Wednesday, February 4

The Birth of Our Second: Declan Brent Gunnell

I think I will start this by saying my second birthing experience was truly wonderful. If you read my first birth story, you'd know that despite it being a long 13 hours and the hardest thing I've ever done, it was amazing. It was also unquestionably one of the best days of my life.

This time was no different. Except a zillion times faster, easier, and overall, less painful. I wish I could be the one to tell you that birth isn't painful, but unless you are one of the few lucky ones (or one of those with super crazy mental control--like people who use hypnobirthing) it is. But it's different for everyone and you can handle it. And this second experience has made me so optimistic for next time because I know what we can do differently to make it even better! (Number one thing to change--make sure the doctor is there when I start pushing!)

Anyway, I really wanted to remember the details of this birth experience so I could go back and compare it to Tenley's birth as well as future births, so I took notes in the beginning of my labor and Dalin sneakily found them (on his laptop where my blog page was open haha) and added a ton to it for me, which was both helpful and kind of funny because of the way he says certain things that I never would have said or remembered (or known if he hadn't told me!).

Following, are the notes I took after we got settled at the hospital around 10am on Friday, January 30th--my induction date (at 39 weeks pregnant exactly). I had originally been scheduled for 6:30am but we got a call right before we headed out the door delaying us because some pre-term twins had come in to be born. The called back a little after 9am, letting us know we could come right in!

  • Upon arrival, (we said bye to Tenny outside the hospital--no babies or kids were allowed in labor and delivery due to flu season--after taking a last family photo) I was hooked right up to IV with fluids and pitocin in my left wrist (which left a big, very sore bruise two days later).
  • The blood pressure cuff was put on left arm, and the baby's heart rate monitor and contraction monitor were on belly. 
  • I feel like a science experiment being hooked up to so many wires. 
  • A strange warmth has begun in my lower back (and now that it's happening, I recall having the same thing with Tenley).
  • Feeling bored and hungry. Waiting is hard, and I'm so impatient for things to start happening here! 
  • There is a little bit of pressure in my lower back, slight pressure on my pelvis building.
  • Despite those complaints, the IV tape pinching my wrist hurts more than anything else right now haha.

I didn't get very far before Dalin's laptop was close to dying, so it went on the charger and later, Dalin (secretly) took over the note-taking for me. I added in my additional comments in gray.

  • Epidural was done twice because first time hit a vessel. Dalin almost passed out watching the epidural (you won't want to know this dear, but there was a spurt of blood out of your back and then it kept bleeding, that's why)
  • Much happier after epidural
  • Tingling and warmth in feet right away
  • Water breaking was nothing (I was scared about this part originally since mine broke on its own last time, but I didn't feel anything except the hot liquid gushing out)
  • Blood dripping toward Dr. Pace hand, had to warn him (haha, he wasn't wearing a glove on the hand in which he had the hook he had used to break my water so I thought he should know since he wasn't seeing it)
  • No pressure feeling with contractions at first
  • Slight, growing pressure on pubic bone--turns out the epidural had shut itself off. So the epidural guy came back and switched the machine out and a short time later the pain was completely gone again. 
  • At 10cm at about 7pm
  • Rest and descend for an hour. (This means I just sat and waited for another long hour before I even tried pushing in hopes that my body would naturally help the baby descend as far as he could).
  • Start pushing at 8:10pm exactly and nurses think it will be about an hour of pushing.
  • They called Dr. Pace at home and told him he had a little time.
  • Pushed through three sets of contractions and his head is basically out 
  • The baby crowned around 8:25pm. I could see his head in the mirror they had brought in and I knew he'd be out easily in one more push. I was in a lot of pain with him crowning--it felt like a huge balloon of pressure and relief would only come if it was popped. 
  • Have to wait fourteen minutes for Dr. Pace. Longest 14 minutes of our lives...
  • Lots of pain while waiting. I was crying--basically in hysterics--because the nurses were telling me to hold him in there until Dr. Pace got there and I knew I had to push him out (or I'd die is what it felt like...). I kept asking through my tears why I couldn't just push him out (since I knew two of the nurses there had delivered babies before) but they took forever to explain it to me. Finally, what I gathered was that they could see I was going to tear (they were actually holding the baby in with their fingers to try and prevent me from tearing) and thought Dr. Pace would quickly give me an episiotomy before delivering me. 
  • Pace arrives and baby comes right out. He doesn't do episiotomies (which I had known but been too incoherent to try and explain) so waiting was basically a waste of time--except we didn't know how fortunate I was that we did wait until he was there until afterward).
  • Placed baby boy on me (an experience I had not had with Tenley because she didn't cry at birth so they had to take her away) and all I could register was that he was very gray, slimy, beautiful, and his face looked just like Tenley's.
  • Baby boy inhaled a lot of mucus and so he had to spend some time with a respiratory therapist to get feeling better.
  • Baby born at 8:39pm, weighing 8lbs 6oz, 21 inches long (good thing we got induced at 39 weeks).
  • Placenta delivered easily.
  • Lots of bleeding. Doctor said you would have died without modern medicine. (I did not learn this until after...I was much more worried about the baby even though I could hear him crying and breathing.)
  • Dalin Freaking out. (Dalin knew the bleeding was serious (because he could see that, plus he heard Dr. Pace asking for all kinds of emergency treatments for me which had not happened with Ten) and he was pacing the room anxiously. Everyone kept asking him if he was okay/needed to sit down) 
  • Baby and mommy start doing better.
  • Baby in nursery for about 25 minutes.
  • Olivia given medicine through the IV to stop the bleeding, plus a shot in the leg, plus a pill.
  • Respiratory therapist/expert came in to talk to Dalin and I about baby boy. He spoke very seriously, telling us that the baby had had some trouble breathing and that that could be serious. Ended by telling us the baby is fine and is being brought back to us from the nursery. (We were like what the heck!? He totally set us up thinking something was seriously wrong, only to tell us he was fine and doing great.) 
  • Bleeding finally slowed down. Got stitched up for 2nd degree tear for an hour.
  • Checked on every 15 minutes for continued bleeding for first couple of hours
  • The nurses pushed on my stomach very hard many times in the next several hours to make sure they had gotten everything out. 
  • Olivia's cousin Whitney, best friend Sarah, sisters-in-law Cassie and Shaina, Mom Linda, and mother-in-law JeNeale were all there and so helpful before, during, and after the labor and delivery. They stayed after to see the baby and then left by eleven. 
  • Dad and Mom (finally alone) don't know what the baby's name will be, discuss it but decide to sleep on it.
  • Checked on by nurses throughout the night
  • Baby sleeps next to Mom for a few hours then in nursery for remainder of the night
  • Mom and Dad decide next morning that Declan will be his name.
  • Announce to family that our son's name is Declan Brent Gunnell.
  • He eats a couple of times during the morning. Nurses well.
  • Declan gets his hearing checked just before noon, failed test in the left ear.
  • Baby took bath and did really well. Passed second hearing test.
  • Mom visited Tenley in the lobby, talked to visitors, ate, rested.
  • Ate a million Lorna Doones from the snack room.

So that is basically a detailed summary of our first 24 hours with our little Declan. The differences between Declan's birth and Tenley's are humongous. For one thing, I was only in pain (hitting like a 4 or higher) for about two hours or less. And now I am so excited for next time knowing that I have the potential to push a baby out in fifteen minutes! (As long as he or she isn't any bigger than Declan). I will definitely be requesting an induction at 39 weeks next time. I don't know if my body could push out a 9lb baby, which is probably where we would have been if we had waited until 40 weeks!

Here are a few photos from the first days. My one thing I wish I had remembered to do was assign someone to take photos like I had done with Tenley. Thank goodness for cell phones all over the place!

Right before we headed into the hospital. Beach ball belly :)
Wearing my "tenley" necklace for strength, missing my little girl, and not sure why my body resists the pitocin (and labor) so strongly. Maxed out at 20 units.
Feeling really good pretty much all day. Just so bored waiting for things to start happening! 
Big jump in time--he's born! Crazy hair, but this best expresses my happiness shortly after delivery.
My labor and delivery supporters: Mom-in-law, JeNeale; best friend, Sarah; my mom, Linda; my cousin, Whitney. Missing from the pic are Shaina and Cassie, my sisters-in-law.
Just a little while after birth. 
Tiny boy. 
Good morning, littlest Declan! Smitten.
I could not believe he had arrived. For like three days, I was in complete disbelief at how fast he had come and the fact that he was finally there!  
Most perfect profile. 
Birth stats (one day late--he was born the 30th)
All ready to go home! 
He loves holding hands. I just want to kiss that little ear. 
Taking a brief little rest while I help his sister. Tenley was smiling and saying "baby" just moments before.
Nighttime snuggles with mama. 
In love with that cowlick at the back of his head. His dad's is just as crazy! 
Catching some rays on mommy and daddy's bed...fighting the jaundice.
Four generations of Gunnells! (Declan is the only one carrying on the Gunnell name!) We have Great Grandpa Darwin Brent, his daddy Dalin Brent, little Declan Brent, and Grandpa Jonathan Brent.
If you have any questions about my birthing experiences, I'd be happy to answer them for you! I know not every part of birth is very fun but I love it so much because it is such a sweet, spiritual experience creating life and bringing it into this world. It just makes me happy and I am so grateful to God for how everything worked out.

The little Gunnell family is a little bigger, and so hugely blessed.
P.S. For those of you who were wondering, we got the name Declan from the movie Leap Year. We sure love our Irish names! ;)

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