For Part 1 of this story, see this post.
We had arrived at the hospital at 4:30 pm and spent an hour or so getting checked in and set up with the monitors before being admitted. My doctor was out of town, which I knew ahead of time, but was relieved that the on-call doctor was my second choice. I said many silent prayers of thanks over that wonderful little detail. While we waited in triage, we watched HGTV in the tiny room. Wyatt was nervous, I could tell, and he was trying to talk to me to keep me relaxed since I was in pain. Contractions seemed to pick up with double the intensity as soon as they put the monitor on my belly.
The nurse came back in after checking with the on call doctor, Dr. Caffrey, and we were admitted at 6 pm when I was about 4 cm dialated without her needing to check me again to determine progress. I was very thankful because that process is not at all pleasant. I was thankful to be that far along and to not be sent home, but my emotions immediately went crazy with the thought that this was really happening and that Beanie was on the way out into the world.
We were taken to room 348 for labor at about 6:00 pm. It was huge and I was impressed by how quiet and private it all felt. Once in our labor room, the nurses came in and got my IV set up. I had to receive a few fluids as standard procedure, but luckily, that only took a few minutes and I could get back out of bed to walk around. I had Wyatt snap one final photo because even though I was wearing two hospital gowns, (one forward and one backward, like a robe), I was shocked by how big my belly looked.
So far, so good. Wyatt texted our families to let them know we had been admitted but said to wait to come as we were wanting to progress as long as possible without a lot of people in the waiting room. I didn’t know how long labor would last, but I knew it would be hard, so I wanted it to be as private and relaxed as possible, with just Wyatt and I tackling it together. I knew I was going to have to rely on him to be my rock if I was going to make it through this without pain medication. I’m pretty tough when it comes to pain management, but he’s my steady side when it comes to my emotions, for sure.
I had to sit in the bed for thirty minutes or so while wearing the monitors so they could track my progress and Beanie’s heart rate. As soon as that was finished, I went back to my preferred position, standing and leaning over the bed to breathe through the contractions, which were much stronger and much harder to handle now. I couldn’t move around as much and could only sway my hips back and forth to help relax my muscles. Walking didn’t feel like a possibility even though I wanted to move around as much as possible to help Beanie get into position.
I closed my eyes and focused on counting the seconds of each breath. I even had Wyatt count how many breaths I took during each contraction so I knew how many I had to get through each time. He thought that was silly, but it gave me something to think about and little goals to get through.
At 7:30 pm, the nurse came in and checked me, in what was perhaps the worst pain I’d felt up to that moment. Let me just say that having a contraction while someone is “checking” you, is very, very very unpleasant. To everyone’s surprise, I was a “good 7 cm” already!
Yikes, that was fast.
My water still hadn’t broken so the doctor and nurses asked me if I’d like to have them break it for me. The nurse was fairly certain it would break soon on its own, and I was hesitant for any interventions because I wanted to let me body handle this on its own as much as possible for as long as possible. I trusted that it would do its thing, even if I wasn’t sure I could handle it, so we decided to wait a little longer, even though the contractions were nearly unbearable now, having increased in intensity by about 1000% at this point. There was just no break between each one. I kept telling Wyatt that if I could only have a break, it would be more bearable. He just kept saying that I was doing an awesome job.
I could barely talk through the pain, just breathe and moan a little. Still, Wyatt made me give him a “thumbs up” for a photo. I remember snorting a little to myself about how silly and absurd that little gesture felt in the moment.
The nurse had brought the “peanut” in for me to try sitting on, but I preferred to keep leaning over the bed. Soon, my legs felt too shaky with the pain of contractions to stand over the bed, though, so I moved to the floor and knelt with my knees on a pillow and leaned over the oddly shaped yoga ball on my chest with my arms outstretched.
It was seemingly unbearable. At this point, I was feeling like I was in way over my head. I said many times that I didn’t think I could do it. Wyatt assured me that I was, in fact, already doing it, and that I was “rocking it.”
He came over and stood behind me and pushed on my lower back to help counter the contraction pain. By now, there was no break between each one, maybe a few seconds with lesser pressure, but no relief. My legs and arms and stomach were convulsing with pain and I asked the nurse where I should throw up, should I need to do that. She gave me a look (annoyance? concern?) and quickly grabbed one of those blue barf bags and sat it on the floor in front of me, but I wasn’t sure I’d be able to use it even if I needed it. I knew something had to give, and soon. The nurse came back in (I assume because she heard my grunting and wailing) and I informed her I felt like I needed to push. She assured me it was just baby moving into position and I was discouraged to think I had hours more of this to bear.
My body buckled and I felt like I might burst with intense pain and pressure. I know now this was the transition part of labor, and it was every bit as bad as I’d heard it could be. I heard a pop and felt my water break. I kept telling her I felt like I needed to push. The nurse got a serious tone to her voice and said they needed to get me back up in bed to check me again. I informed her that I couldn’t get up, but she said I had to, and she and Wyatt each took an arm and I managed to stand and quickly back my way up onto the bed. As soon as I got there, I started moaning again about needing to push. I wanted to cry, but for some reason I couldn’t.
They confirmed my fluids had meconium in it, which meant baby could have some issues if he swallowed too much of it, but I knew that was normal because Beanie was past his due date so even though I was disappointed, I wasn’t really worried. The nurses were frantically running around trying to prep the room. I felt another “check” happening but honestly was in too much pain to consider it that much. I kept telling Wyatt I didn’t think I could do this and he assured me I was doing awesome. I can’t remember how many times he said I was doing awesome or great or amazing, but I think it was probably at least a couple times a minute.
I didn’t feel awesome. I felt awful.
Wyatt was doing great though, totally calm and really positive. I remember thinking he seemed like he knew what was happening and that he wasn’t at all nervous or scared, or even traumatized by what was happening. He seemed really in control of everything. I know he didn’t really feel that way, but he did a good job of faking it for me.
At 8:30, the doctor rushed in and asked how I was progressing. He seemed surprised, but calm, although serious. The nurse gave him a look and said I was definitely complete. There was more rushing as more people came into the room. I felt myself semi-lifted up and tried to help so they could put the plastic sheet thing on the bed but I could barely move my legs into position. A different nurse tried to instruct me how to push by telling me to take a big breath like I was going underwater. I thought I was doing what she was asking, but didn’t understand I was supposed to hold that breath in so I kept breathing while trying to push.
I had three contractions over the course of a couple minutes while trying to push but nothing was happening and the doctor gave me a stern look and said I needed to push harder if I didn’t want him to “help me,” because the baby’s heartbeat wasn’t staying steady. My mind immediately went to the fear of the forceps. The nurses were frantically checking monitors and kept saying, “Baby isn’t liking this, you need to hurry up and get him out.” I was scared.
Finally, after one awful, miraculous push on the last contraction, I heard exclamations of “good job” and felt as if Beanie must be getting closer, but I never imagined how close. I looked down and saw a head, already out, and was amazed at my body’s ability to labor and birth a baby that seemed huge to me. Seriously, that head looked huge.
A few seconds later, at 8:46 pm, Beanie officially entered the world. I heard Wyatt announce it was a boy! We shared a quick little kiss and I said softly to him, “I’m a boy mom!” I didn’t know how to be a boy mom. He laughed and told me that yes, I was, in fact, a boy mom, and that I would be awesome at it.
We had wanted to delay the cord clamping but because he needed to be suctioned out to remove the meconium, there wasn’t time to wait. In that moment, I didn’t mind. I just wanted him to be okay. The doctor asked Wyatt to cut the cord and handed him some oddly shaped scissors and began to give him instructions to take one big snip although Wyatt started cutting right away and I heard the doctor say, “That’s good,” when it took him two smaller snips to get through it. Wyatt was surprised by the shape of the scissors.
Our baby was whisked away for suction to remove the meconium from his mouth and airways. I asked why he wasn’t crying and if he was okay. The doctor assured me everything was fine, but I asked again why he wasn’t crying and Wyatt looked at me, and told me he was fine. I’m not sure why but I believed him over the doctor.
I had Wyatt and the nurses help me remove the sports bra I’d been wearing and unfasten my gown so we could snuggle skin-to-skin and he was back in my arms in only a few seconds, with a cute little hat on his head. He snuggled into my chest under the blanket and I remember looking down at him and thinking he seemed both familiar and foreign.
The doctor discovered the umbillical cord had a complete knot, which must have formed so early from Beanie doing a complete flip in the womb. He showed us how it had tightened during the pushing and could have been a serious danger if it had tightened too much. I was so relieved to know how close we’d been to something so scary. I was also a little impressed at our son’s acrobatics. I told Wyatt he might learn how to do a back flip for his goal celebration after becoming a soccer star.
Really, in that moment, all that mattered what that he was here, our son.
Wyatt and I shared a few wonderful, tender moments of kisses and tears as we basked in the glory of this miracle, and gave our son his name. I remember being so overwhelmed with love for my husband and our son in that moment.
I was in shock at how fast this all happened, but I was thankful. So thankful. I felt complete peace in that moment.
Wyatt thankfully thought to grab the camera and focus on Will as I delivered the placenta and got stitched up. I treasured those photos because I’d completely missed his first little check-up.
The stitches were painful and awful, too, but nothing compared to labor. I was amazed in the truthfulness of everything I’d read about the pain going away almost immediately after birth. Thank God. The doctor informed me I had a third-degree tear. The worst is a fourth degree. I remember thinking that my body had been in such a hurry to birth that baby, it was only natural something had to give. I managed to suck it up and only wince a little with each stitch as the doctor kept apologizing for the pain I was feeling. I told the story of the stitches I’d gotten in my chin to calm my nerves and distract me from the sharp pain of the stitches. The nurses laughed.
I looked down at my son in disbelief that he was here and he was ours.
In those early moments, I was able to try and nurse Will which went really well. I knew it still might not be easy, or even possible, but we savored those early moments of bonding.
We had a few more hours in the labor room as the nurses finished fixing me up, sent me to the bathroom and instructed me on how to care for myself in the coming hours and days. I was offered a wheelchair and we got to watch Will’s first bath while having a snack–an awful turkey sandwich Wyatt grabbed from the hospitality room and some pineapple juice we brought from home. I couldn’t stomach the lunch meat so I ate the bread with plain mayonnaise on it. Wyatt laughed.
Then, we got to dress Will in his little t-shirt and sleeper for the first time. I remember my fingers shaking as I realized how many more times I’d attempt to pull his little arms and feet through those tiny outfits.
Wyatt texted the news to family and then made a phone call to his parents after I insisted they must have gone to bed. Looking back, our parents were quite concerned we’d shared so little news, but we were just savoring our time together and trying to adjust to the realization we were now in charge of raising this sweet little boy.
Finally, we were cleared to move to our “mom and baby unit” room close to 1:00 am. In those early hours, we snuggled our son as much as possible and tried to sleep a little, even though we struggled to keep our eyes closed and off his lovely little face at every little squeak and wiggle. I remember being so proud of Wyatt and how natural he seemed, despite having zero baby experience.
I remember kissing Will’s head so many times that first day. It smelled so sweet and was so soft against my lips. He seemed so small to me now. Hours earlier, he had seemed huge.
I was still in a lot of pain, and the nurses had me start taking some oral medications to get that under control. I remember the doctor telling me I had been a superhero during labor but didn’t need to be one now. I didn’t feel like a superhero, I felt like I’d just gone through battle. I was so tired but so thankful that Will was here–safe, alert, happy, and healthy. I kept him snuggled up on my chest as much as possible. Every feeding was a struggle now as he decided he no longer knew what he was supposed to do, but I savored the post-nursing sleepy bonding time with my son more than any other moments in those early days.
Our parents were able to come visit the next morning and I remember feeling so proud to show off our son and share his name. I didn’t want to let him out of my arms, (I still don’t!) but it was wonderful to see how loved he was. The second day at the hospital was just the three of us in our little room, and we tried to settle into our new life.
Wyatt and I were exhausted, but so thankful to have each other, and Will. While Will slept in his bassinet, Wyatt crawled into my hospital bed and snuggled up to me from behind because neither of us could sleep. We both cried a few soft tears from exhaustion and joy, completely overwhelmed with love as we whispered in the night.
Looking back, it’s hard to remember all the tiny details from those whirlwind 60 hours from the first signs of labor to settling in at home, but I know we’re so blessed to have had the experience we did. I can’t help but be proud of my body’s ability and to celebrate our son’s entrance into the world. I know every labor and delivery experience is unique and that every mother does what she has to do, whether the birth is natural, medicated, or cesarean, so I’m truly grateful for the experience we had.
And now, we’re home with a growing boy who already has rolls and chub and cheeks so kissable I can’t help but miss him (while rushing to shower, eat something, and run the washer with a load of towels and underwear!) while he sleeps.
Thanks for sharing in our excitement and gratitude over our son. He’s wonderful, and we’re taking all the time we can to savor these first few weeks. I do have plans for a few more projects this year, although, at this point, the only project I want to tackle is a nap!CLICK HERE TO READ PART 2. CLICK HERE TO READ ABOUT OUR PREGNANCY STORY AND OUR JOURNEY OF WAITING FOR OUR BABY.