I can’t believe it’s been a whole week since we were at the hospital. I’ve been looking forward to writing this, even before Max was born, so here’s our [super long] story:
Or you can just skip to the short story and pictures at the bottom.
I guess it technically starts on January 31.. my due date. I had a doctor’s appointment that Friday morning. She said I was 1cm, 50% effaced, which was progress from the week before, but meant he still was not ready yet (although he could be at anytime). She estimated early the next week, Sunday or Monday. I decided to go ahead and have her strip my membranes, to hopefully ensure I would avoid induction the following Friday. Harper and I
pitied ourselves celebrated reaching 40 weeks with a trip to Krispy Kreme. I made sure Kyle had printed my birth plan and brought it home from work that night. The next two days I spent getting last minute things ready, along with a few more various attempts to naturally endure labor, like using the breast pump and eating pineapple. Fast forward to Sunday, we watched the first part of the Super Bowl in agony, and decided having a baby would have been a much better alternative than finishing the game. Glad I didn’t end up buying Max a Bronco’s outfit, since he wasn’t here anyway. I honestly swear..as soon as I marked the very last thing off my to-do list that weekend.. contractions started! Saturday night began mild ones, which leads me to think my tactics were working, and were on and off until Monday morning.
At 6am Monday, I was woken with noticeable contractions, ones I could tell when they started and stopped. This was pretty exciting, because it’s what I had been waiting for, so I texted a few family members that morning to say today was probably the day. Kyle was scheduled to be off starting that day, so it worked out well. They began 8-10 minutes apart in the morning and progressed to 6-7 minutes apart through the afternoon. Sometimes they would range from 4 to 9 minutes apart, so I knew I wouldn’t be ready to go until they were at least 5 minutes apart for an hour, like they recommend. I wanted to stay home as long as possible, because I planned to go natural. Waiting at home, with the ability to eat and be mobile is much better than being at the hospital. My doctor told me I could wait until 4 to 5 minute apart contractions, so that was the plan! People were starting to worry I wouldn’t make it on time and have a baby on the way, but I knew it would still be a while. Contractions were pretty intense at times, but I could still talk and walk around. This was maybe 2:30-3pm.
For several weeks, I had been practicing Hypnobabies, a “childbirth using self-hypnosis” technique. It involves pain management by relaxation, meditation, and keeping your subconscious mind positive and clear of fear, negativity, and worries. Exactly my kind of thing, because it goes along with my belief system of thoughts becoming reality, and I know my mind is strong. A friend was kind enough to let me borrow the CDs and corresponding workbooks, so I tried to practice as much as possible, though I usually ended up falling asleep or not having time. I was as ready as I was going to be. I haven’t openly discussed my natural birth desires much, because it’s important with Hypnobabies to keep the positive mindset, and not subject myself to negative comments and feedback about it. When I was in the moment, I didn’t want to be thinking of those things people said, or have negative images/thoughts about things I’ve read or watched. However, that didn’t always work well since Kyle wasn’t really on board. I tried to make it clear over the past few weeks that although I would consider keeping my options open to an epidural, going in with that mindset was not happening. Anyway, during the time we were waiting at home, I finally got a quiet place and was focusing on the CD. Contractions started being about where I wanted them to be, so I called the hospital and told them we were heading in. I found out Dr. Brown was on-call, instead of my doctor, but I was okay with that. He’s the senior of the practice and I have heard great things of him. I still was hoping Dr. Rossell would make it, but was glad it was him if not. I knew the ride there would be rough, so I was just ready to get it over with and be at the hospital. Kyle’s mom was at our house at about 4:30 or so. She was staying there with Harper and Cooper while we were gone. I stayed in my room to focus until we left, during a break in contractions.
Finally getting to the good stuff… Got the hospital around 5:45pm. It took them what seems like forever to get me checked in because there were other girls in front of me, and all rooms on the “night time side” filled apparently. I got to triage, and the nurse asked me if I had an induction date scheduled, just in case. I told her I did, but I was hoping I was further progressed. Was a little worried I would somehow only be like 2 cm still. (Last time around when I went to the hospital with Harper with irregular contractions, I was only at 1cm. They just let me stay and be induced, since it was my due date.) She checked me, and said, “Well you won’t be needing that induction.” I asked how far along and she asked if I really wanted to know. “Yes! Of course.” 6 cm. This made me feel great, that I was able to wait that long at home, and this was the real deal. She immediately started taking me serious and calling to get me a delivery room. I wanted a labor tub, so they accommodated that. I really liked that nurse, except for the fact she had to do my hep-lock twice (IV not connected to anything, so I could move around). She was helpful during contractions, but unfortunately was leaving soon at shift change. Dr. Brown came in to meet us, and read over the birth plan. He said he’d be around, waiting!
I finally got in the labor tub, until I had to be monitored again in 30 minutes. It didn’t really help me relax. I was adamant about trying it out, to see how it was, but I hate getting out of water and being cold, so that wasn’t fun. My new nurse was nice, but provided little encouragement to help me relax. I found out after the baby was born that she didn’t see the birth plan until afterwards; that may have helped. She did bring me a birthing ball that I wanted. At some point, Dr. Brown came to check me again. I was still at 6 cm, after at least an hour had passed. That was discouraging! Hypnobabies says it’s better to not find out, and that’s probably true. Unfortunately, I was not listening to the soundtrack anymore, and was just doing my best to get through each contraction on my own. I “couldn’t stand the lady in my ears” anymore. Throughout the whole day I kept imagining my cervix like a flower that was opening, and that was one image that stuck and got me through. Pressure was SO intense and I was getting pretty miserable. Poor Kyle! I brought him the kindle, magazines, handheld video games, laptop, everything to keep him entertained but he didn’t use any of them. He just sat there, feeling sad and helpless for me. I think he was just waiting the whole time for me to ask for drugs and not be in pain. I kinda felt bad for him, even though I know he could have prepared himself better. He was good, doing anything he could to help me though. The biggest thing was staying hydrated and they let me keep drinking on my water. He would bring it to me every few minutes, but otherwise kept his distance, per my request. I didn’t want people touching me. I ended up spending a lot of time just sitting in the bathroom on the toilet, to be focused alone, and because the pressure there was insane. I was also hoping my water would break. Basically, I was doing all of this mentally alone. So, during that time in bathroom, in my head I finally accepted defeat. I didn’t want to feel pain anymore when I could be relaxed and enjoy the rest of the night waiting for my baby. This was the time I really could have used a pep-talk, because apparently lots of women at this point going natural
want think they want drugs. Many have people to talk them out of it, like a midwife, doula, or birth partner. In hindsight, I wish I would have gotten a doula for support. It’s crucial. But I had decided, if he checked me and I wasn’t much further progressed, I would ask for an epidural.
At 7:45pm, Dr. Brown was already back to check again anyway, so perfect timing. He said I was at 7-8cm, but baby was sitting on the bag of water, so it was in the way of me progressing. I just wanted to know how much longer, and he said it could still take a couple hours if it kept on like this. He said he could break my water but it would be even more intense. Or I could get the epidural and then he could break the water; labor wouldn’t be stalled by it. I knew I couldn’t take much more, so I asked them to call anesthesia, and Kyle was obviously supportive of the decision. I was torn and felt sad and really defeated, but was crying and screaming in pain so wanted it to be over. Kyle said it was like I just lost focus, and I had. When he checked me, it must have done something though, because I immediately felt leaking. I told them something felt like it was leaking, but I wasn’t sure. They had to connect my IV and get a bag of fluid. Anesthesia got there, and I’m lying on my side in bed, or had to turn that way for the girl to get to my back. No way I was going to be able to sit up. I kept telling her to wait until a contraction finished. She was kind of flustered Kyle said, and had to wait until the main anesthesiologist got there to put it in since I was lying down. So, during this time, my water definitely broke! She was poking my back with her fingernail, to show me how the needle would feel. But immediately I told them to stop because the baby was coming! Or I probably was yelling it. They also saw meconium (baby poop), so had to call in NICU for precaution. As well as the extra nurses, and doctor, for delivery. There was probably at least ten people in there, though I don’t remember even seeing anyone, maybe my eyes were closed. I was so glad it all happened fast and I didn’t have to get an epidural. After the whole entire day of contractions, and months of preparing, I didn’t want it to end like that at the last minute. Anyway! They kept saying not to push, though he was crowning, pretty impossible not to. We were waiting on the doctor to get in and get his gloves on and stuff. A delivery nurse came in and took over, and let me stay on my side, (which was part of my plan anyway to push in whatever position I needed). When they were ready, I pushed that baby out in about 4 contractions! Born at 8:25 pm on Monday, February 3rd, Max was 8lbs, 10 ounces, 20.25 inches long. I was so proud of that! I was hoping he would be a good 8 pounds at least. It felt amazing to feel him being born. That’s exactly what I wanted, and would have been more tolerable, if it wasn’t for that killer hour beforehand, combined with a whole day of labor. I told everyone, I probably wouldn’t do it a second time, but I am glad I got this experience. I will talk more about it in my next post. I definitely got my happy, joyous cry moment, and we were so glad he was here.
I didn’t get the immediate skin-to-skin because they had to suction him real good, but once they did that I finally got to see my new baby. What a journey! Kyle went over to take pictures when he was getting cleaned up, but with all the people in there, heat cranked up, everything that had just happened, and him not eating all day, made him feel pretty light headed and almost pass out. He had to sit down a few. Kinda bummed I didn’t have any pictures taken during labor, though I’m not sure that part is something I want to remember much of. Both of us were just soaking in the fact of that our wonderful son was here. Max had a head full of hair, and I was immediately in love. I didn’t think he looked like any of us though. We bonded and breastfed, naturally he was great at it right off. Since it was so late, we didn’t have an entourage waiting for us at the hospital. Kyle’s grandparents who insisted on coming anyway were there, but I was glad. It was really special for them, and they were excited to see him first. A prize worth the couple hours wait I suppose! No one else had gotten an update since the 6cm, because it all happened so fast. Once we got settled, we let everyone know he was here. My dad, mom, and sister all came that night. It all worked out well, because I was so tired and just wanted to rest after that. Rachel brought me a double bacon cheeseburger and chocolate shake I asked for. I wanted Harper to come in the morning, so she and we could be fresh! About 10 or 11pm, I got to move upstairs. We visited til about midnight. Then, the baby nurse was waiting for Max’s temperature to get warm enough for him to get a bath, while we snuggled with him so he would warm up. We did all that and got to sleep about 2 or 3am. Talk about a long day!! Originally, we went in planning to name him Maxwell Denver, but I kept being skeptical once we told his grandparents the name. I still like it, but after talking about it that night Kyle and I decided on his full name as Maxwell Kyle Herndon. Finally we were in agreement for the first time over it, and that the meaningful name perfect for him.
The next morning, my dad came back to visit. Roger and Stephanie came, and were ready waiting with video camera for when Harper got there. She came with Granny Dee and G-Mama. All the people and new place made her skeptical, but she shyly met her baby brother. It was a special and sweet moment. She sat with us, as the pictures show, but then wanted to walk the halls with Daddy. Everyone visited a while. We had many more visitors throughout the day– my dad and Starr on her lunch break, Zack and Kyle went out to lunch at some point, Jessica came, and Steph and Patrick stopped by after work. Also Max was visited by our pediatrician, lactation consultant, and got a hearing test. Good day, but once again we were tired and were able to get some rest that evening. We got to spend a lot of time cuddling and loving on little boy. Of course, I had to take lots of pictures in several outfits. Nursing was going great. The next morning, little guy got circumcised, and we were cleared by Dr. Mishu and Dr. Rossell to go home by about 2pm. Kyle was tapping his feet ready to go by 11am, so that was good. It took a while to get paperwork from the nurse and everything packed up and ready. I gave out my last nurse tumbler, and she escorted us to the car and off we went, a new life in tote. It was time to bring him home to meet Cooper and kitties, get adjusted back at home, and begin a new journey raising two children: a sweet new baby boy along with an awesome big sister.
Short story: I was going for a natural, med-free birth. Contractions started at 6am Monday morning, I labored at home all day. We checked in the hospital about 6pm and found out I was at 6cm. Happy about that. About 7:45pm, the doctor checked me, I was at 7-8cm. I was too miserable and didn’t know how much longer it would take, so regretfully, I had them call anesthesia. Luckily, I didn’t end up needing it, because shortly after, my water broke. While the anesthesiologist was prepping my back, I
told them yelled at them to stop because the baby was coming! I had to wait for the doctor and everyone to get ready, and with four contractions of pushing, he was here! Weighing in at 8 lbs 10 oz, 20.25 inches long, Max was born at 8:25pm, so that whole thing happened very quick. But he was perfect and had a head full of dark hair!! The all-day contractions and last hour of super intense pressure was the worst part, and I think if I had a doula for support, I wouldn’t have caved and asked for meds. All in all, it was quite the experience and Kyle and I were extremely happy to have our son. We had a few visitors that night, and then it was time for Max’s bath and well-deserved sleep, with our wonderful new baby.
Here’s our story in pictures:
40 weeks, 3 days
Good size baby!Here was funny because I was worried about him being “upside down.” They told me, it’s okay, he’s been upside down for months.Just feeling happy and relieved. That sweet face!