Kacia, you can never know what these photos mean to us. Thank you, thank you, thank you. You have a wonderful eye for birth photography and these photos of Sally’s birth speak for themselves.
Around 1:30 on Wednseday afternoon, my water broke with a tell tale gush just as I was getting Gracie out of the shower. Her little two year old face was shocked and nervous as she clapped a hand to her mouth and said, “uh oh, Mommy!” pointing to the puddle on our white tile floor. I’m sure my face was less shocked and nervous and more ecstatic as I had been totally over being pregnant for a few weeks already. I called our sweet friend and neighbor, arranged to have Lilly picked up from preschool and got on the phone with our midwife. We decided together that while I was still comfortable and not feeling many (if any) painful contractions that it was perfectly alright to hang out at home and relax until I felt things starting to progress, as long as I came in before 7:30p.m. Of course it didn’t take that long to get to the hospital. Once I told Brandon I was definitely in labor, he was on the phone with his parents and arranging to come home from work asap. If you don’t know already, we are a one car family so there are a few extra steps of coordination that need to happen when any change in the schedule takes place, especially in regards to rides. But in what felt like the blink of an eye, Daddy was home and Lilly and Gracie were screaming with excitement. My in-laws helped get everything ready to go at home- the big girls situated and our dog taken care of- and Brandon helped me pack up a few (ok a lot… ha!) of last minute things I wanted to bring to the hospital. Still not feeling anything painful, I was expecting a bit of a wait once I was checked in and wanted to be well prepared.
Brandon took a few last minute belly pictures of me and I wondered briefly if they were the last belly pictures I’d ever have. I wondered if these were truly the last moments of pregnancy in my life and it was actually sad. We don’t know the future of our family, but you never know really and those moments of wondering are ones I won’t soon forget. And Brandon won’t soon forget the fact that I totally forgot my camera and we had to turn around and go back home to get it, haha! Oops.
As soon as we got to Magee. around 5p.m. , I was taken back into triage where the midwife on call wanted to check to make sure my water had really broken. Trust me, lady, water definitely broke. When this was confirmed, the precise words used were “swampy cervix” which I will never in all my life forget. Brandon and I kind of died a little hearing this- if I hadn’t been laying in a puddle of fluid already I probably would have peed from laughing. Swampy cervix?! Really? I worked on my knitting project for awhile as Brandon and I laughed about the cookey midwife and dreamed out loud about our baby. What would our new life be like?
If before I was checked my pain was a 1 on a scale of 1-10, after I was checked it was around a 6. I was 6-7 cm dilated and 90% effaced. I initially thought I could wait awhile to get my epidural but around 7p.m. I was already ready for it. The contractions were really mounting and I was nervous I’d miss my window of opportunity. After a bad epidural experience last time around, I asked for this one to be done by the attending. I don’t know if this ended up being good or bad as he was teaching someone throughout the whole process and explained every detail of what he was doing. It seemed to take twice as long. But it definitely did it’s job and my abdomen was numb shortly thereafter. With both of my other epidurals, my ENTIRE lower body was completely numb. I couldn’t move or feel my legs or feet at all. With this epidural, my contractions were blissfully numbed but I could still feel and move my lower half. I’m not sure why- maybe because the epidural never had time to fully reach my lowest extremities, maybe because I never pushed the extra pain medicine release button… either way it was awesome 😉
As soon as I had my epidural, I settled in expecting to relax and hang out for awhile. But what I felt, quite honestly, was the need to poop and I told Brandon, “I either have to poop or I’m going to have this baby- get the nurse to check me.” While I was waiting to be checked I was texting Kacia- hoping and hoping she could get to us in time to capture the birth. I really really thought I had to poop (isn’t birth so glamorous?!) and thought when the nurse came she’d help me to the bathroom. But it was taking awhile for someone to come so I just hung out, chatting with Brandon. I called my Mom, told her I had the epidural, and she said something along the lines of, “Ok, so it could be awhile now for anything further to happen.”
Kacia came into the labor and delivery room with a flurry of happy and excited energy. Brandon and I were both happy to have her there, not just for photos, but to be able to share this experience with someone we loved and trusted was a really special thing. I’m not sure how other husbands feel, but I could almost feel his relief at my own excitement about having a girl friend there with me. It’s something I always wished could happen but my closest and best girl friends live across the state and couldn’t ever make it out to a birth. It was really special to have a friend there- almost like a sister- to share in all of the joy and excitement you can only really know as a woman and a mother.
I think I said, “I definitely need to poop” a few hundred more times and someone finally got the midwife to check me again (different midwife whom I completely loved). She checked me and immediately informed everyone that baby Sally was about to be born as she told me to reach down and feel my baby’s full head of hair, head coming out already! I was shocked. I remember a flurry of people rushing around and before I knew it I was given the go ahead to push. Once again I felt that glorious release of pressure as the pain I’d had in my back for so many months was immediately gone. I was so excited to meet my baby but still had that “what if this is the last time” thought in my head. While I was pushing I joked with Brandon that I was going to hold this baby in unless he promised me we could have another. But obviously babies cannot be held in and in a matter of moments the midwife was telling me to I could reach down and pull my baby girl out of my body. I had done this with Lilly and was thrilled to be able to do it again. There is nothing like that feeling of touching such a new life for the very first time. I pulled her to my chest as I cried and smiled, as Brandon squeezed my hand. I remember these moments so vividly. At 8:38p.m. Sally Lyn Dudt-Mulzet was born. Our new baby cried a healthy cry but she quieted down and blinked her eyes as I whispered teary words into her ears. One of the nurses stopped what she was doing and said, “What did you say to her?” and I remember her tiny hand wrapping around my finger and her other hand found my chin. A few moments later I cut her cord (Brandon is a bit squeamish around anything medical so I’ve cut all our baby’s cords) and we all laughed as our midwife admired it. She said it was a really healthy, thick, cord and we all stared at it for a moment. After I had delivered the placenta we admired that too- even Brandon- as the midwife flipped it over so we could see the “tree of life” veins that run along it’s length. I hadn’t gotten to see my other placenta’s (or cared to?) so this was a very neat first.
Our sweet baby, our third baby, was born into a room full of happy. After one hard and painful, then another scary and anxious birth, this one was so perfectly blissful. After needing too many stitches with both of my other births, I didn’t need ANY with this birth and my pain was negligible. Our midwife had helped me push slowly and deliberately, protecting me from tearing so badly as I had with Lilly and Grace. I would call my post labor discomfort more of soreness than actual pain. Brandon and I snuggled up with our sweet baby, holding her close, calling family and friends and sending pictures. We admired her new tiny self, touched her head full of hair, looked at her tiny feet. Sally latched on to nurse like she had done it before, and we settled in to knowing each other for the first time. It was amazing.
You can see even more of Sally’s birth over on Kacia’s birth post at coconutrobot.com.