Last we left talking about Cooper’s birth story, we were getting ready to head to the hospital after several hours of laboring at home…
(This is Brad, writing this again)
So, the whole time April had been having contractions I had been timing them to see if they were getting closer and to know when we needed to get in the car and roll to the hospital. Around 3 or 4pm the contractions had gotten to about 2-3 mins. apart. By this time I am starting to get a little nervous that Coop was going to come while we were at our house and I was going to have to deliver him myself. Since I’ve never delivered a baby and wasn’t a big fan of causing any bodily harm to my first child, I wanted to make sure we made it to the hospital. Faith and I started loading the car and making it as comfortable as possible for Ape for the 30 min. ride to the hospital. After one last phone call to Chrissy (our doula) we decided it was time to go. We helped ease her down the stairs and into the car while keeping the same birthing track she had been listening to in her headphones in the car. Once she was in the back seat and comfortable (relatively) I pulled out of the driveway. I wanted to floor it but at the same time wanted to go as slow as possible. I was excited, nervous, and concerned for April so all of my stops were as gentle as I could manage but on the straight-aways I went a little faster than usual. The ride was pretty uneventful, which is a good thing. April was still breathing and staying focused as she had pressure waves, and was handling them great! Then after a 23 min. drive (i shaved some time off) we arrived at Kennestone Hospital. We found Ape a wheelchair and Faith parked the car. Once we got to the labor area and filled out the insurance information the nurses took us back to examine April to see how far along she was.
I don’t remember if I mentioned this or not, but we were very deliberate in laboring at home as long as possible. We know there are times and circumstances that certain ,medications may be needed (like c-sections & other complications), but we wanted for there to be as small of a chance for her to feel the need to request medication as possible. Even though we had waited as long as we thought we could, we still were nervous they would say she was only 2 cm or we still had a while to go. So when the nurses started the exam we didn’t know what they were going to say. They asked if she had seen any amnionic fluid and we said we thought so. They used a test strip to see if that was accurate and it turns out we were right. Next the nurse did what we were waiting for; she felt to see how dilated Ape was. Once she began, her eyes got big and she looked at the other nurse and said in a sort of urgent voice “she’s at a 9!”. We both were so excited, and I was so proud that Ape had labored all the way to 9 cm at home without any issues at all. The nurse also said that she felt part of the amniotic sac still unbroken and that it would probably break soon. After that news the nurses went into “rush mode” and started running around getting April ready for delivery and getting her room set up. Once we had finished the entry exam and answering some questions they directed us to our delivery room. Faith, Dezirae (friend & photographer), and Chrissy came in the room to help us get situated and document the occasion. Dez was so nice to come and take pictures of everything going on while Faith videotaped & put on the birthing track again to help calm Ape down and help her stay focused. Chrissy was giving Ape tips and encouragement as I just kept holding her. Someone put a sign on the door that we had made to encourage a stress free and positive environment. Soon after that, our mid-wife, Christy, came in to see how Ape was and to get ready for Coop. Once she took a look at how everything was progressing with April she encouraged her to keep laboring however was most comfortable. So Ape started to stand and lean against the bed while holding on to me. Then, not 20 mins after having gotten in the room we hear a “SPLAT!”. We looked down and her water had definitely broken! Christy (mid-wife) told Ape to get in whatever position she wanted to have the baby. After trying a couple things she wound up on all fours on the bed. She never left that position until after our boy was born. But there’s a few things that happened before that.
Now we were into active labor and April was doing great, but she was feeling the pressure of a head starting to head out (see what I did there?). After a few pretty intense pushes we could start to see some hair. Then a few more pushes we could see the top of a head. It was at this part when it got the hardest for Ape. With each push her body gave, & as more of Cooper’s head came out, it hurt her more. At the point where his head was the biggest is the only time April said “I need to stop”, to which the mid-wife said “it’s too late to stop now”. With that Ape pushed just a couple of times and our boy’s head popped all the way out. Christy said to hold off on pushing for just a sec for her to check to make sure the cord and shoulders were good but Ape’s body didn’t hear that and pushed anyway, and out came the rest of our bundle of joy. Since April was on all fours Christy just guided Cooper up from between her legs and handed him to her. There were so many emotions in that moment with the biggest being happiness as we held our son for the first time. He was finally here! And he was gorgeous and healthy.
Then April turned and laid down on the bed as she continued holding Coop. Once the umbilical cord had stopped pulsing, Christy asked if I’d like to cut the cord (which I did) and then delivered the placenta (which didn’t seem like that big of a deal). After some crying, pictures, and a first try at breast feeding the nurses took Cooper to be cleaned, weighed and measured. I stayed with him the whole time and just looked at him and talked to him. He was a good looking boy (thank God he took after his mother with his looks!) The nurses showed me how to swaddle and told me all his stats. After that I got to hold him & sang to him “Happy Birthday” and “Jesus Loves Me”. While all that was going on April was being cleaned up as well. During the delivery she had gotten a small tear and needed 4 stitches. Once that was all done we all huddled up on the bed and Ape tried breast feeding again with the help of the nurses and mid-wife. Then most of the staff left and it was just the 3 of us, Faith, Dez, and Chrissy. So, I went out to tell the family all the good news and how everything went.
A little more of the story from April’s point of view…
There are just a few things that I wanted to add to all that Brad has already said.
The first thing happened in the exam room. They started giving me antibiotics before they knew how dilated I was. I especially remember this because I initially didn’t want to be given them. I had tested positive for strep while I was pregnant (which is pretty common) and so it was recommended that I take the antibiotics to prevent it from affecting Cooper as he came through the birth canal. I really didn’t want anything in my system, but this one we decided to do just in case. I don’t know if I would do it again, but it didn’t really matter that much. I didn’t get the full dose and I had Cooper pretty soon after that. It’s possible the antibiotics didn’t even make it into his body. Either way, I just wanted to mention that that was something we struggled with.
After we were in the delivery room and my water broke, I felt an overwhelming urge to push. I wasn’t intentionally pushing. It was more like my body was telling me it was about to start pushing. I was standing when it happened and as soon as I felt the pushing sensation, I began to squat & told them I had to push. Our midwife was just putting her gloves on, she hadn’t been there long. They helped me up onto the bed, I got on all fours & my body started working to slide Cooper out. The Hypnobabies track was playing, but I wasn’t paying any attention to it at this point. This was the first time I ever really felt pain during the whole process but I didn’t feel like I couldn’t take it until the very end. Christy told me that they could see his head and asked me if I wanted to feel it, so I reached around and felt his head but the only thought I had was That’s it?! That’s as far as he’s come? I think she meant it to encourage me but, by the way it felt from the inside, I imagined his head being half way out. What I felt with my hand was his hair and that he was still completely inside me. It was rather discouraging but It didn’t take long after that before he was all the way out. I had a moment where I felt like I couldn’t do it anymore but it didn’t matter, he was coming & when he came, he came fast! I immediately felt relief & every bit of pain or discomfort vanished like it was never there. Cooper was crying with the most amazing quivery voice & he was nothing like I had pictured at all! He was much cuter! I held him in my lap & he peed on me. Haha! I didn’t care one bit, he felt like a piece of me and that feeling didn’t go away for several weeks. They helped me turn around and lay down, so I could hold Cooper while I delivered the placenta and Christy sewed me up. I didn’t feel anything. I was on a major high! In fact, I felt amazing for quite a while afterwards.
Cooper was still crying when we were settled in the bed, with Daddy next to us. I kept saying “It’s okay. Mommy & Daddy are here!” It’s kind of annoying to hear how many times I said this when I watch the video, but his surroundings were all of a sudden SO different for him and I wanted him to hear my voice, to be comforted by something familiar to him. I don’t know if it worked, but it was worth a try.
Cooper is going to be six months old this month & I can’t believe he was ever that little 8lb 7oz baby or that he used to fit in my belly.
This is probably the number 1 thing I hear from other parents and I’m sure you’ve heard it before, too, but it’s true – they grow up so fast!