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Warning: this will be a VERY long entry! I apologize for that but I am keeping this blog for myself more than anyone else so I want to be able to remember every detail from the delivery of my first baby so I can remember what to expect for the second one! If it helps someone else out too, then great! Also I didn’t leave a single detail out, so if you don’t want to be aware of what happens during childbirth (I know “they” say pregnant woman shouldn’t hear about it) then don’t read this!
Wed. March 4th
When my water broke at 10:40 am I had not had any contractions. I started to get some about 20 minutes later. Zach came home from work (as he had JUST left from my mini-breakdown) and Chip, the guy he was working with, came with him. It’s kinda funny that this guy was here! It’s the same guy Zach got in the car wreck with…so they are pretty bonded now!
After the conversation with the dr. I told Zach I did not want to follow their advice. My water was clear, Stacy and I had a plan, and I didn’t want to be stuck in a hospital at 1 cm. At first I also told Zach just to eat an early lunch and still go to work b/c everything I’ve read says that early labor lasts around 6-8 hours of light contracting with breaks of about 15-20 minutes between each so I thought I’d start getting things done and just take it easy. I called Mom and told her to head our way!
I tried to take my time and I went both #1 and #2 before taking a shower. During the shower (around 11:10) I had 2 contractions! I was a little freaked out because I knew I was only 1 cm at 9:30 and couldn’t be THAT much farther less than 2 hours later! I came out after the shower and told Zach not to go back to work. I just knew I’d need him sooner than I thought. I called Mom again to make sure she was on her way.
A long time ago I’d printed up lists of things that we needed to do before leaving for the hospital as well as things we still needed to pack. I started to get ready in between contractions and Zach started knocking things off the lists. He decided we needed to time the contractions because it seemed like they were almost on top of each other.
While doing my makeup I had to stop to lay on the floor and I would yell for him to come in the bedroom! Bradley has specific positions in order to work through contractions and I needed Zach to help me cope through each one. And that early on in labor I was supposed to be able to still be standing through them but I had to lay down. We timed them and they were about a minute long and two to three minutes apart. Zach said we needed to go to the hospital.
I finished up my end of the lists and I laid in the bed while Zach finished his. I really had a difficult time. I felt so bad too because Levi kept acting very, very worried. It bothered me that I bothered him so much! Looking back over the entire labor and delivery process I did the WORST at home. I had the hardest time dealing with the contractions because 1) I had so much to do that was stressing me out and 2) I really really didn’t want to get to the hospital too early and they were so strong that it freaked me out. I hit the “self doubt” emotional stage pretty quickly and I remember telling Zach that I didn’t know how I was going to survive it. I told him I must be only 2-3 cm and that if it’s already this bad I can’t imagine how much worse it will be!!!
We had planned to video tape each other during the early labor with a message to Clover. We tried and Zach video taped me while I was laying on the bed. I am pretty sure I just asked the baby to please stop hurting me! I had also bought Zach his own little “push present.” We found this awesome store while in New York (Neighborhoodies) and they do custom t-shirts but they are like store quality. So I had him a shirt made that says “Just Call Me Daddy.” I wanted him to wear it for delivery so I asked him to open it during one of my contractions haha. Needless to say, we forgot the shirt at the house! But he had someone get it so he could wear it home from the hospital 🙂
We left for the hospital at about 1:20. So while I didn’t stay home as long as I planned to, I still made it for almost three hours with some pretty mega contractions. On the way to the hospital (about a 10 min drive) I think I had three contractions. Somewhere in between those I realized we had forgotten to get a picture of us together before leaving the house. So I whipped out my camera and took one of Zach driving and one of myself! I also remembered to have Autumn snap a professional pic of us together (and I managed to smile) during delivery.
We pulled into the ER parking and Zach ran into the hospital to get me a wheel chair. Of course I started having a contraction with my door open right in front of the hospital doors. I kinda figured I’d be a “moaner” not a “screamer” during labor and I was right. I was like “ohhhhhhh. mmmmm. Ohhhhh” It was so loud and I was so embarrassed that I’d see someone. And of course out of the corner of my eye I saw someone walking up…it’s funny b/c you WANT to stop moaning but you just can’t. Luckily for me it was Aunt Karen. She was so sweet and ran into the hospital. Zach said he was getting no where with anyone and she saved the day and just took a wheelchair.
She wheeled me in and I remember Zach sitting at some desk and then someone else taking me. I apologized like a THOUSAND times for being so embarrassing. I contracted a ton while in the wheelchair and squirmed like a worm and moaned like, well like someone doing it probably! They took me into a TINY room. It really panicked me because I am claustrophobic, plus Zach wasn’t with me so I didn’t do very well in there. They were just trying to check me in but I can’t remember half of what took place during that time. I just know they asked me if I drink and I said no then they asked if I use crack. Seriously? If I don’t drink do you THINK I’d use crack? I think I apologized a thousand more times in that room too because I just kept thinking I was hardly in labor and freaking out and that I planned to be so much stronger than that. I was also worried, even though my water had broken, that I was in false labor and that I looked like an idiot. Imagine yourself moaning and squirming and making all kinds of faces! You’d think everyone was judging you too! They did check me while I was in there and I was…you guessed it…between 3 and 4 cm. It really made me mad! I told them I wanted to just go home and they kinda laughed at that and said I had to stay at the hospital! 🙁 I thought I was in for a loooooong night and wouldn’t have our baby until March 5th (we still keep messing up his bday and say March 5th b/c Zach and I both thought that’s what would happen!)
After Zach got there (I texted him from the small room and he FINALLY got done registering) they wheeled me into the labor and delivery room. The people who were in there weren’t the greatest. They started asking me about drugs and I told them I didn’t want any and this one lady said, “Well we’ll SEE what you think about natural birth here soon.” And she kept smirking at me and rolling her eyes when I freaked out about the IV. I guess to her she probably figured if I hate needles then I’d never make it for childbirth without drugs but the IV was probably worse than the labor.
Especially since she sucked at putting it in. Before getting the IV though I realized I had to pee and told them I had to go real quick and they told me I wasn’t allowed to get out of bed. Again, I know how natural childbirth works and you are SUPPOSED to be allowed out of the bed. Stacy and I had discussed that as well and she agreed that I could walk around. Zach told them that I was going to get up and go to the bathroom. They gave me a hard time about it and I mentioned my birth plan with Stacy and some chick asked me if I had it in writing and signed by her. Um no?
I ended up getting out of bed and Zach escorted me to the bathroom. While in there he told me I was being kind of mean and that he understood why because that one really rude nurse. He promised me we’d get her out of there. I came back out and she did the iv and sucked at it. She had to do it twice and Zach said she was making rude faces at me the whole time. It turned 3:00 and they told me it was time for a shift change and that they would be leaving and new nurses would be coming in with me. I actually liked one of the nurses, Christina, and I looked her in the eye and whispered “I hate her” about the other nurse so she promised to get me someone awesome. The Mean Nurse said, “I’ll bet you’re glad to be getting rid of me with all this poking at you.” I looked her right in the eye and said, “Yes. I’m very glad that you are leaving.”
The new nurses came in and I instantly bonded with them. Elizabeth was the main nurse and Amber was 34 weeks pregnant herself and was just learning. I love when people can use me to learn stuff! haha I know that’s random but it’s nice to think that something you go through can help another person. Since she was learning both of them did the check on me “down there” and I had moved to 5 cm! In like under 30 min! I couldn’t believe it and I don’t think Zach could either!
Now is a good time to point something out. I always wanted to know how I’d be able to tell the difference between Braxton Hicks (fake) contractions and the real deal and everyone told me “you’ll just know.” I have to be honest, I don’t know if I would have “just known” if my water hadn’t broken first. Everyone also said that Braxton Hicks are low in the tummy and the real ones are in the lower back more. Not from my experience. To me, labor contractions feel almost JUST like very bad period cramps. They are just a little worse than the worst period cramps you’ve ever had. This made it very difficult for me to take full advantage of the Bradley Method. With the method it’s all about relaxation and what do you do when you have bad period cramps? I don’t know about you but I clench up like crazy and squirm around…the same thing I was doing with the real ones. I was actually able to relax better at the hospital because 1) I didn’t have other things that “needed” to be done 2) I had strangers in the room that I knew I needed to impress and 3) Zach was there with me (he never left my side) coaching me through it.
Once we got the hang of it I did do pretty well relaxing. The biggest thing that helped me was when Zach would tell me to breathe slow. “They” also talk about the hee-hee-who-who but really deep, slow breathing focused in the lower stomach is the Bradley way and it is so much better. At the time, I felt like I was sucking at the relaxation but once I saw the pictures Autumn took I realized I did pretty good! And like Zach said, the Bradley Method prepares you to relax to the best of your ability knowing that you won’t be able to FULLY relax.
One of my (many as you can tell) goals for labor was to not cuss. I know, I know, I’m a Christian duh I wouldn’t be cussing. But in such an extreme situation I had a feeling I might. Also Zach and I have been working at not saying “Jesus.” So while I did say it some, I wanted something else to say. I decided (well actually it just kind of happened) to use people’s names as cuss words. When I was hurting I’d say “Elizabeth….Elizabeth…” over and over.
Everyone that was in the room has told me I was very funny acting. I get kinda “drugged out” acting whenever I take medication. Zach loves it when I take benadryl because I get so goofy just saying random things. I was just like this during labor even though I didn’t have any drugs in me at all! I don’t remember half the things I said but I know during one of my “name cussing” episodes I told Elizabeth, “you’re name is too long why couldn’t YOU be named Amber?” and she told me I could call her “Liz” but I said, “no, you told me your name is Elizabeth so obviously that’s what you want to be called.” haha.
I learned a couple personality traits about myself during all of this: 1) I am very insecure. On top of the thousands of apologies I also said, “I suck at this don’t I?” and 2) I am a very vain person. You can tell from the pictures I didn’t look so hott but I felt the need to ask constantly how my hair was looking. I loathe sweating but I was covered in it which made me worry how my hair would hold up!
We had issues with the bags we packed (and yes, if you know us at all we had 2 HUGE suitcases) as Zach had left them in the car since I was in so much pain and the check in took ages even though we were pre-registered. This kinda freaked me out because I, being the organized freak I am, had everything I thought I might want during labor. Finally someone brought us one of the bags so Zach whipped out my I-Fan. The I-Fan has been my hero for many years. It saved me (and those sitting near me) from the heat during countless football games and was the #1 thing I used during delivery. Poor Zach…his arm was killing him because his job was either to 1) get me ice or 2) fan me. And I pretty much would grunt “fan” or “ice” every 2 seconds. I remember a couple of times he’d quit moving the fan and I grabbed his hand to keep it going on me. They put a wet washcloth on my forehead too but the fan was the best.
After the IV was in it wasn’t that annoying (although a couple times I had to tell Zach to stop standing on it). Also I was suprised that it wasn’t that annoying being stuck in a gown with no panties on (I did invest in a nursing sportsbra and that was awesome). However what WAS annoying was the stupid monitors they put around your belly. I begged them to take them off and a couple of times I pulled them out so they weren’t up against my skin but they said I had to wear them as one was to check Clover’s heart (stayed in the 150s the whole time) and the other was to monitor my contractions (more on that later).
They checked me again and said I was 7 cm. I could tell a difference at that point and the contractions came on much quicker and lasted much longer. But honestly, the pain is about the same throughout all the contractions. Just really bad period cramps. They get “worse” only because they last longer! Zach reminded me that it was probably the transition phase (which is the shortest yet worst phase of labor). Knowing this made it easier to handle because I knew it would be over soon and that it would only get EASIER not harder. I’m really proud of myself during this phase because I had some AWESOME relaxed contractions where I knew I really did look like I was asleep (the goal of a Bradley Contraction). It felt good to know I did something right! I still think that the laboring at home was worse than the transition phase and this phase really only lasted for like 8 contractions.
During one contraction I told Elizabeth to check me because I KNEW I’d gone further. She did the check and YUP I was 8 cm! No turning back! Once you hit 8 you can’t get drugs! When she said I was 8 Zach started crying. Isn’t that precious! He said, “I’m just so proud of you, you’re doing it all natural and you never once even asked for drugs.” Don’t I have the best husband ever?
Throughout my whole pregnancy I made a big deal about joking around. Zach is a clown and loves attention so I told him that labor is serious and I didn’t want him joking like he usually does about everything. Well once it all happened I was the one being goofy! Still during transtion phase with intense contractions I decided to say a joke and I said (while at the peak of a contraction) “just give me the drugs…give me the drugs…just kidding!” It was funny, but not worth it as it made everything hurt worse. I had planned on saying, “I hate you I can’t believe you did this to me” at some point but decided against it!
Me being able to joke around and still smile throughout the entire delivery process really surprised me. Everything we read in the Bradley Method said I’d hit a very serious emotional state where I would be so focused that any noise would bother me and anyone touching me would annoy me. This never happened. Even through the pain I’d say I stayed in a pretty good mood (at least from my perspective…we’ll see when Zach does his blog what he says about it).
When I hit the 8 cm point I got nervous. My mom lives 4 hours away…would she even make it on time? I had Zach ask (he texted updates to his mom) if she was there yet and he told me she was 30 min away. I just had a FEELING that someone was lying (they were, she was an hour and a half away) to me so I told them that I wanted her to come in the room once she got there.
I started to get this feeling like I needed to push. It has hard NOT to push! This feeling really just feels like when you have to take a huge poop but can’t so you’re holding it in and you just KNOW you’re going to end up pooping your pants if you don’t go soon. Seriously, that’s what it feels like! They checked me again and said I was 9 1/2 cm almost 10 so that I could start pushing soon. To “help” things along she put some lubrication (Elizabeth called it WD40 for down there) to make me get the rest of the way to the 10 cm point.
It was about 4:00 (4:08 exactly) at this point. I’d only been at the hospital for 2 hours! My first baby and I was already ready to push!!! I was amazed by this because my mom was in labor with me for a looong time and I expected to have a long, painful labor since I had such an easy pregnancy (I have bad luck so I figured I got lucky with the pregnancy and would pay for it during delivery). Elizabeth said she thought we’d have a baby by 5:30! While I was excited about the quick progress but I knew that as soon as I started to push my clock started counting down. I don’t know if it’s this way at all hospitals but at South Georgia Medical Center they only let you push for 2 hours then they make you have a c-section. I know two people that pushed for the full time then had to have the c-section! I DID NOT want this to happen to me!
A nurse popped her head in and told me my mom had arrived. I felt a lot better knowing she was there but I told them I didn’t want to see her because I knew I’d look like I was in a lot of pain when pushing and I didn’t know how she’d handle that. I was on a mission and didn’t want anything to take me off my course 🙂 Elizabeth held up one of my legs and Amber held the other and we tried pushing. We did 3-4 pushes per contraction and it felt SO good to do what my body was begging me to do! I am a very particular person who follows instructions to a tee so I told them they needed to make sure my legs were even (Amber wasn’t quite as strong as Elizabeth so the leg on her side kept being too low), that they counted to 10 each push so I’d know when to stop, and that they needed to warn me if we were going for four pushes instead of three.
What they typically do is monitor the contractions on the tummy wrap thing they had on me and then they TELL you when to push. You are supposed to push right before the peak of the contraction so you can get the most out of it. This is especially important when you have drugs because with an epidural you often don’t have the natural urge to push so they have to tell you to do it. Thank the Lord I didn’t have drugs because either a) the machine was messed up or b) I had some funky contractions because the monitor thing wasn’t really working for us! They relied on me and my natural urge to know when we’d push.
The routine we had was I’d feel like I needed to push and I’d say (usually) “guys, guys it’s time” then they’d hold up my legs, I’d take in a deep breath, push my face towards my chest, and push on their count. Then they’d tell me to relax so Zach would fan me (after my “fan!” demand), give me ice (after my “ICE!” demand), or re-wet the washcloth on my head. It was soooo hot in that room! They said they put the AC on 55 but I was dying!
The hard thing with pushing is knowing exactly how to push. When you first push it feels higher, the “good” push is a LOW push. What happened with me is that they’d start the first push, count to 5, then I’d figure out how to do it right, then it’d be over and I’d forget how to do it right by the next one! My energy was pretty much given out after 3 pushes so while we did some for 4 we usually stuck with 3 strong ones!
I asked them when Debbie (the midwife on call) would be coming in and when she finally did it made me feel pretty good about things! She checked my progress…and from this point I pretty much feel like they just told me stuff I needed to hear. Pretty much after every push I’d say “tell me something” or ask “how am I doing?” or “how is the baby?” What was happening was that I would push well and strong but then after the contraction was over and I was done pushing I’d relax and tense my butt so the baby’s head would go back more. REMEMBER that if you are ever going through this experience…relaxing the butt is KEY to success!
I got very nervous about the time. I couldn’t see a clock from where I was laying but I decided to try to get as much extra time as they’d let me, just in case. I did this by talking about how much I didn’t want a c-section. So from the beginning of pushing I kept making comments to Debbie like “how is the baby?” “if the baby is ok I can push longer than 2 hours right?” “it’s super important to me not to have a c-section because I want 3 more kids (they only recommend having 3 total c-sections and our hospital does not allow vaginal deliveries after c-sections).” It’s funny that I was IN labor and talking about how I want MORE kids! I don’t think most people do that!
I asked them what time it was and they said they changed their prediction to 6 instead of 5:30. Debbie said she’d have to give me an episiotomy which is where they cut “down there” to make the hole a little bigger. I am naturally very “small” down there so I wasn’t surprised by this, however, Stacy and I had decided I’d rather rip naturally than be cut. Well, that’s a controversial thing and Debbie didn’t agree with it so I just said whatever. Most people say that when they give you the episiotomy you won’t care. I did care. It was not very pleasant as I hate hate hate needles! The numbing stuff was like getting a filling when they put in the novicane and I HATE that. But she got it done pretty quickly.
Also right around then they told me I needed to empty my bladder because a full bladder may be in the baby’s way. They wanted to put in a catheter and again I stood my ground. As did Zach. No way did I want that in me as I had read about how it slows down your recovery!!! No Thanks! They told me I could try a bed pan and I said no thanks to that too and just told them I’d pee on the table…who cares! I did ask them a thousand times (I asked a lot of things a thousand times huh?) if I had pooped yet. It REALLY does feel like you are pooping when you push! I even said “I WANT to poop!” hahaha. Even though I “wanted” to, I never did it!
I did not look at Zach most of the time because it was too much effort to turn my head to the side so I watched Debbie and Elizabeth a lot (I also asked Amber is she was okay a lot because I knew she was just learning). Their faces made me nervous. Zach said they were just concentrating on their jobs but I had a feeling something else was going on. I knew we must be getting close to the 2 hour marker and Debbie said if I could do some more good pushes she’d change into her scrubs to get ready for the baby. I told her to get those dang scrubs on NOW because it’d bring us better luck! The little bed was all ready for Clover and it kept beeping saying it was warmed which scared me EVERY time.
At one point I caught Elizabeth looking at Zach very seriously and responding to something he had whispered to her. I ignored this and just kept on pushing. I began to lead them and say when it was time to push and I realized I needed to wait longer to push at the peak so I did a better job of “holding back” until the right time. Debbie said she wanted to call in Dr. Yarbrough (no clue about the last name) just to check. I knew “a Dr.” means “a C-section” so I begged her not to. Obviously we’d reached the 2 hour marker and they said the baby’s heart was still strong. Debbie suggested we try pitocin.
I freaked again because I thought pitocin was a drug and I did NOT want drugs! She told me it does not relieve ANY pain and it just helps make the contractions stronger. And, as a bonus, they wouldn’t have to stick me with any needles! It just went into my IV. I okayed it and really didn’t notice a difference at all after they gave it to me. I did notice some changes “down there” and could feel Debbie sticking her finger in a DIFFERENT hole…umm not comfortable! But when you are pushing you really don’t care about anything else!
They told me I needed some extra oxygen so in between pushing I’d rest, get the fan, and get some oxygen to keep me and the baby strong. They kept saying they could see the head (and a head full of hair…just what I wanted yay!) when I pushed but that it would go back up after. They wanted me to “get mad” which I just can’t do. We kept going and and at 6:55 (I was told the time later) they got really excited and Zach said he could see the head really well then all of the sudden during ONE push I felt Clover’s head, shoulders, and the ribbed feeling of the umbilical cord (a feeling I will NEVER EVER forget EVER!) come out all at one time! Every Baby Story I’ve ever seen the baby’s head comes then they talk about it and look at it and say “okay one more big push for the shoulders” THEN the baby is out. But our baby took almost 3 HOURS to push then in ONE push came all out at once!
Zach said my first reaction was that I let out a huge SIGH. It felt so good to have that baby out of me! They said “it’s a boy” and I was in shock…hello I’ve thought girl from day one! But I always have wanted a boy first..the whole older brother thing is so awesome! So it wasa happy shocked 🙂 Zach started crying (I told him he would) but I didn’t! I’m still surprised that I didn’t shed a single tear. But I know that all the hormones and all plus the fact that I had BAWLED that morning about not having any changes in my status probably made it so I couldn’t. I just said “You have a son, you have a son” and I told the baby “I’m so glad you’re here.”
They put him on my belly and Zach cut the cord but b/c of the position I couldn’t really see him. They took him to do some tests or whatever, again I couldn’t see any of this, and Debbie worked on my placenta. Zach got to hold him for about 45 minutes while they worked on me which is awesome and I really think it made them bond instantly. We didn’t tell anyone in the room his name and just called him “the baby.”
He weighed in at 7 ln 6 oz and was 20 3/4 inches long. They did his APGAR test and said it was 9.9, she said she doesn’t give 10s so that’s good. He was grunting a lot and they told me that if he did it too much that he’d have to go to the nursery but Zach kept burping him and stuff and he ended up crying.
The placenta was NO big deal! Zach said he saw it and I told him to describe it in his blog b/c I seriously want to know what it looked like. Debbie said mine was taking awhile to detach from the uterus wall and it was coming out in slow chunks so she worked on stitching me up. I had a GRADE 4 rip which is the worst you can have! After she cut me it ripped allllll the way to hole #2. What fun. And that was not a pleasurable experience. The stitching was very painful. It took her a long time and there was a lot of “name cussing” mixed in.
Zach brought “the baby” over to me so I could look at him and he had a HUGE cone head! It makes sense since he was being pushed down for soooo long but I also had a huge cone when I was born and I knew it didn’t mean anything. I couldn’t get over how awesome his color was. He looked so pink with such dark lips already! They told me that he was face down like he should have been inside me but that he was facing the wrong way (either left or right I can’t remember which). Now that I think about it I wonder if that’s why he came out in one push…usually they see the head then TURN the baby to get the shoulders but he was already on his side! While they were stitching me up I was in a lot of pain and told Zach I needed him. Debbie said, “Well you better get used to that baby coming before you.” And I put her in her place! I said, “No. I come before the baby..always. It’s God first, me second, then the baby!” I firmly believe that too! Now that the baby is here I love him like crazy but I do love Zach more, as I should! Zach brought the baby over with him to comfort me and it really helped to see the results of the work I had just gone through!
FINALLY I was stitched up and got to hold my son! I couldn’t believe I had a BOY! Zach and I are both still amazed by this! Elizabeth helped me breastfeed and Zach and Autumn got some snacks from the suitcase. He ran out and told everyone that mom and baby were fine and grabbed my other bag with my stuff to fix myself up. Elizabeth told me that we had to hurry because they had to move me into my postpartum room within 45 minutes. Autumn told me I looked awesome still (she helped me wipe some makeup off my eyes) and I had Zach hand me a mirror and I was shocked! I should be in a commercial for Bare Minerals b/c that junk lasts! My eyes still looked good too (thanks Mac) but my hair…not so awesome. But I just said screw it and decided not to care. The IV did make me face soooo puffy which sucks because I did so well during the pregnancy not letting it get that way. But oh well!
I am so proud of my entire labor and delivery! It feels good to know that I. “Little” Emily did it! I told Zach a long time ago that he has gotten to have so many victories in his life…sports allow a person to have that feeling of pride and knowing that they did a good job. I’ve felt that with grades and things but never something someone would say “WOW” about! This was my #1 play of the day on Sportscenter! My National Championship! I know the Lord blessed me so much. People would say that I had it rough since I pushed for so long and yeah it was tough but so so worth it and I still so blessed. QUICK labor, GREAT nurses, AMAZING husband, PERFECT time of day, EARLY baby, HEALTHY baby, and MY birth plan! I wouldn’t have wanted it any other way and I truly feel I want to teach the Bradley Method. It was so so awesome and made every step of the process more enjoyable! The fact that I can even say my labor and delivery was enjoyable is a testament to this awesome birth method! I can get certified in October and I think it’s my calling to spread my knowledge to others so they can have the same wonderful experience that I did!
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