Tuesday, February 18, 2014

Ragan's Birth Story

I've looked forward to writing Ragan's birth story even before she was born. That probably sounds odd, but I had such a good birth experience with Simon, that I was looking forward to sharing hers. Before Simon's birth - I had nothing to compare birth to, no experience to draw from. With Ragan, I knew what a good birth could be. I so enjoyed the experience of birthing Simon and had been praying that I would be blessed with another good experience.

Ragan's birth was so quick that it took me a while to process what happened! Things happened so quickly that I've had to review what-happened-when several times because I kept forgetting how things progressed.

I was definitely more restless about going into labor this time for two reasons. 1. Because my water was broken to induce labor with Simon, I was a bit apprehensive about how this show would get started. Would my water break? Would I wake up in the middle of the night with contractions? Would I have to be induced? Second reason: I was so ready because I knew that there would be a period of adjusting to two kiddos - and I was ready to embrace the challenges that would accompany doubling the number of children.

Not sure if a prenatal massage on the Saturday before put me into labor, but I'm definitely doing that again if we have more little Harts. I'd also been over-dosing on raspberry leaf tea to 'tone' my uterus {which helps your body have more productive contractions}, and sat on an exercise ball for a few weeks leading up to birth day. I'd like to think that all of these things helped put me into labor - but then there's no way to prove it.

Contractions woke me up at 6am Superbowl Sunday morning (also, happened to be Groundhog's Day and my due date). I didn't get too excited about it because a few weeks earlier I'd already experienced a night of contractions that didn't produce a baby. I got up and started cleaning - preparing stuff for Simon and whomever might come to take care of him in case this was the real thing. At 8 I woke Tom up to let him know that I'd been having contractions for two hours and they hadn't stopped despite me moving around. I texted my friend Liz , who was my doula, around 9 to let her know that I was having pretty consistent contractions - just in case I'd need her that day. We decided to go to church and not go to church several times. My contractions were consistent and slowly progressing in frequency and discomfort, so we decided to just stay home.

It was probably around 11 that I had to start breathing through contractions. I texted Liz again to let her know that maybe she should come by after church; I also texted our friends Sally and Hace to see if they could be prepared to come watch Simon in case we had to go to the hospital. At around 12 my contractions were pretty consistently coming every 5 minutes - I was hesitant to get my plan of action started because I didn't want to put everyone on high alert if it wasn't the real thing. I texted my team to let them know that I needed them to come over after church. When they arrived, Liz followed us to the hospital. I didn't have any contractions while she was in our house, and I remember thinking that she probably thought I was bluffing.

We called our families to let them know that we were on our way to the hospital around 1:30. I hadn't wanted to let anyone know that I'd had contractions just in case it was a fluke, and I also didn't want texts asking how I was doing. :) We also called my doctor to let her know we were en-route to the hospital and were relieved to discover that she was already at the hospital.

The 25 minute car ride wasn't as uncomfortable as I'd expected; we checked into triage and were in the labor room by 2:15. The nurse asked me to change so she could check me. I threw up almost immediately then, and in a few minutes I was checked and was 6 cm dilated. I remember thinking that I'd take that and prepared mentally to work for those last few centimeters, expecting to work through the hardest part of laboring without an epidural.

My doctor came in to see how I was doing; I had a few contractions while she was there - after a few minutes she asked me if I had the urge to push - which I did. She checked me - this wasn't even 10 minutes after the nurse had checked me - and I was already 10 cm {I honestly didn't know it was medically/physically possible to dilate so quickly - but I'm grateful that it is!}. My doctor said, "When you have the urge to push you can do so." It took me a minute to realize what she'd said. We'd only been in the room for about 20 minutes or so and it was already time to push! I'd been prepared to put some work into birthing this baby.

I decided to push on my side which is a great birthing position because you can rest in between contractions, and it also reduces tearing. I went through about 3 rounds of contractions and Ragan was born. I couldn't believe how quickly it had happened. To put time in perspective for you:  we were in our room by 2:15 and she was born at 2:51. 


Ragan Marie Hart
Born 2:51 p.m. on her due date: Sunday February 2, 2014
7.13 lbs / 21 inches


I'm thankful for another epidural-free birth; I strongly feel like it's what's best for mama and baby. I realize that not everyone thinks the same thing, but am working on a post to explain why I'm such an advocate of unmedicated birth.

Ragan's birth was so different from Simon's birth. Both good experiences in their own way. I LOVE that my doctor with Ragan has a midwife background because I totally trust her birth-philosophy and her medical knowledge as well. Made a world of difference to not second guess anything she suggested. I never left an appointment wondering if she was on-board for an un-medicated birth like I worried with Simon's doctor.

I pushed for 3 hours with Simon - primarily because I was told to get on my back {the worst position to birth in!}. Ragan came out after less than 15 minute of pushing. She was born with a head of dark hair and if I hadn't been in the room I'd never identify her as one of ours since Simon was born practically bald with a few strands of blonde hair.

With Simon I felt like my body really worked to birth him - mainly because my water was broken and went from having zero contractions to having a baby within 18 hours. Ragan's total labor to birth time was less than 9 hours. I wouldn't say that my contractions with Ragan were easy, but they were easy and much more bearable than with Simon. I kept waiting to get into the "out of it zone" and never did. After we checked into the hospital, I was prepared for hours more of hard-work-laboring. I'm not sad that I missed out on that - am grateful for an easy birth. 

The Lord has blessed us with pregnancies and with good birth experiences and healthy babies; we do not take this for granted and am thankful for His grace in this area of our life.

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To read Simon's story: Click Here

1 comment:

  1. Thanks for sharing your stories!!! I always love to read other people's baby/birthing stories just to get different perspectives. I like you planned to go all natural and was going to get myself prepared fully the last two weeks of my pregnancy. Little did I know, I went into labor 17 days early not prepared at all. Nurses ended up giving me Pitocin and I did have an epidural (I think mainly because I was too nervous and the contractions were ridiculously all over the place. I did not do the research that you did and have I known the risk of it and the increase of chance of a c section I might have made some different choices. Luckily, with the Pitocin and an epidural I was able to still deliver naturally, pushing for two hours, and delivering 8 hours after my water broke on its own. I wish I have had the chance to actually mentally prepare myself and had more knowledge about the different ways things could go down :) I look back now and wonder if I really needed the Pitocin or not considering how fast I went along or was it the Pitocin that made me go fast. That I will never know. Thanks again for sharing!!!!
    Heather Lockaby (Specht)

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