It took until almost 2:30 to get things started, but they decided to go ahead and try to soften and dilate me with Misprostol- a tiny pill inserted vaginally that is supposed to help soften and ripen the cervix. The good news is I went in dilated to a 1 on my own, and I was 50% effaced, so we knew we had a ways to go and probably three doses of Misprostol, one every four hours, before we’d start seeing progress. We also had hopes that my body would respond well since there was some progress on its own, and still hoped a c-section was off the table.
My doctor was in the hospital and came by to see me at 4:30, happy to see that there was some progress already, but told me due to the late induction we would likely have a baby the following afternoon. She told me they’d do two more doses, I’d probably hurt some in the middle or end of the night, could get an epidural, sleep a few hours, and she’d come in early the next morning to break my water, start Pitocin, and go from there. We let all our family members know they would hear about some updates in the morning and to let go of the dream of the baby being born on Earth, Wind, and Fire day/the Fall Equinox. We also had our dear friend Annie who takes our anniversary pictures offer to do a birth photography session. We let her know early the next morning it was and not to worry about coming that night. I was having steady contractions, but nothing more than what I’d felt at home and I figured we’d just hang out the rest of the night and brace ourselves for some pain and the real action in the morning.
At 5:00 they told us I could have 50 minutes to go walk if I wanted to, I took advantage and felt restless in the bed, so we walked the entire time! I’m pretty proud in retrospect that I walk for about 8% of my active labor, although at the time, I had no idea that’s the phase I was in!
At 6:30 I was given my second dose, and sent Jacob to run get us some food- it was stormy and the monsoon had hit, and I really wanted some soup and a sandwich! I figured it was the last pregnancy craving and only the second time I’d sent him to run get something on demand. He did, and we also realized we’d forgot something we really needed at home and asked my parents to get it and swing by the hospital. I started watching The Voice and thought how one day I’d tell Mack what show I watched with what singers and he’d laugh about it. It seemed to distract me as my contractions started getting a little longer and a little stronger, while I waited for he and my parents to arrive. I was convinced that pre-labor was ramping up and we’d be in active labor in the next few hours. Jacob and my parents arrived around 8:00, and I made it through the contractions and storm changes and I ate the soup and sandwich gladly. It was lucky for us I got in a good meal at about the last possible moment I could! My mom and dad stayed for about 20 minutes and then my mom just sensed it was probably time to go. I thanked them and told them to enjoy work the next day and maybe on their lunch break we’d have some good news.
They walked out the door and only minutes later I started really hurting through contractions and needed to start the breathing exercises we’d learned in our birthing class. Jacob was a champion and did them with me, and helped me do some of the distracting tricks they had showed up to count through breaths and to relax during the pain. The nurse came in and checked me and it was the most painful part of my whole labor, I cried through it and she was not gentle! She let me know I’d softened but was only dilated a little more. I figured we were in for a very long night!
I kept having intense contractions, but I was managing the pain pretty well focusing and breathing through each one. Within the next 30 minutes I looked up at the monitor to see my contractions doubling in intensity and getting very close together. In fact, when one ended I could barely catch my breath and relax and then another one would start. I got to the point after only a few contractions that all were incredibly intense and that they were coming one on top of another, each larger than the previous.
A little before 9:00 pm I started to fear I was going to wet the bed, and once again felt like I was going to have a strong bowel movement- excitarrhea was not going away. They unhooked me from the many things monitoring me, and I ran to the bathroom when the deepest, heaviest contractions hit. I started crying like I did during the nurse exam, it hurt about the same, and begged Jacob to come help me. He ran in and braced me, and comforted me while I cried. We both knew the influence of gravity while standing up had kicked something else in gear. I was able to go to the bathroom as I tried so hard to focus on anything but the pain. He and the nurse helped me back up into the bed.
WHAT? This came as a shock to me, it was 2:00 not 7:00, and I couldn’t believe it! I also got nervous the doctor would miss the delivery, and I really love my doctor and wanted her there!
Pushing at first came easy and is a weird sensation with an epidural. You’re aware of what is going on in your body and what it’s doing, but you’re also not really in pain knowing you should be. Seriously, I know I got lucky and had a great one that was the perfect dose for me! I pushed for about 30 minutes with contractions with Jacob and two nurses. I then felt the epidural wearing down and they came in and gave me a little more which was the perfect amount. The doctor showed up around this time too, and before we knew it things were getting very real.
I had about 25-30 more minutes of pushing for an hour total. It felt easy at first, but as time went on I could tell there was a lot of muscle exhaustion and it was getting harder to stay strong. My doctor was as amazing as could be; joking around with me, encouraging me, and keeping the atmosphere light and fun. As she started seeing the head she announced he was likely bald. I had figured this may be the case, I’ve had more natural blond highlights this pregnancy than any other time of life, so I knew I was likely having a blondie. As I pushed more and was in one of my final pushes she stated, “Oh there’s fuzz! Just enough to spray paint any color you’d like!” I burst out laughing and couldn’t finish my push.
A few pushes later they noticed his heart dropping a bit and the umbilical cord near his neck. My doctor told me to push hard and also made a quick decision to do a partial cut to make sure he was fine and didn’t get choked by the cord. For someone who really didn’t want an episiotomy I’m grateful for a doctor who made the right call and did such a minor cut to save the baby any distress without really causing much trauma or problem to me. Within a few minutes I could hear her and my husband and the nurses all getting excited and announced he was coming as they caught him.
It took a minute to hear a cry, and I started to panic. “He’s not crying! Why isn’t he crying?” My doctor told me to wait a minute he was just working the fluid out of his lungs, and shortly after a little cry came and my heart rejoiced to hear a healthy, alive baby working his new body. He was pink and extremely alert, mellow, and I just was in shock to see this little person and think he had been inside of me!
They instantly set him on top of my chest after wiping away a little mess, and it was almost instant that my little boy looked up at his mom. The moment I said hello and how happy I was to meet him, he stopped any fussing and looked deep into my eyes. I looked deep into his, and I started to tear up. I couldn’t believe this moment was real, I couldn’t believe after so many years of hoping and praying for a baby there was a healthy, perfect soul on my chest. I swear he looked deep into my eyes and gave me a little smile. It was almost like he was saying “Thanks for getting me here” with this look of appreciation and recognition that I’m his mom- and he knew it just by looking at me and hearing my voice. We’ve waited a long time to meet each other, and with all the fertility treatments and extra time in addition to pregnancy, I think there was a special understanding that we’d finally done it- we finally got him here!
Jacob turned around and grabbed my phone while this was happening, and I’ll forever be grateful that the moment we met he was able to capture.
One kind of funny thing- shortly after we had checked in apparently two different nurses registered us, and I overheard one say, “There are two Whitings tonight, so be extra careful with those babies!” When we walked around I saw the name twice, but apparently they figured out both were us and had everything fixed by the time Mack came. This did not ease my fears of hospital mix ups though!
When they laid Mack on my chest and I stared at those big, beautiful, alert eyes I was pretty shocked to see very dark eyes. We don’t have dark eye genes on my side (green, blue, and in between as a hazel is all), and the Whiting family has all blue with a few hazel too. When I saw the dark eyes my first reaction was shock. I thought, “Oh no, they mixed up babies! This can’t be mine, he has dark eyes!” I know they change within the first year and what they are born with rarely sticks. I’m also seeing weeks later that they are flirting with a very deep blue shade. I guess time will tell, and Jacob does have a distant relative from Mexico with darker eyes, so maybe that one gene won out! But during his birth, had I not seen him come out of me and have him instantly placed on my chest I probably would have let the nurse know it wasn’t my baby! Good news, he is, and I’ll gladly keep his cute little self even if he ends up with eyes and hair and any other coloring that doesn’t match me or Jacob. We certainly have every hair color and skin color in our gene pools!
He weighed in at 7 lbs 11 ounces and was 21 inches long. He was healthy, he was happy, he took his shots like a champ and barely cried.
Any time he heard my voice or Jacob’s voice he calmed right down. The nurses commented what a good natured baby we had, and that he was sure extra cute for a minutes old baby! He had a cone head pretty bad a bruise on the back of his head from birth, but luckily most people don’t look back there, so he looked like a very good-looking, healthy newborn!
All I can say is I’ve never seen a doting father quite like Jacob! I’m glad I had my phone within reach when they took Mack to clean him up and do all the routine procedures so I can always remember the hovering, the smiles, the doting, and the absolute love on Jacob’s face.
They brought him back in only a diaper and hat for some skin to skin time. I have a whole post planned for the Kangaroo Care method and thoughts on that, but I’ll tell you know I’ll always treasure those first 30 minutes of time alone
After this they found one repercussion from the gestational diabetes- Mack had really low blood sugar even after some nursing time due to the lack of food I’d had during labor. In a way it worked out, even though I didn’t want to do formula, and I had to make sure he was okay, and he was able to have his dad feed him and bond with his dad instantly.
We were transferred to recovery pretty quickly after, and had the happiest child that we couldn’t stop staring at.
With the cutest small yet long feet ever! I didn’t want to ever forget these little things since I know one day I’ll have a tall skinny boy who will tower over me.
I felt blessed to have a pretty smooth delivery, with 13 hours of labor total. I had a healthy and happy baby, and we were left to enjoy a few magical days in the hospital where time stood still and it seemed there was just the three of us, with a few nurses here and there mixed in.
Beyond Dinner and a Movie
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