Birth Story

We hit 38 weeks on August 22nd. On Friday August 23rd, as I was readying to leave the house to do groceries an hour away, I found that I had my bloody show. I declined doing groceries and immediately told Papa that we had to go for a long walk with Vampir and Fang the following morning so I can try to help labor along if it was coming. Saturday morning came and I awoke at 5:32 in the morning with abdominal and lower back pain. I had us continue with our plans and our family drove to Haley Farm for our walk with the dogs. We walked and walked. More than an hour had passed of throwing the buoy with our dogs down the long trail and no contractions had come. We went home and I noticed the pains were coming in waves- they'd strengthen and weaken. None of them felt consistent, but I knew if they were coming in waves, it had to be a sign you were coming.

I don't quite remember what else we did that day, but I know we ran a couple errands before we decided to sit and wait at home. Papa and I were watching TV, the dogs were relaxing, and I was laboring on the exercise ball. When contractions became consistently 3-4 minutes apart, Papa, the dogs, and I went upstairs to Papa and I's bedroom. We filled the bathtub in the master bathroom. Papa and the dogs stayed with me while I listened to my Natal Hypnotherapy CD to labor. When contractions were finally 1.5-2 minutes apart, I told Papa it was time to leave for the hospital.

We arrived and they had me wheeled up to be checked into the Labor & Delivery wing. They monitored my contractions and your heart. Dr. Watson finally came in to see how far my cervix was- we were 4cm dilated and fully effaced! After my monitoring finished, they moved me to our own L&D room. Because I wanted to labor naturally, I asked to be intermittently monitored so I could be mobile. We walked around the L&D wing for half an hour or so before you and I were monitored for 20 minutes in bed. Then I tried laboring in the shower and on the birthing ball- the shower hadn't helped as much as I thought and I felt the ball made my labor pains worse. When they monitored you and I a second time, I decided to continue my laboring in bed. Our two nurses were genuinely amazed with me, saying things like "You are rocking this" with a jaw-dropped face, and "Labor does not get any easier than this. You are making it look as easy as it gets." With my poor pain tolerance and the nurses being so impressed, I felt that there was no way I was doing that well and was closed to pushing; that maybe I was only 5cm or 6cm dilated. So I gave myself a time frame- make it to 22:30 and then ask for the epidural.

I hadn't known that they give patients a pint of IV prior to administering an epidural, and so at 22:30, it would be an hour before that pint was into my body and I would see an anesthesiologist. By then, contractions were 1-1.5 minutes apart. Shortly after 23:30, I was given the epidural. Surprisingly, the position I was in during the epidural eased the labor pains well. I felt the epidural work quickly. It took me nearly an hour to fall asleep, but I managed to do it. I think I napped for an hour. I suppose my body didn't care for the epidural because though I shouldn't feel any movement of my body whatsoever, I felt 4 fluid motions of what seemed like you sliding down my birth canal. Even with an extra smaller dose of epidural given, I could tell when I was having a contraction. I would ask the nurse if I was contracting at the moment and she said I was. It was great still being able to push on instinct without the external guide. The nurse had checked where you were and you were just under my skin. She allowed me to try pushing on my own and because my push showed progress, she set up my bed and called Dr. Watson in so we could continue.

Papa and the nurse really wanted me to see what was happening so I used a mirror- something I never thought I would do for birth. It was such a great visual to see my effort's output. Two or three pushes got you crowning; I felt all the pressure from your head. I so terribly wanted to push, but I knew my body wasn't in a contraction yet. When I felt ready, one small push had you out- no pushing past your head, shoulders, or your body. You went from crowning to being born in one fell swoop. It was so quick I thought I was given an episiotomy! We heard you cry immediately.

They placed you directly on my bare chest after I pushed you out, just like I requested. I thought you would look all crazy lizard-like as all newborns seem to, but you didn't- you were so beautiful. I don't think Papa and I have ever seen anything more perfect. I then asked if I could initiate feeding you and Nurse Leigh Anne helped me. You latched quickly and well, and so we stayed like that for a while longer. Then the staff had to take my vitals and so Nurse Leigh Anne asked Papa if he would like to hold you. Papa's face was unforgettable! I don't even think he realized his hand was reaching behind him for a chair to fall on. You were the first child Papa's ever held. He was terrified, but he was happy.

Valentina Dorothy Lilith Perez
Sunday, August 25, 2013 at 2:36am
Weighing 7lbs 1oz at 18.5in long
Absolutely Perfect

Papa and I are very humbled to know this boundless love; all thanks to you, baby girl.

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