*Please be advised that this birth story deals openly with the birthing process and thus the photos and writing seen below are real, raw, and natural. We skipped sharing any photos of revealing, personal aspects of the birth but if this makes you uncomfortable please consider skipping this blog post.*
For starters, I want to say that I’ve really gone back and forth about sharing our little boy’s birth story. I mean I didn’t even know we’d be documenting it either. When Harrison broke out his camera I quickly snapped, “What the hell are you doing?!” He looked at me and said it was something he never wanted to forget and that they were for him. *Cue the tears.* I cried A LOT during everything and still cry just thinking back on it, LOL. It’s not something I’m used to writing about (obviously) but ultimately decided that: A) it was the most beautiful experience of my life so why wouldn’t I want to share that with you? B) I’ve always LOVED reading women’s birth stories… Even before I was thinking about having a baby. It’s just something about reading the raw emotion and getting a glimpse into how each little miracle is different for everyone. C) I’m writing this post for me. I don’t want to ever forget any of the little details. Ever. D) Lastly, I rebranded and redid this entire blog to get more real and personal with y’all. Well, it doesn’t get more real and personal then this blog post.
Whew, where do I even begin? For starters, our due date was October 30th. At our 39 week appointment my cervix was still completely closed so there were no signs of him wanting to come out anytime soon. With that in mind, we knew that if we returned for our 40 week appointment we would need a plan or idea of how we wanted to move forward. There are a lot of varying opinions on how far past your due date you should go and things like that so I really wanted to make sure to have all of the pros and cons of all situations in order to make the most rational decision. (At this point of my pregnancy I was SO uncomfortable and miserable.) 40 weeks came and went. They were going to attempt to sweep my membranes, but since I was only 1 cm dilated at this point they decided it would be too painful and not going to accomplish much. I remember leaving this appointment so disheartened. My doctors told me that at my 41 week appointment I could either schedule an exam to determine if he could safely stay in there longer, OR I could go ahead and schedule to be induced. I was so ready to meet my baby boy. Sign me up for induction!
From the start, I knew I wanted Harrison, my mom, and my aunt who also doubles as a doula in the room with us. They were so ready for baby boy to make his arrival too, ha! My poor aunt had already been in town for about 8 days waiting! So, on November 6th I was to check in at the hospital at 5:30 PM. After triage and getting me hooked up to everything it was about 7 PM. The way my OBGYN practice is setup is that there are about 6 doctors on staff and almost a dozen midwives I think. Since you never know who will be working when you go into labor, they do a great job of making sure you meet a new doctor or midwife almost every appointment. If all goes well when you’re at the hospital you can voice whether you prefer a doctor or a midwife to deliver your baby. I was VERY devoted to having a midwife. So, at about 7:30 the midwife on duty came in for our plan of attack. We started the first induction medicine around 9 PM. They administered Cervidil, which is an induction medicine that they give vaginally to ripen the cervix.
This night was honestly the worst part of our birth story. My mom and aunt stuck around until about midnight, just talking and playing board games to distract us. The original plan was for them to return back around 9 AM. We all knew Cervidil wasn’t going to send me straight into labor, it was just the first step in the process. The plan was that around 8 AM they would take out the Cervidil, then give me an hour to shower, eat breakfast, and reset in respects to the fact that I still had the next steps of an induction on the way… I think the most ironic part of this post is that nothing with babies ever goes to plan. I am a complete control freak, so when I knew I was having an induction that almost calmed me because I knew that was the plan. Well, plans go out the freaking window when babies are involved!
Around 3 AM the midwife and her team came in and said they were taking the Cervidil out right away. It was causing too many contractions without much progress anywhere else. This night really felt like the longest night ever. It was an amazing bonding experience with Harrison though. We both had no idea what was happening, how to deal with contractions, any of it, so navigating that together was a special thing I’ll never forget. After the Cervidil was removed she said to just get some rest until the morning and we’d reevaluate. Easy for them to say, right?
Like I said, birth never goes to plan. By 5 AM, my water had broken and I was in so much pain. The contractions just kept coming and coming but weren’t getting any closer together. I was up to 4 cm dilated at this point, which was progress but still felt so far away. I quickly called my mom and begged them to come earlier.
Once they got there, my Aunt coached me through breathing through the contractions and dealing with the pain. My mom and Harrison calmed me and it all mellowed out. Unfortunately since my water broke I was no longer allowed to eat a large breakfast, so basically all I ate the rest of the day was a Chewy Bar and a pumpkin muffin, both of which I immediately threw up. Fun, fun stuff guys. Just about early lunchtime, like 11-ish I think, the new doctor and midwife came on duty.
You guys, do you believe in signs? When they told me who was coming on I basically balled tears of joy. There was one midwife at our practice who stuck out. I had seen her more then once, which for our office was sort of unusual, loved her personality and beliefs, and just all around knew that if I could ever have my choice of who I wanted to deliver my baby it was her. On duty she came and the entire mood and vibe of our birth story changed. I was so excited, my aunt was excited because they agreed on the same ideas of how I would labor the rest of the day, and my mom was busy feeding the entire nursing and doctor staff of the labor and delivery wing. HA! Typical Pam 😉
Once our midwife Rose talked out the plan, we decided at 1 PM I would start Pitocin. This is a more well-known form of induction. They started the Pitocin IV drip, and then came the fun part. We started using different methods to try to progress, like back counter pressure, taking walks around the wing, and changing positions frequently. After all this I decided it was time for the epidural. The contractions were getting closer together and honestly I was just so exhausted that it was time. I remember trying to make it through contractions and basically falling asleep in between because I was so tired. Once I got the epidural I was a happy girl. It really was a game changer!
The last thing we did to try to progress was use the peanut ball. Basically they turned me on my sides and placed the peanut ball between my legs to try to get baby to move down. This is where shit got real. I remember thinking this must be it, this must be time, but the nurses and everyone assured me I still had some time. Oh, the irony looking back. You are the only one who truly knows your body I guess! Rose was making rounds and decided just to spontaneously check in on us. She was walking past me, glanced, and turned back around. She called the nurses immediately, looked at me and said, “Taylor, I can see his head. It’s time to push!” We turned on our Labor & Delivery playlist and it was go-time baby. 17 minutes later the most precious little miracle was plopped up on my chest and I will never be the same. It was sort of a blur, but he entered the world in between Dave Matthews Band’s “Crash Into Me,” Van Morrison’s “Into the Mystic,” and Dan & Shay’s “Speechless.” How freaking perfect. I tried to concentrate on Rose’s instructions during pushing, but I will forever remember her saying “I think this baby is about to be born to Dave Matthews and that might be the coolest thing I’ve ever seen!”
From someone who was TERRIFIED of childbirth, it was truly a beautiful and amazing experience like no other. The first two faces I saw after him were Harrison’s and my mom’s, two that I will never forget. Harrison kept it together but I just saw a face of so much joy like I’ve never seen on him before. And my mom was balling her eyes out yelling she just watched a miracle! It was funny because going into it she swore she didn’t want to watch but once it started she said she couldn’t take her eyes off of it. I don’t know if I’ve ever seen my mom so happy which made me feel so proud I could give her that. Colton was also born on my mom and late Dad’s wedding anniversary, which was another special touch in our birth story.
Not only did Rose make our birth such an amazing experience, all of the nurses in the labor and delivery ward were AMAZING. Our nurse Patti seen below was so helpful and calming as well. She was constantly telling stories and cracking jokes to distract us all. The nurse that cleaned Colton off and weighed and measured him was great too. I really regret not catching her name. And my aunt! The amazing doula! Before this experience, I thought doulas were cool and all, but y’all I don’t know if I could’ve gotten through this without my dream team of supporters you see in this post. It was true true teamwork and led to the most magical experience.
Meet Colton Charles Albert. Born 11/7/19 at 4:49 PM. He weighed 7 pound 4 ounces, and was 19″ long. I grew up babysitting my entire life. I always dreamed of being a mom, but I never knew it would feel like this. How can you possibly love one tiny little peanut so much?! Did I really make him? Did he really just live inside of me for the past 9 months and now he’s just like, ours? Pretty freaking crazy. Colton Charles, you have already made us the happiest parents in the world. You have changed our lives forever. We love you.