I cannot believe I am finally sharing Hunter Jame's birth story with you. By the time I publish this blog post, he is already six months old.
I'll be honest, it took me months to relive and write everything down. I'd try to write about it, and every time I'd jot down a few sentences and have to stop. I am so happy I was able to write everything down because I know I'm going to want to be able to read it in the future, AND honestly, it helped me work through a lot of the emotions I was experiencing.
I do want to put out the disclaimer, this is my birthing experience and journey. I know every single individual's experience is different, and that is what makes it very special.
Alright, let's dive into it, sha'll we?!
Wednesday, August 17, 2022
We had our weekly doctor's appointment. I was 40 weeks + 3 days, so I went into the appointment planning to get a membrane sweep. A membrane sweep is common at the end of pregnancy to induce labor naturally. I really struggled with deciding if I should do it or not. It weighed on me for days, and I prayed about it so, so hard. When the midwife went to do the procedure, she said she couldn't do it because I wasn't dilated at all. I instantly broke down. I didn't understand how I was past my due date and not dilated at all. So I left the appointment extremely discouraged, frustrated, and sad. I knew logically I could go from not being dilated to 10 cm in a few hours, but that didn't matter to me at the moment. Then, that night, around 8:30 pm, I started having contractions! They lasted between 50-60 seconds and happened every 10ish minutes, so I would not be sleeping that night!
Thursday, August 18, 2022
I worked Thursday (sorry to all the BP members that had to experience me having contractions via zoom that day). Contractions were happening anywhere between 3 and 8 minutes. They were already pretty painful to the point that I had to stop what I was doing and breathe. By 4 pm, I called the hospital to see if I should come in. They wanted me to go in.
D and I got our bags, dropped Koda off at his parents, and headed to the hospital. When they checked me, I was only 1 cm dilated. Honestly, I was excited I was dilated at all! I was also very happy that the midwife I had seen a few times was working that night. She knew I wanted a natural birth, so she recommended that I stay for 2-hours, get rechecked, and, if there was no change, go home and try to relax as much as possible.
During those two hours, I spent most of my time in a huge jacuzzi. The hospital I went to only has one, and you are allowed to labor in it, but you can't give birth in it. Contractions were still lasting around 1-min and coming anywhere from 2-7 minutes at this point. I was extremely uncomfortable. Any time I'd have a contraction, I would have to stop anything I was doing and breathe. I felt myself completely tense up every single time. Two hours later, they checked me, and there was no change, so I went home.
That evening was one of the hardest nights of my life. When we got home, D's parents brought us steak wedgies from fox's and ice cream sandwiches from the meadows. These were my two favorite foods at the time. I ate a few bites and ended up throwing up multiple times. TMI, but at this point, it was around 9 pm, and I was throwing up and having diarrhea at the same exact time while also experiencing contractions. Just imagine how fun that was. I started having contractions every 1-5 minutes and was trying everything to manage the pain. I took four baths, bounced on a stability ball, used my tense unit, had Derrick do counterpressure, stretched, laid down, walked, etc. My friend Sarah sent me a guided hypnobirthing Spotify playlist to listen to as well, so I had that on repeat.
Friday, August 19, 2022
I called the hospital at 10 am again. I hadn't slept since Tuesday night, hadn't eaten since around noon on Thursday because I threw up the few bites I had for dinner, and had been experiencing contractions for 38 hours so far. Right before leaving for the hospital, I remember just sitting on the living room floor, screaming. I had never experienced this type of pain, and I was just so mentally and physically exhausted by that point.
As we were going to the hospital, I told D I was going to get an epidural. He asked if I was sure, and I said yes. I just had this feeling that even if I progressed quickly, I didn't have enough in me to be able to push.
When I got to the hospital, they checked me, and I was 4 cm, so they brought us to our room and admitted us. Thankfully, they could give me an epidural within the hour, and my, oh my, did that change the entire experience. I could no longer feel the contractions after experiencing them for approximately 40 consecutive hours, and I honestly felt like a new human.
D's parents and sisters could also come visit that afternoon. It had been a few hours, and when they rechecked me, I was 5 cm. When the midwife was checking me, my water broke. She said everything was looking great; I was just progressing really slowly. She gave me Pitocin to try to speed things up a bit, but after a few minutes of having Pitocin, I was having decelerations. Decelerations are when there is a temporary decrease in the baby's heart rate, so they decided to take me off it. The nurses brought in the peanut stability ball, and we did a few different positions to try to get things moving.
A few hours later, the midwife rechecked me, and I was 7 cm dilated. They said everything still looked great, but again, I was just progressing really slowly. At this point, I was frustrated because I wanted to meet Hunter, but I also was okay because I still couldn't feel the contractions much. I was starting to feel a little discomfort on my right side, but it wasn't bad.
Around 11 pm, the nurse came in and said I was doing great and everything looked good. She was extremely encouraging and said she was confident I'd give a vaginal birth; it was just going to take a really long time because of how slow I was progressing. She mentioned how pushing was probably going to go really well because of how active I was throughout pregnancy.
Everything went downhill VERY quickly within a few minutes of her saying that. A few nurses and the midwife ran into my room, flipping me over. They were trying to get Hunter's heart rate internally. They said it had dropped to 40 bpm, and they couldn't get it to come back up. The doctor came in, along with a few more nurses (I swear there were probably ten people in the room), and I was lifted onto a cart. They said they were bringing me to the OR because I needed to have an emergency c-section. I was absolutely terrified. I didn't know what was happening. A few minutes earlier, the nurse was saying how great everything looked, and then the next thing I knew, I was getting rushed to the OR. I remember looking at Derrick; he looked so scared as I was being taken away.
When I got into the OR, they pricked me with something sharp to ensure I was numb. I wasn't. I could feel my right side. They said Hunter's heart rate was coming back up, so they could try to give me anesthesia to see if I could get numb while they prepped me for surgery. They waited 1-2 minutes and tried again. I still felt the prick. They gave me more anesthesia, waited 1-2 minutes, and tried again. I could still feel it. They said they could try one more time, but if I still felt it, they would need to put me under, and D wouldn't be able to come in the room and be with me. At this point, D was sitting right outside of the OR, and he could hear everything they were saying to me. Thank God this time, it worked. I was finally numb, and they brought him in to sit next to my head.
Side note - I thank God every day that I got an epidural. If it weren't for me getting the epidural, I would have had to been put under, and D wouldn't have been able to be at my side for the birth.
Once D was brought in, it all happened so fast.
Saturday, August 20, 2022
Within a few minutes, Hunter joined us at 12:08 am. He was screaming at the top of his lungs. They said he looked great and didn't need to rush him to the NICU as they had initially planned. They said he was 7 lbs 4 oz! We were shocked because they estimated him to weigh 8 lbs and 12 oz. D was able to go over and cut the umbilical cord and see him. I honestly don't remember much after that. It is still very blurry. I remember feeling like I was going to throw up and just looking into D's eyes while he held my hand. I was shaking so badly while they were closing me up. I honestly felt like I was having a seizure. It was truly the longest few minutes of my entire life. I felt so many emotions. Once they had me closed up, they had to bring in the x-ray machine. They told me they lost count of the tools they were using, so they had to ensure they got everything. That was the last thing I wanted to hear, but now we think that part is so funny.
I got back into my room around 2 am. I was able to hold Hunter and nurse him for the first time. He was having a hard time latching, so they gave me a nipple shield to use. I used that for about a month, and I'm honestly so thankful they gave it to me. My body was in so much pain; having cracked, sore nipples was the last thing I wanted.
Around 3 am, the nurse came in and said she would sneak Derrick's family in if we wanted. Visiting hours weren't until noon the next day. D called them when they took me back, gave them a quick update, and asked them to pray. They had been waiting in the lounge the entire time. We wanted to see them, so she brought them back to meet Hunter for the first time.
Again, I don't remember too much after that. I know D and I tried to get some sleep, and I just remember looking over at our adorable handsome little Hunter as much as possible.
Because I had a c-section, we had to stay in the hospital until Monday, August 22nd.
Visiting hours were from 12-2 pm and 4-6 pm, so D's family or my mom and stepdad were with us during those hours. They only allowed two visitors at once, so they would rotate through to see us, and thank God, they brought us food. The hospital food was literally disgusting. Honestly, I don't even know how they are allowed to serve you what they did haha. The meat looked like rubber, and we weren't sure what a lot of it even was. So the takeout and home-cooked meals were greatly appreciated.
They took my catheter out Saturday morning. I never imagined it would be so difficult to pee. The nurse said that sometimes the bladder becomes lazy when you have a catheter, so that can be completely normal. I ended up peeing, and it got easier every time after that initial pee.
They also had me on a lot of medication around the clock. I was taking oxycodone, ibuprofen, and a stool softener. I think due to the oxycodone, I was extremely constipated. I didn't have my first bowel movement until Tuesday, August 23rd.
Our pediatrician visited us every morning we were in the hospital. She was fantastic. Not only did she take amazing care of Hunter, but she was also really great about asking how I was feeling. Every time I saw her those first two weeks, I just broke down. I had heard about the baby blues, but I never imagined I was going to experience them.
Honestly, I cried A LOT while in the hospital and the following weeks. I couldn't believe I had spent all that time in labor and had an emergency c-section. I also felt like I didn't really have a say in much. For example, I don't remember them asking me if I wanted Pitocin. I was just given it, which is very frustrating to me. D was extremely supportive and so helpful with Hunter while we were there. Neither of us had spent a lot of time around babies before that, so he would watch how the nurse changed diapers and swaddled Hunter. He became a pro quickly haha.
As I said, when Hunter was born, he weighed 7 lbs and 4 oz. On Monday morning, before we left, he was 6 lbs 12 oz., so our pediatrician recommended that we supplement with formula. After every feeding, we tried giving him two oz. of formula, and by our first-week follow-up, he had surpassed his birth weight and was already 7 lbs 8 oz! We stopped using the formula then.
Sunday, August 21, 2022
I finally took my first walk in the hallway on Sunday, August 21st. I pushed the cart with Hunter in it and D by my side. I was way more scared to walk than I had imagined. I felt like I had to stay somewhat bent over because I was still in so much pain. It did feel really good to get up and move though. I also got to take my first shower. That felt AMAZING. While in the hospital, I couldn't look at or touch my incision. I had this huge mental block about it that actually ended up lasting weeks. After my shower, I got into my own pajamas. I totally forgot everything we had brought, so I had still been in the hospital gown up to this point.
Monday, August 22, 2022
When Monday morning came around, we finally heard the news that they planned to discharge us! They were extremely understaffed, so it took a lot longer than we would have liked, but we were finally able to leave the hospital with Hunter.
So while literally nothing had gone as planned, we were now a family of four (obviously including Koda). It is now a big joke that every single thing we had written in our birth plan was the total opposite haha, but we know it was all part of God's plan.
I plan to share more of my postpartum journey with you all, but I wanted to make sure I finally got Hunter's birth story down on paper!
I hope you enjoyed reading it!