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.*
Labor Day, the unofficial end of summer.
We were invited to my friend’s wedding in Wilmington, NC over Labor Day Weekend this year and decided to turn it into an end-of-summer family vacation. We brought Nick’s mom, brother and sister-in-law with us. We played in the ocean, had a date night, went to the aquarium, and attended the wedding, and a great time was had by all!
We spent Saturday morning at the beach. It was Sebastian’s first time, but he loves sand and water so we figured he would have a blast. At first, he was not having it. You can see in the photo above that he thought it was just too damn hot outside. He’s very much like his father that way. He wasn’t sure what to think about the ocean or the waves, and he was a little afraid at first, especially when the tide would roll out and his feet would sink into the sand. He was not a fan of that at all. However, he liked the water when it wasn’t knocking him over, and of course he loved the sand. The beach is one giant sandbox, after all. Toward the end of the morning, he was feeling much more brave and started running toward the waves!
The hardest thing for me about being a working mother is dropping Sebastian off at daycare every morning. If I had my way about it, I would cuddle him all day long until he was old enough to leave for college. But I can’t, so daycare it is. The next hardest thing is pumping at work. It isn’t really that difficult, but it is a pain in the rear end to have to stop what I’m doing every 2 to 3 hours to hook the ladies up to a machine to extract my baby’s liquid gold.
Surprisingly, my office does not have a specific lactation room where I can pump undisturbed. I say it’s surprising because I work for a women’s health organization that wants women to have all the choices. I supposed it’s hard to walk the walk sometimes, but I digress. For a while I was pumping three times a day in a vacant office but then they hired someone to fill it and I either had to get creative or pump in my team’s bathroom. So here’s what I do: I pump at my desk in my cubicle.
To do this, I purchased a tension rod and curtain panel to place in the doorway of my cubicle so I can have some privacy. This works for me because we have tall cube walls, and our office space used to be an apartment building. My team is located in an area that used to be a small apartment and there are only 5 people on my team who use the space, so I actually have a lot of privacy already. Add in the fact that we have very little foot traffic on our floor and I was able to create a little space for pumping.
I placed a clip on either side of the doorway to secure the curtain in place so there aren’t any gaps between wall and curtain. I didn’t want to take any chances that the curtain would blow open or something like that when someone does walk by. It’s still a pain to have to have to stop what I’m doing to get set up, but I don’t have to leave my desk so my flow doesn’t get too interrupted.
I’m not going to lie, I would love to leave my curtain-door up all day long so that no one bothered me, but I can’t. So the rest of the time, I’ve clipped it to the side so it isn’t in the way, and to let my coworkers know it’s alright to approach me. Lately I’ve tried to fold it a little neater when I clip so it doesn’t look like a hot mess (like in the photo below) but as long as it’s out of the way, I don’t usually worry about it.
Even thought we have tall cubicle walls, I’ve warned my coworker who sits in the cube right beside me to be careful when he stands up because he’s really tall and can probably see over the wall. That’s more for his comfort than for mine; it’s pretty amazing how little modesty one has when one becomes used to whipping out a breast to feed a baby. The only other con is that if my boss or other coworker isn’t paying attention, they’ll run right into the tension rod when they walk into my cube. But as long as they’re alert, it isn’t usually a problem.
So, that’s how I turned lemons into lemonade. I figure I only have to keep doing this for the next 9+ months until Sebastian starts eating PB&J sandwiches, right? 🙂
Have you ever had to get creative/resourceful for work?
Here’s a little secret: I haven’t always wanted kids. Even in high school when I was busy scribbling hearts around my boyfriend’s name and dreaming of his last name behind my first name, I don’t recall wanting to have children. My daydream then consisted solely of marriage and a good career, and that dream remained steadfast for many years. In college, I started to scoff at the idea of procreating and when I was in my mid-and-late-twenties, I had pretty much decided kids weren’t for me. And Nick was on the same page. We were going to focus on degrees and careers and our house and our dogs and all the other goals we had stashed up our sleeves. Besides, who has time for kids? They’re dream killers, and they’re so. needy, and you have to wipe their butts for them. Gross!
And then I turned 30.
Hi, I’m Nikki. This is where I blog about my life and style. I’m a wife, a new mother, sushi lover, coffee drinker, and a social justice warrior. Welcome to my little corner of the world where I try to lead by example!
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