Today is our youngest son's 2nd birthday. In honor of his golden birthday (Two on 2-2!), I wanted to share his birth story. In my interactions with expectant mamas I try to just hit the high points of my personal labor experiences, but woke up this morning and thought it would be fun to share the full story of how our sweet, kind and cuddly boy came into this world 2 years ago.
My due date was February 1, 2016 and coincidentally in Denver we had a big snowstorm that day. So much snow, that early in the evening most of the Denver area schools, universities, and many businesses announced they would close on February 2. My husband is a teacher with Denver Public Schools and I worked at the University of Denver at the time, so we were all looking forward to a fun, snowy day at home with our oldest son.
But, our snow day held a different adventure for us.
I went into labor around 11pm on February 1. Since my first labor with our oldest son was so long (hello 36 hours!), I decided that I would be much smarter about how I conserved my energy and try to sleep in between contractions. I called my doula to let her know that my labor began and told her I'd keep her posted on how things were progressing through the night. Meanwhile outside, it was DUMPING snow! And - I love snow.
Contractions were coming about every 10 minutes and were quite manageable as long as I was standing. So, I would feel a contraction coming on, roll out of bed and sway, rock or lean on my dresser until it was done and then crawl back into bed and almost instantly fall back asleep. Repeat. Repeat. Repeat. I felt like I was managing really well, so I let my husband keep resting just in case labor ended up being really long like the first time.
When morning arrived, contractions were about 4 minutes apart. Once it was a decent hour, I called our doula again to give her the details. And, she told me that she was totally snowed in and would need to call her back-up doula. She set my mind at ease and said that I would totally love her back-up doula and that she would be with me in spirit (or via FaceTime)!
Then, we called St. Joe's Hospital to let them know that we were in labor and would be coming in at some point. I was prepared to labor at home a bit longer, as I felt like I still had a ways to go and didn't want to arrive way too early. But, with the crazy snow, they encouraged us to come in before rush hour began. Kind of begrudgingly, I agreed. So, I said a teary goodbye to my oldest son and my parents. That moment was the kind where you've been anticipating something for months, dreaming about what it would be like, then when it came you say - whoa, is this what is right for our family, can I do this again?! And, knowing that we would never again be our little family of three was a mix of emotions for sure! But, after a little pep talk from hubby once we got in the car, I was back on track emotionally.
It was a snowy drive across town that with the snow was about an extra 20 minutes more than normal. I tell ya friends - contractions in the car, ugh! I swear that is the worst part. We made it up to triage and met our doula. Fast friends, for sure! She made me feel immediately at ease and I was so happy she was there, even though our original doula was snowed in! Surprisingly, I was already at 8cm and 100% effaced. Awesome! Especially thinking that since contractions had been relatively easy at that point, I thought for sure we hadn't progressed that much. But, cool, I'll take it!
We got settled in the delivery room and met our nurses. I walked a bit, labored on the toilet, swayed, rocked and danced a bit to music. The atmosphere was light and happy. Laboring in the morning light with the sun coming in the windows was relaxing and calm, just like we hoped.
I progressed to 10 cm after about 2 hours, but my water still hadn't broke. This happened with my first labor and we had elected to wait that time around and let it happen on its own - which after almost 4 hours it never did. Not eager to repeat that again, we elected to have the doctor break my water and keep things moving.
Once that happened, there was definitely a lot of pressure and I knew we were getting closer to meeting our boy. But then, I got scared. I had to push for 4 hours with our first son and it is frankly not an experience I'd like to repeat. I remember looking at my husband and saying, I'm not sure I can do this again. Then, he said. "Take a minute, then go for it." It turns out, that exchange never happened verbally, but up until tonight when I had him read through this post before publishing, did I realize we had that conversation without any words at all.
At that point I was kneeling facing the back of the bed and just put my head down for a second. After what felt like 10 minutes - it could have been 30 seconds for all I know. I'm not sure. Then, I said to myself - F*$# this. I can do it. Then, I felt a really strong contraction coming on, got down from the bed and pushed as hard as I could. Our doctor took a peek and said, nice work, he's crowning. Three or four more strong efforts and then there he was, arriving at 10:56 a.m. on February 2. Our most precious, boy. The little human who completed our family.
We were blessed to be able to do immediate skin-to-skin and breastfeed. I had a minor tear they needed repair, but we got cozy and snuggled in and I tried not to worry about what was happening "down there." The nurses were saying he was a big boy and he sure was - 9 lb. 0 oz., just 5 oz. shy of our oldest son. Apparently, I grow big babies...
After some time, we made our way to the recovery room. I was so anxious to introduce our oldest son to the new baby. I'm almost certain that our older son was bigger, taller and older looking in the few short hours we were apart. Here's the first official family photo.
I certainly know that not everyone has the birth experience that they desire. We were blessed to have a normal and natural birth. In any birth experience, there are high points and low points, but regardless of how babies make their way into our world, it is amazing and beautiful. Birth creates mothers. Birth creates families. What could be better than that?
Want to share your birth story? Let me know if you'd like to do a guest post to share your experience!