He’s here! Zane Buckeye Cowan was born on March 6th at 6:20pm weighing 8.5 lbs. and measuring 20 inches long. For those of you who are squeamish or would rather just read about the ranch or house building, I recommend you stop reading this post here. There should be a house building update in a week or two. As for the rest of you brave and interested readers, this is how it all went down.
On Wednesday night, March 5th, Stephen and I went out to see a movie (The Monuments Men) while my parents watched Zoey. Throughout the movie I started having contractions, and in the back of my head I wondered if this time I was going to keep having contractions unlike the ones in the past week that had come and gone randomly. When the movie was over we came home and I went to bed early at 9:30pm. When Stephen came to bed an hour later, I got up to use the bathroom again. I was washing my hands when I felt a flow of liquid down my leg. I was suspicious that my water had broken, but it wasn’t until I was in bed lying down that I felt myself leaking more and knew my water had indeed broken. I called my doula who discussed my options with me. I chose not to call my doctor immediately because I did not want to go to the hospital right away and most likely be given IV antibiotics due to risk of infection. My hope was that I would go into labor naturally in the 24 hours that followed before calling my doctor.
I had contractions throughout the night but was not timing them. I was trying to relax and not think about the possibility of being induced again if my body didn’t go into labor. At 6:30am the next morning my contractions were coming regularly at 10 minutes apart. They continued throughout the morning sometimes increasing in frequency and sometimes slowing down. At 10:00am we went for a walk which helped increase contractions to 3 minutes apart. But by the time we returned to the house, they had slowed again to 5 minutes apart although they were increasing in intensity. By noon, I felt it was time to call our doula to come to the house to help me through the contractions knowing that it would be an hour before she arrived. A little after 1:00pm, our doula arrived and I alternated between sitting on the birthing ball and squatting against the bathroom doorframe during contractions to help bring baby down. By 3:00pm Stephen reminded me that Zoey would be home from daycare within the hour and questioned if it was time to go to the hospital. At that point, I didn’t verbalize my feelings but was internally wondering how I could manage more intense pain during the time of transition. I questioned whether I could handle this natural childbirth thing. I decided it was time to go to the hospital although I wondered at the same time if I was going prematurely. I didn’t want to labor a long time in a hospital room. Nevertheless we went.
After thankfully a short 5 minute or so truck ride to the hospital, I was taken to the triage room where a nurse confirmed that my water had broken. She monitored me for about 10-20 minutes and then moved me to a private room. I labored again on the birthing ball and leaning against Stephen during contractions. By 5:00pm I again was questioning my decision to labor naturally, wondering how far along I was dilated, and thinking this labor was taking too long! Some time after 5:00pm my doula suggested I try going to the bathroom because I hadn’t gone in 2 hours and it might help move things along. I sat on the toilet and tried to pee, but nothing came out despite feeling the need to go. That was when the nurse decided to check me. I was 8 cm. dilated. The contractions started coming on stronger and closer together, and I started to feel pressure like I needed to push. At 5:50pm the nurses decided it was time to call my doctor to come to the hospital, and a nurse checked me again–I was fully dilated. Not long after my doctor arrived. She confirmed I was fully dilated, and she gowned up. They asked me if I wanted to use the squat bar on the bed while pushing and I thought–why not? I’ll have gravity help me push baby out. I wasn’t really prepared for the sensations that followed while pushing Zane out of me. When I pushed Zoey out, I still had some numbness from the epidural and couldn’t feel much. This time around, I had no idea that pushing baby out would be more difficult than laboring through transition contractions. I had heard of the “ring of fire” some women experience, but it was another thing to experience it and know there was no way out of it but going through it and coming out alive on the other side along with the gift of our baby boy.
Before I could push Zane out completely, my doctor told me to stop and lay down as she and two nurses pressed HARD on my belly. Apparently Zane’s shoulder and arm got stuck and they had to manipulate it somehow before I continued to push him out. I don’t recall how many pushes later, but at 6:20pm Zane was born.
We were able to go home the following night, but not before some drama ensued. I won’t go into detail about how one of the nurses thought she heard a heart murmur while listening to Zane’s heartbeat. The pediatrician also heard it and ordered an EKG. He explained how all newborn babies have a heart murmur if you listen at the right time. I can’t explain in more detail because my sleep deprived brain really couldn’t process the medical terms and explanation he gave. The EKG was slightly abnormal so a technician came in to do an echocardiogram. The results came back normal, but the pediatrician recommended a follow-up today at the clinic. The pediatrician today listened again to Zane’s heartbeat and the murmur was gone. Stephen and I have been blessed yet again.