L’s birth story – part 4 (afterglow)

Read Part 3 of L’s birth story here.

Within three seconds, Dr. L. and Linda plopped my newborn baby on my tummy. She was amazingly clean — no vernix or blood, just wet with amniotic fluid. My first thought upon looking at the baby was that she was huge!! I saw these long legs and a long back and couldn’t believe that she had been inside of me. She was pink and breathing right from the star; she didn’t even cry. Dr. L. didn’t cut the cord right away, but like I had wanted, waited until the cord stopped pulsing to ask JJ to do the honors. It only took about three minutes for that to happen, and once that was done, Dr. L. started massaging my abdomen to get my uterus to contract so that the placenta would come out. That came out in another two minutes or so, which seemed really fast to me. I did ask to see it, and Dr. L. gave us a quick peek at it. Although I had known it would be big, my quick glance surprised me with how big it really was. I actually would have liked to take a closer look at it, but I looked at the baby instead. 🙂

Lyd’s head was a little molded from her narrow trip out, but other than that she looked perfect. I actually hardly remember those moments right after her birth. It was such a switch from intense pressure and concentration to no pressure, no pain, and a new baby to check out! If I could go back and just re-live that hour after her birth, I would in a moment. I remember that her lips were really red. I remember that her eyes were open and she was looking around. I remember seeing JJ hold her and talk to her. I remember that when the nurse finally took her to do a few routine things that Lyd finally gave a lusty squawk, which the nurse was glad to hear. Sometime during that first hour I tried nursing her, and she latched on perfectly right away, which everyone was impressed with, most of all me. 🙂

Dr. L. checked me over after the placenta was delivered, pronounced me in good shape, and then he left. JJ, Suzanne, and I had a lot of fun checking Lyd out. We also called my parents to let them know about Lyd’s safe arrival. Thankfully, Suzanne took a bunch of pictures, which turned out really well. Finally, after about an hour of bonding, Lyd had to go to the nursery for an in-depth examination. By this time, Lyd, JJ, and I were all arm banded (or in Lyd’s case, ankle banded) with a matching number so that the hospital knew who belonged to what baby. JJ went with Lyd to the nursery, and while they were gone, the nurse got me up to go to the bathroom. While I was sitting there getting set with an ice pack and some epifoam for my tear, she put a cushioned pad on the bed and put all fresh linens on. Suzanne helped me into a clean gown, and I climbed into a clean bed. Not long after, JJ came back with Lyd, and the first thing he said to me was an emphatic, “She’s PERFECT.” I was SO glad to hear that, since that was what we had been praying for the whole pregnancy.

Suzanne had left for home by this time, and I think the nurse helped me with breastfeeding again. It went fine, although Lyd had such a strong suck that she actually gave me a hickey on my nipple, which proved rather painful over the next two weeks. After we got Lyd bedded down in her bassinet, JJ made up a bed for himself on the window seat. I voluntarily got out of bed again to take out my contacts and brush my teeth. After we were all back in bed, JJ and I talked for at least an hour, something we hadn’t done for a long time. We re-lived the whole experience, admired our daughter, listened to all the strange noises newborns make, and finally managed to get a little sleep until Lyd woke us up to be fed a few hours later. It was a good night.

So, all in all, my labor lasted for 14.5 hours from the time my water broke at 9:15 a.m. until Lyd was born at 11:47 p.m. My pushing phase probably only lasted for about 45 minutes. The whole day went really fast to me, and I was so glad that it only took one day. I was very lucky that my body cooperated to give me the birth experience I had hoped for. I was also so thankful to have had Suzanne help me through the labor. I couldn’t have gone drug-free without her constant help and reassurance. JJ was wonderful also. He followed Suzanne’s lead a lot which made for very consistent comforting, and he also stood up for me and what I wanted when he needed to. It was an amazing experience, and while I don’t want to do it again tomorrow, I definitely would be willing to do it again.


Lyd was born in fall of 2003. This story of her birth was written during the week that followed.