One year ago today I was in a sterile room surrounded by two nurses, an amazing RE and M&T. We waited, not so patiently, for the embryologist to bring in their sweet little previously frozen embie aka Little Tot. We watched in awe as LT wiggled around in the petri dish before being transferred to Hotel de Surro. We cried, smiled, hoped and prayed that LT would spend the next 9 months growing big and strong with Auntie Danielle. 41 weeks later I delivered LT into his Mommy and Daddy’s arms (quite literally as they were able to actually help deliver him) and a family was born. Tonight, on our transfer-versary, I am blessed and honored to share with you part one of our birth story. I hope you enjoy ❤ **Note: This is a no holds barred story – If you aren’t comfortable with hearing about contractions, nipple stimulation, etc, you might want to skip this post**
38 Weeks through Laboring at Home
M&T arrived at our house just after I hit 38 weeks pregnant. We weren’t sure when I would deliver based on my history, as well as their own slightly early arrivals – Genetics on their part, genetics on my part, my own labor history – What would dictate when their sweet baby would arrive? T continued to work so M&T spent the week staying with great friends in LA and the weekends with us. One week passed… We attended a local baseball game with a fireworks show… Would the fireworks scare LT out? Nope! Another week passed… We hit our due date! LT, we’re all waiting… No need to be fashionably late… We knew that once we hit 41 weeks, my OB would push for an induction based on EDD alone and that was something that none of us were comfortable with. We had big plans for an all natural, non-medicated delivery and induction wasn’t what we were looking for…. 40+3 and I had a non-stress test. Unfortunately LT “failed” the NST and the OB decided I needed to go to L&D for a biophysical profile. (Queue memories of the EXACT same thing happening with the twins.) LT passed his BPP and additional monitoring with flying colors. However, the doctors were outside of their comfort zone and required us to schedule an induction. Our nurse was great and pushed it as far as she could – To the day we would hit 41 weeks. We were 4th on the list which meant that when a bed was available, they would call the Mom in slot #1, then slot #2, etc. They could call as early as 6am. We joked that I would just happen to have my phone on silent should they call and “accidentally” miss their call. I know that M&T were so anxious for the arrival of their sweet son but we all agreed that waiting until at least 41 weeks to see if he would decide on his own birthday would be best. The next 4 days were lazy days… Waiting… Waiting… Fielding well meaning texts, calls, Facebook messages – Everyone cared and we all appreciated it but I was beginning to feel like a watched pot. Though I knew it wasn’t the case, emotionally I felt like I was holding M&Ts son captive from them… I knew that I wanted him to come more than ever – I wanted to see him in THEIR arms instead of in my tummy but I wanted desperately for him to make that decision when he was ready. I didn’t want to force him out…
Apparently the threat of induction made LT decide to get his sweet little tushy into gear… On the morning of 41 weeks at about 2am, I started having contractions. I let them go on until about 4:30am to see if they were going to stick around and get stronger or if we were still in the practice zone. From 4:30am on, I could no longer sleep through them. They were consistently 7-8 minutes apart and I was having to concentrate on breathing through them. About 6:00am I called my doula – We spoke on the phone through a few contractions and she told me she thought this was the real deal. She asked if anyone else was awake and I told her no – I was TERRIFIED that if I woke anyone up, the contractions would magically go away and I would be pregnant forever. (Yes, I realize that isn’t at all logical but I was being100% emotional at that point and logic was out the window.) Shannon suggested I take a shower to get some relief but told me that I had to wake someone up if I was going to do that. I decided to go ahead and wake up my husband. He quietly got up in case anything happened while I was in the shower. I enjoyed letting the water hit my back but after a short time, focusing on standing in the shower and working through the contractions just became too much. Our other doula Christy headed down from Tehachapi (about an hour drive) and went to breakfast with Shannon so they were both close. It was about 8:30-9:00am when I softly knocked on M&Ts door (they were staying in our guestroom.) They were already awake so I asked them what they thought about today (6/9) being the day they met their son. They readily agreed that it was a good idea! 😉 I let them know to take their time getting ready… That I didn’t think we needed Christy or Shannon quite yet but that I would call my best friend, our photographer so she could head over. I tried to stay very relaxed and not get too wrapped up in the excitement because I was still worried that if we got too excited, LT would halt all labor and stick around. I sent Christin (BFF/Photographer) a text and said “Hey, do you want to take some pictures today?” She immediately called my husband freaking out, wanting to know why I had waited so long to let her know LOL. I went ahead and finished blow drying and straightening my hair… Might as well stay busy! It was about 12pm when Christin arrived – With Starbucks for everyone! We figured Jake and M&T might need the caffeine LOL. Shortly after that, Christy decided to head on over.
Just before Christy arrived, I had gone into our bedroom to lay in bed. Everyone was being great but I just felt like I needed some super quiet alone time to work through contractions. Christy came in and we discussed my contraction pattern thus far and how I was doing. At that point I still felt like I was handling the contractions pretty well but they did require focus and I was getting scared. This was something completely new to me – Sure, I had brought 4 babies into the world before this but never like this. Never without an epidural and monitors and tons of people giving instructions and making recommendations for interventions. I so needed Christy’s calm talk. She reminded me that this was all normal, all wonderful and that we were finally going to meet M&Ts sweet baby.
I felt a lot more relaxed mentally after our talk and the timing couldn’t have been better because the contractions started to pick up. At this point I was still in early labor but the contractions were starting to be slightly closer together and more painful – A sign we were moving in the right direction (FINALLY!) It was really a full team effort to work through the contractions – M, T, Jake, Christy and our other doula Shannon all played a VITAL part in keeping me comfortable, calm and focused. There were several times that I said “I can’t do this” and my favorite phrase of the day was Christy – “You ARE doing this.” Those words had such an instant calming effect that I don’t think I would have survived without. Having the freedom to move around my own house was AMAZING. I went from our bedroom to the living room, to the kitchen, to the dining room – Everywhere I turned there was another set of amazing hands providing counter-pressure, another calming voice talking me through a contraction and my awesome best friend to capture all the memories. We had time in between contractions to pose for a few photos. We all put on our TEAM TUCS shirts – In our PBO paperwork, they refer to the baby as “The Unborn Child S” (M&Ts last name “S”) and we joked that since we would have so many people in the delivery room, we needed shirts! I had them made and loved seeing everyone wearing them!
I continued to work through the contractions and couldn’t have done it alone – At one point or another, everyone helped and I will forever be grateful. I have said it before but I’ll say it again – Everyone was such an integral part of our team. I needed everyone at different moments and am SO thankful they were all there and available. Christin captured some great photos including my daughter talking me through contractions ❤
Up to this point, I was doing pretty good in between contractions – Eating a little, drinking a lot, walking around, talking through contractions and laughing and joking in between them. But things weren’t progressing. My contraction pattern was the same and maybe even a little slower than it had been. Christy took me into our bedroom and sat me down – She said that I could either promise to give her at least an hour of nipple stimulation (to bring on more frequent contractions that would push me from early labor into active labor) or everyone could go home… She was SURE that if they went home, they would be back later that night or early the next morning but I wasn’t having it. We had already waited until 41 weeks and I was ready to hand M&T their baby. No more waiting. Christy left Hubby and I alone and I started nipple stims. Not going to lie – Most awkward thing EVER. I’m not one to enjoy that sort of thing, let alone to do it myself….. BUT, it worked. Holy crap on toast did it work. Christy left the room at about 4:45pm and by 5:10pm I was having back to back, realllllly strong contractions after just a few seconds of nipple stims. Making it through that 20-30 minutes was SO hard. To sit there and do something that I KNEW was going to cause HORRIBLE pain within a few seconds was the biggest mental hurdle I had ever had to overcome. It was official – I was in active labor. The contractions were longer, stronger and MUCH closer together than ever before. I no longer had any desire to move around the house – We were in our master bedroom and that’s where I was staying. I tried sitting, standing, laying down, sitting on the birth ball – TONS of coping techniques. I don’t know how I made it through but I did. M&T were great – They were a constant fixture in the room, calming me down, telling me I was doing great and thanking me for going through this for them.
At this point, about 6:30pm I was in full blown active labor. I moved to the bed and Christy and Shannon arranged a ton of pillows in various different places trying to keep me comfortable. I don’t remember much honestly – I remember breathing through contractions, moaning like crazy and hearing calming voices and feeling soft reassuring touches along with firm counter-pressure.
About 7:15pm I remember hearing “If she makes that sound through 3 more contractions, it’s time to go.” — “That” sound was what Christy and Shannon described as a “Ghost Cow” — I laughed at them in our initial meetings but MAN were they accurate in that description. I also remember being skeptical that they would know when it was time to go to the hospital (our goal was not to go until I was 6-7cm dilated) without checking my cervix… They both assured me they would know when it was time to go and I needed to trust them.
Apparently I made “that” sound through 3 more contractions because all of a sudden there was a flurry of activity – Things were a little crazy, people gathering up bags, exchanging car keys, deciding who was going where, with whom, in what vehicle – There aren’t any pictures because that’s how fast we were moving. It was TIME. Time to go to the hospital. TIME for M&T to hold their sweet son. I literally remember nothing. Thank goodness we had planned ahead and bags were already packed – I don’t know if anyone spoke to me or asked me any questions – I went from our bed to our driveway where our truck was parked. All the doors were open, the seats and floor were covered in tucks pads (just in case!) It was decided that Shannon would ride with Hubby and I because she had been working through the last few contractions with me and knew where I wanted/needed counter-pressure at that time. I had a contraction AS I was trying to get into the truck and we were on our way after that. As we approached a curvy freeway on-ramp (we only live about 8 miles from the hospital) I started having another contraction. I remember Shannon telling Hubby he was going to want to slow down – I’m not sure what the other drivers were thinking but our labor train (our truck, M&T in their SUV, Christy in her SUV & Christin in Shannon’s SUV) was going about 15mph because I couldn’t handle any faster LOL. My body must have known we needed a little bit of time because my next contraction wasn’t until we pulled up to the hospital. Hubby demanded I let them bring me a wheelchair and went to park the truck – The poor security guard rushed one out only for my stubborn butt to refuse to get in it. I was going to walk into L&D, dangit!
**Stay tuned for Part Two of our story**