It’s all a little fuzzy in my mind these days. It’s been 10 months, so I’m not surprised that the memories have started to fade. I think that’s how God intended it, honestly. Because if we could truly remember every detail, I’m not sure anyone would have more than one child. Am I right, Mommas?
I wrote Landon’s birth story right after I had him. Maybe two weeks after I had him. The experience was raw and fresh on my mind. The hormones and emotions were still running pretty high. I remember thinking I captured it exactly as it was. I wasn’t ready to post it though. So I tucked it away on my phone in my notes. Unfortunately, that note got attached to my work account somehow and when my company did an upgrade on their system, I lost all of the notes that I wrote on my phone in April and May. None of the others. I still have notes from 2013 up until now! I was a little devastated about the whole thing. I typed notes one handed while I was still in the hospital, trying to stay awake at 4AM holding my brand new baby, about every little thing I was experiencing. I wanted to remember it all. And then, everything I jotted down was gone.
So here I am 10 months later, trying to remember everything that happened. And this is more for me than anyone, really. But I’ve always loved reading birth stories, even before I was thinking of having my own babe! So I hope someone else enjoys reading it.
If I remember correctly, on the morning of May 13th I had my 38 week appointment with my midwife. I was going weekly to see my midwife at this point. At these appointments they always asked me if I wanted them to check my progress. I knew that I could opt out of checking, but I was too curious not to! I can’t remember exactly how dilated/effaced I was at this point but I was making progress toward having him and I felt really good about it. At 38 weeks pregnant I knew I was full term and if something should happen to encourage him to come along before my due date, well, that was okay with me! I was definitely in the end stage of pregnancy where I no longer feared the pain of giving birth –I just needed this baby to be OUT. I remember thinking that this particular time that I was checked hurt a lot more than normal. It was never a pleasant experience, but it never hurt quite like it did that time.
Later that day I started to feel some little twinges of pain. I never had the typical Braxton hicks contractions that everyone talks about, or I was never sure if I did. So I didn’t really know what to make of the pain. I took a walk around the block, got some water, and laid down. I started to feel a bit better so I went about my business. Later that evening I was still experiencing a little bit of pain and maybe a little spotting. I bounced through it on my birth ball and a friend dropped a Steak N Shake milkshake off at my house. I ate and bounced. Happy as can be.
That night I went to bed not thinking that the next day would be THE DAY. I took the birth classes, read all of the books and all of the blogs. It seemed like everybody felt a pain and went to the hospital right away only to be sent home. I knew better than to jump in the car at the first moment of discomfort. It could be days. Or weeks.
I remember waking up a few times to what I presumed were contractions. But still, they were manageable and I was sleeping through them. I was very calm about them and I knew that this was probably not IT. At 2AM I got up to pee and when I stood back up something came OUT. It wasn’t a lot. It didn’t feel like my water breaking. At this point in my pregnancy I was, ya know, leaking sometimes so it wasn’t completely abnormal. I was half asleep so I shrugged it off like, “Oh well, I peed a little after I stood up.” (still over the toilet though, so it was no big deal) and went back to bed. K – SO WHAT ACTUALLY HAPPENED WAS – my water broke at 2AM and I went back to bed. That sounds like the stupidest thing of all time. But seriously, it was so hard to tell it even happened because I was over the toilet.
The next morning I was still having contractions but they hadn’t progressed. Nate asked if he should go to work and I told him to go on. I got up, went about normal life, and started to work from home. About 10AM I started timing my contractions. They started feeling stronger and a little closer together. They were still not extremely close together but I decided to call my midwife to give them a heads up and see what they thought. They told me to have Nate come home immediately and to come in around 1PM to get checked. Nate rushed home to find me sitting on the birth ball, still working, listening to some Jason Isbell on the record player. Looking back on the whole thing – I was so zen – that is the only way I know to describe it. I was just going about my normal work day… IN LABOR.
My midwife checked me and she wasn’t quite sure at first, but then I mentioned the “I think I peed myself a little last night” incident and she gave me the big eyes and said she needed to see if I was leaking amniotic fluid. Once she confirmed that yes, I was leaking, she switched gears from – this might happen any day now to, TODAY IS THE DAY. She sent us to the mall to walk around and told us to come back in an hour. So there we were waddling around the mall, buying records in Hot Topic (no really, I was digging through a record bin in Hot Topic just hours before giving birth). Before you judge me, they had a rare Acceptance record in there for like $7! But anyway – things kicked up a notch in the mall. I went from “I got this” to “okay, we gotta go back NOW” in about 10 minutes. I was able to distract myself in the car with selfies, so I was still managing well.
Pacing the waiting room!
We were checked again and sent to the hospital across the street to be admitted. It was happening. Unfortunately, everyone in Lexington decided to give birth that day. So there were no rooms available. We were told we would have to wait about 30 minutes, but that turned into about 2 hours. I paced that waiting room for the entire 2 hours. It felt like we would never be admitted. I was growing less and less patient about the whole thing. Nate got me a snickers bar and I angrily ate it pacing back and forth. A few onlookers asked Nate if I was in labor after observing me for a few minutes. I remember wanting to yell, “WHAT DO YOU THINK!” but I didn’t.
Finally around 5PM (I think?), we were brought back to sign in/be admitted. I was VERY, VERY much in labor now and signing things made me want to slap someone in the face. I had pre-signed several things a few weeks before. And I signed some things when we first arrived. BUT STILL, there were things to sign. I remained calm and asked for the room with the birth tub.
WELL, that room was taken. And the blow up tubs were in use as well. So I would not be getting in the tub like I had hoped. I had planned to have a natural birth and I was still hoping for that. After all, could it get much worse than what I was currently feeling? The answer is – YES, GOD YES.
Once we got to our room I got into my gown and laid on the bed. It felt good to lay down after pacing for hours. I remember cracking jokes with the nurse. I was in pain but still dealing. My midwife came in to check me. I remember she wanted the nurse to check me as little as possible to avoid infection. She was a little worried because my water had broken so long ago. As time went on, I wasn’t progressing as much as she hoped I would on my own. I started to run a little fever. Nate was by my side the whole time – talking to me, playing music for me. He was perfect. She suggested that we wait a little longer and if things hadn’t started moving along, she would need to give me Pitocin.
The pain was getting pretty intense at that point and I KNEW I did not want to go through natural childbirth with Pitocin. So I made the choice to have the epidural and they sent for one. Let me just say, the 30 or 40 minutes that it took to get the epidural were the longest minutes of my life. If you ask my husband, he will tell you that I was making noises that no human should ever make. I was working through it but it was rough. When the epidural arrived I almost cried tears of joy. I did not care about the large needle – I didn’t care what they had to do to me at that point. After I had the epidural, the pain subsided a little but not very much. Landon was SO low that most of the pain I was feeling was coming from his placement in my pelvis and the epidural just couldn’t take the pain of that pressure away. I kept telling that them that it wasn’t working and finally I managed to describe the pain in a way that let them know that it was the pressure I was feeling. I finally got back to a place with the pain where I could at least talk and joke a little again. So things were better. I don’t remember a lot between the epidural and when my midwife came in and said it was time to push. I do remember that she eventually had to help break my water because it still had not fully broken. I remember that the monitor showed that we were getting to a point where Landon really needed to come out SOON. As much as she tried to hide it, I could tell she was nervous.
Let’s talk about pushing – the most amazing feeling on earth. There was so much relief in the pushing. Nate was the best coach through it all. The nurse kept asking me if I wanted a mirror to see what was going on and I was like, NAH I’M GOOD. But just as I said no, I realized that I could see EVERYTHING in the reflection of the light in the ceiling. I saw Landon’s full head of dark hair. I knew how close I was to meeting my baby! So I pushed a little bit more and out he came. It really didn’t take very many pushes at all to get him out. And there he was!
It was surreal. Suddenly I had this baby laying on me. And it was so exciting but it also didn’t feel like it was happening to me. Nate cut the cord. I had to deliver the placenta, which was harder than I thought it would be. After that was over, I was grateful to find out that I had not torn at all. No stitches! Hooray!!! I will forever love my midwife for taking the time stretch and massage me to try and make sure I didn’t tear!
We had our immediate skin to skin bonding time that I requested in my birth plan. He was born at 10:57PM, a perfect 7 lbs 14 oz. I don’t think they weighed him for about an hour though. Nate and I just wanted to be alone with him for a while before we had any visitors, which I’m so glad we did. I hated that our parents were just hanging out in the waiting room but I knew I really wanted that bonding time with just us.
I’ve read a ton of blogs from upset mommas who didn’t get the birth they wanted or planned. I didn’t get the natural birth I planned. Nate and I took the natural birth classes, he knew how to help me cope with the pain, I wanted to be up on the birth ball and in the tub, I didn’t want to be numb and unable to walk for hours. But I trusted my midwife and I trusted myself to know that it was okay to have an epidural, that I wasn’t just giving up on my plan, and that it would not change my feelings about Landon’s birth. I don’t feel robbed of anything. I don’t feel like I was strapped down or like I had a medical procedure forced upon me. I feel like I had a plan but also that I knew it was really just a wish list in the grand scheme of things. I do think I would have felt differently if that immediate bonding time had been taken from me. In the end, that was what mattered most to me and I truly believe that it started us off on a successful breast feeding journey.
My time in the hospital went mostly well. I was not able to leave the delivery room for a few hours because one of my legs would not wake up from the epidural. Finally, the nurses had to just plop me into a wheel chair, after helping me go to the bathroom, while I kept apologizing to them for how gross this whole thing probably was. One of them cracked up and said, “Honey. This is the least gross, least bloody birth I have ever witnessed!” I felt better after that. I had so much adrenaline that night and into the morning that I didn’t sleep. Nate and I both just held and stared at Landon until the next day. I have no idea when I finally slept. I do remember hallucinating at one point the next night because I was so tired. I thought one of the boxes attached to the wall and the balloon in front of it was a person staring at me and I almost jumped out of my skin, holding Landon. I was so exhausted. This was on top of the fact that I had a bad reaction to some medication they gave me to “help” me go to the bathroom. It made me extremely sick. Plus I had so much cramping and every time Landon nursed the cramping became extremely intense. At one point I came out of the bathroom hardly able to walk or talk just sobbing to Nate about how much pain I was in. The nurses kept offering me serious pain meds but I stuck to ibuprofen. I’ve never taken strong pain medication and I really didn’t want to be knocked out or loopy with a new baby to take care of. That second night when I got so sick, I did something I swore I would never do – I sent Landon to the nursery for a few hours so Nate and I could sleep. I felt so guilty at first but I knew I could not function any longer without uninterrupted sleep. Thankfully I felt better the next day and we were able to take our new baby home!
And so began real life with a newborn! It’s been a wild ride so far and I am so thankful that I’ve had the best partner to do this parenting thing with! We’re just winging it, but we’re doing it together and well.. I think we’ve done a pretty good job so far!