05 February 2011 @ 11:59 am
Daniel's birth story  

Daniel's first cry
January 9, 2011

Mike took some beautiful photos of our son's first moments, and I'm excited to share them with you. Here is Daniel's birth story.

Daniel was due on January 3rd, and he was late. On Friday, January 7th, I woke up to mild contractions. They were irregular and not too uncomfortable, and continued off and on all day Friday and Saturday. Saturday night, I got about an hour of sleep before the contractions got too intense. By 3am, they were about 4-5 minutes apart and I was whimpering from the pain. We called the doctor at 3:15am and she told us it was time to go to the hospital.

We arrived at the hospital at 3:45am on Sunday, January 9th, 2011. I’d expected to be in complete agony during the car ride to the hospital, but I was calm and kept my sense of humor during that nighttime ride. Even Mike commented on how relaxed I was. The pain wasn’t nearly as bad as I’d expected, and I tried not to be nervous.

In triage, they connected me to the monitor and couldn’t detect any of my contractions. I was so frustrated about that! The contractions were getting more painful, especially in my lower back, and they couldn’t see a thing on the monitor. It got worse as the nurse made me lie in a painful position that hurt my back so much that I was near tears. That time was the most pain that I felt during the entire labor and delivery process. I expected it would just keep getting worse, but I didn’t know that I was already surviving the hardest part of the day.

We were in triage for at least an hour before the nurse called my doctor. I was scared that they’d send me home, saying that real labor hadn’t begun yet, even though I knew that it had. I was so relieved when the nurse came back to us and said that the doctor wanted me to stay. I was 41 weeks pregnant, three centimeters dilated, and if I said I was having contractions, she believed me. It was time for me to have a baby.

They admitted us to our own labor and delivery room around 5am. Eventually the nurses figured out that I was having back labor, which is why the monitor on my upper abdomen couldn't detect the contractions. They gave me a different kind of monitor, and sure enough, my contractions were escalating.

At 7:30am, I asked for the anesthesiologist. He arrived quickly, and was reassuring and kept me calm. I sat up and followed his directions, but I was terrified about having that needle injected into my spine. Mike sat in front of me, held my hand, and said all the right things. He was a wonderful partner throughout the day, and I especially appreciated how he kept me so calm during the epidural. The insertion of the epidural took about five minutes, and it wasn’t bad at all. I was a little worried that the epidural might go wrong, but within a few minutes, I started to feel fantastic. The anxiety was gone, and I just felt relaxed and happy, almost drunk.

I lay in that bed on my back, propped slightly on one side by pillows and blankets, for the next six hours. I enjoyed that time of rest, and didn’t even feel bored as I lay peacefully in the bed. I was completely chilled out and happy. I watched the monitor to see the intensity and frequency of my contractions increasing, but I couldn’t feel any of it. Occasionally I’d feel my stomach tightening as I contracted, but there was no pain. I could move my legs and feel people touch them – basically I could feel everything except for discomfort. Epidurals are wonders of science!

Around 1:00pm, a friendly nurses came in to chat with us for a while. All the while, unknown to me, I was in transition, which is considered one of the most difficult parts of labor. I had just spent spent transition chatting leisurely with a nurse about travel in Australia. At 1:45, the doctor checked my cervix and announced with surprise that I was at least 8cm and dilating quickly! She said it was time to push. I was shocked.

Pushing wasn’t nearly as difficult as I expected, and I'm shocked to say that I actually enjoyed it. I was feeling no pain, only pressure. Mike held one of my legs and cradled my head with every push. I watched the whole process with a mirror, and I think that mirror really helped me focus and recognize successful pushes. Because I had no pain, I was alert, happy, and excited to meet the baby. Mike was calm and cheerful, despite having every reason to be squeamish instead. He was wonderful throughout the whole labor and delivery process.

At 2:13pm, after half an hour of pushing, Daniel’s head appeared. With one more push, he was entirely out. Mike and I were stunned to see him. I don’t even know if I could describe the how I felt at that moment. Happiness? Relief? Pride? Disbelief? Shock? Elation? Love at first sight? When they put the baby in my arms, I was overcome with the most intense joy I could ever imagine. I wept. He was finally here. Life doesn't get any better than this.

bagira on February 5th, 2011 05:19 pm (UTC)
Thank you for posting your positive labor story! It's encouraging to hear about women having good experiences in labor!
heatherp8 on February 5th, 2011 05:20 pm (UTC)
Oh, Charlotte - I'm so very happy for you!
Your lovely story and pix brought me to tears.
There's absolutely nothing on this earth as profound as the rush of love and elation a Mother experiences on seeing her child for the first time.
Thank you for sharing these precious moments!
Blessings to you all.
rachaeldoss on February 5th, 2011 06:50 pm (UTC)
So glad you had a great experience.

I, too, found that watching my pushes in a mirror helped. I didn't want to look, but Ben said that my pushing got much better when I did. And honestly - even without having an epidural I can echo your sentiments of that pushing feeling being more about pressure than pain...after the double peak contractions I had with transition, the pushing felt almost like a good sneeze. LOL

He's beautiful. You did a great job. Congratulations again :-)
legal_beagle555 on February 5th, 2011 08:36 pm (UTC)
Congrats again Char!!!
He's so adorable- and he definitely has his mommy's chin :-)

As I was reading this, I was thinking 1) how beautiful this new chapter in your life is and 2) how wonderful it has been to be able to follow you in livejournal, facebook etc for more than 10 years! Your outlook and posts are always so positive. I'm looking forward to seeing more photos of weddings in DC and your family.
rini on February 5th, 2011 09:40 pm (UTC)
Thank you for sharing that! What a wonderful birth story! I'm glad everything went so well!
natacha on February 5th, 2011 10:40 pm (UTC)
You are all so beautiful!!! Congratulations to the whole family!
halfawakemoon on February 5th, 2011 11:16 pm (UTC)
I am just so amazed!! I still have tears down my cheeks! You and you family are so beautiful... thank you SO much for sharing such an intimate chapter of your life!
wait on February 5th, 2011 11:53 pm (UTC)
Love the feets.
Beautiful. And go you, pushing that baby out in record time.
jadesymb on February 6th, 2011 12:00 am (UTC)
Wonderful, thank you so much for sharing! He is adorable!
itsjustsomegirl on February 6th, 2011 01:06 am (UTC)
Beautiful story, Charlotte! And I'm so glad to hear of a good experience with labor! I hope to say the same when I have kids :) xoxo
olisko on February 6th, 2011 12:14 pm (UTC)
Thank you for sharing this story and the beautiful breath-taking pictures. Someone once said the moment a mother meets her child is holy. I couldn't agree more. The pictures really depict that.
lidi_photos on February 6th, 2011 04:55 pm (UTC)
Aww, this is beautiful and divine!
Thank you so much for sharing this precious moment!
margotheangel on February 6th, 2011 08:37 pm (UTC)
Thanks for sharing - I especially enjoyed hearing how supportive Mike was. You're very lucky to have each other - and now Daniel's lucky, too!

Personally, the photo that caught my eye the most was the picture of the wrinkly bottoms of his feet!
niksara on February 7th, 2011 07:37 am (UTC)
this is truly amazing.
empty_branch on February 8th, 2011 06:33 am (UTC)
Congratulations Charlotte!! I love the picture with his little wrinkly feet in focus :)
operatic on February 8th, 2011 05:56 pm (UTC)
Yay!! :) Congrats again, y'all!! :)
kajuka on February 9th, 2011 08:56 am (UTC)
Congratulations!!!!! And thank you for the courage to share your story! - I neve managed to make my LJ as personal and open as yours! Grow up healthy and strong! All the best wishes!!! :)))