We’ve had two weeks at home with our little Jack, and I finally found some time to write down all of our memories from his birth. I wanted to write everything down for my own recollection, but I also wanted to share it here because reading through birth stories during my pregnancy was something that really helped prepare me for labor and delivery… That being said, if reading our (kind of lengthy) birth story is a little “TMI” for you, by all means, feel free to skip this post!
My labor was quite long (38 hours, plus 3 hours of pushing!), so I broke up this post into a few parts/days. I’m also sharing a little on my recovery because I feel like that is something that a lot of birth stories don’t include, and I want this to be helpful for any mamas-to-be out there! So, without further ado, here is how Jack came into the world…
Saturday – January 23rd
Anxiously awaiting Jack’s arrival (and almost a week overdue), I was doing everything Brian and I could think of to get labor started. Drinking raspberry tea, going for walks, bouncing on an exercise ball, eating a ton of dates… you name it! We were scheduled to be induced on Sunday going into Monday, so we weren’t putting a TON of pressure on ourselves, but we were excited and started to grow impatient.
I’d been having Braxton Hicks contractions throughout the week, so when I started getting contractions during dinner, I didn’t really think anything of it. “Here we go again, another sleepless night with false labor,” I thought. We timed the contractions just to be sure, and when they continued throughout the night we figured this was probably it! We (mostly Brian) cleaned up the house, and made sure all our hospital bags were ready by the door. I tried to nap but couldn’t get comfortable, so I took a bath while Brian kept me company and timed my contractions. Around 11:45pm, they were consistently five minutes apart. We called the doctor, and they told us to head to the hospital!
Sunday – January 24th
We got the the hospital around 1am, and went straight to the Labor and Delivery floor to get examined and checked in. To our surprise, I was still only 1cm dilated. The doctor on call told us we had two options… We could go home and wait it out a bit longer, or continue to labor at the hospital. We decided to stay because we would’ve just sat at home worrying about when it was time to go back to the hospital anyway. So, we were admitted, and happy to utilize the amenities the hospital had (like a jetted tub) while also being monitored.
My labor progressed slowly, so I ended up getting a foley bulb inserted, which helps dilate your cervix to 3-4cm without medication. This process can take up to 12 hours, and unfortunately for me, it did, and I wasn’t able to get an epidural until I was at 3-4cm. So, to relieve some pressure from contractions, I labored in the tub with Brian right by my side; and sometimes just outside the door while he napped on the couch. We talked, ate, watched snow fall outside our window and rested while the nursing staff came in every hour or so to monitor Jack and I.
(Side note: I applaud the mamas out there that can go through labor & delivery without medication. And even though I could never go without it, after laboring in the tub, I can totally see why people enjoy water births! It was warm, calming and was really the only place I felt comfortable before getting the epidural. Definitely a route to consider if you don’t want medication!)
Once it came time for the epidural, I was very much ready to receive any sort of pain relief so I could try to sleep and conserve my energy for delivery… Even though I always knew I wanted an epidural, I was incredibly nervous to get a shot in my spine. The anesthesiologist was very reassuring, but I was shaking the whole time he went over the procedure. To my surprise, it took way less time than I thought to administer, and I was able to get the shots in between contractions (thank god). The worst part about it was the numbing shot that they gave before the actual IV, but it felt just like the anesthesiologist described it… Like a bee sting; and then it was done! As my relief settled in, Brian’s sympathy pains caught up with him, and he almost fainted. But our nurse got him some apple juice, and he rested on the couch in our room for a bit and was good as new.
With the epidural, I was also given Pitocin to help speed up the labor process and I was finally able to “rest” through the night. And I say “rest” because the nursing staff came in to check on me every hour or so.
Monday – January 25th
Throughout the night, the nurses would come help me change positions in bed to make sure Jack was moving down, and that labor was progressing. I was able to sleep for the most part, but was woken up by my water breaking at some point during the night. I’ve heard many women describe this like a rubber band snapping, but since I already had an epidural all I felt was a rush of water. We called a nurse in to confirm, and then continued to rest.
After losing track of all time and realizing it was Monday, we were very happy to know that my regular OB was finally on call! As the morning progressed, I was very excited when our 4th nurse of the weekend told me that we were going to start to do some “practice pushes.” Little did I know that “practice pushes” was a sneaky way of her easing me into delivery, because before I knew it I had been pushing for 2+ hours and my doctor was coming in to check my progress.
During my “practice pushes” I started feeling my contractions coming really strong to the point where I needed a second helping of the epidural. The “self administer” button that they give you didn’t give me enough relief, so we called the anesthesiologist, and they gave me an extra boost to get me through pushing. I’m SO glad I asked for this because on top of my contractions, Jack was also jabbing me in my left rib and my right hip was tensing up pretty bad. Those two pains never went away with the epidural, but at least my contraction pain was under control so I could focus a little more on pushing.
On top of my hip and rib pain making it difficult to push, Jack was a not in a great position. He was head down, but turned a little sideways, so it was really hard for him to come out. My doctor said I could keep pushing for a little while longer, but if he didn’t make any progress she may have to help me; either with forceps or a c-section. When it came time, we decided to try forceps, and within about 30 seconds he was in my arms at 1:41pm; 10lbs 1oz, 24 inches long. I was elated, relieved, exhausted, and about 50 other emotions that I can’t even remember or comprehend. I looked over at Brian, who hadn’t left my side in over 40 hours, and just cried the happiest of tears. He was here, Jack Arlington Summerfield, our Jack. We were finally a family of three.
After delivery, the team of nurses delivered my placenta and cleaned up the room in what felt like warp speed. Everyone moved so fast and we were so enthralled with Jack that before we knew it, they were all gone!
We stayed in our L&D room for about two hours before being transferred to the recovery floor. When our nurse came in to help me to the bathroom before taking me upstairs, I started to get very dizzy and almost fainted before she could get me back into bed. I was given another hour to rest and try again, but apparently my body still wasn’t ready and I almost passed out for the second time. Because of this, the nurses couldn’t take me to recovery in a wheelchair, and I had to be transferred in a bed about 4 hours after delivery. While the almost fainting part wasn’t fun, the ride up to the recovery floor was made very memorable because I got to push the button that alerted the rest of the hospital of Jack’s birth! I don’t know why, but this was so exciting for me, and every time we heard the lullaby over the sound system we would say “new friends, Jack!” haha!
Once in our recovery room, the nursing staff told me I still needed to go to the bathroom… and because I couldn’t stand they needed to straight cath me to empty my bladder… I’ll spare you the details on that procedure, but just know it’s not fun when your epidural has worn off… When I felt well enough to stand a few hours later, the nursing staff very very slowly assisted me to the bathroom. After that, they allowed Brian to help me moving forward.
The rest of our time in recovery was spent trying to sleep while being monitored and visited by pediatricians, lactations consultants, my OB and countless nurses and CNAs. And even though I was feeling better, eating plenty of food and drinking all the water and cranberry juice I could get my hands on, I was white as a sheet until we actually we got home two days later. I’m chalking it up to a mixture of blood loss and the utter exhaustion that labor/delivery put my body through.
After 48 hours, and another snowfall, we were cleared to go home! We packed up our bags, bundled up our not so tiny baby and drove home very very carefully. <3
In our time at home these last 2 weeks, we have fallen so in love with Jack and continue to be in awe of him. Our first few days home were a little rocky and ended up with us rushing Jack to the doctor, as well as taking me to the ER because of some swelling in my legs and slight pain in my chest. I won’t get into the details of these here (we’re all happy and healthy), but just know that it’s ok to call your doctor! Postpartum recovery is no joke, for mama or for baby, and even if it means getting an extra hospital bill to make sure everyone is ok, it’s worth it! Nothing is more important than your health and the health of your child, and after both of us were checked on one more time after being home our minds were much more at ease.
If you’re looking to connect or talk more as a new mom or a mom-to-be, always know that I’m an open book and would be happy to chat! If you have any questions or want to get in touch, please don’t hesitate to reach out to me on my site or on social media.
As for the blog, I’ll try to keep up with posting in the near future, but I have found that life with a newborn sometimes just doesn’t have time for writing. Stay in tuned with my day-to-day on Instagram, and once life calms down a bit I’ll see you back here on the blog!