Thursday, March 3, 2011

Ezra Amos Finnegan's Birth Story

The day before Ezra Amos was born (February 15th) was the first day Cambria went to her temporary day care which was set up when I was put on bed rest due to my end of pregnancy high blood pressure.  Our friend Erin's mother watches kids in her home and was kind enough to agree to watch Cambria for us.  After seeing Cambria off that morning (my mom dropped her off on her way to school) I went back to sleep until about 10.  Thinking back now, it's probably a good thing I was able to get those few extra hours of sleep because I was certainly not going to be getting any sleep that night.  I spent the day watching some tv, surfing the internet for house stuff and cloth diapers, writing a blog post, and taking a shower (something I hadn't been able to do as often as I wanted because of the bed rest).  For some reason, after getting out of the shower, I took several pictures of my belly.  Now I'm really glad I did because I have lots of belly pictures that were taken just hours before my son was born.  
The belly that was soon-to-be no more.
My mom arrived home with Cambria around 4:30 or so.  Cambria told me about her day and my mom and I sat (me laying of course) around talking for a good hour or so.  This is the first time I can remember saying something about what I thought were Braxton Hicks contractions.  I told my mom that I had felt several just that hour and they seemed to hurt a little more than usual and I was feeling them in my back.  I didn't really think much of them at this point and I guess my mom didn't either.  My midwife told me earlier in my pregnancy that false labor happens more frequently after your first pregnancy, I think I figured that's what it was.  I continued feeling the contractions but was hardly paying attention to them at this point.  Kyle got home around 6 or so.  Shortly after he got home I think I mentioned that I was feeling a lot of Braxton Hicks and that my back was achy.  He didn't seem to think that anything was going on either.  I think we were all just in denial or something?!?  So around 7:30 me, Kyle and Cambria all made our way upstairs to where our room was.  At this point I started picking up things around the room and that combined with walking up the stairs really started to rev up the contractions.  Nothing too intense or extremtly painful like ALL my contractions were with Cambria, but I definitely took notice.  I let Kyle know and we decided that maybe we should pack our bags, just in case.  Yes, we hadn't packed any bags at this point because we are procrastinators.  I think the only reason Kyle and I both didn't believe I was in labor was because this was not how my labor had started with Cambria.  My labor with her was a short 5-5 1/2 hours and it was an extremely painful and stressful experience for me from the get go.  I assumed my second labor would be similar and so I didn't think anything could really be happening.  I was wrong. 

After Cambria's bath, we all went downstairs and she said goodnight to everyone and then Kyle put her to sleep.  We were lounging on the couch talking and watching t.v. and around 9:45 I decided that my contractions were getting a little more intense and I should probably start timing them so I could see if they were coming at any sort of regular interval.  I quickly realized I was having a contraction every 8-10 minutes that was lasting at least a minute long.  I did not even realize they were that long or regular before I started writing them down.  It started to make me nervous and really made me question whether or not this was indeed false labor or the real thing.  I think Kyle went to bed around 11 or 11:30 and just told me to wake him up if I needed him.  The contractions were still coming on strong but seemed to be getting closer together, probably like 7 minutes apart at this point.  Around 12:30 I went upstairs to try and lay down but the contractions were too intense to sleep through.  This should have been an obvious red flag but I still did not think I was in labor.  I went back downstairs and started recording my contractions again while looking at baby names on my laptop.  I did this for about 3 hours.  Around 3:30 I realized that my contractions were getting intense and I was no longer able to just sit still through them.  I was rolling around on the couch at 3 in the morning by myself in the dark trying to find comfortable positions.  It was probably a funny sight. When I started moaning during one of the contractions I knew it was probably time to wake Kyle.  I went upstairs and said something like "Kyle, my contractions hurt pretty bad now."  If you can believe it, I still was not 100% sure I was in labor and Kyle wasn't freaking out or anything either.  We went downstairs and when Kyle saw how intense my contractions were I think he and I both started to think I was in labor.  My mom heard us out in the living room and came out to see what was up.  She was pretty surprised that I was in labor, just as we were.  At 4 we finally called the midwife.  At this point my contractions were still 6-7 minutes apart but lasting well over a minute.  Nancy instructed me to get in the tub to use the warm water to help ease the pain and to see what it did for my labor.   We were to call her back when they were 5 minutes apart and strong.  

We went upstairs and I got in the tub.  This was when my labor took off.  Right when I got in I started having very intense contractions every 3 or 4 minutes lasting well over a minute.  My mental state at this point was so very different than my labor with Cambria.  In between contractions and even during I felt so calm and in control.  I knew I would have a contraction but then there would be rest and I kept reminding myself of this fact.  I felt completely aware of what was happening around me and I felt confident with what I was doing.  I was even talking to Kyle and laughing!!!  I joked that I felt like I was acting drunk because of what I was saying to Kyle.  I felt almost giddy or something, it was weird.  With Cambria I could hardly walk and could not talk to anyone so my calm and collected mental state was awesome.   Kyle called my midwife Nancy back and we all agreed to head to the birthing center.  I was excited Nancy was on call that night because she was the one who delivered Cambria and I was very happy with my experience with her.  
Kyle ran around the house like a mad man trying to get everything together we needed while I lay on our bed trying to handle the painful and intense contractions.  Cambria was sleeping in that same room and didn't move a muscle even though I was moaning pretty loud.  Before heading downstairs to leave I kissed her bye and got a little teary-eyed thinking about the fact that the next time I would see her she would have a sibling.  Kyle took this picture of me as we were walking out the door.  
I was just starting to get a contraction when he took this.  Little did I know, I was probably 8 cm dilated at this point.
The car ride to the birthing center sucked.  Experiencing the transition phase (the part of labor when you transition into pushing) was extremely uncomfortable in a car.  I was tossing and turning trying to get comfortable, it wasn't really working.  When we got on 95 Kyle started going like 90 and put his flashers on.  I told him it wasn't necessary (it was).   On the ride there Kyle called his family to let them know we were headed to the birthing center.  When we finally(!) arrived at a few minutes past 6 it took me a couple contractions to actually get on the table so Nancy could check me.  Right when she did she looked up and said "well, you just love doing this to me don't you, you're 9 cm!"  Honestly I wasn't really surprised by this because I knew I had to be getting close to pushing judging by how close and intense my contractions were.  I DID feel like I was experiencing a total deja vu.  We arrived at almost the same time and in the same manor as we had when I was in labor with Cambria.  Nancy checked me, we headed down the hall where I weighed myself, then we made our way to the same bed I gave birth to Cambria on.  Nancy checked my pressure and it was 124/70!! She told me I could do the water birth if I wanted only if another person (nurse or midwife) arrived before the baby was ready to come.  She can't deliver a baby in the water on her own.  

Nancy was running around getting everything ready while I lay on the bed with Kyle working hard through the contractions.  We both put on bathing suits (him shorts and me a tankini) thinking I was going to be able to deliver in the water.  My mom arrived within a few minutes and by that time I was ready to push.  This picture was taken just a few minutes before I started pushing.  I cannot believe how calm and focused I was able to be.  I felt so in control of my body and that felt wonderful.  Last time I was in this psychotic state where I could not focus on anything that was going on around me, I could only focus on the pain.  This time around my mind felt stable and I was thinking clearly.  
Getting ready to push.
Nancy broke my water and everyone got into their spots.  No one else had arrived so we all knew I once again wasn't going to be able to have my water birth.  At this point my terrifying pushing experience (1 1/2 hours of pushing) from last time came rushing back into my head.  Let me just say- PUSHING, TO ME, IS THE ABSOLUTE WORST PART OF LABOR.  I hate it.  You push and push and can't tell you are doing anything.  You have contractions and on top of those you are trying to push something out of your body that is waaaaay bigger than the space it is traveling through. It burns.  It really hurts and I am terrified of the "urge to push."  If I ever get pregnant again I will dread having to push that baby out.  When my first push was a really weak and crappy one Nancy knew she needed to motivate me.  She said two things that still stick out in my mind.  "Your baby's head is being squeezed in there and you need to push it out" and "Come on Brandie, you are a better mother than that push, you need to push your baby out now!" Kyle motivated me by telling me to remember how hard running can be at times but that  I always get through it and that's all I needed to do now.  Both of these things really struck a cord with me and helped me push Ezra out in only 3 or 4 pushes.  I pushed once and not much happened.  On my second push you could see his head.  Then on the 3rd or 4th push he was out.  We had wanted my mom to take pictures but she had to hold my leg because the nurse hadn't arrived yet.  When Ezra actually came out it felt different than with Cambria.  I first felt his head come out, then his shoulders, then his body and finally his legs and feet.  I could feel every little part of him come out.  The second he was out all my pain went away and I was overcome with the most wonderful array of emotions. 
Ezra Finnegan's first picture.
The only decent picture I can share due to the face that I didn't have a shirt on. For some reason I was reallllly blothcy. My face in this one says it all.
He was born at 6:42 a.m. on February 16th, 2011 in the presence of me, Kyle, my mother, and Nancy.  He weighed 7 lbs. 14 oz and measured 19 1/2 inches. I told Kyle I wanted him to tell me if it was a boy or a girl.  Right after Ezra was born he said "I think it's a boy, yeah, it's a boy, oh my gosh it's a boy!!!"  Nancy quickly told me to take my top off and Ezra was placed right on my chest.  This feeling can only be described as pure love.  It is the most perfect and pure love.  To have a person growing in your body for so many months and then finally being able to hold that little being is  I know I haven't yet experienced everything life has to offer but I know nothing will compare to giving birth to my children. 

Ezra stayed attached to me for about 10 minutes until Kyle cut the cord.  I delivered his placenta and that was that.  I had a son and I couldn't have been more thrilled about it.  About 15 minutes after Ezra was born Kyle's mom arrived.  Kyle's Dad was on his way to work and was conveniently able to stop by too. 

Giving birth naturally for the second time was definitely easier.  I knew what was happening, I knew what to expect and I knew I could do it.  It hurt just as bad as it did the first time but I was able to stay calm and focused.  As a woman, I think there is nothing more empowering and invigorating than giving birth to a child.  The births of my children have been two of the proudest and happiest moments of my life.  I am so lucky to have been able to have Ezra at the birthing center and to have Kyle as such a supportive spouse.  My son is beautiful and I could not be more in love with him.    
Love this silly face.


  1. Not going to lie, this made me cry. You are so fortunate to welcome your children into the world in the ways you have, Brandie. I am so happy for you and Kyle!

    You description of pushing- very familiar...although for me I think the transition was the worst, not the pushing. For me, transition was the most painful (although by that point I was sleeping between contractions)...but I knew once I started pushing I would get to meet my son shortly, and so PUSH I did- and it was SO quick!

    I too am so thankful that my birth experience, though different in many ways from yours (and now I am terrified that a birthing center won't take me since I'm technically high risk next time around), was natural and I was able to welcome Seeley into the world with my whole self- it's certainly one of life's amazing experiences!

    Congratulations a million times over to you and your family. Ezra has an amazing life to look forward to!

  2. Amazing post, Brandie! It made me tear up! You're such a good writer. Thank you for sharing this!! You are also the most beautiful woman I have ever seen while in labor, holy cow.

  3. I got a little teary eyed when I read this! What a very beautiful story! I have always been interested in midwifery/natural child birth and when I have kids, I definitely want to try it, especially seeing what wonderful experiences you have had. I will be asking you for advice tho! lol. I am so happy for you and your sweet little family and I can't wait to see you all and meet Ezra!

  4. I agree with everyone else.. I got a little teary eyed! I love reading your blog Brandie! Miss you guys- give my babies kisses!

  5. wow. this was wonderful to read. makes you really think (at least for me, since i am not a mom).

    i love your splotchy face photo. it's a real, human experience photo. are you supposed to take your shirt off to have the baby against your bare chest?

    ps: that photo of you laying on the bed looks like a glamour shot! i can't believe you were about to have a baby!