After getting dressed and into the hospital bed I remember being checked and the look on Debra’s face when she checked me. A fun thing about Debra is that she was there when I came in to deliver with your sister. She kept me calm with her and helped me focus on my breathing with you too, she’s wonderful! Based off the way she looked at Kate, kind of like an I don’t really believe this look haha, I knew I was either going to be 1cm still or close to complete. Luckily for me it was the latter. She said I was 7-8cm, paper-thin, and had a bulging bag. Basically it meant that if my water broke there wasn’t much holding you back from being born.
I got hooked up to the monitors at 1026pm, Kate started my IV and asked if I wanted an epidural. I didn’t say yes or no right away because I didn’t really have a plan one way or the other; my plan was just to see how far my body could take me. I knew I needed a liter of fluid and for my labs to come back before I could get the epidural, which takes about 30 minutes. I also remembered the look on Debra’s face and thought that if things were going to happen quickly, I might not even make it to that 30 minute mark, and if you could be in my arms in 30 minutes I could take the pain for a bit longer. Spoiler it took more than 30 minutes from that point, but not by much, only 54 minutes. Plus part of me wanted to experience natural birth because so many people hype it up to how incredible the feeling is after delivery and at this point I still had good control over my body, thoughts, and breathing. Still I couldn’t definitively decide one way or the other so I said to go ahead and get the fluids going in quickly in case I decided on the epidural. This is the last reference I have for any exact time up until I started pushing.
I feel like maybe 5 minutes passed and then one of my favorite doctors, Dr Barnes, came in to check me. She isn’t who I had seen throughout your pregnancy or who delivered your sister, but she did deliver your cousin so that is special. I had a two minute long contraction before she checked me, and the only reason I know this is because she called me 7cm, which made me start questioning if you were going to come quickly and whether or not I wanted the epidural, and is I was thinking it over she made the comment that I had just had a two minute contraction and that I handled it really well. So I said I’d keep sticking it out. Then she asked if I wanted her to break my water and another contraction started. After that contraction I changed my mind and the new plan was to get the epidural and then let Dr. Barnes break my water.
Somewhere a little before 11pm Jessica got to the hospital. I had two dreams during my pregnancy that she was there for your birth, she’s so calm and sweet and I wanted you to come into the world in the most low stress environment. So for weeks leading up to your due date we talked about how awesome it would be if she actually got to be there for your delivery and she ultimately said she would be there for your birthday party no matter what. She had worked four nights the previous two weeks surrounding your due dates and she still drove out of her way on her night off to be there for your entry into the world. She’s seriously the best.
At this point the contractions were super intense and had started moving into my back. I really don’t know how to describe back labor other than it feels like someone is hitting your tailbone with a sledgehammer repeatedly. Hard. Really hard. Debra was being so awesome and tried to show your dad how to do counter pressure to relieve that back pain and then I fussed at your poor dad because it didn’t work so I went back squeezing the life out of his hand and the bed rail really she was digging her nails into my thumb as pay back for listening to my dad jokes. Around this time I asked Jessica where the anesthesiologist was and she so calmly told me he was in a case in the OR. This means that my epidural was going to be delayed and by the look on her face when she said it I could tell it wasn’t going to happen.
Around this same time your dad decided that he needed to go the bathroom. Now I love your dad a ton, but one thing you’ll learn about him is that when he goes to the bathroom you can basically expect to not see him for at least 30 minutes, so excellent timing. Poor Jess took your dads place and let me squeeze her hand. I think I had maybe 5 contractions while your dad was in the bathroom and by the second one I was yelling at him to get out of the bathroom, poor guy. Most of the time my eyes were closed during contractions because I was trying to focus, but I do have a blip of visual memory during this time where I saw Kate laughing to herself at the situation of me in the middle of a contraction yelling at your dad to hurry up. And looking back it is quite funny and we all laugh about it now.
Spoiler alert: your dad did make it back to my side before you arrived. Hallelujah. But at this point with your dad being in the bathroom and me being in my head thinking my labor was going to last longer and that I was probably going to labor way past the 30 minute mark from our arrival to the hospital (mind you this is probably around minute 40 of us being at the hospital), I completely lost control of my focus and breathing. I was begging for an epidural and some relief from the pain. Then I started to feel like I really needed to push so as soon as your dad got out of the bathroom I asked Jess to check me and I was 9.5cm. I may have had two more contractions before I remember telling Jess that I had to push. I remember her telling me that Dr Barnes was in room 210 (we were in room 232) and that she was coming to me next and I think my response to her was to have some sterile glove ready because you were coming. At this point it was 1115pm and I vividly remember pushing as Jess was rolling the delivery table into the room, I remember your dad telling me not to push and me screaming that I couldn’t not push, again your poor dad I’m really glad he still loves me. My next visual memory is of Kate getting baby blankets ready under the warmer, Debra helping Dr Barnes gown and glove, and Jess breaking the bed down. You must’ve been really close to crowning at this point because again I heard not to push and I just remember thinking Dr Barnes was still getting dressed, the bottom of the bed was gone, there was no way I was going to be able to stop myself from pushing, and I didn’t want you to fall on the floor lol.
The next thing I knew Dr Barnes was at the bottom of the bed telling me I could push. I’m not sure if my eyes were opened or closed for the remaining time, but I have no visual memory from this point until you were out. Everything went completely black. Pushing felt great and I think in one push I got you to crowning, but then I lost control again because holy cow that pain is indescribable. I remember saying over and over that I couldn’t do it and then I remember lots of noise; I know it was everyone saying things like push and yes you can, but the only voice I heard was your dads. When I was saying I couldn’t he was saying “yes you can, he’s right there”. I remember other voices telling me the same thing, but I didn’t believe them like I believed your dad. He sounded so sure, more sure than I’ve ever heard him sound and he is without a doubt what got me through that point. I was just repeating what the doctor and nurses were saying. So I pushed, there was incredible pressure and stretching, and more noise, noise, noise. Then I remember saying stop I need a minute; all of my other senses were so overwhelmed by the pressure that I just needed everything to not exist for a second so that I could focus on what to do with all of that pressure in order to get rid of it. The room got quite briefly, then I heard Dr Barnes say to lay the head of my bed back. This moment was big because we usually lay the head of the bed back further when we’re thinking there’s going to be a shoulder dystocica so in my head I had to get you out on this next push. During this brief moment of silence I also became coherent enough that I knew that if I didn’t get you out on this next push it was going to be more time that I had to feel all of the stretching pain, so I gave another big push and I felt your head come out.
At that moment I don’t know if I opened my eyes or if my vision just came back, but the first thing I saw was blood literally shoot across the room. All I could say was what’s going on. There was no answer at first just lots of quick movements. You cord was wrapped so tightly around your neck that it had avulsed. Thank God for wonderful nurses and Dr Barnes who was incredibly quick to clamp your cord to stop the bleeding. Then after 41.1 weeks, 288 long days, all 7 pounds 8 ounces, and 21 inches of you were finally place on my chest at 1120pm.
You were incredibly pale and incredibly warm and had the fuzziest head of dark hair. You were the most perfect sight I had ever seen. You didn’t cry much at all; you were so incredibly peaceful and alert and you have remained that way since. I also quickly understood why you hung out so long in my belly, you are a snuggle bug! You are so perfect little man and we are so thankful for your life. We couldn’t be more in love with you. Welcome to the world Heath Carlisle Hodapp, it is surely brighter now that you’re with us.