Smith's Birth Story
I can’t believe I’m here … about to write Smith’s birth story. Something that I felt like at times would never come. It’s surreal at times that he’s actually HERE! I remember sitting here at the same desk, typing at the same laptop, with tears flowing down my cheeks as I blogged about our miscarriages. I also remember the excitement and utter fear of posting about our pregnancy announcement several months later. And now, here I am, getting to reminisce and share with you all about one of the best days of our lives — the day that Smith joined our family.
This baby’s (we didn’t find out the gender) technical due date was Friday, June 28th. The three weeks leading up to this date, I was getting labor symptoms off and on, and I was convinced I was going to have him any day. Preterm labor was a concern the entire pregnancy due to a large subchorionic hematoma that was discovered when I started bleeding badly at 13 weeks, so to actually have made it full term was a surprise to me and also an incredible blessing (even though I was more than anxious for our baby to arrive)! I started spotting at 37 weeks, which I remember having with my daughter, Reese, the day I went into labor. I told my husband that I would be surprised if I was still pregnant in a week. Well, a week came and went, and another week came and went … and still no baby. I continued to spot off and on throughout the next couple weeks, I had a few different nights where I started to get contractions consistently enough that I wondered if we should head to the hospital, only for them to fizzle out. It was so different than my experience with both my other kids. I was induced with Hunter due to preeclampsia, and with Reese, I had no signs of labor until her due date when she came flying out and I barely made it to the hospital in time. The continual signs of labor with nothing happening was mentally starting to wear on me, and I was convinced this baby was never going to come.
I went to my 39 week appointment on a Monday and requested that my midwife sweep my membranes. She said the baby still was fairly high and wasn’t in position for anything to happen anytime soon. I left feeling discouraged and decided to keep myself super busy that week to distract myself. Fast forward to Wednesday … I had a great day with Hunter and Reese. We went to the library, got happy meals at McDonald’s, and enjoyed the day just the three of us.
Later that day, I was sitting at my desk finishing up some emails and workouts for clients. I returned a phone call to my stepmom who had tried to call me the day before. She immediately asked, “Are you on the way to the hospital?” I replied, “Oh no, I’m sure it won't be for another week at this point.” She told me she was on the phone with my dad and would call me back in a little bit to finish our conversation. Meanwhile, Cody was trying to call me so I tried to call him back. As I was talking to him, I stood up and I started leaking fluid right in the middle of my kitchen floor. I said, “I think my water just broke.” He responded in disbelief. As I started walking to the bathroom, I said, “Yep, my water definitely just broke.” There was a trail of water following me around the house, so I decided to just park it on the toilet until he got home (he was only about 10 minutes from home at this point). My kids were so confused and kept asking me why I was peeing all over the floor. Haha! I felt so frazzled and anxious, so I took a deep breath and tried my best to explain to them in kid language what was going on. I called my midwife, and she explained that some women’s contractions pick up right away while others’ take awhile after their water breaks. She suggested I try to take a nap, and I laughed and said no way! I had tons of water leaking out of me, and I barely made it to the hospital with Reese after my water broke, so I felt best about getting to the hospital sooner rather later.
Cody made it home shortly after, helped me clean up the mess, we packed up the car, and called our friends to meet us at the hospital so they could take our kids. At this point, I could feel my stomach starting to tighten more and assumed that contractions would pick up fairly quickly. We checked into the hospital at about 6:30pm. As I was checking in, I had a big puddle under me as I stood at the check-in desk. I kept apologizing for making such a mess, and they told me I wasn’t the first person to do it. I knew this, but I still felt bad! They took us back to a room, got all of my information, and suggested I start walking around to get things rolling.
Two hours later, nothing was happening. I asked what my options were, and my midwife suggested a little pill called Cytotec to help encourage the cervix to contract. It wasn’t as intense as Pitocin, but was supposed to help kickstart things. My midwife and nurse were convinced it’d do the trick for me since Reese came so fast, and they both told me I’d most likely have the baby by morning. Contractions picked up slightly, but nothing that warranted an epidural or made me feel like things were progressing. They could give me a new dosage of Cytotec every four hours, so four hours later, I got another dose with the reassurance that “this should do it”. Once again, I felt contractions pick up a bit, but then they fizzled out. By this time, it was the middle of the night and I was exhausted. The contractions were strong enough that I couldn’t sleep through them, but not strong enough to make any sort of progression. The nurse told me with each dosage of Cytotec, it should bring on stronger contractions. So, while I was starting to grow weary of waiting and experiencing contractions that didn’t seem to go anywhere, I tried to remain hopeful.
Finally, about 24 hours after my water broke, my midwife and I agreed that Pitocin was our best option at this point. Ideally, they want the baby delivered within 24 hours of your water breaking due to risk of infection. Initially I was against the Pitocin because I didn’t have a great experience with it with Hunter, and not to mention, it’s intense stuff. But, I was desperate to get this baby out, and I also didn’t want to increase our chances of infection. We started the Pitocin at about 5:00pm, and I got an epidural shortly afterward. I told myself that I’d definitely be getting an epidural if I needed to do Pitocin because I know how intense Pitocin contractions are compared to natural contractions. I’m not a fan of needles at all, so getting the epidural definitely wasn’t a favorite moment for me. But, once it kicked in and I was laughing with Cody through contractions, I knew it was the right decision. The epidural started to wear off a couple hours later, so the anesthesiologist gave me another dose of it. At this point, it took the numbness to a whole new level, and I didn’t really love it. I literally felt like I had no bottom half of my body. I started to get a little anxious that I wouldn’t be able to feel anything when it was time to push. A couple hours later, the epidural started to wear off again and I started to feel pressure and an urge to push. The contractions were starting to get painful, and I was moaning and squeezing Cody’s hand through each one. My midwife discouraged me from getting another dosage of the epidural because she wanted me to be able to have control when I was pushing, which I’m glad she encouraged me to go this route even though the pain got to be pretty brutal toward the end.
Finally, it was time to push! I honestly feel like this is such a hard part for me in labor. It takes so much mental and physical strength! But at this point, I was so ready for our baby to be here, that I was determined to get him/her out as soon as possible. My nurse and midwife were amazing at coaching me through each contraction. Cody held my hand and did a great job at encouraging me. I pushed the baby out in five contractions, and he was actually born IN THE SAC! I was shocked. This is a very rare occurrence, not to mention, I thought my water (i.e. sac) had broken?! My midwife explained I most likely had what they call a “forsac”, which is essentially a smaller sac attached to the main sac. The forsac is likely what broke, but my contractions weren’t picking up because my main sac hadn’t broke. I had never heard of this happening before, so I was amazed by all of it! Not to mention, seeing your baby come out in the sac is the coolest and craziest thing to witness! As soon as the baby came out, they opened the sac, and apparently Cody announced it was a boy, but I swear I never heard him. Ha! I think I was in my own little world for a minute. They handed me the baby, and I looked at Cody and said, “It’s a BOY!” I burst into tears and snuggled him.
It was surreal that our baby was in my arms. In this moment, he was wide eyed, super alert, and latched right on to nurse. Cody and I sat there enamored with our new baby boy. After about an hour or so, they took him to get weighed and measured. He weighed 7 pounds 14 ounces and measured 21 inches long.
Our double rainbow baby. Our incredible blessing. The baby I wondered if I would ever hold. He is here. Thank you God. We love you Smith Alexander. Always and forever.