45 In motherhood

Jack’s Birth Story

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What better way to come back from maternity leave than to share the details of how my little boy made his way into the world? I feel a bit vulnerable sharing this, as there are definitely a lot of opinions out there. God knows I got my share of messages and comments when I shared that I was getting induced! Everyone’s birth story is different and personal (I’d love to hear bits about yours in the comments below!) and I hope that we can all be respectful of each other. Also, if you’re currently pregnant and not into hearing a lot of details about the delivery process, maybe just skip this post ;)

And with that, the story…

I had my last prenatal appointment with my OB on Tuesday, September 16th. Overdue and still only 1cm dilated, we decided to schedule an induction for Thursday night. Brian took the day off to enjoy our final baby-free day together. We had a slow, leisurely morning of reading, breakfast at Einstein’s and watching Netflix before my parents came over to help us knock some final things off our list. By 5:30pm, we were out to dinner, feeling excited to meet Jack!

At the restaurant, I started feeling pretty awful. My back was hurting a ton, and my leg had shooting pains from the hip down. It was so distracting, I could hardly eat. The only thing that made it better was thinking about heading to the hospital right after dinner and getting the ball rolling on the whole labor and delivery process.

We checked in at the hospital at 7pm and were shown to our room, where they had me change into a massive green hospital gown. It was so strange to go into the room pregnant, knowing I would have a baby in my arms when I left. The game plan was like this: the nurse would administer a “cervical ripener” (ew, I know) that would help me efface, then in the morning I’d be given Pitocin to get labor going.

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All smiles just after arriving at the hospital, totally clueless about the next 24 hours of our lives!

Much to our surprise, I started feeling contractions at 9pm and they escalated quickly—something we absolutely were not prepared for! We watched Netflix to try to distract me from the increasing pain, but by 11pm I was having intense contractions every 5 minutes and couldn’t focus on anything anymore. As midnight rolled around, I was in serious pain, mostly felt in my lower back. By 1am, I had been in sobbing pain for a full hour and we called in a nurse to get some answers about what to expect for the rest of the night.

Our night nurse was unavailable so a different nurse came in to help us. When I explained how I was feeling to her, she said that what they gave me doesn’t usually cause contractions and that what I was experiencing was probably just cramps. (At this point I decided I would surely die from pain in childbirth.) She offered me some Tylenol, narcotics and an Ambien—none of which I was interested in—and by the time she walked out the door I was a total emotional mess, feeling broken and hopeless about the entire delivery.

At 1:40am, our regular nurse finally arrived. She affirmed that I was having real contractions (thank God!), and checked my progress, letting me know I was at 3cm. I promptly ordered my epidural, since it was a very busy night at the hospital and friends had told me it could take up to an hour to receive it. Much to our surprise, the anesthesiologist arrived 15 minutes later and totally made our night. His name was Vijay and he was all smiles and positivity—exactly what I needed. He got me laughing and feeling excited again about labor. Seriously, he was an absolute godsend.

The rest of the night was a total dream—that epidural was one of the best things that has ever happened to me! By 3:15am I was already 5cm dilated, and while I had a boost of energy from the relief I felt, Brian was sleepy and encouraged me to get some rest before the morning rolled around. We managed to sleep for several hours as I continued to progress. By 6:45am I was 7-8cm dilated, and by 10:30am, my doctor came in to check and confirmed that I was at 9.5cm. Since she was delivering another baby next door—and my epidural was still working perfectly—she had me “labor down” for a bit and enjoy some more rest.

The real work began at 11:40am when it was time to start pushing. The whole experience was so strange. For every contraction, I’d push for 10 seconds, then take a quick breath, then repeat 3 more times. It was tiring and exciting all at once. The nurses were so entertaining in between contractions, and I can honestly say we were having a great time in there, full of eager excitement to meet our boy. Since I had progressed so quickly in dilating, they expected Jack to arrive in under an hour.

Unfortunately, that wasn’t the case.

I pushed and pushed and pushed for 4 full hours with only a little progress, and started to feel dejected and nervous about having to get a c-section after all that effort if he didn’t come out soon. Based on my doctor’s recommendation, we decided to move forward with vacuum extraction (a technique she rarely uses, but was confident would work in my case). Her plan was simple: try the vacuum assist 3 times, and if that didn’t work, we’d go straight into the OR that was prepped and ready and get him out by c-section.

At this point, my epidural was barely working anymore and the pressure was super intense. They told me it was a good thing so I could better feel the pushing, but admittedly it made me both fearful and nervous (after all, I got the epidural for a reason!). There was a moment when they considered giving me a bit of Pitocin to move things along, but since my contractions were coming fast enough we were thankfully able to skip that.

The details of the final 30 minutes are a bit blurry to me, but I do remember feeling incredibly supported and empowered my my “team”—my doctor, the two nurses, and Brian of course! At the end, they were all huddled around me, supporting me both physically (holding my legs, etc.) and emotionally (cheering me on). Though for all of the pushes before this they had me hold my breath while pushing, I abandoned all of the “rules” and became a total pregnant woman cliche, literally groaning and screaming my way through the final few pushes.

And then, at 4:05pm, the whole world stopped.

They handed Jack to me and I could not believe the miracle in my arms. This child—who I thought I’d never have—had grown in my body all year long. The same kid that kicked me in my side night after night was now kicking his little legs as I held him in my arms, his grey-blue eyes staring right at me. Messy and beautiful and surreal—I’ll never forget that moment. Truly the most beautiful moment of my life.

We spent the next two nights at the hospital, adjusting to parenthood with help from some seriously amazing nurses. And then on Sunday evening, we headed home to a very clean house (thanks Mom!) and a home-cooked meal (thanks Dad!).

Life will never be the same, and I’m totally okay with that.

45 Comments

  • Reply
    Lauren
    October 14, 2014 at 9:17 am

    I may have just had a tear roll down my cheek. Child Birth is seriously a miracle! Thank you for being vulnerable to share your story, Natalie. I love how real you are and am so excited for you and your growing family :)

    • Reply
      Natalie Lynn Borton
      October 14, 2014 at 9:36 am

      Thanks girl!! I sort of got teary, too, as I was writing it all out! It’s insane that this is how human beings come into existence, isn’t it?

      P.S. THANK YOU for your sweet card & little treat in the mail :)

  • Reply
    Yasmin Sarai
    October 14, 2014 at 9:17 am

    Beautiful story! Brought me back to those moments of giving birth to my daughter last year. Surreal, scary, amazing, and intense! But nothing feels more awesome & blessed than meeting your baby for the first time! Congrats and good job!

    • Reply
      Natalie Lynn Borton
      October 14, 2014 at 9:39 am

      Yes—surreal, scary, amazing and intense are four perfect words to describe the whole childbirth experience!

  • Reply
    Sarah
    October 14, 2014 at 9:20 am

    Natalie, thank you so much for sharing your birth story. I started tearing up because it echoes so much of what I went through! Also, I get so mad when I hear of bloggers getting pushback for decisions they’ve made. I’ve found the mommy-world to be so gracious and giving, yet so judgmental at times. You have brought a life into this world the safest way for him and for you. Congratulations on becoming a mama! I’m sure the last few weeks have been the hardest and most wonderful weeks of your life. I’m looking forward to reading your updates!

  • Reply
    Urban Wife
    October 14, 2014 at 9:26 am

    What a beautiful and amazing birth story! You’re right, life will never be the same. Welcome to motherhood. :)

    • Reply
      Natalie Lynn Borton
      October 14, 2014 at 9:58 am

      Thank you! So far, motherhood is 1,000 times better than I expected. I love this new role as a mama :)

  • Reply
    Jessaca
    October 14, 2014 at 9:34 am

    Congrats! Such a beautiful birth story. One thing I know when I birthed my first child (T-minus 5.5 weeks for the next one!) was I realized how much fear I placed on pain and what it meant. It seems you recognized that early on and sought the right measures for yourself; it’s only something I just realized with my first birth as I’m now contemplating my birth plan for this second baby. Mamas are strong and powerful and shouldn’t feel any shame how they bring their miracles in the world. Every body and every child is different. Congrats again on your unfolding journey of love!

    • Reply
      Natalie Lynn Borton
      October 14, 2014 at 10:03 am

      Amen! I feel like there is sadly a lot of judgement surrounding the labor and delivery process and birth plans in general. I agree that every body and child is different, and the goal is just to get the baby into the world safely. Best of luck to you as you deliver your second little one in the coming weeks!

  • Reply
    Jamie
    October 14, 2014 at 9:51 am

    I’ve been waiting to read your birth story and I’m so glad you decided to share it. I’m currently 40 weeks and 5 days and going to be induced tomorrow morning. I’ve had so many mixed feelings as if this is the right thing, so it’s comforting knowing there are others that have gone through the same thing and I just can’t wait to see my little boy (also Jack!)

    • Reply
      Natalie Lynn Borton
      October 14, 2014 at 10:04 am

      Congrats to you! I absolutely remember being in your shoes a few weeks ago and all of the mixed emotions that come with induction. I’m glad my story was comforting to you! You’re going to do an amazing job, girl!!

  • Reply
    kate
    October 14, 2014 at 10:11 am

    i’m so glad you shared your birth story, i am just 3 weeks away from my due date and am pouring over birth stories all over the blogosphere! jack is so adorable, congrats to your sweet family!

  • Reply
    Pam
    October 14, 2014 at 10:22 am

    Congratulations!! I love hearing others birth stories. It sounds like you had a rather pleasant one which is amazing!! I had a home birth in Canada and I have such great memories of filling so strong and fullfiled when he was placed on my chest after 14 hrs of labor. Enjoy your little guy!

    • Reply
      Natalie Lynn Borton
      October 14, 2014 at 11:01 am

      Thank you!! I totally agree about the feeling when they place the little one on your chest. It’s so empowering to deliver a person into the world!!

  • Reply
    Emlyn
    October 14, 2014 at 10:27 am

    I am reading this at work and it took so much for me to not totally start bawling my eyes out! What an incredible story. :)

    • Reply
      Natalie Lynn Borton
      October 14, 2014 at 11:00 am

      It still sort of feels like a dream to me. Can’t believe it really happened!!

  • Reply
    Stephanie May
    October 14, 2014 at 11:11 am

    It’s so good to hear this story, Natalie. I feel like we need more honest voices when it comes to the journey towards becoming a mother. It’s a scary thing to even think about, and it’s so comforting to have some voices just a few steps ahead sharing what it is like so honestly and so beautiful. Welcome back. :-)

  • Reply
    Ruth
    October 14, 2014 at 11:40 am

    “Messy and beautiful and surreal.” Love that perfect description. Such a miracle. Thank you for sharing your birth story, momma!

  • Reply
    AshleyL
    October 14, 2014 at 12:08 pm

    Thank you for sharing. Birth stories are my favorite thing to read. So amazing. I teared up while reading it. It reminds me of delivering my little one 3 months ago. Thanks again.

  • Reply
    Kelsey Crandall Ross
    October 14, 2014 at 12:22 pm

    Oh Natalie! Congratulations to you and Brian. I can’t wait to meet baby Jack- what a sweetie and what a wonderful story. It really is so messy and beautiful!
    xxoo
    Kelsey

    • Reply
      Natalie Lynn Borton
      October 14, 2014 at 1:01 pm

      Thank you!! Jack looks forward to meeting you, too :) Good luck with your little one on the way—can’t wait to meet that little girl of yours the next time you’re in town!

  • Reply
    Madison Yoshida
    October 14, 2014 at 1:58 pm

    Thank you for sharing your story! I loved reading it, and my pregnancy emotions got the best of me and I definitely cried! There is no right or wrong decision in a woman’s birth plan decision. Every pregnancy and delivery experience is different and we choose what works best for us. So thank you for sharing, because there are a lot of strong opinions out there! I am so happy for you guys, congratulations!

    Madison

  • Reply
    Kayla Blanco
    October 14, 2014 at 2:11 pm

    Wow Natalie! Beautifully written! I can relate somewhat since I too was induced similarly with Scarlett…craziness!! Thank you so much for sharing :) I have to say that it is so wonderful to remember back to a time when you wrote of being unsure about embarking on motherhood, and now to see how you are totally smitten with your new little man and exactly where God meant you to be! Such a blessing :) We are so excited for you and your new little family, and can’t wait to meet baby Jack!! Love and hugs to the three of you!!

    • Reply
      Natalie Lynn Borton
      October 15, 2014 at 10:18 am

      Oh wow, I had no idea you had a similar induction with Scarlett—that is crazy! Can’t wait for you guys to come over and meet the little guy soon :) Xo!

  • Reply
    Carissa @ Pretty/Hungry
    October 14, 2014 at 2:37 pm

    I love hearing about your wonderful “team” and how they helped you accomplish this awesome miracle!! I remember a nurse stationing herself right next to my ear during my first delivery (a similarly endless pushing-session to what you described) just so she could whisper/shout encouragements to me. So great!

    God bless and thanks for sharing!

    • Reply
      Natalie Lynn Borton
      October 15, 2014 at 10:24 am

      Oh yes, the team was key!! Couldn’t have done it without their encouragement and support. So glad to hear you had a similarly supportive team on your side :)

  • Reply
    Ali Grace
    October 14, 2014 at 6:37 pm

    Such a beautiful story, Natalie! And I, for one, am glad that you shared the details of your birth process. I’m the kind of person who wants all the gory details, so when my turn comes I’ll at least know some of what to expect. :) You’re going to be a great mom!

  • Reply
    Robin
    October 14, 2014 at 8:31 pm

    Congratulations mama!! Isn’t it the best feeling in the world? You made it. You did it! You should be so proud of yourself. You are so strong. And so brave. Enjoy this sweet, sweet time with your little guy and know that it gets better and better! Glad to have you back at the blog. Lots of hugs and BIG congratulations!
    xo,
    Robin

  • Reply
    Ashley Scobey
    October 14, 2014 at 9:08 pm

    What a beautiful story! Our little boys are just a couple of days apart, and our anesthesiologist was SUCH a godsend for me, too. We had a repeat c-section with Webb, but it was my first time being awake for it (my first was an emergency and they totally knocked me out) so I was a bit nervous and our anesthesiologist was so funny and light-hearted. He helped me to relax and enjoy the process!

    • Reply
      Natalie Lynn Borton
      October 15, 2014 at 10:36 am

      Oh I’m so glad your anesthesiologist was good, too! They really are life-savers in the whole delivery process!

  • Reply
    Natalie
    October 15, 2014 at 10:20 am

    I don’t comment much but I’m glad you’re back to blogging and I loved reading your birth story! I also pushed for a long time (although not 4 hrs–you go girl!) and as frustrating as it was during it (they told me it would take an hour tops ha), it was all so worth it in the end! Congrats on a healthy pregnancy and baby :)

    • Reply
      Natalie Lynn Borton
      October 15, 2014 at 10:37 am

      Thanks Natalie! I completely agree—though pushing is EXHAUSTING, it’s so worth it when you hold your baby for the first time!!

  • Reply
    Katie
    October 15, 2014 at 6:04 pm

    This made me cry! I don’t have children, and have been told my whole life how anything but *completely natural* childbirth is “bad” … Your story was like a balm to my heart. Thank you so much for sharing so candidly and honestly about all the ups and downs you experienced!

    I am not pregnant and will likely not have children for several years yet, but I am so excited! Labor terrifies me, and so your experience gives me hope again. Thank you Natalie!

    Congratulations to you and Brian and welcome to Jack!

  • Reply
    Marie-Sophie
    October 17, 2014 at 1:40 am

    I just discovered your blog a few weeks ago (and I am 39 weeks pregnant!) so it was just great to read all your posts and now, your new mom experiences (and the birth story!). Ha, I had to laugh when you wrote that they told you that feeling a little more (because your epidural had worn of) was a actually a good thing … because in my birthing class our midwife prepared us for exactly this moment! She described getting an epidural as a “lift to help you get up that mountain – but ladies, you still will have to get off that lift at the end and climb all the way to the top yourselves!” It totally helped me to wrap my mind around the fact that yes, there might be pain again at the end (a lot of women are not prepared for this and panic at this stage) but that it’s part of the process and – as uncomfortable and horrible it is to “re-enter” pain – is there to help your baby come into this world.

    • Reply
      Natalie Borton
      October 17, 2014 at 9:01 am

      Oh yes, I definitely wish someone had prepared me for that at the end there! But as I said, totally worth it :) Congrats on your pregnancy and good luck with your delivery!

  • Reply
    Hannah Wallner
    October 19, 2014 at 8:29 pm

    So beautiful, thank you for sharing this. As a pregnant lady, I can hardly imagine how my delivery will go but this was so amazing that I’m excited!! :) Thank you

    • Reply
      Natalie Borton
      October 19, 2014 at 8:32 pm

      I’m so glad you feel that way! Labor and delivery is immensely intense and also the most rewarding thing in the world!

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