Sebastian’s birth, much like my entire pregnancy, was pretty uneventful. Everything went so smoothly thanks to the amazing work of my medical care team, all of the information and preparation I received from my midwives leading up to birth, and the care we received from the labor and delivery nurses in the hospital. I couldn’t have asked for a better experience. So, if you’re in need of a happy, positive story to ease your own nerves about labor and delivery, I gladly offer up mine. Just keep in mind that every person’s experience will be different.
March 24th was the magical date my son was expected to enter the world. I knew from the very beginning that he wouldn’t be born on his estimated due date, as only about 5% of babies are, and I truly believed he wouldn’t arrive until April based on more recent research for predicting when babies to first-time moms would be born. Nonetheless, I still felt a little disappointed when we watched March 24th come and go with no baby.
And then a week passed and the doctor’s appointments started to double up: two per week to check amniotic fluid and to perform non-stress tests to make sure the baby was doing all right. When the thought of my complication-free pregnancy turning into an emergency situation entered my mind and my midwives started talking about induction, I got really nervous and was even more ready for the baby to get here. And if he didn’t get here soon, I would be induced on April 6th, almost two weeks after my due date. Luckily, I wouldn’t have to wait much longer.
Saturday night, April 1, I started having light contractions around 11:30 pm. I had experienced some mild cramp-like sensations the previous week but they eventually faded away, so I didn’t want to get my hopes up this time around. However, when 4 AM rolled around and they weren’t going away, I knew it was the real thing. We alerted the family that it had begun. Although the contractions were getting slightly stronger, they were still few and far between. I labored at home for the majority of the day on Sunday, April 2, until about 7 PM when the contractions started hitting the sweet range of 4-1-1 (contractions happening every 4 minutes, each lasting 1 full minute, and have been that way for 1 hour) and we decided to head to the hospital. When we checked in and the midwife measured me, I was already dilated about 6 cm! I labored at the hospital for another 5 hours until my contractions were lasting about 2 minutes each and were about 2-3 minutes apart.
At this point, I had been progressively contracting for more than 24 hours and I was completely exhausted. The contractions felt much more painful when I was sitting or lying down so I stayed on my feet almost this whole time. I was walking around, swaying, and breathing through each one. Every time I would feel one coming on, I would grab Nick’s wrists and we would sway together while I breathed deeper than I have ever breathed in my life. I could tell he was getting tired, too, because he had to stand there and sway with me through each 2-minute contraction and then do it again less than 3 minutes later. I was seriously so tired that all I wanted to do was sit down, rest, and even sleep. The only way to do that was to get an epidural, which I had been against the entire 41 weeks I was pregnant.
But exhaustion is a powerful thing. It will make you act in ways you never thought you would, and for me, it was agreeing to get the epidural. Honestly, I’m not sure I would have had the energy or strength to bring my son into the world if I hadn’t. That’s not to say I didn’t struggle with the decision because I certainly did.
For hours I wrestled with whether I wanted it or not. I was tired, drained of energy, and I wanted to sleep but I was scared of the procedure and I thought it would make me feel like I had lost control of the situation. In the end, the exhaustion won and, around midnight on April 3rd, I asked for the epidural. And I have to admit to you now that this was THE. BEST. decision I could have made for myself. Sure, I lost all the feeling in my legs but I was able to sleep for about 6 hours and when the time came, I was more than ready to deliver my sweet baby boy.
I think the only real downsides to the epidural were that it made me feel a little nauseated and it slowed my contractions while I slept. I vomited once and the nurses gave me some anti-nausea medicine, which also helped me sleep. In the morning, when I woke up, they gave me a tiny bit of Pitocin to get the contractions back up to speed. Around 8 AM, the midwife checked me one final time and could actually see Sebastian’s head starting to make its way down! Everyone in the room – my midwife and nurse, my parents, Nick, and I – started to get ready for delivery. Amazingly, I only had to push for about 20 minutes or so and at 8:50 in the morning, he made his entrance into this world.
Sebastian Armando was born on April 3, 2017, weighing 6 lbs 11 oz, measuring 21 inches long, and sporting a full head of hair. His eyes were open and he was completely alert when they laid him on my chest. He looked up at me and I smiled. Nick kissed his little head and the world just seemed to be right. It was the most breathtaking moment I think I’ve ever experienced in my life.
He’s the most perfect little being in the whole world and I’m already so in love with him that it hurts. I love his hair, his smell, all of his adorable little sounds, and even his loud angry cries when he feels he isn’t being fed quickly enough. He’s so very chill just like his father but can get very feisty like me. He’s the absolute best! And I’m very excited to see where this journey is going to take us.
Stay tuned for more of my adventures in mommy hood.
*This post was originally published on 4/13/2017 and has been slightly updated in honor of Sebastian’s second birthday today.*