Sunday, July 15, 2012

Birth Story: Part 3

The Birth Story of Linnea Joy Radtke – June 27th, 2012 - “Is This For Real?”

Part 3: Immediate Postpartum and Going Home (Read Part 1 & Part 2)

First Family Photo 

The hours after her birth are somewhat of a blur, but so much happened! After that Ross and I just got to enjoy our beautiful baby girl, eat pizza and weigh her: 6lbs 13oz and 20in long! I got to see that placenta, the “tree of life,” though Ross decided that he would leave the room to grab our pizza at that point.  I totally zoned out while they were doing her newborn exam, but Ross was with her the whole time. I sent a few text messages spreading the news, called my sister and my dad, and took it all in. Ross’ parents, aka the new grandparents, came down to meet her and of course Grandpa Rod took some photos! After they left the three of us took an herbal bath which was incredible soothing and a special moment for the three of us.

Ross and Linnea... I got out to pee. Warm water again... 

After that we were on our way home. Dressing her for the first time was challenging, as was situating her tiny body into the carseat. As Ross was carrying her out to the car he had to stop in the lobby and take her out to check her breathing, and as I was walking out with Audrey we came upon him crying again holding her so gently. It had hit him that she had spent her entire life in the birthing room and we were about to take her out onto the roads for the first time and he felt a little panicked. Ross also drove 5 under the speed limit the whole way home while I rode in the back and just started at her to make sure she was still breathing.
When we finally arrived home at 4:00am the exhaustion hit us. I was sore, Ross was exhausted, but we were home with our baby girl. As I walked into the kitchen I realized that when we left earlier that day I didn’t think about how our lives would be changed forever, and that we were now three living together, and I still couldn’t quite believe it all. It didn’t seem real.

Rachel told me that I labored beautifully and that it had been an honor for her to attend my birth. Myriah and Rachel were proud of me, and I was proud of myself and our whole birth team. At our one week postpartum appointment Rachel confessed that she had started to cry at one point, and Myriah had pressed her hand to her heart, both from watching Ross. They said the intensity of love for me shone so strongly on is face that it overwhelmed them. Rachel said that whenever they had to do anything Ross would watch my face to see how I reacted, and if it was ok he would then nod his approval for whatever it was that was going on. He was so protective, and is such a wonderful and protective father. He has taken such good care of us!

I also have to talk about Katie our doula (Birthing Wellness): she was such a blessing. As a doula awaiting her certification she had to attend a few births to gain experience first, so she spent nearly 12 hours with us, supporting me through my labor, absolutely for free. She was a perfect companion for me, as I am introverted and like quiet and peace, I really appreciated her calm, steadfast and quiet demeanor. She was respectful, gracious and her strength never waivered, and she is truly a wonderful doula. I couldn't imagine doing this without her support!

And Morning Star – what an incredible model for women’s health and prenatal care! Not only was I taken care of so well during my pregnancy (they even helped us fight to have our insurance cover the birth center!) but we left after our delivery with their cell phone numbers in our phones with instructions to call night or day with questions or concerns. We had a 24 hour home visit which was wonderfully helpful, Myriah spent lots of time with us on breastfeeding and was a huge support when I felt overwhelmed. We were so well taken care of, and I couldn’t imagine giving birth any other way! Things really could not have gone better.

"39 weeks"

One last thought: I remember feeling tremendously guilty that I didn’t cry when she was placed on my chest, and honestly, I didn’t “fall in love” immediately. I was waiting for my rush of oxytocin the “love hormone” but it just wasn’t there. I felt very neutral for the next two days in fact! It wasn’t until Friday morning that it hit me, I just started sobbing uncontrollably as Ross rushed back into the bedroom to see what was wrong all I could tell him was that I loved her. I love her so much, our beautiful baby girl: Linnea Joy Radtke.