Hello everyone! I’ve been meaning to post Miles’ birth story since, well, since he was born! Life, being the crazy whirlwind of awesomeness that it is now, I haven’t had a chance to really get this post to publishing status until now, although I started writing it a week or two after his birth. Please forgive any confusing run-ons and random insertions of thoughts I had along the way. You’ll also find that it’s pretty detail heavy and doesn’t include as much evidence of the flood of emotions I felt. This is partly because I simply can’t express how amazing it was and is to have a baby and be a mom, but also because it’s already pretty wordy and I just don’t want to forget anything. Also forgive all the Lol’s and Haha’s. That’s just how I am… Lol… Haha…
The Day of Labor
About 4:30 a.m. on September 17 I first woke up to contractions that felt different than the normal Braxton Hicks that I had been experiencing most of my third trimester. They were a little deeper and stronger and felt a little more like cramps. I didn’t want to jump to conclusions, so I waited. I even would sleep through some of them off and on. Then around 5 a.m. I started timing them and ended up timing them all day, much to my own insanity. They were consistent but still 10-12 minutes apart or more. I wan’t sure if I wanted to tell Steven and freak him out if it was nothing, but I decided I was too scared to handle this development on my own, haha. So I was said to Steven, “Babe… I think I might be having real contractions.” Then I explained how they seemed more consistent and felt different. Surprisingly, neither of us really freaked out. He asked if I wanted him to stay home from work and even though I was scared of going through this without him, I knew it could still be hours, if it was even the real deal. So I told him to go and that I would text Beth to see if she would be available to take me to the hospital just in case. We both calmly talked about what we planned to do if I progress to the point that I need to go in and other details like that, then he left for work.
I immediately started giggling because I realized this could really be it!!! And I was feeling more and more excited, and that excitement mostly out-weighed the fear. I calmly began to make sure all the bags were packed up and put in a pile for us to grab when we needed to. I was in the middle of gathering together last minute clothes for the hospital bag when Steven called me during his drive to work. I answered and we both talked about how we were actually feeling relieved and excited more than freaked out. Knowing Steven felt that way, too was really encouraging. I took a shower and shaved my legs and plucked my eyebrows and put my hair in a sock bun because it seemed like a practical choice lol. I called my mom because I needed to ground myself a bit and get some encouragement from someone who had been through the same experience seven times. They were excited but I was so worried that it was not real or that it was still days away. They understood and said they would pack a bag just in case.
I spent the majority of the morning Googling signs of “real labor” even though I had already done that countless times in the months previous. I chatted Lizzy and kept counting my contractions, which were consistently 10 minutes apart, but seeming stronger by the hour. Beth came by to keep me company and it was during my conversations with her that I realized it was getting tougher to talk through the contractions, although I could force it. Sometime in the mid-afternoon once Beth had left and I had eaten a couple hot dogs (brilliant, right? Luckily this wasn’t an issue) I realized they were starting to really hurt. I called Steven to ask if he could leave work a little early, just in case. He made it home and I felt so relieved. We watched TV, I took a bath I kept counting my contractions. About 6 or 7 in the evening they were 5 minutes apart. It was at this time that Steven insisted we take a walk. A walk sounded awful but he had been telling me to take a walk all day and was pretty insistent. So we walked around the apartment complex. A LONG way. More than I had walked in months probably. Or at least it felt that way. I seriously walked the first 10-20 feet and had a contraction and told him I wanted to walk back already haha, but he was like “just a little bit more” and kept doing that until we’d walked almost every sidewalk there was. I was having contractions every 3-5 minutes apart and every time I would have one I’d make him stop and I’d grip his arm and breathe and moan through them. So cliche of me. After the walk I gave myself a full hour to make sure they were as close as I thought they were (because it was hard to time them while walking). I even slept between contractions and would wake up thinking a long time had passed only to find it had only been three minutes! They stayed 3-5 minutes apart until 9:00 p.m. at which time we decided to call the hospital to let them know we were coming.
The theme of the day was this: During a contraction I would be like “OMG no doubt, this is definitely real labor and what if I have the baby in the next minute” (lol) but then it would end and it’s like my brain would go dumb and be like “Did that actually happen? I don’t know… maybe it’s not for real” ughhhh. Torture. It was also sometime in the mid-afternoon that I decided I was going to opt for the epidural for sure!
Hospital and Birth
So we grabbed everything and headed to the hospital. We had to go to the E.R because the main doors were closed for the night. I stood there after letting the nurse know we were there. She was like “are you in Labor?!?” and I did the whole lean on the pillar during a contraction thing like in the movies and felt dumb but I didn’t care lol. Then they brought in a wheel chair and I was relieved that I didn’t have to try walking there myself. They wheeled me into the elevator and up to the delivery room and had me put on the gown and said they would watch me for an hour to see if I progressed. They checked me and I was 4 cm dilated which was great. If it had been less I would have freaked thinking about how much worse it would get haha. I told them I wanted an epidural but maybe not until I was a 5. Well they had to do all these things because I was choosing to get an epidural, like put in an IV instead of the saline lock. The nurse tried to put it in my left hand but it messed up so they had to do my right hand instead. It was really crazy and kind of annoying because they had like a thousand questions for me and I had to answer between contractions. (Questions I swear I had answered a number of times already) So they would ask and I would stop mid sentence and have to wait and breathe and groan while they stood there waiting. It was awkward… Then I would finish answering them. I didn’t really care about anything at that point except I just wanted not to hurt.
They strapped a zillion monitors to my belly. Ok, just 2. The one meant to monitor the baby’s heartbeat was sort of below my belly and they had to have it really tight so they could hear his heart and it really hurt. I laid on my left side, facing Steven, who was there right at the side of the bed. With each contraction I would grip his hand really hard and shut my eyes really tight and breathe. Barely ten minutes after arriving at the hospital I had a really strong contraction and my water broke. It was the most crazy scary feeling. Then I was like “I think my water just broke!” and so they checked and of course it had (no mistake lol) and the contractions hurt more after that and were more like 2 minutes apart it felt like. I started gripping the rail on the hospital bed instead because I didn’t want to break Steven’s hand. They STILL had a million people coming in with paperwork to sign and questions I had to answer and to draw my blood (which I guess they needed for the epidural).
It took like an hour at least before the anesthesiologist was there to do the epidural because of the paperwork and they had to actually run lab tests on my blood and get the results first. That was the worst part. Between my water breaking and the anesthesiologist showing up. By that time I was 6 cm. They had me sit up to prep me for the epidural and I was just hoping SO bad that they would stick me before I had to have another contraction. And the anesthesiologist had a zillion questions, too. He was super serious, almost rude, but apparently very good at his job so I didn’t really care lol.
As is so typical of me, when I get really nervous or experience a huge life-changing event in my life, I shake uncontrollably. So my legs were quivering violently and I couldn’t make them stop and my muscles were starting to burn and tense up because I couldn’t control it. It was really weird. As the epidural finally kicked in it was like I felt the contractions but they weren’t as bad and then each time the pain just faded and faded until they were just little twinges of pressure and it was the best relief in the friggin universe haha. Then that’s when my parents came in and talked to me and I felt SO MUCH BETTER. It was great. My shaking slowed down and the nurse turned down the lights so Steven and I could get some rest.
We both fell asleep and I woke up to increased pressure during my contractions and they seemed really close together. After maybe 3 or 4 contractions the nurse came in to check me and I was a 10 and ready to push!!! It was so exciting to feel so great and be ready for basically the hardest part lol. Well the Dr. was still on her way but the nurse said she would get everything ready for the actual delivery. it was SO SURREAL! To think that I was about to push my baby out!!!! One moment it’s dark and I’m waking from a nice little nap and it was weird to wake up in barely any pain and have them tell me “you’re ready to birth a child.” lol
All these nurses started wheeling in the baby cart and getting stuff ready for him and other nurses got ready to help me push. The nurse said we would “practice” pushing so I can learn how/where to push and stuff. Well with the next contraction she had me try pushing and 1/2 way through the next contraction she told me to stop because it was going too fast and the Dr. wasn’t there yet. It was SO WEIRD I could feel his head! So I stayed that way through a few more contractions with his head just stuck there, waiting.
Well the Dr. finally showed up and I pushed through a few more contractions. They had put a blanket on my chest so they had steven cut the cord and then they put him on my chest. Thinking back it was such a moment, and I keep reliving it and get really teary-eyed. At the time I think I was in shock a little, plus I tried to keep as much control of myself during the whole thing as possible, it’s just who I am, so I was acting kind of “normal” I even remember thinking “am I acting TOO normal?” It was CRAZY to have him right there in front of me. It was like meeting someone I know but had never seen before. Like a stranger but that I know so well. Because you can’t really imagine what they look like so you’re staring at a face you don’t recognize but inside you know it’s your baby. I touched his little cone head and said “hi baby” and just kept looking at him, trying to process haha. He just kept sucking on his hands while I held him close. It was amazing.
He didn’t cry even though he was breathing, but they like to hear a good cry I think. So they took him to the table, only a few feet away and Steven followed. They toweled him off and did whatever they do to have him make noises lol. I don’t think he ever really like screamed just made noises like “leave me alone” haha. And I listened and watched as the nurse explained all the stuff they were doing to him and stuff. His apgar was good and after the initial things I got him back to try breastfeeding. It was adorable. I eventually had some issues with breastfeeding but we kind of were able to bond a bit during that first try.
So about an hour later we let my parents in and they got to hold him and my dad and Steven took a bunch of pictures. Then the nurse showed Steven how to bathe him and a few other things. I can’t remember the order of all this very well. I was just laying the bed. For me, it was awesome and crazy and exciting because I just soaked it all in. I LOVED the way Steven was taking to daddy-hood already, touching him and holding him and talking to him and laughing and smiling with joy. It made me SO HAPPY. And there was this whiteboard with info on it like our names and stuff and I kept staring at it where it said the time and weight and stuff and I think it had his name? Because we settled on it pretty soon after we saw him. When he first made his appearance the nurse said “He looks like a Miles” and then a few others agreed and I was already feeling like it fit better. Then later Steven was sitting on the sofa with baby in his lap and I asked him “So… do you like Miles? Do think that’s it?” and the look he gave me, all pure joy and everything… sigh. Then he replied “yeah, I love it” and that was it. It was Miles from that moment on. :)
Recovery and Post Partum
After an hour or so to adjust and collect our things we were transferred to the recovery room, where we settled in and tried to get some rest. Our nurse throughout this whole thing so far, the main one, was named Janice and she was FREAKING AWESOME. SO nice and great at her job. She brought me this huge mug of ice water and was so good at explaining things and I will always be thankful for her during this crazy time in my life. Time all kind of ran together. We slept little bits at a time between people coming in to check on me or the baby or to make me feed him or whatever. It was pretty nuts. I spent a lot of that time staring at Miles and trying to process everything. It was definitely surreal. I miss this time a lot when I look back. The nurses were there to take care of us and to help me when I didn’t know what to do and to be there to tell me when to feed him and stuff. I also felt like I was safe and so was baby. I liked laying there in my bed and both the nurses and Steven took such great care of me and basically did everything for me. Lol. Steven was freaking amazing in this way and still is. I love it. I’m so lucky to have him. The next few days were a lot like this, with visitors coming and going and various tests and procedures for both me and baby. On day two we left Miles in the nursery and took a walk around the hospital. This, along with my first shower were the greatest opportunity to solidify my transition from pregnancy to motherhood. It felt incredible to be free of the belly burden and to have more mobility and energy. I held Steven’s hand and let myself bask in the glow of it all.
There are so many things I will remember and there are things I’ll forget (or already have) and that makes me sad, but in the end I feel like everything came together just right and life hasn’t been the same since. Obviously. It’s just amazing. I’ll share a few more memorable moments during my 1-month update post will that offer a better insight into the avalanche of emotions I felt during the hospital stay. I also plan to share more about my breastfeeding struggles and adjusting to life with a brand new little infant, but I think this narrative is far beyond long enough and I’ll give us something to talk about another day.