I first need to preface this whole entire post by saying that every birth story is different and there are so many decisions to make as it relates to birthing a child. Hospital vs home, medicated vs non-medicated, body-led labor vs induced labor, the list goes on and on… and just when you think you’re done making decisions, there’s another one to make. These days it seems everyone has an opinion on what’s right or wrong, and mom shaming is a real thing.
I am just here to document our story with our daughter, Blakely. This is not a place for judgement or mom shaming 🙂 I am simply just sharing the facts (and emotions) of her birth story! I also am so excited to share some of her newborn photos done by my super amazing and talented friend, Kara.
I also need to preface by saying her due date was December 12, 2019. Thirteen days before the biggest holiday of the year. Throughout my whole pregnancy, I had kind of already pre-determined that once I reached 40 weeks, I wanted to be induced (if my doctor was comfortable with it), because of her due date being so close to Christmas. Had it been any other time of the year, we may have made a different decision but maybe not, I don’t know! I think there is something to be said for having a peace about things, and being induced was for sure something I wrestled with. But at the end of the day, we felt right about that decision, and my doctor confirmed my body was showing all the right signs and so she was ok with it too.
We scheduled our induction for Thursday, December 12th (her due date) @ 10:00am. I remember walking in to the hospital, feeling pretty good emotionally. Very ready to meet our little girl! A nurse took us back to our labor & delivery room, and told me to change into my “labor clothes” and that she’d be back in a few minutes. I remember looking at Austin and giving him a smile & a thumbs up that lasted about 0.2 seconds before I burst into tears. It all kinda hit me then. I was scared honestly. I had no idea what to expect, how it would feel, how long it would take… SO.MANY.EMOTIONS.
They started me on an oral pill at about noon to help prepare my body ready for labor before they started Pitocin, the drug given through IV to induce labor. They give the pill every 4 hours until labor starts… Those first four hours went by and I was feeling good, no real progress or pain. So they gave me another dose around 4pm and gradually I started feeling my body shift. I was walking the hospital halls, needing to walk slower and having to stop a lot more often as contractions came. By 7pm, the contractions were getting pretty strong (or so I thought). They started the Pitocin around 8pm and that’s when things got really fun…….
I had also pre-determined that I wanted an epidural, and so the nurses told me to let them know when my pain level was at about 6 or 7. What I didn’t know was that getting an epidural too early would mean it would wear off by the end, which is when ya really need it… more on that later…. (insert crazy face emoji).
A bit after midnight, the contractions were extremely painful and I thought I was at a 7 pain level. In hindsight, I wasn’t… but regardless, I got the epidural at 1:00am. And I felt incredible hahaha. Like I was wrapped in a warm, fuzzy blanket. I couldn’t feel a thing. I tried to move my foot and I couldn’t, it was the funniest experience. I was a little loopy. But, all the pain was gone and Austin & I were actually able to get some sleep until about 6am. So now it’s Friday, December 13th.
When the nurses had their shift change at 6am, the doctor came in and found that my water must have broken at some point in the middle of the night. I don’t remember feeling my water break, probably because of the epidural and being asleep ha. We also met my new nurse for that day, her name was Cheryl. Ohhhh Cheryl!!!! The first thing she did was cut my bracelet tail that was about 6 inches too long. At that moment, I knew I liked her! She was very gentle and nurturing, and made me feel so taken care of.
Ok so let’s talk about this epidural business. Leading into this, I had heard everyone talk about how amazing they are and how everything is a breeze after you get it. Cool. That’s what I wanted. So at about 7am-ish, I started to re-gain feeling back in my legs. To the point where I felt like I could have gotten up and walked. I wasn’t feeling the contractions but I had full control back in my legs. Nurse Cheryl had the anesthesiologist come back three times to give me an extra dose of the epidural. Which did nothing. In the moment, I thought this was just part of it. I wasn’t processing that the epidural was going to become ineffective.
Around 9am, I was in a lot of pain… I was feeling so much pressure and was getting very uncomfortable. Cheryl checked me and said I was ready to start pushing. Sidenote- Pushing is such an underrated part of this process… like why do people not talk about that part more?! It was the worst!! Because I now had all feeling back in my lower body, I felt all that pressure constantly. I remember just saying “it’s so much pressure, it’s so much pressure” over and over again for hours. It was as bad as the contractions. Anyways, when I started pushing, I had no idea what I was doing. And I was doing it wrong at first… Pretty wimpy pushing haha. I didn’t know that I was going to have to exert all force and energy into one stupid push. And then do it over and over and over and over again for 3 more freaking hours. But thank God for Cheryl!! She literally coached me through everything, and I don’t think she ever left my side from this moment on. She encouraged me on every single push, which was a lot haha. Austin was on my left, Cheryl was on my right. After a couple hours of pushing, I remember going into a totally different headspace. It was a very interesting mental experience. I asked Austin to put a worship playlist on, and I remember just trying to focus on the music to take my mind off of the pain and pure exhaustion I was feeling. I was there physically, but mentally I don’t even know where I was. I was zoned out. I dreaded each push, but I couldn’t not push because the urge was so strong. It was incredibly exhausting, yet I had no choice but to exert everything I had each time.
At “I’m not even sure what time it is”, Cheryl called for my doctor to come and at that point I knew Blakely would be here soon. When my doctor arrived, she greeted Austin and I and started getting herself ready. I remember asking how much longer it would be until it was over (I was SO done with pushing) and she said probably about 10-15 more minutes. There was a clock hanging on the wall right in front of me and I remember looking at it, adding 10-15 minutes and just watching the minutes move closer and closer to when we’d meet our baby girl.
I was so thankful my doctor was able to be there to deliver Blakely. Leading up to it, she had always said she would do her best to be there, but if not, it would be the on call doctor delivering the baby. When she got there, I had a sense of peace because we knew her, she knew us, and I knew we were in good hands. I remember my doctor and Cheryl continue to coach me on pushing for a little longer and then my doctor said, “Ok, a couple more pushes just like that!” I really got into a focused headspace and was trying to be so intentional with each push because I just wanted this to be over. I didn’t think I’d be a yeller, and I wasn’t… until the end. Those last few pushes were the absolute hardest. I don’t think I could have not yelled, it was so intense. Beautiful moment, but freaking intense pain. (I have a pretty good analogy for what it felt like, but its rated “PG-at least 25 year old female” so I won’t say it on here LOL)
Next thing I hear… “Alright, we’ve got the head, just one more!”
One more push until I’d have my miracle baby girl in my arms.
I mustered up any strength I had left and pushed one final time, and then… there she was. They immediately laid her on my chest and I almost couldn’t believe it.
The physical relief I felt after that last push was amazing. All the pressure and excruciating pain was gone. My whole body felt like a limp noodle but I could deal with that. I was so tired, my mind was tired, my muscles were tired. Birthing a human was by far the most difficult thing I’ve ever done. But also, it was this moment I’d been waiting for for years, the culmination of a dark season of infertility. We finally got to meet and hold our precious baby girl, our Blakely Reese, at 11:54am on December 13th. The cutest 7 pound, 6 ounce bundle that made me a mom and my husband a dad.
We didn’t have a birth photographer, and I don’t have any photos of the actual moments right after delivery (partly kicking myself for that), but I did want to couple this post with her newborn photos. She was only a few days old and these are photos I will treasure forever and ever!