things would start moving faster.
Somehow I managed to doze off and catch cat naps between these really strong contractions. Each time I would ask Brian how long it had been and would be slightly discouraged that they were still a good 10 or 11 minutes apart. You don’t head to the hospital with contractions 10 minutes apart. Well, maybe we should have!
After about 1 1/2 hours of that, I was so uncomfortable I got up, and Brian got up as well to try to help make me comfortable. I had another contraction, and then what felt like no sooner had it ended another one started. What?! I went from one every 10 minutes to one every 1 or 2 minutes. It was crazy. Just like that I knew I was in transition. We immediately called our babysitter, the hospital, and the ambulance. We don’t have a car, and the hospital is a fair distance away so our best option was an ambulance. All that took longer (or at least felt longer) than I wanted to set in motion.
The drive to the hospital, with ambulance driving speed, was a good 30 minutes. It. Was. Awful. The worst ride of my life. I was in full blown labor and since they really thought they were going to have to deliver in the ambulance, they were driving fast. The roads are small and curvy so at high speed it was extremely nauseating. It was bumpy, I was strapped to the stretcher, but somehow still felt like I was going to fall off every single curve, and well, I was about to give birth. I was pushing by the time we arrived.
I got a brief moment of relief when they wheeled me out of the ambulance. Even though it was only a few seconds, the sudden blast of cold air from the ambulance door to the hospital door gave me a moment to catch my breath. Then, the ambulance workers got lost in the hallways. I’m not even kidding. I was in this weird mental state of being totally lost in giving birth to my baby and being totally aware that they were lost in the hallway. I thought, great, I’m going to give birth in the hall. The ambulance would have been better!
As they wheeled me in to the labor room, I was quite literally pushing the baby out. We got in the room and the very next contraction Elliott was born in a flurry with a midwife and the ambulance workers assisting.
After Elliott was born the midwife immediately put him skin to skin with me and had me start nursing. They left him there for a good hour before they only briefly took him to weigh him. They immediately gave him right back to me without washing him or anything. It was so nice to have several hours of skin to skin with Elliot and no interruptions. They left us completely to ourselves to enjoy our newborn and catch whatever rest we could.
Elliott had passed a bowel movement in utero, but thankfully he had no signs of meconium aspiration. While normally they would have let us go home Saturday morning as soon as the pediatrician came by, they wanted to keep me a full 12 hours because of the concern of meconium in his system. Even needing to stay until that afternoon, it was my fastest turn around, and we were all home to have dinner together and put our kids to bed that night.
I can’t really speak to how labor would have gone in a Scottish hospital as we arrived as the baby was being born, but everything I experienced afterwards was wonderful. It would be much more similar to a birthing center atmosphere even though it was in the hospital. In many ways, the best of both worlds. I was in a completely natural environment with no iv, no medical intervention, the option of water birth, (which the midwife had ready for me since I had requested it, but Elliott was in too much of a hurry), etc, but with the medical option close at hand should there be a need.
I’m finally getting over my bad cough and cold, and my post labor cramping is already getting much better. Apparently that part gets worse with each birth! All in all I feel pretty good considering everything my body has been through. I’m tired and am trying to stay off my feet as much as possible. Brian was encouraging me along the same lines. I think he knows me well. Brian and my mom are waiting on me hand and foot. Seriously. I’m so blessed. I’m thankful as this is allowing me to get some much needed rest so that hopefully by the time everyone leaves and I’m home alone with four children I’ll be physically up to it!
We are so excited he is here and I’m looking forward to having a baby in my arms for Christmas!