On the eve of Jacob’s birthday, I thought I would continue where I left off from his pregnancy story and share his birth story here on the blog as well. Very fitting since we all expected his birthday to be 7/22 anyway.
On the morning of July 22, 2011 (I was seven days overdue, but who was counting?!), Brian and I headed to the hospital for induction. We had to check in super early – 6 AM – which was fine since I had slept like a rock the night before. You would think that I would have been too excited or too nervous to sleep knowing that we were going in for an induction the next day, but as always, I could have slept through an earthquake. I can’t speak for Brian, but I arrived at the hospital very well rested.
By 6:30 AM I was in a hospital gown, my IV was in, and they had started the Pitocin. Brian’s mom came to visit that morning, sitting and chatting with us, and distracting me from the minor contractions I was already having. Around noon, Brian’s dad brought Chick-fil-A up for the two of them for lunch. I, of course, wasn’t allowed to eat, but fortunately for them, I wasn’t hungry, so I didn’t have to kick them out while they ate. ;o)
During their lunch, my parents also stopped in to say hello, and my contractions started getting harder. I would like to think that I have a pretty decent tolerance for pain, but I probably don’t, and by 1 PM I was begging for an epidural. Well, little did I know, you have to wait forever to get the epidural once you ask for it, so I had to man-up and ride out the contractions for a couple more hours without any relief. I can remember clinging to the right arm rail on the bed, praying for the pain to ease up.
I don’t remember exactly how much time went by until the anesthesiologist finally waltzed in, (probably a couple of hours?) but I was about ready to punch him in the face by the time he got there.
I was terrified of getting the epidural, but the pain was so bad, that easing the pain totally trumped all of my other worries. The anesthesiologist had me sit on the side of the bed and lean over to put the epidural in. I don’t honestly remember how it felt, but I don’t think that it hurt too terribly. And once it was in, I felt amazing! It was pure euphoria. After eight hours of contractions, I finally had some relief!
My midwife stopped in periodically throughout the rest of the afternoon to see how much I was dilated, but it was extremely slow-going. Later in the afternoon, she came in and broke my water to speed things up, and after the fluid had drained, she felt around on my belly and told us that she thought he felt like he weighed around eight pounds. Eight pounds? I could do that!
Around 6 PM, my epidural started wearing off on my left side, so they gave me a re-dose. They also gave me a handheld control that I could use to send more medicine to the epidural. Well, the contractions were coming fast and furious by then, and I could feel everything down my left side. I was furiously pushing the button over and over to increase the medicine flow to my epidural, when they burst my bubble and told me that the medicine would only come out every fifteen minutes so I couldn’t overdose myself. Bummer.
Finally, finally at 8 PM, my midwife came in and told me that it was time to push. With the very first push Jacob went into serious distress and they had to stop the Pitocin to slow the contractions. Someone went to prep an operating room just in case they needed to do an emergency c-section, and they assured me that they could get me to the OR and have Jacob out within just a couple of minutes if they needed to.
Thankfully, Jacob stabilized quickly and after about an hour of resting, they started the Pitocin again. At 9:30 PM, my midwife told me that it was time to start pushing again, but she said that if the baby went into distress again, they were going to perform an emergency c-section.
I was so nervous to push again, but thankfully, Jacob’s heartbeat stayed nice and strong. I pushed, and I pushed, and I pushed. For three whole hours I pushed with my legs in the lithotomy position. I had excruciating pain in my left hip (at the very top of the front of my leg, right where it connects to the pelvis) the entire time and I can remember begging to straighten out my leg. The nurses, however, told me that if I put my leg down, Jacob could go back up the birth canal and I would undo some of the progress that I had already made.
It was time to man-up and push through the pain.
At this point, I had been in labor for 15 hours with no food or drink, and ice chips just weren’t cutting it anymore. Not in the least. All I could think about was having something to drink. And what did I want? Sprite. Sprite?! First of all, I rarely drink any carbonated beverages, and second of all, Sprite?! I never drink Sprite. Personally, I’m a Root Beer girl. Brian told me that at some point during the pushing phase I even told him, “I want a Sprite almost as much as I want my baby.” That was one hard-core craving.
A little after midnight, after I had been pushing for 2.5 hours, my midwife finally told me that she was only going to allow three more pushes, and if I couldn’t get him out they were going to have to do an emergency c-section. Well, I would be damned if anyone was going to do a c-section after I had already done all of that work, so I pushed like madwoman (probably similar to birth scenes in the movies), and on the very last push that I was allowed, he finally came out. Talk about cutting it close…
At 12:34 AM on July 23, 2011, after 18 hours of labor (three of which were spent pushing), my precious little Jacob Brian was here. And he was perfect.
Brian cut the umbilical cord and my midwife immediately laid him on my chest. It was truly love at first sight. He was a little banged up from being in the birth canal for so long, but he was healthy and he was huge – 9 lbs. 6 oz. I still cannot believe to this day that I pushed a 9 lb. 6 oz. baby out of me. So much for only being 8 pounds!
After bonding with him for a few minutes, the nurses took Jacob to the other side of the room to get cleaned up, and my midwife worked to get me ready for visitors. While she worked, I chugged two entire Sprites. It was the best thirst-quenching I’ve ever experienced in my life, and I don’t think that anything will ever be quite as satisfying as those two Sprites were.
Once the nurses were done with Jacob’s measurements and testing, we were finally reunited with all of our family who had been hanging around all day in the waiting room. All of our parents, our siblings, our nieces and nephews, my grandparents, my aunt and uncle... I couldn’t believe that everyone had stayed this whole time! It was already after 1 AM!
It was such a joy to see everyone and it was especially great to see my parents hold their first grandbaby for the first time. Everyone stayed long enough to hold Jacob and to give us hugs and kisses, and then we were left alone as a family of three for the first time ever.
Right after everyone left, I nursed Jacob for the first time. He latched on immediately and ate like a champ for over an hour! It was definitely a success. The rest of the night was a blur – typical hospital activities, nurses in and out of the room, feedings, trying to get a little sleep. Jacob was extremely upset that we had forced him out of his cozy little home in my belly, and he was very fussy all night. I had vowed not to give him a pacifier too early on because I didn’t want it to interfere with his latch, but after hours of fussing and pure exhaustion, we gave in and let the nurse bring a paci for him. He took to it immediately and we finally had some peace.
Childbirth was, by far, the hardest thing I’ve ever done in my entire life, and my body took quite a beating from it, but the reward was the best thing that has ever happened to me in my entire life. I would do it all over again to have that precious boy. And tomorrow we are going to spend the entire day celebrating these best four years of our lives with the little man who made it all possible.