Ollie's birth story!
Since today is Ollie's first birthday I wanted to sit down and take a few moments to write about his birth. I have tried writing about it many times and have failed, so let's see if I can get it all out this time!
At around 8 pm on May 1st, 2016, I started having some pains radiating across my back and coming every few minutes. I thought it was unusual and wondered if it meant labor was coming since they were so regular. I remember calling my sister and asking her if she'd had that and if she thought I was in labor or not. She just said "you'll know" and "we'll wait and see..." but we definitely both felt a really strong sense of excitement that this could be it! A couple hours later, the pains spread to my uterus and I felt like I was having actual contractions. They were about every 4-5 minutes apart and they were painful but tolerable so I tried to rest. I wanted a natural birth so badly and so my plan was to stay home for a good amount of my labor and then go into the hospital when I needed to. Overnight the contractions kept getting worse and worse, and they started getting to the point that I was having trouble breathing and speaking when I had one, although they were getting a little farther apart. By morning they were so intense and I had already had something like 60+ contractions tracked in my little contraction timer app that I finally called my doctor. The nurse I spoke with said that I wasn't in labor since the contractions were more spread apart (they were still every 6-7 minutes now but SO SO insanely intense that I felt like I couldn't handle it anymore). She said to "relax, try to get some rest" (like really lady, have you ever met a woman in labor?! Haha it always makes me laugh when I hear someone say "just try to get some sleep" when a woman is in labor because it's seriously IMPOSSIBLE unless maybe you have an epidural and obviously I hadn't since I was at home.) Anyway, I reluctantly said "okay", got off the phone with her, and proceeded to lose my sh*t for the next little while. I was crying and telling Adam that if this wasn't labor, there was no way I could handle it. I'd have to have the baby some other way! I felt like I was losing my mind in pain and there was nothing I could do to relieve it.
I tried taking baths, which was uncomfortable because I felt like a giant whale flopping around in a tiny bathtub!! I couldn't get all my body parts in the water all at once and it was just awkward. I still just lived in the tub though, filling it up with hot water every few minutes. Then I ate some plain rice, tried watching 'Unstoppable Kimmy Schmidt' on Netflix, which always makes me laugh, and it was then that I realized I couldn't do it anymore! I wasn't laughing at my show, I could hardly talk or breathe and I just knew I needed to go to the hospital. It was about 4 pm at this point. Adam got our stuff in the car as fast as he could, then started driving to the hospital. I called on the way saying I needed to come in and they told me to come to her office instead of the hospital so my doctor could check on me before they just admitted me. So I show up in raggedy clothes, pacing in her office waiting for her to come in, and once she finally did I remember saying "Gosh I hope I'm not dilated to a 3 or something because I'm gonna go crazy." She checked and told me that I was definitely not a 3, and that I needed to get to the hospital immediately because I was dilated to 9.5!!! Holy cow, no wonder I had been in such excruciating, unbearable pain. It finally made sense! We got over to the hospital as fast as we could and I was then hooked up to all the monitors and baby was doing well. I continued with no medicine and I quickly noticed that I was having double contractions that were going off the chart! The nurses all couldn't believe that I hadn't had an epidural and they said that I was acting so "put together", but I felt like I was constantly writhing in pain and it was impossible to relieve it. It's hard to remember how intense and insane the feelings of contractions are but I suppose I'll be reminded again in a few months... haha.
Even though I had been fully dilated for quite some time, my water still wouldn't break and it had been a couple of hours of the strongest imaginable contractions that wouldn't stop, with no progress. So my doctor and I decided that she would break my water since I needed to get things moving. After that I still never got the "urge to push" that people talk about, but he was a little crooked in my uterus which explained all the back pain I was having and made pushing even harder. I basically just decided at a certain point that I needed to start pushing because I couldn't take it anymore. Nothing has ever felt so impossible and difficult to me in my life, and I remember just screaming over and over at my doctor that he wasn't coming out. I am pretty convinced that her and my husband should get awards for being the most patient people EVER! I was so amazed that with how much time everything took, she was so patient, never pushed medication, and just let me go with the natural birth I wanted.
So I kept pushing when she told me to, and kept screaming every time I felt like nothing happened. But after a while of what seemed like nonstop pushing and screaming and being in unbearable pain, he somehow, someway, came out. He was brought to my chest and time literally froze. I knew nothing, felt nothing, had awareness of absolutely nothing except for that moment in time with my son, placed on my bare chest. He was so beautiful and so real and the most precious, tiny, incredible thing I had ever seen. I was instantly obsessed and so deeply in love.
I didn't even realize that he was having some trouble breathing because I was so wrapped up in the moment, and they had to take him away which was really hard. I watched as the nurses hovered over him in the corner, discussing what to do but I heard nothing except the voice in my head saying that I needed my son back in my arms. They ended up having to take him to special care to make sure he could breathe okay on his own. He had apparently swallowed some fluid on the way out and just had some irregular breathing patterns. He ended up needing to stay in special care for five days and it was really tough. I had Strep B which is a normal bacteria for women to have but if they have it when they deliver a baby they need to take antibiotics hours before delivering because it is a bacteria that is harmful for the baby. Since I didn't get my full round of antibiotics from coming to the hospital so late in the game after they told me to stay home, the doctors were always worried about infection if they saw anything come up with him. So it was a waiting game with lots of testing and uneasiness and tears and prayers. My family had thankfully come in from Michigan as quickly as they coulda after they knew I was in labor and thank God they were there through all of this. I couldn't have gotten through it without the support of them. I remember on the last day of us being at the hospital, we were waiting for some really serious test results which basically would tell us if he was okay and we could go home or if something was seriously wrong but they couldn't find out what. My mom and I walked outside together, and it was the first time I had been outside for 4 days since getting into the hospital. We sat on a bench and she prayed, and I just cried and cried. Just begged for help and that my baby would be okay. Moments later, as we were walking back into the hospital, I got a phone call from a pediatrician who I was wanting my son to have but I previously couldn't get a hold of. I was pretty unsatisfied with the pediatricians seeing him at the hospital and needed Ollie to see someone else. He was literally like an angel, his voice was so soothing and he listened so intently as I told him everything that had happened. I had no idea what he said but I knew I needed him to be my sons doctor. Then, as I was on the phone with him, my mom came up to me saying that she got a phone call and that Ollie had passed the test and was okay! We both cried tears of joy and rushed upstairs and thanked God that he was alright and we could soon go home.
There is not a day that goes by that I don't think about how lucky we are to have this boy in our lives. I am so thankful for him every single day and cannot believe how lucky I am to be his mother. He has changed me in ways I never could've imagined and has made my life into something with such purpose and meaning that I just cry thinking about it. Being a mother was never something I imagined but it is everything I was looking for. Wishing a very happy first birthday to our little love, Oliver Charles. May you always feel as loved as you do now.
Photo above is taken by the immensely talented and sweetest soul ever Danielle Simone Charles. You can find her work here: http://daniellesimonecharles.com