I have wanted to write down my birth story for a while, mostly because aside from Todd, my mom, and sister Sheridan who were present for the whole birth, no one else has heard the story. So for my family members, friends, or If you’re like me and just love reading birth stories, here you go!
Even after taking a class at the hospital and reading everything I could on giving birth, there were still so many shocks throughout my 31 hours of labor. It’s not that I didn’t feel prepared, but how can anyone really prepare for child birth?
My mom flew in the week before I went into labor to make sure she didn’t miss it. I was extremely grateful because she took care of me and got everything ready from cleaning to cooking meals. But most importantly, I am convinced that she is the reason Theo came out four days early (more on that in a minute).
Sheridan flew in a few days later. It was amazing having one of my sisters there for the entire thing. She learned a lot too which will help her when it’s her turn!
The day before I went into Labor, I went on my morning walk with my mom. I power walked my entire pregnancy (even in the HOT North Carolina summer). I swear it kept me sane and helped with my birth. My mom is a crazy fast power walker and we were planning on meeting friends for lunch, so we had to walk extra fast on our long and hilly route. Apparently I just needed someone to push me faster because that night I went into labor. Thank goodness for mothers, she was on a mission to get him out!
That night before dinner I went to the bathroom and thought I noticed my mucus plug as I flushed (gross! TMI?). Again, no idea what it was supposed to actually look like so I went downstairs and casually told everyone. Naturally everyone got super excited and thought for sure that my labor was about to start. I was skeptical, but still hopeful that this was it!
Sure enough, at 1:30 a.m., I woke up with my first of many contractions. I was so excited! Todd started timing and tracking my contractions and I did laps around the couch and paused to lean on the couch every time a contraction hit. Little did I know, I had a LONG way to go.
My contractions came consistently at 15-20 minutes apart. So not even close to going to the doctor. Fortunately I had a doctor’s appointment scheduled that day, so I went in at 9 a.m. hoping for some good news. My doctor gave me the opposite. I was dilated to a ONE. Eight hours of labor had gone by and nothing. I told him I was having consistent contractions and he most have ignored me/not believed me because he scheduled me an induction date “just in case” for 10 days after my due date and told me it could be like this for a week! What?! When he left the room, I started sobbing. I couldn’t even sleep because my contractions were consistently coming every 15 minutes. How was I supposed to live like this for a week?!
We went home and all I can say is I am incredibly thankful that my team of mom, Todd, and Sheridan were there because I would have NEVER survived. I couldn’t stand up during contractions so I laid/sat on my bed or the couch. My mom stayed busy assembling a craft corner in my room which was a huge distraction and my “focal point” during each contraction. I still had the words in my head from the doctor saying that it could be a week like this so I remember turning to Todd crying around 4 p.m. saying, “I can’t do this for a week! I am going to die!” Fortunately my mom was the voice of reason and reassured me that my body was in labor and that my baby was coming.
That night, my mom and Todd went to get some exercise while my sister stayed with me. Later, Todd told me that while he was at the gym he said a prayer that my labor would start progressing. When they got back, my contractions finally started getting closer together and were lasting longer with more intensity.
FINALLY after 22 hours of labor, my contractions got close enough for me to go to the hospital. YAY! We got to the hospital around 11:30 p.m. and went straight into the triage room on the labor and delivery floor. My contractions were coming on fast at this point and I had to lay still with a bunch of heart monitors on my stomach while I waited for the doctor. I was at a six and had to walk the halls to get to a seven. When the doctor came back in 20 minutes later, I had moved to a seven on my own without having to walk which meant I could finally get an epidural! She told us that a nurse would come in and take us to our room. So an hour goes by, and no nurse. I am still strapped to the most uncomfortable bed with heart monitors and contractions that were out of control. Poor Todd, as you can imagine I wasn’t the nicest person in these conditions. He kept trying to track down a nurse and when he finally got one, I guess communication had gotten lost between the doctor and the nurses because no one was coming for me! She said they were backed up and I had to wait.
So, I spent three long, excruciating hours stuck in triage until finally the miscommunication was sorted out and I made it into a room. Twenty-five hours of labor later, I finally got an epidural. I wasn’t even scared because I was overwhelmed at the thought of finally getting some relief, and I hardly felt it. A little knick in my back was nothing compared to what I had already been through.
The best thing about my epidural is that I could finally take a nap! I had been awake for 25ish hours and had hardly eaten since I didn’t have much of an appetite (a day full of contractions will do that to you). Three hours later, the doctor came in and said it was time to push! I was so excited! My mom and Sheridan came in to see me before I pushed. Then they left so it could be just Todd and I with our nurse. Pushing was so easy, and actually kind of enjoyable. I spent the whole day helpless and now I could actually do something to get him out! I pushed for two hours and FINALLY after 31 hours of labor out came our little boy!
The nurse laid him on my chest right away, cord still attached and all, and I just couldn’t believe it! In my class, I had learned about the benefits of immediate skin to skin (a common practice at UNC Hospitals) and delayed cord clamping, so I had requested both on my birth plan. Here was this little baby that had just been inside of me. Just like that I was a mom! There are hardly words to describe what an incredible moment this was. I was so overcome with emotion and too exhausted to cry. He was the most beautiful thing I had ever seen and this was the happiest moment of my life.
Shortly after, my mom and Sheridan came in. We had called Theo “Berylie” once we found out he was a boy. We had kept our names a secret from everyone and when he came out, he was definitely a Theodore. That first day in the hospital was so amazing and I can’t believe how much energy I had despite being awake for two days.
I was super excited to leave the hospital, it was hard to get any sleep with nurses, doctors, lactation specialists, technicians, etc. coming in every five minutes. My mom and Sheridan brought us great food and kept us laughing for our whole stay in the hospital. Both Todd and I say that there is no way we would have survived without them.
I am incredibly grateful for the smooth, uncomplicated birth I had. There are a million more details I could include about Theo’s birth story, but I’d rather keep it condensed. I loved the actual pushing/active labor part (with an epidural of course!). It’s amazing to see how strong my body really is and I still cannot believe that I did it. It’s hard to believe that this all happened over 7 months ago! It feels like yesterday, but at the same time it’s hard to imagine life without him. Through all of the hard ups and downs and rough patches figuring this whole motherhood thing out, I am so in love with this sweet little boy and I am so blessed to call him mine.