June 11th is a surprisingly overcast and rainy day (my absolute favorite). My mom and dad had come over and all day I kept saying "no contractions, Braxton Hicks, nothing? I'm going to be pregs forever!" June 12th I turn 28 years old, and being due June 15th I have some BIG plans to celebrate this birthday; breakfast in the morning with my bestie at my favorite coffee/breakfast spot (Alicias) and dinner with my parents and DJ. I know, wild right! DJ and I picked up some Mexican take out for dinner and I thought to myself "this is the best early birthday present! Rainy day, mexican food for dinner and this baby is nowhere in sight!" Not that I was not excited to meet our STILL nameless baby, but I have this notion that I can control every situation so a looming due date didn't stop me from procrastinating on setting up his nursery (I mean the big stuff was in there, just not set up). We also have big plans on Monday to deep clean my car, the bathrooms, finish putting in the swamp cooler... you catch my drift... controlled procrastination!
Eating my burrito and watching The Hunger Games as DJ takes a shower, my tummy starts feeling super uncomfortable for a few seconds and then relaxes. I tell DJ when he's out "something's happening in there, but I'm sure is nothing...maybe just some Braxton Hicks or early contractions". The sun starts going down and I am consistently feeling this tightening in my tummy, so I drink some water, switch positions on the couch, and eventually decide to go lay down in bed and try to sleep it off. I've been binge watching The Office each night before bed so I choose my favorite episode (when Pam and Jim stay at Dwights beet farm) but I am having a hard time concentrating on it because my "Braxton Hicks" were strong enough that I needed to close my eyes and deep breath through them. DJ falls asleep around 11 and at that point I decide maybe I should be timing these things, even though I KNOW they are nothing. Starting off at 12 minutes apart, down to 7 minutes apart, and then to 4 minutes apart. Fuuuuudddddggggeee. I wake DJ up (about 1 am) and tell him he may need to pack his bag. I hop in the shower and when I get out I find DJ in the other bathroom trimming his beard! "Dude! We have things to do! Put that car seat in and get your bag packed!" My uterus' timing is ridiculous, we were both so tired (later we laughed about how funny it was he wanted to shave, and that he was adamant about finding a polo shirt to wear so he could "look nice" when he met his son).
We got to the birth center at our local hospital around 2:30 am. Having these contractions so close together I am confident I'm at LEAST a 4 or 5 (flood gates are open people, it's show time)! When nurse Esme told me I was only dilated to 2 I'm like WHAT the crap, maybe I'm not cut out for child birth! What was I supposed to do with consistent contractions every 3 minutes?? Thankfully they decided to keep me for 3 hours to see if I progressed at all; by the time 5:30 am rolled around I was dilated to a 3 (I had also barfed twice so I'm feeling A LOT more nervous about all this labor business). Luckily the nurses had talked to my FAVORITE doctor I have every had, Dr, Bradley, who wanted me to get in the bath tub to see if that helped speed up my dilation. It should be noted I had no intention of getting in a tub for his birth; I will pass on marinating in my own bodily birth fluids, thanks. 45 minutes in the tub and another good barf session while submerged ended me at a 5... ready to be admitted ( coming up on 8 long ass hours with contractions). Happy birthday Carolyn (insert side smirk emoji). I distinctly remember being in the tub and hearing Alyssa who had just clocked in say "happy birthday Carolyn!" to which I responded with a muffled vomiting noise into an emesis bag.
By this point I'm having serious back labor which I find out COULD mean that baby boy is sunny side up. Good news is I'm so uncomfortable I can hardly concentrate enough to stress about that possibility. 9 am rolls around and the ol' cervix is dilated to a measly 6, so this girl is ready for some IV medication. My hopes were high but the only thing that crap did was make me super tired and my contractions a LITTLE better. Each time you take a dose of this it becomes less effective, so sure enough my second dose at 10 am did literally nothing for me...cool. 11 am Alyssa suggests maybe getting in the tub again; sometimes being on the hands and knees with dad holding the water over the lower back has helped her patients. Well that position was in no way more comfortable and had me feeling like a beached whale (just for me, my sweet husband was nothing but positive and reassuring). That tub time lasted all of 7 minutes before I trash canned that idea.
12 pm comes around and I am just about done. Consistent contractions for 13 hours can seriously wear on the "I can do it with no drugs" mantra. I'm having difficulty breathing through contractions and cannot keep conversation with DJ or my mom. Apparently my dad and in-laws were also in and out but I can honestly not even remember conversing with them. I ask Alyssa if its to late for the spinal, to which DJs reaction was an "are you sure??" kind of look. I've been saying for weeks how I don't want/need a spinal, women in other countries pop these things out in fields and head back to work that same day! But in that moment I could not stand one more freaking contraction. Plus, someone worked really hard to invent pain management for labor so it would be rude to not use this contribution to modern medicine. The anesthesiologist got to our suite within 20 minutes or so and gave me the minimum dose they use . Almost immediately my back pain vanished hallelujah thank you Jesus. I could still feel my contractions so he opted to give me a little more so I could "take a nap" (is this dude joking?) But that little extra dose was an actual game changer; we sat and watched my contractions on the monitor while laughing, texting people, and enjoying my birthday in my glamorous hospital gurney. I told everyone I felt too good to take a nap!
Alyssa was working that Monday through Wednesday at the birth center and had even told me to go into labor that week via text to which I responded "good joke, I'll be pregs forever". Before I was pregnant I had some reservations about one of my closest friends delivering my child, I mean there is a LOT of your body and dignity out there in the delivery room. I had opted to just have DJ in the room while the actual party got started, mostly because I didn't really know what to expect. From the minute she clocked in Alyssa was not only the best nurse but a great additional support system. She is a real "no bullshit" type of person, so when she was telling me I was doing a good job I knew I was doing something right. Truly it was one of the best parts of delivering baby boy. Every step of labor, every situation, every expectation was explained to DJ and me. It's nice being in the care of (not only an educated nurse) but a friend who actually cares for me and my babys well being. One of the perks of living in a town where you were born and raised is having loving people in every corner.
I had my spinal at about 12:30 pm and was dilated to a 6/7. Alyssa had told me that most likely when the spinal wore off it would be time for me to push and sure enough at about 3:45 I started feeling cramping in my tummy (immediate contraction PTSD!) I labored until about 4:40 before Alyssa told me I was ready to push. After Alyssa called Dr Bradley to have her "casually" make her way to the hospital I began pushing which felt weirdly good. Later, Alyssa told me that after two pushes she made another call to Bradley to tell her to start running some red lights because I was determined to get this baby out! When she arrived she broke my water; not much detail there, I'm pretty much in the zone and trying not to die. With each contraction I pushed and felt like my eyes were literally going to shoot out of my head. DJ stayed above ground zero as we had previously agreed on. Yeah yeah I know I know its "beautiful" and all other things naturally wonderful(which it is in RETROSPECT....not in the moment) but neither he or I needed to see what kind of destruction was happening down there. The nurses asked if I wanted a mirror and I threw up in my mouth even thinking about watching that. I have seen some nasty things working in healthcare, but I draw the line and watching it happen to my own body. I could not believe how badly it burned when I had one of my final BIG pushes pushed for his head come out; no "ring of fire" that they tell you about in lamaze...it feels more like "entire crotch engulfed in flames fire".
Before baby boy was out Dr Bradey asked if DJ wanted to cut the cord but plans had to change as soon as his head was out; his cord was wrapped so tightly around his neck that she had to cut it with the rest of his body still in me (that sounds really creepy when I write it out). She was so calm I barely noticed how quick she was about it (thankfully because I tend to overreact in stressful situations). A few seconds later at 5:51 pm a beautiful baby boy placed on my chest. There is literally no words for how crazy, proud, emotional, and excited I was. While simultaneously feeling like I was going to die from exhaustion and pain, there was nothing I wanted more than to just lay there with this little human life on my chest. You mean I've been barfing, bloated, and uncomfortable for the last nine months? Can't seem to recall that while looking at this beautiful alien baby. This little 7 lb 4 oz of human had, just like that, made our lives complete. You never really realize until they are in your arms that you have been waiting your whole life for this baby to be here. I have had some good birthdays but this one takes the cake for sure (who doesn't want to share a birthday with their cool mom)? One of DJ's first comments in-between his sobbing (so cute) was "he's not as slimy as I thought he was going to be"! That dude makes me laugh even in the craziest situations!
We were unable to decide on baby boys name until the day we left the hospital; I will say we are annoyingly indecisive as it is but naming a human was HARD. Not wanting to leave the hospital with little no name baby we landed on what our hearts felt to be a fitting name for our blonde haired blue eyed boy; Nash James Anthony Reel.