Birth is something that I feel you can never truly prepare for. You can read all the books and hear all the stories from other moms, but it is an experience as unique as each baby. This is my story.
Thursday, April 20, 2017, Early Labor
I woke up about 5 am with some contractions, but to be honest I really didn’t think that they were the real thing. I tried to sleep through them as I wanted to get as much sleep as I could, but I finally could not get comfortable. So, I woke up Brandon and asked him to start tracking them for me. They were about 38 seconds apart and came about every 7 minutes.
I continued to track them until about 8:30, and they were still very consistent, so I called my doctor. We already had a doctor appointment scheduled at 1 pm that afternoon, so the nurse said to go ahead and come to our appointment.
I went ahead and did things as I normally would. I ate breakfast, then I took a shower and got ready for the day. Brandon and I watched some TV and ate lunch and then we were off to the doctor appointment.
In the car, the contractions started coming every 4 minutes and lasting about 40 seconds. But I still could talk and laugh and breath through them fairly easily. When we got to the doctor office at 1, they were feeling a little more intense, but I was able to wait in the waiting room and continue with our appointment as usual. When the doctor came in, I told him how close the contractions were, and he checked me to see if I had dilated. He told me I was already dilated to 4 centimeters, so he said that we should go ahead and get admitted to the hospital. The nurse came in with a wheel chair, and we were off.
At the Hospital
We got to our room and the nurse had me get into a gown and hooked me up to some monitors. The worse part of early labor was when they tried to insert an IV. It took three nurses and left me with three sore spots and later bruises in both arms.
I gave the nurse my birth plan, and she was very excited to see that I wanted to do things as natural as possible. Our nurses name was Heather, she was an awesome lady, she gave me several very helpful tips throughout the process and only came in periodically to check on my and baby’s vitals.
I tried several positions to feel comfortable and the best position seemed to be sitting upright with my ankles crossed on the lowered bed in front of me. Breathing through the contractions and holding Brandon’s hand seemed to work best for relaxation. Brandon would also talk me through the contractions which helped me to focus and keep them under control. Once things started getting more intense Brandon also recited some scriptures to me to help me relax and focus on the Lord instead of the pain.
Contractions continued to get more intense, but I don’t feel like they ever got much closer together. It took me about 20 hours to get to a full dilated 10 centimeters. I walked a little bit, took a bath in the Jacuzzi tub and sat on a birth ball to help things progress.
Friday, April 21, 2017, The Pushing Stage
Finally, I started to feel the urge to push. I asked the nurse to let me try the squatting bar, and I tried pushing like that for about an hour. Things progressed a little bit, but baby hadn’t moved down the birth canal much. The doctor came in to check me and said I might be having some back labor, so he told me to lay with my head down and my bottom up in the air. This position was very uncomfortable, and I kept begging them to let me get back up. After what seemed like forever, I thought I felt my water break, but it turns out that baby just moved and pushed against my bladder. So, the doctor asked if I would like them to break my water to help things progress, I said yes. After my water broke, I continued to push for another two hours. Baby moved a little bit but was still not crowning. The doctor asked if I wanted him to try to assist. I agreed and the doctor placed a little suction cup on baby’s head and the doctor tried to help pull when I pushed. After a couple tries, the doctor finally told me the news I didn’t want to hear, baby isn’t coming, I think we are going to have to take him by C-section.
My heart sunk as I looked at Brandon and told him I really didn’t want one, but I was so tired and in so much pain. I appreciate my doctor so much because I know that he truly wanted to give me the opportunity to do it naturally. Even after I agreed that a C-section probably was the best choice, he let me continue to try to push and even tried to assist me.
The time leading up to the C-section was the worst part of the whole labor. First, they said that they forgot to take blood, so they had to take blood, and we had to wait for the lab to get the results back. Then they wanted me to sign a bunch of paperwork all while I was having pushing contractions. They finally came in and wheeled me into the surgery room to get the anesthesia. They told me that Brandon would have to wait outside while they did this. It seemed like forever before the doctor could get the anesthesia in the right place. I had to sit on a flat table and was told to hold completely still. I was still having contractions, and I could feel baby in the birth canal. I felt bad for the poor nurse that held me as I clung to her to keep from moving when a contraction came.
Finally, the anesthesia started to work, and I was numb from the waist down and I was able to lay flat. I felt nervous, but such great relief to be free of all the pain. after a few minutes, Brandon was back in the room dressed in scrubs and by my side again. I didn’t feel any pain, but I could feel tugging and pressure. It only took a few moments, and I heard our baby cry. They pulled down the curtain, so I could see our perfect baby boy with lots of dark hair and a super chubby body. I started crying and looked at Brandon to see him crying as well.
Samuel David Bellows
Samuel David Bellows was born at 4 am April 21, 2017. He was 9lbs, 3oz and 22 inches long. He was perfect. They took him over to a table, so Brandon could cut his cord. They took him away only for a few moments, but Brandon was with him the whole time. Then they brought him over to me, so Brandon and I could hold him and just look at him. It was the most amazing thing to see this tiny creature for the first time after carrying him for 9 months. It didn’t seem real. It was true that all the pain was worth it and yes, I would do it again (but hopefully not for a couple years LOL).
After they finished stitching me up, I was rolled into a recovery room and was able to nurse Samuel for the first time. He did great, he latched on without any trouble. He has been good at eating ever since. He likes to eat as much as possible.
Recovery and Healing
Recovery from the C-section was hard. I had good pain medications, so it wasn’t bad the first day. I was not allowed to leave my bed the first day and adjusting in bed was painful because it would pull on the staples. Thankfully I could hold and feed Samuel, but Brandon was left with diaper changes and rocking him if he got upset.
I feel very fortunate because healing has come very fast for me. It is only two weeks since the C-section and birth and I don’t even need any pain medications and my stomach has gone down to almost it’s former size. The hardest part of the recovery for me has been an emotional one. The first few days after birth, I was having a lot of thoughts of regret that I should have done more to be able to push Samuel out naturally. I felt like a failure. Thankfully, I have an awesome Husband and best friend who reassured me that I did nothing wrong, and I shouldn’t feel like I had failed. They also prayed, and I prayed and the Lord was faithful to help me through it. Samuel and I were both healthy and that is all that matters.
Adjusting to motherhood has been hard and I have cried a lot, but I really love being a mother. I know that it is an amazing calling from God to have the chance to raise this little person. So, even though my birth did not go exactly as I planned, it went the way God knew it would, and I am happy to have had the opportunity to carry a child in my womb and give birth to a healthy baby boy. Motherhood is a gift, and I look forward to all the things God will teach me through it and all the joy that it will bring.