I’ve been so excited to write this post, but I knew it would take a while to get it up. To say life has been crazy would be quite the understatement. We knew March-June of 2020 was going to be BIG and stressful (baby + cross country move…who does that), but sprinkle on a little global pandemic into the mix and I felt like a walking ticking time bomb during my one million quarantine walks.
WHAT A TIME TO BE PREGNANT!
Let me start by saying that the month leading up to Owens birth was one of the hardest months of my life mentally. It was weird because I was happy, but I was also so so so sad/anxious/stressed/you name it. It was hard for me to post on social. I think this might need to be a different post for a later time, but just know I was feeling ALL the feels. I’ve never been more scared to go have a baby than I was with Owen. The pandemic added this THICK layer on top of all the normal worries of “will my baby be healthy? Will this be a safe delivery?” I found myself also thinking “Will Garrett be able to be there for the birth?” “Will I be able to breathe in a mask while I’m giving birth?” It was a lot, let me tell you.
INDUCED VS. DILATING ON MY OWN…
For some reason my body doesn’t like to dilate on its own. I went into labor on my own with Bradley (my first) but I was a week past my due date. I was induced with Cash (Cash birth story here) and Eli (read Eli’s birth story here), and I was really hoping I would go into labor on my own the fourth time around. I tried everything (everything) but ultimately I was induced a few days after my due date. I think back on the days right before I had him and the days right after I had him and they are like black and white. Once he was here safely I felt like I could breathe. I was calm and in heaven.
ONE TIP FOR MY EXPECTING MOMMA FRIENDS!
I wrote down the whole birth process while I was still in the hospital. If I could give expecting mommas out there some advice it would be to write down your birth story while you are in the hospital! Life seems to stand still in the hospital. I knew the second I walked into my home with Owen it would be like stepping onto a moving treadmill and I would never take the time to write down his birth story. So here is what I wrote sitting in the hospital room just a few short hours after giving birth to our sweet Owen…
We left for the hospital at 8 am on Wed morning May 15th. Eli was in our bed when we woke up and I woke him up to say goodbye and he smiled and hugged me and said “I’m excited for the baby mom. Thanks for having a baby.”
The hospital was pretty empty. We made sure we had our masks on. Still crazy that we needed to wear them. They started me on pitocin around 10 am. When the nurse checked me I was dilated to a 3 (I was a 2 on Tuesday at my last appointment). I usually hate the IV part, but I was feeling really calm and relaxed and it all went so well. I guessed that the baby would come at 8pm, Garrett thought around 6pm. Either way I knew it would be a long day.
WHAT IT WAS LIKE IN THE HOSPITAL WITH JUST GARRETT
My mom and one of Garrett’s sisters have always been in the room with us for our other births and we loved the company, but it was actually really nice having just the 2 of us in the room. We didn’t watch TV really, we just talked and relaxed. It was so quiet. I know there were other moms in L&D but we really felt like we were the only ones and it felt really special.
I FELT A LITTLE MORE BRAVE THIS TIME AROUND
I started to feel contractions after about an hour. Honestly, they didn’t hurt as bad as I had remembered them hurting with Eli. Usually I want to get pitocin and then my epidural right away so that I don’t have to feel a contraction, but this time I knew it would take a while, so I decided to wait a bit on the epidural. I felt a few strong contractions about 12 minutes apart for a while. They were strong but I could mostly still talk through them. It feels like a really intense and condensed period cramp, my stomach tightens up. Garrett would check my chart monitoring my contractions and I was having lots of little ones that I wasn’t even really feeling. Around 1 my nurse checked me and I had dilated to a 4. She kept upping my pitocin to really get my body going. At about 2 I was really starting to feel them and it was harder to talk through a contraction. My nurse came into the room and said that she thought I should go ahead and get the epidural because the anesthesiologist might be needed in a C section for the next hour. I am so glad she pushed for that! The anesthesiologist rushed in and it turns out he had 30 minutes to give me my epidural before he was needed in the emergency C section. If I hadn’t have had it then there is a good chance I would have had Owen before I could get an epidural! My worst nightmare!
They made Garrett leave the room for the epidural. He has been in the room all the other times so it was kind of a bummer he had to leave. I know there are lots of complications that could happen when getting an epidural. Bradley’s took about 45 minutes and was stressful and I was praying for it to go smoothly! The anesthesiologist was quick and precise and it went so well. I just squeezed my hands into fists and breathed in through my nose and out my mouth and counted slowly backwards from 20. The epidural went in easily and they laid me on my back so that the epidural went evenly through both sides of my body. I started to feel my legs get warm and tingly and I knew the epidural was working! Yay! They put in my catheter and called Garrett back into the room.
After my epidural I was feeling really good. My nurse checked me and I was dilated to a 4. I’ve never really been able to take a nap before giving birth (just uncomfortable in the bed and the IV poking into my arm), but I was able to sleep! I slept for about an hour and it was wonderful.
Around 4 the nurse came in and checked me again and I was dilated to a 7! I had shot up there fast! We relaxed for about another 30 minutes and then my nurse and one other nurse came in quickly and had me flip to the side because the baby’s heart rate was dropping. The baby was starting to descend and I went from an 8 to a 9 WHILE she was checking me! They called the doctor and Garrett and I looked at eachother like “Oh my gosh this is happening!!”
They had the room prepped for delivery within a few minutes. They scooted me down to where my bum was close to the edge of the bed. The Dr. came into the room. I thought she would be in a full hazmat suit, but she was in scrubs with a mask and a clear face shield. The funny thing is that I could see the reflection in her face shield, so I made sure not to look at it as I started to push or else I would see everything if I wasn’t careful! (ew. No thank you.)
I dilated to a 10 quickly and they put my legs up in the stirrups and had me start pushing at 4:40. My Dr. was so good. She told me the best way to push- to pull my legs up and contract my stomach like I’m doing a pushup, pushing my abs together. I couldn’t feel a single contraction and having that direction of exactly how to push. Usually they tell you to push like you are having a bowel movement, but that just ends up putting too much pressure too low. The ab contracting helps push the baby down.
HOW I GOT TO HELP WITH OWEN’S DELIVERY..
After about 10 minutes of pushing they told me one more push and the baby would be out! I was almost fully seated as I pushed pulling up my legs, so I could see the little head as she was pulling the baby out! The Dr. pulled the head and shoulders and arms out, then she asked me if I wanted to help pull the baby out! I did that with Eli and it was amazing (read Eli’s birth story here), and I asked my Dr. beforehand if I could pull the baby out. So I got to reach over and help pull the baby out of me! It was a BOY! I put him on a blanket on my chest and they wiped him down a bit and I had requested to do skin to skin contact right away. Garrett said “he looks like our boys!”
When they laid him on me he was crying and I was just overwhelmed with emotions and love. I never really cried with any of my other boys but I think there was something about it being just Garrett and I, and a fourth boy, and I just held him and got emotional. I was just so so grateful. He smelled delicious! He cried for a while on my chest and was making sucking sounds right away. After just a few minutes I tried nursing him and he latched on so well I couldn’t believe it! He has the strongest suck and most immediate out of all of my boys.
After finding out it was our fourth boy, our angel nurse looked at me and said “I’m the right nurse for you. I have four boys. Then I had a grandson, and another grandson, and then another grandson!” It was seriously a tender mercy. She told me how close her and her boys were, that they facetime every Sunday and that they pampered her for Mother’s Day. It really made me feel so good.
Holding Owen skin to skin for the first hour was amazing. I just felt so overwhelmed with love for him. It was the feeling that I was hoping to have and I’m so glad I got that special bond. He is so sooo cute. He looks just like our Barlow boys and I feel like I already know him. He is so awake and alert! He said awake from 4:50pm till about 1 am!
And that’s it! I do still want to write about our experience bringing him home and having the boys meet him there vs. them being able to come into the hospital. Again- I wrote all this down while we were still in the hospital and I’m so so happy I did. Those very first few days with Owen were such a treasure and I love being able to look back on this experience!