Linus is here!
On July 29 at 00.35 I gave birth to a baby boy. Finally! Now we’ve been home for a day, and right now he’s asleep on our bed, looking very peaceful. It’s amazing how much love you can feel for a person you’ve only known for four days.
His full name is Linus Anders Willard Lindström.
If you don’t want to read about delivery details – I know many don’t – skip this paragraph.
From the first contractions it took about 24 hours. I had decided to keep an open mind about what painkillers to use – I didn’t want to have epidural but if that’s what it took to get through it I would.
When we first got there – about 12 hours after the first contractions had started – I was using breathing techniques and they said I was doing well. I was so focused. They offered me a bath which I thought might be a good thing, but it was very hard to relax in the bath because I couldn’t find a comfortable position to be in during the contractions. The worst pain was in my lower back, and with no K to massage me, being in the tub wasn’t comfortable. Yet I stayed for quite a while, because in between contractions it was nice.
I also asked to try accupuncture, something I had never done before. I got a needle between my eyebrow and four in my back. I’m not sure if it helped or not. By then the overall pain was pretty bad, and if the back pain was reduced it was marginal. I needed something stronger, I told the midwife.
She asked if I wanted laughing gas (nitrous oxide) and I gave it a try but had trouble finding the right technique. The contractions started off very fast, and since the gas takes about 30 seconds before the effect kicks in, I was in bad pain before that. Then a great nurse stepped in and helped me get it right. She was a veteran in the field, having worked for 30 years at Karolinska. Now she was a substitute nurse and enjoying her autumn years in between. She was great! I’m glad K expressed our thanks because I was too focused on the task at hand to be able to thank her properly.
Once I got the technique the nitrous oxide was my friend, and it helped me through several hours. But in the end I opted for an epidural none the less. Don’t know if it helped much though, it was a mild form and they only gave me one dose of painkiller.
The final hour, when it was time to push, was really tough. I didn’t think I’d have the strength. They kept telling me to hold my breath and keep pushing but I just had to scream, and then the push was reduced. It was very frustrating. Finally they called in one more midwife who helped push on my stomach. I’ve read about others who have gone through this and afterwards felt it was almost a violation, but I don’t see it that way. I got to agree to it, and yes, it hurt pretty bad, but atleast it helped the process along, and in the end I was able to do the final pushing myself.
Beforehand I was afraid of bursting, but when I did I didn’t care much – Linus was out, and all I could do was look at him and smile. When he first came out he looked rather grayish blue and was hanging over the arm of the nurse. It was a very long second before I heard his first cries and knew he was breathing.
From then on my focus was on him, and all the stitching going on down there was of no relevance. Now of course it hurts and will take a while to heal, but it will heal.
While this was going on, K got to hold Linus, and he opened up his shirt so that they had body contact. It looked so peaceful and sweet. All I wanted to do though was to hold Linus and help him find his way to his first meal. But I had to wait for the nurses to be done with the stitches.
Holding a newborn when you’ve no experience is a bit awkward. I was afraid to do something wrong and hurt him. But it went well, and he made his first attempts to suck out some milk. Actually he tried that already on K when he was holding him! :-)
After about two hours Linus was weighed and measured. By then K had already made a number of calls telling the news, and I sent P a text message and posted the news on Jaiku. Congrats messages started to come in, and pretty soon Linus made the front page of jaiku.com as one of the most active threads. :-)
He weighed 4180 grams and was 54 cm long, with a head circumference of 36 cm. A big boy. No wonder it was hard work giving birth to him.
We didn’t get a family room at the ward for that first night, but K slept in a chair which worked okay. Linus slept in my bed, and never left our side. It’s hard to imagine what it was like in the past, when all babies were kept in a separate room.
Sleeping was hard though, even if I was exhausted. And the following nights I didn’t get much sleep either. I was told newborns could sleep for 24 hours. That did not apply to Linus. He’s been very active from the start, wanting food every few hours, and in between those times there’s diaper changes.
We had some initial struggles with the breastfeeding, and it’s still not optimal, but atleast there’s milk there now and I’ve never had such big boobs. :-) It can hurt pretty bad when he’s feeding though.
The following day we got a family room, which was a small room with two hospital beds and nothing much else in it. The beds were really hard, and after one night K decided to spare his sore back and went home to sleep the second night. The day after that we felt confident enough to make it on our own, and it was heavenly to get to go home and be in familiar surroundings. Linus slept all through the car ride home, and then had a long nap in our bed too.
He looked more than sceptical when we first put him in the car unit though. Talk about evil baby! :)
Yesterday evening he showed the first proof of a temper, and didn’t want to sleep, didn’t want to eat, just threw a bad temper. You feel pretty helpless when you don’t know what’s wrong. But I think he was actually hungry, despite having fed for long periods of time. A looong feeding session made him fall asleep at last.
He doesn’t want to sleep in his crib though. I’ve tried to put him in it a couple of times but he just screams. Instead he’s sleeping in our bed. It’s nice to have him close, but my own sleep suffers from it, so I’ve not given up on the crib just yet.
Today we went on our first stroll with the pram, just around the block since I’m still in too much pain to walk any longer stretches, but it was nice. Linus slept all the time though, so he doesn’t know he’s been outdoors.
Expect quite a few Linus posts here in the future… :-)