The long awaited pictures of our little bundle of joy!
John Carl Fischer was born Saturday December 5, 2009 at 8:07pm. 9lbs 1.9oz, 20 inches long.
The following pictures give a brief story of the day of his birth!
Friday night my contractions started getting more regular and close together, between 5-10 min apart. I went out for my usual evening walk with John and we stopped by Serenity and Marlin's house to chat. Eventually we came home and went to bed. Saturday in the early morning hours my contractions continued and seemed to get stronger, but I tried to sleep through them. Then around 2:30am I felt a gush of fluid, which I thought might be my bag of waters breaking. John turned on the light and we found out actually I had bright red blood. Concerned, we called our doula for a suggestion- and when she came to our house at 3am she said we should call the hospital and probably just go on in to get checked, which we did.
From there the details get a little hazy for me, but I think I was 3cm dilated and 80-90% effaced when I was admitted, and my contractions stayed steady and strong, which was good. So we started walking to see what kind of progress we could make.
Before I continue I must give credit to my fantastic husband, John, and my absolutely amazing doula Miriam, and her partner doula Leilani who all came with me to the hospital and stayed to help manage my labor and the birth of our little boy! I could not have done it without the awesome support of each of them! I am so proud that I had a natural vaginal birth after my previous cesarean section! It was hard work, and totally worth it!
Also we were blessed with the best medical staff that day! My nurses and the doctor on call were each outstanding and supportive. Because of my previous c-section there are many standard practices the hospital informed me I'd be subjected to, but I didn't actually have to deal with most of it! I was told that I'd need to follow "textbook normal" labor progression including having my cervix dilate about 1cm each hour, or they would require some kind of intervention like pitocin, break my bag of waters, or eventually another c-section. I was told I'd have to have a Hep-loc, which gives the medical staff the ability to immediately hook me up to an IV if needed- but they never did that! They did have me hooked up to continuous electronic fetal monitoring, but I was lucky enough to be allowed to use their portable unit, which I could even wear while sitting in the bathtub or shower! And they did ask to break my bag of waters, but we put that off, and eventually my water broke on it's own anyhow.
My husband and doulas reminded me how to relax, what to visualize, and suggested many different positions and methods for managing my labor (many were ideas we learned in our Bradley Method birth class, plus many more were suggested by my doulas). They even let me take a little nap in the early part of the afternoon- and during that time the medical staff didn't bother us at all and let me get a little rest! The following pictures give you an idea of just some of the different things we did together leading up to little John's birth. All these pictures during labor and birth are courtesy of my doula Leilani, who so kindly took Daddy's camera to capture these priceless moments.
Here John and I are walking the halls of the birthing center. I went back and forth feeling cold and hot, so I had towel draped over my shoulders to keep me warm, but sometimes I took it off when I got overheated.
In the hallway while we walked, John could hold the portable electronic fetal monitor around his shoulders, which was connected by long wires to the straps and sensors on my belly. Here during a contraction, I lean into John's warm body to relax, and I'm holding onto the strap of the EFM. Usually I liked holding onto his shirt while leaning into him :)
My doula, Miriam, and I play "tug of war" with a rolled towel, while John puts pressure on my lower back with a warm heating pad.
One of my awesome nurses, Angie, is adjusting the straps on the Electronic Fetal Monitor (EFM) while John and Miriam stand close by with support.
John helps me relax while I'm leaning against the wall in the bathroom (I'm the one wearing the pink and blue EFM straps around my belly). They had the BEST tub in the bathroom, nice and deep with jets, too! I loved sitting in the tub, but didn't get to stay in it for very much of my labor because I got so relaxed it seemed to make my contractions slow and stall out. But it was a good break.
Among many different positions we tried, my doulas suggested hanging from this squatting bar which was attached to the end of my bed. It was a great way to open up -but I could feel it in my arms a day or two later :)
Back in the hallway, John puts pressure with a heating pad on my back, and Miriam reassures me and guides me through the contraction.
The OB on call, Dr. Kaaki, helps Daddy deliver our little baby while I push him out! Daddy got to say: "It's a boy!" Welcome John Carl!
We did it! While Mommy snuggles her little boy on her chest, Daddy and Mommy share an intimate moment.
One of our other amazing nurses, Tiffany, checks in on us. She told us that not only was she proud of us for achieving the natural childbirth we wanted, but even our little boy was equally amazing! She told us that his umbilical cord was very long (it was her job to measure it), had 2 knots in it, and was even wrapped around his neck when I pushed him out- but his heart rate stayed strong and steady the entire time (that's very unusual)! My big strong boy!
Here we get our first really good latch on!
Grammie and Papa Fischer have been staying with us taking care of Renee, and that night, they came over to visit after John Carl was born. Here Renee holds her little brother for the very first time. At first her reaction upon hearing that she had a baby brother was, "But I wanted it to be a girl!" A little bit later however, and every single day since then, she says "Oh Mom, isn't he so cute?"
Renee plays in Mommy's hospital bed. :)
Sunday night, just 24 hours after he was born, we prepare to go back home (really looking forward to our own bed!). This is the outfit he came home in.
Mommy snuggles her little angel boy.
One of the cute handmade hats they give the babies at the hospital.
Getting all bundled up in his carseat, with his warm hat, and a nice fleece carseat liner called a"bundle-me", like a wearable blanket. Perfect for these cold wintery days!
Our little angel boy was born with a cleft lip, and part of his gum is cleft, too, where his teeth will come in. His pallet however is totally intact, which is very good, so he doesn't have a cleft pallet. And because it is just his lip and gum that have the cleft, he is breastfeeding very well, too! We're planning to get a referral from our regular pediatrician to go see a cleft specialist down at a specialty hospital in Iowa City (suppossedly one of the best children's hospitals in the nation). We'll probably take him down there sometime next week, weather permitting, for them to get a look at him. However, surgery would not probably take place until around the time he is at least 3 months old. The pediatrician said that by the time he's 4 months old you won't be able to tell he had a cleft at all. But she did say that he will probably need a few different surgeries, as well as dental work. But in the end he could still probably even be a trumpet player if he wants to. :) We'll find out more details after we get to see the specialist in Iowa City and keep you all updated. For now he is doing just fine.
Back at home Sunday night, Apollo immediately took an interest in his newest family member! And by the way, notice little John's gorgeous red hair!
Little John gets his first kiss from Apollo! Welcome home!
Feeding time, again!
Monday morning, Renee snuck into our bed and got to hold her little brother! Just before this picture was taken, even Daddy and Apollo were all snuggled together as well- our first family snuggle with little John!
A very special thank you to Grammie and Papa Fischer, who left Monday morning to finally go back home to South Dakota before the big blizzard was expected to blow in on Tuesday (which it did). Grammie and Papa stayed with us for over 2 weeks, waiting and waiting ever so patiently for this little baby to arrive! Renee had the best time with her grandparents, watching movies, reading books, coloring, baking cookies, and being taken on fun outings to the library and even to preschool! Mommy and Daddy really appreciated the delicious meals and treats they cooked for us, and the general house keeping they took on as well! Your friendly company and boundless generosity was the most amazing gift, thank you, thank you, thank you! Plus we really enjoyed having you for Thanksgiving and Christmas tree hunting and everything else along the way!
What an amazing journey this has been! So many people have been brought together by this, and I have already learned so much through this process! I have been changed deeply, and am so excited to experience all that our little boy will continue to teach us! What a gift, we are so very thankful!