We're almost three weeks into parenthood, and I'm finally getting some downtime to sit down and write about the day we welcomed baby G!
Warning: There's nothing too incredibly graphic in this post, but if you're easily grossed out/horrified/choosing to remain oblivious about the realities of labor, you might want to stop reading now.
November 20, 2015
It started on baby's official due date when I went to the doctor's office for my weekly checkup. Since I was officially full term, I finally let them check me, even though I was concerned that I would be discouraged by the results if I had made no progress. Turns out, I was already 3.5 centimeters even though I still wasn't having any contractions other than Braxton Hicks (which I'd been having since the end of my second trimester).
Once again, as I had my whole pregnancy, my belly was measuring behind (by four weeks this time), so they were concerned about a. my amniotic fluid being low or b. that baby was very small and/or had stopped growing on schedule. They checked the fluid levels in the office (they were fine), so they scheduled me for another growth scan on Monday to check on baby. Because the baby was still high and I was full-term, the midwife I saw that day also wanted me to schedule an induction for the following week. Because I really wanted to avoid this, I opted to schedule a non-stress test on Wednesday instead and asked that they let me go beyond 41 weeks if necessary. I left the appointment feeling overwhelmed about having to schedule all of these follow-up appointments and the possibility of induction and came home telling Josh that this baby needed to make its arrival that weekend.
Somewhere around 10 or 11 p.m.
That same evening, I felt my first contraction that I knew was different - they weren't the painless Braxton Hicks I'd been having all along - but they also weren't consistent. Since it was late, I decided to go lay down and see if they either went away or woke me up later.
November 21, 2015
The pain of the contractions woke me up. They weren't a cramping feeling like I had expected but rather a deep ache in my hip bones and lower back. I was still able to talk during them - in fact, I was laughing when I called my doula - shout out to the amazing Meredith Tanner with The Labor Ladies - to tell her that I thought I was in labor - which made her think it was still in the early stages. Josh later said that laughing is the way I always cope with pain - which is actually true even though I didn't feel that way at the time. Because I was still able to talk through them and they still weren't consistently five minutes apart and a minute long (the rule for going to the hospital is 5-1-1... go when your contractions are 5 minutes apart, lasting a minute long, for one hour), I continued to labor at home, trying different positions to relieve the pain.
As I was leaning over my yoga ball working through a contraction, I felt a popping sensation. I got up and went to the bathroom to confirm that my water had broken. At that point, I told Josh that we should probably go to the hospital and to load our bags into the car. I told him to hop in the shower since who knew how long we'd be there, and I got in the shower as he got ready to go. As soon as I was in, I decided I needed to get out as contractions began coming one on top of the other. I had to tell Josh not to ask me questions or talk to me during them because it was literally all I could do to focus on getting through the pain and intensity. As he helped me to get ready, I told him I didn't think we were going to make it to the hospital. He insisted that we were, and we got in the car. This was probably around 2:45 a.m. I told him to "drive safe, but drive fast." Haha. I called my doula on my way to update her and squeezed Josh's poor arm as I breathed through each contraction. By this point, I was feeling intense pressure.
We pulled up to the entrance of Women's Hospital in Greensboro and went inside where they had us signing forms, verifying insurance, etc. Just a couple of minutes into this process, I told the admissions lady that I felt like I needed to push - apparently the magic phrase - because a wheelchair was there like before I even got the words out of my mouth to take me to a triage room.
From here on, everything happened so incredibly quickly.
As soon as I was in the room, the two nurses checked me. In the meantime, someone told Josh that he needed to move the car, so he left momentarily. As quickly as they checked me, they pulled up the sides of the gurney and began sprinting down the hall to a labor and delivery room (Josh walked back in the hospital as they were doing this and darted after us). They immediately got the on-call midwife in the room, and during all of this, I heard my phone ringing. I figured it was my doula calling to check on us - who else would be calling at that hour of the morning? - and I told Josh to answer it. She asked for an update and Josh asked how far along I was - they matter-of-factly told him that I was complete. All birth plans were out the window, and it was go time!
I said I needed to push, and they told me to go ahead. They put an IV in my hand, though at that point, I didn't have time for them to administer anything, including the antibiotics I was supposed to receive. As thrilled and proud as I am that I was able to have the completely unmedicated birth I wanted, I completely understand why women opt for the epidural - if I had been experiencing those contractions for hours on end, I probably would have welcomed the needle in my spine, too. After 20-ish minutes of pushing (which honestly, was a welcome kind of pain unlike the contractions I had been experiencing - there was an end in sight!) accompanied by me trying to break Josh's hand and some involuntary yelling, we welcomed our sweet baby into the world. We had chosen not to find out the gender, so they held baby up and let Josh announce that it was a boy!
Miles Alexander Glessner was born with a head full of dark hair weighing a hearty 7 pounds, 3 ounces and measuring 20 inches long.
Never in my life have I felt the kind of instantaneous, overwhelming love that I felt in that moment when they laid him on my chest. All the concerns my brain had been flooded with throughout our marriage and deciding and trying to get pregnant, and my pregnancy about if I'd actually like being a mother and if I'd feel like I lost my identity and how Josh would be as a father and how it would change our lives and a million other worries went out the window. He was here and he was perfect and we were utterly and completely obsessed with this little person. I know not everyone feels this kind of immediate connection to their baby - in fact, it's pretty common for that to take some time and adjustment - and I am so grateful that I did. I think God knew that after having those feelings of doubt for so long, I needed that reassurance in that moment that all was right in my world.
Now that we're home as a family, we can't imagine life without this sweet little boy. Thankfully, my recovery has been fairly easy, Miles is a healthy and happy baby, nobody's had any major meltdowns (yet), and Josh has been taking great care of us both. Honestly, our transition to
parenthood has been a pretty smooth one so far... we've adapted to the sleepless nights and pretty seamlessly integrated the littlest Glessner into our routines (at least for now). We've been on walks through the neighborhood and to Target and brunch with baby in tow, and Miles and I successfully had our first outing to Mommy & Me and the grocery store without daddy along this week!
Our sincerest thanks to everyone who has offered their congratulations and well wishes (and I apologize if you did and did not receive a reply - we're a little distracted, but we've loved reading all of your comments)! I look forward to sharing lots more photos (follow me on Instagram for baby overload) and stories of motherhood and our adventures here on the blog :)