Welcome to the world, Henry Michael!: A birth story

Saturday, February 21, 2015

I'm writing this from our couch while my husband snuggles our brand new son. This is one of the only times I've touched my computer since we got home, and it feels good to have a little bit of normalcy back in our lives. I've been wanting to write Henry's birth story for days, and am so glad I get to do it now! (Warning: This is a birth story. So, be prepared that it's going to talk about things related to birth. That is all). 

On Wednesday, February 11, I went to my weekly doctor appointment. Everything looked normal, but no major progress on the baby front. I went to bed feeling a little crampy and woke up to... a SNOW DAY! While normally I would have been very excited about this, I was bummed, because it meant one less day with my students at school (Friday the 13th was slated to be my last day). I was still a little crampy when I woke up, and since the roads were bad and I wasn't feeling well, Dan decided to work from home for the day. 

By lunchtime, my cramps were still there, and I decided to start tracking them. A pattern showed up immediately, and I realized they were about 17 minutes apart. At that point, I went a little nutso around the house. Multiple loads of laundry, finishing up the baby's room, vacuuming the entire house (staircases and all), and trying to grade the last 16 research papers in my possession. I told Dan we'd be going to the hospital later, and he assured me the baby wouldn't be coming then. By dinner, my contractions were about 10 minutes apart and slightly more intense. Naturally, being a Thursday, I still wanted to watch Scandal (priorities). At the end of the show, the contractions were 7 minutes apart, so we called the doctor on call, and he told us to come in when they were 5 minutes apart for over an hour. 

We attempted to get some sleep, but at this point, contractions were too painful for me to rest easy during them. After three contractions in a row of about 10 minutes apart, my contractions went full force and started coming every 2-3 minutes. With no time in between to recover, at midnight, I told Dan it was time to go. He gave me a momentary look of panic, and then got moving... quickly! Until it was actually time to go, and then he told me he had to send a few emails. If looks could kill... But after the emails went out, we were off to the hospital. 

We arrived at 1 a.m. and checked in to labor and delivery triage. A nurse and doctor came in to start registering us, and when they checked me, I was at 3 centimeters (I'd been 1 the day before at the doctor). Other than that, though, everything was still in tact. They called the doctor on call (Dr. Derbin), and asked if we should be admitted. They tabled it for the moment -- it was possible they were going to ask me to walk around to advance labor. Dan and I were left alone in the room, and we had some time to talk. He was great about trying to distract me during them (they had become really painful by this point), and when it was time for another check an hour later, I had advanced to 4. We were admitted! 

We got in to our room at 3 a.m. and met our labor and delivery nurse, Jenny. Bless her! She was amazing. I went to the bathroom and got settled in to bed, and Dan went to use the bathroom while Jenny and I talked. As we were talking, I felt a giant gush, and my water broke! We were ready to go! 

I tried to rest for about an hour, but at that point everything was just SO painful. Dan and I had made a pact that if I asked for the epidural three times, I was allowed to have it. I asked him three times in a row, and we asked Jenny if we could get that going. She did one more check... and I was 8 cm! I'd progressed 4 centimeters in 40 minutes! The anesthesiologist and doctor were both called, and that's when it all got really real. 

During the epidural, I was having a terrible contraction, almost to the point where I wanted to push. Dan was standing in front of me as the anesthesiologist inserted the epidural, and for some reason, I felt the need to tell Dan "you're the best husband in the world and I love you so much!" Jenny thought this was hilarious and said it was the first time she's ever heard a contracting mom getting an epidural compliment her husband. 

At 5, the epidural was in, and I got to see my parents, and at 5:30, Dr. Derbin asked if we were ready to start pushing so we could meet our baby. My parents left, and it was show time! Dan, Jenny, Dr. Derbin, and a few other nurses spent the next hour coaching me on when and how to push and what I should be feeling. I got a good chance to rest in between contractions ( with a fancy oxygen mask, no less!), and believe it or not, all of us were cracking jokes! Bless you, epidural, for making labor almost enjoyable! 

Toward the end, Dr. D mentioned that we might to use the vacuum to get the baby out, and I decided right then that I was pushing until little person was here. 

And seven pushes later, he was. 

The doctor turned him toward Dan, and he told me, "We have a Henry!" And the next thing I knew, he was on my chest showing off his amazing lungs and Dan and I were totally in love. It was 6:38 a.m.
There are no words to describe how that moment felt. The feeling in that moment is something I will never forget. Then it was just a blur of cuddles and "I love yous" and emotions and trying to grasp that he was really here. I got to hold him and do skin to skin with him before anyone took him to be weighed and measured, and I love that we created a bond in that time. Dare I say it, I kind of enjoyed labor (granted, mine progressed pretty quickly!)!

About thirty minutes later, my parents came back in. One of the coolest moments of my life was when I got to say,  "Come meet your grandson!" It was so worth not finding out for us!   

Henry came in to the world so quickly, we didn't even have time to do the things we'd planned on. I was looking forward to that labor tub and eating popsicles! Neither happened. I at least wanted my hair in a ponytail! We didn't even have time to get the hospital bag out of the car.  

So even though we lost an entire night of sleep, and even though I almost passed out the first time I stood up, and even though I'm still mildly terrified of doing something wrong as a mom, I can truly say, it is all so worth it. 

We are so in love! Welcome to the world, Henry Michael!


  1. I love Henry already! I cant wait to meet him!

    1. Henry is SO excited to meet you too, Auntie J!


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