In typical new mom fashion, I am SO behind! Hendrix is officially 9 weeks old and I’m just now getting around to sharing his labor and delivery story. But I’m finally making the time to write it all down, so I hope you all enjoy!
Hendrix was born at 39 weeks, 5 days, on Monday, September 9th (9/9/19 – a pretty awesome birthday if you ask me!) at 12:08 p.m. I was in labor for a total of 35 hours, which at the time felt like forever, but we were both safe and healthy for his entrance into the world, which was the most important thing to me!
Let’s rewind a couple of days to Saturday, the 7th. That day I just felt a little off all day. My lower back was killing me, I was feeling pretty crampy, and overall, I just didn’t feel quite like myself. I was sure that I was going to go past my due date, so I didn’t really think anything of it, and just figured it was due to being almost 40 weeks pregnant. That day I did eat some pineapple, drank some red raspberry leaf tea (which I had been drinking daily since around 37 weeks,) and bounced on my exercise ball a little, but I wasn’t really expecting anything to come of it.
That night I went to bed around 10:30 p.m. I woke up a little before 1:30 a.m. on the 8th to go to the bathroom, and as I was getting settled back into bed, I felt my first contraction. They really weren’t painful at that point, so at first I wasn’t sure if they were actually contractions, or if it was just gas/cramps. I laid there for about an hour, and I wasn’t really timing them, but they continued to come about 10 minutes apart, lasting around 35 seconds each. I started officially timing them around 2:30 a.m., and around 3:15 a.m. I decided to move to the living room to see if moving around, laying in a different position, drinking some water, etc. would make them go away.
Around 5:00 a.m. I decided to take a shower, just in case this was the real deal. My husband had checked on me a few times, but I told him to keep sleeping so that he would be well rested when things really got going. My contractions were getting a little longer, lasting around 45 seconds each, but were very inconsistent at anywhere from 3 to 8 minutes apart. They were bad enough that I couldn’t sleep though, so I just spent the next few hours trying to keep myself entertained to keep my mind off the contractions.
Around 8:30 a.m. I decided to call my midwife. She is very big on laboring at home for as long as possible, so I figured she was going to tell me not to go into the hospital yet, but my contractions were getting more painful, and since this was my first time going through this, I just wasn’t sure what I should do. Like I thought, she told me I wasn’t ready. She told me to wait until my contractions were between 2 and 5 minutes apart, lasting at least a minute, and it had been that way for an hour. She also said that by the time I was ready to go in, I absolutely should not be able to talk through the contractions. So I just continued to labor at home for the next several hours.
At 1:30 p.m., (contracting for 12 hours at this point) my contractions were lasting about a minute each, but they were still very inconsistent with how far apart they were. Most of them were between 3 to 5 minutes apart, but then I kept having random ones that were more like 8 to 10 minutes apart, so I was so confused on what to do! They continued that way for the next few hours, and finally around 4:00 p.m. we decided to head to the hospital. We knew there was a good chance they were going to send us home, but I was getting more and more exhausted and more and more uncomfortable, so I just wanted to find out if I was making any progress at all.
We got to the hospital around 4:45 p.m., and after getting checked in and changed, they hooked me up to the monitors to check my contractions and the baby’s heart rate. He looked good, but like I already knew, my contractions were super inconsistent. I was dilated to a 3 and almost fully effaced. The only time I had been checked during my pregnancy was at 37 weeks, and I was at a 1 then, so I had at least made some progress since then. They had me walk around for about an hour to see if I would make any more progress, but unfortunately, not much was happening, so they decided to send me home.
They knew that I had been in labor for quite a while (almost 18 hours) and that I was already exhausted, so before I left they gave me a shot and an oral medication to help me manage the pain and to help me get some rest. They said that it should pretty much just knock me out for a few hours and that when I woke up my labor would have either stalled out and I would know that it wasn’t the real thing, or it would have picked up and I would be able to go back in.
The only thing I had eaten all day was a bagel with peanut butter, so we stopped on the way home to get some food. By the time we got home the medicine they had given me was really starting to kick in, so I was only able to eat a few bites of my food before I had to go lay down. I was expecting to sleep for a while like they had told me, but I woke up about an hour later (around 9:00 p.m.) to contractions that were WAY more painful than the ones I had been experiencing earlier. However, they were back to being around 10 minutes apart, so because I was so tired from the medicine, I was still able to doze off in between them. Around 11:00 p.m. I got up and moved to the living room where I was bouncing on my exercise ball and just trying to find any position to help me get comfortable. I was in a LOT of pain at this point, but my contractions were still averaging around 7 minutes apart, so I just kept moving around to try to find some relief.
Around 2:00 a.m. on the 9th I started to have a little bit of bleeding. This freaked me out, so I decided to call my midwife again. She said that it was normal, and it was probably just my bloody show, but she said if I felt like I needed to go back into the hospital, I could. I could tell by the sound of her voice that she didn’t think I was ready to go back in yet, but I was so exhausted at this point and I just wanted to get admitted and get my epidural so that I could get some rest.
We left around 2:40 a.m. and got back to the hospital around 3:20 a.m. They checked me again and I was 5 cm dilated and fully effaced. Since I had made some progress, they decided to go ahead and admit me so that I could go ahead and get my epidural and rest a little before I was ready to start pushing. I was officially admitted around 5:00 a.m., and I had my epidural by 5:30. I was able to sleep from about 6:30 a.m. to 8:50 a.m., which felt amazing. The midwife, which was not my midwife, just the one on call (but she was great) came in right after I woke up to check me. Travis and I were both shocked when she told me I was 8 cm dilated! My water hadn’t broken yet though, so she went ahead and broke it to help baby boy move down some more.
After she broke my water I just rested for a little over an hour, and around 10:30 a.m., things really started to get going. Around that time I started having a small spot of my right hip where my epidural didn’t seem to be working, and I was feeling my contractions just in that spot. My nurse (who was amazing, by the way!) had me go ahead and press my button to get another dose of the epidural to see if that would help, but unfortunately it didn’t. She checked me again, and could feel that baby’s head was right there, basically ready to go. She was able to turn his head just a tiny bit, which almost immediately took the pain away in that spot, but I also immediately started to feel a TON of pressure. Along with the pressure, I also started to feel a lot more pain. My nurse told me that they don’t usually have people push their button for another dose of epidural that close to pushing because they don’t want them to be too numb to push, but she said that I really shouldn’t be feeling that much pain with the epidural, so she had me go ahead and push it again. It really didn’t help, and it seemed like my epidural had stopped working. I was still somewhat numb from when it had been working, but I just wasn’t continuing to stay numb, and it just seemed to be wearing off.
At this point I was feeling so much pressure and quite a bit of pain, and my nurse could tell that it was time to push, so she called the midwife. They were really busy that day, so it took her a few minutes to actually find the midwife, and I was really struggling to NOT push with each contraction. What seemed like hours later (but was really only a few minutes) the midwife came in and started getting all of her gear on. I don’t really remember much from that point on, but one thing I do remember, is that while she was getting ready she stepped back out into the hall to grab something, and I freaked out and started begging them not to let her leave. I was just in so much pain, and I wanted my baby out NOW, and I didn’t want to wait for anything!
I started pushing around 11:15 a.m. with an epidural that was only partially working. I knew that I needed to try to relax and keep my breathing calm, but I just couldn’t do it. I really wasn’t scared or nervous or anything, but I just could not control my breathing. I felt like I was hyperventilating, and everyone had to keep reminding me to try to relax.
I don’t remember a ton about the time while I was pushing, but I do remember that I was SO thirsty and my lips felt so chapped, so in between contractions I kept asking for water and chapstick! The only other thing I really remember was seeing his hair. Most of the time when I was pushing I had my eyes closed, but at one point I just happened to open my eyes mid push and I saw his hair! That was during one of my last few pushes and I was getting really tired, but seeing that really helped give the the motivation to give it everything I had to get him out into the world!
After 35 hours of labor, and just under an hour of pushing, Hendrix Elliott Withrow finally made his way into the world at 12:08 p.m. on September 9th. He was 7 pounds even, and 19.5 inches. They immediately put him up on my chest and my husband cut the cord. We got to do skin to skin for the first hour before they took him to clean him up and take his measurements, and it was absolutely the most amazing experience of my life. I surprisingly didn’t cry, which I don’t know how is even possible because I cry about everything, but I think I just had so much adrenaline and excitement about him finally being here, that there was just no room for tears!
I was never really scared or nervous about labor and delivery, but it was absolutely the hardest thing I’ve ever done in my life. I’m currently still in the stage where if you asked me if I ever want to do it again, I would tell you no, but that may eventually change. I did have a second degree tear and had to have stitches, (I don’t know how many, she didn’t tell me and I didn’t ask) but my recovery really wasn’t too bad. I was able to get up and walk just a little as soon as the rest of my epidural wore off, and other than some soreness, I felt pretty normal after just a few days.
The past nine weeks with our little guy have been the most exhausting, but also the most rewarding nine weeks of my life. I already tear up looking back at pictures from those first few days, and it makes me so happy but also breaks my heart at the same time to see how much he’s grown and changed in such a short amount of time. There are definitely days where I get frustrated and overwhelmed, but then I remember how amazing it is that I brought this tiny human into the world, and I know that all of the struggles are 100% worth it!