Tomorrow, my sunshine will be one. My heart can’t even take that thought, and typing it out makes it so real! (If you need me, I will be over here crying.) I have been reflecting a lot on the process of bringing her into the world and I want to share it so that someday, when she is older, she can read her story.
The journey to meet this little love was not without its fair share of loss, sadness, worry and waiting. Even still, I would do it all again to get to know her. I had the most amazing pregnancy. I would even say that in some respects it was pretty easy. It was a time of celebration and joy that I look back on so fondly (and miss!). However, as I got toward the end, my blood pressure started to do weird things. My doctor monitored me closely for preeclampsia because I would have these crazy spikes where my blood pressure would top out around 170/100, but thankfully it never went that far. Add in some very horrible sciatic nerve pain and by the 38 week mark I was just ready to be done.
Add in the fact that according to her growth scans, we thought we were going to be birthing a 10lb baby. My doctor was worried about shoulder dystocia , in addition to the issues that I was having. After a few very tearful phone calls on March 15th, he finally asked me to make the hour drive and just come in and talk through my options with him. We picked up the house, hid a key, loaded up the car- “just in case”- and headed that way.
My greatest fear in everything was my child getting stuck and in distress, so we actually went in with the intentions of scheduling an elective C-section. I had made absolutely no progress. The baby was still high and my cervix was very much closed. After a lot of deliberating, we agreed that we would go ahead and induce labor, with a very short threshold for fetal distress. If at any point I felt uncomfortable or he was worried, we would go immediately into the C-section suite and be done with it.
He asked if we wanted to schedule the induction for first thing in the morning (it was 4:30pm at that point). We figured we were ready and had driven all that way, why not just do it now! It was his on-call weekend, so the timing was perfect. Doctor Jackson called the Baby Place (our fantastic hospital! I highly recommend Advent Health if you are in the Western NC area!) and they said they were ready for us whenever we were ready. So we were given instructions to go run any last minute errands and go on a dinner date before we went in. The plan was to get there around 7pm and start the process. With the idea being that since it would take a while to get things dilating, I would be able to get a sleep aid and get a good night’s rest under my belt and then we would roll first thing in the morning.
We went to dinner, hit up Aldi for a few essentials (isn’t that where everyone goes right before they give birth?), and went to check in! Nervous, excited, ready to be done, ready to meet our little love, and ready for some TV and sleep! Little did I know…
8pm– The first dose of Cervadil was administered. I was feeling good. We settled in and were just having fun hanging out! My parents were on their way from Virginia and due just before midnight. This part was just fun and exciting! We chatted and updated our family and friends and got a video call in with my sweet Mother in Law in Indiana.
11pm– “Grandma” and “Gradaddy” arrived! We got to visit with them for a little bit, which was good for my spirits. Sometimes a girl just needs her mom. Since things were pretty much not moving other than a little bit of cramping, we sent them the last hour of their trip to our house to get some rest and take care of the dogs. Our plan was to get up with them in the early morning as far as when to head back so that my mom could be with me for the majority of the active birth.
12am– The second dose of Cervadil was administered. About 10 minutes later I was having hard and fast contractions. It was like the extra dose just kicked my body into overdrive and it went from 0-60 very quickly. Daddy jumped in here and was a life-saver for me; applying counter pressure, letting me squeeze his hands until they were purple and massaging. Almost right off the bat they were coming every 2-3 minutes and were strong. I went from 1cm-3cm pretty fast. They told me that when I hit 5cm they would “wake the anesthesiologist” and then he would come in to do my epidural about 15 minutes later.
2am– My contractions were almost relentless. It seemed like I didn’t get a break at all. One would end, I would catch my breath for a second, and then I would feel the next one coming on. I could barely think straight. I focused hard on relaxing my hands and jaw, and repeated my affirmations constantly. Daddy didn’t get a break either. Every time he sat down I was begging him to come back and help me. At this point I pleaded with the nurse to get my epidural process started. Turns out I was already about 5cm, so she agreed it was time. We were told that if we wanted my mom there for the birth, we needed to get her headed back this way ASAP because things were moving very fast. We called and they came immediately back.
3am– ish. I was so out of it at this point, just trying to survive each minute and a half wave, that I am not 100% clear on the time. But the beautiful epidural man came. I had been so afraid of this part, honestly even more than I was of birth itself, but by the time I saw him I just needed rest and relief. Once he got me nice and numb, I was able to get comfortable. The plan was for us to try and sleep (my poor parents had just driven an hour back to us), but I was too anxious and excited to sleep! This night had not gone how I had planned at all, and I was a little taken aback by how quickly everything was happening. My parents got there and we spent a few minutes with them and then just had some quiet time.
6am– I gave up on sleep. I was dilated to a 7 at this point and the hospital was starting to wake up and buzz. I decided to switch my focus to scrolling social media to pass the time. We had a little snack and waited. I was a little freaked out because it felt like my epidural was wearing off, so the nurses had them come and give me a boost, and they showed me how to push a little button to keep the dosage flowing. You better believe that button became my bestie!
7am– Dr. Jackson came in for the morning and checked on us. My cervix was at 8cm, and he went ahead and broke my water since that hadn’t happened yet. We spent a few minutes with him, gave him a gift that we had brought to thank him for everything he did for us, and he prayed over Addilyn and I. He had to go over to the office for a bit but promised he would be back to check me in a couple of hours.
10:45am– The nurses called to check on Dr. Jackson and it turned out he was in an emergency C-section. I was starting to get really anxious because it was so important to me that he be there for the delivery, and I was almost fully dilated!
11:45am– Dr. Jackson finally came in to check me. He measured me as a 9cm and said he would be back in a half hour or so for me to start pushing. The nurse took one look and told the other nurses to go and tell him to get back in there because this baby wasn’t waiting 30 minutes!
11:55am– I started pushing. This part was what I was the most scared of because I just wasn’t sure if I could do it. I remember I kept asking my mom if I would be able to, and in true mom fashion she was very reassuring. I had her on one side, Michael on the other and a seasoned nurse coaching me on how to breathe and push. My entire team was fantastic, down to the student nurse in the room (who is now a friend of ours and in Addie’s life…We love you, Morgan!). There was so much encouragement that it honestly was probably one of the easier parts of my labor! I definitely learned through this experience that you can do the things you think you can’t, and the hard things aren’t as bad as we make them in our heads.
About halfway through, the nurse put an oxygen mask on me. I still am not 100% sure of why, but she said that it was to help Addilyn so I didn’t question it. She also gave me a tiny bit of Pitocin, but it really wasn’t needed because things got moving again before it hit.
Finally, after one set of pushes, Dr. Jackson looked at me and said, “Do you need a break? She is almost here!” I asked him if she was literally right there, and he told me that she was. I decided that rather than take a break, I had one really good push left in me. I breathed deep, mustered every bit of strength I had, and gave one long, hard final push!
12:24pm– Dr. Jackson lifted my beautiful, sweet, warm baby up, the nurse unclipped my gown and they laid her on my chest. I suppose there was all of that un-fun stuff that has to happen after the baby comes out, and apparently I was given quite a few stitches. But in that moment all that I could see was her. All that I could feel was the relief that she was here and okay, and the warm glow of love that she filled the room with immediately. I kept repeating “we did it, baby. I love you!” over and over to her.
Her daddy cut the cord, and we had a good hour or so of skin to skin time, just Addilyn, Mommy and Daddy. Our hospital is so fantastic and they wait to weigh and clean them up until after that first golden hour so that you can really bond, and it was the most beautiful hour of my life.
Reflecting back on this day makes my heart so happy. Motherhood has changed my world in the most challenging and beautiful ways. I would not trade one second of it and we are so thankful for our tiny girl. Happy almost birthday, sweet Addilyn!
The moral of our story is this. Everyone wants to make mothers think that choosing to induce and/or choosing an epidural means that you will have a long and complicated labor. We are proof that that does not have to be the case at all! I had a very quick 16 hours total), and very empowered birth and I would do it all again tomorrow! (I do thank my little friend for some of the speed!). Whatever you choose, mama, will be the best for you and for your baby!