the birth of baby {v}.


Since I voraciously read birth stories before our little bundle arrived, I thought long and hard about sharing mine here. After much deliberation, I decided to share it -- just as much for me to remember as for you to read. We approached birth differently than two type A folks normally would. {cv} and I did not take any birthing classes, so we didn't come into the labor process with an elaborate plan. We simply wanted to bring one little life into the world, in whatever manner it took. Our experience was generally uncomplicated and pleasant, something for which we are incredibly grateful. Little {jv} made his entrance with the perfect amount of fanfare. Here's our story...

My parents arrived from Indiana 24 hours before James was born. Ironically, they arrived 15 minutes after I tested positive for this pregnancy back in March. I joked our little one wouldn't arrive until they did, but little did I know it would come true. I texted my best friend before I went to bed that night, saying something didn't feel "right". They always say women know their bodies better than they think. I just never thought I would be able to foreshadow the events of the next few hours.

At roughly 4:15am that Monday morning, I rolled from my left side to my right and felt an unmistakable pop. I leapt (or whatever pregnant version of leaping exists) out of bed, bound for the bathroom. My water broke in true movie fashion. {cv} and I had prepared for a number of scenarios, but my water breaking wasn't one of them. 

We decided to be as level-headed as possible and take showers before making the drive to the hospital. Before we left, I snuck in to tell my parents the news. We took one last "bump shot" in the kitchen -- and walked out of our new home for the last time as a family of two. My contractions flooded in with a vengeance in the shower and became even more regular on our 30-minute drive into town. By the time I went through triage at the hospital, I was 2cm dilated and 80% effaced, an improvement of a centimeter (and 30%) from my appointment the previous Thursday. Three other women came in the morning of December 8th; all four of us had our water break at home. (I thought this was an interesting coincidence!)

After a few blood draws and measurements, we made our way up to our Labor & Delivery suite. (I say suite because one of my sweet friends from college kindly pulled a few strings for us.) They started my pitocin drip around 9:30 or 10:00am and the contractions accelerated immediately. By 1:00pm, I had progressed to 6 (almost 7) centimeters and I made the decision to get an epidural. I know everyone has their own philosophies on childbirth. I decided early on that I wanted to be a pleasant patient, which I knew would require an epidural.

Many of these hours are foggy for me, both before the epidural and after. I expected to be able to vividly recall all the events of this day, but perhaps that is nature's way of preventing you from remembering the hard parts of labor. I continued to dilate in the next few hours and progressed to roughly 9cm by 3:00pm. Our nurse encouraged {cv} to run downstairs to grab a quick lunch before the "party" started. When he came back, he found me with a room full of hospital staff in the pushing position. Our little one's heart tones had slowed while I was on my left side and they wanted to get the ball rolling. After a few minutes, things leveled out and they encouraged me to take it a nap before we really began pushing.

Truth be told, I never thought I would be able to take a nap in the midst of all of this excitement...but I crashed. The epidural was managing the contractions well and I slept until 4:45 or so, when I officially started pushing. During the afternoon, the OB on staff confirmed what I already knew (from baby {v}'s movements throughout my pregnancy): our little one was "sunny side up". Most people know that a baby needs to be head down for an optimal delivery. Baby {v} was head down, but his back was to my back -- which isn't particularly ideal in the birthing process.

Even though my labor and delivery team said I was pushing like a champ, it took much longer to bring baby {v} into the world than expected because of this position. {cv} was incredible all day long, but his calming spirit made these hours pass much more easily. I may be an anomaly, but the pushing process wasn't as horrific as I imagined it would be. Getting the baby out (and also finding out the gender) gave this distance runner a goal -- and I work well with a finish line. The epidural also helped immensely in giving me the stamina to proceed. Though we hadn't taken any birthing classes, I didn't need them: nature took over and I did what felt right. Thankfully, baby {v} turned from the sunny side up position as I continued to push, which made a big difference in my progress. I pushed for just over two and a half hours before our sweet baby boy made his entrance at 7:22pm.

The cliché about holding your baby for the first time and feeling all the love in the world for that little person? Well, it certainly applied with James. He was ours: half of {cv} and half of me. I could see a little of each of us the first time I looked at him. After so much prayer for his safe delivery, the relief and joy in holding this healthy little one was exponential. Those whirlwind moments after he was born are infinitely more clear than the six hours before his arrival -- and I'll always hold those memories close. One of my favorites moments? Seeing {cv} hold our son for the first time -- captured in the photo above. My heart nearly burst out of my chest.

(As an aside: My amazing OB was not on call the day of my delivery. On the day of my last appointment in her office, she wrote her cell phone number on her script pad and told me to let her know when I was admitted. (It is still hanging on our fridge.) When she got word that I was ready to push, it was just before her day ended at her practice. Low and behold, she was able to come and deliver baby {v}. Any fears I had about the birth faded when she walked in the room. I still can't believe we were lucky enough to have her there for baby {v}'s grand entrance. She truly went above and beyond in every way.)

If you're still reading at this point, bravo! I honestly can't believe it has been a month since he arrived, though part of me feels like he has always been a part of our lives. We are so thankful that {jv} is thriving outside of that big belly of mine. I have much more to say on his first month, but I will save it for another post. Thank you for being a part of my pregnancy journey and for all your encouragement along the way. I felt like I had an army of support -- and still do.

The best way I can sum up the story of James' birth-day? He was absolutely worth the wait. xoxo {av}

P.S. If you want more photos of {jv}, be sure to follow along on Instagram!

21 comments:

  1. Beautiful story!! Congratulations again! Reading other people's birth story brings back memories of my own labor. It is such a surreal time.

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  2. loved this birth story ali (and the pic of chris holding james!) so adorable!! sounds like you took on the delivery like a champ! xo jillian - cornflake dreams

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  3. Congrats! I absolutely love reading people's birth story (though I still have quite a lot years left before I start a family) - so glad that everything went well! Enjoy your bundle of joy!!

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  4. Love every bit of this--makes me excited for what we have ahead. I hope it goes as smoothly as yours did!! xx

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  5. Absolutely Beautiful Story! Congratulations!

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  6. This is so sweet! Congratulations and best wishes for your family.

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  7. Congratulations, what a sweet story! I am pregnant and due this April with my husband and I's first baby. I cannot get enough of birth stories, and reading yours was both calming and reassuring. xoxo

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  8. What a great story and picture! Thank you for sharing! He truly is adorable!!

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  9. What a lovely birth story :) so happy that it went smoothly for all of you! And beyond happy you were able to nap you lucky lady !!

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  10. I must admit, Siri read this for me while I was getting dressed today. Minus her robotic voice, this was such a beautiful story! I am still smiling! Ask Siri to speak the word "epidural." Sounds like "profiterole!" Hungry anyone?

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  11. so sweet! and how fun to have this all written down to remember later on :-) congratulations!

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  12. Okay, this doesn't sound so bad, thanks for making it less scary ;) So glad you'll be able to give me all this advice someday!! (I'm prepared for the unedited version!) xoxo K

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  13. I read blogger birth stories like crazy before I delivered too, and I still love reading them - so thank you for sharing! Especially thank you for sharing it in a positive light that is reassuring to others. There are so many ways to go about the process, and while I did a natural delivery I think every woman should be empowered to do it the way that works for her - but that we should all be empowered in a way that celebrates our amazing bodies and doesn't promote the culture of fear that I think often surrounds how labor & delivery are discussed. Way to go, mama, and congratulations on your amazing little bundle. You did great!

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  14. Congrats again! So glad everything went smoothly for you!

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  15. Congrats again! So glad everything went smoothly for you!

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  16. What a wonderful experience!! I gave birth 12/3/14 and my husband and I also didn't know the gender, or go in with a birth plan. Following my instincts and letting nature take its course lead to a great birth. Congratulations on your little boy!!

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  17. Congratulations! You make me be optimistic about having a baby!

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  18. Alison this is so sweet. I'm literally tearing up. Little James is so lucky to have you as his mama!

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  19. Hi Alison, you don't know me, but I received a link to your blog from one of my mommy friends. I wanted to let you know I was one of the other three women who had their water break at home the morning of 12/8! Giuliana was born that night at 10:45 PM, she too was sunny side up! Congrats on your newborn baby girl, we are expecting a boy this December!

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