It’s been a whirlwind, but I am finally sitting down to write Reece’s Birth Story. After coming home from my 38 week OB appointment less than 1 cm dilated, we figured baby boy was going to come either on or after his due date. He was showing no signs of being ready to come out, though he was nestled head down in the perfect position. My next appointment was a week away, the following Friday, so we were buckled in and figured we would know more then. In the meantime, we were getting our ducks in a row, finishing last minute things around the house. I also had a hair appointment, nail appointment and wax all planned so that I would be up-to-date and in good shape for when I gave birth. We even planned to go to a hockey game the next week as one last date night before baby came.
It was the following Wednesday, not even 5 days later, that things started to get interesting. I woke up to go to the bathroom around 2am and was having what I would call mild braxton-hicks contractions. I didn’t really think anything of them, but I started timing them anyway because…pregnancy insomnia… Eric eventually turned over and asked me if I was ok and I said that I was having regular contractions, approximately 10 minutes apart. We continued to track the contractions for the next few hours. I was noticing that I was having back contractions, which lead me to believe that baby possibly turned over and was now “sunny side up” – not ideal.
Eventually, the contractions were enough that we started to think that this might be it. I jumped in the shower and Eric followed shortly after me. He also started packing the car with our hospital bags and snacks. We made our way downstairs to the couch where we quickly had some breakfast and continued to monitor my contractions. They were now 6-7 minutes apart and were still all in my back. They were pretty painful and Eric was massaging my back to try to help relieve the pain. We called the doctor around 6am to let them know that something might be happening. Since this is our first baby, they said they really wanted the contractions closer together – following the “3:1:1 rule” – before we should leave for the hospital.
Around 8am, the contractions started to spread farther apart and were now coming every 10 minutes again. We were pretty much ready to chalk them up to false labor. I went back to our bedroom and decided to lay down. I had already texted my boss about what was happening, so I figured I could sleep for a few hours and then log in to work later in the day. Eric had done the same, so he was going to dial into a few calls from home and then play the rest of the day by ear.
While Eric went off to join his phone call, I laid in bed and the contractions started back up again with a vengeance. They were coming closer together and were much more intense. I decided to stand back up and was leaning over the side of the bed trying to breath through the pain without the help of Eric. Eventually, I started yelling for Eric because the intensity of the contractions made me feel like it was definitely time to get in the car and head to the hospital. He quickly hung up from his phone call. Luckily he had packed the car earlier in the morning, so we called the doctor letting him know we were on our way to the hospital and off we went.
It was now 10am and luckily the Long Island Expressway had little to no traffic at that time. We raced to the hospital, which is about 30 minutes away. I was in so much pain, holding on to the ceiling handle for stability. My arms were going numb and I could barely sit still. When we got off the exit, we ran a yellow light (and ended up with a red light ticket) and raced the last couple of miles to the hospital. Once there, I could barely get out of the car and into the wheelchair, but we made it through registration and up to the maternity ward in record time – under 5 minutes.
Because of how much pain I was in, the nursing staff rushed me into a delivery room where they immediately hooked me up to the monitors and checked me – I was 6cm dilated and had officially been in labor for over 8 hours. I had planned on and wanted an epidural and the nurses were able to get an anesthesiologist to administer one pretty quickly. Once it took, I was able to calm down and get some rest with Eric by my side.
Since we had rushed in so quickly, Eric wasn’t even able to get our suitcases or cooler of snacks out of the car. Once I was settled, he headed out to the car to get everything we needed. Over the next couple of hours, we both rested while we waited for me to dilate the rest of the way. The doctor came in a few times to check me and told me I was dilating well, first to 8cm and eventually to 9.5cm. In addition to the epidural, I also had a Pitocin drip to ensure things continued to move along. My water never broke, so my doctor eventually broke it for me and from there, we were off to the races.
Once I was 9.5cm dilated, they medical staff started to wean me off of the epidural so that I could feel some of the contractions. We were also monitoring the baby closely, because his heart rate kept dropping with each contraction. Around 5pm, I was finally 10cm and I was ready to start pushing. Unfortunately, the epidural only wore off on my left side, so I never really felt the pressure I was supposed to feel or the urge to push. Instead, I had to push blind, not really being able to feel anything. We did the first big push and the doctors said I was going to have to push much harder. Because I couldn’t feel anything, my OB stood over me, pushing on my belly to assist with getting the baby down further. The resident OB was assisting down below. By the third push, the doctors were getting concerned with the baby’s heartrate and said I had one final push to get him out before we had to resort to an emergency c-section.
They asked Eric to step back and my doctor basically kneeled on the bed so that he could leverage his whole weight into pushing on my stomach to get the baby out while the resident OB used used a vacuum to pull the baby out gently from below. I felt the atmosphere in the room change and nurses were starting to frantically get ready to either wheel me into the OR or to assist with checking and cleaning the baby once he was born. As I readied for the final push, all I could think was that we were about to meet out little miracle baby boy. Once the contraction hit, I started pushing with everything I had, even though I couldn’t feel anything. The doctor was pushing down on my stomach and all of the sudden I felt the sensation of the baby’s head coming out, then his shoulders and then my whole stomach deflating. It was a very strange feeling, but because my epidural was still in full effect, I never felt any pain or the signature “ring of fire”.
Our birth plan instructed that we were supposed to do immediate skin-to-skin and delayed chord clamping, but because of the concern with his heartrate, none of that was able to happen. It was disappointing, but obviously we wanted to do whatever we needed for him to be safe. Once he came out, I immediately said “is he ok?”, to which nobody answered, which made me very nervous. Eric went over and watched the nurses clean him up and got a few amazing first photos of him. Luckily, he was perfect! A few minutes later, they put him on my chest and I was able to hold him and do skin-to-skin for the next hour.
Welcome to the world Reece Michael Lawler, born on 2/15/2023 at 5:26pm, weighing in at 8lb 5oz and 20 inches.
Unfortunately, I had a pretty significant tear due to the sheer size of Reece and due to the frantic way in which we needed to get him out because of the distress. While I didn’t feel any pain during the delivery, the next 6 weeks would really test me, my endurance and my pain tolerance. A few hours later, we were moved into a private room where we were finally allowed to eat some dinner and be alone together for the first time as a family of 3! The doctor decided to keep me an extra day due to the severity of my tear, so we settled in for a long 48hours of hospital care. I will spare you the details on my recovery, but needless to say that it was slow and very painful, but we finally had our rainbow baby!
We went home the following day and began our life together. Eric, luckily, was able to take 3 weeks off and will take the rest of his paternity leave later in the year. I am now 10 weeks postpartum, finally writing this blog post while I watch Reece nap on the baby monitor. I am feeling better, starting to get into a routine and exercising again. Reece is doing amazing and hitting all of his milestones! We can’t wait to see what he does next!
Thank you so much for stopping by and following our fertility journey and the birth of our miracle baby! I will continue to post updates on Reece!