I can’t believe our little Winston has been with us for almost two months now! I wanted to write out his birth story mostly as a reflection for myself but decided I’d share it on CB, as well.
By mid-September, J&I had settled into our new home in Massachusetts, designed W’s nursery, taken every single pregnancy and parenting class available and we felt as ready as we could possibly be to welcome our baby boy. Funny how as soon as he was born, we both felt completely clueless and in over our heads! But let me back up and share the details of the day W came to join us …
The first contraction I felt around 1.30p that day was so subtle that I dismissed it altogether and went ahead with my to-do list for the day. Around 3.30p, I decided to get a head start on Halloween decorations and was hanging spooky bats on our porch when I noticed another contraction that actually made me have the fleeting thought that this could be the very beginning of labor. It felt like a gentle back cramp that wrapped around to my abdomen – there was no mistaking it for the simple tightening sensation of a Braxton Hicks. My due date was still more than a week away so I wasn’t convinced I was in labor but as I started to feel another contraction and another, I started timing them to see if there was a pattern and I began to feel a little scared (and excited!) when I realized there was definitely a pattern. I finished hanging the bats (does anyone have a weirder activity that they were doing when they first noticed contractions?!) and decided to hop in the shower and wash my hair. As I was drying my hair, I texted my husband at work and told him I could be in early labor. I still wasn’t sure so I told him not to race home and we’d see how things went. I felt great at this point – the cramps/contractions were about every 4-5 minutes apart at this point.
When J got home around 4.30p, things were starting to pick up. The contractions were starting to gain intensity and they were coming even closer together. I was now fully convinced that this was early labor but I really wanted to flat iron my hair and Fed Ex just dropped our second/back-up changing table on the porch and I couldn’t stand the thought of bringing W home and not having the second changing table put together so J began working on assembling the table while I finished my hair and put in a call to my doctor.
By 6p, the table was ready to go and we had our hospital bags by the door but we still hadn’t received a call back from the doctor’s office. My contractions were about 2 minutes apart now and getting to the point where I had to rock back and forth to get through them so J just called the hospital and told them we were on our way and to get ready for us! No sooner had he hung up than we received a callback and the nurse confirmed that I should come right in. I had been worried all summer that we’d get stuck in a traffic jam on the way to the hospital and the car ride would be tortuous but we sailed right along and fifteen minutes later, we were walking into the labor & delivery entrance of the hospital. I expected them to check me and say I was 7-8 cm dilated so I was taken aback when our midwife told me that I was only 1 cm dilated. I think I even told her that she might want to re-check! I was a little concerned that she was going to tell us to go home and wait but she told us to get comfortable and that they’d watch me for a bit and see how things progressed.
My two nurses were amazing and did everything they could to make me as comfy as possible. They gave me some kind of low-dose pain meds and I spent some time rocking on the birthing ball, going for a walk with J around the halls, and an hour in the hydrotherapy tub before we decided it was time for an epidural. I was about 4 cm dilated at that point and remember being shocked at how quickly the epidural just erased any pain – I told J it was like magic! It was suggested that we try to sleep at that point but now that I was completely pain-free, my mind was able to relax and I started getting excited knowing that it wouldn’t be very long now until we’d meet our little prince! I was also feeling really thrilled and confident now that my pain was eased.
About two hours into the epidural, I started feeling the same type of cramps I had earlier that day while I was hanging the bats and the pain started getting stronger and stronger over the course of just a few minutes. I don’t think I wanted to fully acknowledge that the epidural was failing – that just wasn’t a thought I was able to accept – so I remember telling the doctor and nurses what I was feeling and pleading with them to “fix” it and take my pain away again. I felt really confused and the pain was becoming overwhelming so I couldn’t think straight. I kept thinking if they could take my pain away once, why couldn’t they do it again? The anaesthesiologist came back and gave me something but nothing worked and I ended up feeling everything from there on out.
While I feel blessed with the easy pregnancy I had and the fact that my labor and delivery were relatively short, I simply can’t sugarcoat the blur of time from 8cm to 10cm to pushing – it was, by far, the worst two hours of my life. Winston was sunny side up so I dealt with intense back labor that felt like he decided he was going to exit in an alternative fashion by ripping a hole through my back. While the nurses and doctor and J were amazing and did all they could by being my verbal cheerleaders, nothing could take away the fact that I was completely alone with the pain that unrelentingly washed over me in waves.
After about an hour and a half of laboring through intense contractions, I felt the unmistakable urge to push. J says I was in this pushing phase for almost half an hour but it felt so much quicker to me – like mere minutes. The next thing I remember is Winston just shooting out like a cannonball! He weighed 6 pounds, 15 ounces and measured 21 inches long.
We are so blessed by God with this sweet and healthy bundle of love and J&I are more grateful every day for this darling boy we get to call our son. We’re so excited for the adventure ahead and I can’t wait to share many of those steps with you!
Before I gave birth, I thought the idea of push presents were a little over the top but I was really tickled that J surprised me with a new anniversary band for my PP – and after going through labor and delivery, I have to say that I feel like I earned every one of those diamonds and then some! 😉