I’m going to be very open and honest in this post, so if hearing about childbirth and all the “fun” stuff that comes with it doesn’t sound appealing to you then I would skip this post entirely.
Childbirth…What can I say about childbirth? It’s painful, messy, painful, chaotic, oh and did I mention painful? But it’s also one of the most beautiful and life changing things a woman can go through. Both of my birth experiences were very similar, even down to the timing of it all. I have been so lucky to have had two healthy pregnancies as well as two healthy & “enjoyable” births. It seems so fitting that I share Part One of my birth stories this week because my oldest daughter is about to turn two tomorrow. What better way to start celebrating her life than telling all about the beginning of it?
Part 1: Blake Kathryn
Immediately after Zach and I got married we wanted to start a family. We thought it would happen easily & quickly, which for many it does but that just wasn’t the case for us. After months of nothing happening I went to the doctor and they said that I had PCOS (polycystic ovarian syndrome) as well as Hypothyroidism. The thyroid issue runs in my family so I wasn’t worried about that. The cysts that were covering my ovaries were however a major concern to me. I was devastated and scared. I had no idea what the plan was now & I’ll admit, I went into panic mode. So many thoughts went through my mind. Will I ever get pregnant? Can I do it naturally? If I’m able to get pregnant is it possible to have more than one? How long will it take?
Looking back now, I think of how lucky we were. The infertility that we experienced was nowhere near what some have to go through but at the time it was hard to see the big picture. All I saw was my body failing me at the most important thing (I believed) it was supposed to do.
In October 2014 I had a large cyst on my left ovary removed after going through a few infertility treatments (Clomid, etc.) that my body did not respond to. In order for us to move on from that treatment and try a new one we had to remove that specific cyst because the hormones would just feed it and make it even larger and more painful than it already was. It was an easy procedure, they put me under anesthesia, pumped my stomach full of air and went through my belly button to drain the cyst and ended up giving me D&C as well.
If you’ve ever been through fertility treatments you know the rule of no treatments through the holiday season. They want you to enjoy the holidays and not have the stress about getting pregnant for some reason. Weirdos, right? Since my surgery was in mid October the holiday season aka baby making deadline approached rather quickly and I was turned away until the end of January. I was SO MAD. Of course, it was much better that way. It took our minds off of the process and we just lived our lives for the first time in months. Early February we tried a new treatment that I responded to and was able to move forward with. My body wasn’t responding at all to the previous treatments so we were essentially stalled at Step 1 for what seemed like forever. I was given instructions to give myself a shot in the belly to make myself ovulate as well as take some pills (progesterone, etc.) & then wait. The dreaded 4 week wait that every woman who has ever knowingly tried for a baby has to go through.
Finally, it was the night before week 4 started and I just couldn’t stand it. I snuck away to pee on a stick and that sucker had TWO FREAKING LINES. Faint, but there nonetheless. That was all I cared about. I ran into the living room and showed Zach, but we tried to not get too excited until it was confirmed by a blood test at the doctor’s office. They had me do two blood draws 48 hours apart to see if my HCG levels were rising. Of course I continued to take at least 3 pregnancy tests a day because I’m insane like that, but thankfully we had gotten the phone call saying “Congratulations, you’re pregnant!”. I swear I had never heard such sweet words before. I cried and left Zach a screaming/blubbering voicemail while he was at work and just wanted to shout it from the rooftops.
WE WERE PREGNANT.
Fast forward 9ish months and you’d find me in my bed, mentally preparing myself for what was about to go down the next morning. Zach had a game earlier that day and I was so exhausted from just sitting there with my huge 39 week pregnant belly that you would’ve thought I’d sleep like a baby. WRONG. I think I slept for maybe an hour. Between the stress of the impending events & being so incredibly uncomfortable sleep seemed near impossible. I carried Blake super low, so the last few months of pregnancy were really tough for me just with finding any sort of relief from my ginormous belly.
We had done the maternity photo shoot, the baby moon, put together the nursery, had all the baby showers & doctor appointments galore. It was go time & I was scared out of my mind. I was induced about a week early. I had been 80% effaced & 3cm dilated since 36 weeks which was a sign to us that my body was ready to have this baby. Zach had an away game in California and it just so happened they were leaving on my due date, so we made the choice for me to be induced instead of risking going into labor naturally while he was across the country.
When you are being induced, your doctor will essentially make a reservation for you at the hospital for a set date & time. Now, just because you booked your room at Hotel Baby doesn’t necessarily mean you’ll be able to check in on time. As you could probably guess, childbirth/labor is extremely unpredictable and there could all of a sudden be a rush of waters breaking around your city and then you’re just SOL. Luckily for me, when I was set to call at 6:00am on November 9th the nurse said there was room at the inn (I laughed out loud writing that) & I was given permission to bring my big ole self in there. I hopped (who am I kidding, I couldn’t have hopped even if someone had dangled a million dollars above my head) into the shower, blow dried my hair, took my last couple of belly pictures (because if you don’t Snapchat it did it really even happen?) & to the hospital we went!
I was set to check-in at 7:00am and by 7:25am my doctor had broken my water & I was officially in labor! I hadn’t had any contractions prior to being induced so I truly had no idea what I was in for. They checked my cervix just before breaking my water and I was still at 3cm and 80% effaced. Having your water broken is one of the weirdest feelings. Everyone always says that you definitely know when your water breaks and guess what? They’re totally right. Imagine peeing your pants for like 5 minutes straight with no control to stop it. It’s wild. At 8:05am I got my first dose of pitocin, not that I wasn’t progressing, it was just to get this party started. Ain’t nobody got time to pregame for a baby. I started to feel contractions immediately and it didn’t take long for them to get stronger and stronger. At 10:44am my L&D nurse came in to check my progress and I was only at 4cm. I could NOT believe it. I was feeling pretty disappointed because I had thought that with the pain I was feeling I would be at 6cm at least. I have been told that pitocin makes contractions come on stronger, I’m not sure if that’s actually the case or if it just seems stronger because they literally come out of no where and progress super quickly (most of the time).
I had walked into the hospital with the mindset that I would totally play it by ear on whether I would get an epidural or not. I had no idea what to expect and to be honest I wanted to really feel like I earned the relief (spoken like a true rookie) before jumping right into it. Around 11:30am I had fully met my max. I knew once the tears had started that it was time to enjoy this experience & stop being so miserable. I was checked again by my nurse and was at 6cm dilated so I decided that I had earned that SOB and ordered an epidural…stat.
I think I forgot to mention one very important part of this series of events. Since it was the peak of football season, Zach was still expected to show face at the facility because he was randomly picked as one of the guys to get drug tested that day. So not only was I enduring my hard labor without my husband, I was telling the nurses that he would be right back as soon as he finished his drug test. Did I explain why he was being tested? No. Did I realize how insane that made him sound? No. Were the nurses worried? Possibly. So, I’m sorry babe for not giving any indication that you were a stable, hard-working man being randomly drug tested by the NFL and not a crackhead.
I was definitely not alone though, my in-laws were there with me (with my mom & sister en route) and I was doing everything I could to not let them see me cry. For some reason I felt like I needed to be strong in front of them even though they’re the most loving and supportive people. It wasn’t until I reached that 6cm mark and my mom walked in the room that I lost it. The flood gates had opened (not from my water breaking this time) and I could not stop the tears. Think of the ugliest cry you’ve ever seen and that was me.
There’s something about seeing your own mom as your about to become one yourself. I was seeing her in a whole new light and it made me love her more than ever. Zach rushed back to the hospital from the facility and walked into the room just as I was about to get my epidural. He saw the agony I was in and didn’t leave my side from that moment on.
At 11:50am I was given my epidural and within minutes I was feeling my body relaxing & my mind calming from the relief that I felt. It was the single greatest decision I made that day. It completely changed my experience for the better and I was able to laugh and joke around for the rest of the time. I am SO happy that I chose to get one but completely understand it’s not for everyone. By 12:55pm I was checked again and was now at “9-10cm”. Apparently that was good enough because my doctor sent everyone out of the room who wasn’t supposed to be in for the birth, pulled up his gloves & it was go time.
All of a sudden I had realized that I was about to have a real life baby in my arms and I completely freaked out. I started to cry (again) and looked at Zach and told him with all sincerity “I’m not ready to do this“. In true Zach form, he told me to cowboy up, kissed my forehead and grabbed my hand. He has a true way with words, that man. A real romantic! We were ready though, we had been ready for this moment since we knew we were going to spend the rest of our lives together. I had dreamed my whole life about the day I would be lucky enough to become a mom and here it was.
It was Zach, my doctor, two nurses and my sister in the room with me & soon Miss Blake was going to be there too. My next contraction hit and everyone counted me through 10 seconds of breathing in & 10 seconds pushing. It was super weird because I fully expected the pushing to be like it is on tv. The screaming and beads of sweat, etc. For some people that may be the case but my experience was FAR from that. My contraction would come to an end and then we’d all just sit there, stare at each other and laugh. At one point I was even thinking about the burrito bowl I was going to devour once this was done. It was so casual and so lighthearted. I wouldn’t have wanted it any other way.
I 100% could not feel a thing so when my doctor exclaimed that her head was out I didn’t believe him. In fact, I said that I didn’t believe him so he had me reach down and touch her head and I was SHOCKED. HER HEAD WAS THERE. A REAL LIFE HUMAN HEAD. That was all the motivation I needed and a couple pushes later I caught my first glimpse of one of the greatest loves of my life.
After 9 pushes, Blake Kathryn Line was born at 1:36pm on November 9th, 2015. I was in labor for almost exactly 6.5 hours and I couldn’t believe what had just happened. She was 8lbs 1oz, 21 inches long and truly the most perfect thing I had ever seen in my life. It’s the biggest rush holding your newborn baby for the first time. For months, everything is so unknown and then in just a second your whole world is turned upside down and changed in the greatest way possible. She had so much hair and I’d be lying if I said super cute. No newborn is super cute right out the gate. Seriously. Think of all they just went through. Their poor heads are shaped like cones, faces are bruised & purple. There’s obviously a reason we don’t remember being born. Could you imagine?! But she was beautiful and she was beautiful because she was a creation of Zach and I. Right there in our arms was a testament of our love and commitment to one another.
I have always believed in God but nothing has ever reaffirmed my faith more than having a child. There’s no other way to explain it than a miracle. It’s a miracle that I was able to carry her in my body, let her grow until she was ready to meet us. It’s a miracle that we created her, just two regular people. That was the second I knew without any hesitation that God was real. Blake was and still is a true miracle.
I honestly don’t even remember delivering the placenta, I think I was in shock and disbelief. I just remember holding Blake and over her cries I heard my doctor yell, “You’re not pregnant anymore!”. I didn’t even see Zach cut the umbilical cord, but chances are I wouldn’t have been able to even if I was paying attention. They said that her cord was so short that he had to be super careful not to accidentally cut me in the process. That’d be one way to thank me for giving him his first kid, am I right? We don’t believe in push presents in this family, just extra stitches!
I’m not sure what I was expecting, but it was like all of a sudden everything was over. The hustle bustle had gone away and my sweet baby was laying on my chest just staring off. She opened her eyes for the first time for her Dad. Not surprising at all because when I was pregnant with her whenever he would walk into the room and start to talk she would squirm all over. Every. Single. Time. Her little chest was moving up and down and I could not stop looking at her. All the grandparents rushed in and took their first looks at their new grand baby and then things got real…real fast. There was one thing I just HAD to know and I couldn’t wait a second longer.
Me: “Zach…Did I poop?”
Zach: “No, babe! You did so good!”
Me to my sister: “Casey, did I poop?”
Casey: *knods yes with big eyes*
Me to Zach: “LIAR!!!!!“
I told you guys I was going to tell you everything.
Now I knew it all, but it didn’t make me feel ashamed or any less proud of myself for what I had just done. Like I said earlier, it’s a messy process! We champagne toasted to the healthy arrival of our first born and to my husband being a white liar, then I immediately sent troops out for that Chipotle I was dreaming of between pushes.
If you’re a mom, pregnant, hoping to be pregnant, etc. I hope that you read this and know that your life truly begins the day you have your child. Motherhood and pregnancy is hard, draining & sometimes just downright frustrating but you’ll never look back on it and regret it. Becoming a mom is the single greatest thing that has ever happened to me and I truly believe that I was put on this earth for my sweet babies. I hope that reading this makes you feel empowered and realize that we as women are capable of the most incredible thing any human can do. We are all superwomen, e v e r y single day.
So that’s my part one. The beginning to this crazy journey of motherhood I am on. I had the best birth experience with Blake, so much so that I decided to do it all again 15 months later! Part 2 of my birth stories coming soon.
Thank you for reading!
(Maternity & Newborn pictures taken by the super talented ladies at Bellasaluti Photography)
Blake Kathryn Line, 1 week old.