finally i am getting around to posting ben's birth story! i started to type it a while ago but didn't finish getting all of the pictures uploaded. so some of the info in this is old. i tried to go through and update on some things.. but i still feel like it is impossible to explain everything. also, i was pretty hormonal and emotional when i started this so please bear with me. i also just decided to type and not stop. so please forgive me for all the spelling and grammar errors and if it all seems a little jumbled. i don't really care about all that stuff anyway. what's important to me is just writing it all down while it's fresh in my mind.
i don't really even know how to begin the whole labor and delivery story, so i guess i will just jump right in. sorry if some of this is TMI but i want to document this before i forget some of the details. well basically i ended up going past my due date and ended up going to another appointment on monday the 4th, when i was 40.5 weeks pregnant. i was super bummed about it, but knew there had to be good news that day. here is my 40 week bump picture.
anyway, i was wrong. no progress. i was still dilated to a 1 and 80% effaced. my doctor said that she couldn't induce me until i hit 41 weeks, which was friday the 8th. i asked her to strip my membranes for me again and she said she would set up the induction. also, since i was past my due date we had to go in for a non-stress test to check on the baby. he also hadn't been moving as much that weekend so she wanted to get me in as soon as possible just to be safe. he passed the test and everything looked great. it was kind of funny because that morning she stripped my membranes and i had been having a few contractions after that. well when we went to do the NST i only had one tiny contraction. sigh. i was frustrated. i went and got a pedicure that day and was just going to pretend i hadn't passed my due date and he was really due that friday.
well on tuesday night i could not sleep. i kept waking up to go pee every few minutes but was barely going at all. i was really uncomfortable and ended up trying to sleep on the couch downstairs. my faithful dog moe joined me and seemed so confused that i kept getting up every few minutes. i ended going back upstairs and woke up around 6:30 wednesday morning with really bad cramps. i had heard that was more along the line of what real contractions felt like, but this was a constant pain and nothing that was really time-able. sean was getting ready to go to work and i decided that i would get in the shower and see if that helped things or made things worse. while i was in the shower i could actually time a contraction. it wasn't too terribly painful, but these were much different than the braxton hicks i have had through most of the pregnancy. i decided to try timing them, but they were very far apart and pretty inconsistent. sean texted me throughout the day to check on me, but it seemed that the contractions would get close together and then start to spread further apart. we didn't want to get our hopes up so we didn't think too much of it.
sean came home from work and the contractions started to pick up. they were definitely closer together at this point, but some of them were really painful and some weren't. the ones that were really painful were really bad in my back. it seemed like every other one that i was having was really painful. the in-between ones didn't hurt as bad and didn't last as long, so i wasn't sure if i should count those. we decided to go and get a smoothie at this new place by our house. while we were walking through the parking lot i had a really bad contraction and sean had to hold me up. we ate our smoothies and when we got home i decided to take a bath and see what that did. i had 3 or 4 contractions while i was in there. they were definitely hurting more. around 8:30 we decided that it was time to go to the hospital because the contractions were 5 minutes apart. i was having a little bleeding and we thought for sure there had to be some progress. we packed up our bags, sean said the sweetest prayer and we made our way to the hospital. we decided not to call anyone until we were sure that this was it. no need to get anyone hopes up!
we got there around 9 pm and had the most amazing nurse. she was 38 weeks pregnant and the nicest girl in the world. seriously, i think we were meant to go in that night because she was working. i don't think things would have happened the way that they did had it not been for her. anyway, she hooked me up to the monitors and sure enough i was having contractions every 3-4 minutes. we all thought for sure that i had to be dilated more than 1cm. she went ahead and checked me and i was dilated to a 2. i was devastated. i knew that according to the bishops scale, i would have to be at least a 3 to get admitted/induced. she said they would keep me on the monitors for an hour and check me again after. well during this hour the contractions got even closer together and were way more intense. i was crying through them and sean had to hold my hand the whole time.
she came back in and checked me an hour later. and i was still a 2. i started crying even more. i was in so much pain. and i didn't want to get sent home. i felt like such a wimp, but honestly even the nurse said that considering how far apart my contractions were i should have been a lot more dilated. the consistency and length of my contractions were the kind that you usually are having when you are almost dilated 10cm. she said that my cervix was back so far that she felt like it was the reason the contractions weren't helping me dilate. she called my doctor and my doctor said that since i was still at a 2 i would have to prove it to her that i needed to stay and to walk the halls for an hour to see if i progressed. i could barely get out of the bed i was in so much pain. but sean helped me put my socks on and we walked the halls while i was in my gown and socks. i felt like i was in a movie. taking a few steps and then buckling over in pain every 2 minutes while sean held me up. i was sobbing. i told him i was never doing this again. i couldn't believe how bad they hurt and how close together they were. all the nurses on the floor said they were rooting for me. it was so embarrassing having to walk those halls and be that moaning pregnant lady. this was not how i pictured it going down haha. seriously, i give props to anyone who does this without an epidural.
finally after about 45 minutes the nurse saw me bawling and told us to come back into the room. she said i had been through enough and she would check me again, certain that i had progressed. nope. still a 2 and 90% effaced. she felt so bad for me. she said she was going to do anything she could to get my doctor to let me stay. she honestly felt that if i got an epidural, it would help my cervix relax and dilate quicker. she left the room and sean and i sat there staring at the monitor. we could see the notes that the nurse was taking as she was speaking with my doctor. i was seriously a mess. we looked over at the notes and they said this "patient to be admitted for spontaneous labor. administer epidural." i started crying even more. i was so relieved. the nurse came back in and confirmed the good news and said they would get me an epidural asap.
we moved rooms and the anesthesiologist came in around midnight to give me my epidural. i was in a lot of pain throughout it but it helped take my mind off the pain talking with him and thinking about the pain being gone very soon. he gave me the epidural and i started to feel better right away. it was pretty funny because right after i got the epidural, i was talking to sean and i told him that i was worried i was going to pee on myself but wouldn't be able to feel it. i had to go before i got the epidural and didn't have a catheter put in yet. well right after i said that, we heard this "goosh" on the monitor and i said to sean, "um, okay i just peed my pants or my water broke!" it sounded like a water balloon had popped and it was so neat to hear on the heartbeat monitor. the nurse came in and checked and said "yep! your water broke!" this was literally like 2 minutes after i got the epidural. 2 minutes later my doctor walked in to come break my water. haha. i felt so bad that she woke up in the middle of the night and drove all the way out there for nothing. she was really cool about it all though and then kind of gave me a run down on how the rest of the night would go. she said that i would probably dilate a cm an hour since it was my first labor, so we were still looking at like 8 more hours, plus at least 3 hours or more of pushing. she wanted me to get some rest and to realize that baby might not be here until later that morning.
she left and sean called our parents to let them know i had been admitted. my parents were planning to come down right away. the nurse got the water mess cleaned up and checked me again. i was already at a 4. my parents came and we all hung out for a bit. we had my parents leave the room so i could get checked again. i was at a 5-6. sweet! i was already moving quicker than we thought. it was pretty late and sean and i were so worn out. i hadn't slept in like 36 hours and sean usually goes to bed around 10 so he was super tired. also, he had been holding me up all night while i moaned in pain, so he was even more tired than usual. my parents went out in the waiting room so we could get some rest. we fully intended on being there for another 10 hours. well the nurse came in an hour later and i was at a 7. an hour later (about 3:20 am) i was at a 10 and ready to push. we had my parents come in say hi for a bit. the nurse called the doctor and told her i was ready to push. the doctor decided to have me sit for a bit and she would take her time getting there since she expected me to push for about 3 hours. the nurse decided that we could go ahead and at least start pushing so that when the doctor got there, we wouldn't have to wait that long. well my parents left the room and i started pushing through the contractions. i honestly did not mind pushing at all. in fact i thought it was the easiest part. my epidural had started to wear off a little so i pushed the button that releases more medicine and started pushing again. every push was very effective and i only had to push through a few before the nurse said the baby's head was right there. she called the doctor and told her to hurry quick and we actually had to sit and wait for a bit until she got there. the doctor showed up and i pushed through 2 more contractions. during each contraction they had me push hard, 3 times for ten seconds each. sean was counting for me and holding up one leg, while the nurse held up the other. the nurse and doctor kept commenting on how much hair he had. i didn't believe them until they were like "no really! it's like an inch long! if this were a girl, you could curl her hair!" i asked what color it was and they said it looked dark but couldn't confirm for sure what it would look like once it was clean. i don't know why but this was more motivation for me to push.
on the 2nd contraction, after pushing 3 times, my doctor asked me if i could give her one more push. i pushed one more time and out he came. it was the most incredible feeling. i instantly felt like i could breathe. everyone kept saying, "look at all that hair!!" i looked over at sean and when they turned the babies face up sean started to bawl. it was the sweetest moment in my entire life. i know it sounds so cheesy but i honestly felt like the whole world was paused except for this moment and it was all slow motion. i cried just looking at sean. they lifted up little ben and i saw the curliest black long hair and he had dark hair all over his arms and back. sean immediately called him "our little monkey." the name has now stuck. it was hands down the most amazing moment i have ever experienced. it all ended up happening so quickly and i was honestly in shock about it all.
sean was not planning to but he cut the umbilical cord and they put him up on my chest while wiping him off a little. the first thing i remember thinking was that he was so little! i was expecting to have at least a 7 or 8 lb baby since he was a week overdue. after we did some skin to skin and bonded with him for a minute they took him over to clean him up real quick and weigh him. he weighed 6lbs 11oz and was 19.5 inches long and was born at 4:26 am. i kept thinking, is he missing a leg or something?? why is he so small? the nurse said they would have to run some sort of test since he was past due and on the smaller side. everything came back fine though and he was perfectly healthy. my parents came in shortly after i got stitched and cleaned up. i had a slight 2nd degree tear that required a few stitches. i just remember laying there feeling like this was all a dream. it had all happened so quickly and not the way that i was expecting at all. i had it set in my mind that i would be induced that friday and things would end up taking a long time. i was pretty happy that i ended up going completely on my own. i didn't need any pitocin or anything like that. i was so grateful for the nurse that fought for me to stay. i couldn't stop thanking her. she told me i would have been back in an hour anyway most likely since my water ended up breaking.. but still. i was so grateful for her support. the funny thing about this all was that i look back at my 36 week appointment to my doctor telling me i was dilated 1 cm and 80% effaced. she said "he could be here tomorrow, or he could be here on february 7th." well she ended up being exactly right...
and what can i say about sean? gosh i had no idea that i could love him anymore. but i was proven wrong. it's not something that can be explained. but my love for sean definitely increased that day. he was there for me throughout everything and i know he felt totally helpless watching me suffer in paid at the beginning of the night.. but he was more help than he will ever know. i could not have done that without him. he was so sweet and thoughtful throughout the whole thing. always trying to make sure i was okay. always had his hand ready for me to squeeze when he saw a contraction coming up. this was all pre-epidural of course. once i got the epidural things were super easy and i was in no pain. pushing was a breeze for me and i would have rather pushed for hours or push a baby out of me 10 times then suffer through the pain of those contractions i had earlier. anyway, my point was that sean is my hero. seriously. watching him become a daddy has been my favorite part of this whole thing. i knew he was going to be an amazing daddy. and he is. he went down with ben to the nursery to get him cleaned up after my parents left. he is so in love with this little boy. it completely melts my heart. it's the sweetest thing i have ever seen. i am so grateful that i have such an amazing father for my son. i am truly blessed.
the rest of the hospital stay was somewhat of a blur. we had lots of visitors and lots of hospital people come in and talk to us and so it was kind of hard to get any rest. sean ended up going home that night to get some rest and i sent the baby to the nursery. they ended up bringing the baby in like 4 times that night to eat or because he was crying but when he came in he stopped crying and didn't seem that hungry. i got no sleep at all, except for the hour i got after i took an ambien. they brought the baby in an hour later and i was up the rest of the night. i am so glad that sean went home because we needed one of us to be coherent the next day when we were getting released. i was so exhausted and not that coherent. it blows my mind they let sleepy tired parents take these babies home from the hospital haha. if i had to do that alone i can assure you we would not have made it home.
i am not going to lie, the first night home was awful. we got no sleep at all and poor little ben had his days and nights mixed up. we also think he got a little over stimulated that day because of all the visitors. he was so anxious and alert and would not stop fidgeting. we tried everything to get him to sleep but it was not working. we both started to freak out about what we had gotten ourselves into. the next night was a little better and the night after that we each got about 4 hours of sleep (all spread out haha) which was huge for us. both of our moms have been over to watch and help out with the baby while we took some much needed naps. we have had to take him back to the hospital lab to get his bilirubin levels checked for jaundice. we went three times and the last time his levels came in low enough that he was out of the risk zone. we are thankful for that!
nursing was rough at first. after my milk came in i was in a lot of pain. my mom showed up one morning with an amazing medela pump and i started bawling. it was so sweet of her to get that for me. it has taken me a while to figure this whole thing out. i was in so much pain that i pumped right away and we gave him a few bottles throughout the day. but i wasn't thinking and didn't realize that i needed to still pump if i wasn't nursing him so i wouldn't get engorged and so i would keep my supply. it took me a couple of days to figure that whole thing out, but now i am back to mainly just nursing and using the pump if we give him a bottle. i still worry that he doesn't nurse as long as he should but he seems to be content with just doing about 10-13 minutes on each side. sometimes less, sometimes more. it's hard to know, but he poops and pees like a champ, so i assume he is hopefully getting enough. we have his 2 week checkup tomorrow so we will see how he has grown! i am really looking forward to that. his umbilical cord came off today and his circumcision is healing great so tonight we gave him a little bit better bath and he didn't freak out like he normally does. he seemed to enjoy it.
he is a very alert, animated baby. sometimes i wonder if that is normal and i worry, but then i remember he is a newborn and this whole world is new. how he is right now might not be how he always is. i am somewhat roughly trying to use the babywise method. i am trying not to follow it too strictly because it overwhelms me. i do like a lot of the ideas in the book though and i think they have helped. he eats about every 3 hours and lately we have gotten him to go to bed around 10. he usually goes right down, and he will sleep for about 5 hours and start to whimper and stir around 3. i get up to feed him and we try to get him to stay asleep until sean has to wake up for work which is 6:30. the past few days he had done really well at this and we are hoping that it sticks. knock on wood. i know some people say to not wake a sleeping baby, but we were told that if it's been more than 5 hours in the middle of the night then we should probably wake him to feed him. i will ask my doctor tomorrow though what she thinks. i want to make sure he is gaining enough wait before i decide to stop waking him up to eat. **
**update on this. at his 2 week appointment he weighed 7lbs 5oz and had already grown 2 inches putting him at 21.5! he is in the 25% for weight, 90th for height, and 50th for head. also my doctor said he looks amazing and to not worry about waking him to eat in the night. last night he slept 7 hours straight! wahoo!!**
i also just have to say that i was not expecting all of the post-partum hormones. that has definitely been the hardest part for me. i was not prepared for that. i honestly think that nothing you do can prepare you for this. it has by far been the hardest thing i have ever done. but it has also been the most amazing. i have cried more in these last couple of weeks than i ever have. i feel totally inadequate for this job. i have been incredibly hard on myself. ben seems to only like to sleep in this rock and play cradle that we have in our room. i tried to get him to nap in his crib the other day and he started to bawl and i started to bawl and was so upset the rest of the night. it was the silliest thing that i let it upset me so bad.. but these hormones man. i decided that i can try that again another day. it is so easy to compare yourselves to others and hear about their babies that are so calm and sleep through the night. some of these mothers are out on the town already, dressed up everyday. or at least that is how they appear on instagram and facebook. i worried that i must be doing something wrong if my baby hasn't hit those milestones yet. but then i remember that i am still getting to know my baby and he is still getting to know me. i love him. there is no doubt about that. but we are still trying to figure this out together. it won't happen overnight. if it does for some people? that is great. i am happy for them. i should also add that i don't just cry about bad things. looking over at sean holding ben, saying sweet things to him and rocking him to sleep? yeah that just about makes me sob every time. i feel so incredibly blessed. so exhausted. so overwhelmed. so inadequate. so weepy. so loved. so alone. so supported. i feel every emotion you can imagine. i really hope that things subside a little soon so i can start to feel like myself again. but i just have to remember this is all a part of the journey. we will figure it all out someday. on our own time. i know i am not alone. i love my family and friends. we have been so blessed.
**another update, since i started this a while ago and didn't post** nursing has gotten much better (nipple shield for the win!! i highly recommend) and i feel like my hormones have stabilized somewhat! i am not crying as much as i was. i still have my moments but we have definitely gotten in a routine over here and the more i get to know little ben, the more the love that i have for him grows. he is such a funny little guy! also, i have gotten him to take naps in his crib! he is currently napping in there as we speak. he also loves taking baths now that his umbilical cord fell out. he loves having his hair washed.**
anyway, here are a bunch of pictures from the labor and the hospital stay. these are from our phones and our camera. (thanks so much katie for taking most of these hospital ones when people were visiting! we appreciate it! :)) i have a million pictures of him already on my phone. i am sure i am annoying everyone on facebook and instagram but i just can't help it. he is so darn cute! he makes the funniest faces and i am always sending sean pictures and videos throughout the day. i will post more of this pictures later.. but since he is napping now and will need to wake up to eat soon, will just post these!
i feel like there is so much more to say and document but that will just have to wait! for the record, moses loves the baby and it has been the sweetest thing ever to watch! i am going to hit publish before reading this over again because benny just started to cry. so once again, please forgive me for it being a mess. and thanks so much to everyone for all your kind words and support throughout all of this! we have never felt so much love! oh also? i think he is gonna look just like sean but with my coloring. i mean obviously he gets his hair from me. he totally has his daddy's eyes. (obviously not sure on the color yet) oh and we thought he had my feet? but he definitely has sean's!