Our little guy is one month old today – how did that happen? I figure now that we’ve had a full month with him, it’s about time I share his birth story. Feel free to skip it if you aren’t a fan of these sorts of posts, but I absolutely adore reading other people’s stories, so I hope there are a few of you out there who enjoy hearing Jack’s!
On the night of Thursday January 23rd, Corey was on his way home from work and joked that he knew I was going to go into labor that night. The weather was awful and steadily getting worse – we both had school delays the next day due to the ice (and both delays turned into school cancellations quickly afterwards). I didn’t necessarily think he was right, but we laughed about how that would be just our luck with the weather. I had, however, been to my 39 week OB appointment that afternoon, and she had informed me that what I thought was just more intense Braxton Hicks contractions were actually real contractions, so I was feeling hopeful that it may be soon. I was trying not to get my hopes up, but I honestly did have a feeling that our baby may be coming in the next few days.
I had somewhat irregular contractions that evening while we were watching television – I even tried to time them at one point, but they were at least 15-20 minutes apart, so I told myself I was just getting overexcited and tried to forget about it. But then, I woke up at 2:20 AM on Friday the 24th with contractions that were too painful to sleep through. They were about 10 minutes apart, so even though I tried, there was no going back to sleep. I slowly noticed they were getting closer together, so I decided to lay in bed and time them for a while. Over the course of a couple of hours, they got to 8 minutes apart and were pretty painful. I woke Corey up at 4:15 when they were 5-8 minutes apart to let him know what was happening.
Corey tried to get a bit more rest while I watched television and kept timing. They very quickly jumped to 4-6 minutes apart. I decided to get up at about 5:00 and move around a bit to see if they’d stop or continue – at this point they had been 5 minutes (or less!) apart for over an hour. I went in the bathroom to paint my nails, thinking it would be a good way to distract myself – of course, I could barely stand still through the contractions at this point, so it may not have been the best plan. I could quickly tell they definitely weren’t slowing down, so I woke Corey up again and let him know it was probably time to go to soon.
We got our stuff together and put the dogs up. Our driveway and the car windshield were completely iced over, and we had to wait in the car about five minutes before we could even drive. I thought I was in a lot of pain sitting there waiting but I later realized I had no idea what pain was at that point. Driving to the hospital was terrifying – we never went over about 30 mph and cars were sliding and even stopping on hills (because they couldn’t make it up) all around us. We finally made it to the hospital around 6:45 and got settled into triage. The nurse, Laura (who ended up being our night nurse both nights we were there), checked me and let me know I was at 2.5 cm – disappointing, since I had been at 2 at my appointment the day before.
They monitored me for a while but ended up sending me home, telling me they weren’t even sure at that point if it was really labor. Laura informed me that typically when women were actually in labor, they weren’t quite as friendly and polite as I was being, and they had a lot harder of a time sitting there being monitored. I was frustrated at that point and terrified at the prospect of having these contractions for days or even weeks, but there was nothing we could do. I had a feeling, though, that we’d have our baby by the end of the weekend.
We ran a few errands on the way home, and towards the end I was having to stop and really focus through the contractions. I kept ducking into empty aisles at Target to close my eyes and lean against the cart, and I was quickly realizing that what I had been feeling was nothing compared to what was coming. I had wanted to have a med-free birth, but I was starting to suspect I was going to be dealing with a lot of back labor and my resolve was already wavering. We got home and I took a bath – it felt good but didn’t help the pain at all. It was getting steadily worse and I was now moaning and having a hard time finding a way to position myself during them.
I got out of the tub after about 45 minutes and got into bed. I laid there and just waited for the waves to hit me, and I was beginning to wonder how I would survive each one. I tried a few different things like walking around through them, but the pain was so intense that I couldn’t stand at all. Corey came up after a while and turned the television on – he watched How I Met Your Mother and tried his best to support me while I cried through each contraction. It was nice to have a distraction, but at that point all I could think about was the pain. They were coming at 3-4 minutes apart and lasting at least 45 seconds so I knew this had to be the real thing.
We waited as long as we possibly could before we went back, but we reached a point where I couldn’t be in the house anymore and HAD to go. This car ride was much worse – I could barely sit through the contractions and bawled the entire way there. In the car, I told Corey I didn’t care what the original plan was, I would be getting an epidural. It was at this point that I finally understood what Laura had meant earlier – there was no way I was going to be as calm in the hospital this time around. We got back to the hospital around 1:00 in the afternoon and people in the halls were giving me a wide berth because they could tell I was not okay. Corey and I had to stop each time a contraction hit me so I could clutch onto him and try my best to get through it. This time in triage was much harder – I kept almost losing the monitors because I was writhing so much and Corey and the nurse (a different one this time) were having to coach me to breathe through each one. When the nurse checked me, though, I was just at 3 cm. I thought they were going to send me home again and almost completely lost it, but the nurse decided to move me to a room and give me some medicine to see if they could get me to relax and progress a little faster – still no guarantee of staying, though.
As the three of us walked back to the room, they were both having to help me and I felt a gush of something. I said “I think my water broke” and looked down to see blood, not water. The nurse immediately flew into action and called for help. She assured me I shouldn’t worry, but I was petrified at that point. They rushed me to a room and as they were getting me settled I heard her say “you’re staying” and I can’t even describe the relief I felt knowing I didn’t have to go through another car ride. They got me checked in around 2:00 and got an IV of pain meds going. Corey had called my sister to let her know what was going on, and she walked in just as the medicine hit me. I was incredibly loopy and couldn’t keep my eyes open, though I couldn’t sleep either. I felt infinitely better and managed to chat with my sister for a bit while Corey called both sets of parents. We never got an official explanation of what happened with the blood, but the nurse assured me our baby was okay, and I quickly forgot about it once the medication hit me.
My parents got to the hospital around 4:30 and the medicine was starting to wear off. I was struggling through the contractions again, and feeling scared about it getting even worse. The nurse checked me again at 5:00 and said I was at 4 cm with a “bulging” bag of water. Before she could finish checking me, my water broke. I was at the point where I could have my epidural, and the 30 minute wait for the anesthesiologist felt like torture. Finally, at 5:30 I got my epidural and could relax for the first time since 2:30 that morning. We hung out for a while and everyone marveled at how much happier I was. It was such a relief to finally be able to relax, and I can confidently say the only reason I ended up with such a fast labor was because of the epidural – I had been fighting against the contractions so much that I couldn’t progress, but with the epidural I was finally able to calm down and my body could do what it needed to. The doctor checked me every hour or so, and we were all shocked when he came in at 8:30 to check and let us know I was at 10 cm and we’d start pushing in about 30 minutes.
When he said that, I think the realization of what was about to happen hit Corey and I at the same time. We both got incredibly nervous and just stared at each other for a few minutes. We later talked about it and admitted that we both felt a wave of intense nerves as soon as he said that. It was like all 9 months of preparation for this baby hit us at once and we realized we were about to have a tiny human to take care of. We both agreed, though, that as soon as I started pushing and things started progressing again, the fear vanished and we were nothing but excited. My family came back in for a little bit and Corey’s mom showed up, and soon it was go time. Everyone headed to the waiting room and we got ourselves ready to have a baby.
I started pushing a couple of minutes before 9 with the nurse. About 30 minutes into it, the doctor came in to check on us and was surprised at how fast it was going. They had told me it could be hours of pushing, but he said he was going to suit up because he wasn’t leaving until the baby was here. I never realized how exhausting pushing would be, but I was dreading each contraction because I knew I’d have to push and I was already so out of breath and exhausted. Luckily, that must have motivated me because Jackson Paul entered the world screaming his tiny little lungs out at 9:54 PM, less than an hour after I started pushing. They immediately placed him on my chest and Corey and I got to spend a good 5-10 minutes just staring in awe at how amazing he was. He was so alert from the very beginning – he had his eyes open the whole time I held him. After a few minutes they took him across the room to be cleaned up and weighed. He came in at 7lb 12oz and 20 inches. He stayed wide awake while meeting his new family and didn’t fall asleep until about 12:30. He’s absolutely perfect and there is no way we could possibly be more in love with him.
In the end, I didn’t have the birth I expected – I was almost positive I would be able to do it without medication – but I am so happy with how it turned out. I got to go into labor naturally, which I had always wanted to experience, and I got a good enough feeling of what a med-free birth might look like that I can confidently say it’s not for me and I’m in absolute awe of the women who are able to do it.
And that’s the tale of how our little Monster joined our family – I am so happy he’s finally here, and quite frankly I’m glad to be done with pregnancy. I definitely didn’t hate it, but I’m also not one of those women who can claim to absolutely adore pregnancy. Let’s just say I tolerated it, and the end result was totally and completely 100% worth it.