Birthday: Sunday August 20th, 2017 at 7:29AM
Weight: 7 pounds, 15 ounces
Length: 21.5 inches
Weeks Pregnant: 39W, 1D
Clifford’s Birth Story:
Saturday August 19th was a pretty busy day. I woke up with a crazy need to clean, so I scrubbed our bathroom top to bottom, vacuumed the whole house, and straightened up in every room (in hindsight, obviously nesting). After my cleaning sesh, my husband snapped a photo of me to mark my 39th week (above) before we ran some errands and took the dog for a walk on a nearby trail. That night we went to A La Carte at the Milwaukee Zoo and walked until my muscles hurt! On the way home, I joked that if all the walking I did that day didn’t put me into labor, nothing would and baby wasn’t ready. Around 9:30 I started getting period-like cramps and they were pretty regular but they didn’t hurt and were 5 minutes apart. In my mind, this couldn’t be labor because I had cramps like this before and I assumed real contractions that close together would hurt really bad. I was also a week early! Over the next hour and half, they started to get pretty uncomfortable and my husband started to ask if we should go to the hospital. I thought about calling the nurse on call to ask. I decided to hop in the shower because I read that false labor pains would go away with a change in position or a soothing bath/shower. Minutes after getting into the shower, I was doubling over in pain. I hadn’t even lathered up when I decided to get out and put on clothes, because we were definitely going to the hospital. I threw on some sweats, we grabbed our hospital bags (ignoring the list I had made of additional things that needed to be added last minute, like our toothbrushes!), and with dripping wet hair I B-lined for the car.
On the drive to the hospital the cramps quickly got worse and now they were only 2 minutes apart. I told my husband that if this was false labor, I was scared to experience the real thing because this was pretty uncomfortable. When we got to the hospital, I was admitted right away and taken to a labor and delivery room. They strapped me to the monitors and I was definitely having contractions, so they told us we were going to have a baby! I was so excited, but also in so much pain. By this point I was asking about an epidural and felt like a huge baby for already asking for one, but I was practically biting my husband’s hand! My nurse kept reminding me to breathe through each contraction and I was starting to have trouble doing that. When they checked me we were all surprised to learn that I was already 6 cm. I instantly got nervous that I wouldn’t be able to get an epidural because things were progressing so quickly, but the nurse said the anesthesiologist was ready as soon as we were. I guess that’s the beauty of being in labor late at night. It was a quiet night! I was so so happy when the anesthesiologist walked into the room because by then I had thrown up from the pain and was starting to writhe.
Once I got the epidural, I was on cloud 9. I couldn’t feel a thing! It was pretty awesome. Now I was ready to snap a labor selfie (above) and hang out until it was time to meet my baby! They told us that because it was my first, it would probably be several hours until I had to start pushing, so my husband said now that I was comfortable, he would head home to get a few things that we had forgot. About 15 minutes after my husband left, I was checked again and found to be at 9.5cm! Clearly I was not following the textbook “first-time-mom” labor timeline. My husband hadn’t even made it to the house yet when I told him to turn around and come back because I was almost complete.
Now we were just waiting for two things: my doctor to have a free moment to come check me (he was in another delivery), or my water to break. It ended up being a while, so my husband crashed on the couch while I was told to try to get some rest before it was time to push (ummm yea right…I was way too excited!). I watched some Netflix on my phone to try to relax and eventually did get a little nap in, until I was woken up by a couple of nurses wanting to check on me again. My temperature had elevated so I was checked a lot to monitor it (nothing ever came of that, so I’m not sure why I had a slight fever), then I was told the baby was too inactive and to drink some cranberry juice to get him to wake up. It’s pretty impossible to sleep with machines beeping and nurses coming in and out all of the time. To add to my insomnia, I started to feel contractions again at one point during the night. They weren’t nearly as bad as before, but just uncomfortable enough that I couldn’t sleep through them. I topped off the epidural a couple of times and it did nothing, so the anesthesiologist came back in to give me a little something extra. I’m not sure what it was but I literally couldn’t feel my legs AT ALL and it made me woozy, so that freaked me out. Luckily that stuff wore off, and at this point I didn’t care if I could feel my contractions again, as long as that drug was out of my system.
Then my water broke! A couple of nurses came in to check to see if my water broke, and actually broke it on accident in the process. I was now officially complete! Yay! Now we were just waiting to “labor down”, in the hopes of decreasing the amount of time I would have to push. I was told to buzz them when I could feel pressure as this meant baby was on his way. I never experienced this “pressure” (until he was almost out), just worsening contractions, so around 6AM my doctor and nurse came in and told me we would start pushing during each contraction to see how I would progress. I pushed for an hour and felt like nothing was happening since I was numb, but the nurse and doctor told me I was doing really well and they could see him! Pushing was really tiring and pretty nauseating in the beginning. I threw up again…this time the cranberry juice! Ha! But I had been having horrible reflex with every push so once that was out of me I felt SO much better and was ready to really give pushing my all.
At 7AM, my awesome nurse and doctors’ shifts were over and I was so bummed! At this point though the pressure and urge to push was so intense that I really just needed someone to cheer me on and help me count to 10! What was kind of cool was that pushing felt really good now. Letting a contraction go by without pushing was so uncomfortable. Every time one came along, pushing was a major relief. It’s amazing how the body works. My husband telling me he could see our son’s head and that it was full of hair made me push even harder too. I couldn’t wait to see him! After a few more strong pushes and then deciding I could no longer wait for a new contraction to push again, my beautiful baby boy was born!
The first things I noticed were his cone head and that he looked a little scary. He had some trouble taking his first breathe when he was first born, so he was a little blue, and to say that was terrifying would be the understatement of the year. The doctor was incredible though because had she not been so calm and assured me that he was fine while a large team of nurses rushed in to help him out, I would have been in complete hysterics. After a minute or so he screamed for the first time and it was the most beautiful sound I had ever heard. I had never been so happy in my whole life! When they brought him over to me, I couldn’t believe how beautiful and wide-eyed he was. He was looking straight into my eyes as I told him happy birthday. I didn’t even care that the doctor was now stitching me up in areas that my epidural didn’t reach. I was so mesmerized by my perfect baby.
I forgot all about the pain and vomiting the minute he curled up on my chest. Later that day I told my nurse, “childbirth is no joke!”. It’s intense and it hurts like hell(women who give birth drug free are heroes) but it’s such a short amount of time and there is nothing like finally seeing your baby for the first time. I’ve never loved anything like I love him and I still can’t believe he is ours.