The last picture taken of my belly before I went into labor!
Having a baby, as in actually giving birth to a tiny little human, is by far the craziest and most amazing thing I’ve ever done. It’s been a little over a month since my son was born and I still find myself thinking about his birth every single day… It’s just so special and insane all at once. I think I’m still processing it.
My due date was July 16 and for some reason I truly believed I would go into labor at least a few days early; after all, I had been downing red raspberry leaf tea and evening primrose oil (two homeopathic remedies said to prepare your body for labor) for the last few months of pregnancy like it was my job. So when July 16 came and went, I was became a bit depressed and had this irrational feeling that I was just never going to have my baby, which had me in a bad way.
On Monday, July 21 I had an appointment with my OB and I figured since I’d had zero signs of labor that I was just going to be told for what felt like the millionth time to just keep on waiting. Often times first-time moms won’t go into labor until 42 weeks! At this point I was 40 weeks and five days. Instead, my doctor told me that he really felt most comfortable with me delivering at around 41 weeks and that he really didn’t want me to go past 41 weeks and three days. You see, the last couple months of my pregnancy my baby was measuring what doctors considered to be small and my practitioners were taking a lot of precautions (which meant a ton of doctors visits, non-stress tests and ultrasounds) in the case that I had an Intrauterine Growth Restriction. Fortunately, Silas was still growing a little bit, but it didn’t seem that going past 41 weeks would be doing him (or me) any favors. I was really reluctant to schedule an induction because I wanted my birth to be as natural as possible, but I really trusted my doctor and was beyond ready to meet my son.
E A R L Y L A B O R
With the induction scheduled for Saturday, July 26 (on which date I would have been exactly 41 weeks and three days), my spirits were immediately lifted! In just five short days I would be meeting my son. My husband and I went for our nightly walk and were pretty much giddy with anticipation. At one point my husband had to stop and tie his shoes on a stair case and I began walking up and down the stairs jokingly stating that I was trying to put myself into labor… jokingly because I had literally tried everything to induce labor and nothing worked. I really should have tried the stairs earlier!
By the time we got home, I was getting period-like cramps and my whole abdomen was tensing up, but since both feelings were constant (i.e. not coming in waves like contractions would), I figured I was just worn out or dehydrated. My mom called to check on me, as she had every single day since my due date, and when I told her how I was feeling she said I was in early labor. I completely blew her off having heard of women having symptoms like mine for weeks before true labor. I went to bed, too excited about Saturday to sleep… or was I not sleeping because I was having contractions? I had no idea.
By the time Tuesday morning rolled around, I was still having those strange cramps and the abdominal tightening, but the feeling was still happening for long periods of time, whereas typical contractions only last about a minute or so. On top of this, I wasn’t feeling my baby moving around which got me really worried—normally I felt him moving constantly throughout the day. My doctor told me to call any time I didn’t feel the baby moving as this could mean that baby is in distress, so I did just that and he told me to meet me at the hospital right away. I quickly rushed to get ready and my husband and I practically ran to the labor and delivery floor. Luckily I live within walking distance to the hospital I planned to give birth.
Once we got to the hospital at around 10 a.m. I got hooked up to the monitors in a small curtained-off area in triage. After several hours of monitoring it was determined that Silas was totally fine but to my surprise I was in labor! It looked like I wouldn’t be needing that induction after all! I was so excited but a little disappointed. In the circumstance of going into labor on my own, I had planned to labor at home for as long as possible so I could wait out the often long early labor period in the comfort of my home. Luckily since we lived so close, my husband was able to run to the apartment and get the hospital bag we packed so I at least had a few comforts of home while I was there. At this point my contractions were irregular, not too painful and I had to stay in triage until a room opened up in labor and delivery.
All smiles after being told I was in labor… I had no idea the pain was yet to come!
I figured, “How long could it be?” (famous last words) and my midwife kept checking in on us regularly assuring us she was trying to get us in our private delivery room as soon as possible. To get my contractions to be more regular, my midwife suggest I walk around the floor of the hospital. This really amped up the intensity of my contractions and I began to get a little scared of how much more painful this was going to get.
A C T I V E L A B O R
Finally it was time for us to be transferred to our private room but, unbelievably enough, right as this happened a screaming woman was rushed into triage in a wheelchair. Because she was clearly about to give birth any minute, the woman in the wheelchair was given the room intended for me. When I asked my midwife how much longer it would be until another room opened up, she had no idea.Contractions were becoming blindingly painful and being in a small, loud, non-private area was becoming more and more uncomfortable. They couldn’t give me anything for pain until I was admitted into my delivery room. I began feeling really scared as contractions began coming every couple of minutes and they completely overwhelmed me. My husband was doing the best he could to comfort me but I was starting to go out of my mind a bit. I was almost positive I was going to have to give birth in this tiny “room” in triage. At this point I had been laboring in there for over eight hours!
Finally, as I was walking the floor trying to find relief from contractions, a nurse alerted me that a room was opening up for me. I was so overjoyed I practically ran to the room I was assigned! We got into room number seven at exactly 7:00 p.m. Now, I have a pretty high pain tolerance and rarely ever cry out in pain, but by this time contractions had me moaning, screaming and cursing. I also felt like the contractions were going to make me throw up any minute. Not exactly how I want to bring my child into the world! Including early labor, I had been laboring for almost 24 hours and was beginning to feel exhausted. At this point, I decided to get an epidural. Thankfully I didn’t have to wait long for the anesthesiologist to come and at eight o’clock, the epidural had been administered. I dealt with one more drug-free contraction as I waited for it to take effect and (as much has I love holistic and natural remedies) thanked God for modern medicine! Once the epidural kicked in I felt so much relief and like I could actually relax! Now I could finally focus on how excited I was to bring my son into the world.
Unfortunately that feeling didn’t last too long. At nine o’clock, my doctor came in to break my water, and upon doing so he made the discovery that my baby had passed his first bowel movement in utero. This is something that is apparently common in babies who are overdue, but if the meconium (which is baby’s first bowel movement) is aspirated by the baby it can cause some serious complications. My doctor reassured me that everything would more than likely be fine but just to be safe a pediatric team had to be present at delivery to give my baby a thorough check up. If you know me, though, you know I am a huge worrier and couldn’t help but freak out.
I did my best to rest and relax so that I could save my energy for pushing, but the combination of fear and excitement kept me from dozing off for too long. Thankfully though, my body was progressing exactly as it should and Silas’ heartbeat was staying at ideal levels, so I had a little bit of reassurance.
At around one in the morning, despite the epidural I began feeling some pretty serious contractions again. I was so worried about my baby and so ready to see that he got out safely that I didn’t even care about the pain anymore. My doctor informed me that in about an hour I would be ready to push! I couldn’t wrap my mind around the fact that in just an hour I would be meeting my son! At 2:30 a.m. I was fully dilated and I could feel that my body was more than ready to push.
D E L I V E R Y
While I pushed it was just my husband, my doctor, a nurse and me in the room. The lights were low and the environment was very peaceful and relaxed. There was no screaming or moaning, just some excited words exchanged between the four of us. I thought that because of the situation with the meconium I wouldn’t be able to “catch” my baby (meaning I get to be the one to pull him out instead of my doctor) as I had been wanting to do before I was even pregnant, but after 40 minutes of pushing, at 3:17 a.m. my doctor told me to reach down and grab my baby. I literally couldn’t believe my eyes. Despite the fact that I was pregnant for over nine months, went through the pain of labor and delivery and was literally grabbing my baby boy for the very first time I could not believe I was actually meeting my son! Such a shock.
A still from my birth video when Silas and I first meet
As I pulled my baby up to my chest his eyes were wide open! I was so happy to see that he looked so healthy and I was just absolutely astonished by how beautiful he was. The feeling of love for this tiny creature was truly overwhelming and it really took a while for it to set in that this was all real. After a quick check up from the pediatric team it was established that Silas was totally healthy, seven pounds exactly and 19 inches long. I was so relieved that there were no issues from the meconium. We got to hang out in labor and delivery for about an hour doing skin to skin time and breastfeeding before being transferred up to the mother and baby unit, where my family met us to congratulate us and meet their new family member!
Giving birth is by far my greatest accomplishment. Having a newborn has been such a blessing and a challenge all at the same time. There are no words for how in love I am with my sweet son and for how much more in love I am with my husband for going through all of this with me. I can’t wait to do it all over again.