Before I forget every amazing detail, I want to record the story of Mason's birth. It didn't happen how I expected it to at all, but it couldn't have been a more beautiful experience.
The story starts when I was about 34 weeks along. When you're far enough along, there are a certain number of times that a mother is supposed to feel her baby move throughout the day. At 34 weeks, my baby boy went radio silent for a couple of days. I felt him only a few times during that week and was constantly going in for non-stress tests to have him monitored. I went in so many times that the nurses on each shift started to recognize me! Each time I was sent home with the assurance that my baby boy was fine, and that, maybe, he was just a deep sleeper. I felt better after the tests, but the anxiety I felt when I wasn't hooked up to monitors was UNREAL. I had multiple "spells" a day. My heart rate would go through the roof, it was hard to breathe, and I would get so dizzy. A few times I had to pull over while driving because I felt like I was going to pass out.
I mentioned all of this to my doctor at my next appointment. He suggested that, if I continued to have days where I wasn't feeling the baby, I should be induced at 37 weeks to be safe. Induction was never my plan, but, if it meant having a healthy baby, I was all for it. We took it week by week and I didn't have to go in for a single non-stress test for a month! Baby boy was kicking like a ninja!
Until I hit 38 weeks...
At 38 weeks, my little boy went silent again. I was in for monitoring almost every day leading up to my 39 week appointment. I was so frustrated and scared. Frustrated because I couldn't get a hold of my doctor to tell him that I wanted that baby out! The nurses just kept monitoring me and sending me home. The non-stress tests became less and less reassuring. He wasn't as responsive as he had been in previous tests. And I was scared because I didn't want anything to happen to my sweet baby!
At my 39 week appointment, I let the nurse know what was going on when she came in to check the baby's heartbeat. She was concerned at the number of times I had been in to be monitored that week, and also at how high my blood pressure was. The doctor came in and immediately said, "Should we get that baby out?" I felt relief and agreed that it was the safest decision. I couldn't handle the anxiety anymore. Then he said, "Alright, I'll send you over there right now." My mouth literally dropped and my mind started racing...my mom wasn't here, Isaac was at work, I didn't have my bag packed, and, for heaven's sake, the laundry wasn't done! I begged him to schedule it for the next morning, so that my mom could be there. He was hesitant, but eventually agreed to it after I was monitored, because he saw the baby was okay and my blood pressure had dropped. I was also close to a 4 and was already over 90% effaced, so he thought I was the perfect candidate for an induction. There were four other inductions scheduled the next day, so the nurse warned me that they didn't know what time they would have me come in. She told me that they could call anytime from 6 AM to noon, and I would have to come in 30 minutes after the call. That made me so nervous!
I called my mom and Isaac to tell them that this baby was coming in the morning! After my appointment, I didn't know what to do with myself. I was so nervous. I mean, what do you do when you know that it's your last day without a baby???? Go to Target. I went straight to Target to grab some last minute things! Then, I went home and my sweet friend Aleigh came over to help me clean up and pack my hospital bag. I was so glad she was there to keep my mind off of the fact that I was having a baby the next day. I was so much more relaxed!
After Aleigh left, I went to go pick up Isaac from school and we went straight to Yogurtland to have a final date before we became parents. I cried like a baby when we got home. I was SO excited that our baby was finally coming, but, at the same time, I was SO sad that our time as just the two of us was coming to an end. I mean, talk about a life-changing event. We hugged, cuddled, and I cried some more. He gave me a blessing and I felt ready. My mom arrived around midnight and we talked for a bit before going to sleep. I was happy she made it!
I DID NOT SLEEP A WINK THAT NIGHT. I was too excited and too nervous that I would miss the hospital's call. Throughout the night, I would curl up into a ball because I started having really bad cramps...or at least what I thought were cramps. I went out to the living room and fell asleep on the couch for an hour, the only sleep I got that night! When I woke up, my cramps had gotten worse and I had to bend over when I walked to feel slightly comfortable. The nurse called at 8:15 and asked for us to be there by 9:30. We loaded up the car and headed to the hospital!
When we got to the hospital, I was admitted and they had me change into the hospital gown. I was cramping pretty bad every ten minutes and had to sit down when the cramping started. My nurses (AKA angels sent from above) came in and took my blood/vitals. I almost passed out when they put the IV in! I'm not scared of needles at all, but I hadn't eaten much that morning, so when they took my blood, I got really lightheaded. They checked me and I was dilated to a 5 already! That is when I realized that the cramps I was feeling were actually contractions! Who knew! They started my Pitocin around 11 AM and my doctor came in to break my water a few minutes after that. I felt so much relief after my water was broken. It's hard to explain, but I felt like there was a lot less pressure in my stomach.
I was able to decide when I got my epidural, and my mom joked that I could see how long I could go without it. Being the non-competitive person that I am, I opted to get the epidural as soon as the anesthesiologist was available. Give me the juice...that's my motto! When the anesthesiologist rolled in the cart, all of a sudden everyone started being too nice to me. My nurse helped me sit up, and she told me to grasp onto a pillow. It didn't occur to me that the epidural was possibly going to hurt, and it wasn't until after that I realized that everyone was making conversation because they were trying to distract me. I literally didn't feel a thing! A few minutes later, my legs were all warm and tingly and I started texting everyone telling them how great epidurals were.
It. Was. Awesome.
For the next two checks, I was at a 7. I snacked on some Jell-O, while Isaac studied and my mom watched "The Wedding Planner." Just before 2 PM, I started feeling a crazy amount of pressure in my butt! TMI? I wasn't sure what was happening, but it was super uncomfortable, so I started pressing my button for more epidural. Just in case! The nurse came in to check me. She informed me that I was fully dilated and that we were going to do a few practice pushes. WHAT. PUSHES!? How was that possible? How was it already time to push?? She helped me practice pushing through two contractions and checked me again. "I can see the head!" she told me. WHAT. How could she already see the head?! She went to call my doctor to come over. All of a sudden, it became so real.
The nurses prepped the room and my doctor came over. Isaac and my mom held my legs as I pushed through two more contractions. I loved having them right next to me. They told me that I was doing a good job and I felt so much support. Tears streamed down my face. I wasn't really sure why I was crying, it didn't hurt. I was just really emotional. My doctor asked me not to push and I could feel him start to maneuver the baby's shoulders out. And after 10 minutes of pushing, at 2:34 PM, our sweet Mason was born!
It was all pretty much blur after that! I didn't even realize that my doctor was helping to deliver my placenta or that Isaac cut the cord! They handed Mason to me right away, so that I could snuggle him. His little cry was so adorable. I couldn't stop the tears from coming. I looked at my mom. Her eyes were wet with tears as she told me that I did a great job. I looked at Isaac and saw his ear-to-ear smile. I looked back at my baby boy and just cried. I kept saying how cute he was over and over again. There are no words to describe the instant connection I felt to him. It just felt right. He fit perfectly in my arms.
They took Mason away to weigh him and clean him off. The doctor shouted out a guess, "7 lbs 12 oz!" My mom chimed in, "8 lbs 2 oz!" The nurse announced, "He's 8 lbs 2 oz!" Nailed it, mom. They handed Mason back to me and I held him on my chest. He was so cozy. After cuddling him for a bit, we tried breastfeeding for the first time. It was harder than I thought it was going to be! Then, Isaac got to hold him and my heart melted.
I still can't believe that it was our Mason in there this whole time. He makes us smile every day and has made life even sweeter. And I can not resist those scrumptious cheeks! My heart is so full.
*All birth photos by Hunter K Fowler