Birth Story: Desmond
It’s interesting trying to recount labor and delivery the second time around. I’m still in awe that I’ve done this twice and am now the proud mama of two sweet boys. It’s only been 11 days, so I guess I’m allowed to still be reeling.
If you’re caught up around here, you’ll remember that on Wednesday October 5th I had a small incident that landed me in the hospital for 20 hours. Everything was fine, but protocol was extended monitoring of both myself and baby to be certain. On Friday I went in for a follow up with my OB as well as my regular weekly appointment. Baby still sounded great and I had progressed to about 4cm, 50% effaced. To me that was “nothing” since I walked around at 4cm for 2 weeks before active labor kicked in with Malakai. I knew very well not to get my hopes up over a little progress since my body seems to like to hang out in early labor for weeks. Dr. M told me to just go into labor that weekend since she’d be on call, also because she’d then be gone the following 3 days. Obviously my body didn’t listen.
On the night of Sunday October 9th I woke up to a few uncomfortable contractions here and there but was able to go back to sleep. I didn’t really think much of it and thanks to Kai I was able to sleep in til almost 8:30 that morning (normal wake up time is 6:30am). God knew I needed my strength! At about 11:30 am I was feeling some stronger contractions coming in waves about every 10-15 minutes. They weren’t too regular at first, but intense enough to make me wonder. I decided to put on a movie for Malakai so I could lay down on the couch and see if labor progressed or slowed. I texted Ben to let him know what was going on and that I’d keep him posted. I also asked him to assure me that if I was in labor that it didn’t matter that my doctor was out.
At 12:15 I had a very intense contraction while lying down. I got up and while they got closer together they got a little more mild but by 12:30 they were every 3 minutes and coming on stronger. I called Ben but told him I was hesitant to have him come home since I hadn’t been having contractions for very long. He had already missed work for the previous week’s incident and we wanted to save up vacation time for after Desmond arrived. He suggested I wait another 15 minutes or so. After two very intense contractions I called him 6 minutes later and said “It’s go time!”. So he started towards home which takes between 20-30 minutes depending on traffic.
Meanwhile I had started cleaning house to ensure that we wouldn’t come home to a mess. It didn’t take much as Ben and I had been doing a lot of deep cleaning and organizing the previous weekend. I unloaded, reloaded, and ran the dishwasher. Sorted and washed a load of Kai’s laundry as he was out of pj’s, cleared a bunch of clutter out of our living room, swept and wiped down the kitchen and family room and packed last minute things for our hospital bag. All the while pausing to sway and breathe through contractions about every 2-3 minutes. I was writing the times down because my ipod with the contraction application had died. Apparently I’m a crazy person. Looking back, I can hardly believe I actually did all that as I labored.
Ben got home a little after 1pm. He was expecting my mom to be there and for me to be ready to go to the hospital. I hadn’t even called my mom yet and Kai still needed to be put down for his nap. So Ben worked on getting big brother to sleep and I called my mom to let her know she could make her way over, but there was no rush. I really wanted to labor at home some and not be at the hospital forever. I also wanted Malakai to be napping since he doesn’t go to sleep well for others. He was really protesting his nap, I’m sure he could tell there was something going on. It was after 2pm by the time he was snoozing and we were ready to get out the door. At about that time I was starting to feel some pain in my back with each contraction. I casually mentioned to my mom that I was hoping not to have back labor.
We got checked out in triage at the hospital and I had progress from 4cm and 50% that Friday to 5cm and 90% effaced. The monitors showed my contractions coming strong and often and the nurse called to get us a room in Labor + Delivery, calling me “a keeper” which was music to my ears after having been sent home from there too many times before.
At about 3pm the L+D nurse hooked me up to monitors again in our room for a bit while she went through the admission information. She was explaining everything she did to the other nurse, I could tell she was training her. I think I would have been irritated if labor were the same as it had been with Malakai but this time around I actually got rest in between the contractions and was in good spirits. I was much more focused and I was talking myself up positively as much as I could. I kept telling Ben “I can do this, I am so good at this” which sounds funny, but really helped me.
Once they finished with admission and monitoring I got unhooked and immediately took advantage of the jacuzzi tub. I was still having some intense back pain through each contraction, so Ben would press hard inward on my hips to help relieve the pain each time. At every two minutes, you could imagine his wrists were getting sore, but he powered through and was incredible the whole time.
Since I was able to talk and relax between contractions I decided I could eat something. Who knew how long we’d be there and I wanted to make sure to eat something since I didn’t really have lunch. I was so hungry that I wanted to order just about everything on the menu but Ben wouldn’t let me order anything heavy. I was kinda bummed but knew he was right about skipping the chicken strips. I got a turkey sandwich and ate half of it between contractions. Little did I know that I would deliver before dinner!
I got out of the tub before I got too warm, which was key since last time I got entirely too hot and then way too cold. I labored on a birthing ball and began to feel some pressure, so the nurse decided to check my progress. 8cm! It had only been an hour and I progressed 3cm. The nurse told me she’d be calling the on-call doc as I could easily go from an 8 to pushing within 15 minutes. I wish that had been the case!
The doctor arrived shortly after and checked my progress again. She said I was at a 9 but if I felt like pushing with the contractions I could and it may help me progress the last little bit. She also broke my water around 5pm. I pushed some in a squatting position but it surely didn’t feel as though I was making progress and the back pain was getting to my legs. Both the nurse and doctor said that I was stalling and having pains because baby hadn’t turned all the way for delivery. Bearing down through contractions could help that, as well as changing my position. I lay on my side through a few but Ben couldn’t push on my hips to help with the back labor, which was notably more intense. After another check and changing of positions someone suggested my hands and knees so we tried that through a few until I became so exhausted that I had to lay down. I landed on my left hip with one leg up on the squat bar and suddenly that did the trick and I was pushing Desmond out. The pain and the pressure were intense, Ben said I held my breath so long while pushing that I turned purple at one point. It felt like forever but I had 2 nurses, the doctor and Ben cheering me on that he was coming and that I was getting him here so I kept going despite feeling (and saying) that I couldn’t do it. My body was exhausted and the fatigue was more of a road block than the pain. It felt like forever between hearing that he was crowning, to having his head out and then another forever for the rest of him, which was very different than my previous experience.
At 6:12pm after only 7 hours of active labor, Desmond Lee Pottorf was born. Someone told me to reach down to pull him up which was confusing since I was laying on my side. Then I suddenly had a very dark haired and scrunchie faced baby boy on my chest, Ben was smiling wide, and we were both laughing out of pure joy. We stayed that way for an hour as the nurses and doctor cleaned up and prepped me for stitches and got the room ready for Desmond’s first bath and my getting to eat the dinner that had just arrived. God bless that nurse for thinking ahead and taking our order before the kitchen closed. She was experienced enough to know that it was going to happen fast!
Before cleaning us all off Desmond fed for the first time and did wonderfully. Then Ben gave him his first bath, the nurse commended him for being so at ease through the whole process. I’m sure he didn’t feel that confident the first time around, but he was wonderful. Once I showered and we ate dinner they moved us to the Mother/bBaby Unit of the hospital.
Around 9pm my mom brought Malakai to meet his little brother for the first time. He was super sweet and gentle. He rubbed his hair a little, said baby brother and called his hair purple. Then he immediately climbed up on the couch and asked to watch tv.
Next my parents and siblings came to meet him and shortly after Ben’s mom came over. She works in the NICU of the hospital and had been eagerly waiting for Kai to meet him before coming over. It got late quickly so everyone left around 10:30, including Ben. He went home to put Kai to bed and then return to stay the night with Desmond and I in the hospital. My mom and brother stayed at our house with Malakai. It was comforting to know that Kai was going to get some of his regular bedtime routine with daddy to help ease the transition and the crazy day we’d all had.
I barely slept that night, partially because Des was up frequently to breastfeed and also because hospitals are just incredibly uncomfortable. My bed had some sort of air compression mattress so every time I moved it revved up like it was about to take flight.
Early the next morning we texted friends + family with the news and had a few visitors. We had let the nurses know we wanted to check out as soon as possible. Both my doctor’s office and the pediatrician’s office had docs there fairly early to discharge Desmond + I. Then we just had to wait for the PKU, hearing test, and discharge paperwork to get out of there. We left just after noon, making our entire stay less than 24 hours.
I was so happy to get out of there and get home with all three of my handsome boys. We’ve been enjoying Ben’s paternity leave which is over all too soon next Monday. It’s been a great time of bonding and transition for all of us. Desmond has been a very eager eater and good sleeper. When we left the hospital he had lost about an ounce of weight, by his 3 day weigh in he weighed a fraction of an ounce more than his birth weight which was 7 lbs. 5oz. Wednesday at his circ appointment he weighed in at 8lbs 10oz. Yes, I have a chubby newborn! I’m just thankful my babies gain their weight fast after birth!
Thank you for all the inquiries and well wishes. Thanks also to all our friends + family that have been bringing us dinners since our return home. It has been BEYOND helpful to not have to think about dinner as we settle in and adjust to far less sleep.
I’ll do my best to update here as often as possible as I surely want to keep record of the new and adorable things both of my sons are doing. But I am anticipating my posts to be shorter and farther between as I soak up the precious moments.