Baby James’ Birth Story

I have found myself with a few free minutes as James is getting his newborn glamour shots. Since these moments are a rarity these days, I thought I would take advantage of the opportunity to share his birth story.

As you are all aware, my “estimated” due date was Monday, June 5th. That day had come and gone and I was STILL pregnant. Yay. (Please note the sarcasm, ha!) I am thankful I wasn’t uncomfortable or experiencing any issues with my pregnancy at the end, but it is HOT in Naples this time of year, so my doctor, Kyle and I agreed on an inducement date of June 8th if the little guy hadn’t yet made his appearance.

Fast forward to 5am on June 8th. Whomp, whomp. No baby yet. So at 6am I called the hospital to hold my room, our friend who graciously decided to watch Dean arrived, and we were ready to go! But we had a problem… there was no room at the hospital. We were put on their “hold” list and were told to wait for their call to arrive at the birth center. So we waited and waited and waited some more… Talk about an emotional day! Finally, around 3pm, the hospital called and they were ready for us. We thought we’d already have our baby by that point but were just happy to finally be called in after being a bit anxious throughout the day.

Our friend came back over (we decided she should go back home around 10am as we were all anxious and just waiting around watching the clock tic), we packed up the car and we were off.

I don’t think it hit me that we were going to HAVE A BABY until our L&D nurse was walking us back to our room and she asked me how I felt. I cried. It was a different experience than I had with Dean, I was nervous and I knew what to expect during labor this go round… All cause for an anxious mama!

After completing the initial forms, paperwork and basic medical prep like my IV, I was FINALLY hooked up to pitocin around 5pm. After a few hours, the plan was to have my doctor come in and break my water to speed things up. There was no turning back then!

Per my nurse, my contractions started right away. I could feel them but they weren’t painful in the least so she continued to monitor both myself and baby for any signs of distress and we played the waiting game. I knew I wanted to wait until I was at least 4cm dilated before receiving my epidural – I didn’t want my labor to slow down or to pump too many medications into my body at once. After about an hour, she told me I must have a super high pain tolerance as I still wasn’t overly uncomfortable. Shortly there after however, the pain arrived so I knew something must be happening. I was checked and was 4cm (I arrived at around 1cm). WOOHOO, time for pain meds! I wasn’t about to tough it out last time even though my epidural didn’t full take with Dean. I figure some pain relief is better than zero.

Oh the epidural. I have come to the conclusion that I just don’t have good luck with them! When a student anesthesiologist arrived to administer my epidural and she asked me if we were going to try for a girl in the future (Don’t ask a pregnant woman in labor if she is going to have another baby… she will feel the urge to strangle you in between contractions!), I should have assumed things would no go as planned, ha… She couldn’t get the needle or catheter (not sure which, I tried to block out the conversation so I didn’t faint) in correctly, so after a few tries, her trainer took over and finally got everything administered correctly. I was NOT nice to them, but when you’re shoving a needle into my spinal area multiple times while I’m having painful contractions, they shouldn’t have expected nice ;-)

This time, the epidural DID work so that is a bonus! I was numb basically right away (almost too numb I think because I couldn’t move my legs) which I appreciated after going through the experience. It did give me some nasty shakes and I felt super jittery/uncomfortable, but I didn’t feel pain and my stats were fine. Baby’s heart rate did drop a bit after the epidural was administered so the nurses flipped me to my side and turned off the pitocin for him to adjust. I was mentally panicking and worried we would be sent in for an emergency c-section, but a minute or two later, my water broke and his heart rate returned to normal. PHEW! My nurse told me he probably dropped quickly (causing my water to break) and his heart needed a few minutes to catch up.

It was around 8:30pm at that point and I was now at 5cm. I was told things would probably move quickly at this point based on how I progressed with Dean, so it was a good thing I received my pain meds when I did.

They weren’t kidding!

Around 9:45pm, I felt some pressure so the nurse checked my progress and I was 9cm dilated! Eep – things were getting real. All of the medical staff started prepping for delivery, my doctor was paged, and I was trying not to panic. For some reason, I was very anxious this time around… I am not sure if it was the pitocin (I had it with Dean too though), the epidural experience/shakes, having to wait all day to head to the hospital, or being induced versus going into labor naturally, but I was nervous something would go wrong the entire time. So, although I was anxious, I was happy we were nearing the end.

My doctor arrived a little after 10pm and after a quick exam, told me I could do this in ONE push. I laughed and thought to myself, We will see… I am not a good pusher. Kyle and my nurse had to help a lot with my legs as I couldn’t move/feel them, and although it wasn’t one push, it only took 5 minutes and Baby James arrived at 10:27pm! It took me 45 minutes of pushing for Dean to arrive so I was pleasantly surprised at the shortened time.

James was placed on my chest and screamed nice and loud. He weighed in at 7 pounds, 2 ounces and was 19 1/2 inches long.

James did have a bit of meconium at birth so I am very grateful we decided to induce. Everything happens for a reason, right? Thankfully, he had no negative side effects (he didn’t breathe it in) and was given an Apgar score of 9 by the pediatric nurse that examined him. He was placed on my chest after his initial evaluation and latched on almost immediately… and continued to nurse basically all night ;-)

I was in labor for just about 5 1/2 hours and even though I was induced and felt icky from the epidural, I would say I had a positive experience. The nurses were incredible, I love my doctor, and Kyle was a great partner and checked my readings to calm me down whenever I heard an odd beeping sound.

I still attest that the worst parts of birth (for me) are the IV, the dang blood pressure cuff that NEVER STOPS, and the epidural. While I am thankful for all three of them, I hate them the most! I didn’t rip the BP cuff off this labor though, so I would say my tolerance is improving ;-)

I must say that I am much happier with James Reilly on the outside than the inside. I am also happy that I had a great birth experience… and that the whole birthing process is over, ha. I am recovering quite quickly this time and am thrilled to have two sons to love!

In case you’re curious, you can find Dean’s birth story here.

Baby Dean’s Birth Story

On Thursday, May 14th, Kyle and I woke up to what we knew was going to be a special day. We waited and waited until the evening hours and finally, Dean’s stork appeared at our door! It brought all 7 pounds, 7 ounces of a healthy baby boy and we couldn’t have been happier. The end.

Oh, that’s not the birth story you were looking to read today? ;)

Well then, let’s get to it, shall we?

On the morning of May 14th, Kyle’s alarm sounded like any other weekday at 6:30am. I was tired and didn’t want to get out of bed when I felt a little trickle. Ugh great, now I can’t even control my bladder… I jumped out of bed to run to the bathroom and then there was a bit more of a gush (although it wasn’t a ton of fluid, I was thankful that I was OUT of bed at this point). I looked at Kyle and told him that I thought my water had broken. After confirming that I was definitely not losing control of my bladder, I asked Kyle to clean up the floor (poor guy!) and jumped in the shower.

I had about every thought under the sun as I took my last pre-baby shower… Is this really happening? Am I supposed to be showering? What else do I need in my bag? HOLY CRAP.

Kyle packed his bag and took Mitchell on a quick walk while I finished throwing my hospital bag together. I was starting to have contractions at this point, but nothing painful and I was able to clean up the bedroom and the kitchen before Kyle and Mitchell came back home. After chugging a Spark (priorities…) and eating a banana (In retrospect, I should have definitely forced myself to eat more – I was just anxious and not hungry!), we packed the car and headed to the hospital.

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Go time!!

After checking in at the front desk, we were taken back to triage to confirm that my water had actually broken and that I was truly in labor. Obviously, I was… I could have told the nurses that myself, LOL… and we were assigned a labor room. At that point, I was 2cm dilated and 80% effaced. I still couldn’t believe it was actually happening – We were going to have a baby today!

I tested positive for Group B Strep a few weeks prior (It’s a normal bacteria that women can carry but it can cause serious illness, like pneumonia and meningitis, in babies so all pregnant women are tested after 35 weeks.), so I had to be on an IV drip to receive antibiotics every 4 hours. They started penicillin ASAP, and let me tell you, receiving the IV lock in my hand and having antibiotics run through my veins (holy burn!) was probably the most annoying part of the entire birth experience. Oh, and the damn automatic blood pressure cuff on my right arm. I swear that thing would start to tighten every time a contraction started to build and there were multiple times that I yelled to Kyle to rip the thing off of my arm.

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Anyways, back to the story…

As luck would have it, Thursdays are my OBGYN’s day to be on-call at the hospital so he was able to swing by the room a few times to see how things were progressing.

At 9am, my labor was still pretty mild, so Kyle left to take Mitchell into the vet overnight. Don’t worry, he was back within 30 minutes and there was no way the baby was going to pop out that quickly! While he was gone, I updated a few of my social media sites with photos I had taken previously to keep people from guessing that I was in labor. I’m a sneaky one ;)

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Around 11am, things started to get a bit more intense. My contractions had been about 3 minutes apart since arriving at the hospital and they progressively got closer and closer until they were about 60 seconds apart around 12noon. I had to focus through contractions and, let me tell you, they didn’t feel good. AT ALL. They started out feeling like strong menstrual cramps and by noon, they transitioned to feeling more like an elephant was jumping on my pelvic bone for 90 seconds at a time. The nurses told me that it was because the baby’s head was SO low so I was feeling every contraction in my cervix.

So that was fun.

In order to reduce the risk of strep infection in the baby, my progress wasn’t being checked very frequently. Around 3pm, I was checked and was incredibly discouraged that, while I was now 100% effaced, I was still at 2cm. So, 8.5 hours and LOTS of pain later, basically nothing had happened. The nurse assured me that this was totally normal for a first time baby but that we needed to talk about “other options” since we were on a shorter time frame thanks to that dang strep bug and my broken waters.

My doctor recommended starting a very slow drip of pitocin to see if that could get things moving in the right direction. As much as I wanted to avoid it, I knew we had to do something and I wanted labor to be OVER at that point. I was done. The pain and lack of rest between intense contractions had taken over my body. I was also starting to vomit with contractions. Everything was getting on my nerves as well. From the beeping machines to the smell of magazines (I yelled at Kyle at one point to get rid of whatever he was reading because it smelled!) to the dang blood pressure cuff – I was seriously at my breaking point.

Labor is super sexy.

After talking it over with Kyle, when the nurse returned with my bag of pitocin, I requested an epidural. There was no way I was going to be able to make it through with that level of pain and nauseousness, and at that point, the benefits far outweighed the risks to me. She knew I wanted to avoid pain medication, so she offered to start the pitocin drip and see how my pain levels changed. I basically told her, HELL NO – I needed the drugs now and that I couldn’t do it without them, LOL. I was really pleasant at that point. She quickly called the anesthesiologist and I was never so happy to see a man with a needle in my life.

(Had I actually been progressing and been a 6 or a 7 at that point, rather than still being stuck at a 2, I think I would have tried to push through without pain medication a bit longer. But the idea of going through the same – and probably worse – contractions for at least 8 more hours had me close to tears.)

The epidural process itself was painless. I had to sit up and lean forward onto the nurse while relaxing my muscles (easier said that done when you have 12 elephants jumping on your pelvic bone!!) I felt a little sting as the initial numbing agent was injected, but after that, I wouldn’t have known that anyone was even touching my back.

I used to think air conditioning was the best invention ever. Nope, not anymore. Whoever developed the epidural is my hero and I love them forever and ever.

The epidural worked… at least for the most part, for a short amount of time. Ha! I’m one of those bizarre cases that respond to anesthesia in an odd manner. I remember waking up halfway through my wisdom tooth surgery ten years ago and, go figure, my epidural didn’t ever fully kick in.

Don’t get me wrong, it took away probably 80% of the pain for about 90 minutes. And that little edge gave me enough energy to keep going. My legs and butt felt like they were on pins and needles, but I could (thankfully) still move them with just a little bit of help. Unfortunately, I had what my nurse called a “hot spot” – Because the baby’s head was so low and hitting the nerves to my cervix, the medication couldn’t flow very well to that area of my body. (At least this is what she told me – Any L&D nurses want to confirm this can actually happen? Or did the epidural just not take for me?) And, that is where you want it during labor! I told the baby that he was already grounded for life at that point, even though he hadn’t yet made his appearance ;)

Okay, so I received the epidural around 4pm and my nurse started the pitocin around 4:30pm. She wanted to make sure both the baby and I responded to the epidural well before adding another drug to the mix. My already low blood pressure dropped so I got to wear a super cute oxygen mask, LOL, but other than that, all looked good so my pitocin drip was a go.

My progress was checked again around 5:30 to see if the drip needed to be increased and good news – I had gone from 2cm to 4cm! Woohoo – It was working! But the bad news, I still had 6cm to go, haha.

My pain levels – along with help from the epidural, tolerated the pitocin for about 90 minutes. Then I was back to feeling the pain exactly how it was before my drugs, except the rest periods were even shorter at that point. Holy goodness, I seriously thought I was going to die. My nurse’s shift was over at 6pm, so I was introduced to my new nurse (I think her name was Nicole?) and she agreed to check me at 6:45pm if my pain was still this intense.

After enduring 45 minutes of full-on labor pain, I was checked and the nurse was shocked. I was at a 10! It was time to get this show on the road. Also, no wonder it hurt – I progressed 6cm in less than an hour!

The nurses told me to sit tight while she called my doctor and prepped the room for pushing. Yeah, sit tight. Don’t ever tell that to a woman in labor. Also, in case you were wondering, you can’t get additional epidural medication when it is time to push. Worst. News. EVER.

Starting at 7pm, I pushed and pushed and pushed <– This is the HARDEST part of labor in my opinion. You’re exhausted. You’re still having the exact same contraction pains. And now you have to push 3-4x (10 seconds at a time, all while holding your breath…) per contraction to get that baby out. I was totally not prepared for it. Thank goodness I stayed fit throughout those 9 months! Kyle was at my left leg, a nurse was all up in my business (I think she was helping to stretch things out with each contraction to reduce the risk of tearing? I was so focused I didn’t ask questions…), and there was another nurse at my right knee. Everyone was great cheerleaders and at 7:30, I was told that the baby didn’t have much hair, haha ;)

I refused a mirror. To each their own, but I did not want to see my body go through those kind of changes… Kyle watched and was extremely supportive and excited throughout!

At 7:45pm, one of the nurses ran to grab my doctor because the baby was almost here and, let me tell you, he took his sweet time to get to the room. Apparently he stopped to chat with someone in the hall. I think I yelled at one point… HELLO! I’M IN LABOR! TELL HIM TO GET HERE NOWWWWW!

Once the doctor arrived, I gave a little push and baby’s head came out! The nurses calmly told me that his cord was wrapped around his neck so the doctor was going to cut the cord rather than Kyle. I immediately freaked out and worried something was wrong, but my doctor was amazing and kept me calm. Per Kyle’s description, he had the cord loosened in less than two seconds and Kyle was still able to cut the cord. Once Kyle cut the cord, he pulled out the rest of the baby’s body (It was the weirdest feeling – It honestly felt like someone was ripping out my insides and it still gives me the shivers thinking about it!), gave him a few slaps to get him to start breathing and then handed him to a nurse to take to the warming table.

Again, the nurses were extremely calm (so amazing!) and explained they were going to warm him up and get him to scream before placing him on my chest since of the issue with his cord. Soon enough, there was a baby scream and I cried. Kyle went over to say hi to little Dean and take photos while he was measured and weighed.

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7 pounds, 7 ounces. 19 inches. Born at 7:57pm.

Then I got to meet him as he was placed on my chest! He was just as squirmy as he was in the womb ;) And yes, he was wrinkly and pale and puffy but he was still beautiful to me. I kissed his little head and said “Hi baby” and was able to cuddle him while the doctor finished up with my lady parts. I had a slight tear (no episiotomy and it was only a 1st degree tear, nothing major!) so I had to get a few stitches, but my mind was on the baby at that point so I didn’t even notice.

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And that’s our Baby Dean’s birth story! Things didn’t go exactly as planned, but I wouldn’t have it any other way. There were no major complications and we got a healthy baby at the end. That’s the goal, right?

We are happily adjusting to a family of four (Mitchell is a worried big brother when Dean cries) and my recovery has been much better than I anticipated. Don’t believe those horror stories you hear, soon-to-be mamas!

Thanks for reading my novel! We are so happy and in love with Baby Dean.

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