Saturday, March 27, 2010

Atlas Tiber Hazen - Born Thursday March 25th after 2.5 hours of active labor

Thursday March 18th was like any other day, I was out jogging with my girlfriend, I had taken a day or two off for the first time ever that week. I didn't want to be a pregnant woman who stopped moving. The next day I headed out again, made it around a corner and up the street half a block then had to stop, walking home in defeated tears, refusing to say out loud that I would not be running again until the baby was 5-6 weeks old, he wasn't due for another 3+ weeks. (April 6th according to last period, April 8th according to first ultrasound, April 11th according to the July 19th ovulation… But the midwife insisted all of her first time babies come at 41 weeks and 3 days, that could be as late as April 21st!!)

I spent the weekend doing major cleaning. I dusted everything. Slats in the closet doors, vents, under every picture, every electronic device and even the wooden feet of chairs. Nesting, sure... but I had a list a mile long to finish in the next few weeks.

Sunday, after church, Bob told the Pastor it would only be 2 more weeks, I told him that was wishful thinking. We all laughed. Bob is getting excited. It's adorable!

Tuesday we had our Hypnobirthing class with Maggie and then an appointment with Kelli. She wasn't going to schedule us for this week, but we were under the impression that after 36 weeks we saw her every week. We had messed up the schedule at some point, but she went ahead and scheduled us for our week 37 (and 2 days.) She took blood for the GBS test and checked me out - 80% effaced, maybe 1cm dilated, but you can be like that for weeks. No biggie.

Wednesday I woke up without any hip pain thinking I might finally go jogging, as quick as that thought entered my mind, the pain was back. I made my rounds through town hitting up the diaper sales that ROCKED this week. My stock is up to 86 packs of diapers, all sizes, none cost more than $4 and many were free (yay coupons!) 15 packs of Pampers and Huggies later (for only $55 total) I came home and promised Bob I would stop, unless of course I could get more for almost free.

I was trying to update my coupon blog around 4pm, but kept needing to stretch. I was cramping. FINALLY, this was Braxton Hicks, right? I thought I would be skipping that fun step. I had been on time with EVERY other milestone. Just for giggles I times them since there seemed to be a bunch of them. Every 6 minutes I was cramping for 30-45 seconds. After dinner we went for a walk like we have done every night for the past week, frequent breaks to stop and lean over to breathe. With each cramp, the muscle that connects the top of my leg with my hip on the underside would cramp tight. It got to where I couldn't stop it, I had trained a muscle to react... in a bad kind of way and that hurt after a while. That muscle felt hard as wood and did not respond to massage! 8pm - time for bed as Bob needs to be up at 2:20am for work. I tried laying down a few times only to get back up needing to walk. Bob passed out just fine. Between 8 and 9pm the cramps were up to every 4-5 minutes, but they lasted sporadic times, sometimes 1 minute, sometimes almost 4 and were anywhere from 2 minutes to 9 minutes apart. Where was the 1 full minute for every 5? It took 3 tries to wake up Bob to get him to time them for me. A few hours later he called the my Midwife Kelli Johnson for me. Luck would have it she was at another birth. I had met her back-up once, but I REALLY didn't want to use anyone but the people I knew. My Doula Maggie McCarthy had told us about how some women would turn off labor if the doctor wasn't available. It was all about mind control. WHOA.. I didn’t want to have to do that and prolong anything! Not that I could have, but the thought crossed my mind. Bob didn’t call into work until almost 1am.

Instead, JUST as great, she sent Maggie my way. Maggie and I had a bonding session this week to help me get my focus in line and I will be forever grateful.

Maggie was here by 11pm. I was still only 1cm, the cramps were still random, I'm sure she was thinking I was a first time mom freaking out a little. She talked to me and calmed me down quite a bit, but when it came back, lying on my side was not working... rocking back and forth on hands and knees however did, and when it didn't, walking a little did, or standing leaning over, even resting against the birthing ball. Lying on my back would NEVER have worked for me. I couldn't seem to actually relax so Maggie recommended Benedryl and a glass of wine. Being that we had been up since 2am and 4am I needed to conserve my energy. Well Bob found Benedryl, that expired in 2008... No telling on its half life, but Maggie said it should still work. As for the wine... eh, it was 1:35am and we didn't have any, so Bob ran to Wal-Mart and got there before the 2am cut off. I had thrown up 3 times pretty hard at this point, all fluid and I couldn't keep any fluids down, so I agreed that it would be best to get some rest and allow my body to calm down so that I would be in better shape when the time came. After all it takes about 14 hours in early labor (up to 4cm) then another 12 on average to go through active and transitional labor to get him out, assuming contractions didn’t stop for a few hours. I had a good bit of the day to still go and had been up since 4am the day before. Bob got home and the wine tasted exactly like I remember it, the first time I ever tasted it around 18 or so, it was strong and bit my tongue and I didn't really like so much. It was funny to have lost taste for it in 9 months! That was surprising and unexpected, but cool all the same.

I would have liked it to work immediately, I have no idea how long it took. but I was able to lie down and finally rest. I woke up for each contraction, back on hands and knees rocking, but I was able to get somewhat comfortable afterward and get my body back to the starting line so when it kicked in again I had some energy to control it. With resting I am only remember a handful of them. THAT is some deep rest!

I remember getting up a few times to check on Maggie, she was asleep on the couch with Bruiser in her legs. Bruiser was so confused with what was going on. I think he must have thought I was dieing. He gave us plenty of room and remained very calm the entire time.

6am Maggie came in to check on me, she needed to get home to get her youngest son to school. When she checked me I was only at 2cm and the contractions had calmed down, I had some blood but that meant my cervix had began to change, not that the baby was moving down stations just yet. We hadn't timed them in a while, but "first time mom" it was likely to take a while. She told us to call Kelli when they were back to 1 minute long and 5 minutes between start and start. 20 minutes after she left... they were.

I was back and forth between rocking on knees and sitting in tub of warm water. The leg/hip muscle had never relaxed, just get tighter as things progressed. I tried to visualize my body relaxing, we had done all of our relaxation practices each night for the hypnobirthing. Maggie’s talking to me earlier in the night had been the most relaxing thing I had experienced all night.

Bob called Kelli, her earlier birth was over, she was getting herself together and taking care of some things, but she was going to head on over. I know I made Bob call her a few more times and he says she left her house in Oviedo around 7:30. He did tell me though that she didn't take the 417 and 408 toll roads because she was concerned with rush hour traffic... which is logical, but Tuskawilla/Aloma/Goldenrod is loaded with red lights and at least 3 school zones. By 8am the tub had been drained a few times and was empty, I had the very warm shower beating down on my back, THAT felt good! I went from standing to squatting to trying to sit and back to standing and leaning over holding onto the edge of the tub. Bob was rushing around, I later found out he had opened our midwifery notebook to the section: What to do if baby arrives before midwife. He put towels in the tub in case he had to do all of the catching, the towels are just-in-case the baby slips out of his hands. He got the birthing kit out, made sure everything was ready, even pulled out the gloves getting ready to check how far along I was... when I began to need to bare down. He was getting something out of the garage when >POP< JUST like a water balloon my membranes ruptured and a gush of water came. I felt and there was something soft, spongy and wrinkly, I thought maybe it was the umbilical cord and Bob had no idea what he was looking at, he told me later he worried it might be the placenta, which would have been a HUGE PROBLEM. Bob was on the phone with Kelli making sure things were ready and he could do this, when I yelled that he was crowning. Later he told me he thought I said "he is drowning" and that he was suddenly concerned that I was losing-it and might end up being a handful (I was not submerged in water after all.) While on speaker phone he felt the head and Kelli told us she was going 80-85 down Goldenrod! Thank God she was safe! It is a crowded and slow road in rush hour!!

Next thing I knew we no longer heard Kelli on the phone it was about 8:20am. The doors were unlocked though and there she was running in. She barely had time to roll up her sleeves. Every time the baby started to come out again the contraction would stop and he was slowly sucked back up. After about 10 times doing this I looked and felt his head. It was when I thought I saw his ear that I decided I couldn't keep doing this to him and I needed to get him out. Amazing what the mind will let you do! I kept thinking, just get past the head and then he'll come out. "Butter, butter, butter" those were the words I used every night when we prayed together for the strength to be able to stay healthy and have a safe birth. Well one more push and like butter, he slid right out! It was 8:52am. Bob had ran to pick up the cameras and made it back just in time. Kelli was talking to me "Heather look down, look down, there is your baby. Heather sit back, pick up your baby" and I did. He was quiet but moving just fine. He didn't even cry under a few seconds after I picked him up and held him. He had his eyes wide open looking around, SO alert. So un-drugged. He heard his daddy talking and moved his head and looked past me, he cant see that far away yet, but he KNEW that voice! And I finally could confront those tiny feet that had threatened to walk out of my belly button for the past few months. I was like a baby myself. I couldn't believe he was here and I was alive and perfectly fine and had actually done this thing that everyone looked at wide eyed and told me "good luck" skeptically. Bob has all of this on video.
I don't remember when that leg/hip muscle stopped hurting, but my hips felt BRAND NEW for the first time in weeks. Suddenly no pressure, I could have ran 8 miles! I wont lie, the pressure I felt when pushing was like having the WORST gas ever with no results, the contractions were like the worst period cramps ever, but you could breathe through them without issue. Kelli and Maggie had both warned me that it would feel like I had a bowling ball in my butt. Yep, it did, but not the whole time. I was on all 4's so the pressure was sent forward, not backward. The only HONEST-TO-GOD pain was that stupid leg/hip muscle.

Kelli let the placenta pump for 8 or 9 minutes before clamping it to withdraw cord blood. She got our cord blood just fine the clamped me off for Bob to cut the cord. He had been hesitant to do that early on when we discussed what he wanted to do to participate even more. He got right in there and with 2 snips he cut the cord. The ladies were getting me cleaned up to get to the bed, and my husband, my best friend was walking around with the youngest baby he had ever held. He didn't even hold my nephew Grant until Grant was 3 months old. I got settled in, and the baby was put on me and like a puppy searching for food he found it and latched on without me even placing him in the right spot. This kidlet was not going to have any issues with nursing. Another worry dissolved! Bob and I were busy texting and calling family. The ladies were cleaning up and laughing that Kelli had never even removed her supplies from her bags. They examined the baby, he was perfect. 7 pounds even, 19 inches long, 13 inch head, 13 inch waist. It turns out he is tongue tied which I had never heard of, it means the muscle under his tongue is a little longer than it should be so he cant really move his tongue past his lips, Kelli is going to fix it with a tiny cut at the 48 hour check-back. It wont really bother him, but if left in tact it could effect our nursing.

My sister and neighbor were here at the house just before 9:30am. I had texted my sister, the neighbor saw the haphazard parking jobs Kelli and Maggie had managed.

Our prime plan would have been to have had the baby UNDER water and Bob would have moved in to deliver as soon as the head was out. I guess I had forgotten mom said we dilate fast on her side of the family. I am shocked that I never felt like I was going to split in half or any of the other horror stories came true. We had a gentle birth as was evidence of our baby not even screaming or fussing when he got out.

Time for the name. This past weekend we had decided we were going to narrow down the names so our “Little Monkey“ “Achilles” would finally have a name. Bob got out 2 huge Greek and Roman history books and our list of 3 names became 7. We each numbered them from our favorites to least favorite and added the numbers together. We agreed to take the top 2 names and then figure out the order we would put them in. I was standing in the shower when Kelli and Bob and I were getting his name right. I wanted Atlas as his first name from about the second week we were pregnant, Bob picked it out and it was perfect in my eyes, but Bob had found a new name Tiber. Which is cute and he said he could call him Ti (Ty) which was one of my favorite names ever when I was in the 3rd grade, I always hoped my aunt would let us call her son Tyler "Ty" but that came about. I told Bob that he could choose the order when he pushed the baby out, he smiled and kissed me, telling "fair enough." Now we are in this silent rush to get the most people calling him Tiber or Atlas to see which one sticks! I told a girlfriend that we are going to confuse him as he grows up. She made me laugh when she told me that we would only confuse the people we talked to when I talked about Atlas and Bob talked about Tiber to others and they only saw one baby.

Atlas had his man-surgery Friday at noon and then slept most of the day. He was down to 6 pounds 10 ounces. The first night he did NOT want to be set down. Poor thing, all he knew was my heartbeat and warmth and the bed was flat and quiet and cold. I kept putting him down, but he was up every 15 minutes, we ended up on the couch. After his little surgery he has been sleeping in the pack-n-play just fine. He is very good about only crying when he is dirty or hungry or need an extra burping. He even slept the second night for hour and a half shifts!

I knew that the love for a brand new baby was like nothing else. That is true! But what is not mentioned quite as often is how much closer it brought Bob and I. I never thought I could feel even closer to my best friend. Suddenly I feel more like a complete half to all of this craziness. We aren't just a couple in love. We are a couple that has entered a new phase of our adventure called life.
(The cat, Baezil, doesn't care to have her picture taken, but she peeks in on Atlas when he squeaks every now and then)


  1. Ah, thanks for taking the time in these early days to write out the story. I enjoyed!

  2. I am so happy for you guys. That'a an amazing story and I hope you saved this story on your hard drive so you can have it ALWAYS. Atlas is VERY luck little man. You as a mommy, Bob as a daddy, and the love that you for each other and for him. God has truley blessed your life Heather. Not many of us get this right anymore. Marriage, kids, etc...I mean. You married Bob for all the right reason and you had a baby for all the right reasons and that will make a difference. Blessings to you and your little family...your new phase in your adventure.
    Much love.

  3. I am soo happy for you and Bob! Congratuations! Welcome to the "new world" Atlas Tiber! (Ti)

    ...and now the fun begins!

    Reaping In Abundance,

  4. What a beautiful birth story! Thank you so much for sharing it with me. I wish you the best of luck. I still remember those first few days of being a new mom. It's an amazing time. Enjoy it! (((hugs)))

  5. Heat, that is the neatest account that I've ever read! Your adventure has been pretty amazing and Bob's involvement is great.

    As an old EMT I've noticed that most dads wimp out at the last minute so Bob did good. Maybe you ought to hang on to him.

    I like Ty best, it sure beats the heck out of either Braxton or Hicks.

    Just an observation but it sounds like you probably have enough diapers to last till Ty starts school?

    Both of you need to brace yourselves and keep a note pad and pen handy because that little guy is going to teach you a whole bunch if you'll just pay close attention.

    Y'all be sweet now, y'heah

    Der Auld Phart

  6. Such a great story!!! Im glad things went well..and i love the name you picked!!! you have a beautiful family!!!

  7. Thanks for sharing your story with me Heather. I've never known anyone to describe their natural childbirth in such detail. I like both names and prefer unique names. I think a unique name inspires a unique person.
    --Donna Ditges

  8. Congratulations , Please enjoy your baby every day because they grow so fast. Every day is special and beautiful.
    God Bless

  9. Wow, thanks for sharing all that. I wrote mine out and printed out for my son's scrapbook. I wish I had thought of it for my daughter. It is so nice to have those memories. You'd be amazed how much you forget without it. Congratultions!

  10. Still laughing so hard over the "he's crowning/drowning" bit!!! Congrats you two--now five! :)Kelly G.

  11. Wow, so powerful! You are truly lucky - enjoy each day...

  12. What a beautiful story! I'm so glad that everything went so well for you! I love the name!! Thanks for sharing!

  13. Larry, We had enough diapers to last until Aria started potty training 4 years later <3