So I have been debating for the last month or so whether or not I wanted to open up and share Jackson’s birth story on the blog. I have enjoyed reading several other mamas stories, but wasn’t quite confident in sharing my own adventure. However, I now feel compelled to share my experience because it turned out so fabulous!
As my due date quickly approached, SOOO many people asked me how nervous I was for Jackson’s delivery. People thought I was nuts when I said I had no anxiety in the least. After all, I had a wonderful doctor who would be there for me and I was in a place where medical intervention could happen quickly for my little man and myself. Now, if I’d done an at-home birth? Yeah, I would have psyched myself out and been a hot mess!!
Now Jon and I didn’t share them at the time, but we actually had two false alarms the weekend before Jackson was born. I look back on it and those were, by far, the worst part of my experience. I was 3 centimeters dilated for several weeks at that point and had been told my amniotic fluid was borderline low at my last two ultrasounds (not horrible, but not good). I was having steady contractions, there was a lot less activity in my belly from Jackson and all those other little signs doctors tell you are indicators for real labor. Mine? Nope, we were told it wasn’t good enough and to go home. SO. FRUSTRATING.
By this point I was SO over being pregnant, so Jon and I did all those cliché labor inducers to try and get things moving. I think we spent more time walking around the mall those two weekends than the entire time we’ve lived in Indy!! On Sunday the 1st we were out doing our regular laps around the mall when my contractions started to get worse. Off to the hospital we went with the instructions from my doctor to get my fluid checked during this visit. Thank goodness she did! We arrived around 5 p.m. to be told I had only progressed to 4 centimeters. GRRR!!! Jon and I had the distinct feeling we were going to be sent home again. I was in for quite the shock when the nurse came back and told me “WE’RE HAVING A BABY TODAY!!” My fluid had gotten into the low zone that it was actually bad/potentially dangerous for Jackson to try and stay in and cook longer. I can’t help but think if my fluid had been checked either of the times I’d had the false alarm, maybe my fluid wouldn’t have gotten so low and I wouldn’t have had to be induced so quickly…..
No sooner had the nursing staff finished my admittance and settled me into my birthing suite than they started my Pitocin drip. Having never been an actual hospital patient myself, it was a little surreal to be the one hooked up to that dripping IV. My one regret? Not eating anything before we made our way to the hospital. I was STARVING within a few hours of being admitted.
Oh Pitocin drip……you little devil, I did not ever want to have the pleasure of meeting your acquaintance. My plan all along was to go natural and progress free of drugs. Little Jackson had other plans for us though. While it wasn’t the ideal way I wanted my labor to progress, it did get things moving along quickly. My contractions came quicker and harder than expected and I’m not ashamed to say that I caved twice and told Jon I thought I wanted an epidural. Jon was beyond a great labor partner (although he’ll tell anyone that will listen he felt useless and he didn’t do anything), and talked me into trying the low grade pain relieving drugs instead of going straight to the epidural. He certainly knew what I wanted during my labor and delivery and did an excellent job of not letting me wimp out!
Somewhere in the middle of the night my water finally broke. HALLELUJAH!! While I knew this was only going to make the pain (which my legs could barely support me through any longer) worse, I was so happy to finally hear that baby was just as ready as I was for him to come out! I hunkered down on my birthing ball and huffed my way through the contractions. At this point it’d be hours since I’d been checked for how far I was dilated, but I was so focused on getting through my contractions I didn’t notice when they really changed from just pain to the feeling the need to push. Jon and my mom became worried at this point, as I shouldn’t feel that need to push unless I was complete. After asking me several times if I thought I should be checked (duh!) and only receiving unintelligible grunts from me, they cornered the nurse to check up on me. This was somewhere between 6 and 7 in the morning and the nurse confirmed I was complete and ready to push. Once again……HALLE-FREAKING-LUJAH!!!
After that came almost two hours of INTENSE pushing. Like, I thought my head was going to explode pushing. Looking back, I am still amazed with myself that I didn’t go for the drugs. I remember my nurses telling me I was amazing and I was doing a great job, but all I could think was I clearly wasn’t pushing hard enough. I could barely talk at this point, but whenever I could catch my breath, I was talking to my boy- “Come on Jackson, we can DO this!!” and “Come on out now!” This babe of mine was my strength to keep positive and happy throughout this pregnancy and, by golly, he did the same thing during my labor. So I’d do my rhythmic breathing and push. And push. And PUSHHHHHH.
At some point my pushes became good enough that the nurses prepared to call my doctor in to prep for the delivery. I remember my nurse Ona telling me they were calling the doctor at the start of a contraction and by the end Jackson’s head was half way out. Everyone started exclaiming for me to stop pushing and all I could think was “Eff no! This kid is coming out NOW!” Luckily my doctor was outside my door, coming to check up on me. Everything became a blur of motion at this point and everyone kept telling me not to push. I was trying not to sob with the lack of pushing. My mom was a chant in my ear to just hold on and breathe and at some point my doctor told me to push. After several pushes and bursts of encouragement from everyone in the room, out came Mr. Jackson. I remember my doctor telling me to open my eyes and look at my baby. It was so freaking surreal!!
I remember getting to hold Jackson for just a minute and crying at how wonderful it was to hear him crying and then the nurse scooped him up to begin drying him off and weighing him, with Jon by his side, while the doctor stitched me up. That’s right friends, my lovely friend Pitocin sped things up and made it all the more intense that I had to have an episiotomy. Which I should be glad for because my doctor said it would have been a nightmare if I’d torn……after what felt like hours of my doctor stitching me up (I made the joke to my mom, an avid crafter, that it felt like my doc was make a cross stitch picture down there!) my handsome man was back in my arms and all I could do was stare at him and marvel that he was finally here and ours to keep.
We were lucky enough that our maternity wing only offers birthing suites, so baby and I didn’t have to be moved after our delivery. Breastfeeding had always been on the agenda for Jackson and I, so I was THRILLED when he took to my breast right away. I kept myself calm by doing my yoga breathing and relaxation methods to reassure Jackson that we could do this breastfeeding thing. He took to it so naturally and here we are, over two weeks later, and he’s still nursing like a champ! I don’t remember much after that first feeding, as we were all so exhausted we napped for a couple of hours while Grandma and Grandpa went to take care of our pooch and nap themselves.
My dad had been waiting in the visitor’s lounge during my labor, as only two people were allowed in the room with me during the delivery. When he was on his way to come meet Jackson, my doctor stopped him in the hallway and told him how wonderful I had done and that she wished all her patients did as amazing as I did. It’s the silent sufferer in me I guess, that made everyone think I did so awesome. I was so focused on my contractions that I barely made a peep except to ask for my ice chips or to talk to Jackson. I seriously don’t know how women go through labor screaming and carrying on, I was way too tired just being quiet!
We had a good majority of family come and meet Jackson at the hospital. Jon’s sister and his grandparents made the trip while my sister Natalie and her handsome man Joseph stopped by as well. Jackson loved meeting everyone, only really being fussy when he was hungry or fighting sleep. Jon and I were lucky enough that both my mom and dad stayed with us the first few days we were home. We let them dote all over our little guy and I was so sad to see them leave to head home. Jon and I would have had it way worse those first few days if they hadn’t been here to support us!
A big shout out goes to all the nurses we had during our two day stay at the hospital. They were AWESOME! They were so knowledgable when answering our questions and didn’t make us feel silly for asking. They took such good care of me and just loved all over Jackson. They’re really what made our stay so enjoyable and carefree while we were there.
It was bittersweet to leave the hospital and the wonderful care of our nurses, but at the same time, Jon and I were so ready to be home and have the chance to sleep in our own bed. The nurses helped us make our way down to the car with all of our items and people were smiling at me as I was wheeled by with Jackson on my lap. I remember thinking, “They’re letting us leave with him….THEY’RE LETTING US LEAVE!! These crazy FOOLS!” We live about 15 minutes from the hospital, so it was a short, sweet ride home. I felt like we’d broken out of jail and was so happy to be heading home with my sweet little family.
These first two weeks at home with Jackson have been sweet, but not without their frustrations. Besides the bursts of inconsolable crying and bowel movements to clean off ourselves (really just Jon has been lucky in that aspect :)), life with a newborn has been a remarkably smooth journey for us. I told Jon a few evenings ago that my job has really prepared me for those late nights feedings (Jackson only feeds once in the middle of the night now, around the time I would be getting up to head to work), so I’ve only had two or so occasions that I have felt the exhaustion of being a new mom. It can be frazzling at times, but one sweet smile or coo from my little man and all the frustrations just melt away and my heart feels like it’s going to burst with love. So far this journey into motherhood has been nothing but an awesome ride I know has only just begun. One of the biggest surprises? How instinctual being a mom and taking care of Jackson feels but also still feeling like myself. I couldn’t be happier that my little man is here and I get the honor of taking care of this precious gift God has given me. I can’t wait to see what God has in store for my wonderful little family next!