It’s hard to believe our little man is two weeks old! The two weeks before he was born felt like the slowest ever, but after has just flown by. I wanted to share his full birth story so grab a cup of tea and some popcorn–this post is going to be long!
The last weeks of pregnancy…
I feel like the birth story starts in the last few weeks of pregnancy. Basically, from 38 weeks on I felt miserable. I was crazy swollen. So much so that my feet and legs ached if I was on them for more than 45 minutes. I was huge and uncomfortable. I felt pelvic pain and pressure every time I stood up and I just wanted our baby to COME! I was up 4-6 times a night, uncomfortable and going to the bathroom. I slept on the couch a lot because I tossed and turned, trying to find a comfortable position to sleep. Such a different experience from the end of my pregnancy with Layla–I felt good right up to the end! I didn’t really write much about this on the blog or social media because 1. There wasn’t anything I could do to help it. 2. I didn’t want to be a downer 3. Even though the last weeks sucked, pregnancy is so worth it and I know it can be painful to hear someone whining about a blessing. So I only whined to my friends and family privately. 😉 Layla and I spent a lot of time cuddling on the couch reading books and watching her “movies” (aka Little Einsteins, Daniel Tiger & Curious George). I was so thankful for my mom who came to help around the house and friends who encouraged me with conversation, meals, and treats.
My due date came and went without any “activity”. I had some Braxton Hicks contractions when I would be on my feet for a while, but nothing serious. One day overdue we went in for a non-stress test and Barrett passed with flying colors (this was the test that Layla failed and caused her induction). 3 days overdue we went in for an ultrasound to check fetal movement and fluid levels–both were great. 4 days overdue I had an appointment with my midwife to review the ultrasound and check me out. I was prepared at that time to BEG to be induced, but at this appointment my blood pressure was high. High enough that combined with me being overdue they wanted to send me to the hospital to be induced due to preeclampsia concerns.
Here we go!
All week we had our bags packed and in the car so it was awesome that we were finally “doing this.” We went to the hospital and got checked in to the LAST remaining labor and delivery room. Because of my high blood pressure the hospital has a policy that I had to deliver with a physician, not a midwife as I had originally planned. I was a little bummed about that, especially since the midwife on was the same one that delivered Layla. Once I was admitted and examined, it was decided that I should be induced as soon as I had lunch. So I ordered lunch, Nate went to pick up some last-minute items and check on Layla, and I started a pitocin drip, shortly after 1:00.
If you’ve ever been induced the early stages are just waiting around for the drugs to kick in and labor to really start. We watched the Office while we waited. 🙂 At 3:00 my waters were broken to help things keep progressing. In the next hour my contractions started to pick up and around 4:30 I told the nurse I felt ready for my epidural. My contractions were getting more intense, but I was able to move around a bit and breathe through them. About an hour later, the anesthesiologist came up and began the process of getting an epidural. By now my contractions were pretty intense and coming close together thanks to the pitocin. The nurse actually turned off the pitocin during the epidural process so I would have some relief and be able to hold still through the contractions. After 3 pokes, the anesthesiologist was finally able to get the epidural inserted. After 5 minutes I hadn’t felt any relief at all from the pain, in addition I was now laboring straight flat on my back. I kept thinking “this is the last one, then the epidural will kick in”, but it didn’t. The contractions continued to progress and I was getting no relief, aka the epidural wasn’t effective.
I will be honest and say that at this point I panicked. I was not prepared mentally to go through labor without an epidural and was so afraid that I wouldn’t get a second chance to get another one. Thankfully there was another anesthesiologist willing to try, but I had to wait till he finished another procedure. *Enter the longest 30 minutes of my life* I will say that I did better with my breathing and pain management (aka not screaming and clawing Nate’s arm off) this time than I did with Layla. Finally, the new anesthesiologist came in and did a few tests and was able to move forward with a new epidural. It was effective on the first try and within five minutes I was feeling better (aka not much). Funny story, that once the epidural was inserted, but not completely taped down, the anesthesiologist’s phone kept ringing and ringing. All the sudden I heard “Yes, yes, kung-pao chicken. Sorry” and then he finished the procedure. It was so weird, but he was welcome to order anything he wanted as long as the epidural worked!
By this time it was maybe 8:00 and things had calmed down thanks to the epidural. Also, they left the pitocin turned off at this point since my body was laboring natural on its own. Nate ordered a sandwich from Jimmy Johns and I was progressed to about 7-8 centimeters. At 9:30 I asked to be checked again and I was at 10 centimeters, but the baby was still had a ways to come down the birth canal. I really wanted to just push and get it over with so we did maybe three “practice” pushes. My nurse was awesome in obliging me, but she said the best thing would be for me to try changing positions every once in a while and just let my body do its thing and move the baby on its own–aka more waiting. 😉
At about 11:15 I started to feel an urge to push, but I waited a few more minutes to make sure it felt “real” then I let the nurse know. When she checked me the baby was “right there” and she quickly assembled the delivery team and I began to push.
After 16 minutes of pushing Barrett Thomas entered the world.
I was so thrilled and they put him on my chest right away. He had lots of dark hair and came out screaming at the world. Poor little guy was so upset to be removed from his comfy womb. I cut his cord and we laid there together as a new family. So precious.
When things got crazy…
Then, all of a sudden, Barrett began to feel really heavy on my chest. “Nate, can you take him, I feel like he’s just really heavy,” I said, which I followed with “I feel really weak and I’m going to throw up”. Someone snatched up Barrett and gave him to Nate for skin-to-skin while I proceeded to throw up and (unbeknownst to me) hemorrhage. After a few minutes they were able to get my blood loss slowed and I began to feel a little better. Eventually (I’m not sure how long it was) I got stabilized and feeling better and Nate brought Barrett back over to me. We continued doing skin on skin and Barrett latched right away and started nursing. What a little champ! We spent a long time doing skin to skin and then it was time for us both to get cleaned up.
I could not believe when they told me he was 9 pounds 7 ounces! Considering Layla was 6 pounds 2 ounces, we figured he would be bigger than her, but I couldn’t imagine him being more than in the upper 8 pound range, but almost 9 1/2 was mind-boggling! No wonder I was so uncomfortable!
At this time they tested Barrett’s blood sugar because he was over 9 pounds. His sugars were low so they returned him to me for more nursing and then they would retest an hour later. They also wanted to delay bathing him because of the blood sugar issues. So that was a long night with just snatches of sleep in between putting Barrett to nurse. The next morning we met with a pediatrician and he recommended supplementing with formula since Barrett’s blood sugar was still low and needed stabilized. So the next 24 hours were full of pricks, formula, and other hardships for our poor little man. It was heartbreaking, but eventually they did stabilize at a normal level.
The morning after Barrett was born my sister brought Layla to meet Barrett. Nate met them in the lobby and came up with them. I was so excited to see Layla and have her meet her little brother. He was laying in his crib when she first met him and it was instant love! She wanted to hold and love on him right away! She “gave” Barrett her present she had picked and wrapped for him and he “gave” her a present too (a set of cars from Cars her favorite movie right now). I was worried about jealousy or other issues, but Layla just adores her little brother and is a great big sister to him!
My parents came and visited Friday and stayed until we came home from the hospital on Sunday. We were so happy to make it home with our little guy! He checked out great with our pediatrician a few days later and his blood sugar was officially no longer a concern.
So Barrett’s birth story is definitely not the one I would have written for us….it involved a lot of waiting, was hard, and even scary at times. But God wrote it well. The verse I claimed at the end of this pregnancy was 2 Timothy 4:17, “But the Lord stood by me and gave me strength.” It played over and over in my head during the labor, delivery, and recovery period–God was with us, strengthening and enabling us through the hard moments. At the end of the day our little mancub is adorable (and healthy) and I’m so in love with our little family!