Photo from the 2014 Ice Age Trail 50 Miler by Ali Engin. Permission to use header photo must be obtained through Ali Elgin.

"It's better to feel pain than nothing at all. The opposite of love's indifference." - The Lumineers

Sunday, 24 July 2011

Finnbjørn enters our world

Introducing Mattias Prachthauser Høeg

Born at 39 weeks +0
6lb 9oz (2980 grams)
19 inches (48 cm)

He already seems like a calm, pleasant, strong fellow.

His mother, however, could not be described with the same adjectives during his birth...

As I described in my previous blog post, my water broke at 2am and I called my midwife. She told me to try to go back to sleep and meet her at the hospital at 9 am, or earlier if the contractions got going. Otherwise I would have the option of being induced. So I figured there was no hurry. But I called SR, telling him to drive the hour from Copenhagen and get his backup to take over his call. He was home by four and I was having irregular contractions and just couldn't sleep. I checked my email, posted on Facebook and Blogger, ate breakfast and had some good coffee. I would go from having regular contractions to nothing at all and nothing stronger than what I had been experiencing the entire week before. Everyone said "you will know when the real labor comes". I woke up SR and we talked about the day to come and said maybe we should go over to the hospital now so things weren't too rushed. But I could tell he was sick of getting there and having them repeat "you are only 1cm" (we had been there twice since my contractions has started last Saturday). He repeated "there is no way you are dilated if you haven't been having more pain." A few minutes later, I had the feeling I needed to have a bowel movement, but something struck me as odd when there was a little blood in the toilet"

"We are going to the hospital now." I said to SR. He obliged, suggesting maybe we drive. I drank a little more coffee and had a half of a roll and said, "my contractions feel better when I walk". So we walked.

Suddenly every 10 steps, I had a contraction that brought me to my knees. I started to make loud noises in pain, thinking I was glad it was a Saturday and my colleagues weren't on their way to work. We normally live a 5 minute walk away from the obstetrics department, but after 10 minutes, we were only half way there and while SR insisted he go back and get the car, I crawled into a mysteriously open back door to the hospital's linen department. I screamed like I have never screamed. THIS was pain no human should endure, I thought. And it would only subside for about 15 seconds at a time. I screamed and screamed like a chimpanzee that had been shot in the belly. A lady came out from washing hospital linens asking if she should get a nurse. "YES!" I said. Then another lady came up to me "What is wrong??" "I'm having a baby" I managed to utter (speaking in a foreign tongue had never been such a challenge). My midwife (who had apparently suspected I might come early) and a nurse ran to me with a wheelchair and must have lifted me into it, but I can't remember a thing. I also don't remember when SR got there, but suddenly we were in a birthing room and they tore off my shoes and shorts and said they could see his head. Despite it being way too late for any pain control, I screamed that they had better find something otherwise I couldn't do it. (But of course no woman really has a choice at this point). I had never felt so desperate and helpless - and later I would have one heck of a sore throat from all of the screaming.

My midwife, who is exceptionally good, thought quickly and got out an oxygen mask and acupuncture needles. Now I, who normally am a big believer in acupuncture, thought to myself "get your fucking piece of shit eastern medicine away from me. I want the real stuff." But I kept this to myself as she placed four needles in my back and put the oxygen mask on me - and suddenly, for some reason, the pain wasn't as bad and I thought I could do it. I pushed during the next contraction with a will power that seemed to come from a force inside me I never knew I had, and his head and then his body were out. Wow. And the worst pain, which I had, up to this point, never been capable of imagining, was over.

Unlike The Lorax's birth, where he came out and I was just filled with calm, happiness and love, I could hardly gather my thoughts as I pulled this new little baby up into my arms.

I had no energy. I felt so confused and in disbelief that I was holding my own son.

My emotions felt so inappropriate. Rather than saying how beautiful he was and crying, I simply said if I ever did it again, I wanted to get there in time to get an epidural. SR and the midwife had to laugh a little at this. Not the brave, admirable attitude they were expecting.

But then I started to gather myself again. And I remarked he was so pink and healthy-looking compared to the Lorax, who had been more of a gray-blue color when he came out. And, as SR held him, he noticed that Mattias could actually almost completely hold his head up. "None of the other kids could do that!" he mused. I had to admit, he was much more interactive, too, in comparison to how The Lorax had been. I'm only saying this because I figure it was because there was no epidural, no drugs and it went so quickly. Even if the epidural would have been better for me, having nothing really seems to be better for the baby (not that I'm suggesting an epidural is dangerous in any way for a baby).

We were in the hospital just over 10 minutes before he was born and then just over 4 hours later, we were home. Unreal how quickly everything went. I can't believe how fooled I was, but my contractions really never got worse than my false labor contractions until I was completely dilated and pushing! I will never know when the actual dilation of the cervix happened, I guess. But if you are pregnant a second time and your water breaks - DON'T underestimate how quickly it can go even without regular contractions!

Back at home, I tried to nap, but couldn't sleep thinking about our little new son and how I just wanted to hold him and look at him. And I was so excited for The Lorax to come and meet him. We had SR's family over for dinner and The Lorax responded to "his baby" with excitement and love. And I became such a proud mom. Suddenly nothing is more important to me than the relationship these two boys have.


I slept last night with Mattias on one side and The Lorax on the other. And we slept over 9 hours. It was wonderful. Mattias didn't cry once, but simply started making little warbling bird noises and moving his mouth towards my chest when he wanted to breast feed (I had forgotten this would be about every two hours).

I had tried out the BOB dualie baby jogger last night and it was so smooth and I was amazed I could actually run on the day I'd given birth. Today I ran for 40 minutes with the boys and did half an hour on the elliptical and a pulse class. Other than the jumping up onto the step bench (which I had to abstain from), I felt better than on Friday when I'd worked out last. And especially running went well. It didn't hurt. I wasn't short of breath. I felt I was sprinting effortlessly, though in reality I'm sure I wasn't going that fast. I never would have been able to do this postpartum day #1 last pregnancy (in fact, we were still in the hospital).

So I am one happy woman. And SR has some paternity leave so we can enjoy this time together. It's almost enough to make up for the fact that Andy Schleck didn't win The Tour de France.

29 comments:

Julie said...

Congratulations!! I am in shock that you were able to run the same day as giving birth...absolutely amazing!

SteveQ said...

The last line was classic (I cheered Cadel Evans' come from behind win, myself).

Congrats! He's a tiny cutie.

Initials MPH suggests some miles (hopefully not meters) per hour in the future.

Though it's the last thing in the world in importance, I find women who've gone through childbirth without painkillers tend to be much better runners later, as they have a new standard by which to gauge what pain is tolerable.

Anonymous said...

I had nearly the same experience with #2, so I know well the terror! Congratulations, he is beautiful.

Brianne said...

Congrats! When I read about your strong irregular contractions and back pain I was worried he was posterior and that you would have a long labor, but fortunately I was wrong!

Olga said...

Great news on all, Tracy, and it was beautifully written about feelings you had. Congratulations to you and your family.

The Salty One said...

Congrats!!! The labor with my second was eerily similar. Lots of false labor and then the day of I was just hanging out with early labor before my water broke and then I had her in 40 minutes! The only reason I was even at the hospital because I was bleeding a lot and my mw thought it might be a partial abruption. If I wasn't bleeding I would have had her in the car or at home! But enough about me, you did it! Congrats again and enjoy life with 2 babes :)

Push For Birth Freedom said...

I am in AWE at the maternal care you got in a hospital! What an amazing country. Acupuncture......home the same day......just fabulous.
Glad your little one is here safe and sound. Have a wonderful baby moon! (That's so hokey, I know.....)

*How did you run the day after birth! I could hardly walk and felt like my uterus was going to fall out for weeks, especially after my 2nd. And anytime I did too much my bleeding ramped up. Is it just because you're a runner and your body is used to the exercise? You are amazing!

heather said...

Wow, congratulations!!! He is adorable. You must have just been in shock - no time to mentally adjust between irregular contractions and baby suddenly being there. Hope you continue to recover well (though it sounds like you barely need any "recovery" at all!). Schöne Grüße an MPH!

mmmonyka said...

Congratulations!

I think that being able to run a day after labor is a dream of every female athlete:)

The Chapples said...

Congrats!

Just be careful, ok?? Your body just went through a lot and no need to push it. Enjoy your newborn! There is always time to work out.

Do hospitals there not keep you overnight??? Wow! I had to stay two nights last time for a vaginal delivery.

Anonymous said...

Stort tillykke herfra!

Daniel, Sorø Triathlon Klub

Marathon Mom said...

Congratulations! :-)
I cannot belive you are running right after giving birth. Just curious what did the midwife say about it? I was toldto wait 4-6 weeks after a vaginal delivery (although I didn't listen).

Is that typical to leave that soon after delivery? What a difference from US healthcare.I delivered late on Thursday and was questioned when I left Saturday morning.

cherelli said...

Congratulations!! I'm surprised you are running so soon too, not because you are not extremely fit, more that the muscles used in delivering a baby are probably heavily fatigued - even if it was a quick delivery! So pleased for you and your boys that you were back home so soon! And so very very pleased that CADEL EVANS won the TdF!!! (hey, first Aussie to do so, what can I say, I'm proud :) ) Enjoy these first weeks and moments of motherhood again :)

amy said...

Running the day you gave birth? Wow.

Looking forward to meeting little Mattias!

(I was bummed about Schleck, too, but mainly bc I had a fair amount of beer riding on his win.)

Danni said...

Congrats!!!

Diana said...

What a great birth story! Sounds like it was an eventful day with a truly amazing outcome. Congrats to you and SR! He's such a beautiful, little baby.

Jacqueline said...

Congrats on beautiful Mattias!

I swear, every second-baby labor story I read is faster and faster. Mine was also super fast -- it's just wild. You did great!

Be careful with the running post-partum. I know after my second baby, I just gave myself some permission to sleep in a bit and enjoy that newborn for a while. I guess after my first, I felt like I had something to prove, but after my second, I felt like I needed to slow down and cherish those first weeks.

He's a beautiful baby, and congratulations!

sea legs girl said...

Steve, I forgot to answer your last comment question - it's pronounced Meh-TEE-es.

Brianne - my mom was worried about the same thing. I was personally a posterior baby and I've heard about it my whole life (how terrible the labor was), so I'm really glad I didn't have to deal with that!

The Salty One, I also have to wonder how quickly I would have had him if I had started walking around right away - probably a lot quicker.

Tusind tak Daniel! Imponerende, du fandt bloggen! Meget sødt af dig at skrive en hilsen :).

sea legs girl said...

Re: hospital stay. Yeah, the gave us the option of going home right away and we took it gladly. I have to wonder if my recovery wasn't sped along by the fact I could go back and sleep well in my own bed and not be distubed by all of that hospital stress. Defintely a good option for women with uncomplicated deliveries and if there aren't a lot of worries/questions afterwards.

sea legs girl said...

Re: running afterwards. I only do it because it feels AWESOME. I really need to hold myself back though because it would be such a shame to get injured. My bleeding has stopped now, though, and there is no pain, so I am just soaking in every moment of running I get in. What a joy! I managed a good two hours today in separate spurts so it wouldn't be too much at once for Mattias.

Sandhya said...

Congratulations, SLG! I am in awe of you. This sounds incredible and I am so happy for you and your family. Also interested (like others) to hear if you received any advice from the midwife or others re: running after birth?

Meghan said...

Congratulations Tracy and family! The bebe is soooo adorable. Recover well.

Kate said...

Beautiful! Congratulations.

And though every labor is different, parts of your story gave me flashbacks to my own 2nd labor -- we, too, spent only about 8-12 minutes between crossing the threshold of the hospital and having a baby in our arms. It was mighty painful, but still in a different way one of the greatest moments of my life - something that I'm kind of proud of, actually. I hope that you get past the freaked out stage and also come to appreciate that feeling of joy and pride (sounds like you're already heading that direction). My husband is still stuck in "freaked out" mode about 2 years later - ha!

It's weird for me approaching labor #3 any day now. On the one hand, I now have the confidence of knowing that I have it in me to do it drug free, and that there are aspects of doing it that way that are amazing. On the other hand, I know from experience that it can be unbelievably painful. I mean...well, I won't go on, because you already know!

Congrats again!

SteveQ said...

And now for something completely different. Today's running song: Different by Ximena Sarinana (there's a missing tilde in there).

Dale Nesbitt said...

Wow, congratulations!

Lisa said...

Congrats SLG!!! I haven't been blogging/reading blogs in awhile, and on a whim I decided to check yours out to see how your pregnancy was going, and WOW!!!!! What an amazing story! I am very happy for you and SR, and the Lorax.

Karen said...

Congrats!!!

Mapp said...

Congratulations! I have been able to check emails for the first time in almost two weeks, and I knew there would be news! Glad it went well and I wish the four of you a fab time together!

Anonymous said...

I'm so glad I've found your blog again, Sea Legs Girl. And that you're still writing it.

I've completed my physician training and am now a geriatrician.

I'm also 6 weeks pregnant with our first. Nowhere near the same fitness levels as you but am reading for inspiration and motivation.

Best wishes to you and your family!

xxxx