Didn’t have a camera by my side this time
Hoping I would see the world with both my eyes
Maybe I will tell you all about it when I’m
In the mood to lose my way with words

-John Mayer

I’ve been living life and being less reflective over the last year – in part because I’ve had a forever growing to do list and now have a little one that I want to spend all my time with when he’s awake. When he’s asleep I’m trying to fit in work, a workout, or of course some sleep myself. However, I do enjoy having this little place in the world to share my life with loved ones. Something that is probably more important now that I live on the opposite coast, and boy do those 3 hours difference in time make it hard to find time for a nice phone chat. No promises on regular blogging because in this current state of sleep deprivation I definitely remember less…although that is also incentive to blog.
I wasn’t sure where to start, again a lot has happened in the last year-but, nothing as important as the birth of my baby boy-Walker Kenneth Scott Lew!! For this reason I’ll start with his birth story. I actually wrote this some time ago as a letter to Walker and will share here in that format.

April 15, 2018

Dear Walker,

You have been in my life for just 8 days and despite the fatigue, I’ve never felt such joy in my life. Tears are currently flowing as I write. When you aren’t in my arms I just want to look at pictures of you-probably not the best idea as I need sleep, but you’re so stinking cute. I’ve also never loved your father so much. He was the ultimate support during my 48 hours of contractions-more on that later, and is taking his own sleep deprivation rather well as he keeps you in clean diapers and momma fed so I can keep you fed.

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To be honest, I did not love the last few weeks of pregnancy. I was huge, my belly button felt awkward and tender, and I just didn’t feel like working anymore. I wanted to hold you and feel those powerful kicks on the outside. I did my best to get in 1-3 miles/day of walking and some form of prenatal yoga to get labor progressing and you in the correct position.

After my 38 week appointment I had daddy do acupuncture, well pressure, every night and at the recommendation of my doctor I picked up my breast pump and had every intention of using it to stimulate labor, but it was never needed. I picked up the pump on a Thursday morning and all through the day had some mild contractions. Feeling rather uncomfortable I decided it would be my last day in the office and I cleaned up my desk, locked things up and returned a book I had checked out to the library. By the time I got home contractions were picking up and after watching an episode of Atlanta I told daddy that I thought this was the real deal. With that in mind I headed to bed early thinking it might be the best night of sleep I would have in sometime. I was right. I slept rather well and woke for some of the more intense contractions, but come 1 am things seemed to have slowed down. I woke at my regular 6:30, disappointed that things were not further progressing. Daddy suggested I drink water, thinking that I was dehydrated, and just like that the contractions were back. Unfortunately they were still rather slow, about 10-15 minutes apart and only 20-30 seconds in duration.

 

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I’m not 100% what my thought process was that day-maybe I didn’t think it was the real thing since they had stopped in the middle of the night and so once I was slightly more slept, and fed I did a little work. Things were rather consistently mild at this point with moments of increased intensity so I went and took a nap. I urged your father to do the same, but he was nesting or something and was running around the house cleaning, setting up the birth announcement email, etc. By the time he could have napped the contractions picked up in intensity and I needed him to massage through the contractions. Sometime around 3pm I decided I was done with work and daddy suggested we go for a walk. Best idea that I didn’t want to do because things started to pick up at this point. Much more so than any bouncing on a ball, lunges, or squatting had done all morning.  When we got back we watched the rest of Bates Motel (3 episodes until we finished the series), ordered pizza for dinner-which they overcharged us for and ended up calling to fix their error as we were leaving for the hospital, and started a puzzle. Around 8pm I suggested we try to get some sleep since we were likely going to be up all night. Well I couldn’t sleep with what I thought was intense pain. To be honest I know things got more intense as the night and morning progressed, but in hindsight from this point on they kind of registered the same. I know I coped with contractions differently as they progressed, but I can’t say I registered that pain as any worse.

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Come 11:30 pm we reached the point of contractions being 5 minutes apart, 1 minute in duration, for 1 hour. The 5-1-1 that had been drilled into our heads during classes, hospital tour, and by my OB. I waited it out for another 30 minutes at home before getting into the car and making our way to the hospital. Everytime we hit a bump a contraction was induced. We reached the hospital, easily found parking, and headed to labor and delivery. We went to triage where I was given the news that while fully effaced I was only 2cm. This news relayed by a resident who thought it was important to keep some level of modesty when I was taking down my pants to check for dilation. Modesty at this point seemed silly when she was not only about to go way up inside me, but I would basically be naked for the next 72 hours. Anyhow, an attending came and chatted with me about my options-walk around the empty hospital for two hours or go home. Going home didn’t seem ideal because I wasn’t sure when the appropriate time would be to return. If we were told 5-1-1, how do I know when it was time to come back? However, by staying things might not progress, we might still have to return home, and Daddy would still be without sleep. To be honest I can’t recall the thing that made me decide to go home, a lot of labor was just listening to my intuition, which told me to go home to my own comfort and get Daddy sleep.

The moment we go back home things immediately got more intense. I tried to sleep, but could not and headed for the bath. I also brought along my essential oil diffuser and music. Both proved to be key for my relaxation throughout labor. Between the bed, bath, and toilet (surprisingly good place to labor) I was able to give Daddy 2-3 hours of sleep and he was able to massage me as I slept in between 40 minutes of contractions, half on my left side and half on my right. At this point it was about 7am and knowing that Mei needed her walk I suggested that we all go for a walk. This walk was again key for getting things progressing. That and having to walk up and down the stairs in order to get outside. During the walk we had to stop every hour while I moaned and danced out a contraction-I swore I would not use that move when we were taught it in our various classes. From there I did some positions on my knees-always the most painful position. Perhaps that meant it was the most needed (something to keep in mind when I am crazy enough to do this again). I got into the tub once more. At this point contractions were three minutes apart one minute or more in duration. After chatting with our doula I was confident that staying at home was still the best option. However, once I got out of the tub and laid down, after a few more cat/cows, for ~40 minutes, I knew it was time to go. Things were fast and my mind just said let’s go.

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Now this is where things got interesting…it was 11:30 am and traffic time in Portland-even on a Saturday. Daddy opted for our back road route (meaning all of the curves in the road), while contractions continued every 2-3 minutes and I had to cope on my own. Which meant lots of moans and hitting the dashboard in a rhythmic fashion. As we continued down the windy roads I was starting to think that daddy was taking us to Gabriel Park, the family clinic practice where we had our childbirth classes. Unfortunately I said nothing and daddy didn’t realize until we were three minutes from Gabriel Park, but another 15 minutes from OHSU. Once finally there we could not find parking in the emergency section and were unsure if valet parking was available on the weekends. Thus after getting stuck in the emergency parking area for a minute, we ventured to Kohler (our go to for regular Women’s health appointments) and found parking. I could not walk at this point and needed daddy to get a wheelchair. After stopping twice to stand and work through a contraction and race through the surprising number of people in the hospital we made it to labor and delivery. Triage went much faster this time-I guess they could sense my progression through the level of contraction and my moaning? I was quickly checked for my cervix dilation and was happy to hear I was at six centimeters. In my mind I was thinking four centimeters and that it would still be several more hours at the hospital until I was at ten.

At this point, tears started-but they were all happy, well that and maybe sleep deprivation. All the same the nurses tried to get me quickly moving so I could get some nitrous oxide. It did little to relieve any pain, but did help me to relax, which was probably the most important thing because I was able to cope with each contraction through breath control when relaxed. In the meanwhile they were also trying to get in my IV-apparently quite the challenge when they have one minute to place before I need to work through another contraction.

Once they finally had the IV in place I without thought mentioned that I was having the urge to push. Really I just assumed the pressure was the need for my water to break. But the nurse actually thought I might need to be checked again for my cervix. I brushed off that need and went into the tub.

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Jessie, our doula arrived at that point, and set up lavender and candles and took all the pictures of that lovely time. After 40 minutes in the tub, where I was forced to switch to shallow breathing mostly to avoid the urge to push, I got out and attempted to go to the bathroom. That’s when my water broke. We moved to the hospital bed on all 4s, but a resident quickly came in to check my cervix and informed me via translation of Jessie that I was fully dilated and that it was time to push.

 

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Pushing was by far the hardest thing and the movement I was least prepared. They say push like you’re going to poop, but I never have poos that require anything near that level of pressure. After about an hour of pushing and a slight tear, I welcomed you into this world-4:24pm on April 7th to be precise. You had your hands in your mouth, had quite the vocals, and eyes that were trying to open. I immediately loved you, but was surprised not to cry. I think I was just so shocked that you were here, two maybe three hours in the hospital and you were here!

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Now, not going to lie, recovery-between the stitches and diastasis recti/umbilical hernia are going to take some time to repair, but, that is not part of my birth story, its part of my recovery and so I will conclude here.

Love you with all my heart baby boy!!

 

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