I’m so incredibly blessed to have my new beautiful baby boy. He’s just a week old and he’s already stolen my heart. Thank you so much for your sweet comments, messages, and congratulations. I’m so thankful.
Luckily, Big T sleeps very well, or rather, more than I was expecting. So I’ve been able to sleep in with him in the mornings and stay up late before his first night feeding to write some.
I wanted to write his birth story as quickly as I could, while the details are still fresh. Luckily this time I also have pictures to go with it. The ones I’m including are by Jackie Willome Photography, and PG/HA (husband-approved). Even though he’s a little boy and I think girls are more into this kind of stuff, I hope one day he or his wife (What am I talking about? He’s never getting married!), or some descendant of mine can enjoy reading this. And everyone else… Well, some people find birth stories entertaining, so if they don’t gross you out, and you’ve been following along in my journey, enjoy!
When I realized how long it was getting I decided to break it up into parts.
Part 1: Am I seriously in labor?
I had been having consistent contractions on and off for weeks. Not the Braxton Hicks “oh I think I feel my stomach getting hard” but slight pain (maybe a 2 or 3 on a scale of 1-10). I kept going to work days after my due date because what else was I going to do?
I received shocked glances and questions Wednesday and Thursday (my Monday and Tuesday) as I wrapped up my emails and tied loose ends before maternity leave. I said my goodbyes Thursday afternoon, already three days past my due date; but told everyone not to be surprised if I was there again the next morning.
I went straight from work to a doctor’s appointment. I had an ultrasound scheduled to check amniotic fluid levels and the placenta. My husband and Lil’ J met me there. Baby was face down and pointed toward my spine (locked and loaded in the birthing position) so we didn’t get to see his/her face. My doctor didn’t ask for any sizing measurements but I guessed I was having another big one.
Everything looked good and we went up to meet my OB. She checked my cervix and said I was 3-4 centimeters dilated. I was ecstatic. While up in there she asked if I wanted my membranes swept to get labor going, but we declined since my mom wasn’t going to be in town until Saturday morning. I was hoping to hold out until then. Key word hoping. We scheduled an induction for Monday. I’d be 41 weeks.
I felt some contractions on my way home but nothing more severe than what I had felt lately. Still, I had a feeling I’d better take my 40-week pregnancy photo just in case I wasn’t pregnant the next day.
I changed into a dress, and thought how I could wrap up my pregnancy documentation in a cute way. The first week I took photos, I took each of them at different distances so you could see the words “pregnant” on my ClearBlue test. I wanted to do something similar, so I hand wrote Little Leechie an eviction letter. I couldn’t make it as long and elaborate as my usual weekly letters since my font had to be somewhat large, so I kept it short and sweet then snapped away expressing my final declaration of excitement for meeting him/her.
I was a little sad thinking this could be my last pregnancy photo—Maybe ever!—But so excited to be meeting my baby soon.
Later that night I worked on editing that photo and writing a blog post to go with it. I also wrote a post for BabyCenter about still being pregnant and being ok with it this time around. I started feeling contractions while writing, and texted my friends as well as my photographer telling them that that tonight could possibly, perhaps, maybe be the night.
I started timing them when I realized they were coming fairly frequently and getting more intense. —Maybe a 4 on my pain scale. When I noticed I had about eight or nine in an hour I decided to take a break from writing to let my husband know we may need to go to the hospital that night. He was surprised to say the least. I told him not to worry, to go back to sleep and that I’d wake him if things got more intense. Secretly I was hoping my noticed freaked him out just a little bit, even if nothing was going to happen tonight.
I went back to writing and kept texting my friends. Since I was writing and talking, getting my posts published wasn’t as quick of a process as it normally was. I finally went to bed a little before midnight. If I was going to have this baby soon I should try to get some rest.
Contractions slowed down and were coming every 10-15 minutes, so I stopped timing and went to sleep.
I woke up again a little after 1a.m. when I noticed my contractions coming on much stronger. I couldn’t sleep through them and they were very uncomfortable. —Probably a 6 on my pain scale. I pulled out my phone and timed a few, they were coming every five minutes or less and lasting for over a minute.
I drank some water and breathed through contractions in bed. When I couldn’t take that anymore I got up and went to the bathroom. My body seemed to kick it up a notch again and contractions came quicker—About ever three minutes.
“Babe!” I yelled to my husband from the bathroom. “I think we need to go to the hospital.”
“Really?” He jumped up. “Ok, I’ll get [our daughter] ready. Do you think you waited too long?”
“I don’t know, maybe,” I told him.
Until now my contractions didn’t feel anything like they did when I was induced with my daughter. Regular contractions to me felt like a wave starting slow, peeking, then falling back down in intensity, while pitocin contractions felt more like a strong crash that stayed intense for the whole two minutes, and continued to hit over and over.
When I was induced I felt a lot of pressure on my cervix right before my water burst. I was feeling that same kind of pressure now in my bathroom. It hurt, and with how frequently my contractions were coming, I seriously thought I could be really close to having my baby.
I tried to stay calm and breathe through each one, and relish in how normal I felt between contractions.
I texted my friends a little after 1:30 and told them we were getting ready to leave, but probably going to go to the hospital before dropping our daughter off with one of them, just in case we didn’t have enough time. I also messaged my photographer.
Packing was easy. My husband grabbed my daughter’s new big sister outfit and I grabbed my little Push Pack—a pre-packed hospital bag. —And my camera bag.
One of my friends responded to my frantic texts “Exciting!!” And I replied, “Not really, I’m definitely in labor.”
As we got in the car Lil’ J was wide-awake and full of questions. I tried not to show her my discomfort when I was having a contraction but I told my husband sitting in the car while having one was the worst feeling ever.
“How often are you having them?” He asked me.
“About every three minutes,” I told him.
“Well I’ll just have to get you there before you have another.”
We live about 15 minutes from the hospital, so he was joking—I think. But he felt we had the ultimate excuse if we were pulled over. Thankfully he still got us all there safely, and we didn’t get pulled over.
Just as we were exiting toward the hospital someone—I can’t remember if it was my husband or my photographer—Asked if I had called the hospital. I found the number and let them know I was coming—Actually, I was there right now, and coming up the elevator. They asked if I had called my OB, and I realized I had no idea what I was doing.
When I was induced 10 days after my due date with my daughter, everything was planned. I walked in with rollers and makeup ready. Everyone knew I was coming because I had an appointment. I really didn’t think I’d go into labor naturally this time around either. This was totally new to me.
I hung up with the hospital and immediately called the on-call line at my OBs office, left a message and they called me right back. I wasn’t really worried about what anyone had to tell me about my contractions cause I knew I was in labor.
My husband parked and came upstairs with our daughter, and my hospital gown. I had more contractions while I was changing and tried my best to breathe through them.
Finally I was ready, I climbed into the bed and was ready to have this baby! The nurse put monitors on me to keep track of the baby’s heartbeat and my contractions. She mentioned them having wireless monitors so I kinda said “oh yea, I’d like that” so I could walk around, but I wasn’t too insistent since I was so sure my baby was on the verge of coming out.
So imagine my surprise when instead of hooking me up with an IV and asking if I’d like my epidural now, she starts asking me a million other questions about my health history. Things like “have you ever had thoughts of suicide?” or “What’s your highest level of education?” Really?
I had to ask… “So if a woman is in here and the baby’s head is coming out, do you still ask all of these questions?”
My nurse laughed and said they have to use their better judgment with situations like those. Apparently I wasn’t being obvious enough with my discomfort.
I will say though that my contractions definitely toned down in both intensity and frequency while I was going through my interrogation. I worried this would be a dreadful false alarm. I’d heard so much about them: Friends rushing to the hospital after having consistent contractions only to be sent home shortly after.
I’d definitely be embarrassed, and pretty pissed. Is this revenge for my eviction letter? Well played baby.
All of these thoughts ran through my mind as my nurse outlined our game plan.
“I’m going to check your cervix, then we’re going to call the doctor and see what she says. You’ll either stay, or go home, or she may have you wait another hour or so before we reevaluate.”
Awesome. So there’s a chance I could be going home after all of this?
The nurse came in with her rubber gloves and stuck the biggest fingers that have ever had the pleasure of checking me out up in my cervix.
I wasn’t sure if it was because I was maybe in the middle of a contraction, the fact that I had been in pain so long, or the sheer size of her hands, but that was the worst dilation check I had ever felt.
“Sorry, unfamiliar cervix,” she laughed.
Ya, ok. Thanks. I thought for sure she’d pull her hand out and say “well, you’re about six centimeters so we’re going to go ahead and admit you.”
“What did your doctor say you were at today?”
“About 3-4 centimeters,” I told her.
“Yea, I’m gonna say you’re about the same.”
What? No. You can’t be serious.
I’d been having contractions almost all afternoon, and into the evening, and seriously intense ones for the last several hours, every few minutes and you’re going to tell me I haven’t progressed?
She called the on call doctor then came back and told me they weren’t going to admit me yet (really?) but to try to get some sleep cause I was gonna need it.
I was totally bummed out but glad I wasn’t going home yet. We turned out the lights, my photographer told me she’d be back, and we all laid down for a bit.
Two hours seemed like an eternity, but my nurse said she wanted to try to wait the full two hours to give me the greatest chance for progress. Meanwhile I still felt the strange pressure pain every time I had a contraction. I thought my water would break at any moment and prayed it would.