Wednesday, May 27, 2015

{Austen Bradley: The Birth Story}

This is the story of our 39 hour journey to bring our son into the world. It was the single hardest and most incredible thing I have ever done! 

I'm warning you...this is long! But I didn't want to forget any detail, so feel free to skim! 

Let's do this! 

Friday May 8th started out like any Friday morning for me. I have Friday's off, so  I woke up, had breakfast, got ready for the day, and ran a few errands. I was getting pretty darn uncomfortable and was thinking I wouldn't be too upset to go into labor any day now.

I actually put this picture on Instagram wondering if this would be my last Friday pregnant...I swear I knew it was happening soon!

I texted my mom and sister to see if they wanted to do one last ladies lunch and to see if my mom wanted to get a mani and pedi. We met at our favorite Mexican restaurant, my mom and I ran a bunch of last minute errands, and then we got a mani and pedi. The entire day, I kept thinking "dang I'm so uncomfortable" and kept saying "I swear any bump in the road makes me feel like I could go into labor!" That evening we met up with some friends for dinner at a Hibachi Grill {this was a major goal to get to...I reallllly wanted some yummy hibachi} and on the way home I told Wendel that either I was having some random cramping, or I was having contractions. By the time I got home, I was pretty sure something was starting. 

When we got home, I took my makeup off, got comfortable, and started thinking "could this really be IT?" 

I called my mom and told her to be prepared in case we were ready to go {she was going to be our labor coach since she was a labor and delivery nurse for many years and had my brother and I naturally} and Wendel and I sat tight not knowing what to expect. 

We started timing our contractions around 10:00 pm using the app Free Term and within an hour or two we were having contractions 5 minutes apart lasting for a least a minute and that went on for a few hours. This is the timing in which our doctor told us to call them, so I called the doctor and told her I was having contractions...they were this far apart...but they weren't unbearable. She told me to hang tight, keep breathing through the contractions, and let her know if they got much more intense. 

We didn't really sleep that night. I was having contractions every five minutes consistently, and by the morning I was having trouble feeling Austen move around and was getting nervous. I called the doctor, and she sent me in for a stress test to see how Austen was handling the contractions. I reminded her that we wanted to go natural, and we wanted to labor at home, but I wanted some peace of mind to make sure Austen was okay and to see how far I had progressed. 

So my mom, Wendel and I headed to the hospital. They checked me and I was only 2 cm dilated, but 80% effaced. They monitored him and my contractions for a while and saw that he was doing great. My doctor wanted me to walk around the hospital for an hour and then they would check me again to see if I would progress. So Wendel and I walked through the halls of the hospital {freaking out many a pregnant woman going on hospital tours} breathing through and laughing through contractions. I was trying to keep my humor about the experience and keep things light hearted. When we got back after an hour of walking, I hadn't progressed at all {what the heck} so our nurse decided to discharge me. She went natural with all of her children and she was adamant that I go home and labor as long as possible or the chances of me getting medication would go up. So we did as she told us, drove through Frisch's for some vegetable soup and a grilled cheese sandwich and prayed I could get some sleep. 

When we got home, I crashed hard on the couch, stuffed the grilled cheese down my throat, and tried to sleep. I would wake up every 5-10 minutes and have a contraction. Wendel laid right by my side, timed my contractions, held my hand, and reminded me to breath. At this point I was TIRED and really wondering if I could do this. I was able to get a few hours {on and off} of sleep, and was feeling pretty good but ready to get this thing progressing.

It's funny how I really thought I would be good about letting people know what was going on. We tried to update close friends and family about the progress, but I was SO far from caring about the world around me. I was just trying to focus on what we had learned in our classes and putting those things in to place to get labor going in the right direction.

My mom stopped by around dinner time with Subway and I forced myself to eat half a 6 inch sub just so I had something to give me some energy to keep on going. When we realized I was still far away from go time, she left, and I got a nice warm bath. I was SO comfortable soaking, but unfortunately, the contractions would stop while I was in the bathtub. So I only got in the tub when I needed a good rest. In reality, I wanted to get this thing going, so I didn't want to stop the contractions...I wanted to keep them going.

I had a nice loop in our house that I would walk and around 10:00 in the evening, I started getting WEEPY! How could I do this? Will I like him? {yes...I was that sleep deprived and irrational} What if I couldn't go natural? What if he turned and I would have to have a C-section? What if we got to the hospital and I was still 2 cm?

Wendel was a flippin' saint! He let me speak my fears, validated that I was not crazy, and loved me like crazy. He did just what I needed, when I needed it, and I'm SO thankful for him!

We decided to get the heating pad out, and have me lay down so I could try to get some sleep.

This is when things got more intense. I had contractions every 3-4 minutes all throughout the night, and sometimes I would have no break in-between. I was trying to contract quietly so Wendel could get some sleep. I figured one of us needed to get sleep.

Finally at 3:00 am on our due date {May 10th...Mother's Day} I had had enough, woke Wendel up, called the doctor, and told her I needed to come in.

We packed up, picked up my mom, and headed to the hospital knowing that I was NOT going to leave there without a baby. No matter what...this baby was making his entrance in the next day or so.

We got checked in and I was 4 cm {wasn't thrilled about that one but they insisted that going from 0-4 cm was much harder than going from 4-10 cm...who knows if that's right or not} and  90% effaced. They got my IV going, and wheeled me to my room.

Our first nurse was SO young, but she was great! We were only with her for a few hours, and then our nurse that would be there the rest of the time, Annie, came on around 7:00 am. She was phenomenal!

I contracted, and contracted, and contracted for a LONG flippin' time. Annie was great about helping me get into different positions and giving me tips on how to get this thing going. I wanted things to keep rolling, but I knew that with each change in position, the contractions would get more intense. And again...I just didn't know how long it would take.

They had literally everything we would ever need! They had heated blankets, headed socks, balls, dim-able lights, and the list goes on. We brought some of my favorite lotion for Wendel to give me foot rubs, a heating pad, but the HUGE life saver was the mini-fan we brought. Towards the end I was SO incredibly hot and that thing was amazing! So thankful we brought it!

We put a movie on {Identity Thief} and I watched it on and off in between contractions. I slightly remember watching some of it, but it really is a blur. My mom and Wendel said they were trying to hold back laughing because the movie was funny, but they knew I was in pain.

Our doctor on call, Dr. Horn, was making her rounds and Annie told me she would be in soon.

I immediately told Wendel and my mom that if I hadn't made any progress, I wanted an epidural. I was exhausted and didn't know how much longer I could go. Alex just listened, but my mom said "'ll be just fine. You've gone so don't need an epidural!"


Dr. Horn came in and double checked that I still wanted to go natural. She told us that if I hadn't made much progress, that it just may not be in the cards for me. But with much excitement, she said "'re 6 cm and almost fully're a great candidate for natural...let's do this!"

Dr. Horn broke my water, and Annie looked in my eyes and said " you want to go natural?" I very reluctantly said "Yes...I think so" and she said " more epidural talk...we're going to do this!"

She immediately had me get on my knees, leaning on the back of the bed. And WOW...the contractions got INTENSE...FAST! Within maybe 20 minutes I felt the intense pressure to push and was begging them to let me start pushing!

Annie got me in position and told me Dr. Horn was on the recovery floor and would be back down soon, but we've got some pushing to do.

She had me start doing three pushes each for 10 seconds on each contraction I had. My mom and Alex held my legs and Alex was AMAZING at counting and supporting me.

This may be TMI, but it wasn't until Annie brought a mirror out for me to see that I could really focus on what I was doing. Once we saw Austen's hair it started getting real. But I kept thinking "how in the WORLD was I going to get him out?" But seeing his head more and more gave me the motivation I needed.

The best tip Annie gave me was that when I pushed, and his head started getting more pronounced, I needed to hold it there because his head kept going back under my pubic bone. That direction was EXACTLY what I needed.

Dr. Horn finally got down to our room and Annie said she was going to watch me push to see how close I was. Annie also said "Dr. Horn is a's all super encouraging and works, but don't feel like she's yelling at you. It's to keep you motivated" Right when I was about to contract again and start pushing, Dr. Horn got a call and had to answer it. NO! I wanted her to see how flippin' awesome of a pusher I was {hehe} and tell me let's get this baby out!

A few minutes later she was back, watched me push, and said I was ready! She did some perineal massaging and in minutes there were three more people in the room getting everything set up and ready to go!

Then everyone left and I was like back! I want this baby out!

But a few minutes later, some bright lights were put on and Dr. Horn said "let's have this baby!"

My mom moved behind me, Annie grabbed my camera, and Wendel stayed by my side.

One of the last things I remember is the nurse asking if I wanted to do skin-to-skin right away, and I immediately started ripping off my gown to expose my skin. YES...I wanted that baby boy on me, right away!

I also let the nurse know that I wanted to breastfeed as soon as possible and we wanted to delay cord cutting until the placenta had finished pulsing.

I almost feel like I blacked out a little during those last few pushes, because I don't remember it much, but I remember Dr. Horn yelling, Alex counting, and before I knew it , at 12:50 pm, Austen Bradley Wendel was on my chest screaming away!

We had done it! Alex and I had brought a living, breathing, perfect being into the world. Together! In the perfect way we wanted to!

They cleaned him off a bit, and got him all nuzzled into my chest with a warm blanket on top of him. The warmth and sweetness radiating from that little boy was incredible.

I started talking to him telling him "Happy Birthday Austen Bradley" and he calmed down immediately. I was the voice he had been hearing the past nine months. And I will never get over how calm he gets when he hears my voice! He opened up his eyes, was raising his little head, and everything was calm and still. Nothing else was happening around us...well lots was happening...but we didn't notice. We had done it. 39 hours of labor...and he was HERE! He was ours!

Dr. Horn gave Alex the scissors and said okay cut the cord and I reminded her that we wanted to delay that for a bit, and she was so sad that she hadn't gotten that memo because she had already clamped it. She apologized and we couldn't have cared less! He was here, healthy, cut that cord and let me continue snuggling my baby!

They gave us some time to snuggle him {NO clue how long} and took him to be weighed. Everyone was saying "he's a BIG boy...what are your guesses?" I guess 8 lbs 8 oz, Alex guessed 8 lbs, but much to our surprise I was carrying an 8 lb. 11 oz. BIG boy in my belly!

Sometime during that I delivered the placenta and had a few stitches {no episiotomy...thank God!} Alex even turned around at one point was like "oh my gosh...that's already over with?"

In the mean time, Annie brought in a turkey sandwich and peanut butter and graham crackers. My mom fed it to me and NOTHING has tasted better! Oh my was the best thing ever! I was starving!

They brought Austen back to me all warm and cozy in a blanket and I got to feed him for the first time. I laid him on my chest, and let him find his way and he did it. All by himself. He dove right down and fed for quite a while. Literally every single one of my dreams were coming true!

Our family was waiting in the waiting room, but we decided to take some time as a family of three. My mom went and waited with them in the waiting area, and Alex and I had time while I fed him. I don't remember those moments too much. I think they said it was about an hour or so. I truly don't remember. Time was very still during those first moments.

They gave him his first shot, and his eye treatment, and very soon after, our family came in SO excited to meet our little {well...big} man!

When they came in, he had just finished feeding, so Alex was the first one to hold him. Their first father/son time and it was precious to watch! Austen was passed around and everyone Oooed and Ahhed over him.

The following hours were perfect! We couldn't believe he came...on his due the most perfect way!

He had sweet, chubby cheeks, dark blue eyes, lots of dark hair, and was absolutely perfect! 

A few hours later we were whisked off to our recovery room and we were blessed with the best nurses to help us in those first few hours of being parents! I thankfully was feeling great! I got a shower a few hours after birth {something I had been wanting since about 6 am during labor..."I just want to take a shower so bad" was a phrase I repeated quite often} and I really was doing great! He was a feeding champ, and all of our classes and reading was paying off! 

We kept getting people coming in saying "so you're the one who went natural"...evidently it's not very typical. But I'll be honest...I was PROUD every time someone reminded me of that. I wanted to go natural so badly, and I pushed through and did it! Now I 100% understand why you would have an epidural! Wow's tough stuff. But for myself, I was thankful I was able to do it! 

Falling asleep to this sight was extremely surreal! He was in my belly just a few hours earlier, and here he was! A healthy, living, breathing, eating, pooping little baby boy. Our baby boy! 

We did a lot of staring that evening. And watching movies. They had LOTS of awesome movies! 

The next day, we were on a mission to get out of there! I was feeling awesome, Austen was eating great, and we were ready to be home. So they squeezed everything in, and we were headed home around 6:00 that evening! 

It was thunder-storming on our way home, but this little boy slept all snuggly on his way home. 

We forgot to get the little infant insert for the car seat, so I held his head the entire way home and woof...I just couldn't stop staring at those cheeks and lips! So sweet!

Wendel's parents helped us bring everything home, got us dinner, and then we were off to bed, at home, for the first time as a little family. 

I was a little nervous...could we do this? Feed him throughout the night and get sleep and me not be a crying emotional mess? But man he is great! He wakes up three times a night, eats, poops, and goes back to sleep. Pretty easy and normal baby-like. 

We're in love! Just to think that last Mother's Day, I was nervous about our future with children. We had been struggling with infertility for well over a year, and didn't know what the future would hold. If only I knew on that day, that a year to the day, we would be welcoming this little precious life into the world...I probably wouldn't have believed it! It's insane, and we feel so blessed! 

Thank you for the prayers, the excitement, and the love over our journey! We are so thankful for each of you! 

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