Wednesday, April 12, 2017

Bennett Oliver Smith: Birth Story

I have been wanting to write Bennett's birth story for days now, but I have been having a  hard time trying figure out where to begin. How can I put into words a day that changed our lives so completely? How can I even begin to convey what a meaningful day this was for us in a blog post? Becoming Bennett's mommy and daddy was an experience that no one could have prepared us for, so I will do my best to do it justice...


It all began on a dark and stormy night, which is not just me being dramatic...there was lots of rain and was even a tornado watch! I had plans with my girlfriends for our weekly girl's dinner. Since I was going to be out for the evening AJ had his brother come over to keg the beer they had brewed a few weeks earlier.

At dinner the girls and I were talking about baby's arrival and how I was getting anxious not knowing when it would happen...and knowing it could be any day now or it could be 2 weeks from now. I had a few contractions throughout dinner...but I had been having some inconsistent contractions all week so I didn't pay them any attention. 

I got home from dinner about 7:45, and AJ and Brian had finished kegging their beer and were playing darts and enjoying a few beers in the garage. I hung out there for a few minutes just chatting...and smelling their beer :) It had been a long day, so I decided to head inside to get ready for bed, but before going inside I jokingly said to AJ "Don't drink too many beers tonight...you know my water could break at any time" We then laughed about this and I headed upstairs to get ready for bed.

As usual my first stop was the bathroom, and once I was finished I stood up and felt a gush of water. My first thought was "oh crap, I peed on myself" but then I realized the water wasn't stopping. I panicked and thought "Did my water just break?!?" After a few seconds of shock I realized that it had in fact broken...only minutes after joking with AJ that it could break at any time...

I immediately grabbed my phone and called AJ...after several rings he finally picked up and I said "Do you remember how I said my water could break at any time? Well....it did" His reaction was silence and then "shut up...are you serious?" 

He then rushed upstairs and the look on his face was that of absolute terror...Here was this guy who is always so calm, cool, and collected, looking absolutely terrified. Luckily, I wasn't having any contractions yet and I for some reason remained really calm. 

I sent AJ to pack himself a bag and to grab my bag (luckily I had already gotten everything ready for myself) As he was doing this I was searching for the number for my doctor to see how soon we needed to get to the hospital. Since I wasn't having any contractions I didn't want to go too soon and end up there sitting around forever. After digging through all my pre-registration paperwork we FINALLY found the number we needed to call. We left a message for the doctor and hoped she would call back quickly.

I decided to hop in the shower while waiting for the doctor to call back. From what we had learned at our child birth classes it was likely going to be several more hours and I needed a distraction...and clean hair :)

While I was in the shower the doctor called back and told AJ that I could finish my shower and get cleaned up, but we should probably head to the hospital when I finished. I got out of the shower, blow dried my hair, and packed a few last minute things, and while doing this I felt my first contraction. It wasn't terrible, but it definitely stopped me in my tracks.

After calling the doctor we called my parents to let them know they needed to come get our other baby, Gracie, and they showed up a few minutes before we left the hospital. My mom, of course got emotional and started crying...and I surprisingly didn't. I think I was still in denial at what was happening.

At this point it was about 10:00PM and we were finally walking out the door when I had another contraction that was quite a bit stronger than the one before...it freaked me out a little and I told AJ "we better hurry"

Luckily, the hospital is only a couple of miles from our house, so when we hit EVERY.SINGLE.STOPLIGHT it still only took us about 10 minutes and I luckily didn't have another contraction on the ride to the hospital.

Like I mentioned before, it was raining, so AJ dropped me off at the entrance and I went in to get checked in while he parked the car and brought in our bags. I got to the front desk and the lady quickly got my paper work together and while she was doing this I had another minor contraction. AJ walked in, we finished up the paper work and they came around the corner with a wheelchair and we headed upstairs.

Once we got upstairs they took us to our room and told me to get changed into a gown and that the nurse would be right in. I was still feeling pretty good at this point, and hadn't had another contraction so AJ and I were hanging out in the room when reality finally hit us...we were going to have a baby VERY soon! We both were excited and terrified at the same time...but glad to be at the hospital ready to get going.

Our last selfie as a party of two :)
A few minutes later Gloria, our nurse, came in and started asking me questions and getting things ready. I had another contraction during this, and it was difficult to answer her questions, so AJ took over. She then had me get in bed so she could start my IV and finish checking me in.

Before my IV she wanted to check to see how far I had progressed and at that point I was at about 3.5 cm and about 80% effaced which hadn't changed from my appointment the week before.

After that, the contractions picked up...BIG TIME. They started coming every minute to minute in a half...and being chained to the bed made them worse (she said I couldn't get up and walk around until I was all checked in- which made me question why we had pre-registered?)

As the contractions picked up intensity and got closer together I started to panic a little...they hurt...REALLY bad and I wasn't sure how much more I could take. I then had a big contraction...the mother of all contractions and I started throwing up. I had tears in my eyes and told AJ "I don't think I can do this" The next hour went by painfully slow and was filled with contraction after contraction and I asked Gloria when I could get my epidural...she said that I had progressed far enough to get it, but I wasn't officially checked in yet...and that I had to wait for some blood work to come back to make sure it was safe for me to get an epidural...and when she said that I panicked thinking about the outcome if they said I couldn't get one! I have always considered myself to be pretty tough, but labor contractions were no match for my pain tolerance.

Around midnight, after about two hours of contraction after contraction the anesthesiologist finally wheeled his tool box in and I wanted to jump up and hug him! The nurse finally let me sit up in bed to get prepared. I ended up having 3 contractions while I was getting my epidural, but the change of position made them much more bearable. The laboring pre-epidural was nothing like I had been led to expect at our child-birth classes...I was stuck in bed, there was no exercise ball or walking the hallways...and laying in bed during a contraction is no cake walk.

The epidural had  been one of the things giving me the most anxiety going into it...but after those contractions it felt like nothing! He started with a shot to numb the area, and while this stung/burned a bit, it was something I could handle, and I didn't even feel the actual epidural. It then took another 15 minutes or so for the epidural to completely kick in...however immediately the contractions became much less intense and MUCH more bearable. These were more what I expected from the early labor contractions...

Shortly after the nurse checked my progress again and we were all surprised to hear that I was at 6.5cm and almost 100% effaced! This made me feel a little better about being such a baby about my contractions ;)

After the epidural kicked in I called my mom to let her know that we were checked in, that I had my epidural and that things were progressing. I then asked her if she would come up and sit with me for a bit. My mom of course agreed and was there about 20 minutes later and I was feeling GOOD thanks to the miracle that is an epidural! We texted some updates to family members, thinking it would still be several more hours before baby arrived.

Over the next few hours the nurse had me change positions and continued to check my progress...and things were moving REALLY quickly. Each time she checked me I was another centimeter dilated...and by 4 AM she told me it was time to push...WHAT?!?!?

My mom immediately got up and said she was going to wait in the waiting room...and at that moment I burst into tears. I looked at AJ and said "I need my mom, is it okay if she stays?" We had originally planned on it just being the two of us in the delivery room, but in that moment I knew I wanted and needed my mom to stay, and AJ of course agreed that she should stay.

The next 2 hours were spent pushing, making jokes, doing the wave, and singing songs (yes, it was a damn comedy show in the delivery room. I tend to get really silly when I am nervous!)

Finally, the doctor on call showed up...and while it wasn't Dr. Blevins, it was another doctor I had seen before and liked, so I immediately felt comfortable. She told me that we were so close to baby time and I just needed to give her a few good pushes. #ChallengeAccepted

A few big pushes later and Bennett Oliver was born! They immediately put him on my chest...and within seconds I knew something wasn't quite right. He wasn't crying and the doctor urgently said "we need to cut the cord now" and then one of the nurses turned to another nurse and said "we need to call the pic-nurse now" and at this point things started to happen really fast.

They took Bennett from me and rushed him to the warmer on the other side of the room...he still wasn't crying and I could see the urgency in the nurses actions. They began working on him and trying to get him to cry.  I of course freaked out and kept asking "what's wrong with him, why isn't he crying" and I was trying to position myself so I could see him. My doctor told me I needed to sit still and that baby was going to be just fine. She said he was just stunned....The nurses said he was in fact breathing and he was pinking up, but he still wasn't crying. He then started to pee all over the nurses...but still no crying. Everyone kept reassuring me he was fine, but seeing them put the oxygen mask on my teeny little baby broke my heart into a million little pieces. 

I sent my mom and AJ over to snap some photos of Bennett so I could see him..waiting 30 minutes was agonizing!
I immediately sent AJ over to be with him and my mom stayed by my side...and in that moment while she was reassuring me that he would be just fine I was so grateful she was there with me and I knew that there had been a reason I had asked her to stay.

I will be forever grateful that my husband snapped this photo of me meeting our little guy for the first time...the chaos in the delivery room made pictures the furthest thing from my mind.
After an agonizing 5 minutes I finally heard the sweet, sweet, sound I had been waiting to hear. His loud powerful cry was music to this mama's ears. I immediately started crying tears of relief.
 It was still another 25 minutes before they brought him to me...but the moment they laid him on my chest the nightmare was forgotten. My sweet baby boy was healthy and in my arms FINALLY!

And to think that I was worried about the gestational diabetes and having a 10lb baby! The nurses all praised me for being so diligent with my diet and keeping myself and baby healthy.

About an hour later I reluctantly handed him over so we could get his height and weight and while I knew he was a bit early, I was so shocked by how tiny he was. 6lbs 12 oz and 19.5" tall (although they said that he would likely measure a little shorter after the impressive cone head of his went down!)

The absolute BEST moment of my life :)
All in all, minus the little hiccup of the delay in crying I couldn't have asked for a better labor and delivery experience...it was really quick and easy...my water broke at 8:00PM...contractions started around 10PM...I got my epidural around midnight...and started pushing at 4:00AM...and at 5:25AM Bennett Oliver made his dramatic entrance into the world, and in that moment our lives were forever changed for the better.

A few hours after Bennett was born we took a family selfie...I didn't remember my mom taking the picture of the 3 of us before she left, so this isn't our first (or our last) family selfie :)
These past two weeks, while exhausting, have been the very best days of my life. Most days I find myself just staring at my sweet boy and crying tears of happiness. How did I get so lucky to be this little boy's mama?

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