I am so thrilled to introduce you to Rhett Samuel Fagan! He’s 5 pounds, 13 ounces and 19.5 inches of mighty little perfect newborn baby sweetness.
I admittedly cannot believe I’m sitting down at the computer with a sleepy newborn baby swaddled up next to me… A newborn baby we initially thought we wouldn’t meet until next week and then learned maybe we’d be meeting later this week… but Saturday!? That shocked ALL of us!
Let’s back up a bit because Rhett’s birth story technically begins on Thursday at my 38-week prenatal appointment. I went in for a routine 38-week appointment late Thursday afternoon. Initially everything seemed normal until my ob/gyn measured by belly and it measured rather small. This happened with both of my previous pregnancies — I tend to gain weight early in pregnancy and my belly grows “normally” but then everything seems to slow at the end — so we initially weren’t overly concerned. My doctor said she wanted to do an ultrasound to be safe and check on everything so I waited for an hour to see our little one dancing around on the fuzzy black and white screen. During this time, I felt our baby move and already knew his heartbeat was strong so I tried not to let anxiety get the best of me which is, of course, easier said than done.
The ultrasound looked good. The fluid around the baby was good and our little one was moving well but the measurement of his stomach was rather small. I was assured he was perfectly healthy but that the size of his stomach meant that my placenta was, for lack of a better word, “expiring” and he might not be getting the nutrients he needed from me anymore. My doctor said she wanted me induced at 39 weeks because she felt that our baby would “do better out of my body than in my body” at this point and an appointment was made for an induction on Wednesday, September 2. We had discussed a 39-week induction at previous appointments but now the reason behind an induction completely changed. I was fully on board because it seemed like the safest option for our baby.
As I headed home, I felt my anxiety levels rise. An induction was uncharted territory for me and I began to struggle with a myriad of “what ifs” and concern for how our baby was doing in my belly if it already seemed like he wasn’t getting the nutrients he needed from me. Would everything be okay until Wednesday?
On Friday morning, I reached out to my ob/gyn’s office and requested an appointment with maternal and fetal medicine. I very quickly heard back from my doctor who had already sent the results and measurements from my ultrasound to maternal and fetal medicine earlier that morning. She called to tell me that I should head to the hospital to be induced that morning.
What!? While I knew this was a possibility, I was still shocked! Go to the hospital… NOW? Okay!
I am so incredibly grateful my mom was already in town and able to watch Chase and Ryder so figuring out childcare wasn’t a stressor as Ryan and I organized our things and got ready to head to the hospital. Thank goodness for Mae!!!
(Final family photos before heading to the hospital!)
We checked into the hospital around 11:30 a.m. and I felt like I was having an almost out-of-body experience. It was so strange for me to be walking into the hospital without experiencing contractions and it felt even more strange to think that only a few hours prior, we had no idea we’d be meeting our little one any earlier than Wednesday. The past 18 hours felt like one big whirlwind and, before I knew it, I was slipping into a hospital gown, getting tested for COVID-19 (I think that swab touched my brain) and hooked up to an IV.
I received Pitocin in small dosages of 2 milliunits (I think that’s the right terminology?) every 30 minutes beginning around 1 p.m. It took a long time to feel even a single contraction and when I did I told the nurse it was comparable to Braxton Hicks contractions and nothing “legit.” Hours passed by with little to no progress. My doctor checked me after a few hours and I was 2.5 cm dilated… only a 1 cm improvement from the day before when I was 1.5 cm dilated at my 38-week appointment.
Ryan and I joked that the afternoon we spent waiting for labor to happen was one of the most relaxing afternoons we’ve had in months. No work, no kids, no craziness… it was a little surreal!
Dinner came and went — a lovely array of liquid and broth-base foods — and since I was awfully hungry at this point and not permitted to eat any “real” foods, I basically inhaled everything.
Who knew hospital beef broth and lemon Italian ice could taste so good?
We kept going on the Pitocin train and met the next shift of nurses and the next doctor from my ob/gyn’s practice who is actually the wife of our boys’ pediatrician! She checked me and found that I was still only 2.5-3 cm dilated, though my cervix was thinning which she assured me was a great sign.
She suggested breaking my water around 10:30 p.m. and while I was initially hesitant, we talked through the pros and cons and she seemed confident breaking my water would trigger my body to recognize labor was happening in a way Pitocin clearly wasn’t doing for my body at the moment.
(Signs from the boys that my mom helped them make the morning of our induction.)
Breaking my water was all it took to get things moving! Very soon after that happened, contractions began to increase. They became longer and stronger and I was encouraged to request an epidural if that was part of my birth plan since things seemed to be escalating quickly. After I received the epidural, I apparently had a delayed reaction to the epidural (the first time this has ever happened to me) and 15 minutes later, my blood pressure dropped dramatically. I began to feel nauseated and extremely weak. Very quickly, my nurse had someone rush in with epinephrine which worked almost instantly and made me feel a million times better.
The epidural worked well though I still felt contractions stronger than my previous two labors. For a few hours, it helped dramatically with the pain… until it didn’t.
Around 1 a.m., I began to feel more and more pain with every contraction that passed. My nurse checked me and said I was 4 cm dilated and my cervix had thinned a lot… a great sign!
By 2 a.m. the pain from my contractions worsened further and my nurse said that from the way I described the pain, it sounded like I had a “hotspot” or a place where the epidural wasn’t effectively managing the pain. She called for the anesthesiologist but as we waited, the entire middle section of my belly below my belly button to the top of my vagina continued to feel immensely painful during each contraction. I was checked again around 2:30 a.m. and officially 6 cm dilated.
The most severe cramping I can describe took over and I found myself groaning as I attempted various laboring positions to manage the pain. I rocked back and forth on my hands and knees and groaned and did my best to breathe through the pain. Before the anesthesiologist had time to make her way over to our room, I turned onto my back and my nurse felt my belly during a break from a contraction and said she wanted to check me again even though it was only 15 minutes from the last time I was checked because she felt like our baby’s head had moved significantly.
I was officially 10 cm dilated which shocked all of us! After a slow start things clearly escalated very quickly at the end of my labor and I couldn’t believe I was about to meet our baby! My nurse asked if I wanted to attempt one “practice push” and I told her that with both Chase and Ryder, I only needed to push twice for them to come out and to be aware that this might be the case again this time. She encouraged me to do a “light push” and immediately saw our baby’s head and called for the doctor. Everyone rushed into the room and I did my best to refrain from pushing until my doctor was ready.
I gripped behind my legs and my doctor told me to push and then slow down as she helped coax our baby’s head out. I felt Rhett slip from my body and immediately looked down at our beautiful little one! I quickly saw that our baby was a BOY. A perfect, precious little boy and I was filled with so many emotions. In the moment neither Ryan nor I actually remember anyone saying we had a baby boy but clearly we figured it out and choruses of “It’s a boy!” filled the room!
I cried as Rhett was placed on my chest and Ryan hovered over our baby with tears in his eyes. A son! The feelings I had after Rhett’s arrival felt like the most wonderful mix of gratitude, relief and joy and the biggest exhale because our baby boy was here and he was healthy and okay and perfect. God is so, so good.
I wish I could somehow sift through all of the thoughts and emotions that come along with giving birth but I feel like I’m living in a daze of love and exhaustion and excitement at the moment. When Rhett arrived, I just felt so incredibly happy that he was here. HIM. The perfect addition to our family. He’s our third baby boy and already I can tell he’s his own perfectly unique little guy and I cannot wait to watch him grow and learn more and more about our littlest love. I love saying “my boys” and “my three boys” and the fact that I get to be a mother to three amazing little boys is something I will thank God for every single day of my life.
After Rhett was born and weighed, we learned that his small size meant he would need heel pricks every few hours to check his blood sugar levels. We went through something similar after Chase was born since he was also a small little guy and were grateful when all of his blood sugar levels came back okay. We were permitted to leave the hospital on Sunday afternoon and every day since has been a bit of a whirlwind as we adjust to life with the newest member of our family.
Chase and Ryder are so in love with their little brother. They love watching his “crazy faces” and laugh so hard when he does something silly with his mouth or blinks his closed eyes as he dreams.
Ryder now seems absolutely ginormous to us and imitates everything Chase does as a big brother which melts my heart. He likes to bring “Baby Whett” toys and we’re working on teaching him not to drop them on the baby’s face. Chase loves to hold Rhett and has a million questions about Rhett and nursing and mom’s milk. He loves talking to Rhett in the sweetest little high-pitched voice. He takes his role as “double big brother” seriously and wants to be in charge of pushing Rhett in his stroller, unwrapping him from his swaddles and supervising tummy time. My heart could burst.
We love you, sweet baby Rhett and I am so, so grateful I get to be your mama.