Warning: VERY long post!
In the last week our lives have been changed forever. We are totally in love with this little guy and just love every second we have with him. What a blessing he already is!
It all started last Thursday, Thanksgiving Day. I woke up at 4:30 in the morning with really strong contractions that were coming about every five minutes. I thought, "No way am I going into labor on my due date!" but I got up and started pacing the floor to see if they would get stronger/more regular, which they did over the next 3 hours. At 7:30, when I couldn't walk or talk through them, I called my midwife and she said to go ahead and come in. I thought we were all packed and ready, but it took us an hour to get all our last minute things together and set the dogs up outside.
When we got to the hospital I was only dilated 1 cm so they watched me over the next hour before admitting me. I progressed to 2 cm in an hour so they officially admitted me and I got straight into the shower. That really helped me relax so I stayed in there a couple of hours. After that I got in the bed and was in a lot of pain, just trying to breathe through each contraction. Paul was so great, reminding me to breathe, bringing me water and chapstick, feeding me applesauce, and rubbing my back. I stayed in the bed for the next few hours, leaning on the birthing ball and about half a dozen pillows and breaking Paul's fingers a little more with each contraction.
Twelve hours after first waking up that morning with contractions I was only dilated to 5 cm. I got into the tub, hoping for some relief, but it really didn't help very much. After an hour I got back in the bed. I had thought that I would want to walk around while in labor but I could barely stand to change positions in bed, much less take a step. So there I stayed for 6 more hours and each time the midwife came in to check me I was still only at 5 cm. It was so disheartening and I was incredibly exhausted by that point. So, when the midwife finally suggested I transfer down to Labor & Delivery and get started on Pitocin to help me along I made the decision to also get an epidural while I was down there. By the time I finally received it I had been in labor for 20 hours with no pain relief, so even though I didn't want one, I knew I wouldn't have the energy to push unless I could get some rest.
I got the epidural at midnight and seriously wanted to kiss the anesthesiologist. All day I had been in the worst pain I had ever experienced. However, I truly feel like if I had kept progressing instead of stalling at 5 cm for so long I could have continued without medication. It was just so exhausting and frustrating to stop making any progress after so many hours. Anyway, after the epidural we were supposed to try to sleep, which not surprisingly Paul had no trouble with, but whenever I laid down the nurse monitoring me would come in and say that the baby's heart rate was decreasing with the contractions and that I needed to change positions. After a couple of hours, it ended up that the only position in which his heart rate remained consistent was with me sitting straight up. So, no sleep for mama.
The next morning around 10:00 I was finally dilated to 10 cm! After 30 hours, I could finally start pushing, and after 30 hours, 2 hours of pushing was nothing. I had the end in sight and all I could think about was seeing Wilder soon soon soon. FINALLY at 12:15 PM, a day and a half after labor started, our sweet son came into the world and was the most beautiful thing we've ever seen. I will never forget the look on Paul's face. We were both crying with love, excitement, exhaustion, and relief. He was put on my chest and he immediately had my heart. I couldn't believe, after 9 months of waiting and 32 hours of laboring, he was finally in my arms. It was the most surreal and wonderful moment of my life.
I have to give Paul credit -- I could not have done it without him. He was so encouraging and steadfast the whole time and the experience really brought us a lot closer. We spent two long days in the maternity ward before going home. Those two days were helpful because the nurses were always there for me to ask questions, but we got zero rest because they were in and out every hour doing something or other. By the second day we were SO ready to get out of there and take our little man home.
We went home on Sunday and my parents arrived from Tennessee that night. After Paul picked them up from the airport, we were all sitting in the living room visiting when we suddenly heard a loud commotion under the house -- squealing and banging all around. And then... the worst odor any of us had ever smelled permeated the entire house. It seems that two skunks had chosen to stage a turf war under our house to welcome us home. I'm sure the night would have been plenty memorable without their contribution but, hey, you just have to laugh. Nothing was going to ruin our first night home with our precious baby.
My parents have been so great this week. I don't know what I would do if they weren't here. They have been such a huge help -- cooking, doing laundry, running errands, walking the dogs, mowing the lawn, and, most importantly, holding the baby when I need to nap/eat/take a shower/write this blog post. We are also really excited for Paul's family to come visit over the Christmas holidays. It will be so fun to watch them fall in love with him like my parents have. Paul, Wilder, and I are so lucky to have so much support and love from our families.
This week has been exhausting but so amazing. Wilder is such a good baby! He rarely cries unless he's hungry or has a dirty diaper. His facial expressions and little sounds keep us constantly entertained. He loves to watch everything that's going on and we just can't give him enough kisses. He's a great eater -- at his first doctor's appointment on Tuesday at four days old he had regained all but .25 oz of his birth weight. He will not sleep in his bassinet though! We're working on it, but so far he's slept either on my chest or between Paul and me every night. Honestly this is fine with me because I know he won't be so little and sweet forever and I'm just trying to cherish every second with him, even if it means I get a
little lot less sleep.
We were a little worried about how the dogs would react to him, but they have been great with him. I'm so proud of how well they've adjusted to the new family member. They are pretty curious about him and love to sniff him, especially if he has a dirty diaper. Somehow they know to be very gentle around him and they love to keep an eye on him.
In honor of his first week of life, here are some more pictures of our sweet little guy:
Having a baby truly makes life better and each day more meaningful and I'm excited to share this wonderful new aspect of our life with all of you. Hope everyone has a great weekend!