We woke up on Saturday morning, September 8, with no signs of Keller’s arrival coming any time soon. My dad was convinced we would have him this day because it was my parent’s 39th wedding anniversary! I hadn’t had any Braxton-Hicks and was feeling the normal pregnant self. This lasted for 5 minutes. At 7:30 am I had my first contraction but thought nothing of it. I was craving pancakes so Phil was so nice and made me some with peanut butter on them. I took a shower and at one pancake. Then the contractions started coming more consistently so I thought I better start timing them. They were about 45-60 seconds long and 3 minutes apart. When it kept up this rate, Phil kicked into gear and got everything packed in the car for the hospital.
We arrived at 9:30 am to Winnie Palmer Hospital. My sister met us there and was prepared to stay the whole night even though she had to work at 7 am the next morning! We got checked into triage and continued to labor there with a great nurse, Trish. We had written a birth plan out from what we learned in our Bradley Method class and the nursing staff was very happy that we had one and supportive of our decision to give birth to Keller naturally. The hospital was very busy that day so we were in triage until around noon. I was handling the contractions okay, practicing our relaxation techniques. Phil was amazing and encouraging the entire time. I had dilated to 7 cm by this point.
Towards the end of my pregnancy my doctor thought Keller would come early because I was 4 cm dilated that Tuesday and his head was very low. With this in mind, we thought we’d have Keller and be out of there quickly!
Once we were in our labor and delivery room, our nurse, Glenis, helped us settle in. I requested no fluids so they just did a lock on the IV in case I would need them. Dr. Snow was my attending physician but he had his hands full with 3 other women giving birth the same day so he was in and out of our room throughout the afternoon. By 5 pm, my contractions were coming stronger at 2-3 minutes a part and I was getting pretty worn out by the pain. Dr. Snow came and talked to Phil and I what he believed our options were because I hadn’t dilated anymore since noon. He thought my contractions were not strong enough or Keller was just too big for me to birth him naturally. He said we could measure the strength of my contractions and if they weren’t we would have to consider Pitocin to help them get stronger or do a c-section if they were strong enough because that meant Keller was too big.
It turned out that the contractions were not strong enough. At this point, I had gotten very anxious about the contractions getting any worse because I couldn’t imagine it being any harder then they already were. I had been praying the entire afternoon for the Lord to give me strength and endurance but I couldn’t handle it anymore. I told Phil, Glenis and my sister that I just wanted a c-section and broke down because this was not going the way we had hoped. The reason we chose natural childbirth was so Keller would be safe from any form of medication to alter his health. After everyone helped calm me down, Glenis told me that she supported us in what we chose but that jumping to a c-section may be too hasty and that the doctor was giving me a chance to have Keller vaginally. We finally decided to go with the Pitocin to try to kick up the contractions. After the first couple contractions on Pitocin, I asked for the epidural. It was a hard decision but everything was just too much.
As the anesthesiologist administered the epidural (which was hard because I was having back-to-back contractions the entire time), he commented that I have a back the size a 6 ft 5in person and couldn’t believe how big it was… what woman wants to hear that???
Once the epidural kicked in, things settled down and we were all able to rest. I was able to clearly communicate and be aware of what was happening after being in a fog of pain the whole day. Sadly, Glenis’s shift was over but Polly took over for her and she was also great. We loved all of our nursing staff, they were simply amazing. We had a good time joking around with Polly as we waited for my contractions to get stronger. Dr. Snow said he would like to make a decision by midnight if a c-section was still needed. Thankfully, by 10:00pm I was finally 10 cm dilated! Phil and Becca held my legs (Becca saw more of me then she ever thought she would!) and Keller and I started to push. Right away Polly could see his head. Phil and Becca thought his head was going to be so small when he started to come out – little did they know it was just the cone-shape of the top of his head. We all thought this was going to happen quick, even though it was our first. Dr. Snow came down at 12:00vam to assess my progress and when he got there he had everything prepared for Keller’s birth. At some point, I guess a nurse went running into the hall yelling, “We need a baby nurse now!” and it freaked Becca out because everyone was moving so fast. I was concentrating on pushing that I didn’t realize about 12 nurses joined us in the room for my final pushes. Courtney, our baby nurse, yanked my leg back so far it took a couple days to recover for how sore it was! I pushed until 12:26 am when Keller made his wonderful appearance to the world. It was the most painful thing to have a baby sticking out of me halfway through 3 contractions!!!!! Dr. Snow had even tried using a vacuum because he wasn’t coming out but it fell off right away.
It was amazing to hold our little man for the first time. The nurses gave us plenty of time to get to know him before they took him to weigh him and assess him. They even gave him a bath in our room so he didn’t have to spend as much time in the nursery when we moved to our post-delivery room. He was holding his head up and checking everything out as soon as he was born. I was able to walk soon after I drank my orange juice and ate some crackers.
We eventually got situated in our new room by 4:30am and was able to sleep for a bit. Keller is the most laid-back, calm baby we could ask for. The hospital staff loved him and a couple nurses were so glad that they got to be his nurse because they had heard about him 🙂 The lactation consultants were also great and would check in on us throughout the days that we were there. Keller got jaundice pretty bad so we stayed in the hospital until Tuesday. It worked out well because my mom flew into town on Tuesday so we were able to transition home with her help.
If anyone needs a birthing coach, I recommend my husband because he is incredible! It was hard for him when he wanted to hold me or touch me during labor when I didn’t want him too. He loves changing Keller’s diapers because it’s “their time” together. He was fascinated by the whole birthing process and Keller’s circumcision and wanted to know everything that was going on. He is an excellent Dad!
I thought that labor was hard but recovery may be up there with it because I CAN’T DO ANYTHING! I am so thankful my mom is here to help this week and next. I am finally starting to feel with it and need to be reminded to take it easy so I can recover completely. Keller has kicked his jaundice in the butt and doesn’t have to be on his bili-blanket anymore. It is wonderful to hold him without having to have it on his back! I am patiently trying to learn how to breastfeed but it is hard. I am hoping to go to La Leche soon or to the hospital’s free Mommy and Me teas (breastfeeding clinic).
Keller is 1 week old today and he has already witnessed a Viking win and listened to a Viking loss. Let’s hope the season is not the latter. We purchased listening privileges through KFAN since we will only be able to see the games when Jacksonville (last week) and the Buccaneers play against them.
Here are some pictures of our handsome Keller Boo.