Birth Story

Monday, August 27, 2018

My heart!! Writing out Declan's birth story is giving me all the feels! It really is so crazy how fast time flies. Days and nights can feel so long but at the same time the weeks are just flying by! Declan's scheduled due date was February 8th, my baby sister's birthday! But he decided to come just a few days early!

February 3 was the last weekend Tony and I were going to have before Declan's due date. So I wanted to really do something fun and spend time with Tony! We decided we would sleep in, get brunch, and go see a movie! When I woke up that morning and got ready I was having some spread out contractions but that wasn't uncommon at this point. I chalked it up to being hungry! I always felt like I was more aware of contractions when I was starving! So I thought they would ease up once I could chow down on my favorite French Toast! So we headed out and ended up having to wait an hour to eat (brunch on a Saturday, we should have known), so we walked around Whole Foods!

At this point my contractions were feeling kind of strong, but again, I was starving, so just incase I started to time them. I was never good a timing contractions but I think they were getting around 10 minutes apart but nothing I couldn't handle. I honestly was more concerned about getting my french toast. Once we finished up breakfast I realized my contractions were feeling even stronger. They weren't terribly painful so I was more excited than in pain. We decided to opt out of the movie and head home to grab last minute items for our go bag (a bag I had packed for like two weeks). I decided to take a shower (you never know whats going to go down at the hospital and I would rather shower at home), and once I finished up I realized these contractions were getting a little intense.

We jumped in the car, dropped our dogs off to be boarded, and headed to the hospital. At this point I was having to concentrate on breathing through each contraction and wishing Tony would hurry up with the dogs because I DID NOT want to have this baby in a Petsmart parking lot. We made it to the hospital just fine and checked in. Since my water didn't break they of course had to check me before I could be admitted. They asked Tony to wait outside, which I thought was weird, but I think its because they need to make sure you are in a safe relationship? But it was probably a good thing he was gone because that first cervix check was the worst part of my entire labor and delivery experience. Declan was really low in my pelvis so it was really hard for the nurse to check my cervix. She was needing to literally reach around his head to see if I was thinning. It was the only time I cried (besides my happy tears when I met Declan) and almost screamed in pain. My body was literally trying to kick away from her, I felt like I couldn't even stop it from happening. My poor sweet nurse kept apologizing.

Because she couldn't check very well she had me walk laps for an hour while I had more contractions. This also sucked. That hour was a big blur full of holding onto chairs, breathing, and drinking lots of water. She finally checked me again (which was terrible) and decided I should get admitted. So they wheeled me up to our room and got me set up for my epidural.

Let me just say, standing ovation for all you mamas who go natural!! My mom had all 5 of us kids naturally and it literally blows my mind! For me personally, I have had cramps that are so painful I get nauseous and feel like I could pass out, and if there was something that could make my labor and delivery (an experience that I am sure would be worse than even my most intense cramps) manageable and create an enjoyable experience meeting my baby, thats what I wanted!!

So being someone who is deathly afraid of needles (you can ask my family, I once had to have 5 nurses hold me down to get shots as a kid), I decided to go with the epidural. I had the sweetest doctor who talked me through the whole thing and honestly it wasn't nearly as bad as I imagined a needle going into my spine would be. And once it kicked in....smooth sailing!! Of course only ice chips were allowed but I busted out the movies and we settled in for a night of laboring.

Every once in a while it would start to wear off in certain areas but I would just give myself a bit more or I would call the doctor in and he would give me a boost! Don't be afraid to let them know if you need more! If I was going to go the epidural route I was going to make it count! I couldn't sleep at all due to being anxious and excited to get this thing going! They eventually came in and broke my water and finally around 5am they said I was dilated enough to start pushing!

For some annoying reason I started to get congested as I started the process of pushing and breathing through it. But none the less I made it work. Even with the epidural I could feel when contractions were coming and totally felt like I was nailing the pushes! Tony stood by me the whole time and it was so fun to see his reactions when he was finally able to see Declan's head. I think he only felt sick one time during the whole process. I didn't want a mirror (I didn't want to see anything going on down there) so I just had Tony tell me when he could see him.

Overall the pushing went by really fast and by 5:53am he was out! They did find out that there was a little meconium in the womb and because of that Declan was having trouble breathing at first. So of course when he came out silent I had a bit of panic. But our hospital was so great and they had a NICU team right there in the room. They had him breathing normal in no time and I finally got to hear his little noises. Because of the meconium Declan and I both had fevers which resulted in an extra day in the hospital and antibiotics.

Being a photographer people asked me if I was going to have someone come in and photograph everything. Honestly this is completely a personal choice. Personally I knew having someone snapping away would inevitably lead me to feel self conscious of how I looked and I didn't want to be focusing on that while meeting my baby for the first time. I knew Tony would be taking pictures on his phone and that was good enough for me. I also brought my camera to the hospital to take my own photos of Declan later on! I loved how it was just the two of us getting to soak everything in. But on another note I've seen so many beautiful photos taken in the delivery room and I know all you mamas who get it done will love those pics forever!! I just didn't even want to think about how my hair or makeup (lack there of) was looking at the time :)

Nothing can really express the feeling of when they put your little babe on your chest for the first time. He was absolutely perfect in every way and looked like a little asian old man, which I love. During this time I just needed a few internal stitches and then I was ready to go to our recovery room. It was perfect timing for my sister to arrive the day he came and she took such good care of us bringing in food and treats!

At the time it felt like we were in the hospital forever. It just feels like a big blur with nurses constantly checking on you, breastfeeding, changing diapers, trying to sleep, and being completely oblivious to what time of day it is. Cold packs were my best friend and made recovery super manageable for me! I was constantly asking for more! I was blessed with such a good eater and though it took a few days for my milk to come in, I am so glad Declan was as patient as he was.

I know circumcision is a very personal choice and to some very controversial but for our own reasons we decided to do the circumcision. I will be honest, it was a little traumatic for me just because I felt so terrible! Just as we were getting the hang of everything, he got the procedure done, and it just added one more element of stress for me, and I'm sure for him as well. But he healed quickly and as long as you use a lot of antibiotic ointment you'll be fine!

I was so lucky to have my sister with me the first week. Any questions I had she was there to answer, and when I would stress about every little thing she would reassure me it was fine. The first few days as my milk came in it took a little bit for Declan to get used to it and he struggled with sleeping which was rough. But once he adjusted to it he was the best sleeper ever!!

My recovery and first few weeks at home were, for the most part, great. Like all new moms breastfeeding came with a learning curve, I'll be making a separate blog post about that :). And unfortunately for me after my first week of being home I broke out in hives all over my body. This can be common as your body's hormones change but be warned that ibuprofen (which I was taking) can make it worse. So I stopped cold turkey and it cleared up in about 4 days (longest 4 days of my life though).

I honestly could not have asked for a better labor and delivery experience. I went in knowing that anything could happen and preparing myself to be open minded to whatever situation may be necessary to get Declan here. But I was blessed to not have had any major complications and honestly enjoy the experience! Good luck to all you mamas about to have your own beautiful moment of meeting your little one!


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