For those who do not know, the Bradley method is Husband-Coached birth. Jason and I went to 12 weeks of class, read books and practiced different techniques for relaxation during labor. The class also teaches about nutrition, exercises to do during pregnancy, and so much more too! I really enjoyed the class and learned so much about giving birth. So much more than I think any doctor will tell you or they even really know themselves. Halfway through the class I really thought about switching to a different doctor or midwife, but I felt we were so close to the end so I didn’t. I kinda wish I had now...
My due date was April 25th and I worked at my job as a teacher until April 19th. I was so happy to be done with work! It was so exhausting the last few weeks! I felt so relaxed after I was done, I was hoping that alone would put me in labor! No such luck! So I did whatever I could to try to speed things along, I was so excited and anxious to meet this baby! I walked 3 miles every day, walked the mall with a friend, ate Mexican food, had an extra long foot massage with my pedicure and an extra long prenatal massage.
39 Weeks! Last day of work!
On April 24, I woke up around 3:00am and felt a little “gush”. It is the only way I can really describe it. I went to the bathroom and thought either my water broke or I was wetting the bed. I didn’t feel any contractions and nothing else happened, so I thought I must have just peed. I went back to sleep and woke up and hour later and the same thing happened! Again, no contractions though! Jason woke up and asked if I was okay. I told him I either wet the bed or my water broke. I don’t think he really knew how to respond. I went back to sleep again and woke up uncomfortable and thought if I roll over, I think there might be another “gush”. Sure enough, I rolled out of bed and this time, I was pretty sure it was my water breaking! I was really excited, but very nervous too. I was nervous because I was not having any contractions and I knew that with my water breaking first, there would be a time clock with my doctor.
I had an appointment with my doctor that morning, so we waited until 7:00 to call the office. I showered, still hoping for contractions to start. Jason finished packing his bag and called work. I called the doc and they said to go to the hospital. So we did. With our first child, I was just so anxious, I didn’t think anything through. We just went. Looking back, I could have stayed home for awhile. Lesson learned.
We got to the hospital and since my water had broke, we were checked in. It was so surreal. There we were, me in a hospital gown, checked into a room, with zero contractions. It seemed like our baby was so close and so far away. Jason and I ate breakfast, walked around the outside of the hospital, bounced on the birth ball and then just waited. And waited. And waited...And waited some more.
My doctor came in to see us around noon. He said we could do some interventions to soften my cervix and hopefully get things moving. I didn’t want to do that. Our plan was a natural birth. I started to feel so anxious because we were on this time clock. I had only been there 4 hours and he wanted to start intervening (I remembered that idea of switching doctors again...hindsight, right?). So Jason and I kept walking and walking, bouncing and bouncing, squatting and squatting, trying to get this baby to move!
My doctor was not on call that night and I was sort of relieved. I felt like we had some time. The on-call doctor came in and said since I was progressing, although it was slow, they didn’t need to do anything. The baby was healthy. I was healthy. We had more time. We decided to try and get some sleep to not tire ourselves out too much. At this point I still wasn’t having strong contractions, but I was dilating.
First night in hospital
The nurse woke us up at 4:00, now Thursday, our actual due date! I remember thinking, how cool! Babies are never born naturally on their due date and our baby will be! It had been 24 hours since my water had broke and I was definitely starting to feel stronger contractions and I was really uncomfortable. The nurse checked me and tried to “help me dilate more”. It was awful! Contractions started coming a lot faster and stronger, but were still really inconsistent. We kept walking, squatting, cat/cow position...any way I could feel comfortable through the contractions. They continued through the morning, strong, but still not consistent. I was also experiencing back labor which was awful! The pain would start in my abdomen and wrap all around to my back. The nurses brought some heat packs and ice packs. One for the front and one for the back to try and get the baby to move. It helped a little with the pain, but this baby was not budging.
Around noon they checked me again. It was now about 33 hours since my water broke. I was getting so tired. I had not progressed at all in the past nine hours. I really did not want to have any interventions, but at this point I figured something to help me dilate would be better than continuing like this and needing a c-section. My contractions were pretty strong, so I agreed to have an epidural. One of the main reasons I wanted a natural birth is that I was really afraid of having a needle in my back. I was still scared. And it really hurt when they put it in. My contractions were still really irregular, so they also gave me pitocin. Clearly at this point, my birth plan was non-existent. I stopped caring. I wanted to see my baby and I did not want a c-section.
This is me on pitocin and an epidural
The pitocin and epidural got things moving! By 6pm, I was finally dilated to 9. The nurse thought I would be ready to start pushing within 2 hours! Yay!! We were going to see our baby! I asked the nurse if they could turn the epidural down so I could feel when to push and not be told. I was still thinking I could have some things go according to our plan. Around 9 the on-call doctor came in and checked me and I was still at a 9...boo :( What was taking this baby so long?! My sister said the baby was a lot like me...not quite sure what that means. ;-)
At this point the doctor was starting to get concerned. I was getting a fever, which put the baby more at risk and we were getting closer to 48 hours since my water broke. She said the words I was dreading the past two days - “we may need to do a c-section”. I started crying. I was scared. I’ve never had surgery in my life. I’ve never been in a hospital except to visit people. I wanted this baby more than anything else, but I did not want to be cut open. They gave me a few more hours to get to 10. I was still crying.
Around midnight, they came back and checked. Still a 9. 44 hours since my water broke and still only dilated to 9. I felt so defeated. But, I also felt like I just wanted to see my baby. I knew deep down that once I saw that baby, once I was officially “Mom”, I wouldn’t care any more how it happened. I was exhausted, scared, anxious, but all I cared about was seeing our baby.
We signed the consent for c-section. Jason and I talked about what needed to happen. I know he felt completely helpless and he was worried for me and the baby. He was also torn. I knew he would want to be with me throughout the whole surgery, but I wanted him to be with the baby. Once the baby was born, he would go so the baby was not alone.
12:26am, April 26...26 minutes passed the due date, our sweet son was born!! Even as sleep deprived as I was, I will never forget this moment as long as I live. The doctor said, “Wow! Look at the cheeks on him!” Jason and I looked at each other and said, “Him?! It’s a HE?!” “Yes, yes!! You have a son!” Jason started crying. The only other time he cried like that was our wedding day. It’s making me tear up right now just typing it. We were both crying and smiling when we heard our boy’s cry. It was miraculous! All of a sudden he was here!!
Giant baby boy! He was head down, but sideways...
probably wasn't coming any other way!
I love his scrunchy face!!
Jason went to him to cut his cord. They swaddled him up and brought him to me. He was crying and as soon I started talking he was quiet. He knew I was his mama. I just wanted to hold him, but I couldn’t yet. That was heartbreaking. I gave him a million kisses, told him I loved him and then he and Jason went to the nursery while they finished my surgery. I know it was hard for Jason to leave. I have never loved my husband more than in that moment.
Jason cutting the cord.
He originally said he didn't want to :)
Our first family photo :)
This one is my favorite.
All I wanted to do was kiss those cheeks and snuggle my boy :)
We were reunited in recovery. It felt like hours, but it wasn’t that long. I was dozing in and out and remember thinking, how awful am I?! I’m not going to be awake to see my baby! But as soon as they brought him to me, I was wide awake! He was too! He was able to lay on my chest and he immediately made his way to nursing. His head and neck was so strong! He was already holding his head up! Oh, did I mention he weighed 9 lbs 13 oz?! Yeah, he was our big strong boy! The doctor said he was head down, but turned sideways which is why I stopped progressing. She said there was no way his head and shoulders were going to fit in the wrong position.
Still looking a little drugged up...
this is 45 hours of barely any sleep too ;)
So it wasn’t exactly how we had planned it, but here’s what did go according to plan: We had a very healthy baby boy! I was able to have skin to skin contact and nurse right away. He was only given the Vitamin K shot for his circumcision. He was not given a bottle or pacifier and Jason and I were the first ones to give him a bath. He was always with at least one of us the whole time in the hospital.
Love this so much!!
Always with his hands up!
Melts my heart
My whole pregnancy I thought we were having a girl,
can't imagine it any other way now!
Always sleeps with his arms up!
Our first morning together
Lounging at home