Well, our dear Matteo really has his days and nights switched, so we take shifts throughout the night and aren't sleeping too much, but other than being tired, we are all doing great! Sebastian is slowly adjusting... At times, he has no problem sharing his milk with his brother and actually wants to watch or will tell me to give him milk when he is crying. Other times he completely melts down though and cries and screams because he wants his milk...so...baby steps. Each day is different in that regard, but I know that giving him Mami milk as long as he wants it is the best thing for him and for us right now it works. So onward we go!
Today I went to a Breastfeeding Moms group at the hospital lead by the same lactation consultant we visited on Saturday. I had a great time and was soooo excited that after weighing Matteo he had gained 7 ounces in only 5 days and is already back at birth weight according to that scale! Typically, you want babies to be back at birth weight by two weeks, so it looks like he is getting plenty of Mami milk. Yes! I so badly want it all to go super well this time and things are looking good. Enjoy the pictures and at the very bottom - finally is the LONG, LONG version of Matteo's birth story. Warning - it is detailed, so if you don't want to know, don't read it! =)
Sebastian wanted to hold his baby.
At my 36 week OB appointment, we decided to take Sebastian to see how he would react. We were still undecided if we wanted him in the delivery room (depending on the time of day) and wanted to see if he would be okay in that type of setting. He certainly was not. He screamed and cried the whole time, even when Dr. McTammany blew up a glove like a balloon for him. He finally quieted down when we were listening to Matteo’s heartbeat and he said hi to his baby brother. I was excited, but not too optimistic anything would happen soon, when he said that I was 3 centimeters. I remember I was 3 with Sebastian for like 2 or 3 weeks, so I just figured we would continue the wait. Also, even though I was dilated and he was head down, his head was not engaged in my pelvis yet, so I really wanted him to get in position to be ready for labor.
At my 37 week OB appointment, Dr. McTammany said that I was already 4 centimeters. Woo- hoo! When was I going to birth this baby, he said! I made it my mission (or really, Paul did) that we would work had to make sure this little guy arrived early or on time. So started the walking marathons! We walked around the lake at the apartment complex, we walked at the mall, we went to the strawberry festival, shopping in Viera and to the FIT gardens. We were walking as much as we could to coax baby Matteo to start thinking about moving on down.
Then on Sunday, March 15 we went to Titusville to have dinner at Daniel and Emily’s house for my mom’s birthday and Daniel’s birthday. It was their first dinner at the new house and also there was a space shuttle launch later that evening at around 8 pm. We would have loved to have stayed because it was going to be a beautiful almost night time launch, but were scared that the traffic could get bad and IF I went into labor it might be hard to get back to Melbourne. So we decided to head back to Melbourne before launch time just to be safe…good thing we did!
We left around 5:30 pm and I started having irregular contractions. They were 8 minutes, 12 minutes, 5 minutes, 15 minutes apart and not painful – just a tightening feeling. I chalked it up to false labor and after about an hour stopped monitoring them. Then around 9 pm they felt a bit more regular and stronger – sure enough they were 8 minutes apart and growing in intensity although I still wasn’t in pain or major discomfort. At 11 pm, we gave our parents a head up that we thought this might be it. We were going to try to rest and would call if things progressed. We also called our Doula, Lisa. A doula is a labor coach – someone who has attended to many women and helped them get through their labor with different techniques such as massage, breathing, etc. Since we were really hoping to have a natural birth, we knew that having a doula would increase our chances and also make our labor shorter and less painful with her help. Lisa said to try to eat something, stay hydrated and sleep and call her when contractions were about 5 minutes apart so she could come over. She thought my labor would go fairly quickly since I was already at 4 centimeters so she didn’t want me to wait too long to call. So off to sleep we went. Apparently, I was asleep in minutes and Paul tossed and turned and couldn’t sleep – so he went to research minivans some more.
Around 1:30 am, I woke up with painful contractions. They seemed closer together but I tried to rest a little longer. After 30 minutes of not being able to go back to sleep, I woke Paul up (or tried to wake Paul up) so he could help time my contractions. At first he said, “okay, that’s cool…” and rolled over and kept sleeping. I was like, “no, really, we need to time these!!!” He finally woke up. Sure enough, they were getting stronger and were about 5 minutes apart, sometimes four. I was still not positive this was it, but the stronger they got the more I knew it really was it!!! We called our parents who headed our way and Lisa who arrived around 2:30 am or so. By then I was about 2-3 minutes apart and certainly in strong discomfort – but still dealing well using our birth ball and pressure on my back, squatting and moving constantly. I could still talk through my contractions and was still grabbing last minute things to take to the hospital. Paul loaded the car and my mom arrived just as I was really starting to think we might need to head out to the hospital. I had a lot of pressure and contractions were coming pretty quickly. Although I had really wanted to wait until Darlene and Jim arrived so my mom could go to the hospital with us, they were still about 30 minutes away, and I decided we just needed to go. My mom stayed with Sebastian and we drove through the 3 traffic lights to get to the hospital.
We got checked into the hospital at 5 am. I was at 8 centimeters and they called the doctor to tell him it would be soon. Good thing because that’s when I hit the hardest part of the labor and I was so thankful to have Lisa there to coach me through the toughest contractions, especially when I was feeling the urge to push but there was no doctor yet! I think I got through this toughest part of labor telling myself how in minutes we would see our little boy and also that I could get through this contraction – because the next one would be harder, so this was an easy one! Way to play mind tricks on yourself right?! I had to stay on the bed laying/sitting because they had to monitor the baby for 20 minutes before I could move around again and it was agonizing! All I wanted to do was stand up or squat, but with Lisa’s help and breathing exercises I made it through. Luckily, this transition phase only lasted about 30 minutes, because after maybe 5 good pushes or so, Matteo was born at 5:49 am.
Although we had a birth plan with clear wishes for Matteo to be placed directly on me, to leave the umbilical cord attached until it stopped pulsating and to breastfeed immediately, there was meconium in my water when it broke at delivery, so he had to be taken over to the baby station in the room to have his lungs suctioned. Meconium is the baby’s first bowel movement and sometimes while pushing or if there is any stress on the baby they will pass some of it in utero. Then the baby breathes it in or swallows it and can lead to respiratory issues. Many times the baby has to go to the NICU if their breathing does not sound clear enough, but luckily, after being suctioned Matteo sounded pretty good. They let him stay in the room with us for 30 minutes and when they came back to check him he was all clear thank goodness. While he was with us, he nursed for the first time and he certainly knew what he was doing. We enjoyed the beautiful sunrise and enjoyed seeing our little boy.
Although I felt much better following the delivery than I did with Sebastian, there was still a variety of issues. For the second time, I lost a lot of blood – almost to the point of needing a transfusion – but thank goodness for some reason my vitals all stay pretty good. There were lots of very large clots and I had a few tears, but mostly where I had already torn with Sebastian. Because of all the blood loss, which they call post-partum hemorrhaging, they had to give me some pitocin to help my uterus contract and a shot of something else (can’t remember the name) to help with the bleeding. I was bummed to have to have an IV and get hooked up at that point, but I at least figured it wouldn’t affect Matteo much if at all at that point. Luckily, after an hour or so of nauseousness I felt much better and by 9 am they moved us to our post partum room.
We felt so lucky that we only had to stay in the hospital for the day on Monday and Tuesday. After the OB and Pediatrician rounds on Tuesday morning since both Matteo and I looked good they said we could go home! We were home by 7 pm on Tuesday. Yippie – then the fun really starts!
Everyone asks if it was incredibly painful or how I managed to do it without the drugs. I say, it just depends on each individual situation. I am proud and thrilled that it went as well and “easy” as it did for me this time and I was able to have the fully natural birth I’d really wanted. At the same time, I can’t say that I could’ve done it with our first or that I can do it with the next (if there is one!)
I am just thankful that I didn’t require any interventions – especially pitocin since it can make labor so much harder. I am also thankful that I didn’t have to be induced and that Matteo came when he was ready. I can see the difference in how I have felt and also in his reactions. Breastfeeding has gone better – still challenging, but better – this time around and I really do credit it to my body being truly ready for this major event. Yay for no formula! We will persevere this time and make it through as an exclusively breastfeeding pair. =)
I feel like I have learned so much about birth in the past two years. It’s something I’m passionate about so I know I’ll keep learning and reading about it and always look to do what’s best for our babies and for my body…essentially, do what my body was made to do. It is such a miracle! I could not have asked for a better or more beautiful birth experience. We were very blessed.