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.