On July 22nd, our world changed forever! It was absolutely the best day of our entire lives and I’m excited to share some of the beautiful details with you all. It looked nothing like I imagined, yet was so much better than I ever could have guessed.
Our birth story begings slightly before birth. One thing I did not realize about pregnancy was how much of a struggle the third trimester is. I swear no one talks about it! You feel huge, you’re sick of being pregnant, you are often sick and the exhaustion is real.
During one of my routine third trimester checkups, around week 33, we discovered I was struggling with some blood pressure issues. At the time, it was nothing too bad but they did have me monitor it at home. Later that night, I actually had to go the hospital because it kept rising. They ended up putting me on some blood pressure medicine and told me to stay off my feet as much as possible. Over the next few weeks, it was a constant struggle with blood pressure. Even after increasing my medication four times, it would still get very high in the evenings. When I reached 37 weeks, during my visit, my doctor decided it was safer for Foster to be born than risk any further blood pressure issues. We scheduled my induction for the next evening!!
We absolutely trusted our doctor and his opinion, so we agreed to the induction (well, I agreed because husbands weren’t allowed at visits due to Covid. Talk about a scary decision!). My appointment was on a Monday and he scheduled me to check into the hospital the next day at 5 pm. Talk about a surreal 24 hours! Knowing I only had a day or so left to be pregnant, knowing we were about to meet our son, it was so exciting yet nerve wracking. It was also nice that I could go home, clean up the house, make sure I was packed, rest and get ready. People tend to not like inductions, but I actually didn’t mind it at all!
The next day, we went headed to the hospital. I was only a fingertip dilated (half a cm) and slightly effaced, so I figured we were settling in for a long process. Once I was checked in, Covid tested and hooked up to all the machines and monitors, we basically started the waiting game. That evening, the nurse gave me Cervidil to start the induction process. This is basically a medicine that softens and helps dilate the cervix. They let me know our doctor would be in the next morning to check my progress and to try and rest as much as possible.
The next morning, my doctor arrived around 5:30 am to check on my progress. I was having some contractions, but nothing painful at all. When he checked me, I was still about a fingertip dilated and 90% effaced. I can’t remember if he broke my water first or if the nurses started my Pitocin first – but either way things were happening! Up until this point, I felt completely normal and had no pain whatsoever. The doctor breaking my water was strange but not painful. After it broke though, the contractions started to feel painful.
I waited about 2 1/2 – 3 hours to get my epidural. I know some people say to wait as long as possible and some say not to wait – I’m team why wait? I knew I wanted it, so why sit in pain when I didn’t have to. Getting the epidural really freaked me out. I hate needles and medication and I was anxious how my body would respond to it. At this point, I was in quite a bit of pain, so I didn’t really care anymore. I wanted the epidural, ha! The process of it being inserted was not bad at all and I felt so much better once I had it. After getting it, we were basically back to a waiting game.
The rest of the laboring process was pretty uneventful. Around 11 am, I was about 6 cm dilated. I was extremely hungry at this point and the pain would come and go. Around 2 pm, my epidural started to wear off. We paged for our nurse but she was in an emergancy C-Section. We were told she would be back at 2:30 to check me but we didn’t see her. (not mad at all, I understand she was in an emergancy c-section and that was more important! There were 15 babies born the afternoon Foster was born, so things were hectic.)
At 3 pm, I told RJ we needed to get someone in our room. I knew it was time to push and the epidural was pretty worn off so I was feeling everything and in quite a bit of pain. Our nurse was still unavailable, so they sent another in. Once she checked me, she said I was 10 cm and agreed it was time to push. I originally asked for more epidural but she said to try pushing and see how I felt. Pushing was such a welcome relief to the pain. I don’t know why but it completely made the contraction pain go away and I felt great. I was ready to get this baby out of me.
I pushed for about 20 minutes and she actually had me pause to call my doctor in. We had to wait (what felt about 10 minutes but who knows). I was so hungry and tired at this point, RJ said I was basically passing out between contractions. I think it was also such a surreal moment. This was it- we were about to have our baby!! The doctor came in and I pushed about 4 or 5 more times and Foster was here! I’ll truly never forget seeing him for the first time.
This is where my plan really went askew. I had dreamt of him being place on my chest immediately, however he was having some breathing issues so the NICU nurses had to look at him before we could hold him. I was still pretty out of it and also the doctor was tending to a slight tear – both keeping me distracted from what was happening. I kept looking at RJ and watching his face to see what was going on. After a few minutes (again unsure how long, it was hard to tell time during all this), they cleared him and we were able to hold him!
Foster was born on July 22nd, 2020 at 3:44 pm, weighing 5 pounds and 6 ounces and 18 inches long. He was our perfect little angel, the baby we had dreamt and prayed about for so long. He was absolutely perfect.
Since he was so little, they had to test his bloodsugar and it was low. We were able to keep him with us for about 20 minutes before he had to go the NICU. I was an absolute mess when they took him. People kept coming in our room to discuss lactation and who knows what else and I was just bawling crying. I was glad he was being taken care of and knew it was best for him but I just wanted our baby. A little bit of time had passed and a nurse came in – with Foster!! Since his levels were borderline, they were going to let us keep him for a bit and check him again later. I don’t know if I’ve ever been so happy in my life.
We were able to keep Foster for about 4 hours and he had to be tested again. At this time, it was recommended he be checked into the NICU for at least the night. I still am sad we didn’t get to spend the first night with him completely, but we were able to go visit him in the NICU for each feeding/as much as we wanted.
Foster ended up spending three nights and four days in the NICU. I know it could have been so much worse but I was devestated to not just have our baby with us. This wasn’t at all what I pictured our birth to look like. We already had sacrificed so much due to Covid and now we couldn’t even have him with us in our room. However, the NICU nurses were absolutely incredible and he was being taken care of. While he was in the NICU, he had to have his blood drawn and bloodsugar checked every three hours. His poor little feet had to be poked so often and it broke my heart. He also had the teeniest tiniest IV and it was so sad. The first day he was on medicine (sugar water? through the IV again I can’t remember. so many things are a blur) and they would slowly ween him off of it. During this ween, they needed his blood sugar to stay above a certain number and once it stayed for three tests – he could be discharged. Watching his numbers go up made me so happy, I’ve never been so proud in my life.
I still cannot believe RJ and I navigated this time inn the NICU together. It was so scary but it brought us so much closer. Having a new baby is so hard on a relationship but thinking back to this time, I know we can do it. I’m so proud of us and Foster and our little family.
At this point, he had spent two nights in the NICU and we were now being discharged. I was so scared we were going to have to leave the hospital and leave him there alone. Thankfully, they let us stay in a ‘Care of’ room with him on the third night. He was still connected to monitors, however we were able to care for him. I no longer had access to nurses or anything in this room but he still had his NICU nurse. I am so thankful we were able to do this, I was so ready to be with my little man! The next day we finally were able to go home.
This was such a crazy experience, it kept feeling like I would get my baby and then he would get taken away. We weren’t able to see our family who was in town and everything just felt out of our control. The NICU was incredible but I hope to never experience it again. My heart breaks for any parents who have to experience time in the NICU.
On a positive note, my postpartum experience could not have been better. I was able to get up and walk around about 30 minutes after birth, never was in any pain and felt back to my normal self that evening. I am so thankful for this!
I tried to stay flexible with our birth plan and I’m so glad I did. Ultimately, all that mattered was that he was here safe. I’ve never known a love like this in my entire life. I knew I would love him more than anything in the world, but it truly changed my life. If you have any questions about our birth story, let me know!