Hi! I cannot believe I finally get to say this, but baby is here!!! He was born a week ago yesterday and we are just so head over heels in love. We are truly thriving off baby cuddles, baby smiles (even if they’re involuntary), baby outfits and even baby diaper changes. It’s all been so magical. And today, I am super super excited to share our baby’s birth story with you all. Midway through my pregnancy, I became obsessed with reading birth stories and loved that every one was unique and special in its own way. Mine is no different, so here it is!
For some reason, I always felt this baby would come early. Not scary early, but full term, just earlier than his due date early. But as that due date approached, I started to worry that maybe the exact opposite would happen and I would end up needing to be induced. NO judgment toward women who choose or end up needing to get induced — I can absolutely understand the desire or need to do so — but as a Type A personality, it was strangely thrilling to not know when this baby would come, so I wanted it to happen spontaneously on its own. At my 39-week appointment, my OB checked my cervix. I was only 1 cm dilated but I was happy it wasn’t nothing and it also meant she was able to do what she called a “small membrane sweep.” We hoped this would get the ball rolling, but days passed and no baby. Meanwhile, I kept bouncing on my yoga ball, eating a million dates, drinking red raspberry leaf tea and walking as much as possible.
Monday (two days before my due date), around 10 PM, as Joey and I were laying in bed, I felt a weird menstrual-like pain that lasted a few seconds, then went away. I wasn’t sure, but it sure felt like what I imagined a contraction to feel like. I didn’t say anything to Joey, but I kept feeling them through the rest of the night. They were only coming about every half hour or so, until around 4 AM when they started getting closer and definitely more painful. Joey happened to wake up and, so I told him “I’m having some contractions” and we timed a few. Some were closer (5ish minutes) but others were longer (7-8 minutes) and my OB had said to wait until they were 5 minutes apart for at least an hour before calling, so we held off. By 8:30, they were still 7ish minutes apart but they HURT! I tried to breathe through them while Joey massaged my lower back and we both tried to get our dog to stop freaking out. I decided to just call and much to my surprise, they told me to head to the hospital! I took a shower while Joey finished packing our bag and made me a piece of toast and we made our way to the car. Joey’s dad actually called while we were driving and since we didn’t want to tell anyone until we were actually admitted, we had to play it off like nothing was happening,
Once we got to the hospital, they sent me to triage to monitor my contractions and I could’ve sworn they suddenly stopped and I felt like I had imagined them but then they returned with a vengeance. They checked me and I was 3 cm dilated, 80% effaced but baby’s head was so so low, so they told me they’d call my OB (actually my OB was on vacation, but luckily, we had met with the OB who would be filling in for her at my 37 week appointment) and I would either be admitted to labor and delivery, or they would keep me in triage for a couple of hours for monitoring and check again after that. It was at this point that we knew we there to stay and finally got to tell our families!!! I called my mom and she was so happy and excited and emotional. It was the very best 🙂 Also, baby’s heart rate kept dipping every time I had a contraction, so they had me lay on my side and that fixed things up. A few minutes later, they came in and said I was headed to labor and delivery!
Once they wheeled me over to our new giant room, the nurse (whose name was also Lauren!) came in to set up my IV and get all the monitors on baby and I. A little bit later, the resident OB came in to check me and I was still 3 cm but 100% effaced. They said they would be calling my OB to discuss the next steps, but in the meantime they wanted me up and walking around to get things moving. GUYS, THIS WAS AWFUL! This is when my contractions started to feel like living hell. Every time one came, I would have to stop walking and breathe as deeply as I could while Joey pressed on my back. Then it would pass and I’d live the next three minutes in terror of the next one. I knew I was only 3 cm but I was feeling desperate. In my mind, I was going to make it to 6 cm before asking for the epidural but HOLY HELL, I was in such intense pain and I knew I wouldn’t make it that long. We called our nurse in and she told me not to feel bad about getting it and that being 100% effaced with the baby so low accounted for way more than being 3 cm dilated. I’d heard stories of people having to wait for the anesthesiologist but he came in right away and getting it put in was no big deal. He said it’d take 15-20 minutes for it to kick in but it only felt like minutes to me. Nurse Lauren asked “how’s that contraction you’re having right now feel?” and I didn’t even know I was having one! It was such relief and I immediately felt so so so much better. It was seriously amazing. Thank god for modern medicine. I took a few little naps afterward and it was a very chill mood for Joey and I.
A couple hours later, they checked me again and I was 4 cm, almost 5 which was sort of disappointing. They decided to break my water to see if that made things progress. Again, baby’s heart rate dropped a few times during contractions, so they had me lay on my side (wow, it is super hard to roll to the side when your legs are numb!) and things would bounce back to normal. Two hours later, the resident OB came back in to check me and I WAS 10 CM! I couldn’t believe it!!!! This whole day was surreal but man was it crazy to know I was about to start pushing. Our nurse talked me through the technique and then she and Joey helped me do some practice pushes. I’d obviously never done it before but I think I got the hang of it right away. Also, I know one of the reasons people don’t want an epidural is because they want to be able to feel the contractions to push effectively, but I could definitely feel the pressure of the contraction and knew exactly when to push. The resident OB warned me that most first time moms push for 2-3 hours, so I was mentally preparing for that but once I started the practice pushing, our nurse told me “yeah, you’re going to have this baby in 45 minutes.” EEEEE! The resident OB came in and we pushed a few more times until my OB showed up and took over. I couldn’t see, of course, but Joey, Nurse Lauren and my OB all just kept saying “he’s right there!” And it was really motivating to know he was so close. I was even able to reach down and feel his head! I kept telling myself “this is the contraction where I push him out!” but he was a little bit stuck. His heart rate kept dipping a bit and finally my OB said she needed to give me just a little bit more room and made a small cut. As soon as she did, I started a push and she yelled “STOP PUSHING!” and he basically fell right out. They pulled him out and put him right on my chest and I have never felt such a strong jolt of happiness and love. I can’t even fully describe it but it was the best feeling in the entire world. He was perfect! I delivered the placenta and got all stitched up (I had some internal tearing as well) but I was completely distracted and in a coma of bliss and disbelief. We looked over at the window and saw the most glorious sunset! Also, Joey likes to point out that he was born one minute before first pitch of the World Series.
Guys, remember when I was scared I was going to have a 9 lb baby just like Joey was? HA!!! This little peanut was 6 lbs. 4oz! So tiny! He’s actually 1oz bigger than I was. So he is my size but looks just like Joey. Afterward, there were all kinds of tests and measurements but then they handed him back to us and we just stared at him. He was finally here and he was perfect!!! I was so instantly in love. We had three names to choose from and though I was really back and forth about which one seemed like “him” Joey thought right away that he looked like a Dempsey and once he said it, I couldn’t have agreed more. A few months ago, Lori sent me a story her mother’s cousin had written about the unusual names in her family and one of her brothers was nicknamed Dempsey. We were in the nursery as I read the story out loud to Joey and we both immediately fell for the name. I was sort of nervous because our other two choices were pretty “normal” and this one was pretty unique but it just felt so so right. His middle name is Nicholas for my grandpa and uncle on my mom’s side 🙂
After Dempsey got all his check ups done (and we had two medium rare steaks from the Denver Chophouse delivered!), they took us down to our new room in the women’s recovery unit. We ate our dinner and FaceTimed our families. It’s 2020 and your family meets your baby for the first time through the phone, what can you do? Our nurse Kelsey was such a rockstar. In hindsight, we totally got spoiled and all the other nurses (though good) didn’t compare. She was so good at helping me get cleaned up and checking in on baby. Dempsey was actually considered “Small for Gestational Age,” so they were really closely checking his blood sugar. He needed three good readings in a row and did fine on the first one, but failed the second and third. It became really important that he eat and eat well to get his blood sugar stabilized but easier said than done when you’ve been a mother for all of two hours and your milk hasn’t come in. They offered us three options to provide supplemental milk and since he had shown signs of taking to breastfeeding, we went with the Supplemental Nursing System (SNS) which is basically an IV of donor milk that you thread to your own breast, so he can latch on to me but get actual breast milk. I can say with 100% certainty that I never even knew such a thing (or such a need) existed. After this, they would have me pump for 15 minutes. A lot of work but totally worth it and Dempsey got his three good blood sugar readings.
The next day and a half were just a blissful blur or feedings, having our vitals checked, naps, Halloween movies, diaper changes, ordering food and my very favorite… skin to skin. I’ve never felt so happy in my life. What a pure burst of euphoria. I cannot get enough! And Joey has been a total rockstar dad. Not that I expected any less. While I rested in bed, he changed all the diapers, did all the swaddling, set up our feeding system, made sure my water was filled and basically anticipated Dempsey and I’s every need. Even breastfeeding, technically something only I’m doing, felt like a team project. He was there to help me get situated with the Boppy and a pillow and maneuvering baby into the right position. Just the best 🙂
Thursday morning, we were super anxious to get everything taken care of so we could be discharged and get home. Yet another OB from our practice swung by to perform the circumcision — a really personal decision that we wavered back and forth on but ultimately decided to have done, though Joey was so traumatized by post-circumcision diaper changes that we keep wondering if we made the right decision — and we met with the lactation consultant (she had come by the day before as well and I so love that we had the opportunity to work with her!), the on call pediatrician and our nurse before we were finally discharged. That 20 minute drive home felt so much longer and I couldn’t stop peeking into the car seat at him, but we made it and were able to first have Lori over, then my parents. Such sweet sweet moments that I’ll never ever forget. I know I could keep going on forever, but I’ll end here. In the past week, there have been so many small but special moments that I don’t want to forget. I hope to get then written down in the next few days, but for now BABY SNUGGLES.
Welcome to the world, Dempsey! We could not be more smitten or in love with you! 🙂