Ben’s Birth Story
I still can’t believe it, but as of earlier this week, Ben is a month old! People weren’t lying when they warned me that time flies with little ones. In some ways, I feel like this past month seems like it passed in a blink of an eye and in other ways I feel like Ben’s birthday seems so. so. long. ago! How does that happen?!
Ben’s Birth Story
I know today’s topic veers off track from our regular post topics here on the DIY Playbook but selfishly, I wanted to document this little guy’s birth story because already the details are foggy! My hope is that if I share the details here on the blog, I will always have a place to refer back to when thinking back on the day that changed our lives forever.
Plus, I don’t know about you guys, but I’m always interested in reading birth story posts from other bloggers — oddly enough, even before I was pregnant. It’s interesting to hear that everyone’s labor and delivery experience is totally different. And if I learned anything from Ben’s birth, it’s exactly that.
The Waiting Game
Ben was predicted to be a Valentine’s Day baby, as his due date fell exactly on February 14, 2018. But I was convinced that this little guy was going to come early… boy was I wrong! Valentine’s Day came and went and no signs of labor. Although I was barely waddling along, I requested a doctor’s note so that I had permission to work past my due date. I figured keeping my mind off of the anticipation and giving myself some extra days on the tail end of my maternity leave would be well worth it, so I waddled to work a few more days.
Friday after work I went to the doctor, convinced that she would see some progress… still nothing! Little Ben was proving to be a homebody, just like his parents. The doctor then explained that Sunday night I would be induced. Matt and I spent the rest of the weekend not-so-patiently waiting for Sunday night to arrive, taking lots of neighborhood walks in hopes to jump-start the process. Still, no luck.
I was so convinced my entire pregnancy that this little guy would be early, honestly I never even thought about the chance that I could be induced. I wasn’t really even sure what an induction was, but at the same time, wasn’t a huge fan of the thought of forcing my body into an otherwise natural process. I was a ball of nerves (with lots of emotions) checking into the hospital Sunday night, but I knew it meant we were one step closer to meeting our little guy.
Sunday, 9:00 pm: At around 9:00 pm the nurse started the induction process. It started with a 12-hour dose of Cervidil, which is essentially just like a tampon that provides medication that gradually prepares the cervix for labor. Matt and I did our best to get some rest as we prepared for the real labor to start in the morning.
Monday, 9:00 am: We woke up and were SO excited (and nervous) for the day ahead. This was going to be our son’s birthday (or so we thought) and although I was a ball of nerves, we couldn’t stop chatting about how excited we were to meet our son… TODAY! Who would he look like? What time will we get to meet him? Knowing that the last 9 months was coming down to this day was a feeling I can’t even explain. They moved us into our labor and delivery room, with windows looking out over the entire neighborhood. As the rain poured down outside, the nurse came in and started me on Pitocin.
1:00 pm: The pitocin had been working for 4 hours now and although I was having contractions, my water hadn’t broken yet so I was in no pain. Matt and I spent our last morning together and had so much fun waiting, planning, and chatting all about this little guy. Because I wasn’t in any pain yet, we were able to enjoy a stress-free morning and really soak up what was about to happen.
1:30 pm: The doctor came in and broke my water, which was by far the most painful part of my entire labor. Minutes after my water broke, the real contractions started coming and the nurse immediately called in the anesthesiologist to administer the epidural. After the epidural was in, we were back feeling calm and excited! Unfortunately, my cervix was not dilating like they had hoped so the waiting game continued…
8:00 pm: My parents and sisters came and visited to help pass the time. It was my parent’s anniversary and although I was hoping for this little guy to share a birthday with these lovebirds, he had other plans. It was great to see everyone, especially after such a long day. They brought Matt dinner, and we hung out for awhile. As they were there, I started to notice that my epidural seemed to wear off on my right side.
10:30 pm: By this time I could feel almost everything on my right side… including all of the contractions. The nurse agreed to call the anesthesiologist to come take a look. He discovered that it had moved and was no longer doing its job. He removed this one and we had to start over with a third epidural. Not my favorite thing to do, but I was glad we were addressing this problem before it was too late.
11:00 pm: I started getting physically sick and throwing up. By this time I was tired, not feeling well, and ready to get this show on the road!
Tuesday, February 20, 2018
Tuesday, 1:00 am – 5:00 am: It was finally time to push! I pushed for almost 4 hours, which I didn’t realize at the time was outside of the norm. I was exhausted, but felt motivated to do whatever I had to do in order to keep this process moving.
5:00 am: At 5 am I developed a fever and the doctor requested I stop pushing. Stop?! After 4 hours, I was not excited to hear that we still weren’t going to meet our little guy anytime soon. But the team let us know that Ben’s heart rate was concerning because of my fever. I was already feeling emotional and scared and this news magnified all of these emotions even more. They started me on antibiotics immediately and told me I needed to rest until next steps. This was the first time I started thinking that I was probably going to need a C-section. I was scared, but also desperate to do anything to meet this baby (and be done with this labor!).
6:30 am: Time to start pushing again. They informed me that my fever was under control and we could start pushing again. I didn’t feel well but was ready to be done.
7:40 am: After another hour of pushing with slow progress, I was mentally preparing to hear that we were heading into a C-section. That’s until our doctor asked if we were open to using a vacuum to help progress. Almost 24 hours later, we were open to anything that would help us get to the finish line!
7:47 am: A few final pushes, help from the vacuum, and baby Ben was finally here… weighing a whoppin’ 8 pounds 10 ounces!! But as soon as he was born, they quickly whisked him away to the NICU doctor and nurses that had come into the room to check him out. Because I had a fever during labor, they needed to assess him right away to make sure he was okay and didn’t need to head to the NICU. They assessed him for about a half an hour. Matt was able to be with him and I remember laying across the room watching it all happen. These moments were so surreal, I couldn’t believe he was here. Thankfully, the doctors determined he was not at risk for my infection at the moment and was able to get bundled up and come back to us.
8:15 am: Two DAYS after checking into the hospital, baby Ben was finally put into my arms and I just could not believe this was my son… that I get to keep… forever!! Matt and I sat staring at this baby and soaking up every last detail of his face. We felt like the luckiest people in the world… and a month later, this feeling has only grown stronger.
The Next Few Hours
Our parents came in and met Ben. Seeing how excited they were to meet Ben melted our hearts. Ben is lucky to have them and it was only fitting that he got to meet them right away. But unfortunately, these visits were short-lived because it was time for us to move outside of the labor and delivery room and onto our new room. This is when things got a little scary.
The nurses slowly got me up to put me in a wheelchair to head to the next room and I passed out for the first time in my life. All I remember is waking up to a bunch of nurses around me asking me questions and Matt looking like he just saw a ghost. I had lost a lot of blood earlier and my blood pressure dropped very low, which caused me to black out for a bit. This was the first step of a sloooww recovery over the next few days.
The next few days were so different than what I expected in my head. Between the risk of passing out again each time I stood up, the extensive stitches I needed (TMI?), and the overall exhaustion, my recovery was a lot slower, more painful, and far more emotional than I anticipated.
I honestly could not have done it without Matt by my side. He has been my rock throughout this entire experience, I am so damn lucky to have him. I told him he should have been a nurse because of how amazing he’s been at handling all of the not-so-glamorous (to put it lightly) aspects of recovery. Just when I thought I couldn’t love him anymore, I was way wrong.
But even though the labor, delivery, and recovery have been a lot different than what I expected, they brought us to our sweet little miracle. We are so blessed to be Ben’s parents and so grateful for our journey so far.
I’m Casey Finn, the voice behind The DIY Playbook. I’m married to Finn & mom to Rory and Ellis. Together we’re creating our dream home in Chicago, one DIY project at a time.