I've become one of those annoying women who can't stop taking and posting pictures of their baby. I wish I could say I feel sorry for it, but I don't. Want to see them? Be sure you're following me on Instagram.
I've had several people ask about Henry's birth story so I thought the easiest way to talk about it was to post it here for all to see / read. Warning: Very long post!
For several weeks I was having contractions each night that would wake me up in pain. But they'd only happen every couple hours so I didn't think anything of them. Ever since my preterm labor scare, my doctors had been saying that I'd go into labor "any day". Three and a half weeks later, they were right.
At 5:30 a.m. on Sunday, February 9th, I woke up for the fourth or fifth time with a really painful contraction. After it subsided, I headed to the bathroom and then went to sit on the couch to unwind before going back to bed. About five minutes after I sat down, I felt what can only be described as water leaking. I got up and went to the bathroom and the water just kept coming, but not in a big gush. Since I had been told that most women have consistent contractions before their water breaks, I wasn't convinced that that was what was happening. I went back to sit on the couch. As soon as I did, it happened again. I put a call into my doctor to ask her what I should do (this was about 6:00). While I waited for her call back, I went to Brandon (who it should be noted was annoyed that I woke up him at 6:00 on a Sunday) and told him what was going on, that I wasn't sure it meant anything, but that chances are she'd tell me to go to the hospital.
The doctor called back and determined that my water had most likely broken so that I should go to the hospital. I had been sitting at 4 cm dilated and 90% effaced ever since the preterm labor so as soon as I got to the hospital (around 6:30), I was checked and found to be 6 cm dilated and fully effaced. Because our families live far away from us (our parents are almost 4 hours away) and because the weather was really crappy (thanks Polar Vortex), we called our parents right away to let them know that today was the day and they took off to come meet our little one.
About an hour after I got to the hospital, I received my epidural. I knew going in that I wanted one because I don't do well with pain, and I also didn't want to only remember this experience as incredibly painful. I wanted to enjoy the labor as much as possible. The epidural HURT. There's no way around that. They let Brandon stay in the room for it and later he said that he wishes he hadn't. He wasn't allowed to touch me and instead just had to stand there and watch his wife in pain. The epidural luckily kicked in fairly quickly but in the meantime I did have a few contractions that were really painful (which made me realize I made the right decision in having the epidural to begin with).
After that, the nurses kept checking me to make sure my labor was still progressing. By that point I was 7 cm dilated. My mom was our first guest to arrive at noon. By that point I was 8 cm dilated and in no pain. Brandon and I were having a few laughs and the nurses kept asking me what level my pain was- when I'd say "2", my mom laughed, amazed at how easy it seemed. Epidurals are magic. Seriously. I could still feel when I was having a contraction because my stomach tightened up, but all of the pain was gone. The nurses warned me that when it was time to push, I would still feel it all, but that it would be a less painful.
When they told me around 2:00 in the afternoon that I was ready to push, I let out a "shit just got real", which made everyone laugh and then I proceeded to get very, very nervous. The nurses had me start out with practice pushes so they could be sure I was pushing correctly. I pushed for just about 30 minutes, and the entire time, Brandon stood right next to me, rubbing my back, playing with my hair and telling me how good I was doing and how proud he was. Surprisingly, there was no screaming. I always figured I'd be the woman who screamed so loud they'd be able to hear me down the hall. But I had nothing, I just closed my eyes, tried to concentrate on what was happening instead of the pain, and did whatever I could to get my little one out. Remember, we still didn't know if we were having a boy or girl, so that anticipation helped me out even more.
Pushing the baby's head out was incredibly painful- in a pressure type of way. I've never felt that type of pressure before and it's about the closest I got to really losing it and screaming. Once the head was out, the rest of his body came out quickly and when they held him up, said "IT'S A BOY", my eyes immediately welled up. They put him right onto my chest and I just cried and cried, and so did Brandon. I could not believe that this little guy was finally here. He screamed for a few minutes and then seemed to find my eyes and just started staring at me. Brandon seemed immediately in awe of him and kept telling me how proud he was. He also cut the cord and then went with the nurses while they weighed and got him cleaned up.
By the time Henry entered our lives (at 2:25), Brandon's parents, my sister, and my brother and sister-in-law had all shown up to the hospital. But because I wanted to nurse right away, they were stuck with anticipation of what sex the baby was and had to wait to come see us. We sent one of the nurses out to let them know that the baby was here and that both the baby and I were doing great, but she didn't tell them if it was a boy or girl (we wanted Brandon to have that moment himself). After a good forty five minutes, I told Brandon to go and put them out of their misery. So he went down to the waiting room to tell them it was a boy (as well as get hugs and kisses I assume)- and I heard them all screaming and cheering, which made me cry. I wish I could've seen their reactions, but I'm so glad that Brandon had that moment. A little while later we let everyone in and watching their reactions was so special. This little guy is so incredibly loved already.