Saturday, September 18, 2010

Alaine's Birth Story-- Part 4 of 4

(Part 1)
(Part 2)
(Part 3)

In which relief comes in the form of a baby!

Brian stayed close by during those long hours. He applied a hot washcloth to my neck and shoulders which helped immensely to relax me. He also gave me my coveted ice. I changed positions as often as I could, but I was in so much pain that I was afraid to try something that could put me in even more pain! I knew that if a contraction started, there was no moving until it was over. Still, labor continued. Around 10:20pm, Dana asked if she could check me to assess my progress and see what was holding back the urge to push. She told me to let her know when I was between contractions. I hardly knew what to tell her because there was virtually no break. I was almost in tears, telling Brian I didn’t think I could do it any longer…and then, I felt the twinge of the need to push so I did one little push. And then, it was uncontrollable.

I had begun to wonder how I would be able to push when managing the pain through each contraction was taking every bit of my strength, but as soon as I felt the urge, I forgot the pain and began the work of getting the baby out. After the first big push, Brian could see her full head of hair and said, “She’s almost here.” I remember thinking, “I just started pushing. Could it really be almost over?” With the next push, I could feel the burning and then relief as her head emerged. With one more effort, I felt the rest of her body born and Dana placed my little Alaine Claire on my chest at 10:32 pm. Within seconds of her birth, I had no pain. What incredible relief!

We decided to delay the clamping of the cord so Brian and I admired her new tiny body and kept her warm while waiting to deliver the placenta. However, like the rest of the process, the placenta wanted to take its time, too. I began nursing Alaine so the natural oxytocin could work to expel the placenta which delivered spontaneously and intact within a few minutes.  Around this time, Dana noticed some brisk bleeding so Angie gave me a shot of Pitocin in my thigh.

Though by this time, I had been awake for twenty-one hours, the birth caused a rush of adrenaline and I happily stayed awake to bond with my baby. She nursed like a champ from the beginning and then nestled in my arms to go to sleep. At 11:30, Angie asked if I was ready to have her weighed. Throughout the day, I had commented to Brian that I was expecting a tiny baby since she was arriving so early. I mentioned to him that I thought she would be our smallest for sure and probably very petite since the average 37 week baby is around six pounds. When she was placed on the scale, I was surprised to see she weighed 7 pounds, 8.5 ounces! (At a weight gain of ½-1 pound per week, she could have been 9-10 ½ pounds by 40 weeks!) By 2 am (and 24½ hours since waking the previous morning), exhaustion kicked in and I fell asleep with my new treasure in my arms. (Brian had succumbed a couple  hours before!)

When the kids came to visit the following day, Gavin gazed at Alaine and said, "Mama, now you you don't have to do that work anymore and have contractions."  All four of the children were so excited to meet their baby sister and kept saying, "She is even cuter than I imagined she could be." 

In contrast to delivery, recovery was a breeze. I had no tearing, no soreness or bruising, virtually no fatigue. The cramping I had during breastfeeding was minimal and I never needed any postpartum pain relief (though the nurses sure offered!). 

This, my fifth birth, was by far my hardest labor and delivery. And yet what remains foremost in my thoughts is the miracle of her lovely presence.

(Another note on the recovery process: Though the actual recovery was easy, I developed mastitis at 1 week postpartum.  When I started feeling achy one evening, I thought I had overdone it and simply needed to take it easy for the rest of the day.  However, when I noticed I was overly engorged and developed chills and fever, I knew I was dealing with a breast infection.  Antibiotics and Ibuprofen got me through a difficult couple of days, but eventually put me back in the land of baby bliss.)


  1. I'm so glad you finished your Alaine's birth story. I'v been waiting to read it. Your labor sounds a little like mine with Emahry,long & slow. Thankfully, there is a sweet reward at the end that makes us forget all the pain in the journey. :)

  2. I loved reading Alaine's arrival story. Great job mama!

  3. Great conclusion !!
    the part about you telling Brian "I didn’t think I could do it any longer"
    My midwife said to me that that is what all her moms say before its almost over ,I said that too .
    Funny isnt it?

  4. Its a wonderful story and I am so thankful for a safe and healthy delivery!!! :) Sorry to hear about you getting sick though. :( And you are so right, the nurses sure do push drugs! After my c-section I told the nurses I only wanted Motrin and they kept telling me to try and not be a Super Mom! HAHA! I wasn't trying to be a super mom or anything....just a safe momma! :)

  5. What a blessed relief it is when the baby arrives! I love those first hours of studying and loving on the baby. I'm so glad your recovery is going well.

  6. Thank you for sharing your story, it was a beautiful birth and I was happy to be a part of it.

  7. I've really enjoyed hearing your birth story. :) I'm thinking of you and praying the transition is going well...


  8. Wow, fast pushing stage! I wonder if this might happen to me someday after I have had a couple more children.

    Do they allow waterbirth at your birthing center or can you only labor in the tub and get out to push? At the hospital where I had my first, there was a wonderful tub in every room but very few women got a chance to use them. They never would've allowed a waterbirth. Your midwife sounds nice!

    I love that first photo of Alaine. She has the sweetest face and I think babies are especially beautiful still covered in vernix.

  9. Actually, I have had very fast pushing stages on all 5 of my births. With Gavin (my first), I think I pushed for less than 20 minutes and other four were probably less than 10 minutes. Still, it surprises me every time at fast it goes.

    It is assumed you will get out of the tub for the pushing stage and when Benjamin was born, I wanted to get out around that time. However with this birth, there is no way that I would have been in the frame of mind to get up, climb out of the tub, and move to a different location to push!

  10. Long labors are awful, but the end result is great. Hooray for a short pushing session and a quick recovery. Alaine is beautiful!

  11. Worth waiting for! Wow, I wonder what made this one more difficult than the others? Labor is a funny thing! Did you do RRLT this time? I had AWFUL afterpains with Maddie and I'm going to start that soon, I really want to avoid that this time.

  12. No, I did not do the tea, though I have some and intended to use it. I just never did. :-( The afterpains just didn't bother me. I had some when I would nurse for the first few days, but they were very manageable. The nurses acted surprised, but I was fine.

  13. Congratulations and thank you for sharing your birth story! Although, I have to admit, you did such a good job describing what you felt during the last part of your labor, (it could have been my own words describing my labors!) that it reminded me why four is enough for me!


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