Wow! What a crazy 2 weeks! Wolfgang Kenvyn Schaid was born on the 19th of September, a Monday. I went in to get induced because he was a week late and the placenta begins to get ‘old’ at that point. The photo at the left is me, a few days before I was induced, at Hilltop Park in El Segundo. I’ll go into some detail here so if you’re creeped out by pregnancy/birth details, I’d skip to the next section =) So I went in to Kaiser’s hospital on Monday morning at 8am and was hooked up to pitocin, the hormone the brain releases naturally to induce contractions. It started out pretty easily, and I felt nothing besides my tummy contracting, no pain. Jeff put on a Jack Black movie and we relaxed and talked while the contractions got stronger. There came a point where they started getting painful, so Jeff put the movie off and stayed by my side, keeping me on the breathing pattern suggested in our Lamaze classes. At one point they started getting so painful I asked Jeff if I could request an epidural and he gently reminded me that I was trying to have a natural birth, but as the contractions got closer together and I had a hard time recovering after each one, he said if I was going to do anything that I should get the pain medication administered through the IV. We called the nurse in and she brought the medication and told me it would last about 2 hours, which I was okay with. Whereas the epidural would take about 70% of the pain away, this medication (I believe it was called Nubring, or Nuvring) would take away about 30%, and it was not location specific – it was a narcotic that would take away my brain’s perception of pain somewhat and calm me down. It was very interesting to feel it ‘kick in’ – whereas I was grimacing, or trying not to with each contraction previously, now my face and body felt relaxed, and as each contraction came along I felt much more able to handle them with peace. To be honest with you, I felt like I had eaten a ‘medicinal’ brownie and I was back to myself, ready to party!
My mother and sister arrived at around 4pm, and the pain medication was beginning to wear off. The contractions become even more intense and closer together and I could barely talk – I didn’t want to move, talk, open my eyes, or do ANYthing. I can’t imagine squatting for childbirth or walking around like some women do. I couldn’t imagine doing anything but stay right where I was and not move one body part. My mom, sister and jeff talked quietly when one or more of them was not at my side stroking my hair, reminding me to breathe, or offering me ice or warm socks. The pain intensified to the point where I was doing everything I could to keep breathing deeply rather than hold my breath during the contractions and to keep from moaning too loud – I knew that would only make me feel the pain more. I tried to keep my face straight (frowning also makes the situation worse) and finally I didn’t know how much more I could handle – I had been told I was dilated to 5 centimeters (once the cervix reaches 10cm you are basically having the baby), and I wasn’t sure how long the labor would be, so I requested an epidural again - my sister asked if it was what I really wanted (she knew I hadn’t wanted one previously), and Jeff repeatedly asked if I was completely sure – my mom was queasy about the pain I was feeling because she knew she couldn’t take it away which is a mother’s worse nightmare, but she was disappointed that I wanted an epidural. I honestly didn’t care at that point – I was sure I was at 6 cm tops and had a long way to go and didn’t know how I could deal with hours of what I was feeling, or it getting even worse. Jeff suggested some more of the initial pain medication I had taken and I agreed – anything was better than nothing. We called the nurse and she said she couldn’t administer more since it had not been 2 hours yet, and so Jeff asked if we could go with the epidural – she came in moments later to check how far along I was, and at 10 minutes to 7pm, lo and behold I was at 9cm already! No wonder the pain had intensified so quickly - within minutes the room was filled with doctors, nurses and other hospital staff. I got lost in the sensations my body was feeling, almost as though I wasn’t even there anymore, just aware of the ridiculously powerful process my body was getting into. They had to break my water at this point since it was still not breaking (at 10 cm!!!) and then I started feeling the urge to push – I literally had no control at that point – I was completely at the mercy of my body’s demands and push I did, about 5 times before the baby was freed from me and placed on my chest. Kaiser Permanente has an excellent maternity program that is very well in tune with the evolutionary and biological needs of the the newborn and mother, unlike many other American hospitals: they promote skin-to-skin and breastfeeding heavily and even have in-house lactation consultants covered by insurance (this proved to be a life-saver for me later on when I was having trouble with breastfeeding). Wolfgang was born at 7:34pm.
After the Birth
As I lay there shaking though I was not cold (I lost a lot of blood and was later told to stay an extra day due to my very low iron level), I was in shock at the fact that I was staring at the being that was in my belly for 9 months… Jeff came in close and we were just in awe… they gave us some time with the baby before they took him to be weighed and checked out. He was 8lbs 4oz, a shock considering the doctor had estimated him at being no more than 6 pounds. The photo at the left is shortly after Wolfgang was born as you may tell by poofy eyes! My mom fed me mango slices as my shaking increased and Katheryn continued to take some amazing photos.
For the next day and a half Jeff the baby and I shared a recovery room and we had Katheryn, her boyfriend Morgan and my Mom visit as well as my good friend Miori, her husband Dan and their 7 week old, Oliver. We had an interesting time getting to know the baby more, being seen by different specialists, eating not-so-bad hospital food and finding out what having a newborn means. I felt as though I had a giant hole in my stomach, as though I had a spine and no stomach, like I would fold in half if I didn’t keep my back braced whenever I moved. I put on my Belly Bandit (a core re-strengthener/flattener) and immediately felt so much more supported. Using this daily and going on a few walks with the baby and Jeff since I have gotten some of my strength back in my core muscles. I just barely have a little pooch left that has been fading away surprisingly fast with each day that passes.
Taking Eleuthero Root (an adrenal support), Dandelion Root (liver support), Green Juice (for energy and enzymes), Vitamineral Greens (nutritional alkaline greens), Mother’s Milk tea (lactation support) and eating well has helped me to stay afloat the feedings every 2 hours of the day and night, though one afternoon when Jeff was out getting groceries and Wolf was extremely fussy I did have a bit of a breakdown and when Jeff came home I gave him the baby, ran to the bathroom and burst into tears. I hadn’t had more than a few 1 hour stretches of sleep the previous night due to Wolf’s fussiness throughout the night and was getting overwhelmed. I had a good cry, came out to feed Wolfgang and Jeff came and comforted me when he saw that I was upset. I soon felt a little better and made sure to take some more Eleuthero and to remind myself to take some deep breaths and go to my happy place whenever I could. Luckily this was the only time I felt so overwhelmed and since I have gotten more sleep thanks to Wolf getting the food he needs and us beginning to understand what he needs more.
At my heaviest in the pregnancy I weighed 139 pounds, and I now weigh 115 2 weeks days after the birth, so I have lost 24 pounds. Only 2 to go now to get back to my 113lb pre-pregnancy weight! Not bad! I never thought my ankles had swollen very much, but seeing them now is shocking! They look so skinny! I wonder if they are skinnier now then previously or if my ankles were in fact swollen but just were not that obvious… it seems they are skinnier than they were… My tummy is almost back to normal, not one stretch mark (I attribute this to genetics since my mom didn’t have them either as well as my extremely high intake of antioxidant-rich fruits and vegetables throughout the pregnancy), and the rest of my body is like I have never been pregnant – wow. I realize how amazing the body can be when well provided for. I’ve since gone on 4 walks with Jeff and Wolfgang around the neighborhood and with every walk I can feel my strength higher than the previous day’s walk. Amazing… I would love to do yoga but know that I should take it easy in that sense due to my episiotomy (I had no idea I had even had one until hours after the baby was born! Go anasthesia!). Episiotomies take around 4 weeks to heal generally, and I don’t want anything going wrong there. I’m excited to get back into movement though through walking.
SInce I have taken up so much room writing about my experience, I will end it here with some photos of the little guy – Wolfgang, a name that Jeff has loved for months and was never able to make second best to any other (it means traveling wolf), Kenvyn, my dad’s name, Schaid. Wolfgang Kenvyn Schaid <3