Tomorrow will be three weeks since Jackson has been born. Adjusting to a newborn has been hectic on our family, all of us. Well, maybe not Juliette, but definitely John and I. As I finally have a moment this morning to think, I wanted to write down Jackson’s birth story, before more details get muddled and lost in the sleep depravity in my head.
To be honest, I’m not 100% positive on the times of everything, but I have a fair estimate and I don’t really remember the details of much besides being in actual active labor. Labor began Saturday (05/03) night at 11:30pm and he was born Sunday (05/04) afternoon at 4:26pm. So all these events fit into these 17ish hours. Saturday night I laid down to sleep but couldn’t really fall asleep because of the contractions I was having. I woke John up at about 12:30 because I was sure this was labor (well I was sure about a week earlier too, but clearly that was not baby labor) so we went down stairs to watch TV to pass the time because I was not going to be able to sleep through these contractions. around 3am they started to slow down, about 15 minutes apart, so I fell asleep on the couch until 5am. Juliette ended up waking up at her normal time and we just went about our day as normal. John made her breakfast, we watched some more TV, and then the contractions started to pick up. We decided to clean the house a little (mostly John) and that’s when things really got started.
Starting around 11am, contractions were getting close together. About every 4 minutes. After an hour I decided to text my midwives. As soon as I sent the text, each contraction was getting closer together. 3:50 minutes, 3:45, 3:31, 3:20. That’s when we decided to fill the tub in Juliette’s room. We ended up having an issue with the water heater so the tub was filling up cold. At this point, I was hunched over the changing table and I wasn’t moving. I remember thinking, praying actually, that the tub would just get warm because I needed relief. John and the midwives assistant were boiling water downstairs and bringing it up to help fill the tub. I decided at some point I was just going to get in the water. I think it was right after this really intense contraction that left me in tears. I had a feeling things were getting close because I remembered reading that one of the signs of “transition contractions” was mom feeling overwhelmed and this contraction surely overwhelmed me. The water was slightly colder than lukewarm, but just the feeling of the water, feeling the pressure and heaviness lifted off me almost. But the pain was the same. (I know some people say that water is like the natural birth-ers epidural, but it didn’t take away the pain so much as the heaviness. But I can understand how that would feel as though they are less painful.) Slowly the water got warmer and at some point they turned on the hose from the water heater and it was FINALLY getting to the temperature that was warm enough.
I don’t remember the sequence of events in order from this point but I remember a couple key things that happen after this. First, I kept feeling like he was stuck. By the time my midwife had come (this was around 2-2:30pm) my body naturally started pushing with each contraction. Completely involuntary, and I was pushing pretty hard. I didn’t know what I was doing, in fact I don’t even think I realized what I was even doing. I didn’t feel all the pressure to push until a little later. This probably only went on for like 30 minutes (even though it felt like hours) and I started to really break down. I begged for my midwife to check where I was at because I had fears from Juliette’s labor creep into my mind. (She was posterior and I felt like pushing at 5cm) When she tells me I am almost completely dilated, I just started crying, happily, because I knew I was almost there. I felt a glimmer of hope and encouragement and then a contraction came and the pain completely wiped that away. With each pushing I felt as though nothing was moving, as if I was pushing against a wall. I was crying out in pain, and pushing but feeling no progression. I broke down again and kept repeating that he was stuck, and I couldn’t push him out.
I got the suggestion to stand up and maybe try to labor on the toilet. I remember the feeling was completely overwhelming. As soon as I stood, the weight and pressure felt like he was going to fall out of me. I stopped and cried, and my midwife told me immediately to sit back down. I didn’t even make a leg out of the tub.
So, now is when the pushing part came. I was draped over the side of the tub. I felt his head moving down (finally feeling some progression) and that’s when I knew things were getting serious. I pushed with Juliette for 2 hours, so I was completely shocked how quick this next part came. I started to feel that good ol’ ring of fire, but honestly, it wasn’t nearly as intense or painful as I was made to believe. Pushing was extremely painful, another thing that was not what people told me. I almost didn’t want to push sometimes because of the pain, actually I think some contractions I just rested because I just couldn’t keep pushing. At some point I flipped over and I felt VIVIDLY his head coming out. That was the most intense feeling, relief and pain all in one. And then he started wiggling. In my head (maybe out loud) I was begging him to stop. My midwife told me he was trying to help me get him out, but I wish I never felt that. His head came out and then all of a sudden I didn’t feel any contractions. I kept pushing, but I remember thinking that it was useless because my body wasn’t helping me. I begged for someone just to pull him out, because I was done. I was tired, and I just wanted him out. My midwife had me turn over in the tub and get into a runners position. Right knee on the ground, left knee to my chest. I don’t know why but my midwife had me get out of the tub and assume the same position on the floor. She had to help him out, I’m assuming. I remember thinking that his body was so long. I would feel as if I had finally pushed him all the way out and then there was still more to go. Eventually this blur of a second happened where I was in labor feeling desperate and helpless and impossibly exhausted, and then all of a sudden I was holding my son, in complete amazement that it was over and he was here in my arms. And I don’t know how I got from one moment to the next. I don’t know if I want to remember that moment either, because I’m sure it was painful.
When he came out, I cradled him in amazement. I was so proud of myself. I really can’t explain the power I felt. I was expecting all those feelings to lead to an overwhelming excitement, but Jackson wasn’t breathing/crying right away. My midwife explained that he had some fluid left in his lungs that he needed help getting out. They held him slightly upside down, used an aspirator of sorts to help but he had a grunting that was a sign he wasn’t breathing properly. That was honestly a really scary moment. I was holding him skin-to-skin and he was warm, so I was comforted, but his face was that new born purple and the rest of his body was pale. John started crying. I’m sure to other people it looked as though he was just happy, but I knew and he knew that he was scared. It was probably only a few short minutes until his first cry came, but it seemed like an eternity. He started to “pink up” really quick, and our fears were relieved. We moved over to the bed to lay down, and give him a little oxygen to help him breathe. I couldn’t get him to latch right away which is because newborns take breathing as a priority over nursing. I think about 20-30 minutes passed and finally he latched and I was thankful. Things started to calm down from the tension of waiting for his cries, and the high was setting in. I was laying there, propped up by pillows with my head against the wall, nearly ready to pass out. I was so exhausted. And hungry.
My sister was downstairs with Juliette, and she said that when Jackson started crying she looked up the stairs, confused and curious. When they met it was around 7:30pm, so she was already tired. John explained their meeting as if Juliette was a dog, and she just sniffed him and was disinterested. Which is true, except for the sniffing part. She really was disinterested in him. I think we were watching Horton Hears A Who, and anyone who knows Juliette knows that movie puts her in a trance.
At around 8:00 the midwives were stitching me up, my sister was getting us Sonic as a post birth meal, and we were getting ready to settle into bed. That first night he slept right next to me. I fell asleep around 9:30, but woke up at 11 and was just staring at him in amazement. Being in my bed, 6 hours after birth, and my entire family was there was such an amazing feeling. There were no nurses/hospital workers coming in and out, I wasn’t worried about Juliette because she couldn’t be with us, I was happy and content to be in my own bed, resting comfortably.
This labor happened so fast, I mean if you think about when the hard part really started around 11am, he was born 5 1/2 hours later. In preparation for this birth I kept telling myself, I don’t mind if its hard, as long as it’s fast. And that’s exactly what I got. I got to labor a majority of the time while Juliette was napping, so I didn’t have to worry about her, and I could hear her laughing downstairs while I was pushing her brother out. It was perfect.
And now, I’m done having kids for a long time.