Hayden's Birth Story
A few months before Hayden was born, I became OBSESSED with hearing other women's birth stories!! I found it so exciting, beautiful and terrifying.
Now that Hayden is almost six months old (um, insane!), I thought it would be fun to share her birth story.
Her due date was March 27, 2020. About three weeks before her due date arrived I was convinced she would come at any moment. Well... her due date came and went.
I was still very pregnant.
On March 30th at around 7 pm, I was sitting on the couch watching American Idol with Zach and my parents. I started to feel contractions for the first time. That week I had been googling "what do contractions feel like" every few hours. #FirstTimeMom But, like everyone says, they're hard to describe.
I started to feel this internal pressure, pushing my belly downward. The feeling spanned across my stomach like the internet articles said. It wasn't painful yet, it just felt like pressure. The contractions were every 15 minutes or so. I started to track them on my contraction timer app. They were growing closer together, but still inconsistent. Around midnight everyone headed to bed, but I was too excited to sleep. I laid in bed timing them, until around 5 am when they were spaced 5 minutes apart for a solid hour (following the 5-1-1 contraction rule).
I woke Zach up and told him it was time. We grabbed our bags and headed to the hospital.
Because of COVID-19, he couldn't go in with me to triage. He would meet me once I was admitted to a room. I got into triage, and they tracked my contractions for awhile. They had me walk around the hallway for an hour to move things along. After an hour of circling the halls, they told me my contractions were close enough together, but they weren't strong enough yet. So they sent me home. I was suuuuper bummed.
Zach and I went home and worked on a Star Wars puzzle for most of the day. (My dad captured this lovely picture haha) I was grunting through my contractions, but they returned to being irregular and spaced out a bit.
Another night went by, and my contractions were growing in painfulness, but weren't quite close enough together. They were about every 7 minutes instead of every 5 minutes. I didn't get any sleep that night.
By noon the next day, my contractions were 4 minutes apart, and I was groaning through these contractions. It had to be time. We headed to the hospital, went into triage, and heard those dreaded words again: "Your contractions aren't quite strong enough." Immediately tears started streaming down my face. I was in so much pain. The doctors looked like they felt bad for me, and I was embarrassed to be crying in front of them. I couldn't talk through my contractions, but the nurses weren't ever in the room while I was having them to see how painful they were.
We went home and I was miserable. I had contractions all day. I kept taking baths to try and help with the pain, but nothing helped. I felt like I couldn't go back in until my water broke because I was sure they would just send me home again. I had Lauren Daigle's song, Rescue on repeat.
I remember crying and praying that God would let my water break any moment so that the hospital wouldn't turn me away. Around midnight I got out of bed to ask Zach to pray with me and help me because I was so desperate. He helped me back into bed and right during a super painful contraction, my water finally broke!!!
I cried from relief. Praise the Lord!! Zach looked so excited, knowing it was really game time now. We grabbed our bags, I hugged my mom goodbye, and we headed to the hospital at 1 am on April 1st.
They let Zach come with me into triage this time. I waddled to the check in desk for the third time that week.
Zach and I stood in the waiting area, while my water continued to leak all over the place. My contractions were strong. I was embarrassed that I couldn't help but groan loudly through them. The nurse called me over and asked me if I was wearing a pad.... oops. I didn't even think to put one on I was so desperate to get to the hospital.
They took me to triage, confirmed my water had broken, that I was 2 cm dilated and said- "You are not leaving here without a baby!!"
That was what I needed to hear. We were smiling real big under our masks.
My nurse was AMAZING. After I was hooked up to all the things, he asked me if I wanted to go ahead and get my epidural. I said "um yes please!!!" He told me he could order it for me once we got to our room.
He wheeled me to my hospital room, and at this point the pain was so intense, I felt like I was seeing stars and it was hard to breath. I naively thought I wouldn't feel intense pain since I was going to ask for an epidural.
It was then he let me know that Hayden's heartbeat was a little high, and we'd need to wait on the epidural for awhile. Of course, I'd do anything to make sure Hayden would be healthy and safe. Those next few hours are a blur in my memory. I remember lots of pain and Zach's incredible encouragement and reassurance.
Around 5 am, I finally got the epidural. The process of getting the epidural wasn't bad at all. Relief was immediate. I could relax. My nurse checked me and said, "Whoa you're 8 cm dilated. You could have this baby by 7 am."
My hopes were high, and I took a nap. That nurse's shift ended, and my doctor came in. She checked my dilation and said, "You are 6 cm dilated." I was super confused. I guess the first nurse got it wrong? My labor began to stall and they had to give me Pitocin 4 separate times. Around 11 am, my epidural wore off.
It's almost all a blur from there. God's grace. haha I remember it was really hard. I remember turning to Zach and saying "I'm so sorry I know we wanted more kids, but I can't do this ever again." He said "Let's just talk about that later."
My doctor was delivering another baby so she couldn't come check on me. I felt like it was time for me to push around 11:30 pm. 12 pm came and went. 1 pm came and went. I let my nurse know that I couldn't handle it anymore, and I'd just need a different doctor. She said she'd go get help. An hour went by.
At 2 pm a doctor and a doctor in training came and checked on me. They heard me have a contraction and said "Whoa it sounds like she's ready to push!!" In my mind I was like "No kidding!!" My doctor came in shortly after. She checked my dilation and said I was 9.5 cm dilated, but we could go ahead and start pushing. I was confused by how that worked, but it was fine by me.
At this point, they took me off the contraction monitor because they said my contractions were still inconsistent, and it wasn't helpful anymore. So they just told me to push whenever I felt like it. They told me to grit my teeth and push for ten seconds at a time. Zach counted for me- he was the best cheerleader in the world. They didn't give me the stirrup things I've seen in movies, they just had me hold my own legs and helped me with them. It was such a weird experience.
I'd never felt so much responsibility before. I felt like it was all on me to get my girl out safe. I gave it all I had. I hadn't slept in days, I'd never been so tired. It was 9 hard months leading to this moment, and all of it was about to be over. I felt like I was so close to the end of a really hard season and the beginning of a really incredible one. After an hour of pushing, the doctor said, "I can see her head. She has blonde hair!! Do you want to feel her head?"
I remember thinking "oh gosh, no", but I didn't respond because I was in a daze. She took my hand and put it on the top of Hayden's head. That was the most surreal moment. It gave me the motivation I needed to give one last push. I was so scared because the epidural had worn off and I knew I'd feel everything. But it's not like I had a choice anyways! haha I just wanted it to all be over!
With that one last push, it all happened so fast. At 3:07 pm on April 1st, they put Hayden right onto my chest. She didn't really even cry, she just looked up at me. I looked at Zach, and he was sobbing. I was in too much shock to cry, but I was overwhelmed with emotion. She was perfect. I felt like I'd known her my entire life.
The pain was gone. I immediately felt like a different person. My world was changed. A miracle right before my eyes.
There's nothing like becoming a mom. It's not easy. It's painful, your body goes through so much, your emotions and hormones are all out of wack, your identity changes incredibly.
But it is the biggest blessing. One of the greatest joys. As I've heard it said, "a piece of my heart now lives outside my body."
I know that everything I faced & everything I will face as a mom will be 1 million times worth it.
That night I looked at Zach and said, "Okay, I take it back. We can have another one."