Dear Family and Friends,
Reece Wyatt Bollinger was born on Wednesday, February 5, 2014 at 6:40am! He arrived weighing 5 lbs 8 oz and 19 3/4 inches long. He is HEALTHY with ten fingers, ten toes, dark brown hair, grey eyes, two dimples, and he looks just like his older brother. He is eating like a champ, passed his first bowel movement within hours of being born (we were very excited about that after Everett’s issues), and is a perfectly beautiful blessing for which we thank God. His name, which we picked out during our last pregnancy, means “enthusiasm.” Judging from the amount of movement he did in utero and his rushed entrance into the world, he’s going to live up to his name. We are so excited to welcome him into our family.
In typical Bollinger form, his birth came as a huge surprise. It seems we can’t have kids without some level of drama and Reece’s birth was no exception. As I mentioned in my last update, we were scheduled for a repeat c-section on Wednesday morning (tomorrow). However, last Tuesday night I began feeling some contractions in the early evening. I kept track of them and for a few hours, they were pretty steady and consistent. Our doctor told us to call when I had six an hour, but I never had more than five that night. Around 10 pm, they stopped, just as my contractions always have throughout this pregnancy. We felt nothing was unusual and went to bed.
Around 3 am I woke up with a feeling of “gastric distress,” as if the dinner we’d eaten the night before wasn’t agreeing with me. I spent some time in the bathroom then returned to bed and fell back asleep. Around 4 am, I woke again with the same feeling and decided to take a bath to help relax. At 5 am, I began experiencing cramping pain that radiated down my thighs. I decided to wake Zac up by yelling at him from the bathtub that I thought the baby was coming. He woke up fast. At 5:15 am we called the doctor who instructed us to drive to the hospital. Zac called our parents and woke them up while I washed my hair and shaved my legs (yes, I honestly did that). While Zac packed the car and we waited for my parents to arrive to watch Everett, I dried and styled my hair while timing my contractions which were now about 2-3 minutes apart and getting progressively stronger.
Our parents arrived at 5:45 am and we left for the hospital. As we turned off our street, my water broke. We just bought a new car (a used minivan) and all I could think about was how I didn’t want to ruin the leather upholstery. So I pulled up the floor mat and sat on that for part of the drive. But I didn’t stay sitting long as the contractions quickly became almost unbearable. So I unbuckled my seatbelt and stood up in the car as we drove into SLO. As we reached the city limits, the contractions became even more intense. Zac said I punched at the car window (I don’t remember that). But I do remember screaming something like “I should have taken a *insert expletive here* birthing class!!!” My cursing got Zac freaked out, so he started running red lights and passing cars on the wrong side of the road (thankfully he’s a good driver). At 6 am we reached the hospital. My hospital has two entrances, an ER entrance that is about as far from the Labor & Delivery unit as you can get and a back entrance with about 50 of the steepest stairs in existence. I told Zac to park in the back because the ER seemed WAY too far away. I had a contraction at the bottom of the stairs, then literally ran up them. Zac said he tried to grab my arm to help me and I told him to stop touching me. We entered the hospital. My unit is attached to the L & D unit so I had to walk in front of my coworkers, during shift change. They started cheering and wishing me luck and all I could do was hold up my hand. Then I heard Zac running behind me saying “Ya, this is happening now!”
I waddled onto the L & D floor and was greeted by one of the most amazing nurses ever! I trained with her during my preceptorship as a student as she is an amazing nurse to watch. I can’t even describe my relief to find that she was there that day. She led us back into the triage room to assess where things were at. She asked me to provide a urine sample and I made it about five feet toward the bathroom before another contraction hit and I told her I felt like I was going to have a bowel movement. That got her attention so she led me directly to a birthing room.
Once in the birthing room, things got pretty “primal” for lack of a better word. I laid down on the bed while the nurse checked to see where I was at. I was completely dilated and Reece’s head was starting to crown. Since it was during shift change, and my doctor hadn’t yet arrived, and I was now having a vaginal birth after cesarian (VBAC) which my hospital isn’t typically allowed to perform, there were a lot of people in the room. As I said in my last update, we didn’t want to VBAC because of the increased risk of uterine rupture. So it was all hands on deck in the birthing room with the OR on call in case something went terribly wrong.
Instinctually, I started to push. Women have always described it as something your body just naturally does and it’s totally true. And it hurt...A LOT, just as everyone says it does. I put Zac into a choke hold of sorts (nope, I’m not making this up) with my left arm around his neck and my right hand strung through his belt loops. As I pushed, I also pulled on him. Then I started screaming. I honestly couldn’t help it. I screamed about how this wasn’t supposed to be happening, about how I was supposed to be having a c-section, about how I wished I read a childbirth book. My nurse very calmly replied that the sooner I accepted that I wasn’t getting my c-section and surrendered my body to what was happening the quicker it would all be over.
Her pep talk did the trick. I surrendered. I pushed a total of seven times. My doctor arrived for the last three. In what seemed like an instant, Reece was born, beautifully healthy and crying on the way out! It was pure magic!!!
He went straight to my chest. I looked up at Zac and cried out “We just had a baby!” We were both in shock. I’d done it...from start to finish in 3.5 hours, a completely unmedicated and surprise VBAC. We all cried tears of joy as the anxiety of the past 10 months faded away.
Having Reece was the exact opposite experience of having Everett. It has been such a healing experience overall. In our very abbreviated birth plan, all Zac and I asked for was to not have Reece removed from our sight unless we asked. My hospital accommodated this and more. He spent the first two hours of his life on my chest, nursed within 30 minutes of birth, and we all talked about what an amazing gift it was to have a baby born breathing and crying. It is the simple blessing of having a child born healthy that commands appreciation. And we are so very, very thankful.
Welcome to the world Reece Wyatt Bollinger. How we have been hoping for you.
The Bollinger Family
P.S. Also in typical Bollinger form, Reece brought the rain, just like Everett did when he was born.