Ezra's Birth Story

Aug 8, 2018

I love birth stories. 
Before I was even pregnant I would google birth stories, read the tales of women around the world, and learn way more than I bargained for about every type of birth under the sun. While I was pregnant, I made a point to ask nearly everyone I came in contact with to tell me about their birth experience. I wanted to know it all. The good, the bad and the ugly. I wanted to be mentally prepared for literally every single thing possible. 
Well, I was prepared for almost all routes a delivery could take, but I got an experience unlike anything I expected. 
Of course. 
Here is the story of how we met our little boy.

I definitely never expected to go past my due date. Josh and I were both born a week early, so we (my mom, mainly) were convinced our baby would arrive the same way. My due date was January 18th. It came and went. I tried allllllll the things. Well, a few of the things. Pineapple. Essential oils. Walking hills. Prenatal massage (my masseuse told me she had put a few women into labor within hours of their massage, no luck). I was scheduled to be induced (if natural labor didn’t happen) on January 25th, at 41 weeks. I prayed to avoid induction, and I was prepared to schedule another prenatal massage and even acupuncture on the 24th. I was willing to try anything (aside from castor oil and an enema. Well, maybe). Side note: last fall Josh bought tickets for us to see Bon Iver in Dallas on January 23rd. I thought he was crazy for getting tickets to an event so close to our due date, but I knew if I hadn’t had the baby by then, then I would definitely still want to attend. As luck would have it, we didn’t make it to the show. I started having very odd sporadic contractions after work on Monday, the night of the 22nd. I didn’t think it was real labor, so I ate dinner and took a bath like normal (I went ahead and shaved my legs, thankfully, by the grace of God). Looking back on it, I should have known something was up, because I couldn’t sit down for dinner. Josh grilled some incredible steaks and we made mac and cheese, and I literally ate the whole meal standing up because I was too uncomfortable to sit down. A few hours go by, and I start to realize these may not be normal contractions. I never had Braxton Hicks contractions (or any weird pains at all, for that matter) so I literally had no idea what to expect. We googled “what does labor feel like” for about an hour and I watched YouTube video after YouTube video, trying to get some sort of understanding of if this was real labor or not. My doctor said that we should not call her until I had contractions five minutes apart for two hours. I tried to time the contractions and eventually we started to see a trend of 5-7 minutes apart. For some reason, around 10pm I tried to lay down and go to sleep thinking I could sleep through it (wishful thinking). I quickly realized I couldn’t, so we called my doctor. She wasn’t on call, so we spoke with her partner and she told us to head up to the hospital and get checked. I remember feeling like we woke her up, and I genuinely felt terrible. We loaded up the car, apprehensively. We both figured we would get to the hospital, they would check me, tell me I was a little pansy and still only 1cm dilated, and send me home. I vaguely remember the drive to the hospital. I wasn’t nervous. Fleet Foxes new album was playing. I texted my mom to let her know what we were doing, but I specifically said “don’t leave yet, just get ready just in case, but they will probably send me home”. Come to find out she immediately left and had been on the road for an hour by the time I actually told her I was in real labor.
Anyways, by the time we arrived at the hospital my contractions were three minutes apart and they were starting to take my breath away. I remember walking down the hallway and kind of figured this may be the real deal. We got checked in around 11:30 pm and for some reason I felt really bad about showing up so late at night. It’s comical looking back on it now, because it's the nurses job to work the night shift and take take of women in labor, but I just really felt bad they were having to work because of me. Anyways, we met our incredible nurse, and she told me I was dilated to a 4 and that they would be admitting me. We went through the usual stuff, discussed my medical history, monitored the contractions, discussed if I wanted meds and an epidural. I opted for an epidural, but nothing else. We waited until about 1:30 AM for the CRNA to arrive for the epidural, and by that point I’m dry heaving from the pain of the contractions. I had dilated to a 6 by the time she arrived. I mayyyyy have experienced about 15-30 minutes of (what I thought was) the most severe pain of my life, before the epidural kicked in. Looking back on it, I'm glad to have experienced some form of “real” labor, and to see how much labor pain I could handle. In regard to the epidural, I’ve seen tons of them performed at work, so I wasn’t scared of it, but I had never experienced one before so I was definitely nervous. My CRNA was phenomenal and it was truly a breeze. We were then instructed to “try to get some sleep”. This surprised me, but I was grateful because a few hours before, before I knew I was in labor, all I wants to do was to be able to sleep through the night. The epidural had me feeling like a million bucks and we somehow managed to get about four hours of sleep. (After my mom showed up in record time!) While we were waiting for the epidural, we informed friends and family that this was really happening. Again, I felt terrible for the timing. My mom drove in alone from north west Louisiana, my dad drove in alone from a work trip in Houston, and Josh’s mom and step dad were also driving in from north east Louisiana. All of this was happening between the hours of 12-6 am. I’m eternally grateful they dropped everything and rushed to meet us in the middle of the night. I still can’t believe it. 
Back to the birth: I wake up around 6am to be checked, and they inform me that I’m dilated to a 10. I wake up Josh and tell him the news, assuming the baby is about to fall out of me any second now. The nurse says “naw, he can go back to sleep, your water still hasn’t broken yet”.  First of all, I didn’t know you could get all the way to a ten without your water breaking. Second of all, I wanted my water to break on it's own, so I’m thankful that the nurses didn’t take it upon themselves to break it. Although *graphic detail coming, brace yourself* she did tell me that I had a “bulging sac”. Cool. So, we wait. The timeline here gets a little fuzzy, but I remember my water eventually breaking, and I assume then that it is go-time. They say it’s not. They say that we need a little bit more time for the baby to drop into position before I start pushing. Again, another thing I wasn’t expecting. Everything was just SO relaxed and seemed to be in slow motion. I was extremely caught of guard by this. I was feeling zero pain and everything was just SO chill. (Things were so relaxed to the point where I even forgot to play my labor playlist I worked so hard to make!) My doctor arrived around 8am (I think?) and we were finally able to start pushing. I had a follow up appointment scheduled that day, and we joked that I guess I would need to cancel my appointment and she joked something about clinic starting at 9, so we needed to get this baby out. Pushing was comical. I remember asking them why I wasn’t sweating. We made small talk between contractions. I felt nothing. Physically. Emotionally, I felt strange. I was mostly shocked at how easy and laid back everything seemed. Granted, the hardest part was holding your breath long enough to push, which I was terrible at. I believe I pushed for around 45 minutes (although it seemed way less than that) and our sweet boy arrived at 8:54am. Time stood still. We were finally able to hold our boy and see him face to face. I distinctly remember giving Josh knuckles and saying “we did it”. How weird. I hope we kissed at least, but I genuinely don’t remember. We were quite mesmerized. I was mostly in shock that everything went so smooth and that things were, dare I say, easy. Just when I start to think "Man that was a piece of cake! Glad it's over! Where's my Chick-fil-a?" things start to get real blurry from here on out. I got to hold him, but I'm not sure how long. We facetimed my sister. Josh cut the cord, and then they took the baby for Apgar testing and whatnot while my doctor began working on getting my placenta out. This was hands down 100 times worse than labor. I thennnnnn start to remember being warned about this. My doctor was having to forcefully push on my abdomen, because that placenta was not quite wanting to come out. She mentioned that the cord had a very loose attachment to the placenta, and if she pulled too hard she was worried the cord would break off, making it even harder to remove. She kept telling me to relax and I swore I was relaxing as best as I could. After about thirty minutes (maybe?) of her trying to force it out, she decided that I needed a d&c (we needed to go to the operating room and surgically remove it). She kept apologizing and I was surprised by this, but I kept telling her how fine it was and how I understood and it was ok. Josh didn’t seem too worried either, but my biggest concern was the fact that I wouldn’t get to do skin to skin. I requested about a million times that he do a lot of skin to skin while I was gone. Funny story regarding that to come later. Anyways, we head to surgery, and on the way there I felt something wet on the side of the bed. We then realize that my epidural had disconnected. We don’t know how long it was disconnected, but my doctor thinks that had sometime to do with the fact that I couldn’t “relax” so my body was holding on to the placenta and not allowing it to pass. Which makes a good bit of sense (and explains why the process of removing the placenta hurt worse than labor). By the time I got to the OR I was feeling very faint and light headed (probably due to the blood loss), my blood pressure dropped, and I started vomiting. Awesome. Being in the surgery world, I know that a vomiting patient is the last thing you want when they are about to get anesthesia. There is a huge risk of aspiration. Lovely. Anyways, I pass out (unsure if it is anesthesia induced or because of the BP drop) but they reconnect the epidural, give me some zofran, and then the placenta was removed, or so I was told. I don’t remember anything else until about 2pm. Which is unfortunate. At the time, it didn't phase me, but the more time that has passed since the deivery, the more I struggle with this gap in my memory. I ask Josh to tell me about it all the time. When I hear about other women recapping those precious first few hours with their baby I get a twinge of jealousy. I remind myself that things could be way worse. I could have had to recover from the pain of a c-section or a much more traumatic delivery, or he could have been in the NICU. I truly feel blessed for having an uncomplicated delivery (well, a delivery with minor complications) and I have so much sympathy for those mamas who are separated from their littles ones after birth, whether it be mentally due to anesthesia or pain medicine or due to far worse complications. It breaks my heart that I wasn't conscious for the excitement of seeing our family meet Ezra. I'm very thankful for pictures of these moments and I'm so grateful for a healthy baby and for the fact that I made it out of labor relatively unscathed.

Soooo, back to the story of Josh while I was in the OR. I love this story. Basically, he was handed Ezra (who was still nameless at the time), I was wheeled out with the doctor and the nursing staff, and my mom went to the waiting room to get Josh's mom. He was alone. Apparently, the process of getting his mom to come back to the delivery room was time consuming process, because Josh was left alone in the delivery room for a while with a 30 minute old baby, with no assistance and no way to call for help. I think he has only held one other newborn in his life before that moment. 
I would pay gooood money to have witnessed those moments of panic and excitement and what I like to imagine as utter terror. Anyways, other minor details, a day or so after the delivery,  I found out I had lost about 1,000 ccs of blood and my hemoglobin dropped to a 6. I ultimately required a blood transfusion. Another thing I never expected to need. That was fun.
We had tons of friends and family come visit, and Nicole surprised us by flying in with her camera and a New Orleans king cake in tow. She snapped some photos of some precious moments in the hospital and during our first few days at home where Ez got to meet the dogs, all pictured below.

So maybe I’ve just been in post-baby sleep deprived ridiculously happy lalaland since then, but all this time I have genuinely felt that I had an easy, uncomplicated delivery. Now that I’m actually typing this all out, and reliving it detail for detail, six months later, I realize that may not have been the case.
Is that basically the gist of raising a kid?
You think everything is fine and dandy in the moment and then later on you look back at it an you're like yeaaa I guess that kinda sucked?
I'm genuinely grateful for how everything played out (minus those few missing hours), and so grateful to everyone who made it by the hospital to visit us. The hospital and the staff were phenomenal, and I want to deliver a million babies at Baylor Frisco. Sorry, vagina. 
We brought a healthy, beautiful boy into the world and made it our relatively pain free (don't pay any attention to Josh's complaints about how comfy the couch was).
It was hands down the most incredible experience of our lives.
Here is a recap in photos, starting with the moment we both realized it was really happening.
It's so temping to post 29304832908432 more from Ezra's newborn session that Nicole did with us, but I'll stick with two for now and save the rest for another post, another day. 
. . . and somehow, magically, we have a six month old
All professional photos c/o http://www.southernshutterphotographyllc.com/


Leah said...

I love birth stories, too!! Thank you for sharing yours!! After 4 c-sections and delivering in 3 states, I can definitely say that nothing ever goes as planned!! A couple of my babies came in the early morning hours, and sleep deprivation makes remembering so much harder! Like you, I’m thankful for healthy babies and the time I did get to cherish with them. Time is such a beast! I only wish that I had a remote to rewind and pause time. Wouldn’t that be grand?

Unknown said...

Absolutely! Four c-sections though? That is amazing! You are a trooper! And you have some great kiddos to show for all that effort.

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