Corbin's Birth Story

 Corbin was born on May 1st, 2015 at 3:36 am at a whopping 9lb2oz and 22 inches in length.  He shared a due date with his older sister of May 9th, just two years apart, however their birthdays are a scant two days difference. 

One thing I learned from giving birth three times, is that every time is different.  Every pregnancy is different, and every birth is different.  Kaia was a first time mom experience, Ashlyn was an anomaly in a lot of ways.  I was kind of looking at my experiences prior and using them as a basis for what I might experience this time around, but I think I leaned on them a little too much.  But let me go back to the beginning.

I found out I was pregnant on September 4th, 2014.  We had been in Japan for four months, and another baby wasn’t really on the agenda for us.  I do admit that I had started feeling like we were supposed to have another, but Gus and I were kind of assessing where we were in our life, and a third child wasn’t quite in the picture just yet.  We were open to the whole notion of having another baby, if it happened, but we weren’t trying, and we were taking precautions to prevent another one sneaking in there.  However, I guess some things are meant to be because sneak in there he did.  I almost cried when I saw the positive line on the pregnancy test.  After the initial panic and shock wore off, I just settled into the idea that we were going to be the parents of three kids, and a family of five.  What are we in for? 
When pregnant in Japan, get a maternity pic in a Kimono
Our adventures slowed down quite a bit because I got car sick easily on the roads of northern Japan in the first trimester.  I kept this pregnancy mum for a while, only telling a handful of people.  We were trying to figure out how to tell our family when my sis in law provided the opportunity with an excuse to head back to the States for her wedding.  We announced our pregnancy at fourteen weeks and fifteen weeks to our respective families while we were home for the holidays, and then made the ‘Facebook’ announcement on Christmas, when we found out what we were having.  After two rambunctious little girls, we were going to add a boy to the mix.  I had a feeling from the start that it was going to be a boy, mother’s intuition I guess.  A lot of people were surprised we were pregnant, and that we hid the news until we were twenty weeks.  It was kind of fun having that secret in a lot of ways. 

Every pregnancy is different, I could tell this one was different in subtle ways.  I went into the pregnancy being very active, I had started running and working out with the intention of continuing through out, well, that went out the window by week six.  The exhaustion hit me and I was just done with worrying about it, since I was taking care of a sixteen month old and a nearly three year old at the same time.  I didn’t have time to worry about that, and though I craved the naps I got with my first two pregnancies, forget it with this one.  I snuck one in when Gus was home from time to time, but they were few and far between.  I got some strange reactions with certain foods, and the last month I got swollen feet.  Where did those come from?  They were a pain, though I count my blessings because I was very healthy aside from that.

The birth however, threw me a bit.  Because I had a very fast labor and delivery with Ashlyn, and when I was checked at my last appointment, I was already dilated to a 3-4 and 70% effaced, I decided that when I knew it was labor, I would go in.  I wasn’t going to joke around with that.  I felt that I would be lucky if this was a repeat of Ashlyn’s birth, and a part of me felt like I could have birthed her easily at home if it had come down to it.  In fact, my intuition felt like this would be another quick labor.  Well, it wasn’t.  But that wasn’t a problem because of all of my labors, this was the easiest.  Delivery was a different story.

My mom flew out on Monday, the 27th of April, and I was just hoping that I could hold out until then, taking it very easy so my mom could be here for the birth.  Then it was go time.  I was ready for this baby to arrive, and boy was I feeling it.  On April 30th, we had gone and grabbed a few groceries at the commissary and I was feeling a little off.  I had Braxton hicks that were pretty intense at times, not painful, just really uncomfortable, and this was a bit different.  When we got home, I started monitoring them, trying to time them, but they weren’t the most consistent.  The pain level was all over the place and it was actually pretty manageable.  I knew it was labor though, but I didn’t want to jump the gun.  The contractions kicked in just before 4.  They were coming about every five minutes, give or take.  I felt like I could manage them and labor at home for longer, but with my history, I just felt safe in going in and making sure I was there instead of having an accidental delivery at home.  They kind of frown on that at military bases.  To give you an idea of how mellow these contractions were, my mom insisted on taking a picture of my belly at that moment.  She insisted I was pretty far out there.  I did feel rather enormous and ready to move this baby along.  I still retained my sense of humor too.

time to get this kid out of me!
 Because Gus was close to the end of his shift, I just waited for him to get off before I called him, telling him to come home.  We all loaded up in the car, took the kids to a friend who offered to baby sit them, and headed to the hospital.  I was still having some labor, but it was still really mild and a bit more irregular, definitely early labor symptoms.  The nurses went ahead and got me a room, allowing me to stay because of my history as they checked me out.  I was dilated to a 4, maybe a 5, and still 70% effaced.  I was also still having some really mellow contractions.  The nurses weren’t concerned too much, saying they would check me in a couple of hours to see how I was progressing, in the meantime just coming in now and again to make sure things weren’t progressing to fast. 

And so we sat.  And waited.  I twiddled my thumbs for a bit, and wondered what the heck this was.  I knew it was labor, but I was beginning to second guess myself.  The contractions were starting to stall. 

I had a friend who was certifying to become a doula present and we decided to go for a walk or do something to speed things up.  I tried squatting, I tried lunges, I tried speed walking, I tried all sorts of things.  Nothing was really happening.  Gus grabbed dinner and I just asked for dried carbs so he brought me triscuits.  This was getting a little lame, and a little embarrassing.  I just felt labor completely stalled out.  They came back, checked me again, no progression, and told me to go ahead and go home, and come back in when things were a little more intense.  They told me not to worry about it, they would rather me come in than not, and I was the only one in Labor and Delivery at present so there wasn’t a whole lot going on anyway.  So around seven o’clock, we headed home, I felt a little defeated. 

Bouncing on a yoga ball, doing speed walks around the corridor of our apartment building, other. . . stuff. . ., anything to get this sucker moving. 

Nothing.  Le Sigh.  I was sort of hoping for an April Baby.  Looks like he was coming in May after all. 

We were resolute to go ahead and call it quits, time for me to go to bed.  I messaged my babysitter as we contemplated getting the kids, but decided to leave them there, just in case.  Besides, Kaia was already asleep.  It could still happen, I just wasn’t sure what was happening at present.

Well, I woke up around midnight to some more intense contractions.  It felt promising, but they weren’t so bad that I couldn’t talk through them.  I went ahead and decided to walk around and monitor them a little more closely.  They were still spread out, about five minutes apart.  I woke up my mom and we monitored them together.  She wasn’t sure what I was experiencing, because they were still relatively mild, but they were coming more and more regular.  I went ahead and sat down, and they kind of went away, but as soon as I stood up, they would get me.  This is not how contractions are supposed to behave so it had me baffled.

It was kind of a strange labor, sitting stalled them, standing started them.  What in the heck?  We decided when I found the pain unbearable we would head in.  We debated waking up Gus while we monitored them, but I decided to let him sleep.  Then I had a strange contraction, it wasn’t anywhere but at my pelvic joints, not in my back, not in my legs.  I could talk through it relatively easily, it just left me a little winded, and that was the first sign something was happening.  I decided to sit down and just sit until a contraction hit.  We continued to talk, I was wondering if these contractions would move closer together at all, and then bam!  That one was a little more intense.  And then something was noticeably different.  I started trembling a little, and mom knew I finally transitioned.  She suggested we wait for another contraction like that and I was No, get Gus up now. 

We headed back to the hospital at two in the morning, giving them a phone call to let them know that this time this was it.  They were waiting for us and sent us back to the first room we had been in where they checked me again.  I was at 9 cm and dilated 90%, time to call the doctor.  They expected me to go before he got there, but no, this was an odd labor already and it continued to be odd.  Even if I had wanted an epidural it was too late to get one, so we went through the process of breathing through my contractions waiting for that last cm to finish and allowing this baby to come. 

An important part of any labor is a supportive birth partner. 
I did miss my sister's photography talent this time around however.
Labor had stalled again.  It was hospital policy to put in an IV so I had to wait through that, fortunately my labor was still relatively mild in the scheme of things while we waited for my body to finish that last little bit.  Nothing.  Still nothing.  I didn’t want to sit, I wanted to stand, so we stood through the contractions while Gus bore through my pressure points at my hips, which provided relief.  Still, this last cm was not cooperating so they offered to break my water, which hadn’t broken yet.  The nurses were impressed by how calm I was, but gave me advice on what to do to speed things along.  They suggested I would go into delivery right away if that happened and baby would be right there.  I looked at the time and gave myself until 3:15, if I didn’t go into delivery on my own by then, I would let them break my water.  Well, 3:15 came and went, and at 3:17 the doctor broke my water.  We were on our way. 

It took my body a bit to figure out that something had changed, but I was resolute to not birth on my back.  I wasn’t sure what position I wanted to push in, so I got on my hands and knees and decided to repeat my delivery with Ashlyn.  However, this was not Ashlyn’s birth, it was different, and I realized that it wasn’t going to behave like it did then.  Something was different.  I probably sat there breathing through the contractions for five to ten minutes waiting for the urge to push.  When it came, I started pushing.  The labor had been easy up until this point.  Then it became quite painful.  He wasn’t coming out easy peasy like Ashlyn did, I was going to have to work at this one. 

When his head started to crown, I tried to ease him out of the birth canal, and I felt his head emerge, I could have sworn it did, and then the pushing stopped.  I just sat there, waiting for another contraction to hit and that urge to push to return.  There was a brief calm.  I didn’t know what was going on, I couldn’t see what I was doing, but apparently something was wrong.  I had nearly pushed his head out, but when I had stopped pushing, his head was sucked back inside of me.  The doctor checked to see what was going on, and then ordered me to get on my back.  I didn’t fight him, this wasn’t right, it wasn’t the same birth as my last so I willingly went to my back and with the next contraction he told me to push as hard as I could.  I wanted a delayed cord clamp, but they had to cut the cord which was wrapped tightly around his neck.  As soon as it was cut, they needed me to push and get him out.  Now.  I pushed, and I gave a scream, and out he came.  I reached for him, wanting to hold him, but was informed that they needed to take him at that moment, and I saw why when I realized he was dark purple and limp.  They needed to get him breathing again.  I was still in shock from delivery and looked over at my mom, who was crying.  I wasn’t sure if it was tears of joy or not, but she later told me that it had scared her.  Fortunately, they were able to get him breathing within a minute and his color came back.  When I heard him cry it seemed like a collective breath of relief went through that room.  He was going to be ok.  I look back and realize that I couldn’t be more grateful for having been in that hospital then right then.  That was exactly where I needed to be, or else I would have very likely lost Corbin.

Corbin was introduced to the world (via Facebook) with this pic, showing him blue in the face. 
I just watched from my vantage point, unable to see anything, as the doctor focused on me once he was certain my baby was alright.  I was actually not in too bad of a condition, I only had minimal tearing and two stitches took care of that.  I was also still shaking, mostly due to the adrenaline coursing through my body.  I birthed the placenta shortly thereafter and after they got Corbin cleaned up and a little more pink, they went ahead and weighed him, gave him his shots and brought him back over to me. 
A healthier looking Corbin a couple hours later
My first impression was a little marred by the bruising on his poor face.  I had apparently pressed him against my pelvic bone and they warned me that he might be a little bruised and swollen for a bit.  It quickly went away though, and I went about trying to nurse him.  He took to it like a champ.  Everything seemed alright, he appeared healthy except for low blood sugar levels which needed to be rectified by my nursing him.  He was very content and mellow, and I just relished in the skin to skin contact. 

How in the world did this little guy fit inside of me?
My recovery surprised me, I was up on my feet rather quickly and able to take a shower.  Because of a couple minor complications they wanted to keep my in the hospital for at least twenty four hours, which I was fine with. I spent Corbin’s birthday just chilling with him and surfing the internet on my iPad (ok, mainly facebook) and seeing the reactions of people when we announced his birth.  People were a little confused at his birthday, until they remembered we were in Japan and it was already the next day. 
This baby is perfectly chill.  So mellow and easy so far.  The first pic on the internet was his poor black and blue face so I had to get a prettier one when he looked better up ASAP.  He’s a chunk, and at over 9 lbs, I’m trying to figure out how he managed to fit inside of me.  I’m in love with him.  When his sisters came to visit, they were very curious of him.  Ashlyn absolutely adores him.  Good thing too, they will be sharing a birthday season for the rest of their lives. 

Quick family picture. 
Being at home, my recovery is going well, and right now the big concern is Jaundice, which seems to be a problem with all of my babies.  However, we are doing well, adjusting nicely, and I’m having to remind myself that I just gave birth and let my mom and husband dote on me.  It can be difficult with two older children who want me, but we are managing.  I am oh so grateful to have my mother here, and for having an easy infant so far.  We’ll see how I manage once my mom leaves and Gus is back at work again.  I think that will be the biggest transition of all. 

Welcome to the Donnelly Family little Corbin.   

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