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My Birth Story

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I was planning to share my birth story last week on the blog in ode to Mother’s Day, and then life got crazy, and well I didn’t want to miss any details so this post is a week late in my book. But it’s the little things these days, and I’m slowly learning how to “roll with it”. Earlier last week, I read a blog post from my friend Stacy at Not Just a Housewife about an amazing non-profit, Every Mother Counts. So I’m dedicating this blog post to them in an effort to raise awareness and help raise more money for the amazing things they are doing. I was not compensated to do this–I simply want to help raise awareness.

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I’ve been slow getting back into blogging and can’t thank my friends enough who have helped out while we’ve adjusted to parenthood. No book can ever prepare you for the sleep deprived – crying filled days that turn into nights. So far I’m happy to report we are all surviving. I wanted to share my birth story with our readers, our friends. A lot of people have asked; friends and readers and I decided it would be good to share and document that crazy 22 hours we had prior to Ryder’s arrival. I’m going to warn you now–this is going to be one of the longest post I have ever written (and at times might be graphic). This is a very personal post at that, I’m opening up one of the most private times in my life to the world. So if you aren’t down with the story (no offense taken) then skip this and come back in a few days when we have a DIY project published.

*Also, because I’m a crazy blogger and love documenting everything I started documenting my birth story in the hospital. I also had Jon document from his perspective so that we can one day share it with Ryder.

Something I never shared publicly before today… we had a lot of ups and downs during the first 20 weeks of my pregnancy. The first 12 weeks we were unsure if the baby was going to survive. I was going to the doctor weekly sometimes every other day to have ultrasounds done and lab work drawn. I was actually at a doctors appointment the day before we left for Haven. We were unsure if we were going to be able to travel. The doctors were worried that I was going to loose the baby that week and they really didn’t want me traveling. But we didn’t want to stop our lives from the “what if’s”. So we took the long 8 hour drive up to Atlanta, and played like everything was ok. Even though I was crazy sick and we were unsure if the baby was going to make it.

We are blessed and have great insurance. That great insurance covered all the test you can imagine having done–extra testing that not everyone opts in to have. Because we have great insurance we opted to have all the extra testing done. Knowledge is power, right. And our naive selves figured everything would come back fine… right? WRONG.

It was during my 13th week that we got a phone call from my doctors office. They requested we come in immediately. I asked if it could wait since we had an appointment scheduled for the following week. They said, no and that we needed to come in that afternoon. I called Jon immediately and was freaking out. I knew something was not right. Why else would they insist that we come immediately. It turns out that one of my extra test came back positive. My test for Fragile X syndrome. This is a very rare and pretty unknown syndrome–not many people get tested and therefor there is very little research on it. Basically, one of my “X” chromosomes is mutated. So after we left the doctors office in disbelief we then scheduled an appointment with a genetics specialist. We had to wait 3 long weeks to see them. And boy, was it a whirlwind and man did we learn so much during that appointment. Basically, I’m lucky I was even able to get pregnant and if we were having a boy we had a 66% chance that he would get my mutated “X” chromosome and if we had a girl she had a 29% chance of getting it. Of course at this point we actually knew what we were having and were pretty devastated. 66% is pretty high. We were told we could do an amnio and it would give us a 99% reading. However, the results take 3-5 weeks to get back. Only one lab in the United States does this particular test where they grow the cells extracted and then test to see what the X chromosome is. Any number lower than 200 means that the baby didn’t get my mutated X chromosome. My one X chromosome was at an 84… an elevated level that is borderline to be able to pass it on to my next generation. We agonized and decided 4 days later to have the amnio done. We felt that we would be better prepared and the not knowing that everything was ok was going to kill us.

So I had the amnio–it wasn’t as bad as everyone says it is and this is coming from someone who has had a fear of needles ALL HER LIFE. And then we waited. We cancelled our gender reveal party, because we didn’t feel like celebrating and we were hesitant to announce what the gender was publicly. We told our parents and immediate family that weekend, but told everyone to keep it quiet.

babymoon in St. Thomas

Fast forward to 4 long weeks later. We were on our babymoon and strolling the beach in St. Thomas when my phone rang. I happened to have my phone with me to take photos. I looked down and saw it was the doctors office. Jon told me to answer it. I hesitated and then answered it. They informed me that everything came back negative. That our baby received my good “X” chromosome. The amount of relief we felt right there… it felt like the whole world was standing still and it was just us on the beach. It felt the same way when Jon proposed to me on that same beach some 6.5 years prior. The rest of our vacation we were truly able to celebrate. We bought the baby his first stuffed animal that afternoon before we left St. Thomas. It was the first thing I had bought all of my pregnancy… 20 long weeks.

So needless to say that’s why it took us so long to get the nursery together, and that’s why we are still working on it. We couldn’t and didn’t want to start working on the room until we knew everything was ok. It was our way of coping with the news.

With all that background info shared, I’ll share how the crazy 22 hours of labor went.

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We went to see the midwife, Mary Kay (not the cosmetic brand–she’s way better than that) at 8am. We had the routine 40 week sono to measure amniotic fluids and mane sure baby is moving well. Of course our fluid was low. 5 is a danger zone and I was at a 5.1. My blood pressure was high again 138/90 they made me lay down–I meditated and my blood pressure lowered to 124/90. Still high. When I got checked I had progressed. Wednesday I was at 2cm, 60% effaced and a position of -2. Friday morning, 2-3, 70% effaced, -1 position. So within 2 days we progressed. Mary Kay went over everything, told us to go home and rest. She would call us if they decided I needed to be induced today.

We went to Target to get me a new night gown for the hospital (little did I realize I would not wear it in the hospital). We called our mothers, and told them what’s going on. We got home. Jon decided to stay home from work just in case. He worked on the garden beds, and built the mini shed for our back yard that he purchased a few days prior at Costco. I worked from home, finished up the last blogging stuff, reheated the shrimp boil we had for dinner the night before. We sat on the back porch around 1:30 in the afternoon, enjoyed the cool breeze, and ate our lunch. I cleaned up lunch and went back to working on a blog post. I went out to ask Jon what to call an upcoming blog post project, went back in, and 5 minutes later I got a call from Mary Kay. She said my levels were not good from my labs, protein in the urine, and they wanted me to get to the hospital immediately. At that moment my mother in-law messaged me and I told her I would call her. I walked out to tell Jon (he knew instantly by the grin on my face). I told him to stop building, grab a shower, and let’s get to the hospital. Funny thing is that I asked my midwife if he could just finish up building the shed and she told me he could, but someone else would need to drive me to the hospital. Ummmm no. The shed can wait. I need my amazingly strong hubby next to me for support.

That’s when the emotion started hitting me. I got in the house called my mom, then my mother in-law, and then wrote to my boss and told her my maternity leave was starting — followed by messaging a few other coworkers and my best friend who was due any day along with me. I set my out-of-office and said my goodbyes. I set my vacation response on both blog emails and sent off my last few emails before officially shutting down the computers for maternity leave. At that point Jon was in the house taking his shower. He got out of the shower, and I lost it. I couldn’t keep it together. We hugged and he comforted me and told me we could do this. I could do this. I decided to take a shower, just to rinse off and get fresh because lord knows when that would happen again. I cried in the shower. The anxiety, the pressure, the “wow I’m going to be a parent our whole lives are about to change”–next chapter in our book finally hit me. Little did I realize how much I took for granted being able to jump in the shower whenever I wanted.

We gathered the last few things for the hospital bag, Lola, our Yorkie, could sense something was going on.  I decided we need a few more photos of me being pregnant–I had yet to do bare belly photos. So Jon snapped a few. I got dressed and we sat on the bed, and spent our last time as a family of three. She wasn’t as cuddly as normal although came to me immediately and let me cuddle her one last time. We spent that moment together, and I will forever cherish it.

We got everything else together, Jon loaded the car, I watered the plants on the patio, closed up the patio and got Lola’s stuff together. We took one last walk as 2 with a pup and it was super special. I knew those moments would be far and few between in the future.

last pregnant photoI drove us to my parents house where we dropped off the dog. I gave a big hug to my mom and we both cried together. Then Jon joined in and we all shared tears of joy and of course tears of nervousness and anxiety. Then my mom and I took one last photo with me and the bump.

Jon and I left my parents house, stopped at chipotle and had a bite to eat. Multiple people in Chipotle commented about me having that baby right there in Chipotle. When I told them that I was leaving to get induced after we ate, they all were in shock. I really didn’t feel like eating, but forced myself to eat a little. Jon had a beer to calm his nerves down. As he ate and drank he just stared at me in awe. We didn’t talk just stared. The world felt like it stood still. And the tears ran down my face. Jon held his back. He just raised his beer and I clanked my paper cup of water to his beer. It was like we were cheersing to closing the chapter we’ve enjoyed for the past 12 years together and cheersing to opening up a new chapter all at the same time.

labor and delivery

We got to the hospital at 5:08 just missing the admission office from being open (they close at 5). Had to check in to triage. It took about 15 minutes and then we were escorted up to the second floor (labor and delivery). We waited until 7:00 pm for the nurse shift change and then we were given a room.  It took them a while to find a vein for my IV. My midwife was not on call instead  Dr A was on call all weekend.  I was given the pictocin at 8:30 and by 9 I think I was feeling a little pressure.

in labor and delivery

At 11:30 my contractions were 3-4 minutes a part with a little cramping nothing major. Took a half hour snooze woke up to the battery going dead on my IV. By 1:20 I was having much stronger contractions that required breathing. It felt like my ovaries were ripping out of me (little did I realize that was nothing). The nurse checked me and said that the baby had dropped some but no change in being dialated. I requested a birthing ball and began to sit on that. It felt 100 times better than laying in bed. I had downloaded a birthing mediation cd prior to delivering. I started listening to my birthing meditation cd and watching the strength of the contractions on the monitor. This was all while Jon attempted to sleep on the recliner. At 2 am they bumped up the pictocin to 9 milliunits per minute. I started at just 3. During those early hours of the morning I was chatting on Facebook with a few of my blog friends.

I ended up waking Jon up at 3-he helped me through lots of contractions. Moved back to the bed around 4:45 and rested in between contractions. At 5:15 Dr. A came in checked me and saw I had not progressed… thus breaking my water. At that time they upped my pictocin to 10.

((And this is where I stopped documenting at the hospital.))

After they broke my water shit got real. Excuse my language but it’s true. My contractions were coming fast, furious, and crazy sharp. By 6:45 we called for the anesthesiologist to have an epidural. I remember praying silently to myself that I would not have a rookie that I would get someone experienced. My prayers were answered and I got the most experience person on staff that morning. She had been administering epidural a for 20 years! Unfortunately, they failed to tell me that I needed new blood work because it had expired. Apparently, they need fresh blood work every 6 hours. I begged them to rush it, and that they did. Although the rush didn’t seem like it at the time. I faught through each contraction.. And at this point I was having a hard time breathing. I felt paralyzed from every contraction… Still sitting on the birthing ball because it was the only thing that felt good that and walking and sitting on the toilet. During each contraction I would rest my head on Jon’s shoulder and push into him. He was my rock and I desperately needed him at every contraction by that point. I sat on the birthing ball staining at the contraction monitor. For me I wanted to see every spike on the screen (aka contraction) to help prepare for the next. I tried turning away and it felt ten times worse. I had so many friends tell me that they couldn’t look at the monitor and they had their husbands tell them when. Not me. I wanted to see what was going on.

By the time my blood work came back it was 8 am. We had originally talked about a walking epidural so I could continue it sit on the birthing ball. By the time the anesteoligist arrived I was spent and opted for the full epidural. I remembered my friends telling me it was the miracle drug and that on ry they had it they were bake to sleep. And at that point all my body needed and wanted was rest. So I got the full epidural and although I didn’t think I would be able to stay still during contractions do they could administer it… I did, and in no time as Jon likes to put it I was back to being me. 11 long hours of natural laboring and I finally through the card in… I tried my best, and at the end of the day do not regret one but getting the epidural. I will say that I had wished I was more dilated at that point–I was only 4cm. My goal was to make it to at least the half way point. Oh well… Had I known the type of contractions I would have had after they broke my water I would have gotten the epidural earlier on.

For the next 5 hours, I continued to progress. I encouraged Jon to go down to the cafeteria and eat lunch. He was going to wait until my parents came up to the hospital around 2pm. They were going to bring him lunch. I’m glad he went when he did… His lunch was short lived when sirens went off in the hospital warning everyone about the tornado warning we were under. The weather was miserable; gray, gloomy, windy, and lots if rain. Even though they claimed the windows were shatter proof I had them clothes all the curtains in the room. My bed was facing floor to ceiling windows. I had an epidural and unable to walk–I felt very helpless especially if a tornado would had ripped through. I texted Jon and demanded he come up immediately. All I could imagine is that the floor go on lock down and he was stuck downstairs and missed the birth of our son. As soon as he heard the announcement over the p.a. System he hurried back to my room. By 1pm I was at 7cm. Progressing perfectly and all was well. My blood pressure was still a little high but nothing else to worry about.

On a side note, a nice perk to where I was delivering. One of my friends, Natalie, is a labor and delivery nurse and happened to be on shift that day. She wasn’t my nurse but kept coming in to check on me. The first time she came in my room to say hello I lost it–laboring is so emotional. At least it was for me.

A few more hours went on still no progression. I tried everything I could turning from side to side every half hour, putting what try call a large exercise like ball shaped like a peanut between my legs…everything. Around 4:30 my parents arrived to the hospital. I let them come up to my room. In labor and delivery you can have up to 3 people in your room and since nothing was happening I figured it was better they sit up in the room with me than sit down in the lobby for hours on end. The rule was they had to leave if doctors came in to check me… Yes they gave birth to me but no need to see my adult parts. Around 4:00 I started to spike a fever. I was shaking and freezing yet burning up according to the nurses. I had cold wash cloths on my forehead and behind my neck. I was eating ice pops. At 5:00 I encouraged Jon to go down stairs and eat some dinner since I had no idea his much longer I would be. At this point I was going on 21 hours. The doctor came in and told me I was still sitting at 7cm, and told me we would take it hour by hour but if my fever went up anymore we would have to do an emergency c-section. At this point I started to text my midwife and tell her what was going on. She called me and told me it sounds like I had done everything I could and that most likely I was not going to progress any further.

I was devastated.

I didn’t want a c-section. This wasn’t my plan. But at the end of the day I knew it was probably the right thing to do. I would rather opt on my own then be rushed in emergency style. So once Jon got back from eating around 5:30 I told him I hadn’t progressed and then what my midwife and I talked about. I told him I think it’s time to thrown in the towel–I hadn’t progressed in hours, I was spiking a fever, and my blood pressure was still high. He agreed with me. Coincidentally, a few minutes the doctor came in to check on me and we told him our decision.

No lie… I swear there was a button in the room that he pushed alerting the floor I was getting a c-section because in less than a minutes time I had like 10 nurses in my room prepping me for surgery. It all happened so fast and I wish I would have told everyone to get the f— out of my room so I could have a minute with my family. To ultimately have a minute with my husband before we had our baby. Jon was in pajama pants, he had unpacked part of the bag. He was scrambling to put everything away, to get dressed in pants, etc. thankfully my parents were able to hold on to some of our stuff since apparently they have limited space in the surgery room. What felt like minutes time they gave instructions to my parents as to what the next steps were and then they gave instructions to Jon. And then they wheeled me away. I’m guessing 5 minutes later once they had me prepped they brought Jon in. The way you are on the table makes it almost impossible to look at your spouse. All I could feel was pulling and tugging nothing more. But the one thing I wasn’t prepared for was how friggin cold I was. I was non stop chattering… Like I felt like I was in the Antarctic and all I was wearing was a bikini. In hind sight, Jon reminds me that I had all my pieces and parts out. I had asked Natalie to assist during the c-section but she was too busy. But she did come in for a little bit. She held my head and gave us play by play. All I remember her saying is “ok the baby is about to come out…”.

ryder first born

Then a minute later we heard “the cry” the cry that everyone waits to hear. He cry that signifies the baby is alive. They held him up and Jon stood up to get a glimpse over the curtain… He instantly said to me 10 fingers and 10 toes! He’s perfect!

foot prints

Soon after that Jon left my side and at that moment I began to feel very lonely. I knew he needed and wanted to be with the baby, but I needed someone with me.

father and son

Why do they only allow one person in the delivery room for a c-section? They should allow 2. In this instance I would have most definitely had my mom there. To sit by my side and continue to tell me that everything was going to be ok. I tried to look to my left side where the baby and Jon were but it was hard. Equipment blocking the view. I listened hard for the weight. At one point I asked one of the nurses for the weight of the baby. They told me it was coming. Then I heard them yell out “six pounds” followed by “nine ounces”. I knew we were going to have a small baby! My mom called 6.5 lbs and boy was she just about on the money. All those people who continued to tell me I was going to have this massive baby (because I was massive) were so wrong. We had an itty-bitty little boy. And part of me was excited to be able to prove all the haters wrong! Is that wrong of me? The day prior at my ultra sound he was weighting in at 6lbs 14oz and they say give or take a half pound!

birth weight

Side note… I say itty bitty and I instantly think of Jon. When we were in high school we played tennis and Jon still hadn’t hit his growth spurt in 10th grade. Our tennis coach gave him the nickname “itty bitty”!

After the nurses proclaimed his weight they yelled at his length. I was expecting him to be 20 or 21 inches long. His dad is tall and that’s what I expected. Instead he was just 19-1/4 inches long. Still tall for his small size.

In the delivery room

After that Jon walked over to me and they handed me the baby. Well more like placed him on my chest. The nurse kept her hands on him while we snapped a few photos… Our first photos as a family. And shortly after Jon and the baby, whom we named Ryder Thomas, went to go meet the grandparents!

jon walking out to introduce Ryder to his grandparents

A few days later I asked Jon how it all played out and he vaguely remembered. So I asked my mom and she told me that after they whisked me away to surgery that my dad and her went back down to the lobby, they told the receptionist that I was having a c-section and they gave them a pager (think restaurant wait list tour pager). As soon as they say down, Jon’s mom happened to arrive (his dad was stuck working), and she spotted my parents. No less than a minute later they paged them to come up! They arrived at the labor and delivery for c-section area and waited out in a carpeted hallway. A few minutes later which my mom said it felt like hours Jon came out through the double doors pushing his son!

My mom said that Jon looked like a kid on Christmas morning. Beaming with a smile from ear to ear. And then as soon as he reached our parents the tears started flowing… From everyone! What most people don’t know about Jon is that he is a very emotional person. He isn’t afraid to cry and that’s what I love about him! My mom said everyone took photos and then my mom finally belted out… “What’s his name?!?”. We kept his name a secret our entire pregnancy. People guessed all 9 months and not one person guessed his name. To be exact…. No one even got our top 5!

So Jon proudly told them, Ryder Thomas. And then proceeded to tell them the story behind the middle name. My mom new instantly that Thomas was a family name from her side. But what they didn’t know was the duel meaning. Jon proposed to me while we were in St. Thomas and then just last November while on our babymoon we found out that his test results came back negative. While walking on Meagan’s Bay in St. Thomas. At that time Jon proclaimed that St. Thomas was a very lucky place for him! And as we walked down the beach he said “Ryder Thomas” and at that time we knew that would be his name. Why Ryder? I have no clue–it’s a name I have loved for years and when we found out I was pregnant iambs we started to talk names I brought up Ryder and Jon agreed that he loved it. It stayed on the top of our list my entire pregnancy.

So let’s get back to when Jon left with the baby. I was alone. All by myself and scared out of my mind that I was going to die right there on the table. That I would no longer be here for Jon or that I wouldn’t get to see Ryder grow up. My entire pregnant the ending scenes from Steele Magnolis rushed through my mind. I did not and could not die.

I was extremely drowsy and all I wanted to do was close my eyes, but I was scared that if I closed my eyes I might not wake up again.

Ever again.

So I made a point to stay up. I’m sure the nurses thought I was the most annoying person ever. I was just babbling trying to talk… In my mind if I talked I would stay awake and therefor not die. Yes this was my very drugged up logic. Minus the shaking and shivering uncontrollably all went well.

hungry newborn

As soon as they were done they wheeled me into recovery where Jon and Ryder were waiting for me.All I remember Jon saying to me was “he is so hungry–I’m so glad your here. he’s hungry and want’s to eat”. The nurses helped me breast feed Ryder for the first time. He latched on perfectly and sucked away until he was full and sleepy. Soon after that they wheeled me out of recovery to my room and they took the baby to get cleaned up in the nursery on the same floor where I was staying. The first night he stayed in the nursery because he had low blood sugar and had to get antibiotics because I had spiked a fever. As much as I would like to say we got a lot of sleep that night we didn’t. Well I didn’t. But Jon did. I was sore and in pain from the surgery. We spent 3 more days in the hospital. Ryder continued to receive antibiotics via IV every 8 hours for his first 48 hours of life.

So in a nutshell that is my birth story. I’m just so happy and blessed that we have a healthy baby. After all we went through–I went through. I now get why people wish you to have a healthy baby. Because you can’t take it for granted that your baby will come out healthy.

Over the coming weeks I’ll be sharing the amazing photos our good friend, Christy Buonomo Photography snapped for us. As well as Ryder’s adorable newborn photos.

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Comments

  1. Let me wipe the tears so I can see the keyboard!
    Reading this brought me back to my own birth stories :)
    Thank you for sharing yours-I loved it. Congratulations!

  2. I’m sooo excited for you and Jon!! Congrats and he’s one beautiful baby boy!

  3. Congratulations on your little boy! I’m so sorry you had so many scary moments during your pregnancy, but I’m glad you ended up with a healthy baby boy in the end!

  4. I had a similar experience, got to a 9 and stayed there for three hours without progressing and ended up with a c-section. I sometimes wish I’d just gone with a c-section in the first place. Congrats on the beautiful baby boy, it’s amazing looking back now how all of that doesn’t matter with such a sweet baby snuggled up in your arms.

    • OMG Britni, I would have been even more devastated to sit at 9cm and then have to get a c-section. I am a planner and would have liked to known the planned date of his arrival, but at the same time I’m glad I choose to wait it out even though it did end in c-section.

  5. I always tear up reading baby stories! Such a special time and I am sure Ryder will enjoy reading all about it one day. I love the little footprints on Jon’s gown – so cute! Hope you enjoy all of those special baby moments with your beautiful little boy!

    • Thanks Jenn. We saved the gown. Trying to figure out what we want to do with it. I’m just glad I had the chance to write down his birth story. Whether or not I was a blogger I still think I would have documented it for Ryder to read later in life.

  6. Wow Katie, we have almost the exact same birth story! Seriously, play by play. And I remember how alone I felt after giving birth, and the crazy shaking! In fact I couldn’t even hold Ellie for the few first hours because I was so flipping cold and was afraid I would drop her. I remember looking off to the side of the recovery room and seeing my entire family pass Ellie around while I sat alone in the dark corner. Probably wasn’t as dramatic as I remember, haha! Congrats though on Ryder. LOVE the meaning behind the middle name too!!

    • Awe thanks Erin. I’m sure it was just as dramatic as you remember. The feeling of loneliness as they put my body back together is something I don’t think I’ll ever be able to forget. :( Hope you get to meet Ryder soon and thank you for the kind compliments on his middle name.

  7. Michelle says:

    I’m so happy for you but happiest for the good health of you both thank God!! He’s gorgeous. Congratulations!!!!!!!!

  8. Wow, Katie! What an incredible story! I read every single word and definitely teared up along the way…at the pain and the beauty of it all. I’m SO happy for you THREE and the adventures ahead. Cannot wait to meet little Ryder at Haven or hopefully before! Congrats again!

  9. Courtney O'Dell says:

    I finally just read the whole thing- you had me in tears so many times. I am so happy you and Ryder are doing well and that you share such a beautiful story. Love you friend!

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