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16 May 2010 @ 08:54 pm
Niall's Birth  
Niall Edward Raum was born on Friday, May 7th, at 11:08pm. He weighed 8 pounds even, was 19 inches long, and had a head and chest circumference of 14 inches. I was 41 weeks pregnant.

That Friday morning, I woke up at 5am with about six strong contractions in 20 minutes. They spaced out a little more after that quick burst, but they felt like the real deal, so I asked Doug to stay home. Over the course of the day, the contractions stayed really far apart, maybe 30-45 minutes in between them. They continued to get stronger, though, so I was hopeful that real labor would kick in soon. It seemed like he wasn't positioned quite right (my back was hurting), so I did a lot of lunges during contractions, and went up and down the stairs a bit. I tried using the shower to relieve the back pain, which by the afternoon was present even in between contractions, but I didn't have enough room to lunge, so that was a short-lived distraction.

Around 7pm, just as Doug and the kids were sitting down to pizza with Mom and Dad, the contractions picked up. I found that leaning on the white cabinet in our bathroom was the most comfortable, and by 8pm, I was really wishing Doug would hurry and get the kids in bed. I was starting to vocalize more, but still used my Hypnobabies cues. While Doug was doing bedtime, I decided to call Lauren (our midwife) because we were expecting another super fast birth like Fiona's, and wanted our midwife to actually be there this time. Around 8:45, I started feeling a little pushy, so Doug set up some towels and chux underneath me, and very shortly after that Lauren arrived. She had time to set up her necessities and check the baby's heartbeat before her assistant, Kim, showed up. We thought the baby would be born at any moment, so we woke up the kids (Lachlann decided to stay in bed, but Colwyn and Fiona got up). I had been coping pretty well with the contractions up until that point, moaning, swaying, and using my cues. But then it started to get really difficult. My hips started hurting unbearably, and even though I felt pushy on most contractions, I couldn't really move the baby down.

Lauren and Kim helped me try lots of different positions - the birth stool, the toilet, hands and knees on my bed, side-lying on my bed, standing and leaning on the bed and on the cabinet in the bathroom - nothing seemed to help. I was most comfortable on the toilet and birth stool, and side-lying was the worst. They also tried to get me to walk around a bit, but I could barely take two steps before a contraction would hit. As labor progressed, I totally lost confidence in myself. My hips and pelvis hurt more than I can say, and after having such easy, natural pushing stages with my first three labors, I couldn't figure out why the baby wasn't coming. I'm embarassed to admit that I whined quite a bit, and thought frequently about taking off to the hospital so I could get an epidural (the thoughts of the car ride and the wait for the necessary IV fluids were my deterrents). Fiona came in to check on me quite a bit, which was both a welcome distraction and a little annoying. Colwyn visited less frequently, but he made several comments that made me laugh. When I went into our bedroom, he very casually went and shut the playroom door.. when Mom asked him why, he said that he didn't want any blood to roll in there.

Finally around 10:30pm, I started feeling more pressure and put more effort into getting the baby on the move. I was on the birth stool at that point. Doug had gotten the kids back into bed a little while before, and Mom was still in the living room. When I felt him finally start crowning, I told Doug that Mom could come in, and she came in just in time to see his head being born. I managed to catch a glimpse in the mirror when it was halfway out, but it was too distracting trying to watch while pushing. There was a little pause while Lauren removed the amniotic sack from around his face (this is called being born in the caul) and unlooped the cord from around his neck, and then the rest of his body slipped out. I took off my shirt right then so I could hold him to my chest and we got all wrapped up in blankets and towels. I was so relieved that it was finally over, I was crying and thanking Lauren and Kim profusely.

Waiting for the placenta to come was a bit of a pain. My legs were shaking really bad and I was so uncomfortable sitting on the stool. I asked if the cord had stopped pulsing, hoping that we could cut it so I could hand the baby to Doug and stand up, but for some reason the midwives didn't want to do that. Doug woke the kids up (again, Lachlann opted to stay in bed) and they got to see their new baby brother just minutes after he was born. Finally I felt like the placenta was ready and it came out with a quick push. The birth was pretty bloodless, so I put on a bathrobe and waddled to bed. Dad and Kristine came upstairs and we all celebrated.

I've talked to Lauren a bit about why Niall's birth was so much harder for me. She thinks that instead of turning and wiggling past the various bony parts of my pelvis, he just wanted to come straight out, that when his head was born, instead of turning 90 degrees like it should, he just turned a little. She also suggested that maybe I did something to my hips during all that yardwork the week before, making it harder for my pelvis to let him through. It was just so difficult, after experiencing labor as natural, easy, fast, and instinctive, to have something completely different. After Fiona's birth, I felt like I didn't deserve to be able to say I'd given birth naturally, since it wasn't that painful. After this time, I definitely felt like I deserved a medal or something. It's been hard for me to think and talk about the birth, my mind naturally shies away from it because I find it so upsetting. I never got that wonderful birth high like after the others.

The upside is that Niall is just a complete sweetheart. He's so delicious and adorable, and pretty mellow. We had some rough patches (mainly at night) the first few days, but once we started supplementing him with the Lact-Aid, he began giving me a few good stretches of sleep at night. Plus he has great wake periods during the day where he just calmly looks around, making eye contact with us and giving us super cute gas smiles. The kids just adore him, especially Fiona. She could cuddle with him all day if I let her. Doug's been home this week so the kids have gotten plenty of attention, so I haven't really been expecting any jealousy to set in yet.. we'll see how this coming week goes. I'm pretty nervous about being home with four kids by myself, but I'm sure we'll manage.

I'll post again soon about Niall's doctor visits and how breastfeeding is going.