Saturday, January 17, 2009

How it all started

One year ago today, January 17, 2008...
I was 40 weeks and 6 days pregnant. Overdue with our baby boy and flooded with all sorts of emotions.

I was scared to death of going into labor. Making it to the hospital. Delivering a baby. Getting an epidural. Knowing what to do with a baby.
I was anxious to just get it all over with. To meet my precious baby boy. To see who he would look like. If he would have hair.
I was sad that my pregnancy would be over. That it would no longer be just Justin and I.

*Below are my memories of my first birth experience. I never journaled them anywhere and I now am really wishing I would have. So one year later, I am doing it...the best I can remember, so I can have them forever. I am doing it for me and my baby boy. It may get long and boring, but it you'd like to read on...I'd like to share it with you.

We'd been to see our doctor on January 3rd, 10th and 15th...I was dilated to a one at every appointment. Our baby boy was being stubborn, and not interested in coming out. Our due date was January 12th! At my appointment on Tuesday, January 15th, my doctor "ruptured my membranes." I'm still not really sure what that means...she didn't break my water, it was just a way to entice nature to take it's course a little quicker over the next couple days. If I hadn't gone into labor on my own by Thursday the 17th, we were to check into the hospital at 7pm, and I would be induced.

Justin took that Thursday off work, so we could make sure everything at home was ready for the baby and our bags were all packed...not that they hadn't been packed for two months already. I don't really remember too many details from the day, other than I was nervous all day long. Justin's sister, Kim, and her girls came over that afternoon. I was in the bedroom trying to get in one last nap. I knew it would be a long night and next few days, with very little sleep. I was curled up in a blanket on the bed, trying to relax long enough to get some rest and I could hear Justin and the girls playing guitar hero in the family room. I remember thinking about how we would leave the house that night, and the next time we came home we would have our baby boy. I was so overwhelmed with happiness, I'm sure my pillow was soaked in tears.

I can't believe I don't remember what we had for dinner that night. I'll have to see if Justin remembers. I know I didn't want to eat anything that would upset my stomach, but I also knew I wouldn't be eating for 24+hours! After dinner we made sure everything in the house was picked up and perfect. I knew we'd have family in and out once we got home, and so I was stressed that everything be clean and tidy. I worry about things like that! Since I'd been nesting like crazy for the past few weeks, we didn't have to work too hard. At 6:30pm we took one final picture of us with our baby in my belly, and our bags packed.

I was a little relived that I got to check into the hospital on my own terms, and not in the midst of sheer panic and pain like I'd been picturing for months! Where I was squeezing Justin's hand off, trying to find insurance cards and sign papers between contractions! Instead, we walked into the hospital a few minutes before 7pm, loaded down with a small suitcase, the diaper bag, boppy pillow, camera bag, and my purse. I felt like we were checking into a hotel for a week. We only live about a mile from the hospital, but I didn't want Justin to have to be running back and forth to get things we needed. Truth is, he didn't leave my side for a minute. And after Barrett was born, he only left the hospital once to get my medicine from the pharmacy, and pick up some "it's a boy" cigars.

We got settled into one of the new birthing rooms and I immediately had to put on the lovely hospital gown. We had a sweet nurse for that night. She strapped the fetal monitor around my belly so we could keep track of the baby's heartbeat, and asked me a million questions. How do people answer all those if they're in the middle of labor? was a long night. We tried to watch a little tv, and my parent's came up to visit us for a while. I knew I wouldn't be allowed to eat anything, so I'd packed a small cooler of pop, granola bars and candy bars for Justin. I think it was finally around 9 pm when I got the cervidil, to induce my labor. It was not the most comfortable thing in the world, and I had a very long night! It's hard to sleep when you're in a hospital bed, all hooked up to monitors (luckily I didn't have the IV in yet), and scared out of your mind. I had to go to the bathroom a lot during the night, and everytime I'd have to call the nurse to help me unhook the monitor and waddle into the bathroom.

Friday, January 18, 2008 I was so glad when it was finally morning...anxious to hear my stats, and that we might be having a baby soon. I'm so sad I didn't have Justin journaling how my labor progressed, because I don't remember too many of the details. My doctor came to check me that morning. The cervidil hadn't done much, and for the most part, I was comfortable. I wasn't really contracting on my own, so she started me on pitocin and broke my water. Pretty quickly after that the contractions started to come. At first I wouldn't have any idea when I was having a contraction. Justin would watch the monitor and would ask "can you feel that?" I think it was around 11am that the hard contractions started to come. I thought they were bad, but I had no idea how much worse they would get! My mom was in the room with us, and as soon as she saw I was in pain, she was making sure the anesthesiologist was on his way. God bless my mom, I love her. Always taking care of me.

I would roll around on the bed, trying to get comfortable and brace myself for the next one. My mom and Justin were sitting on either side of me on the bed. Justin held my hand, and let me squeeze it with all my might when I needed to. They could see the numbers on the monitor skyrocket, and would know one was coming. I don't know how to describe the pain. It would take over my whole body. I have no idea how long each contraction was really lasting at this point, but it seemed like an eternity. All I could do was close my eyes and try to breathe through them. They seemed to be coming so fast, and my body was so tense. The anesthesiologist was in surgery, so he didn't make it as fast as anyone would have liked. Up to this point, I had been scared to death of having a huge needle stuck in my back...but being in that much pain, I didn't care. He rolled his cart into the room and as he was preparing the injection site, he told Justin and I all the side effects and worse case scenarios. I still didn't care. All I wanted was relief. I was only dilated to a 3 or 4 at this point, so I have no idea how woman can endure that for so long. I know there are many that do it, but I would have never made it to 9 cm like that! I think it was around 1:30pm when I finally got the epidural. I was in heaven. I could relax. I was so exhausted from all of the contractions, I fell asleep.

Our families continued to wait patiently in the waiting room. Bless their hearts. I had told them earlier in the day that it could be a long time...but they insisted they weren't going anywhere.

I wasn't asleep for long. The nurses kept waking me up to roll over and adjust the fetal monitor. The baby's heartrate wasn't reacting the way they'd like, and they thought moving me around would help. Then they had me put on oxygen and stopped the pitocin drip. That's when I started to get a little nervous. The pitocin was helping to progress my labor and get me closer to delivering, but the baby's heartrate was not responding well to it. When they would stop the pitocin, the heartrate would return to a normal pattern. My doctor came back in to check me, and that's when she told us our options. I wasn't progressing at all without the pitocin, but using it was causing too much stress to the baby, and they were concerned about his heartrate. At that point, she felt that our best option was to deliver by c-section. She let us talk it over, and said if that was what we wanted, we'd go into surgery right away.

I was upset and disappointed, and felt a bit like a failure...but I knew we had to do what was best for getting oue baby boy out safe and sound. Before I knew it, Justin was in scrubs and they were rolling me down the hall into surgery. It was all kind of a blur, and felt like it happened so fast. Justin waited in the hall until they had me ready, and then came at sat on the right side of my head. Until he got in there, I was thankful to have my anesthesiologist there, because whatever else they had to give me before surgery made me extremely nauseous. Well, not as nauseous as my first few months of pregnancy...but it was not fun, since half my body was numb and I was laying flat and constrained. All through the delivery and after, I was turning my head to the side to get sick in a little pink plastic dish. Not fun. I remember them telling me before they started that I would still have some sensation down there and would feel tugging and it might be painful. That scared me a little, but it wasn't the case. I don't remember feeling much of anything. Justin told me when he was almost out...and then all the way out, at 3:25 pm. I don't know how much he peeked over the sheet to see, but he seemed to handle it much better than I could have.

Our baby boy came out perfect, and Justin got to go over and cut the cord!

They wrapped him up and brought him over the left side of my face...a tear fell down my cheek and all I remember saying was "he looks just like his daddy."

Justin took him out to show our anxious visitors, while they stitched me up. I was done and rolling down the hall to my room before I even knew it. I was cold, exhausted and still nauseous. But so excited to hold my baby and see all of our family.

As any parents would say...our baby was absolutely perfect. He weighed 7lbs 10 oz, and was 20 inches long. His head was perfect, and his coloring was beautiful. We were instantly in love

It wasn't until after 8 or 9 that night, that we were alone with our baby for the first time. I think we just looked at each other in amazement. I couldn't kiss his little forehead enough...I still can't to this day! I was amazed at God's work, and Justin was beaming with pride.

The nurses offered to keep him in the nursery that night, so we could get some sleep. I didn't want to leave him for a second, but I knew it would be best for all of us. And it was. After the long night before and eventful day, we got a great night of rest.

The next couple of days were filled with visits from family and friends.

On Sunday, we dressed our precious boy in his blue and brown going home outfit and took his picture. Then we loaded him into his carseat for the first time. Nervous as heck we weren't doing it right. He looks so very tiny in it!We got home that evening just in time to change Barrett into his Packers outfit and watch the game. Daddy was so proud. Our little home has never been more cozy than it was that night. That, is how it all started. And everyday since then has been a new blessing we are so grateful to have.


  1. Seems to me you described everything perfectly. Barrett has been a blessing to all of us and we can't believe he is a year old already. Love you.

  2. Thanks for sharing! He is beautiful! Happy Birthday Barrett!!

  3. Laura, your birth story is lovely. It brought tears to my eyes. I hope you're feeling at peace with your csection. Let me know if you'd ever like to talk about it.


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