Our Labor and Delivery Story

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.

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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.

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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!

Birthday Trip to California

Well, I’m officially old. The big 3-0. Half way to 60. Thirty is a big one, so I feel like it’s only appropriate to celebrate a little bigger than usual. So what’s bigger and better than taking a vacation?!

Southern California is somewhere that I’ve always wanted to go, so I figured my 30th birthday was the perfect time to go! It was a fairly short trip, (2.5 days) but honestly it was plenty of time to do all the things I wanted to do! We stayed in the cutest little Airbnb in Long Beach, and visited Laguna Beach, Huntington Beach, Newport Beach, and the Santa Monica / Venice area.

Our first day was a long one, but it was probably my favorite day of the trip. I started my day at 2:30 a.m., Florida time, in order to catch our 6:00 a.m. flight. We had a 1.5 hour drive to the airport, plus I had to actually get ready (not just rock leggings and a ponytail) because we jumped right into exploring when we got there, and of course I wanted to be cute for pictures! My friend Jill came from Missouri and met us in California, and we were able to find flights that landed at exactly the same time. Once we got our rental car, we headed straight for the fun!

Our first stop, per my husband’s request, was In-N-Out. It was my first time having it, and it was good, but honestly, I don’t really get what all the hype is about. But, my husband was so excited about it, so I just went with it. From there, we headed to Laguna Beach. The one place that I was dead set on going on this trip was the Pirate Tower at Victoria Beach, so we made that our first stop. The tower was built in 1926 as an enclosed staircase for a senator that lived on the cliff above. Today, you cannot go into it, but it makes for a really cool photo backdrop. This was also my favorite beach area that we visited, because it had that rocky coastline that you would normally see more toward the north.

After checking out the beach and the Pirate Tower, we just explored the area of shops and businesses right along the beach. My husband and I always buy a couple of t-shirts anytime we visit somewhere new, but we like to find shirts that are a little more unique and local, rather than the things that you would find at the typical tourist shops. We found a really cool store called Laguna Surf and Sport that had their own line of t-shirts that had the perfect vintage, local vibes that we were going for.

From there, we decided to head back to Long Beach to check into our Airbnb. We knew that there was no assigned parking with the place we were staying, but we totally underestimated how difficult it would be to find somewhere to park. We spent about 30 minutes driving around trying to find street parking, before we eventually just gave up and paid to park in the parking garage of one of the hotels several blocks away. It really wasn’t that far from the house, but because we had all of our luggage with us, we decided to take an Uber back to the house. It was only around 6:30 p.m. when we got there, but at that point (thanks to the 3 hour time difference, the travel, and the day’s activities) we were all exhausted, so we ended up just ordering Domino’s and crashing by about 8:30 p.m.

Day number two we hit Newport Beach and Huntington Beach. The weather this day started out nice, but we knew that it was supposed to rain in the afternoon, so we wanted to make the most of the nice part of the day. The first thing we did was take the ferry in Newport Beach over to Balboa Island. We walked along the main strip on the island that is full of cute little shops and restaurants. We made sure to stop at Sugar ‘n Spice, which is the home of the original frozen banana in Newport Beach. I got a chocolate dipped banana, rolled in sprinkles, and it was delicious!

From there, we headed back to the mainland and decided to make our way toward Huntington Beach before the weather got too bad. We checked out the beach, spent some time watching the surfers, and then headed to lunch at Ruby’s Diner. The food wasn’t anything spectacular, but it was definitely good, and the vibe was super fun. By the time we were done, the rain and wind and temperature drop had arrived, so we decided to do a little shopping to get out of the weather.

Eventually the rain stopped, and even though it was still super windy and pretty cold, we decided to do a little more exploring. We drove to Rancho Palos Verdes, and went to a place called Pelican Cove Park. It was SUPER cold and windy up on the cliff, but the views were absolutely gorgeous! From there we went back to Long Beach and roamed around a little shopping center before heading back to our Airbnb. Just like the day before, it was pretty early, but we were all exhausted again, so we ended up just ordering food in, and chilling at the house for the evening.

On our third and final day, we had breakfast at the Long Beach Cafe, then made our way just a little to the north, and spent the day in Santa Monica and Venice Beach. For as long as I can remember, I have always wanted to take a picture on a lifeguard stand (this desire may or may not have come from watching the OC back in the day…) so the first thing we did was find an empty stand and jumped right into our mini photo shoot. We then spent a little while watching the surfers, before heading back up to walk down the boardwalk.

The Venice boardwalk was really cool, but it honestly wasn’t quite what I was expecting. There were a LOT of homeless people, and it was honestly just kind of dirty. But there were a lot of cool shops and vendors, and it definitely made for some interesting people watching! One totally random thing that I really loved at the boardwalk was watching the skateboarders at the skate park! We watched them for about 30 minutes, but I honestly could have stood there all day long! We also made our way over a couple blocks to get a few shots of the famous Venice sign, which was decked out for Valentine’s Day!

By the time we got to the end of the boardwalk, our feet were killing us, so we decided to rent some bikes and ride all the way back down to the Santa Monica Pier. It was a Monday, so we were hoping that the pier wouldn’t be totally packed, but holy cow were we wrong. There were so. many. people. and honestly, it kind of ended up being a let down because we couldn’t just hang out and enjoy it like we had been hoping to. Both my husband and I get major anxiety in huge crowds like that, so we were a little stressed out! But we did manage to walk to the end to get some cool photos, check out a few shops, and of course, buy a few t-shirts! I definitely still enjoyed it, but looking back, I wish we would have tried to get there right when the pier opened, so that maybe it wouldn’t have been quite so crowded.

After the pier, I really wanted to go find Ocean Avenue to take a picture by the sign (random and weird, I know) but at this point we were all getting a little hangry, so we decided to just head to an early dinner since we hadn’t eaten lunch. We wanted to find something local, but as it had been our whole trip, parking was a big issue. We eventually just gave up and went to the Cheesecake Factory because we were starving! After dinner we headed back to Long Beach to pack up our stuff and get ready for our early flights home the next day!

Overall the trip was really fun, but I do wish that a few things would have been different. If we go again in the future, I will definitely want to go during the spring or summer so that we can get some better weather. We also wasted a lot of time searching for parking, so I would definitely want to make sure that we stayed at a hotel or Airbnb with it’s own parking. Lastly, I wish we would have eaten at more local restaurants, rather than eating places we can go at home too, but that really only happened because we didn’t plan very well. Now that we’ve got some experience though, we’ll be able to plan better for our next trip!

Now, where to next?!