Our Birth Story
Sharing our birth story of our little Babycakes! Here’s how our little one made his grand entrance into the world.
Babycakes is over one month old now and it’s totally freaking me out. I swing back and forth between it feeling like he should be 3 years old or feeling like I just brought him into the world a few days ago. Usually it’s the former. It’s the combination of long days, lack of sleep, and feeling like my only purpose in life is to keep a tiny human alive.
I definitely didn’t picture our birth story happening the way that it did. Or I should say that I didn’t picture it happening this way except when I would anxiously worry about what could happen.
From the moment I starting working on our birth plan (around the second trimester), I kept telling myself that it could all go to shit in a second as if that would somehow make me be prepared for it… Though it helped me to roll with it when it was happening, it didn’t make it any easier to accept. It wasn’t the delivery I wanted. It wasn’t the recovery I wanted. Sometimes that’s just the way things go and I am slowly coming to terms with that.
I always had the feeling that he might come early. I would never admit that to anyone because I didn’t want to jinx myself. Call me superstitious (or just a little stitious lol), but I thought me saying that would result in him being a couple of weeks late.
I was extremely uncomfortable at the end and I just wanted him OUT. The idea of being even a day over the due date made me want to sob uncontrollably. Just so you all know where my mental state was at by this point.
Labor began very slowly on January 5th for me. It was in the evening and I started feeling cramps just like I would get for my period. They would come and go in pangs, but they were super inconsistent so we just rested and relaxed. I was able to sleep through the night and it seemed in the morning that they were gone.
Then late morning rolled around and I started feeling them once again. They were coming every 20 minutes or so, but still inconsistent so I started to distract myself. I wasn’t sure it was real labor until mid-afternoon when the pain started to really ramp up and they were coming a every 15 to 20 minutes for at least an hour.
I remember the first one that really felt painful (which haha, little did I know that was a pinprick compared to what was in store…). There I was, sitting in the basement watching TV, desperately texting the Man who was outside that I needed help immediately.
Also this was the day of the Capitol Attack and I was barely keeping track of it all. I actually ended up stopping the Man from talking to me about it because I just couldn’t handle the stress on top of realizing that this little boy was making his way out of my body.
Now the show was really getting started! I was totally freaked out and found myself realizing that I wasn’t at all ready for what was coming. The full weight of what was going to happen washed over me immediately. Not just the labor and delivery, but the whole motherhood thing became suddenly REAL.
For the next 6 hours there was a lot of crying and pain and trying desperately to get comfortable. We moved around, with the Man making sure I was hydrated at every moment. I ate a big bowl of chili (which I am SUPER thankful the Man made as I look back) with tons of cheese and Fritos as my final meal. We cuddled, I took a bath, and then the pain escalated to a place I have never experienced.
There was this moment that I was riding a contraction, hunched over the kitchen table and I felt this urge of WE NEED TO LEAVE RIGHT NOW. It was so intense I can still remember the feeling – the pain, the panic, and the feeling of “oh crap am I going to have this baby right now?” I don’t know why it all of a sudden felt like he was coming out in that instant (we had a long way to go still as we would soon find out!), but within a few minutes we were out the door and on the way to the hospital.
The car ride is the blurriest part for me. I remember writhing in pain and looking at the clock, willing the minutes to slow down so I could just get some sort of relief from the pain. The contractions were every 5 minutes or less at this point, but it felt like no time passed in between.
We rolled up to the hospital and ended up walking in right when our nurse was walking in to start her shift. I wish I could remember her name… She did have a Harry Potter themed backpack which I took as a really good sign. At that point I would take any small dose of comfort since the pain was so bad.
I immediately wanted an epidural and I am not mad about that choice in the slightest. I thought that I wanted to push through and go the natural route, but I was in agony. There was no hesitation about it. GIVE ME THE EPIDURAL was all that was going through my mind. It came within 30 minutes and after that, there was sweet sweet relief. Enough relief for both the Man and I to get sleep since I was only 3cm dilated. This baby wasn’t coming out anytime soon.
That sleep was so sound, with Friends streaming in the background, lavender filling the room from my diffuser, and a couple flickering LED candles.
My biggest advice to any pregnant mamas out there? Bring anything and everything you think might bring you comfort and calm. Pack the pillow. Bring your own towel and blanket. Flameless candles and a diffuser with your favorite scents can be a real game changer. Pay for the subscription to whatever streaming service has the TV show you love and can watch again and again.
Waking up on January 7th in the hospital meant waking up to some more pain. The epidural was still going but the contractions were changing and as they warned me, the epidural can’t stop the contraction pressure pain. At this point my left leg was completely numb but my right leg still had some feeling. I just remember the pressure building and building in my pelvis… They gave me something to help relieve it slightly. Of course, once we got to the time to push, that pain was not going away.
It was all a bit of a blur while pushing. I remember having to push, changing positions, trying to focus on music, the Man holding my hand, and just wishing he would get out already. The nurse finally said something when she saw the head of hair. All I could think was “he better have a ton of hair after all that freaking heartburn he gave me the last 5 months!
Progress was barely made over the duration of an hour and a half… Most frustrating time of my life because I could not understand why the heck he wasn’t coming out after all this work I’d been doing. The bad news? He was sunny side up. More bad news? Something about my pelvic bone was preventing him from coming out. Even more bad news? His heart rate was going up and it was worrying my doctor. Before I knew it, we were having the talk about getting into the OR. I remember not really feeling much of anything except wanting my baby to be safe. Immediately my answer was “do whatever you have to do to get him out safely.”
We were rushed into the OR and I was so drugged up I’m honestly surprised at how much I remember. I remember them offering the Man the option to look over the barrier to watch the C section and take photos (hard pass for us both, thank you very much). Lying there and not feeling pain but feeling weird sensations as the doctors worked. I remember the Man distracting me by chatting about our last trip to Europe. We walked down memory lane about Paris and Lake Como and Milan and Stockholm. Then there was some clapping and a baby started crying.
OUR BABY was crying.
I was so overwhelmed when they lifted him up, it felt like a dream. They put him on my chest and I couldn’t believe that this little guy I’d been growing inside me was finally here for us to hold.
Then I started to shake. The hormones and medication flooded me with such intensity I had to ask them to take Babycakes off my chest because I didn’t feel safe to hold him there. Instead the Man held him in his arms and I watched as our entire world changed in an instant.
The entire experience was not the one I had hoped for. I hoped to make it without an epidural until the very last moment. I hoped to have a vaginal delivery and to go through that particular experience the way I had pictured it so many times in my head in the last months of pregnancy.
A month away from it all, I am grateful for the way it happened because it didn’t really matter HOW he got here in the long run. However the following two to three weeks, I was grieving the loss of the birth I wanted and the recovery I had planned for.
The C section recovery was difficult. Being in the hospital for 5 days was really nice for us, but I couldn’t move around very much at first. I couldn’t easily attend to Babycakes in the middle of the night and those first few days I felt really helpless. If you know me at all, you know that’s the one thing I truly hate. To feel helpless and unable to do anything for anyone else.
The Man really made it bearable. He set up a little corner with flowers we received, faux candles, and diffuser for a relaxing nursing area. He made sure I drank tons of water and was by my side every moment he wasn’t sleeping on the uncomfortable couch/bed. With no visitors because of COVID, we spent those five days getting to know our little man in the most relaxed way possible. We thankfully discovered he is a great sleeper, which holds true to this day.
Again, not what I imagined, but it was really what we ended up needing. The following weeks were a bit of a battle with exhaustion and stress, plus ample amounts of heightened anxiety. PPA is no joke and it has been a struggle. Especially without friends and family being able to readily come over and help.
I really am ready for this whole pandemic mess to get better… I know we all are at this point but I just have to say it again. THIS SUCKS.
It has been isolating and wonderful, life-changing and celebratory, exhausting and uplifting all at the same time. Thankfully I am getting help with PPA and am starting to feel like my hormones are leveling out. Though I haven’t wanted to return to the kitchen yet, sitting here and writing all this out has been a real joy.
We have been home a whole month… I have to keep reminding myself of that because it doesn’t feel real. As one of my dear friends told me when I was pregnant, be prepared for the days to be long and the years to be short. I finally understand what she means now…
Babycakes is growing like crazy week to week (at least it feels that way to me!) and is starting to show more of his personality as he mimics and coos in response to the faces I make at him. He has a ton of hair and we keep guessing at what he will be like as he gets older. Will he be into sports or academia? Or is he going to be stubborn like us? Will he be silly or reserved? It’s all so hard and rewarding and fun.
So that’s our birth story of how he got here. I don’t really know how else to close out this post because there is no ending. This is just the beginning for him! And clearly we are killing it as parents… LOL