On Saturday, December 2nd, 2017 at 5:34am our lives changed forever when we welcomed our new baby boy, Theodore, into the world. He weighed in at 3.144kg and 50cm long of pure perfection. This is his birth story:
Friday, December 1st – 7:00am
I wasn’t alarmed when I woke up feeling some discomfort and minor contractions since I thought they were the Braxton Hicks which I’ve had for several weeks. There wasn’t anything out of the ordinary since I still had 10 days before my actual due date. It was the end of week 38 when I took this picture. Big and heavy, but happy.
The day went on as usual and the contractions came and went without too much pain or discomfort. I still didn’t know that these were actually labor contractions instead of the “fake” ones. A week prior, on the day we hosted our Thanksgiving dinner, my mucus plug came out. I knew that in some cases this would start labor or it could be a few weeks before anything happened. Since a week went by with not much unusual activity, I figured it would be a couple of weeks before I had to think about it.
Daniel worked from home that day so we had a nice breakfast together and while he worked I did some chores around the house. The contractions began feeling a little bit more intense in the afternoon, but I still had no idea that this was labor contraction. We even went to the store to buy Theodore some extra clothes and things we needed around the house. But by late afternoon, the contractions started to feel like something more. We called the hospital to describe the pain, but since my water hadn’t broke, they thought it was best I stayed home and start timing my contractions.
By 7:00pm my contractions were about 5-6 mins apart and quite painful. We tried watching a movie to get our minds off of it, but it became unbearable. That is when we decided to go to the hospital just to check things out. We knew I wouldn’t be admitted unless I was more than 3cm dilated so I was hoping that they wouldn’t send us home. We got to the Lund hospital around 8:00pm and found out that I was 5 cm dilated! The midwife congratulated me on doing a lot of the hard work at home, but I was too focused on the fact that I was in labor. It crossed my mind throughout the day, but never did I believe that I’d be delivering a child today. We were told that I would dilate a centimeter every hour so we settled in for what would be the biggest night of our lives.
Daniel was calm and excited, but I could tell he was a bit nervous. As the contractions intensified in frequency and strength, I asked for medical assistance to ease the pain. I’ve learned that in Sweden they prefer to use natural pain relievers before they discuss medical options such as an epidural. But it was always part of my birth plan to go for all the medical pain relief they could give me. At this point they provided me with a laughing gas that helped ease some of the pain, but I needed something stronger. At 7cm dilated I got the epidural and what a difference. It wasn’t the most comfortable feeling while getting it in the spine, but the relief it provided was so appreciated. I was even able to sleep an hour or so to let my body relax and prepare for the big event later to come.
Saturday, December 2nd –
Our midwife, Rafael, was great. I could tell that Rafael wasn’t a fan of epidural, but he made sure that I received what I wanted and would check in with us fro time to time. He was calm so we were calm. By 2:00am I was starting to feel a lot of pressure. Something that no amount of epidural was going to help, but Theodore was still too high to begin pushing. Rafael suggested I sit on a ball to see if that would make him drop lower so that we could start to push, no such luck. The contractions were in full force and the pressure I felt was indescribable. All the breathing techniques I learned didn’t matter much and I took in so much laughing gas that it made me drowsy and light headed. All in all I was in a world of pain, but still couldn’t push. Around 4:00am or so, the pain had reached a feverish high. I couldn’t see, think or talk. Rafael then told me I needed to go to the bathroom. I thought he was crazy, there was no way I needed to go to the bathroom, but he insisted. That first step off the bed was excruciating. I remember using Daniel’s neck as a crane to keep me upright or else I would have fallen to the ground. With each step towards the bathroom I thought my knees would buckle from the pain. I was screaming but not sure how loud, it just felt natural to scream. Daniel finally managed to get me on the toilet and there was no way I could pee, but what I did feel was this intense drop! It felt like the baby’s head was coming and for a split second I thought I would push him out into the toilet. I screamed from pain and remembered yelling, “I can feel the head”! Apparently, it was a little trick that Rafael knew would work to get the baby down. Walking back to the bed I needed both their necks for support as I continued to scream bloody murder.
Once on the bed the room went black and blank, all I could feel was the pain, the heaviness and the pressure. I heard Rafael tell me to push so beared down and screamed from the top of my lungs. The first push, the top of Theodore’s head came out slightly. The technique of pushing is interesting…during our courses, I learned that the midwives will guide the baby out over a series of pushes so as to not to cause too much damage on the way out. The baby would go out a bit, then go back in, then out a little further and so on until the whole body was out. I was too impatient for that… so on the second earth shattering screaming push, I beared down with everything my body could muster and the entire body came flying out. Daniel described it as the most incredible thing he has ever witness, Theodore was shot out like a canon. I felt an instant flush of relief and after a few seconds I heard his little cries. Our baby was here safe and sound at 5:34am on December 2nd.
He is the most beautiful thing I have ever seen. With his little body pressed up close to mine, I knew that ALL of it was worth it and that this precious angel was the love of my life.
After a few hours of recovery and enough time to get out of shock, we moved on to the patient hotel which we would stay at for the next 48 hours.
When it comes to things involving babies and/or parents, Sweden does it right. We stayed at the patient hotel where there are midwives on hand to answer all of our questions and to show us how to breast feed. They are there to help us adjust to our new lives as parents. Daniel was able to stay with us and we had our own little bubble for a couple of days learning how to cope. They also provided daily check ups on Baby Theodore, measuring his weight and other vitals. He had a bit of jaundice so they wanted to monitor it daily to see if it would go away on it’s own.
Those first few days were a blur, but also magical. We couldn’t believe we brought this beautiful baby into the world. Now… it was time to take him home… and that is a completely other story…