This is Reese’s Birth Story, so if you aren’t interested in all that stuff just skip this post. This is also all from my perspective, I would love Grant to write a version from his,but I don’t know if he will have time or want to do that. As you know if you read my pregnancy posts, I didn’t have many early labor signs like Braxton hicks contractions or anything like the crazy huge nesting instinct. Grant joked he would never be able to tell if I was nesting because I always had my list I was working on and slowly chipping away at. We decided to read this Bradley method birthing book in hopes of having a natural, drug free birth. I wanted to go into birth with that hope, but my ultimate goal was a healthy mom and baby. There are a lot of things that can complicate and change the outcome of birth, so I’m only sharing my story so Reese can read it one day. I also don’t write this to make anyone else feel like I’m judging them if they had a different birth or idea of what they wanted. Anyway, we learned a ton reading this book and I especially found the part about the emotional signposts very helpful.
Anyway, Sunday May 10th I started getting Braxton hicks contractions during the day. They weren’t painful, I just noticed a tightening sensation here and there. As the day wore on, I started getting them more frequently, and I noticed they were a little bit more uncomfortable. They were between 7-8 mins apart around 7:48 pm. Grant started freaking out that I hadn’t been timing them. I hadn’t really noticed that they had gotten to that point, since they continued but didn’t speed up or slow down. They made Grant start getting nervous. He finally packed his portion of the hospital bag, and at 9:30pm we headed to target to get him some snacks for during labor since I probably wouldn’t be able to eat anything. At 11:00 pm, we decided to go to bed. My contractions got more painful to where I had to breath through them, but they spaced farther apart every 15-20mins. So I just slept until one came tried to relax and breathe through it and sleep again. Grant and I were dreading having labor truly start in the middle of the night but knew we had no control over that. At 6:30 am our alarms went off for work, Grant and I were discussing on whether he should work from home or go in to the office. We had read a lot about false labor and figured that was happening since the contractions were still 20 mins apart. Then I had another contraction and it felt like Reese did a huge kick, and I realized my water had broken. I tried to slide off the bed so I wouldn’t get anything on it and in general managed to save the mattress. I was peeved that the waterproof mat I had to help with this had slipped away so it wasn’t covering the one area that got wet. Gah, epic fail. It was definitely a gush and it continued to leak as I walked around. Once my water broke, we figured it would be a while until we would go to the hospital. There is a risk if your water is anything but clear or if you keep getting checked which will raise your chance of infection. Also in the hospitals they won’t let you go past 12 hours when in most cases you can go till 48 safely. Well let’s just say everything started picking up right away. Our goal had been to labor at home as long as possible, but my contractions went from 20 mins apart to 4 mins apart in about an hours time. During this hour I got ready, packed the last minute items, timed contractions with the full term app, ate a hearty egg filled breakfast Grant made me while he packed the car. We got into the car and my contractions were less than 4 mins apart so we decided it was time to get to the hospital. We arrived around 7:45 am and were brought into a triage room since the other delivery rooms were dirty or full. I got hooked up on a monitor for Reese heartbeat and my contractions while they cleaned a room for us and confirmed my water had indeed broken. My doctor was already there and surprised us by coming in and saying hi. She had two other inductions that morning, so I guess there were 7 of us laboring which was a high number for a Monday morning.
Once they had confirmed I was in labor and checked me the first time I was 2 cm dilated and 80% effaced. This made us slightly annoyed because we had wanted to labor at home as long as possible, and 2cm wasn’t that far along,but with the contractions now 2-3 minutes apart we felt like it would have been too risky staying at home any longer. From then on, I told them when I wanted to be checked since I didn’t want to risk infection. I had gotten it cleared with my doctor unless there was some medical reason that I needed to be checked. I also was then given the Saline Port,but no IV fluids. I didn’t want to be given any unless I actually needed them since they can slow down labor. The nurses did tell me that if I don’t get the IV now, that I will have to wait an hour while getting enough fluids before they would let me get an epidural since an epidural can drop your blood pressure. I was fine with that , and still decided against the IV fluids. After about 30 minutes, they had our delivery room ready, and I was moved via wheel chair into that room. I was dying of heat, so once in the room Grant turned down the AC as low as it would go. Before ever going into labor, I asked a few friends here what I should pack for Grant in the hospital bag. They said snacks since he would be aloud to eat, a coat, change of clothes, and his own pillow and blankets since it is nicer using your own. Grant and I chuckled at the mention of a coat, but I packed one for him just to be safe. Grant thought I was crazy. Well, fast forward to during labor, and I had the room so cold that Grant wore his coat and was still shivering. All of the nurses and staff started coming into my room wearing their own coats/sweaters.
I barley had a blanket on me and was dying of heat, it is pretty crazy. I had also asked for a birthing ball as well as intermittent monitoring so that I could get up and move around without the monitors needing to be attached to the cart thing. Well, since everything was progressing so fast, I ended up not being comfortable with moving around or being on the ball because the contractions were still coming 2-3 minutes apart. So in retrospect, I wish I would have kept the wired monitors because with how I would adjust while laboring in the bed, sometimes the monitors wouldn’t pick up Reese’s heartbeat so then they would have to come in and adjust them which was almost always during a contraction which was NOT fun. I didn’t do anything weird while laboring, just trying to relax as much as possible and breath through each contraction. I tried a few of the positions for laboring that the bradley method book recommended but wasn’t a huge fan of most of them. Grant was great during this time, I know that he wasn’t a fan of me laboring since he doesn’t like seeing me in pain or not knowing how to fix it, but he would answer the nurses questions since I was so zoned out that I normally didn’t realize that they were there or talking to me. He would always make sure I had water, ice, needed a pillow, or something moved,etc.
Around 11am, the contractions were coming faster and faster without giving me much of a break, and it was getting harder and harder to relax through the contractions. I also started getting back labor which was a lot more painful than the regular contractions, so Grant tried the back pressures and massages that the Bradley method taught,but I honestly ended up not wanting to be touched at all. I then told my nurse that at 11:30am, I would like them to check me at noon to see if I had made any progress. I was really hoping that they wouldn’t say I was at 3cm because that would have been really discouraging. Well, they checked me at 12:00pm, and said I was 100% effaced and 9.5 cm dilated. Just as she finished checking me my whole body started pushing without my help. I told her that, umm, I was pushing, and she proceeded to tell me that I shouldn’t because the doctor isn’t there yet. Well there wasn’t much I could do since it almost felt like my body was convulsing. Now, I wasn’t aiding it at the moment. The nurse ran to call the doctor whose practice is just on the other side of the parking lot to come to deliver the baby. Grant was trying not to freak out because he didn’t know if she would make it fast enough and asked if she had a golf cart or was walking. 🙂
From that point on, they brought the baby warmer and equipment into the room for Reese. They also got everything ready for the doctor while I tried not to push Reese out. The nurse then came and pushed in a certain spot and had me do a practice push or two to make sure I was pushing correctly. About 10 minutes later, my Doctor arrived. I don’t remember this, but Grant said the second that I saw her, I grabbed my legs getting ready to push. I did a laying squat position since that was one thing I liked that the bradley method taught. Doctor Aguayo got suited up, used mineral oil down there to make the birth easier, and then I started pushing. After the first push, I had been doing smaller shorter pushes, so Aguayo informed me to do longer pushes that lasted 10 seconds, and she counted for me. That was super helpful as I honestly didn’t remember what the books I had read said even if I had read them at one point. Half way through when she was crowning they mentioned that she has a lot of dark hair which floored me as I expected a bald baby for some reason, and I was able to feel the head.
After about 8 pushes, Reese came shooting out at 12:36pm with a head of dark hair and super long finger nails.
Most of the time babies have the head born first, then the shoulders and body. Well, she came out all at once and had her arm up with the shoulders so I did end up tearing. If she had come slower they would have been able to adjust her a little bit, but oh well. I didn’t want an episiotomy and preferred to tear since tearing normally doesn’t have much muscle that is severed where an episiotomy can cut through important muscles like the PC muscles that aren’t always stitched back up correctly if you can’t tell they were cut. So anyway, Reese was born, and was given a quick wipe down while laying on my chest, and she gave some lusty cries. Then the nurses helped me get her on me so we could do some skin to skin time since I have heard the first few hours were the most crucial, and the time the baby is awake for the longest period.
She calmed down once we were skin to skin, but man did she have a huge lower lip quiver going on to show her displeasure. Her Apgar score was 8 and then 9. I think her appendages were a little bit bluer so that is why she had the 8 at first. We did delayed cord cutting since her cord was long enough to allow that. I expected to be done with contractions,but since I still needed to birth the placenta, I was still getting them,but not as bad as before. Right after Reese was placed on me, she peed on me which made the nurses happy because that meant “pipe 1” was working. I also don’t blame her, I had it super cold in that room. 🙂 I was given pitocin in my saline port after the delivery to help my uterus start contracting/shrinking. Then my Doctor told me that once the placenta was delivered it would be instant relief I thought she was crazy,but low and behold it was. Also, my placenta was huge, she let us look at it and showed us what part goes to the baby and the part that goes to the mom. It was super interesting. Since there is a history of hemorrhaging in my family, they gave me a little bit extra pitocin to be on the safe side and watched me more for that. I was also getting stitched up during this time which wasn’t bad at all expect for a few spots where the local anesthesia couldn’t really help.
Also, I was surprised how well Grant did during the birth. He held one of my legs and watched the whole thing. I didn’t have any expectations for him,but figured it would gross him out. We both felt or watched the birth, but even now still can’t believe how crazy it really is that it is possible. Such a miracle of God. After some time of skin to skin, they needed to weigh and measure Reese before I tried breastfeeding her. So that was done right beside my bed, and she weighed 7 pounds 9 ounces, and was 21” long. Grant and I had always joked about how we could have a tall kid because Grant’s dad is very tall, and my dad, brother, and a few other family members are also really tall. So, it was kind of surprising to see that. We will see if she keeps her height or if she kinda evens out as time passes. After that we were able to nurse. Her latch was great, the way I was holding her wasn’t exactly correct, but we were able to fix that later. After an hour or so of holding, skin to skin, and nursing it was time for me to eat, and her to get cleaned up. They brought me food which was delicious, and I ate SO MUCH FOOD it was insane.
They bathed her in the room there and gave her her vitamin K shot, the eye ointment, took her foot prints which aren’t done with ink pads anymore, and put her under the warmer which she really liked. They were getting our postpartum room ready, and they had to confirm that Reese could hold her temperature well which she did, and I had finished my food. Then it was time for us all to move.
We were all exhausted,but we were so glad that it was in the middle of the day rather than the middle of the night for our sleep schedules. Once we got to our room, Grant started calling, emailing, and texting people about Reese having been born.
We were the only ones out of the 7 who were laboring that didn’t have a name picked out for Reese yet, so all of the staff thought that was funny and kept asking us if we had named her yet. I kept breastfeeding Reese when she was awake enough to try and eat, but she and I cat napped here and there. Every few minutes or so it felt someone new from the hospital was in our room to get information for paperwork,etc. So it felt like we didn’t get much time with just us at all. Around 4pm Grant finally went to Chick Fil A to get himself some lunch, since he hadn’t eaten since this morning other than a powerbar here and there.
My sister ,Kira, left Nashville right after work and drove to Huntsville, and ended up bringing us dinner and of course came and saw Reese and us. She then stayed at our house and worked from home that night. That night a 12am, they came and got Reese to go her nightly vital signs check I found out that the other two ladies who were induced still hadn’t delivered their babies. Both ended up needing C Sections, and I don’t think they had those until 2 or 3am the next morning. I felt very bad for them and blessed that my labor was so fast.
We kept Reese with us rather than sending her to the nursery. That way, when we ran into questions we just called the nurses, and they would explain to us what to do or show us how to swaddle her again. We did great sleeping wise in the hospital, but we didn’t realize that was cause she was so worn out from birth. Until reading the bradley method book, I didn’t realize that babies lots of time help with the birth by pushing off the contracting uterus with their legs as much as possible so they are almost as worn out by helping and being compressed as the mother.
The next day Kira came and brought us breakfast and as well as lunch later in the day, and after we had our “fancy” dinner in the hospital said goodbye and drove back to Nashville. Kira also cleaned our place, stocked our fridge with yummy food, bought us flowers, and left us a card. We were also visited by some of our Church friends as well as Grant’s Boss and his wife. We finally picked Reese’s name and started getting more paperwork filled out during our stay.
On Tuesday morning they finally let me shower since I was nice and steady on my feet. I felt like a new person. I feel like this second day and third day was just spent watching Reese and being in awe and still kinda of in denial that she was ours. The third day wasn’t the best, they said that we could leave around noon, and my Doctor had met with us on Tuesday evening and filled out all of the release paperwork for us so that we wouldn’t have to wait on her. Well, their system was down, our nurse for that day was new and had no clue what she was doing so we didn’t even see her for hours at a time, and we ended up being so exhausted and just wanted it to be us at home.
We finally were released at 4pm on Wednesday so that we could go home. Other than that minor hiccup we loved our experience at that hospital. Reese and I had great nurses the whole time, and I loved my doctor and am so glad I picked her to help with this delivery. We have already gone back to the hospital to double check Reese’s latch with the lactation consultant who did our childbirth classes, newborn care class, and breastfeeding class. She wasn’t working at the time Reese was born and was really bummed that she had missed us. So, we made a trip back to see her and introduce Reese. We also got to see Reese’s nurse Judy who was such a sweet lady who reminded me of my mom. We also forgot to hand in our survey, so we plan to go back with both ladies are working so they can see Reese now that she is a little bit older.
Anyway, right after we got loaded into the car at the hospital Grant and I tried to say a prayer,but were just too emotional and grateful that we had been so blessed that we couldn’t verbally make it through the whole thing. There are so many people who cannot get pregnant, lose their babies, don’t have supportive family, or have complications of some sort. When we got home and saw everything that Kira had done for us we were blubbering. I think Grant bonded right away with Reese in the hospital,but I feel like I really bonded with her once we were home. I think, in the hospital I was so focused on birthing and breastfeeding correctly that I didn’t truly relax till we got home.
The mental shift that happens when you have a child is so profound and impossible to explain. Anyway, it was a super emotional but wonderful day as we tired to figure out how in the world to take care of our baby. Grant and I joked about how we wish we would have taken a picture of our room after each of the first few nights of us home alone. In the hospital, Reese was still so worn out from birth that getting her to sleep was a piece of cake; at home, not so much.
The first night we tried putting her in the pack and play but she hated that. Then we tried the swing, she hated that, so we ended up taking turns holding her while the other person slept. The second night, we brought in a different chair that rocked better to see how she would like that,etc. So every night we would try everything that we could, and honestly most didn’t work unless we were holding her or waited until she was completely asleep before putting her down. We have since moved away from that,but in the beginning we were in survival mode. 🙂 We lucked out because Reese’s cord fell off at day 4 which made a lot of things like clothes and diaper changes a lot easier. We had a lot of issues with her being fussy because of pooping and gas. We didn’t realize it at the time,but she is sensitive to me eating dairy.
So once we realized that and have taken it out, it has been a lot easier. Also, there were a few things about breastfeeding that we were doing wrong. I read the books, and went to a class, but for some reason I didn’t realize that I was switching her too soon to the next breast. So, she wasn’t getting enough hind milk which made her wake up more frequently to eat as well as be more gassy since the foremilk is more lactose high. So once we got that squared away things were a lot easier. Reese is still hard to burp, but in general is a happy baby. She is very interested in her surrounding,but wants to be entertained. She doesn’t like just being set down without something to look at or being interacted with. Right now it looks like she has blue eyes, but we will see if she keeps them. She also has had great neck control from the very beginning which made it a little bit more helpful for Grant since he is always nervous about that.
I think she looks a lot like Grant,but also has my attached ear lobes and my cupid’s bow. So we will see how she changes over the years, no matter who she looks like, we think she is beautiful.
We had Thursday, Friday, Saturday, and Sunday to ourselves, and after that friends and family came to start helping out. I will write more about that in the next post.
We will see what she looks like later on. That is all I can think to write so if you made it this far, thanks for being interested in our little Reese.