Lars's Birth Story
Oh boy oh boy. This is the story of how Lars Olof Jorgensen was born. And the decisions that went into it. THE BACKGROUND:
We always knew he would exist... or at least we hoped. From the time started talking about marriage, Kirk and I knew we wanted at least 2 kids. So when Ingrid was 18 months old, we started trying for another. It took us so long the first time around, we figured this one would take a while, too. Much to our surprise, I was pregnant within a couple of months!
Hooray! So that's what it feels like?! Let me tell you, it was night and day. The difference between trying month after month, year after year... taking temperatures, charting your period, counting the days, peeing on sticks... the stress, the anxiety, the weight, and the work of it all. I have to say that when I was going through all of that with Ingrid, I was a bit envious of my friends who would say they got pregnant without even trying. But at the same time, I was happy for them. It gave me hope that maybe it could happen like that one day for me, too. And then, crazily enough, it did. And it was AMAZING. Everyone who is trying to have a baby should be able to have that experience at least once. It's such a gift. I wish I could wrap it up and share it with all the wonderful mother and fathers out there just waiting for their babies to come...
With Ingrid, I decided to have an unmedicated birth with the help of a midwife at a hospital. My midwife was the best (warm, super knowledgeable and skilled). The hospital was fantastic (new, not crowded, great food). The birth went well. 12 hours, no major complications. I was deemed "a good birther". I felt such a sense of accomplishment. But let's not sugar coat things. Birth was very hard and painful. I'm not one of those women who says, "I love the birth process!". So I was wondering about the possibility of an epidural for the next time around...
Then I was hit with the bill. Roughly $10,000, thank you very much. Remember, no medication, no major complications. And did I mention that yes, we have insurance? "Good" insurance actually, with a sizable premium sucked from our bank account every month. But since we work for ourselves, we aren't on a group plan. And in the state of Utah, the maternity deductible on every single independent insurance plan, no matter what your monthly premium, is in the neighborhood of $7,500 and up. And then add in the deductible for the baby, too... So when I heard from a friend that a local birth clinic charges about $2000 -- pre and post natal care included -- I decided to look into it. I talked at length with a few women who had gone there. They had only good things to say. I talked to my midwife, who highly recommended it as well. I took the tour, asked the tough questions, and decided to go for it.
Now that it's over, was it a good choice for me?
Upsides: 1) The midwives took wonderful care of me throughout my pregnancy, during the birth, and after. 2) The clinic itself was in a beautifully restored 19th century home, with large nice bedrooms, and bathrooms with special spa tubs. 3) Pre-natal visits were low-key. They always started right on time -- I was in and out in 20 minutes. I weighed myself in the bathroom and gave them the figure. The only time they did an exam "down there" was when I was actually in labor. (And then, only once!) 4) I saved $8,000.
Downsides: 1) I didn't get to work with the amazing midwife I had gone to for Ingrid. The team of midwives at the birth clinic were great, too. But since they work as a team, I never knew which one I'd be seeing for my appointments, or who would deliver the baby. 2) No epidural. (Although I wasn't totally set on having one anyways.) 3) I had to leave the same day I gave birth, which meant driving to the pediatrician's office on the way home, and for checkups every day for the first few days.
For me, it was definitely worth it! I'd make the same choice all over again. Keep in mind that I'd given birth naturally before, so I knew I could do it, and I had a healthy, low-risk pregnancy. And Kirk? He was completely supportive and would have been no matter what I decided. He wouldn't dream of pressuring me one way or the other. He knows better, ha ha.
Ingrid woke up around 9PM on April 21, 2013 asking for water, a diaper change, anything to stall going back to bed. Just as Kirk escorted her back to her room, the first contraction hit. We watched TV for the next couple of hours. I made Kirk push pause during contractions so I wouldn't miss anything, ha! After about two hours, there were more pauses going on than watching, it seemed. We called the midwives. They said to come in. The TV would have to wait.
Kirk scrambled to get our bag, hand Ingrid's monitor off to my parents (who live upstairs), and pull the car up. My contractions were coming fast and hard already. I wondered how on earth I would survive the hour long ride to the birth clinic. Would I end up giving birth in the car? Kirk was worried, too. I almost told him to just stop off at the local hospital. We both prayed that it would work out, and Kirk was inspired to put a couple of tennis balls in between my lower back and the seat, which really helped. Miraculously, the contractions really slowed down in the car. What had seemed impossible became very manageable.
When we pulled up to the birth clinic, the midwives greeted us outside and helped me walk, while Kirk carried our bags. The birthing rooms are on the second floor, and there isn't an elevator. That's something I'd worried about throughout my whole pregnancy, but it wasn't bad. I waited until a contraction ended at the bottom of the stairs, walked right up, and then had a contraction as soon as I got to the top. Then, it was into the tub, where I labored for the next couple of hours.
When I started to feel the urge to push, I got out of the water. But it was a false start. Something wasn't quite in line yet, so for the next hour or so, I laid on the bed, waiting for the urge to come back, all the while having strong contractions. And it came back, alright! I ended up on the birthing stool to push, and after just a few minutes, he came out. Such a relief.
They placed his little warm body on my chest, and he rested there for the next few hours while they cleaned and stitched me up. I snuggled him, started feeding him, and felt so tired, but so happy.
People say that birth is easier the second time around, and it certainly was for me. My first labor was 12 hours, my second lasted only 7. The first time around, I was so overtaken that I couldn't speak, not even in between contractions. I could only manage one word commands to Kirk. Second time, I could actually speak in full sentences! (Only in between contractions.) The pushing went faster, and I tore less. I felt more confident and at ease in general, since I knew what to expect.
During labor, the midwives followed my lead for the most part. They told me to do what felt right, what my body was telling me to do. For his part, Kirk was constantly at my side, applying pressure to my lower back, making sure I was staying hydrated, telling me I was doing a great job. I was incredibly lucky to have such a supportive team. And even luckier to be blessed with a beautiful baby boy -- my little Lars.