In this three part series, I’m opening up the door to my heart and sharing the story of my journey into motherhood. In part one, I shared about my struggles when I found out I was pregnant and how I decided to plan for a natural birth. In this second part, I’ll be sharing about the birth of our little man.
Fun fact about me: I don’t like taking baby bump pictures. I wasn’t the pregnant mama who posted a bump pic every week to track the progress of my growing baby and I probably never will be. As I was searching through pictures I could share with you all of my 9 month pregnant self, these were the best I could find.
Every time I saw my dad while I was pregnant he INSISTED on taking a picture of my baby bump. I would normally run away from him as he attempted to snap a picture, but I guess I gave in to take a picture with him. This picture was taken when I was about 8.5 months pregnant. I think it’s the last picture I have showing off my baby bump...
This one was taken two days before I had Ezekiel. I was 5 days past my due date and I was “happily” trying to “bounce my baby out”. #itdidn'twork
This is the last picture I have of my “pregnant” body-taken the day before I had Ezekiel. Oklahoma summer heat and a 9+ months pregnant mama made for some really sexy cankles. Sorry, not sorry for my unpainted toes. Lord knows I couldn't bend over to paint those things.
On Wednesday September 9th, 2015, I was 41 weeks pregnant and was scheduled for an ultrasound to make sure little man was doing okay in there. Everything had been perfect up until that point, so my husband, Dillon, and I headed to the hospital for our 8 a.m. ultrasound. If I'm honest, I had zero thought that anything would be wrong, so when i left the house I didn't even think to grab our hospital bag. You see, my plan was to go into labor spontaneously and spend as much time as possible laboring at home, because that's what everyone tells you to do when you want to have a natural birth.
As the ultrasound technician rubbed the probe over my itchy belly, I could see the look of concern on her face. After some small talk about my baby probably being huge, she left the room to "go grab the doctor so he could talk to me". Anyone who's had an ultrasound knows this is never a good sign.
The doctor came in to tell me that my fluid levels were looking to be low, so we needed to get the baby out sooner rather than later. Next thing I knew, I was being wheeled up in a wheelchair to Labor and Delivery, knowing that my "birth plan" had just drastically changed.
After watching Wheel of Fortune for over two hours in the Labor and Delivery waiting room, we finally got settled into our "birthing suite" (hospital room). I immediately ordered an omelette with peppers and onions to eat (more on how bad of an idea this was later...) and Dillon called our doula, Cheri. Per her suggestion, we asked the midwife if we could do a couple hours of nipple stimulation with a breast pump (since we were OBVIOUSLY not in that big of a hurry) to try and get some contractions going before starting pitocin. The midwife reluctantly agreed, so i hopped on a birth ball, hooked my self up to a pump, and bounced around for a couple hours. In the meantime, Dillon went home to grab all our things since we obviously had no idea we would have a baby when we left the house that morning.
After some time on the breast pump, some little bitty consistent contractions started to come and I was getting super excited! Dillon and I were really adamant that it would be just us and our doula in the room when we had Ezekiel, but when there was a sign that something was wrong, my mom couldn't help but come up to make sure I was okay. Her baby was having a baby, so I can't blame her that much. As soon as she walked through the door, my itty bitty contractions disappeared (It's okay mom-I forgive you) and the midwife informed me we would have to start pitocin now. So we kicked my mama out and they hooked me up to the IV pole for fluids and pitocin around 2pm. Our doula showed up not long after that and got me doing some different position changes to make sure baby would be in a good position for birth. Even though my plan had changed quite a bit, I was still set on having this baby without an epidural. I figured that since I hadn't ever felt an intense contraction without the help of pitocin, I wouldn't know the difference and I could totally get through it. In my mind, an epidural was never really an option.
The contractions really started getting intense around 7pm and the next couple of hours were basically a big blur of constant counter pressure on my back and lots of hip squeezes. I spent most of my time laboring standing up and leaning over the side of the bed. At some point, someone asked if I wanted to go get in the bathtub and I thought that sounded like a great idea. So Cheri went to go get the tub ready.
As I made my way to the bathroom to get in the tub, I felt the pressure that comes with the desire to push. Our midwife had mentioned that I could labor in the bath tub until I began to feel pressure. So instead of getting in the tub, I made my way back to the bed to start pushing. At this point, I remember feeling nauseous and hot and so so tired, but so ready to push so I could meet our sweet baby boy. I guess at some point I was so hot I ripped off my hospital gown and rocked the rest of my birth completely naked...#noshame. I also couldn't stop burping up those stupid peppers and onions from the omelette I ate earlier that morning (seriously, worst idea ever).
During my pregnancy, I had read that squatting was a great way to push, so i requested the squat bar and began pushing around 9:30pm.
I'm pretty sure I thought I was going to push for the rest of my life. I will never forget how uncomfortable it was to be pushing with a big spotlight on me and everyone just standing around, quietly watching and waiting for baby to come. I felt so much pressure to get the baby out quickly, not from within myself, but from the overwhelming amount of spectators. For 30 minutes I tried squatting as I pushed but it just wasn't getting the job done. The student midwife suggested I try laying on my side to see if that would help at all. After a few pushes in this position, we were starting to get some progress!
After 20 more minutes of pushing, at 10:20pm on September 9th, Ezekiel James was born! He was 8 pounds 13 oz with a head full of blonde hair.
"It's a BABY! (obviously...) He's PERFECT!", were the first words out of my mouth. Shortly following, I looked at Dillon and said, "I'M NOT PREGNANT ANYMORE!". Getting to hold that perfect baby boy was the sweetest relief I've ever felt.
As I think back on my birth journey, I am overwhelmed with thankfulness for my sweet husband. He was so strong for me even though I know he was scared to death! Through every contraction, he helped apply counter pressure to my back, and even though his hands grew tired, he continued to squeeze the heck out my hips. He never left my side. He spoke gentle words of encouragement into my ear the whole time and the joy on his face when he saw his son for the first time will be something I will never forget. He never doubted me and he supported me whole-heartedly every step of the way. Because of his unending support and the grace of God, our marriage was strengthened thorough our journey. We became a stronger team as we entered into parenthood.
Even though I didn't have the spontaneous birth I had planned, my experience was exactly what I needed. The two years prior to Ezekiel's birth had been really hard on me. I walked through a season of depression and I felt an intense lack of purpose. I had zero confidence in myself and no real direction for my life. My identity had been stripped away from me through an unexpected failure and I was trying to process who I was.
Through my birth, I began to believe in myself again. I had accomplished something SO big. I worked hard for my little man and for once, I didn't give up on myself. I was reminded that I can't do this life thing alone. I started the process of letting go of the lie that I'm a failure. If I'm honest with you all, I'm still in this process and i'm still pulling up roots of this lie that have rooted down deep into my heart. Every step of the way, I have to lean on my support and rely on Christ for my strength.
My birth gave me hope. My birth gave me confidence. My birth showed me I was strong. My birth helped me trust myself again. My birth made me a mother.