09 Feb

First off, a few disclaimers: this is my birth story and it will likely be very different from yours. 

And that’s great! We all have unique situations so respecting the differences is normal. Next, I would NOT have had such a positive outcome if I didn’t have an amazing support team. Nick was an awesome birth coach. My nurses we stellar. The doctor who did the delivery was perfect. Jack was awesome. Thanks to them, I can look back with fondness on February 7, 2017. But now, without further ado, Jack’s birth!

On the 2nd, I saw one of my OBs and she stretched and stripped me a bit. I had cramps and bloody show that night but didn’t think anything was serious enough to warrant concern. In truth, I went into labor that evening, I just didn’t know it because I’d never done any of this before. 

From Thursday to Monday, I suffered through pre-labor symptoms that I kept brushing aside as too weak to be anything significant. Oh, how wrong I was!! 
Sunday to Monday I got about 5 hours of sleep and spent the day putzing around. I felt physically great (other than the sciatica) and debated going to work. 

Ultimately I decided against it and made Nick a super tasty dinner of mini meatloaf and vowed to go to bed early to catch up on lost sleep. Nick and I also wanted to try some sexy business but it failed and we just snuggled down for and early night. Nick was asleep for just about 5 minutes when I sneezed. I felt an ache under my boobs and a moment later I heard and felt a POP! My water had broken from a sneeze at exactly 12:57AM!! I woke Nicky up and called L&D. The on-call doc suggested I rest up and wait 8 hours or so to come in. 

I tried. I really, really did! But the contractions were strong. My whole body was shaking so hard. I actually gave up on a natural birth at this point, believing I was so weak that I couldn’t even stand pre-labor. The contractions were about 30-50 seconds long and coming reliably every 5 minutes. After calling my mom and talking to her for a bit, I broke down around 2:30 and we headed to the hospital. 

When we arrived, the on-call doc was there and condescendingly suggested that I was weak and came in too soon. A quick check showed I was at 4cm and 90% effaced. I was strapped in to monitors and shown to a room. I spent the next couple of hours laboring as quietly as possible on my left side while Nicky slept. My blood pressure was moderately high but my labs came back clear for preeclampsia. 

At around 7AM the doc came in and said she was going to start me on pitocin to “jump start” my labor. I felt SO DEFEATED!! I had thought I was in labor! That’s when my angel of a nurse came to my defense. She told doc I was experiencing some intense contractions and they must not be showing on the monitor due to being on my side. I flopped onto my back and suddenly the monitor flared to life, registering some big, strong, regular contractions. The doc left in a huff, saying under her breath how she’d already put the order in for pitocin. 

Shift change at 8AM saw my first L&D angel nurse leave and a new one take over. The first was named Jamie. The second was Kelly and if these two hadn’t been a part of my team, I wouldn’t have done it. The same goes for my husband, son, the doctor who actually did the delivery, and a high school senior who wants to be an obstetrician who asked to witness my labor and birth. 

Kelly stood by me as I labored and suggested I get in the shower and use a birth ball. I wanted both of these things so I leapt at the chance. At this point everyone thought that I, as a first time mom who was only at 4 cm about 5 hours ago, had many, many hours to go. I had convinced myself that what I felt wasn’t that bad. When Kelly asked my pain level, I’d moan back “Four. Maybe. It’s tolerable. I can do this.” I still thought there was so much time left! 

Oh, yeah. By the way. You can totally talk through contractions if you think they aren’t real. It’s tough and you growl, grunt, moan, and gasp your words but totally doable. 

At 8:57AM Kelly came in and got me hooked back up to monitors to check baby and my progress. She witnessed me riding wave after wave of contractions. She and Nick just kept talking to me, encouraging me and praising me. This positive reinforcement was key. I hopped in the shower for a few minutes before I realized that the urge to poop I was feeling was actually maybe an urge to push my baby out. I called for Kelly and she checked me and OOPS!! I was 9 centimeters, totally thinned out, with a baby on the way.

A flurry of activity occurred and all I remember is the darling high school student, Tyler, and Nick helping me hold my legs. I was so FREAKING TIRED at this point because I had been up nonstop for around 30 hours. The delivery doctor swooped in and he was one I had actually seen during some of my prenatal visits. I was worried at first that I got him because he was my least favorite but he did a stellar job and I’m grateful I got him. 

It took me a lot of tries to figure out pushing. I was just so damn tired. I almost fell asleep between contractions and actually missed pushing during at least two of them. But my team was cheering me on!! Kelly called me a “rock star” and Tyler was in awe. Nick never ever stopped talking even when I screamed in his ear, clawed his back, and pulled his hair. 

What gave me the final burst I needed was reaching down and feeling a full head of wavy hair. My god that was awesome!!! I pushed and pushed. Doc was going to do an episiotomy but held back, not wanting to intervene at all in my natural delivery. Instead he guided a tear and let my body do what it needed to do.

At 10:03AM on February 7th, my son Jack was born. He weighed 7 pounds 2 ounces and was 20.5 inches long. He was placed on my stomach and opened his eyes. He stared at me so intently and was so alert. I was stitched up, handling the pain very well thanks to my son’s gorgeous face and deep, earnest stare. I spoke softly to him and it was so obvious he knew my voice. 

Tyler, the student, felt very faint after everything and had to leave for a bit but was back and had a new, deep appreciation for life. Nick had tears in his eyes and was beside himself with love. My normally unenthusiastic doctor was thrilled with me. Kelly could hardly contain her joy at my success. She asked me my pain level. I told her four.

Jack and I enjoyed our golden two hours and he took to breastfeeding like a champ. He has passed every exam with flying colors. That thick, full head of hair made him a staff favorite. I kept my rock star status, recovering beautifully. We left the hospital on February 8th, approximately 36 hours after arriving.