A few weeks ago, our lives changed forever. David and I welcomed our baby boy, Finn Ryan to the world the morning of May 19, 2016. I’ve been devouring every moment he’s been here for the past month or so. I am already seeing changes in his little face and his demeanor and I realize that I don’t want to forget a single moment of our time together. I am taking eight weeks off from work and it’s already going by too fast. I’m already feeling nostalgic for the two days we spent in the hospital getting to know our little guy and the first few moments we spent with him in our home. I never want to forget the moment Juneau met his little brother and how gentle he became when he realized there was a new member of our pack.
I’ve also had my moments of frustration, no doubt fueled by exhaustion and hormones. No amount of advice or mental preparedness can get you ready for the physical and emotional changes that happen in the first few days postpartum. Thankfully, I have a wonderful mother who spent the first week of Finn’s life with us. Plus, I have a wonderfully supportive husband who has taken to being a father quite well.
In hopes that I don’t ever forget the first few moment’s of Finn’s life, I want to tell the story of his birth. I can honestly say I’ve never done anything so terrifying, so painful, and so incredible before and I doubt I ever will again.
Finn’s Birth Story
On Wednesday evening, David and I were sitting on the couch looking up flights to Denver. (We are headed out that way at the end of June to visit my sisters, their men, and my niece!) All of sudden, I felt like I had peed my pants. I ran to the bathroom and thought I had lost control of my bladder. I wasn’t convinced my water had broken even though I was just three days shy of my due date. Statistics say that only 10 percent of women’s water break prior to going into labor so I didn’t believe I would be in the minority. I changed my pajama pants and went back to the couch. About an hour later, I started Google-ing “what does it feel like when your water breaks?” and realized I should probably call the doctor.
I called my OB around 9:30pm and he told me to head to the hospital so they could check to see if I my water had broken. I hung up with him, had David pack up our stuff, hugged Juneau, and we got in the car to go. I don’t think I said two words on the ride to the hospital. I was nervous that they would send me home, and I was even more nervous they would they would have to admit me.
Immediately after we arrived, we met the sweetest nurse named Gabby. She and David starting chatting and I sat on the table silently. She tested to see if my water broke, and the test came back inconclusive! She called in the doctor, and he ran another test, and finally he told me that, indeed, I was going to be admitted.
I had told Gabby that I wanted to do this thing as naturally as possible, but the doctor had other plans. He told me I was an infection risk so they wanted to start labor as soon as possible. I was contracting, but nothing serious. I convinced him to give me a few hours to get my labor started and he agreed. That was around 11pm.
For the next two hours, I paced the hallways of the labor and delivery unit of the hospital to get things going. I sent David to the room to get some sleep knowing I would need him well rested in the next few hours. (Cute story: Gabby noticed my tattoo on my foot that says “eleven” so she put us in room 11. She was the cutest!)
Unfortunately, at 1am, my contractions hadn’t progressed enough for the doctor’s liking, so I was induced with Pitocin. I was strapped to monitors and had to stay in bed, exactly the opposite of how I wanted to deliver my baby.
I was able to get about two hours of sleep before the medicine really kicked in and my contractions started to hurt. I woke David up and told him I needed him. The contractions were strong and about a minute apart so Gabby didn’t increase the pitocin again. I ended up getting about half as much as a typical dose from what I understood.
Around 7am my contractions got so bad I couldn’t sit in bed any longer. I wanted to get into the tub, but since I was connected to the monitor, Gabby had to get the portable one. It seemed like every minute I was contracting lasted forever, and the minute in between flew by. I got in the tub and started to feel like I had to push. It was beginning to get unbearable. I was so headstrong and did not want to get more drugs, but the induction had pushed me over the edge.
It was about the same time when Gabby’s shift ended and we were greeted by a new nurse, Danielle. I begged David for an epidural, but I had prepped him well and told him that no matter what I say, he wasn’t allowed to let me get one. It must have been something I said or the way I looked at him, but he finally realized I was serious. Ten minutes later the anesthesiologist was brought in.
I never thought I would say this, but I couldn’t be happier with my choice to get an epidural. When the doctor walked in, I was emotional and irrational. I yelled at him to “hurry up” with the drugs. As soon as the medicine started working, I was relaxed, calm, and excited for the first time since labor had begun. It even helped me dilate quicker and I was ready to push.
The “pushing” process began around 8:15am. The doctor came in and told me that Danielle would be helping through the next few hours while he performed a c-section. Danielle was phenomenal and so supportive. David was even better – he held my leg and fed me apple juice through the entire thing. Around 10:15am, the doctor came back in to see my progress. I was further along then he thought I would be and he admitted he still hadn’t performed the c-section! Danielle was so confused and we all laughed about it. She reassured me that she was prepared to catch the baby if she needed to.
A half hour later, Danielle checked in with the doctor, but he still had about a 30 minutes to go in surgery. She told me to stop pushing for the time being, but the baby’s heartbeat started to slow a bit so instead of waiting, they paged another doctor from clinic to come to our room. The doctor they sent in had just started with the clinic that week! But she was absolutely amazing. From the moment she walked in the room she was calm and excited for us.
Finn Ryan was born at 11:17am. He weighed 8lbs 6oz and was 20 3/4 inches long. He laid on my chest crying for about an hour after he was born while David and I cried with each other and stared at our beautiful boy.
Parenthood is daunting, but somehow we’ve gotten through a month and we are still enjoying ourselves!