Summer was supposed to arrive around 3/21 when baby was due. I was going to take the rest of the school year off and I would have a good 5 months to bond with the baby before we would have to think about work (or not work). Well as luck would have it, summer came early. 3 Weeks Early. I have a feeling that this summer will be slightly different from the last one but it will nevertheless be wonderfully glorious – filled to the brim with hanging out at home, family, google breakfast and lunches (of course), celebrations (two weddings of dear friends), crossfit (fingers crossed) and Hawaii.
Onto the next biggest news, Happy 1 week to the newest addition to our family – WES! Before complete delirium and this alleged disability called Mommy Brain hits hard, I thought I should document the days leading up to one of the most memorable days of my life – meeting our first kiddo.
My Birth Story – Part 1
The Birth “Plan” and the days leading up to WES’s 0th Birthday.
Before I was pregnant, before I was married, before Tim, I was obsessed with birth stories. I don’t even have a good reason for it. I was that person that would watch A Baby Story on TLC for hours. So when my friends started having babies, I was that friend that wanted all the details. I loved hearing how people described the pain, pain management techniques, the rate of dilation, pushing, the aftermath, all of it. What struck me the most was how incredibly different everyone’s story was! No two are alike! They are much like engagement stories (and I love hearing about those too) but a little more sciencey. However instead of getting a ring, you get stretch marks and stitches. Obviously, totally the same.
One of the things your OB (or any pregnancy book) may have you think through is your birth plan. This is also a topic of great interest to people when you are pregnant. “Are you going to GO NATURAL?” My answer was always, “Well, that would be quite a feat, but I’m not married to the idea.” This was a total people pleaser answer as it basically was a nice way of saying I don’t know / get off my back / mind your own business! I had hard time having a strong stance on it because of my years of experience watching A Baby Story on TLC has taught me that everyone is different. If someone could promise me “From the onset of your first contraction, you will labor for 6 hours and 45 minutes and then push for 90 minutes” I could plan for that. Granted this may come off a little opinionated, but honestly, I just had no idea how to come up with a plan for something I had no control over (come to think of it, this is true of every thing in life not just L&D).
I had a talk about going “natural” at length with my OB and I so appreciated what she said about it: Gosh, I wish we would stop saying that! Pushing a baby through your birth canal is about as natural as it gets. Saying the word natural gives people the impression that there is an unnatural way of giving birth. We should call it medicated v. unmedicated to remove the stigma. She also confirmed my suspicion that everyone’s experience is different. Not all natural births are equal. A six hour labor and delivery is vastly different from a 34 hour one. We had a long talk about all the options regarding pain relief and she even shared this story how her cousin went to a Lamaze like class where the instructor asked who was planning on getting an epidural and her cousin was the only one who raised their hand. Well-meaning mommies questioned her decision and caused her cousin some guilt and sadness. Fast forward to 2 months later. Everyone had delivered and the instructor asked “who here actually got an epidural?” Every. single. woman. raised their hand. I had a good giggle but I came away from that conversation trying to focus less on the prestige of going “natural” and instead focusing on taking care of a newborn. I took 4 classes in total (1 on breastfeeding, 2 on newborn care and 1 class entitled – now what?! surviving the first 6 weeks at home). I’m so glad that I went to those classes. They prepared me for the reality of breastfeeding, sleep deprivation, diapering, bathing and loving on your baby. Now that we are home, I’m glad we spent so much time preparing for that. It made a huge difference for us!
At the end of the day I didn’t have much of a birth plan except I only wanted to have Tim in the room with me during labor and delivery, I wanted lots of skin to skin time as possible post delivery and I wanted Tim to cut the cord.
Here’s a snapshot of my last couple days of pregnancy – unbeknownst to me.
WES’s Birthday -4 Days (Wednesday)
At my 36 week check up, Dr. B tells me that W is head down, my cervix is soft and I’m 3.5 cm dilated. She tells me that dilation at this stage is normal and actually not a great predictor of when labor will begin. It could be tomorrow… it could be 4 weeks from now. We kidded about how it would be just my luck that I would have to be induced at 41 weeks. As some of you this pregnancy was closely monitored by a perinatologist (MFM) since week 15 so being induced for being overdue would be the irony of the century. I started to believe that this pregnancy would hit 41 weeks.
WES’s Birthday -3 Days (Thursday)
I’m at work getting ready to take maternity leave in a week. At work my friend who also teachers Biology takes one look at me and says you are not going to make it over the weekend. “Your BELLY is SO LOW.” I laugh it off but inside I vow to prove her wrong by making it at least until my maternity leave date (3/7). That day was a 14 hour work day as I had to chaperone the Winter Concert. Thankfully the music teacher gave me the best job – sitting at the box office and selling tickets.
WES’s Birthday -2 Days (Friday)
After work I grab boba with my friend L and she asks me about what you actually are supposed to pack in a hospital bag. I pull out a list and we talk about what to bring. I asked if it would be too much to bring make up? She says absolutely not. I decided that even though make up was okay, maybe the hair straightener would be too much. After boba, I go to our Crossfit box to watch Tim do his 14.1 workout of a 10 AMRAP (as many reps as possible) of 30 Double Unders and 15 Snatches at 75#. Tim did great! Someone at the box asked me when I was due and when I told them 3/21 they said – perfect! Just in time for 14.5! I jokingly said “if I’m still pregnant, I will totally do 14.5”
That night we went out to Yard House with our friends. I ordered a roasted turkey melt with a side of onion rings. Tim ordered a turkey burger protein style with sweet potato fries. Tim washed it down with a Dogfish Head and a Brother Thelonious while I drooled in envy even though I hate IPA’s.
WES’s Birthday -1 Day (Saturday)
I have the best brother in the world. He took a weekend out to come help us out with getting ready for baby. Both Tim and I have been slammed at work and so worked like crazy on the weekdays and devoted every weekend possible to do baby things. Seeing as a 9 month pregnant person is pretty much good for nothing when it comes to manual labor, we thought we could use the extra brawn (and brain!). I picked him up around 8am that morning and we headed to Philz to fuel for the morning. I got my pregnancy favorite – House Decaf medium medium to con my brain into thinking I’m getting some much needed caffeine. We make it to IKEA 5 minutes after opening and make a beeline for the shelving and dresser units avoiding the laminate path and cutting through the bedrooms. We measure, we grab, we load and we leave. We get home and assemble 2 pieces and head out to lunch to meet up with our friends.
Our friends T & B hosted a reunion slash welcome baby Scone party for us at their place and we had a great time catching up and laughing over great food. After lunch we played some Wii U. I get such a kick watching others play so I was content being a bystander until someone convinced me to try my hand at the Candy Hoarding Game. I don’t know what it was about the game, but I got REALLY into it. I think it had something to do with ganging up with others to chase the villain… or working together to run away from the fork and knife! After all the laughing I had to use the bathroom which was a regular occurrence at this stage of my pregnancy. I did my business and just when I thought I was done, a rush of water came out. Not once, but twice. I just sat on the toilet thinking “oh…. my…. gosh….. ” I knew what this meant. I was going to have a baby probably by tomorrow.
I walk out of the bathroom and from the corner of the room say “Hey guys… don’t freak out, but my water broke.”