Chase’s Birth Story: Part Two
Ryan and I arrived at the hospital at 4:45 a.m. on Wednesday morning. Ryan dropped me off and as he went to park the car, I waited for him in the lobby and paced around since it felt much better to walk around and move during my contractions than it did to sit down. The hospital security guard wished me luck and when I told him I was just really hoping this was the real deal, he laughed and told me about one woman who came to the hospital with labor pains three nights in a row before she had her baby. At this point, my contractions were strong enough for me to feel quite confident that I was in labor, but I was still nervous I’d be sent home because I wasn’t far enough along. The security guard’s story didn’t exactly give me a boost of confidence!
After we checked in and I signed some forms with the most wobbly signature in the world, we made our way to a delivery room and I was instructed to change into a hospital gown. My contractions continued to intensify and before the nurse came in, I told Ryan, “This seriously better be labor because I want these contractions to count toward something!”
I was then hooked up to a monitor and the nurse told me what I already knew: My contractions were very strong and coming every two minutes (or less) at this point. When the nurse asked me to rate my pain on a scale of 1 to 10, Ryan laughed because in the past, I told him that to me a level 10 on the pain scale is someone cutting off your finger. Ryan told me not to use my “severed finger scale,” but I told the nurse I was at around a seven and explained that the pain was increasing quickly. She then checked my cervix and told me I was only two centimeters dilated. I felt so discouraged and worried this would mean I would be sent home but the nurse told me she wanted to give me an hour and check me again since she had a feeling things were progressing quickly.
I spent the next 60 minutes walking around our room, groaning as the pain of my contractions started to completely overtake my body. (Do not be fooled by the smile in the above picture!) I never expected to be so vocal during labor but I could not stop moaning! I did my best to deal with contractions that began to feel closer and closer together and increasingly painful and while I always thought I’d be all about back massages and the birthing ball during labor, in the end, I wanted to be totally left alone to walk around and deal with the pain. Ryan kept asking what he could do to help but I was in my own little world and just wanted to groan my way through everything and try to figure out some way to make the pain less intense. (Not possible.)
An hour later, the nurse checked my cervix again and told me I progressed two centimeters over the course of the past hour. I was up to four centimeters at 6 a.m. and she assured me this was “go time!” HOORAY! Ryan then sent texts out to my family and our friends to keep them in the loop. Going into labor, I was already comfortable with the decision to have an epidural if I felt like I needed it at some point, so when the nurse brought up the option, I said yes and was given an IV and told I had to wait until the bag of fluids drained before my epidural could be administered. This took a while and I continued to do my best to deal with seriously painful contractions until around 7:30 a.m. when the anesthesiologist came in to give me an epidural. The pain relief was unbelievable and I was able to relax and rest for the next few hours after the nurse checked me again and told me I was up to 6 centimeters dilated.
At one point, I asked Ryan if I was allowed to just let myself pee because of the catheter they put in and he laughed and told me I already peed a few times now. Clearly I wasn’t feeling much down there at this point!
After a few hours, I spoke with my nurse and told her I thought my epidural might be wearing off a bit because I could feel my contractions again, though they were significantly less painful than they were before the epidural. My nurse told me this was a good thing and said that I’d likely soon be pushing whenever I felt a contraction coming on to get our baby out. I asked her a billion questions about what to expect, how to exactly to push (she said, “Like you’re trying to pass the biggest bowel movement of your life… Up and out!”) and how long she thought I could expect to push. She then checked me and her eyes lit up when she said, “Yep, you’re ready! Ten centimeters!”
At 11:20 a.m., my nurse encouraged me to try three “practice pushes” when my next contraction came on and after I did, she said, “Whoa! He’s coming right now!”
With that, more nurses began rushing into the room, along with my midwife who immediately sat down in front of me and, along with my nurse, coached me through more pushing as my doctor hurried into the room to join them.
I looked up at Ryan during a brief reprieve from pushing. He was gripping my left hand and we both said we could not believe this was happening. Ryan stayed up at my shoulders but when he told me he, too, could see our baby’s head, I saw his eyes absolutely light up and I felt a rush of emotions that were truly indescribable. I knew I was minutes away from meeting our baby and I felt more alive and alert than I ever have in my entire life. Our baby was right there. Ryan could see his little head and told me he had blonde hair! I couldn’t believe it!
At one point, my midwife told me to stop pushing and I heard her talking lowly to my doctor but I wasn’t focused on what they were saying, as I was wrapped up in talking to Ryan and my nurse. Apparently this pause in my pushing was due to the fact that the umbilical cord was wrapped around our baby’s neck. This was handled calmly and efficiently – so much so that I didn’t event know it happened until Ryan told me after birth.
When it was time for me to push again, I could feel significant pressure and knew the head was coming out. I pushed again and could feel our baby come into the world as I heard his cry. I immediately started to cry as I looked for my little boy and looked up at Ryan to see his eyes fill with tears.
Our baby was here!
At 11:35 a.m., after 15 minutes of pushing, I was holding Chase in my arms. I could not believe it and am pretty sure Ryan and I repeatedly turned to each other and said some variation of, “He’s here! He’s perfect! I can’t believe our baby is here!”
Immediate skin to skin contact was really important to me and I spent some time with our little boy on my chest as Ryan and I soaked in the sight of our beautiful baby boy. I kissed the top of his head more times than I could count and stared at his sweet face until it was time for him to get checked out by the nurses.
Ryan stood over him and watched everything while snapping pictures for me to see later. I asked him repeatedly how everything looked and both Ryan and the nurses assured me that Chase was alert and healthy.
Chase was then placed on the scale and when I asked how much he weighed, I was surprised to hear 5 pounds 10 ounces. A little peanut! I knew I was measuring small throughout my pregnancy and a 36-week ultrasound told me our baby was on the smaller side, but I was shocked to hear he was so teeny! I couldn’t help but feel a little concerned, but the nurses said he looked fantastic and his head was a normal size for his gestational age. Plus, he was 19 1/2 inches long! (Fun fact: Ryan was 6 pounds and 20-something inches when he was born!)
We spent the hours after Chase was born holding him, kissing him and talking all about our incredible baby boy and his journey into the world. Chase came two weeks early and he came out fast and I could not have been more thrilled to meet our beautiful baby boy.
I wish I could truly capture in words what I felt the day Chase was born and the way I’ve felt every day since his arrival. He is an absolute miracle and the love I have for this little boy is so consuming. I feel more vulnerable than I ever have in my entire life as Chase has quickly become my entire world. I cannot wait to watch him grow, learn and play and know I will only fall more and more in love with him every single day. I can’t believe we have a baby!!!