Asher Lee's Birth Story
I am in baby land right now. I’m concentrating hard on recovering from childbirth and overcoming jaundice in the baby and building up my milk supply, so I haven’t had time to write a blog for today. But I thought I could at least tell you about Asher Lee’s birth story. He is sleeping on Daddy’s chest right now and hopefully he holds on long enough for me to get it down!
We live a 1.5 hour drive from the hospital, so when my water broke at 2:30 am on Thursday, we got out of the house as quickly as we could. It’s kind of a funny story. I had been fighting a nasty cold and coughing all night long. Suddenly I woke myself up coughing and thought that I had peed myself. So I got up and change my underwear and laid back down and coughed again and realize that my water had broken. My five-year-old had just gotten up to go to the bathroom and I told him my water had broken so he went and woke up all his siblings. There were a few more things we needed to get together before we left, but we probably got out of there around 3:15.
I was only having mild contractions and my husband had a very high blood sugar (he is a type 1 diabetic), So I actually insisted on driving and he let me. The kids were very excited. My three-year-old was especially adorable. He was commenting on every sign and every light that he saw And telling me what each one meant. He sits behind the driver’s seat. I was soaking up these moments of him being the youngest for a little while longer.
When we got to the hospital I stepped out of the car and there was a huge gush of fluid, which I was happy to see because my labor with my third started with my water breaking only a little bit and that was believed to have really slowed down my progress.
Contractions were still mild, so they took me to the triage and hooked me up to the monitors. They also did an ultrasound to make sure baby was head down, and he was. I was able to express my desire to avoid or at least put off Pitocin as long as possible. The midwife was understanding of my desire, but she did have to have a talk about statistics and how she would recommend Pitocin.
I told her that I would consider Pitocin perhaps after 12 hours, but more likely I would want to wait until 24 hours after my water had broken.
It was a long day. Contractions progressed very very slowly. We spent the day walking around the hospital, resting, and repeating. They wanted to hook me up to the monitors every hour and take my temperature to make sure that I didn’t have an infection. That was inconvenient and annoying, every hour seemed unnecessary to me, but I was thankful that I was not being pressured to have Pitocin yet. Baby and I were both doing great. I really felt like God was telling me that Asher was going to have a gentle birth.
The kids were having a blast with their Grami. They were eating out, shopping, and swimming at the hotel. My husband was still battling high blood sugars, which often happens when he’s excited or stressed. So I was glad he had a chance to rest during the day.
In the evening the midwife came by again and asked me when I would consider doing Pitocin. I said that maybe around 11 o’clock. The contractions started to get a little stronger. Not intense, but they took more concentration to breathe through. The midwife came to check me around 11. She had not done an internal exam yet because it increases the chance of infection. When she checked me I was 4-5 cm dilated, 80% effaced, and the baby’s head was at zero station. So I was halfway there!
When she gave me the exam she stripped my cervix, and that really made things start rolling. My legs started shaking, which always happens during transition. The contractions went from ones that I could breathe through to longer ones that I had to moan my way through. I also needed my husband to push on my lower back during each contraction to help with the back labor. My husband was frantically trying to get the kids to the hospital so they can see their brother’s birth, but Grami could not wake them up. They were completely passed out at the hotel and as soon as she would get one awake he or she would fall asleep while she was trying to get the others awake.
All the doubts that I had about whether or not I could handle this labor were there. In spite of my husband and mom’s support, I was fighting an internal battle with every contraction. I only had 3 hours of hard labor, but it was so hard! I kept thinking that anyone who would go through this was crazy. It was like I had forgotten that I had done this four times before. I don’t know if it was so hard because I was having additional pain from my hernias or it was just because I had such a terrible attitude about it or both.
Everyone else thought I did a great job. They didn’t see the internal battle. I started thinking more positively to myself eventually. I thought of each of my other children and how I did it for each of them and I could do it again. During the contractions I visualized opening my cervix to let my baby out. As each contraction burned through me, I thought of amazing fireworks that were announcing his birth. When I visualized this I heard my own voice saying “Asher!” and my 8 and 5 year olds yelling “Wow!” like they did for each firework we watched on the Fourth of July.
I think I only had about six or seven pushing contractions. The lower the baby’s head got, the more my hernias hurt. When his head was just about delivered the midwife told me to slow down. I’m not sure why, maybe she thought she would need to guide the shoulders out? Anyway, there was no way I was stopping with my hernias burning like that, so I pushed throughout that one long contraction. He was delivered at 2:01 am, 23.5 hours after my water broke.
Once I was holding my baby, I was a completely different person. He was so beautiful and healthy. I couldn’t believe he was mine. I don’t know if I would ever be able to have another baby and I was just hit with how awesome it was to be holding this new person in my arms. I thanked God for giving me this baby. I thanked my husband, too.
Asher is a big boy! He weighed 9 lbs. 12 oz. at birth. He is 21 inches long. I expected him to be long but I do not expect him to be that heavy because I only gained about 17 pounds during the pregnancy. We were doing so well postpartum that we came home from the hospital the next day.
If I had received Pitocin earlier in the day, he may have been born sooner. Or it may just have made the early labor miserable. I was thankful for how things turned out and that I had been respected enough to make educated decisions about my healthcare.