Jackson’s Birth Story.

The Story:

It all started Wednesday the 15th of May into Thursday, the 16th. I got a chiropractic adjustment Wednesday afternoon and by that night, after I watched American Idol and had a glass of wine, I went to bed with contractions 10 minutes apart. By 1 or 2 am they were 7 minutes apart, but then they stopped by 3 am. I was slightly frustrated considering I was now going on 10 days late. Some background: starting at 37 weeks I was literally doing everything I possibly could to help naturally encourage labor; i.e. primrose oil, walking, squats, sitting on an exercise ball, climbing the stairs multiple times in a row, eating pineapple, spicy food, adding basil & oregano into everything possible, etc. I learned that he was not coming out until he was ready!

I woke up Thursday with no contractions, but had a midwife appointment with Laura that morning to monitor the baby for 30 minutes, followed by an ultrasound to check fluid levels; standard post date stuff. While at the doctors Laura swept my membranes, which she had done the previous Monday as well; then while hooked up to the monitoring machine, I started having contractions recorded at 5 minutes apart. This was around 9 or 9:30am. They weren’t super strong, but definitely noticeable. Joe was with me, but had to go back to work. I didn’t want to go to my ultrasound alone in case things were to progress to the point where I couldn’t drive, so I drove to my sister’s house and she came with me. It was around 11am when we arrived at the Yale office where I’d get the ultrasound. At this point I was saying “ouch” to the contractions, still 5 minutes apart or so, but again it was more like a severe menstrual cramp than anything. After the ultrasound we drove back to my sister’s, picked up her family and headed to a local library to get some Sugar Bakery cupcakes since their truck was there for the afternoon. Once I had my cupcakes I headed home to eat some lunch.

I was dicing up veggies to make salsa and remember my mom texting me asking me how I was doing. I told her I was having contractions 5 minutes apart and making salsa. She thought it was funny that I was having contractions and making salsa. I was hungry! 🙂 At this point it was around 1:30pm. After I made the salsa I texted Joe and told him he should come home soon in case anything were to progress. I ate lunch and waited for him. He got home around 2:30pm, he ate lunch, and then we went for a walk around the neighborhood. It was a beautiful day outside!

Back home from the walk we decided to eat one of our cup cakes! It was around 4:30pm now. I sat on my exercise ball and thoroughly enjoyed my Snickers cup cake while conversing with my husband. I think I literally had just swallowed the last bite when I felt a contraction, and then all of a sudden kind of pop in my stomach, almost like a water balloon popping, and Jackson’s head drop really low. The contraction immediately became like 20x more painful. Oh boy. I thought to myself, “Oh God…I felt a pop, the baby’s head pretty much just dropped into my pelvis, and this contraction suddenly SUCKS. Holy crap, I think my water just broke.” Sure enough I stood up and started walking to bathroom and with each step: gush, gush, gush. I pretty much just stood in the shower and let it all come on out. Then…I had to poop. And let me tell you I pooped more than I have ever pooped in my ENTIRE LIFE (haha). {Listen, this is my birth story, and I like details, so you’re getting all the details. ;)} Joe called the midwives to tell them my water broke. Because the fluid was yellow and Jackson was 10 days late Laura advised us to go to the hospital right away to make sure there was no meconium in the fluid. So, I got changed, we grabbed our stuff and Joe told me to head to the car and he would tell my dad we were leaving. Joe got to the car with my dad trailing behind him. He came to my side, kissed me on the head and told me to remember what his mom always said, “Women are stronger than men, that’s why they are the ones who have babies.” Lol, thanks Daddy.

We were going to be delivering Jackson at Yale New Haven Hospital. On the drive there I remember being like “ooooooowwwww!” Once we arrived and checked in the attendant asked me if I wanted a wheel chair, but I declined thinking of what Louise, the nurse whose birth class I attended had said, “When they offer you a wheel chair say no. You can walk. You’re not sick; you’re just having a baby.” That was her mantra, “You’re just having a baby.” Well, I half regretted not getting the wheel chair lol. But knew it’d be best to walk.

By the time we got up to the L&D floor it was around 5pm and the contractions were making me nauseous and faint. We were greeted by a nurse who informed us that there were no rooms left in triage so I would have to be checked by my on-call midwife, Elise, in the C-Section recovery room, which is like it says – where women recover after having a C-Section. Now, at some point I am pretty sure I already started kind of grunting or groaning through the contractions; just what these poor women who are recovering from surgery want to hear. I remember then getting ready for Elise to check me and realizing that blood comes out when you have a contraction. And it was now on the floor near my feet. I also remember hating the fact that I had to climb up on a bed and be checked during a contraction. After checking me out, Elise said that, 1.) I was only 2.5 cm, 2.) there didn’t seem to be meconium , which meant I technically did not have to stay at the hospital, and 3.) it was too soon for her liking to admit me. She suggested I go back home or go walk around the hospital or outside, basically wherever I would be most comfortable.

My state at this point was dizzy and faint, a bit overwhelmed at being in the hospital in an unfamiliar/uncomfortable environment, as well as by what I was feeling and experiencing in my body and being in very little control of it, and distressed at the thought of experiencing this in the car, outside on the public streets, or at home where my parents were (no offense mommy & daddy). I looked at Elise with the saddest face ever and told her I can’t get back in the car, and not to make me go out there (downtown new haven). Elise, being the most glorious woman and best midwife ever responded by saying, “Okay listen, go up to the 7th floor. There is a healing garden on the roof up there that is quiet and peaceful, and there is usually no one up there. Go out there and walk around and come back in a couple hours and we’ll check to see how you’ve progressed.”

Joe and I got up to the garden that had a pretty landscape of plants, a stream, benches and a path intertwined through it all. I definitely enjoyed the scenery and fresh air right away; it made me feel like I wasn’t in a hospital anymore. As nice as it was I confessed to Joe at this point that I just wish I had a pillow to put my head down on because of feeling faint and tired. I was thinking to myself that I really didn’t know how I was going to get through this entire labor if I was already feeling like this. I decided to go kneel in front of a bench and put my head down. Joe took the inserts out of his shoes to pad my knees. Such a great hubby. I think he started playing some music also. Even though I was outside with the evening sky and breeze, with my husband, listening to worship music, I just did not feel comfortable, or as comfortable as I could be while having contractions. I needed my doula, my dear friend Chrisy Kendrick. Joe called her to come meet us, and after Joe and I had been up there for about an hour she arrived. The first thing she did was get down next to me to encourage me and pray for me for the rest of the delivery. I finally felt the faint and dizzy feeling lift and decided to get up and walk around. Now with each contraction what felt best was for me to put my arms around Joe’s neck with my face in his chest and squat a little in front of him. Chrisy would rub my back and hips through the contraction. This pretty much got me through my entire labor. We circled the garden like this for about an hour and decided to go back down to get checked out; back to the C-Section recovery room for my labor sounds to disrupt the recovering women.  I remember walking by the waiting room where families were waiting to meet new babies right outside the L&D doors, getting a contraction, and thinking “Why God?!”.  I really did not think I was going to be one to make loud noise while in labor, but that was not the case. I was definitely a deep guttural, pit of your stomach noise maker. It was just how I needed to deal with the contractions; unfortunate for innocent by-standers. So, turns out in those 2 hours or so I went from 2.5 cm to 3 cm. I was not too happy about that; I wanted to progress quickly, but who wouldn’t really? At this point I think that Joe or Chrisy had gotten in touch with my dear friend Alayna Wetherhead who I also wanted there. She met us back there at this point. Elise told us that they were going to get me the tub room (Yale L&D has one room with a big tub in it), which I was incredibly thankful for, but that it could take about 1.5 hrs, so I should go back to the garden. I found out afterwards that she told Joe, Chrisy & Alayna to keep me up there as long as possible. It was around 8-8:30pm at this time.

The worst part about going up to the garden was walking the hallways with contractions. There were multiple times when I would be having a contraction and a random doctor would ask, “Is she okay?” Um. Really? She’s having a baby. Have you never seen a laboring woman before? Other times I would be having a contraction in the elevator and it would stop at a random floor. When the doors opened and revealed my laboring self, the person waiting on the other side would usually give a half smile and say, “I’ll wait for the next one.” Good idea.

Back up in the garden we walked around for a while but it got to the point where I just wanted to kneel and lean forward over a bench. I remember shoving my fingers between the slats in the bench, gripping it, shoving my face into my arms and half yelling, half groaning through the contractions. I also remember feeling more and more pressure and thinking if it wasn’t intense before, it was pretty freaking intense now. Joe said afterward as we were reflecting on it all that this particular time – seeing me go through what I was going through and hearing me in pain was rough for him to. All I had in my mind was that I heard Elise say it would be around 1.5 hrs at most before the tub was ready. So, after I really couldn’t stand it anymore I asked my birthing crew if it was time to go down yet. Chrisy confirmed that it had been 1.5 hrs and that she could tell a difference in the intensity of the contractions and we could go down.

THANK THE LORD when Elise checked me this time I was 4 cm; she said I was in a new phase of labor – active labor, and I could finally be admitted. I was like yes a new phase; get me the heck out of the old phase. I want the TUB! Bad news: they needed 15-20 min to fill the tub. My thought: “There was already 1.5 hrs to fill the tub!!!” I hated having to sit and wait in that C-Section recovery room, but tried to remain patient. I took the time to change into the birthing attire I spent $37 at target on (that made my husband happy… 😉 he was like why did you spend almost $40 on clothes that are going to get ruined?!) (They didn’t get ruined by the way.). Once the room was ready, around 9:45pm, I made a bee line for the tub. The warm water felt amazing. I really was so happy that I could labor in the tub, it was a Godsend. I continued to labor through the contractions just the same as before, leaning over the side of the tub onto Joe while Chrisy or Alayna rubbed my back. Elise put a pillow on the edge of the tub so I could relax in between contractions. At one point I heard Will Reagan & United Pursuits “Endless Years” album playing in the background and I was thankful for whoever put that on (Alayna, I think.). I started to get hot after a while so one of the girls put a cool cloth on my neck and forehead which was comforting. They were constantly offering me water and juice in between contractions to make sure I was staying hydrated and energized. In the moment I couldn’t even think of eating or drinking and could barely take the little sips, but I was thankful for their care and knew it would be best to stay hydrated. For 2 hours I continued through the intensifying contractions with the increasing urge to bear down into that pressure. I was making the typical laboring sounds trying to keep the sound out of my throat and into my stomach. At the end of those 2 hrs, around 11:45pm, Elise checked my cervix during a contraction and found I was 5cm. I was thinking dear God help me. She said that because Jackson’s head is right up against my cervix, my bearing down and groaning into my stomach is causing too much pressure against my cervix. It isn’t ready for that yet so it’s not dilating, or even worse could swell or tear. She suggested we bust out the typical 70s labor method of the “hee hee hee hoo” with each contraction, keeping it very breathy & up in my head, if that makes sense, and asked Joe to do it with me to help me keep with it. This would keep pressure of my cervix and help me progress faster, hopefully. I prayed, “Please Lord, let Elise know what she is talking about.”

The next contraction came and it took all my strength to keep my body from going back to what I was doing before. I wanted to be all crazy intense, aggressively getting through the contraction, but this was very calm and soft; I think it made me focus on the pain more. Basically, the next 2 hrs were the hardest 2 hrs of my entire labor. I was thankful for those who were with me praying for me, and for the prayers from those praying at home. My contractions were getting more and more and more intense, the pressure was getting more and more and more intense, and along with dealing with that, I had to fight against what my body naturally wanted to do. If Joe was not there with me during every contraction, especially the “hee hee hee hoo” ones, I don’t know if I could have made it. He is such a servant, often putting himself last, that he did not even pee when he had too! Finally around 8 hrs in he decided he needed to relieve his bladder and stretch his legs that were asleep. Elise came to take his place, letting me lean on her. She was so sweet whispering encouraging words to me, and rubbing her finger on my forehead to relieve tension. I remember playing with her hair while I was hugging her trying to calm my breathing after a contraction was over; for some reason it was just comforting to me. I had an incredible team with me.

Drawing near to the end of those 2 hours the “hee hee hee hoos” started sounding sadder and sadder, with the “hoos” extending into half crying. Elise and the sweet nurse, Rachel, would say let that contraction go, it’s over, let your breath be normal, but I would say but it still hurts and I still feel pressure!! Probably around 1:30am I looked up at Chrisy and Rachel and said/cried, “I can’t do this for anymore hours! I can’t.” I remember Chrisy saying, “It’s not hours it’s just the next contraction. You just have to get through the next one,” and Rachel, “Every contraction is just bringing your baby closer.” Me: “No. No more. I can’t do it anymore.” Joe chimed in there, “The Lord has given you the strength and everything you need to get through this, you can do it.” Me: “YOU DON’T KNOW WHAT I’M FEELING RIGHT NOW.” Clearly I was done!! 😉 Later on Rachel said she knew in that moment I hit transition, and she was right. To the grace of God Elise did know what she was talking about; she checked my cervix and with a little help from her I was finally 10cm dilated. Can I just say that I thought that moment was never going to come and I was going to die in that tub? Not really, but kind of.

Just as much as I wanted the tub before, I wanted out of the tub now. I hopped out of it so fast; I was SO ready to push. I went from on the verge of delirious with my eyes rolling in back of my head to lets freaking do this.

I pushed for a total of 2 hrs. I started with squatting with the squat bar, went from that to laying back and pulling myself forward with a towel wrapped around the squat bar; from that I went to all fours, followed by sitting on the toilet. I mean, where is the most natural place to push like you’re pooping? I remember practically jumping out of the bed to get to the bathroom. I was in beast mode. I asked Elise if he was going to fall in the toilet…She said he wouldn’t, but if he happened to she’d get him out (haha). She also laughed at me because she would tell me not to keep pushing if my contraction was over, but I always gave one extra little push at the end. Listen, I wanted to meet my kid. She was all geared up for him to come out on the toilet, but decided that she thought I did the best with pulling myself forward with the towel, so we went back to the bed to try that method again. It soon became clear that this is how he was coming out. They put a mirror up for me so I could see what was going on down there, which I found very motivating. I don’t remember all the details, but I remember being so happy pushing and even joking around. I loved hearing Joe’s reaction every time Jackson’s head would show. I don’t really remember what he said, but I got the sense he was like oh my gosh this is crazy and that looks nothing like a baby’s head and is that really my kid?! He and Alayna were holding my legs and cheering me on while Chrisy was encouraging me on the side. I constantly heard everyone saying great job, and that was an awesome push, etc. I also heard Elise joking that she was wearing goggles because she thought a flood of fluid was going to come out behind Jackson and hit her because there hadn’t been that much fluid before. Ok, so finally after almost 2 hours of pushing his head half emerged. Can I just be frank? The boy’s head was half way out for a lot longer than I would have liked. I heard Elise or the nurse tell me to just relax and let him stretch me out. Yea well, they don’t call it the ring of fire for nothing. Finally, after a few more contractions and crazy with all my strength pushes I felt our little boy make his way out and he was plopped on my chest. The cord was wrapped around his neck so Elise cut it right away, which Joe didn’t mind as long as Jackson was safe.  Apparently he did some fancy move on the way out, and both shoulders came out at the same time with his arms crossed in front of him with his hands by his face. Typical Jackson. Oh, and the first thing he did was poop all over the place. Also typical Jackson. 🙂

Literally everything I had just been through faded away when our son was in my arms. I couldn’t believe he was finally here and laying on me! I just kept saying “oh my gosh,” and Joe and I both could not stop saying hi to him. We were in awe of him and his sweet little face. I think the first thing I really noticed were his hands and finger nails. His hands were big! He had long fingers and long finger nails!! I thought that was so funny. Piano hands, just like his dad and Grandpa Jacobs. And those gorgeous eyes as he was blinking in front of us for the first time – breathtaking. At first Joe just saw this purple creature that looked more like an alien than a baby. He was amazed that by the time he was plopped in front of us his coloring was normal and he actually resembled a baby…a very cute baby at that! We were so so so in love.

All in all I was 11 days late, and my labor from the time my water broke was 11 hours long. Jackson was born on May 17th, 2013 at 3:44am. He was 7lbs 15oz and 21.5in long. I did the whole thing completely natural, which was my plan.

I held him while Elise and the Rachel continued to work on me. Rachel kept trying to get a good cry out of him, so she eventually took him for a minute to do a deep clean of his throat because he wasn’t really giving her the screaming cry she was looking for. To this day he rarely cries like that! Such a good boy. She was thoughtful in doing that so the nurses on the recovery floor wouldn’t have to take him from us to clean his throat later on. Finally, I was in a wheel chair ready to head up to the recovery floor and Rachel handed me Jackson all bundled up. She told me some nurses won’t let women hold their babies up to recovery, but she was so cool and totally fine with it. Joe was alongside, and we were on our way to start our first night (or day really) of this new adventure together as a family.

Things we learned about Jackson in the hospital those first few days:

  • He busted out of swaddles and loves his hands near his face.
  • He loves to hold things: our fingers, shirts, blankets, etc.
  • He is very alert & curious.
  • He was great at pooping.
  • He learned to latch almost immediately, and was a great eater.
  • He liked to suck in his bottom lip.
  • He smiled when he ate & slept.
  • He was born incredibly cute & loved; the nurses there loved him…along with everyone else. We got many messages from friends saying he was the cutest newborn they had ever seen.

My reflections:

Labor was definitely more intense than I anticipated. I knew it was going to be hard work, but I imagined it more like a challenging yoga class or something that I would just have to power through. No person, book or piece of advice can really prepare you for what you experience. It is a pain like no other, but the reward is also like no other. I can’t say it was easy, but it was perfect. I would not have had it any other way.

I am so so so so so so so blessed by my husband. We really labored together for our little one. He was there for me every single second, emotionally and physically. He does not have good shoulders or a good back, and he sacrificially let me lean on him for pretty much 11 hours straight. We were both sore the next day. We have always been all about being a team and this labor and birth was no different. He is my MVP. 🙂

My birth team was all around amazing. It was such a wise move to have a doula, and close friends there who have been through it before. It was great support for me, but also for Joe. It was so special for me to share this amazing miraculous experience with them, and I am so incredibly full of gratitude for the sacrifice of time and sleep they made to be there with me.

If anyone lives in the New Haven area and is in need of a gyno/midwife practice, do yourself a favor and go to Women’s Health Associates. Joe and I loved all three midwives from the start (Deb, Laura & Elise), but after our birth experience we cannot be more fond of or speak more highly of this practice. When you are in labor it is so hard to think clearly at times. You need to have someone you trust to know what you want and what you need to guide you. I didn’t know it in the moment but looking back, it was as if Elise knew exactly what I wanted and what I needed when I couldn’t realize it or verbalize it myself. Childbirth is crazy. It is a rollercoaster ride, and she helped make it so I had the birth I wanted, as well as facilitated a pleasant experience in the midst of something that could easily go off track and be not so pleasant.

Overall, I see the hand and favor of the Lord over me and my growing family. I know that He is the one responsible for blessing me with a great birth experience with no complications, creating a perfect little boy for us, and keeping him safe throughout it all. Every single person involved was ordained to be there by Him. It was truly a gift. Every good and perfect gift comes from above, from the Father of Lights in whom there is no shadow or variation. He is GOOD.

Pictures:

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Joe & I enduring a contraction in the tub.
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So grateful to have this man by my side!
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Elise stepping in for Joe, Joe encouraging from the side & Chrisy massaging my back/hips.
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Me wanting to be done, and Joe giving me some motivation.
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Husband & Doula helping me make it through the final stretches.
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He is here. Jackson Bruno Jacobs.
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Family
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4 thoughts on “Jackson’s Birth Story.

  1. Melissa, Thank you so much for sharing your beautiful journey into motherhood. You are such a blessing my sister in the Lord. Love you, janet

  2. This was an amazing story you will never forgot. Good & rough time you will always treasure especially your little bundle of joy in the end 🙂 daddy & I are so proud of you!
    Love you!

  3. Pingback: Natural Yeast Rash Remedy | foodformyhouse

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