As I sit here typing this, my four week old son sleeps soundly next to me. I still have several moments each day when I can’t believe that he is here with us and he’s OURS. I always love reading birth stories and wanted to make sure that I write down our experience before I forget it, so I thought I would tell you about how Liam came into the world.
I carried him to 41 weeks. We decided at my doctor appointment that day that we would head into the hospital that evening to start the process of bringing him into the world through induction. I didn’t have any reservations about being induced and my doctor did a great job of setting my expectations, which I appreciated. For my entire pregnancy, I kept my expectations low about things. Not in a negative, “things aren’t going to go well” way, but more in a “I’ve never done this and don’t have control over these things, so why set myself up to be disappointed by creating expectations that may not be met” way. That’s how I see a lot of things in life and it has served me well to this point, so that remained true through my labor and delivery of Liam. Ultimately, my two goals for birth were: to get him out safely and for both of us to be healthy. However that was going to happen, I was going to roll with it and take it as it came, one step at a time.
I left that doctor appointment at about 4pm, being told that I’d receive a call sometime after 7pm letting us know the hospital had a bed for us. It was a surreal few hours, just waiting for the moment that this huge life milestone would start. I showered, double-checked everything in my hospital bag, ate a big dinner, and ran the vacuum around the house. We got the call at about 9:30 that we should head to the hospital in an hour, so Mike and I gathered our things, got dressed, and prepared to leave.
The drive over was peaceful and calm. Mike put on some worship music and we just rode quietly. I didn’t feel nervous, more excited to get the process started and see what would unfold over the next several hours and days. We got into our room that evening and got set up. Because I was only 1cm dilated, they did some things to get me dilated overnight, so that we could start the induction in the morning. We spent most of that night taking catnaps and chatting with the nurses that would come in and check on me.
By about 7am or so, I had gotten to 4cm, so they were ready to start my Pitocin drip and get things rolling. Mike and I spent a lot of time dozing in and out of sleep for much of that day. We’d prepped for our hospital stay by downloading a bunch of shows and bringing things to do, but ended up just sleeping or chatting when we were awake. I had started contracting soon after the Pitocin started, but it felt just like strong menstrual cramps and my belly tightening, so it wasn’t bad. The contractions slowly got stronger and I continued dilating over the next few hours. Since my water didn’t break on its own, that was something that the doctor came in to do for me. After that experience, let me just say I’m very glad that my water didn’t spontaneously break…it was a lot of fluid!
After some more time passed, my contractions eventually got to the point of being true labor contractions, having to close my eyes and slowly breathe through them. Mike sat across from me and let me squeeze his hand while I breathed through them and they passed. Not long after those started, the anesthesiologist came to give me my epidural. The warmth and tingling set in quickly and I was much more comfortable.
Our doctor came in at one point and let us know that by time I get to 7cm dilated, things can move pretty quickly, and boy was he right about that! I remember when the nurse checked me and let me know that I’d reached that mark. They put me in some positions in my bed to help get Liam to descend and get his head as close to my cervix as possible. Less than an hour later, I had dilated to a 9.5, they could feel his head and they brought in everything they’d need for delivery. They prepped Liam’s little station, got all the tools and gadgets the doctor would need, and got my bed prepped for me to push. My doctor came in shortly after and let me know what I can expect to feel and how I will know that it is “go time”. I don’t remember feeling nervous – honestly, I don’t feel like I had much time to really think about what was happening. It was at this time that things got real for Mike. Seeing them get everything prepped and putting me in position to push and deliver was the, “oh this is really happening and it’s happening now” moment for both of us.
Next thing we knew, I was at a 10 and it was time for me to start pushing. Mike came up by my head and the nurse gave him instructions on what he can do for me during the next hour (or more) while pushing. He was put in charge of counting through my pushes, which led to a few laughs. He started out counting too slow, which I playfully reprimanded him for, and then counted a little too fast, which the nurse offered some correction on. I would imagine that would be a bit of a difficult task, since he’s having to count while watching me push. It was just the three of us for the first 30-40 minutes. When I think back on it, it was a calm and peaceful time. Mike and the nurse would be chatting and I would feel the contraction come on and pull myself up from behind my knees. He would count through the pushes, the nurse encouraging me along the way, and I would relax back into the bed until the next one came.
Once that bit of time had passed, we were ready for the doctor to come in! From here on out is a bit of a blur. I was tired and really focused on pushing and breathing, so I kept my eyes closed for most of the next 20-30 minutes. It also helped me to be able to focus on what the doctor and nurses were saying in terms of progress, as well as listening to Mike’s encouraging words in my ear.
And then the moment we’d been working towards finally came…our baby boy was born! The doctor lifted him up above my belly, patted his feet to get him to cry (it took a few seconds, but then we heard that glorious sound!), and laid him right down on me. I couldn’t believe that I was looking at and touching our very own baby. And that he was just inside of me! It was surreal and hard to believe. Shortly after that, the nurse took Liam over to his little station in the room to check everything and get his measurements, Mike following behind to get a good look at him and soak it all in.
She brought him back over to me and I got to finally get a good look at him and hear his little cries right by my head. Those first moments that we shared as a family of three are some of the most precious, cherished memories I have. We cried, we stared at him in wonder, and we talked about how crazy that entire experience was!
Shortly after all of that, we gathered our things and moved into our recovery room in another wing of the hospital. We spent the next 36 hours or so there, getting to know each other and figuring out our new life together.
At around noon on Thursday, we got the all clear to head home with our sweet babe in tow. We were greeted at home by my parents and sister, which was a special time for our family.
And then I blinked and he’s already four weeks old and I can’t believe it. Time is a thief and he’s already growing up too fast!
Photos by Jordan Maunder