I debated splitting this story up in to 2 or 3 posts because it’s over 3000 words in length and has about 30 photos. But ya know what? It’s my blog, my story, Jeffrey’s story and I want it all in one place so that’s where it’s going to be.
This story is very rambling and kind of all over the place. I had a hard time writing it so I kind of talked about a lot of things and went off topic often. But it’s written as a letter to my son and I’m sure, in the future, he’ll enjoy reading my personal thoughts, even if I am rambling and long winded.
Dear baby Jeff,
You were born on Saturday April 28th, 2012 at 9:44am. You weighed 8lbs 12 oz and were 21.5inches long. You came exactly on your due date and you were perfect.
I started writing these thoughts out on April 30th and have slowly added to this story over a month. I finally finished it on your 1 month birthday. Below is the story of how you came to be in the world.
sleepy Jeffrey, about 9 hours old.
Where should I even begin? At the end, or perhaps I should start 10 months ago. But then would that still be a birth story or just your entire story? They might be one and the same.
I’ll start with right this moment. I started recording my thoughts on my phone, with swype. One handed (left handed), something I’m less than perfect with as I’m used to using the slide out keyboard on my phone, not the touch screen. As a result, my grammar and spelling are terrible, but I have since re-typed this using a real computer to get rid of errors (but not censor my thoughts). You are in my arms nursing. It’s painful but powerful. You are content and swaddled. Daddy is a champ and went to make mommy food too, feeding you makes me hungry and you seem to be feeding or want to be in my arms constantly, so it leaves little time to make my own food.
Baby Jeff, just a few days ago we were even closer than we are right this moment. You were inside my huge pregnant tummy and while I was miserable and in pain, and as much as I love having you in the world, sometimes I miss you inside of me. It was so much easier to know you were safe and happy in there than out here.
Your last full day inside of me, you gave us a big scare. I had been loosing my mucus plug slowly for a few days and you had stopped moving as often (but I was still getting my kick counts in!) but on Friday (the 27th), I woke up around 11am and by 1pm still hadn’t felt you move. After not being able to get in touch with my midwife and after trying to get you to move by drinking cold water and lying on my left side, Daddy drove me the 25 minutes to the hospital and we went to Labor and Delivery. They hooked me up to some monitors and woosh woosh, there was your beautiful heartbeat. After some apple juice, you perked up and started moving some. The monitors showed I was having contractions but I wasn’t feeling any.
I had opted out of a cervix check at my 39 week appointment earlier in the week so we had no idea if anything was happening before the monitors showed contractions. On Wednesday of that final week, Daddy and I walked the mall and a park for a good long time to get things going. I didn’t have any intuition you were going to come, I felt I was going to be pregnant forever. Even after seeing progress on the monitors on Friday, I was still convinced you were never getting here.
I’m sitting here now, May 1st, after having to stop writing and start again later. You’re lying in my arms, content after your first sponge bath at home (you hated it) and a nice nursing session.
I keep putting this off. It’s May 2nd now. You’ve been asleep in Daddy’s arms for hours and I’ve been napping, finally. My breasts hurt, my milk is finally coming in. I keep talking about everything but your birth. I’m afraid I won’t do it justice so I’m just going to write and hope.
After the scare you gave us on Friday morning, we tried to get some rest and laid in bed cuddling, probably talking about you.
I had to stop again to take care of you and I’ve realized why I’m having a hard time writing this story down. It’s not because I don’t think I can write the miracle of your birth as it should be and so you can know how amazing it is. It’s because I’m ashamed. I wasn’t naive enough to think I would get every single thing on my birth plan and that things would go perfectly smooth, birth is difficult and unexpected. While I imagined a great deal of things for your birth, I didn’t expect them all and I certainly didn’t expect myself to get so weak so fast.
Back to the story.
My water broke at midnight on your due date. You are rare and special only about 4% of babies come on their due date and only 15% of women experience their waters breaking. Both happened to us, baby. Daddy and I were cuddling in bed and I got up to pee, again, and once I was standing I felt a gush of fluid spilling out. I very calmly looked at your dad and said, “My water just broke.” “Are you serious?” He said. “Yes, or I’m peeing myself. Continually.” Later your Dad told me he didn’t believe me at first because I was so calm about it. I’ll tell you a secret, it wasn’t until after your first night at home that I actually believed all of this was real. Even after the pain of labor and pushing you out, after the long first night of your life in the hospital when you wouldn’t stop screaming…it wasn’t real until after the first night at home. Honestly I might not completely believe it now.
So, with my water still gushing out of me every time I stood up straight or moved, I went to clean up and soaked through several pads, underwear and pjs before we even left. I tested positive for GBS so I had to be at the hospital right away if my water broke to get the antibiotics so you could be born safely. As I was cleaning up, Daddy woke up Grandma and we all left. The hospital was a 25-35 minute drive, it was hailing slightly but the roads were clear. Daddy was freaking out some, but I mostly still felt calm.
I began to feel contractions during the car ride, but nothing I couldn’t handle. I couldn’t time them either, I had a hard time telling when one started and stopped because it was almost a constant pain and sometimes it would surge and get worse.
This is so hard to write, emotionally.
I wish I had looked at the clock more so I could write down exactly when things happened but I didn’t. I can guess most of it though, with Daddy’s help of course.
triage at the hospital
When we arrived at the hospital, Daddy ran in to get me a wheel chair, I told him he could calm down some but I think he was so excited and nervous he didn’t know what to do. After being put in a triage room for a few minutes to change and check to make sure my water really had broken (I thought that was a stupid test and question, it was obviously gushing out of me.), we got wheeled in to my labor and delivery room. Thinking about it now, I wish I had remembered to look at the room numbers so I could tell you. It’s probably a silly little detail but it would have been nice to know.
settling in to labor and delivery room
They put me on the monitors to make sure you were doing okay and checked me, I was at 3cm. It felt like it would be a long night when I heard that! I wasn’t really fond of the night nurse we had, she wasn’t very comforting and she was very slow about everything. She kept me on the monitors for almost 2 hours, which was really unnecessary and awful for me, I had to lie still on my back and it was the most painful position.
You are 17 days old now. You are sitting beside me in your new bouncer. You hated the swing we got but LOVE to be bounced, and it was starting to kill our arms/legs so we finally picked up a bouncer for you. You’ve been very content for almost 20 minutes now which is nice.
Someday, someday I’ll finish this birth story. Soon I hope.
After I got the first dose of antibiotics for the GBS and then was monitored even longer. Unnecessarily in my mind. I was pretty pissed. I had been on the monitors for almost 2 hours and was so uncomfortable and didn’t think I really needed to be on any longer. I did not like the night nurse we got when we arrived but I was too out of it to request someone else. I was finally able to get up. I wanted to get in the shower for a while, the pain was starting to get pretty intense. Grandma went to rest in the family room for a while and Daddy and I got in the warm shower. Here comes the hard part for me to write.
Maybe someday I won’t be ashamed of the choices I made while in labor with you. Maybe I just need to internalize more and stop thinking about other people. I feel ashamed and…almost like less of a mother because of my labor. Because there are so many moms out there who think natural is the only, the best way to have a child. And I agree to a point. I really wanted an all natural birth, I wanted to experience all of it and have no interferences so that you could be born happy, health and unaltered. But I couldn’t. maybe that’s what gets me. I couldn’t. I say that and my mind revolts, thinking, “No you could, you’re just weak.” I believe that and I don’t at the same time. Daddy keeps telling me it’s okay, that it doesn’t make me a bad mother or person, that everything turned out perfect and that I shouldn’t be ashamed because I didn’t feel like I was strong enough. But…I just don’t know.
We were in the shower for maybe 30 minutes. Daddy was running hot water down my back and massaging me as best he could. I was sitting on a shower chair, gripping the railing as hard as I could. I was panicking. Severely panicking. It seemed like the contractions were constant, and they were all in my back. It hurt to sit and it hurt to stand. I got a break for a few seconds between each contraction, but I was shaking and sobbing and near to hyper ventilating. I knew I still had a long way to go and I knew that not only would I never progress farther than the 3cm I was at, I would never be able to take the pain as I got farther along with how bad it was already. I begged your Daddy to make it stop and while I was panicking too much to make much of a decision, we finally called the nurse and I asked for an epidural.
We got out of the shower and re-dressed. The nurses gave me am drug to calm my nerves a bit so they could get the epidural in without hurting me. It made me almost instantly tired and it was a really odd tired. Every time I blinked and looked somewhere else it felt like I had lost time. I couldn’t tell if I was actually speaking or not half the time. The combination of the narcotic and the epidural almost instantly took my pain away. Unfortunately, I had to lie down in my back again and be monitored the rest of the time due to the epidural.
All three of us dozed on and off for a while. Eventually, I woke up in a good deal of pain again. It was a sort of weird pressure pain in my pelvis. It didn’t feel like I had to push exactly but it was a pressure sort of feeling but not exactly how the nurses were describing the feeling of needing to push. It hurt to sit and lie on my back and I could feel some of the contractions again. The nurse checked me again around 6 am and I was at 6cm. Definitely progress but I still felt like it would be forever, especially with all the pain. I remember I threw up at some point, I don’t remember when though.
I tried to sleep a bit more but couldn’t really so I relaxed in bed as much as I could while I kept asking Daddy to talk and distract me. The pressure/pain kept getting worse and there was a new nurse on shift who checked me again. I had only progressed about .5cm. I kept asking if the epidural was working right and they assured me it was. They told me how it only blocks the contraction pain. The whole thing confused me because of the stories I’ve read from women who get the epidural and feel absolutely nothing, not even when it’s time to push. I thought that’s what it was supposed to be and I thought it wasn’t working. But they all kept saying it was. I was starting to panic again and asked for a second shot of the epidural around 7:15am.
It worked for a bit but the pain came back, the pressure in my pelvis felt worse and I started to cry and panic again. The nurse checked me again around 8am and said it was time to start pushing! It happened so fast, I didn’t feel ready and I was scared. I kept pushing the extra juice button for my epidural but it didn’t help the pain much. The room was very dry and I was crying and panicking with every push. Daddy and Grandma were on either side of me, helping me push, giving me water and trying to calm me down between contractions. I couldn’t have done it without either of them.
I didn’t want to push on my back, I knew it was the worst position to help get you out but I didn’t have any other choice because of the epidural. I know I was crying and screaming and panicking every contractions and between every one. It’s hard to describe the way it felt when you were coming out. It was a lot of pressure, it wasn’t pain exactly but it was so much pressure that it was painful if that makes any sense. I kept saying I couldn’t do it, but I knew I had to. I just wanted you out and in this world.
Eventually, your head was crowning, I was getting exhausted and they called the midwife in. Between each contraction now I wasn’t panicking as much, I went from screaming and crying with each push to lying immobile, barely talking or moving I was so exhausted. Not only were the contractions and pushing painful, the nurse kept moving the monitor and pressing down hard on my stomach to keep track of you. It was uncomfortable and made it so I could barely relax at all.
a few moments old on mommy’s chest. Instagram
As your head was coming out, the midwife asked if I wanted to touch it and I originally did but by that point, I really just wanted it to be over and for you to be in my arms so I declined. There’s a point during delivery/pushing called the “ring of fire”, when your head is on it’s way out. It didn’t feel like fire to me though, it felt like a million little razor blades all over, on top of the incredible pressure-pain that was already there.
Finally, your head slipped out to your shoulders. I think they suctioned your nose and mouth and checked for meconium (which was present in the amniotic fluid when my water broke). I remember asking if I was supposed to keep pushing as you were out up to your shoulders but they told me to wait. Eventually I had to push again and shove your shoulders out and then the rest of you just slid out and the pressure was completely gone. The midwife said you had a really long cord and it was wrapped around you. Daddy said it was wrapped around your neck and leg but it wasn’t that scary looking. After they untangled you they placed you on my chest.
a few moments old on mommy’s chest
After about 1.5 hours of pushing and 10 hours total of labor, you were born at 9:44am.
I wish I could say I was instantly calm and in love but I was still panicking rather severely. They cut your cord sooner than I wanted but Daddy got to do it at least. In my post delivery, epidural haze they asked if I was okay with them giving me Pitocin and I agreed even though I originally didn’t want it, they also gave me more of the narcotic, which made me super tired for most of the day, which I didn’t enjoy at all. My placenta was delivered soon after and the midwife and nurse started pressing hard on my stomach and uterus to push the excess blood out. It was painful and I couldn’t focus my attention on you like I wish I could have. Thankfully, I only had a 1st degree tear, although it did require some stitches.
Here are lots of pictures from right after you were born:
skin to skin, a few minutes old
daddy cutting the umbilical cord
tired mommy, great first latch from jeffrey
our new family
Daddy and new baby Jeffrey
our new family
our new family
daddy and baby fingers
After you were wiped up a bit (still on my chest), I nursed you for the first time. You latched on like a champ and, while we’ve had a lot of trouble since you mostly still nurse pretty well. Grandma and Daddy were taking turns taking pictures of you. Eventually, one of the nurses took you to the side of the room to check your measurements. You weighed 8lbs 12 oz and were 21.5 inches long. Daddy stayed with you and took pictures while the midwife continued to stitch me and clean me up. You got a nice little sponge bath to clean up the rest of the blood and fluid off of you and then they gave you back into my arms.
jeffrey is 8lbs 12oz
measuring and weighing
measuring baby’s head
cleaned and bundled up, instagram
All the hospital personnel left and we got to hold you and stare at you. Grandpa and Uncle Josh showed up (with coffee!) soon after to meet you and not long after that we were moved to our private postpartum room.
grandma and jeffrey
mommy and jeffrey
mommy and jeffrey
instragram grid from day 1 of life
tired mommy and baby
Grandma, Daddy and I all took lots of pictures on my phone, our point and shoot camera and my big DSLR camera. We were all amazed and in love with you from the start. I wanted to capture every moment, every blink, every cry, every wiggle and everything about you and happening around us. And since the day you were born, we’ve all taken countless pictures…hundreds, thousands I can’t even count but you are so lucky to have so many pictures, I hope you really appreciate them one day, I know I will cherish them all forever.
mommy in the middle of the night on day 1 of jeffrey’s life”
daddy and jeffrey
daddy and jeffrey
daddy and jeffrey
jeffrey’s tiny fingers
daddy and jeffrey
mommy and jeffrey
You have the most beautiful little face, it was so cute from the moment you came out. Even though your head was so long from being in the birth canal for such a long time, I thought you were adorable. Everyone who say you commented on how long and beautiful your eyelashes are! You get them from your Daddy, I love his eyelashes too.
We stayed in the hospital overnight and by the long rough night of little sleep, Daddy and I were ready to go home. Your first night of life you had to get your tiny little stomach pumped, Daddy went with you and when you came back you screamed and cried and would not settle all night long. It was rough and I think we both felt like we were doing everything wrong, nothing calmed you and the nurses weren’t much help. By the next morning (Sunday), we both were ready to go home and have help from Grandma. We were discharged and left sometime that evening.
jeffrey’s beautiful face
daddy and jeffrey
jeffrey on the way home
balloons to welcome us home
That first night was rough and we’ve had a lot more since but, as I finish writing this on your 1 month birthday I’m thinking about how surreal it still is that you’re here and ours. You are an amazing little boy and while I’ve struggled with so many things before you were born and since, I can’t imagine life without you.
1 month old