Wednesday, September 3, 2014

Nolan's Birth Story - Part 2

Before I get into the details of Nolan's birth, I thought a little prelude would be helpful to set the scene. 

For as long as I can remember, I've always wanted to have a natural childbirth. It was one of those life experiences that I really wanted to check off my bucket list. I am in awe at the beautiful, and powerful way the human body knows exactly what to do when it comes to labor and delivery. In my opinion, modern medicine doesn't give the body enough credit. We are truly designed by God. I realized early on that things don't always work out the way you planned it, so during my pregnancy I prayed my heart out that I could have the birth experience I wanted. 

I thought it was important to prepare myself for natural delivery. I knew it would be the most physically demanding thing my body has ever done, and I didn't want to leave anything to chance. We had intended to take Bradley classes, but the classes were weekly in Lexington for 12 weeks, and that just wasn't practical with Jake's work schedule. So, I read everything I could get my hands on. My favorite was the book "Ina Mae's Guide to Childbirth." If you are expecting, I highly recommend it. It's chalk full of inspirational stories, and very informative in describing the way labor progresses. I digress, I had plenty of people tell me that I would change my mind, or that I would beg for medicine after I felt the first hard contraction, but I made up my mind that given the opportunity I would have him naturally. (By the way, don't be one of those negative people!)

So, back to our story...

After my water broke, my room went from dark and quiet, to bright and busy. Jake set to calling our parents, while I talked to the nurse, and waited for the resident physician to come in and "officially" check to make sure my water had broken. Jake and I kept repeating how excited we were to meet our son! 

My contractions started off around 6 or 7 minutes apart, and were moderate in pain level. In Ina Mae's book, she talks about how powerful visualization can be. So, as crazy and "granola" as it sounds, during each contraction I would visualize myself carrying the baby to the top of my favorite mountain. (Mt. Leconte in GSMNP). I thought about not sharing this part because it's so cheesy, but the truth is thinking about the journey to the top of the mountain really helped me get through the pain of contractions. As labor progressed, the journey became more difficult, and my focus shifted to the breathtaking peak and the vast, open landscape.  Another important aspect of this visualization, was focusing my breathing. I'm by no means an expert at meditation, but I had used deep breathing techniques for years to help control my stress levels. I'm really showing my "crunchy" side, but there is something to be said for meditation. It's a powerful tool.

The day progressed like it should for a woman in labor. Our families showed up before the sun rose, and settled in for a long day of waiting. Around 11 am, our favorite nurse, Mollee came into work, and Jake and I were thrilled that she would be our nurse on this important day. We had learned earlier in the week that Mollee had actually trained as a midwife while she lived in England. And she was super knowledgeable about natural childbirth. Talk about a huge blessing! It was a comfort to know that someone on the medical side of things understood my desire for a drug free delivery, and wouldn't pressure me into something I didn't want. It was her idea to not mention the "M" word (medicine) unless I brought it up. (It was really helpful to not focus or even think about medicine at all.)

My parents, and Jake's Dad stayed in the room for the majority of the morning. Offering words of encouragement, or a hand to squeeze during a painful contraction. The support of our families was indescribable.  I could literally feel all the prayer, and the love supporting me. In retrospect, for me childbirth was an extremely emotional, and spiritual experience. At one point, I swear I could even feel the love coming from my Gram and Pap Porter, and told my parents that I could feel them near.

One of the funniest things happened right before my labor changed from active to transitional. I was definitely not my normal self, and in between contractions, I would be aware of what was going on around me, but mostly stayed in my own little 'zoned out' world. I kept telling Jake that I was nauseated, but it hadn't progressed to anything but a feeling, until my friend Megan came in. I remember Mom telling me that she was there, and I wanted to see her, so I asked Mom to show her into the room. Megan was only a week and half behind me in our pregnancies, and we had gotten to experience everything at basically the same time. The second she walked over to my bedside, I looked up and said, "I have to throw up!" And without hesitation she grabbed a bucket, and held it while I took care of business. That was the only thing I was able to say to Megan that day, but talk about a good friend! We laughed about it later, but I was thankful she wasn't too grossed out by my greeting.

After I threw up, my contractions became almost unbearable, and with only a minute or two break in between. At this point, I did become a little unglued. I needed oxygen for a short while, but the mask on my face made me feel incredibly claustrophobic. The pain of the contractions, along with the intense claustrophobic feeling made me feel like I wasn't in control. It was at this point that I kicked everyone out of the room, except Jake. I actually don't remember kicking everyone out, but things were getting serious, and I needed to focus.

The doctor came into check my progress, and I was almost dilated to a 9. But before I could regain control of my breathing, I said the dreaded words...."pain medicine." Jake and Mollee talked me through each contraction, allowing me to squeeze hands, and Mollee showed Jake a place on my back to push that helped immensely. During the few contractions I had while waiting for an anesthesiologist, I was able to regain control of myself, and focus more on my breathing. So, when they tried explaining the epidural procedure, I said, "No thank you!" And we proceeded with the original plan. Once the transitional stage began things progressed so quickly. Before I knew it, I was feeling pressure and wanted to push.

The rest of the time went by so quickly for me. At this point, I was basically in my own world. Solely focused on the task ahead of me. My comfort was Jake and Mollee's persistence when I needed them the most. One of each side, talking me through each second of pain.  I asked Jake later, and he said that I pushed 4 or 5 times before he was born. Before the last push, he had already crowned, and the NICU staff, and the attending physician wasn't in the room yet. So, I had to pause for a few minutes until everyone was present. Then one push or so later, David Nolan Mosley made his grand entrance into the world. Completely perfect, screaming his head off, and by far the most beautiful thing I had ever laid eyes on. I remember opening my eyes, and seeing him for the first time in the physician's hands. I quickly snapped back into reality, and my first thought was "That's my son!" Jake was able to cut the umbilical cord before they took him to a side room to be examined by the NICU staff. Jake went with the baby, and they kept me posted for the few minutes they examined him. He had APGAR scores of 9 and 9. (APGAR is test to quickly assess the health of newborn children immediately after birth. Scores are taken at 1 and 5 minutes, with 10 being an unattainable perfect.) Talk about a huge relief! Our prayers had been answered, he had arrived early, but he was perfectly healthy! He was 4 pounds 9 ounces, and 17.5 inches long.

They brought him out to me all swaddled and beautiful. I got to hold him for a minute before they wisked him away to the NICU. It was a huge relief that he didn't need any interventions like oxygen, etc. 

David Nolan Mosley

I learned later that both of my parents decided to hang out behind the curtain in the room for the delivery. And my Dad was able to record Nolan's first cries. It brings tears to my eyes to hear his little cry, and to see all the staff in the room prepared for anything. 

First time holding my baby!

The great thing about natural childbirth, is in no time I was on my feet, dressed and ready to go visit my son in the NICU. Jake insisted that I ride up to the NICU in a wheelchair (much to my dismay), and we had a hilarious experience with the tire coming off the rim. Standing in the hall way trying to fix it, totally exhausted, and slap happy!  It was just one of those side stories that I will always remember. That night I got to finally hold my Nolan skin to skin. The pure joy of feeling my sweet baby laying on my chest was so immense, it's hard to put into words. It made everything worth it. It sounds cliche, but the pain didn't matter anymore. The only thing that mattered was the baby laying in my arms.

I was fortunate that the recovery process was incredibly easy. I didn't have all the pain some women talk about. I moved a little more slowly, but it felt great to be up and moving around. I can't say enough amazing things about the staff at UKMC. They took such excellent care of me. In a lot of ways, the birth process wasn't at all what I expected, but then again nobody plans on having a baby 8 weeks early. In other ways, it was better than I could have imagined. 

Having a natural childbirth was an incredible experience. But becoming a parent is one of the greatest blessings. There isn't a day that goes by that I don't thank Heavenly Father for this sweet little blessing. It's hard to believe my little baby is almost 7 weeks old! If you need me, I'll be snuggling my little peanut, and soaking up every second of baby bliss! Thanks for reading! 

Up next, the NICU experience...

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