Wednesday, January 16, 2013

.jack henry: a birth story.

jack's 3 month birthday is quickly approaching and all i can think is where has all that time gone?! i simply cannot believe that our little wee man is 3 months old already! and that we're still all breathing [sometimes, barely!]!

while this post is incredibly personal to me and has taken me quite some time to write it [be warned, it's long. very long], i very much wanted to get this wonderful memory down before i forgot any of its amazing experience. i'd also like to share it with my little boy when he gets older and asks, 'momma how much do you love me?' [which, i'll of course answer 'more than anything' [hello! 2 days in labor, and that's after carrying the little bugg for 41 weeks in my belly!].

before i begin, i also want to take a moment to thank one incredible lady, our photographer arisa from mad bee photography. as you'll see, halfway through this post [as well as the first photo] i have made a note of where our amateurish photos turn into the real deal and that's because of arisa' arrival. she ended up making it to my delivery just in time, at the awful hour of 1:00 am, and we couldn't be more happy or more in debt to her kindness and talent. she captured some of the most precious moments in my life, amidst the whirlwind of activity and emotions, that peter nor i would ever have been able too and for that i thank her with all my heart. if you are ever on the fence about whether or not to hire a pro for this type of experience, i say don't even question it. book it now and book it with arisa. she is simply amazing.

jack henry, a birth story.
after nervously knowing that i was 7 days overdue and scheduled to get induced the very next day, i can honestly say that sleep was just not happening on that particular sunday night. i was packed, ready and waiting to meet our baby, but needed to get past this little thing called labor. and that my friends, kept me wide wide awake.

i remember being nervous, but not scared. i continually reminded myself that millions of women before me had given birth and then most do it again and again. so it was survivable and couldn't be that awful. this seemed to help me with the fact that this was happening, whether i liked it or not. the time was here and i knew that i could do it.

monday morning, the 15th, at 6 am, we received our call from the hospital. it was time. we gathered our hospital bags, jammed with everything i had read we would need and then some, and hopped in the car. we were off. at one moment i remember turning on the radio, and finally being able to have a little laugh. europe's 'the final countdown' was playing and peter and i couldn't help but smile. it just seemed so suiting. my nerves seemed to calm in that very moment and i was finally excited for labor. baby t, it was your final countdown and ready or not, we'd be meeting you very shortly.
after checking into the hospital, we settled into our room, #2521, that would be our home for the next 4 days [although, we didn't know that then!]. it had a nice big window and our own private bathroom...which was one of the biggest factors in choosing to deliver at the sturgeon. yes, a private bathroom was indeed a deciding factor! [how very george costanza of me, don'tcha think?!]. my doctor came in around 8:30am and we began the process of my induction. apparently baby t just didn't want to leave it's cozy little home, but momma had enough. time to come out little one. i was checked and it was noted that i was 1cm dilated all on my own, so we hoped that this would be a quick process.
boy, were we wrong.....
after the induction began, i was instructed to lay and chill for a couple hours. even told to try to get some sleep. while this was expert advice and some that i should have taken especially after getting about 2 hours of sleep the night before, i was just too damn excited. so peter and i watched a little tv and talked about how excited we were. i stared at my 6 month 3D ultrasound photo of baby t [which i brought for mental inspiration] and peter nervously pounded back cup-after-cup of coffee and texted our family and friends with updates.
after not much movement in the contractions department [and getting a little frustrated on my part] we were allowed to head home for lunch. little did we know, we actually could have stayed home till my contractions had picked up a bunch, but communication was a little vague on this. once back at the hospital, my progress was checked and although i was finally starting to feel slight irregular contractions [they were jumping all over the place; 5 minutes, 10 minutes, back to 5 minutes, etc.] and i was still only 1cm dilated. basically no change from the morning check and i felt deflated....didn't my baby know that i was ready to meet him/her right then and there!?
luckily we caught my dad, who had stopped by for a visit, before he left and without much to report he just wished me luck. so we finished watching the last few episodes of the walking dead while we waited for my cervix to dilate a little more. maybe in hopes that dead zombies would scare the little one out of me ;)
at around 8pm, after a long day of sitting and waiting. walking and pacing. we were getting a little antsy so we asked the nurse if it was possible for us to sleep at home that night. i was hoping that being at home would allow me to be comfortable enough to sleep. my contractions weren't that painful yet, even though they were significantly stronger than that morning, and i realized that i would need some good quality rest for the upcoming events. so after a bunch of back and forth between the nurses and doctors, me being checked and only now at 2cm dilated we were granted permission to sleep at home if we promised to be back by 8 am the next morning [or if my contractions picked up to every 4 minutes]. thank heavens! so at 11 pm we headed back home.

the next morning [tuesday, the 16th], i was now feeling some action from the contractions. they were coming in steady about every 5 minutes and getting strong. unfortunately i didn't get much sleep even being at home in my own bed, but i got to shower and was ready to begin round two.

we arrived at the hospital at 7am where we met up with my doctor again. she checked me and said i was still only 2cm dilated. i remember thinking, 'you have got to be kidding me!' after going through this for a full 24 hours and only 1cm of movement! then she gave me the awful news that i would need to be induced again. it's rare, but happens and i was one of the 'lucky' ones to go through it twice.

so we did the induction again.

well this time, let me tell ya, things started to kick into high gear. full, painful contractions every 4-5 minutes apart started about an hour after the induction was done and continued on through out the remainder of the day. and mostly happening in my lower back, which apparently is known as 'back labor'. at this point i was also pretty exhausted, but wanted to push through the pain. for whatever reason, i truly wanted to feel the experience as long as i could naturally and was against any pain medications up to this point.
but the pain. oh, the pain. it's hard to even explain. it was powerful and deep within. it was all consuming. it would literally cripple you and make you keel over. it would cut off your words and then, after a minute or so, it would let you breath again.
we did as much walking as i could, a lot of breathing, and lot of trying to relax. i found that i didn't enjoy being upright when the contractions hit, it was just so crippling, so a lot of lying in bed was done too. peter was amazing and would stretch out his hand for me to squeeze with every contraction, but i needed something that wouldn't move and that i could really bare my weight down on, so the poor bed rail really got a good beating. my sweet sis stopped by at this time as well, and i swear i scared any chance of her having a baby of her own after that visit. she got to see me in some of the worst of it, with my contractions hitting me hard every 4 minutes apart and not being able to finish sentences fully without trying to 'breath' through the pain. she looked so helpless as each contraction hit and i remember thinking that she looked about as nervous as peter! the poor girl didn't stay too long [ha!].

i also tried the sits-bath, which was a magical little piece of heaven. i just sat in the warm, flowing water and used the hose to spray hot water onto my lower back. it was so soothing. peter fetched popsicle after popsicle [i must have had at least 4!] and i sat in that warm pool of water for a couple hours. the pain just didn't feel as strong in there and i was hoping i would never have to leave.
during this time my momma came for a visit as well. she sat and talked with peter and i, while i mostly grimaced in pain, but i found immense comfort in her visit.
after my mother left, the nurses checked again to see how far i was dilated. it was around 6 pm after all, and i had literally been having contractions for approx. 32 hours at this point and they were now very intense and very painful. i was weak and exhausted. luckily, i was 5cm dilated and they gave me the approval for an epidural. a release from the pain and an actual chance to sleep! i could have kissed that woman! of course i said yes. i had enough and i was convinced that sleep was desperately needed or i wouldn't have the energy to push this little sucker out.

so at 7:30 pm i finally found my release. they called in the epidural specialist [who by the way, was an ex-army medic. and may or may not have scared the bejesus out of me and pete!]. and even though i was incredibly nervous about the process of actually getting the procedure done, i can honestly say that i didn't feel a thing. peter held me still while it was being inserted, and luckily the doctor worked quick enough between contractions so i didn't have much issues with moving. other than watching my poor husbands face as this insanely long needle was inserted into my spine, i barely knew that it was happening. a complete pro that crazy army doc was!
so the epidural was complete. and i finally slept! blissful slumber!
after the epidural was up and running, i can't even begin to explain how much that changed things for me. rather than whithering in pain every 3-4 minutes, i was relaxed, happy and ready for anything. my legs felt like heavy water-filled balloons, but i was smiling from ear-to-ear. it was like i wasn't even about to push a 7 lb baby out of me and i can honestly say, i don't for one second regret ordering the epidural. i was just too exhausted to care about anything other than sleep and that blessed hour of slumber that crept over me was just what i needed for the next phase which was about to commence. i found this was the difference between actually enjoying my experience rather than just being barely present through the pain.

at the same time the epidural was administered, i was also told that i would need to be put on a drip of oxytoxin to help my body dilate further. i was fully contracting, but wasn't dilating fast enough and after being in labor for over a day and a half now, the doctor was worried that i may be a candidate for a cesarean section if i didn't dilate quicker. being in labor that long is hard on the baby and this was one last shot at trying to get me to that glorious 10cm.

well, oxytocin! holy hell, it sure works. after my hour of sleep, i remember waking up to a "pop" noise and this intense gush of liquid. my water had broken naturally! i was deliriously happy about this as i was a little down and out about having to be induced in the first place. i just wanted something to happen naturally and this was just the sign i needed. unfortunately poor pete had just stepped out to grab the nurses some coffee and eat his dinner [my sweet momma had dropped him off some grub] and missed the moment. after that i was wide awake. peter and i talked for an hour or so more and i remember thinking how amazing peter had been up to this point and how much i loved him. he jumped at my every request and was their for me through it all. he really hadn't left my side and i don't know if i could have mentally gotten through it without him. his support was unreal. i remember thinking how lucky i was to have him as my partner.

a couple hours after my water burst, i started to feel intense pressure and an immediate need to push. i remember telling peter to grab a nurse as i really wanted to push and wasn't sure if i was far enough along yet. he ran out in a mad panic and shouted for someone to check me out. after i was checked, a surprised nurse informed me that i was indeed 10cm and ready to deliver my baby! i had dilated 5cm in approx 3 hours! oxytoxin, you blessed thing, you!
***from this moment on, all pictures below [and the first one above] are from arisa with mad bee photography. as you can see, they speak for themselves and are simply amazing. thank you arisa, thank you.
peter frantically texted our photographer, arisa, to rush over to the hospital and thankfully she made it in the brink of time. my doctor was called in also [it was 11:45 pm!] and i began pushing. pushing was incredible. it was intense and exciting and exhausting. at one point, my doctor asked if i wanted to feel my babies head as it crowned, and in my delirious state i did! and it was amazing. i could feel a full head of hair! oh how i had dreamed of a baby with a head full of hair!! in that moment, i couldn't wait to meet our baby.

while i was pushing, our babies heartbeat started to drop with each contraction or session of pushing. i could tell that this concerned my doctor and knew something was up when she started to prep for an emergency c-section. she started to call for a breathing specialist and my room started to fill up with extra nurses. they gave me extra oxygen through a face mask, which i was told to take in between contractions. i was also told my temperature was spiking and i was developing a fever, which could be very dangerous if it passed to my baby. then she called for the vacuum. at this point, peter and i were getting worried. she told me that we were going to try the vacuum to help baby move down quicker and that we needed to get baby out now as its heart rate was dropping. she explained that she thought the umbilical cord may be wrapped around his neck.
well, that was all the motivation i needed. suddenly, after 1 hour and 20 minutes of pushing, i gained an extra ounce of energy and bared down with all the strength i had left. and finally our beautiful baby boy, jack henry, was born. it was 1:16 am on october 17th.
peter cut the umbilical cord and one of the nurses handed him to me. i can't even begin to explain the immediate amount of love that consumed me. i cried in pure happiness. this was our little baby. our sweet little boy. the one i felt move inside of me. the one with the continuous hiccups. the one i had dreamed about. this was him. and he was simply beautiful.
jack didn't even cry. he was wide awake and just stared up at me with his little eyes. he looked at me with pure love and i felt that he knew it was me. he knew i was his momma. with teary eyes and jack in my arms, i remember reaching for peter and in the moment we were a family. a little family of  three and it's a perfect moment i will never forget. we stayed like this, our new little family, for a couple of hours while everything was cleaned and the doctors made sure i was okay.
the grandparents [my mother, father and my mother-in-law]. my sister and her boyfriend were finally allowed into the room at 3:30 am after waiting outside since 11pm. i remember hearing shrieks of happiness when peter told them it was a boy [although, they had heard the doctor announce it already through the door!] and how excited they were to hold their new grandson and nephew.
another moment i will never forget was while the ladies rushed to see the baby in my arms, and as i handed jack off to my mother to hold for the first time, my father didn't leave my side. he allowed the girls to coo over the new wee man, but stayed by me to make sure i was okay. it was a tender moment for me and my dad and i just loved him so much for that. he also gifted me and jack a large and small [mommy and baby] stuffed bunnies. a gift that he gave to my mother when both my sister and i were each born.


  1. terri..aka grandma and momJanuary 16, 2013

    OK,now your mom is crying (again) as I read your blog and recall that special night!! I was so thrilled to be there at the hospital when the little bundle arrived - so beautiful and healthy and safe delivery for my girl, too! God has blessed us all with the miracle, jack henry!!

  2. That has to be the sweetest thing I've ever read. Gorgeous pictures xx F

  3. That was a beautiful birth story! I find myself crying over your pics, especially the one when you just finished labour and the one when you held him for the first time. I have 2 very similar pictures and it brings back so many incredible memories! It is the most amazing moment in your life! Jack is very lucky to have such great parents! :)

  4. this is absolutely beautiful. congratulations! you have a gorgeous family.

  5. So many precious moments captured with these photos. Wonderful post and beautiful baby!

  6. Oh Erin, what a beautiful birth story - there are tears over here!!

  7. ohmygosh, I knew I couldn't read this without crying!! This brings back so many emotions and memories. I still haven't brought myself to write a birth story, it just made me to emotional I couldn't do it! We had VERY similar stories, Erinn. You are a trooper. It's amazing what are body's can go through isn't it? It's one of the hardest things ever, but I'd do it again in a heartbeat.

    You and Jack will be so happy to have this beautiful story.

  8. THE BEST!!! I adore birth stories, one ifmy favorite things ;)
    Thanks for sharing! Such beautiful pictures, Erinn xo


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