Our Birth Story

We're almost two weeks into this parenting thing and I'm running on very little sleep so let's do this! Writing out the birth story.

 Photo by Erin Coffey  http://coffeyshoppeabq.com

Photo by Erin Coffey  http://coffeyshoppeabq.com

 Photo by Erin Coffey  http://coffeyshoppeabq.com

Photo by Erin Coffey  http://coffeyshoppeabq.com

I'll start from the beginning of our third trimester. During a regular checkup our midwife heard an irregular heartbeat which prompted a referral to a perinatal specialist: cue a really intense emotional reaction I wasn't expecting! It's so hard to be told something might be wrong with your baby when you really have no control over what happens in there. A few appointments later it was determined that the irregularities we were hearing would resolve themselves out by birth if not sooner, but that we would still monitor it for the duration of the pregnancy, which meant twice weekly ultrasounds. During one of our ultrasounds the sonagrapher noticed something a little off with his umbilical cord. She displayed it on the screen from a few different view points and colors and eventually told us that the doctor would be in to see us in a few. The doctor came in and let us know he thought the baby had a true knot in his umbilical cord. Normally, these knots aren't found until after birth, but in our case we saw it before, we were told the knot increased his chances of passing in the womb if the knot were to tighten. At that point we were told we would be induced during the 38th week of pregnancy. When we were told the news from the doctor that the baby could possibly have a true knot in his umbilical cord I thought back to the appointment when we heard a flutter in his heartbeat. I remember asking my midwife if we would be seeing Grayson on an ultrasound before it was go time and she told me "nope! it's not necessary as long as he's healthy!" that same appointment her face changed as she was listening to his heart beat and I immediately regretted asking to see him again. Now here we were being told something else was wrong after finally getting the green light that the last complication was nothing to worry about. This for me was a really hard pill to swallow. I had spent the majority of my pregnancy preparing to go for an all natural birth with few medical interventions. I was really nervous about the strength of contractions after being given pitocin and cervical ripeners (which usually come with being induced) and was questioning my ability to go through an induction without any pain management. 

The week before our inducement was a little crazy: all summer G had been prepping to take a sergeants exam to promote within the police department,  and during our 38th week of pregnancy a mandatory training class was that final step he needed to take to get there. After passing all of the tests and training, the promotional ceremony was set for that Friday. It was all in God's timing because we made it to Friday without going into spontaneous labor. Our final doctor's appointment was that Thursday and we scheduled an inducement for that Sunday evening. Right after the promotional ceremony G went on FMLA and we started the final touches on everything we wanted to get done before Gray got here. G has been and always will be amazing, but I will say in the days leading up to the induction G was a rockstar: driving us everywhere, taking our dogs for long walks, feeding me every hour cause of that #preggohunger, and getting our house in prime condition to bring a newborn home; he did it all! The weekend slowly went by and we were able to get everything done that we wanted to, including going to the harvest festival one last time as a family of four: just me, G, Exuma, and Conchita. We went to the festival on Sunday, I think primarily to distract us from the fact that we were going to the hospital later that evening to have a baby! G said he wanted to tire me out because he knew how nervous and scared I was. While I appreciated the thought, looking back I could've probably stayed in bed the whole day and had just a little bit more energy to survive what was to come!

 Photo by Erin Coffey  http://coffeyshoppeabq.com

Photo by Erin Coffey  http://coffeyshoppeabq.com

 Photo by Erin Coffey  http://coffeyshoppeabq.com

Photo by Erin Coffey  http://coffeyshoppeabq.com

We arrived at the hospital a little before 9pm, more like 830 and they were all ready for us! They immediately took us to a room and things started going from there. Unfortunately, I became a human pin cushion and when it was all said and done (after 6 pokes!) I had an IV placed on my left wrist. It doesn't sound like a big deal but the placement of the IV was a constant reminder of the restriction of movement in my left hand and it burned for whatever reason. I had written out my birth preferences and wrapped them around candy bars for the nurses (something I highly recommend) which included the following: to not be offered any type of pain medication, I would like to be up and moving around without the restriction of an IV, etc. The doctor and nursing staff were amazing. So compassionate, nice, and overall made me feel comfortable despite being in a hospital. I was given a cook's catheter which essentially smashes your cervix in between two water filled balloons. I was told once that falls out I should be around 5-6cm dilated. Once that was in my contractions started and all the fun began! The catheter fell out late the next morning and I was 6cm dilated! I was super pumped and it started to seem like my body was naturally taking over the labor process. My contractions started to get a little more intense and at regular intervals. At first, I used G as my support, pretty much crumbling into his arms every time an intense contraction hit. Despite the pain I'll cherish those moments forever. I felt like I was at my weakest yet strongest point and he was there for it all. My doctor let me continue to labor on my own without the help of oxytocin to see how my body did. Once the contractions started getting stronger I could no longer hold on to G or focus on anything else really. Well, after almost 20 hours of labor I finally made it to 9.5cm. At this point my water hadn't broken on my own. I had two options: continue to labor and see if it breaks on its own or break my water to get the extra pressure on my cervix for the last little bit of labor and delivery. At this point guys, I was so ready for some sort of pain relief. I was begging Gerard to let me get an epidural. He kept telling me that it was my decision but that I had come so far and reminded me why I wanted to try to do a natural birth. I opted for a dose of fentanyl which helped take some of the pain in my lower back away but I still felt every contraction. I was not expecting that, I wanted to take a nap! Lol Once the fentanyl wore off I still felt like I wanted to go with the epidural. G's encouragement combined with my nurse explaining the procedure, timeline, and aftercare from the epidural was just what I needed to decide to let them break my water. After my water broke things progressed super quickly after that, the contractions became incredibly strong along with some really awful back labor. I underestimated how hard pushing would be! They had me wait until the peak of my contractions to push which was so so difficult! After pushing for a while he was finally out! It was such a surreal experience, I was so amazed at what my body had just done but also how small my baby was! We were told that by the time we would be induced he would be close to 7lbs. He came out only weighing 5lbs 14 ounces!

The days after delivery were kind of a blur. We did our overnight stay in the hospital and were sent home. G, the dogs and I have slowly fallen into a routine of no sleep but I think together we make a pretty killer team! We've managed to both take showers, keep our house clean (some days lol), and we even put our laundry away (big deal for us)! It's crazy to look back and think that only a little over a week ago we were in the hospital waiting on our baby to make his arrival! Giving birth is such a weird experience, no matter how you do it or which way things go on the day of every experience is unique and beautiful. I'm so happy he is healthy and finally out of my belly! Now if we could only get this sleep situation figured out! 

What was your brith experience like? Did it go as planned or were there bumps in the road? I'd love to hear all about it! Leave some love in the comment section below 🤗

--M  

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Marissa Bartlett

Hello my name is Marissa! I’m a twenty something navigating my way through this awesome and challenging life! I started this blog as a way to express my feelings, dreams, love of food, and the challenges that come my way. I have a handsome hubby, a cute Mastiff pup, and two Chihuahuas. I love to be outdoors, create with my hands, and eat anything fried to golden perfection. I own a small event planning company here in my hometown as well as an Etsy shop! A recent college grad ready to take on the world as well as face the challenges of finding a healthy, fun, and rewarding career! Join me in my journey!