Graham’s Birth Story

December 5th started out like a pretty typical COVID Saturday at our house. We were up relatively early, and I received an email that I had some paperwork I needed to print and sign rather than e-sign for the new job that I plan to start after the baby comes. For some reason, I said to Sean we should go ahead and take care of this just in case I’m not able to on Monday. We went into his office to print and sign everything. After that we went home, and picked up Bertie to get some breakfast and go for a drive.

We grabbed McDonald’s and then drove around looking at different neighborhoods and just chatting. This has become our social outing in the pandemic. As we were heading home, mostly because I had to pee (again), I noticed I was getting a headache. It seemed to get a bit worse as we continued driving, so after we got home I decided I should check my blood pressure. It had been completely normal all of my pregnancy, but sure enough it was elevated. Having that along with the headache made me really nervous for preeclampsia, but I wasn’t having any of the other symptoms. At Sean’s insistence I decided to take some Tylenol, lay down and try to get some rest. The Tylenol did nothing for my headache, and I continued checking my blood pressure all afternoon. It would go down, only to come right back up. I tried taking a bath to relax, tried taking a shower, tried drinking tons of water, tried eating some lunch and nothing really seemed to help. After about 6 or 7 hours of this I called the on call nurse and we decided it would be best to go to the hospital to get it checked out.

Her last picture as an only child, taken on our Saturday morning drive.

Our bags had been mostly packed for awhile, so we grabbed the last minute items, and loaded up the car. As we were heading out the door, Sean decided he needed to water the Christmas tree. Wouldn’t you know it overflowed and we had a huge mess. We quickly cleaned up what we could and left the living room in a mess with packages and tree needles everywhere. We dropped Bertie off with our neighbor and headed to the hospital.

After getting to the hospital we were taken right to a triage room and were seen right away by a nurse, medical student, and a fellow. The first thing they did was to give me some medicine for the headache, which helped quite a bit. Then they wanted to monitor my blood pressure for a while. At first it had come down into the normal range and they considered letting me go back home, but then it came back up again. After a few hours they decided it was best for me to go ahead and have the baby. They paged my doctor to let him know they were admitting me and we were taken to a delivery room to get the process started.

Our nurse Tina was quite the character. She was a little kooky, but she was an amazing nurse and took such good care of us overnight. One great thing for us was that I had been tested for COVID on Friday (in preparation for being induced on Tuesday) and the results had come back negative on Saturday. Because of this Tina said she felt comfortable with me not wearing a mask. This was such a huge relief.

Doctor Thompson showed up around midnight to get things going. He had wanted to give me a medication for my cervix, but due to hospital protocol he wasn’t able to. Apparently I was having contractions that they could measure but I really wasn’t feeling them and the hospital doesn’t allow the medication to be given if you’re having more than a certain amount of contractions per minute. So he had to place a cook catheter and hope that would start labor. I had dialated to 1-2 cm already but, he said it could be up to 12 hours for it to work, and likely if I was lucky the baby would come in about 24 hours. It wasn’t the most comfortable thing in the world and I did start having contractions that were painful shortly after it was placed. We discussed having an epidural and he gave the go ahead to get it whenever I felt like I wanted it.

At some point during the night the contractions subsided and I was actually able to rest a little. Because the contractions had stopped I was able to take the medication for my cervix at about 5:00 am. They prepared me for this to take some time to work, and then later in the day I would start pitocin to induce labor. After I was given the medication Tina said I would have to be mostly in the bed because I needed to be monitored continuously, which was a bummer because the contractions I had earlier in the night were much more tolerable when I was up moving around.

Not long after taking the medication I was experiencing major contractions. By around 6:15 or 6:30 they were nearly unbearable. Sean told me to call Tina for the epidural after I had a contraction that lasted for a full two minutes. Of course, it was also about to be shift change for the nurses, and I wanted to make sure I had what I needed before Tina left. She came right away and seemed a bit surprised that I was asking for it so soon. She checked the catheter and it came right out.

After that Tina didn’t say too much, but our room got really hectic for a little bit. The anesthesiologist showed up and started the epidural right away, and then a few other nurses came in. It seemed like there were papers going everywhere and they were hanging drugs on my IV in a hurry. I had no idea what was going on but I could tell something was up.

Once the epidural started working and the nurses had everything under control Tina told me that I had dialated to 7.5 cm in just over an hour so it wouldn’t be long before I had a baby. This had shocked me (and apparently everyone else too) as no one was expecting it to progress so quickly.

My epidural was great and stopped the pain immediately. I know lots of women do it without, but for me the epidural was the right choice. I went from being miserable to actually laughing during the delivery. I also remember everything and felt very present because I wasn’t in pain. I could still mostly control my left leg but my right became dead weight. There was one small spot on the lower left side of my back that I could still feel the contractions, but otherwise I could feel almost nothing.

Just before go time!

The next couple hours were sort of a blur. I continued to progress quickly and sometime around 10 the nurse said it was almost time to start pushing because I was at 9.5 cm. Around 10:30 am I started pushing, and about 90 minutes later Graham was born at 12:05 pm.

He was immediately placed on my chest and it’s amazing to me how from that moment on I had almost zero awareness of anything else going on in the room. The doctor finished doing his thing and while I knew what was happening it just didn’t seem to register. We spent the next couple hours in the delivery room, while they checked out Graham and did his measurements and initial shots, and waited for my epidural to start to wear off.

The nurse was so sweet, she took my phone and did a photo shoot with Graham
Dad’s first time holding his son!

Once things had calmed down in the delivery room, Sean left to go get Jersey Mike’s subs. I had been craving a huge sub for months and it was everything I dreamed it would be, especially after not eating for so long.

Following this we were moved to our room where we would spend the night. After being up most of the night before and finally being moved to this room in the early evening I was ready to try to get some rest. The hospital offers a special meal to the new parents that was delivered for both of us shortly after we got in the room. If I’m being honest it wasn’t great, but it’s a nice gesture. Graham slept on and off through the night and so did we. The nurses come and go so often because they’re checking vitals and different things that it’s really hard to get any sleep.

24 hours old – fresh out of your first bath
Dressed and ready to go home!
Headed out of the hospital!
The sunset your Grandma Francey sent to welcome you!
Buckled in for your first car ride home from the hospital!

The next morning people started coming into the room pretty early. Once my doctor came in to check on me we got the all clear to go home that day if they could get everything done for Graham. This meant that Monday was exhausting. The pediatrician, the nurses, the lactation specialist etc. were coming and going from the room all day. By late afternoon he had passed all of his newborn screenings, had his first bath, and we were all set to go home. It still took forever to get discharged and we didn’t get to leave until early evening. We had the most epic sunset out our hospital window just before we left, which if you know me, you know I took it as a sign from my mom. So definitely worth waiting for! The staff took great care of us, and it may have been nice to stay one more night, but we were ready to bring our boy home!! When we got in the car to leave “Home” the song by Daughtry was playing on the radio. I hadn’t heard that song in years and it felt sort of serendipitous to hear it as we headed home with our Graham! When we got home we had a huge steak dinner delivered! Graham slept through dinner and as we ate and watched him sleep we just couldn’t believe he was finally ours!


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