As my first post, which happens to be on Mother’s Day, I thought it was only fitting to tell the story of how I became a mother. I’ve been meaning to write Teddy’s birth story before the details got too foggy and here we are, seven months later, finally getting around to it.
Anyone who knows me knows that I’ve been baby crazy for as long as I can remember. I would creepily admire babies in the store, I’d volunteer to babysit like the parents were doing me a favor and I watched the documentary Babies about 20 times in college. Darryl and I had been married for four years and I had been slowly wearing him down. After many conversations, we finally decided that no one is ever ready for the life changing craziness of having a baby so we decided to give it a shot. After discussing it with my doctor, he told me to stop taking birth control a few months before we wanted to get pregnant. I stopped in November, got pregnant in December and found out in January.
I had a great pregnancy, ate all the cereal and developed a new appreciation for air conditioning (being pregnant for the entire summer in Georgia is no joke). Since we’re military, our families both live pretty far away with my family in New York and my husband’s parents in Florida. We weren’t sure whether we would want anyone there for labor and delivery or how we would feel afterwards so my mom, dad and sister booked flights to come a few days after my due date of September 16th thinking there’d be a baby by then if not soon after. My husband’s parents would drive up when we gave them the go ahead. As much as I loved being pregnant, I was ready to be done at around 38 weeks and was starting to get anxious that my family could very well come and have to leave before the baby arrived since my hospital will let you go to 42 weeks before an induction is scheduled. Getting induced was the last thing I wanted so I started trying all the natural ways to induce labor I could think of…drinking red raspberry leaf tea, eating dates and spicy food, visits to the chiropractor, lots of walking and curb stepping, bouncing on my birthing ball, and even made a batch of labor inducing cupcakes.
Three days after my due date came and went, my family showed up. They were only planning on staying for 4 days so we were desperate to get that baby out. My sister treated me to an acupuncture session which was recommended by my chiropractor to induce labor but that didn’t work either. We tried to stay busy and pass the time but we were all getting anxious that they would have to leave without meeting Baby Allen (we didn’t find out the gender ahead of time so we referred to the baby as Baby Allen). We had a doctors appointment, did a cervical check and had my membranes swept…still nothing. Finally they had to leave about a week after my due date. My mom extended her trip but knowing it could easily be another week, my dad and my sister had to return home and get back to their jobs and lives.
The day before they left, I got an induction date of September 26th. At that point, even though I wanted to avoid induction at all costs, I was so over being pregnant that I came to terms with the fact that that was probably how it was going to go down. This baby was very comfortable and was probably going to need to be evicted. Darryl’s parents drove down the night before the induction was scheduled. We all got breakfast the next morning and I spent the day getting ready, making sure everything was packed and dropping our dog off at a friends. We were scheduled to go in at 9:00 that night so I made everyone dinner to keep myself busy. We called the hospital at around 8:00 to make sure we were good to go and got the incredibly disappointing news that they were extremely busy and since I was low priority, they would not be able to admit me for induction that night. They told me to call back at around 4:00 AM. I was devastated. I knew I would be too anxious to get any sleep and really didn’t want to go into labor running on no sleep. I was ready to meet my baby and couldn’t believe it still wasn’t happening. After finally calming down, we settled in for another night of being babyless and watched the presidential debate while I bounced on my birthing ball, trying to get things going.
At around 10:00, I started feeling some cramping. I had had Braxton Hicks a few times but this felt different. I didn’t really tell anyone because I didn’t want to get my hopes up. Everyone went to sleep and I tried to lay down to get some rest. That didn’t last for very long before I had to go into the other room where I swayed and leaned against the couch during each contraction and tried to close my eyes and sleep in between. Finally, at around 1:00 my contractions were regular and about 5 minutes apart when I woke up my husband to tell him I wanted to go to the hospital. My mom stayed at the house to sleep since we had a long night ahead of us. The pain was bad but not unbearable yet and the 25 minute ride to the hospital was not fun. We got to the hospital, dragged in all of our stuff (first time parent problems…why did we pack SO. MUCH. STUFF?!), they checked me and hooked me up to the monitor. They confirmed that yes, I was in labor but they were still very busy and had no where to put me so they sent me home since I was only about 2 cm dilated. This put me over the edge and I seriously contemplated laboring in the lobby so I didn’t have to get back in the car but decided we’d be more comfortable at home. We lugged all of our stuff back to the car and made the 25 minute drive back in the other direction, something I thought we for sure wouldn’t have to do again without a baby in tow.
I continued laboring at home, managed to eat some toast and drink some gatorade and decided that I would indeed be receiving an epidural. My birth plan had pretty much been, whatever needs to happen will happen. I wanted to try to go as natural as possible but I hadn’t ruled out an epidural. Once labor really set in, I very much wanted that epidural. Finally at about 6 AM, I decided that if I waited any longer, I wouldn’t be able to handle that car ride again. If I had to stand around writhing in pain in the lobby until they were able to admit me, so be it. I think that’s when any sense of shame I had left went right out the window.
We got back to the hospital, they checked me again, confirmed that I was now at 4 cm which is usually the minimum to be admitted and began to admit me. We had to wait until about 9 AM before a room opened up which meant I couldn’t get an epidural until then. Finally a room was available and the anesthesiologist was ready. He administered the epidural and I felt slight relief but not what I was expecting. Things get pretty blurry at this point because I was officially in the zone but I told the nurse I wasn’t feeling much different and was still in a ton of pain. The first anesthesiologist tried again. A few hours later two other doctors tried again. No relief. I had accepted that it wasn’t working and I was on my own until this baby came out. Just my luck, I was immune to the magic of epidurals. At around 5 PM, a new anesthesiologist came in. My nurse who was also pregnant told me how amazing he was and that she planned on having him administer her epidural when she went into labor. At that point, I was willing to try anything. At 9 cm dilated and 20 hours into labor, this miracle worker contorted me into a ball in between contractions somehow and was able to get the epidural to work along with a spinal block. I could have kissed him but instead I told him to go find the cookies I made for the nurses and that he could take them all. After 12 sticks with a giant needle and 20 hours of labor, I was in heaven once that epidural kicked in. I was able to close my eyes and rest for a few minutes before it was time to push.
Finally, they gave me the green light to start pushing. The room cleared out except for my husband, my doctor and a nurse. I felt amazing and the room was calm and light. We made small talk and jokes in between pushes. They offered me a mirror so I was able to see his head which was super motivating. After about 30 minutes of pushing, Baby Allen came into the world. Someone yelled “It’s a boy!” as they put him on my chest. We stared at him in awe with tears streaming down our faces. We kept saying that we couldn’t believe how long he was. At 22.5 inches and 8 lbs 7 oz, Theodore Bennett was pure perfection. Our parents came in during the magic hour while we had skin to skin and tried to get him to latch. It was beautiful and magical and perfect and I was already starting to forget the previous 22 hours of pain and torture. The next few hours and days are a total blur since we had gotten little to no sleep in the 3.5 days we spent in the hospital.
So that’s the chain of events that made me into a mother. Motherhood has been everything I’ve ever dreamed of and more. It’s been harder, more emotional and more beautiful than I ever could have imagined. Every single day, that beautiful boy brings me more joy than I can put into words and I’m so grateful to him for making me a mama.
It wouldn’t be a mother’s day post without mentioning my incredible mom and all the other amazing women in my life. I wouldn’t be half the mom I am without their love and support.