I still can’t quite believe I’m sitting down to write my baby boy’s birth story. Also warning: this is a LONG post. I didn’t have time to write a shorter one. 🙂
OK, onto the nitty gritty. I wanted to make sure to share baby Gray’s birth story sooner rather than later because I know that with time, mom brain will get the best of me and I’ll forget some of small details. And since it’s my last babe, I don’t want to forget a single thing. I want to capture it forever, right here on this page, so I can come back and read it when he’s off to explore the world. (Yes, still very hormonal. Cue the tears.)
I shared a lot of the day to day during this pregnancy on my Instagram Stories, and the day I went into labor was no different.
My water broke at home with both girls, so I wasn’t sure I would know when I was in labor. (You guys all convinced me not to worry and that I would definitely know.)
I had been having Braxton Hicks for months (I swear they start earlier with each pregnancy), but at the end, they started getting more painful and not just a tightening feeling. In the last few days before I went into labor, I was having contractions that would wake me up in the middle of the night. They were regular for a few hours, and then would stop.
The day I went into labor, I’d had my 39 week appointment that morning. Like the week prior, I asked my Dr to strip my membranes, hoping that would get things started. (Safe to say it worked.)
Since I’m over 35 (like almost 40), my Dr. had me do a Non Stress Test every week starting at 36 weeks. The test monitors baby’s heart rate and movement and makes sure everything is ok in there. It can also track contractions, and the monitor showed I was having contractions every 2 minutes or so. They weren’t painful, but I could definitely feel them. But, I was only dilated 2cm, so I wasn’t in active labor.
Everything looked good with baby boy, so off I went.
My oldest girl was starting 4k that day, and I was racing against the clock to make it to her preschool to see her off into her classroom. As I was driving the 20 minute drive to her preschool from the hospital, I could feel my contractions getting stronger. They still weren’t horribly painful, but they were enough to notice and I winced a little through each one.
I made it to her preschool right as she was getting ready to walk into the classroom. Yay. As I was walking/running in, the contractions made me stop in my tracks in the hall. I remember telling my friend “I’m pretty sure I’m in labor…”
Thankfully, my mom was at our house helping with Evy and I was able to rest as soon as I got back home. I crawled into bed and hopped on Instagram Stories (natch) to share my update. I wanted to see if lying down would help relieve the contractions. Well, it didn’t. They kept coming, stronger and stronger now. I decided I should probably track them to see what I was dealing with. Here’s a screenshot of the app I used…
They were coming on fast and furious, and I started to realize this was it. I texted my mom “I think I’m in labor.” She had walked into town to sit and read at a cafe, but thankfully she saw my text right away and skedaddled on home.
I texted my husband the same thing, and YOU GUYS. I waited for like 15 minutes.
The man had been on call for weeks. Since both of our girls came early (Harper almost a week and Evy 3 weeks early), I had assumed this baby would be as early, or even earlier. So pretty much anytime my husband was out of my eyesight, I would say “Make sure you have your phone on! This could be the day!”
I was like the pregnant woman who called wolf for weeks.
And of course, the day it happened, not only did I not shout a warning as he walked out the door, but he was in an uber important serious meeting an hour away and didn’t have his phone on him.
So, I can’t get ahold of my husband. My mom is on her way home from town. My oldest is at preschool and will get out in an hour. And my littlest is taking a nap.
Thankfully, our cleaning lady comes every Monday and was there. She also watches the girls, so I asked her if she would mind staying with the girls until my mom could come back. Then, my mom went to pick up Harper from preschool early while I got my things together to go to the hospital.
OK, everything was working out. Except…I still couldn’t get ahold of my husband.
My mom and I loaded into her car and started the drive to the hospital. It’s about 20 minutes away – which is actually only like 6 miles away, but the drive seems to takes forever. (Especially when you’re in labor.) It’s through residential neighborhoods and down Sheridan Rd on the North Shore.
Oh, and guess what? We got stuck behind a school bus.
So every few yards, the bus would stop. And so would we.
And remember how I told you it’s the first day of school? Well, turns out parents like to chat with the bus drivers on the first day of school. And they like to take pictures of their sweet kids getting off the bus on the first day of school.
Don’t get me wrong. I will 100% be that parent one day soon.
BUT. There I was: in labor and having contractions every minute or so, unable to get ahold of my husband, and stuck behind a school bus and chatty parents.
My mom and I actually laughed.
Thankfully, the bus eventually turned off Sheridan and we were on our way. I was still frantically trying to get ahold of my husband. 15 missed calls. Calls to his office and his Director Of Operations. They were still in the meeting, so no answer.
We got to the hospital and got all checked in. I still wasn’t 100% sure this was it – I think because my water hadn’t broken yet like it did with my girls. So, I was half expecting to be sent home, while praying that they wouldn’t send me home. I was SO ready to meet my boy and be done with this pregnancy.
I got all hooked up to the machines to track mine and baby’s heart rate and my contractions. They were still about 1-2 minutes apart.
After an hour or so, my contractions started to die down. I was so bummed! Also, this had happened both times before. It’s like my body needs help fully going into labor. A jumpstart. But before, my water had broken so I had to stay.
I talked with my Dr (who was on call that day and night – YAY), and we decided that my contractions were painful and regular enough that there was no way I could go home and rest. And since I was 39 weeks and we had planned to induce in a few days anyway, it made sense to stay there and have a baby.
And guess what? I got ahold of my husband! He was an hour away, but since things had slowed down, it looked like he was going to make it. Things were looking up.
I didn’t want to start Pitocin yet, so we decided to go for a walk. My mom and I walked the halls of the hospital. I love this memory. We walked through the gift shop, stopping every few minutes when a contraction came, and looked at the knick knacks. We talked about the first time we had walked the halls – 5 years ago when I was pregnant with my first girl. I loved that she was there with me this time, too – for my last pregnancy. Full circle.
The latest in hospital chic.
We got back to the room to see if walking had helped the contractions become stronger and more regular.
Nope, I still needed help. It was time to break my water and start Pitocin. And having been on Pitocin without an epidural with my first girl, I knew I wanted the epidural. Like, NOW.
At this time, I was dilated about 4cm. So, I was definitely progressing on my own.
Some time later, they come to give me my epidural. And right at that moment, my husband comes in. Yay! Let the show begin. Mom goes back to stay with the girls, and my husband settles in.
This is when it starts getting surreal for me.
It happens every time. I went into it this time wanting to be aware and remember everything. But, I think this is a thing. It’s like our brains can’t fathom the significance of what is happening, so we go into some sort of safety mode. Or mama protection mode.
Even though I’d done it twice before, getting the epidural is so nerve-wracking. But, it goes off without a hitch and we’re good to go.
My Dr comes in to check on me and break my water. I start Pitocin.
The last bump photo. Huge and happy.
And then, we wait. And this is the part I LOVE. I loved it with my last pregnancy, too. Finally, after months of aches and pains and feeling awful, I feel damn good. I’m dreamy and tired, and beside myself with gratitude and excitement. My husband is with me. Our girls are safe at home. The waiting and anticipation is almost over. We made it. The hard part is over.
I’m not sure how much time passed. It’s all a blur. I think it was a few hours. I know that they had to up my Pitocin a few times because my contractions kept stalling. The same thing happened the last two times, so it was all good.
I remember being dilated about 5cm, and telling my Dr that I progress quickly after that. She said that’s common and that baby will probably be here soon.
It felt like 15 minutes (but was probably more), and I started feeling pressure like I had to push. (If you know, you know.) I couldn’t believe it was already time, so I waited until I felt it again.
Yep. There it was. I called the nurses and said I think I have to push.
My Dr and the nurses came in. She checked me and I was 10cm. It was time!
I started shaking and getting nervous. I couldn’t believe it was time. It was like I was outside of my body. It didn’t feel real. He was almost here. My husband held my hand and said he was so proud of me. I was proud of me, too. We did it.
Some pushes and 20ish (?) minutes later, he was here.
And he was perfect.
A few more Drs were there because they suspected there was meconium (poop in the womb) and they wanted to make sure he didn’t inhale it. So they had to check that quickly right after he was born. It felt like forever, because I just wanted my baby, but it was probably less than a minute.
After making sure he was fine, they gave him to me for skin to skin. They laid him on my chest and he picked his little head up and looked at me before settling in.
7 pounds 4 ounces, 20.9 inches long
Daddy and his baby boy.
He wanted to nurse right away, so I let him nurse for about 30 minutes or so. Then, my husband got to do skin to skin with him. (Which is probably one of my most favorite memories ever.)
It was almost midnight now, and we were ready to get to our recovery room, settle in for the night and start our life with our newest family member.
Happy and exhausted after 9 hours of labor.
The next morning and start of our first full day with Baby Gray.
Party of five.