Saturday, June 15, 2013

THREE Happy, Crazy Richardsons

OR: How I Somewhat Accidentally Had a Natural Birth in Five Hours 

Okay, this is a LOOOOOOOOOONG post.

Early morning on Tuesday, June 11 (a week before his due date), we welcomed Miles Takeo Richardson into the world.

Our birth story really begins on Friday (June 7).  That was my last day of work at the after-school program, and I was so excited that I'd made it to the end of the year without having had him.  I was convinced (by early signs of progress, as well as a gut feeling) that Nugget would be coming early, so after work on Friday, both Andy and I felt hopeful that he would make his debut sometime during the weekend.

So, on Friday, Andy's office closed early, and he came over to celebrate the last day of work with my kiddos, and help out with our ice cream sundae party, as well as to be there, with the car, "just in case." I had been having frequent Braxton-Hicks contractions (also called practice contractions--a mild tightening sensation in my belly), and we were totally unsure what labor would look like, so we'd been taking a lot of "just in case" precautions.  After that, we celebrated a Pizza Friday at Cici's Pizza (no shame, y'all), because our childbirth teacher told us to eat lots of carbs when we thought labor was coming.  We went for a long walk at a park, looping around a lake, during which time I felt more Braxton-Hicks contractions.  Strangely, though, they were growing stronger, and coming at regular intervals.  We took a few extra laps around the lake, just to see what was happening.  The contractions kept coming, so we were convinced this was IT.

Unfortunately, as soon as we stopped walking, the contractions stopped.  False Alarm #1.

On Saturday, we decided to celebrate Andy's birthday.  Being the crazy human that I am (perhaps also trying once again to jump-start labor), I agreed to go kayaking with him, and for another walk (maybe this time??) around White Rock Lake.

(I realize that sounds crazy, but let me assure you that this was actually the least insane of the drafted "Andy's birthday weekend" plans, which included participating in a 5k an hour away from the hospital / our home.)

Long story short, we kayaked, we walked, we picnicked with our good friend Tiffany, we came home, we met up with our dear friends Scott & Vanessa, and came home totally pooped (at least, I was!), and still: no baby.  Maybe he was too comfy in there.

Sunday morning (Andyface's actual birthday) was False Alarm #2, Wherein Rachel Imagined Her Water Had Broken.  Turns out it was just a little bit of urinary incontinence!  Ohhh, third trimester!  You think you're so cute.  Other than that, Sunday was largely uneventful as far as pregnancy goes.  We did go to Andy's mom's place to celebrate his birthday.

While there, we watched The Life of Pi.  Good flick, if you haven't seen it.

Nothing really happened on Monday, except that (after such a busy weekend) I was really tired and slept a lot.  I also cleaned a bathroom, which felt like it should have deserved a medal.

This brings us to Tuesday morning, and to the

If you don't want to hear the gory details of our childbirth story, just skip to the end with the cute pictures of our little Nugget.

We had a cute baby.

As far as my "birth plan" goes, there really wasn't one, except the vague goal to go natural as long as I could stand it--at least until I was dilated to 6cm?  It seemed reasonable to me.  I wanted to have the freedom to walk around, bounce on the ball, take a shower . . . NOT be chained to the bed with the epidural and the catheter.

So, Monday night about midnight, I got up to pee (as per usual, since Nugget's head was smushing my bladder), and noticed one of the signs of labor there in my underpants.  I told Andy when I got back in bed, and he (still mostly asleep) said, "RICHARD PARKER," rolled over, and went back to bed.

At 1:30, I awoke to a gush of fluid: water broken.  Game ON.  Knowing we would probably have hours and hours until things really started going, we took the opportunity to finish straightening up the house, switch out the laundry, feed the kitties, take a shower . . . 

We were at the hospital about 2:30. It took a while to check in, do paperwork, and get things going in triage, but we determined that, YES, my water had broken, and I was dilated to 4cm upon arrival.  This was really going down.  By about 3:30 we were in our Labor / Delivery / Recovery room, where we met Shannon, our incredibly awesome nurse.  She introduced herself, and said, "I've already delivered two babies so far today, and my shift ends at 7.  So, you could be my third!" Ha, ha!  Everyone had a good chuckle, since we knew the likelihood of this was slim as it was a first baby and we would more likely be in there for 12-1350 more hours before a baby came.

By this time, my contractions were starting to get a little closer together, and picking up in strength, too.  

"What is the maximum acceptable level of pain for you, on a scale of 1-10?" asked Shannon.  Eight? 
"And where are you now, on a scale of 1-10?" Five? Six? I have no idea.  There have not been that many occasions in my life wherein I have experienced my "maximum acceptable level of pain," thankfully.

So, Shannon left, assuring us that she would be nearby, monitoring us from the nurse's station, and if we needed anything, we should buzz.  We were waiting to hear back from the OB to see if she thought it would be okay for me to walk around, since there were some medical concerns.  I'd told myself that I wanted to wait and see if that were a possibility before asking for the epidural, but suddenly, I was in a great amount of pain.

Actually, the pain itself wasn't the worst part.  I felt nauseous, clammy, light-headed, and my pulse was racing.  It was altogether unpleasant.  In between contractions, I told Andy I was ready for the epidural.  Unfortunately, the anesthesiologist was helping someone else down the hall, so I had to sit through a few more contractions without, while Shannon assured me that "relief is on the way."  She went to go check something outside of the room, and came back a few moments later, walking quickly, and asking (with a certain urgency in her voice) if I'd felt compelled to push.  Baby had come off of the fetal monitor, and she suspected that it was because he'd already moved down and was getting ready to go.

She checked me again.
9+ cm.

I could still get the epidural for pushing purposes, or I could just get to it and have the baby.  "I just want to get this baby out," I said.

The anesthesiologist walked in.  "She's at a 9 right now, so we're just gonna have this baby," said Shannon.  The anesthesiologist, looking somewhat shell-shocked, replied, "Well . . . I don't blame you!" and left.  Game on.  Really, really, ON.

The OB still hadn't arrived.  I heard Shannon on the phone, "Yeah, we're not messing around in here.  She's at a 9, and we're about to have this baby.  How long does it take Dr. Pero to get here?" She was so decisive.  It was awesome.  She left again, in a flurry, trying to get everything ready in case the baby came before the OB arrived.  At this point, I was feeling the urge to push.  Andy said later he was scared that he'd have to catch the baby by himself.

Shannon came back in.  "Try not to push--just blow it out.  Dr. Pero's on her way."  Easier said than done.

I started to push.

Shannon was a great coach, giving me feedback as to what was moving Baby along, and helping me to see the light at the end.  "He's right there!  I can see his head."

32 minutes (or so) later, Dr. Pero was putting on her gloves, and 4 minutes later, Nugget was born.

Five hours of labor, and 36 minutes of pushing.

My next baby may just fall right out.

What a chunk. 

Love at first sight.  

For Dad, too. 

I can claim the cheeks and the Asian-y eyes, but the rest is a mystery to me. 


  1. I'm slightly jealous of this timeline. Maybe the second time will be easier? Have I ever told you the full story of Calista's birth? I generally don't tell women who haven't had a baby yet... I don't want to scare them. Also, he looks cute. You are superwoman. I love you.

    1. I don't think I ever heard the whole story. I've decided the opposite for myself--I shouldn't tell women who HAVE had babies, because they will hate me. :-) But I can tell women who are looking forward to having their babies: You, too, could be the outlier and have a first baby in five hours!

  2. I am so happy for you guys! Sounds like your birthing experience went very well and all the photos you've been posting (on facebook and here) have been killing me with cuteness! I can't wait to meet him at the end of the summer.

  3. Yay! so glad for you guys, and that your experience was such a positive one! And hey, you are continuing the Harlos women tradition of having your baby fast and unmedicated! Congratulations...can't wait to meet him. :)

  4. Congrats! I hope I can copy and paste a similarly easy delivery... Though I sort of hope I can get some drugs first. We'll see! I love reading about you going through right before me!

  5. Congratulations! He is adorable!

  6. Congratulations! Such happy news. Way to go natural; I hear the recovery is much better at least. Enjoy that sweet little boy.

  7. Wow! Congrats. I loved hearing your story and I hope mine goes as smoothly. My due date is just around the corner. And he is so cute, just like you.

  8. Awwwww. Your birth story most closely parallels my first birth than anyone else I've heard of! And how did a baby that big come out of another human being?! Love to all three of you.

  9. I know I'm WAY late to this party, but I wanted to add my congratulations for a job well done! I was always too scared to approach my pain threshold, so I have a great deal of admiration for what you've accomplished. Something I will never know.

    You're a mommy!!! Congratulations to you both.