If you know me personally or follow my instagram/ facebook accounts, you’ve been scandalously bombarded with ridiculous numbers of pictures of our newest family member. I have no shame.

But, I wanted to make it ‘blog official,’ since this blog serves as a journal of sorts for our family. So, my bloggy friends, I’d like to introduce you to:

Elliot James Cook

|May 16 | 8:53 am | 7 lbs | 20 inches|

elliot birth story; epidural birth story; epidural vs natural birth

Birth Story

[Disclaimer #1 : There will be words like uterus and amniotic sac in this story. So, if you don’t like those words, don’t read it. Disclaimer #2: It’s long and detailed. If you don’t like details the short version is, my water broke but I wasn’t in labor, so they induced and he was born 10 hours later. The end.]

I was 37 weeks pregnant on May 14. At 10 pm on May 15, I felt like I had to pee for the 37th time that day. Ha! I was probably up 4-6 times a night to go to the bathroom at this point in pregnancy. But my body just kept trickling, and kind of uncontrollably. I had read your water can break like a trickle, and mistakenly thought my water broke in a trickle With my first. I assumed you’d know if it broke, or that your body would go into labor on its own. Within 30-45 minutes, my contractions were pretty rhythmic/ wave like and about 10 minutes apart. But they weren’t super painful or consistent, and they weren’t increasing. I had tons of braxton hicks (all day er’y day) starting in the middle of my second trimester. And lately, they’d become quite strong. There were even a couple times where they started to seem like early pre-term labor coming every 5-7 minutes and then dying down after a couple hours. Weird!

All that to say, I wasn’t totally sure I was in labor with 10 minute apart rhythmic contractions.

And I wasn’t sure my water broke.

I googled around a bit (what did pregnant people do before google!? #AmIRight) and found out that if your water breaks but you’re not in labor, you are supposed to call your OB/midwife right away because usually they want to get the baby out sooner than later. If you go too long with baby inside but no amniotic sac, there’s a higher risk of infection.

My OB is in his own practice and takes all his own calls, so I felt silly calling him at 12:30 am to say “I think my water broke.” But hey, that’s why he makes the big bucks.

So I called him kind of expecting him to say, “see how it progresses and call me back in 6 hours” or something like that. He said, “okay, go to the hospital and they’ll test to see if it’s amniotic fluid. And if it is, I’ll see you there and we’ll meet your baby. If not, they’ll send you home.”

Ben had been sleeping till this point. (If there’s anything I’ve learned about giving birth, it’s that the more people who are rested for the situation, the better. Haha no need to wake him up before now if I wasn’t really in labor.)

But, when I woke him up saying, “I think my water broke, I called doc and he said go to the hospital right now,” Ben was surprised, to say the least. Lesson – If you want to really wake someone all the way up suddenly, saying, “I’m in labor,” is a good way to do it.

Because I wasn’t sure whether or not I was in labor, we didn’t want to call someone to come over in the middle of the night to stay with the big kids. Since I wasn’t having strong contractions, I drove myself to the hospital. #3rdbabyprobs

It felt weird buzzing into the Labor & Delivery unit at 1 am by myself with just a purse saying, “I think my water broke.” Oh and if you don’t appear to be in excruciating pain, the first thing they’ll ask you for is your ID and insurance card.

The nurse had some sort of paper that reminded me of a high school chemistry litmus test. I can’t remember what it’s called, but basically she gets some of the mystery fluid on the paper and if it turns blue, then it was my water breaking and if it doesn’t, then it’s not. The paper didn’t turn blue. She said, “Ok, not amniotic fluid, I’ll be right back…”

[note: while overall, my care at this hospital was AMAZING, this first part was bizarre and I felt like I had to keep asking questions. Questions I probably wouldn’t have asked if this was baby #1 because I would have felt too nervous or embarrassed or confused. The moral of this side note is – ask questions! You have a right to know every single thing that is going on when you’re giving birth, or undergoing anything in a hospital for that matter. Ask all the questions you have and keep asking until you understand.]

So, the nurse said: Okay, not amniotic fluid, I’ll be right back…
Me: So does that mean my water didn’t break and I’m going home?
Her: Probably. I’ll call doc and update him and see what he says.
Me: Oh. Is there any reason I’d stay if my water didn’t break?
Her: No.

So I texted Ben, told him it wasn’t amniotic fluid, that I was embarrassed I couldn’t tell if my water broke, and that I would be getting dressed and coming home as soon as the nurse came back from calling the doctor.

10 Minutes later, the on-call OB came in and said she wanted to double check with a more accurate test. She did something like a pap smear, confirmed that I was 3 cm dialated, and said she’d go look at the fluid under a microscope.

Me (confused about why they would double check if the first thing wasn’t amniotic fluid): so, is there a chance my water did break?
Doc: well maybe. It’s hard to tell from the first test.
Me: oh, ok. (In my head – why don’t they just do the more accurate test the first time? I don’t know. Medical friends do you know why?)
Doc: We’ll be back in 10 minutes.

So I texted Ben again, updating him, and feeling less embarrassed since they couldn’t tell right away either.  🙂

The nurse came back in with a pile of stuff & papers and said, “Well, it looks like you’re staying!”

I was shocked!

So, again, I texted Ben and said – “well, my water broke after all. They’re going to start pitocin. We’re gonna have this baby!”

 

elliot birth story; epidural birth story; epidural vs natural birthI asked the nurse why the OB wants to start pitocin right away (remember what I said about asking questions and feeling comfortable with what’s going on?). Turns out google was right. Once your water breaks, the baby isn’t protected by that fluid anymore, so they want the baby out sooner than later. If your body isn’t in labor on its own when your water breaks, they’ll use pitocin to get the labor started. Most docs give the pitocin 24 hours to work before resorting to a c-section. The longer you go without the amniotic sac, the higher risk of infection for baby.

4 failed IV attempts later, they finally got one in. [ouch!] The plan was to up the pitocin amount every 30 minutes until my body went into labor on its own. They start at 2 and the max is 20. I forget what units it’s measured in.

Ben got there around 2 am. He helped me through contractions as they increased in frequency and intensity. By 3:15, they were getting hard. I asked for an epidural, assuming it’d take about an hour until it was actually in. Since the anesthesiologist had a scheduled C-section soon, he came in right away and my epidural was in within about 20 minutes 🙂
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Ben has stuck with me through some pretty intense birth situations (see Addie’s birth story for details), but he got woozy during my epidural when the anesthesiologist and I were talking about the comfort and placement of everything. All of the sudden he said, “Woah, I need to sit down!!” Haha he managed not to pass out and I managed to hold still and a good epidural was had by all.

Since it was 4:00 am and I wasn’t close to 10 cm yet, the nurse turned down the lights & Ben fell asleep. I tried to sleep, but couldn’t really, so I read.

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They upped the pitocin every 30 minutes, but at 6:30 I was only 5 cm dialated. (We did a pitocin induction with my second at 40 weeks, and it went fast, so I was bummed to only be 5 cm at this point, especially with the pitocin maxed out at 20 by now.) We prayed for labor to progress and for no c-section.

From 6:30-8 am, I dozed on and off and wished I’d eaten before I came to the hospital. They wanted me on liquids only – womp womp – so I had a bazillion lemon italian ices since the various flavors of jello and pudding didn’t exactly sound appetizing.

Around 8:15, the nurse came to check me again and I was still 5 centimeters. This was surprising and disappointing. With both of my previous babies, once I hit 5 cm, things went pretty quickly up to 9-10 cm. I resolved to keep praying that baby would be okay and there’d be no c-section.

While she was checking me, I suddenly gushed tons of water. She and I both said, “woahh!!” I guess there was an extra bag of water that she accidentally popped while checking me. She and a nursing student spent a few minutes cleaning it all up. (This would be a good example of how you lose all dignity during birth. They had to roll me side to side to get the wet bedding and gown changed… I was limp and useless with my epidural.) Suddenly, I felt like the baby was about to come out. I said something to the effect of: I feel like the baby is about to fall out all of the sudden.

So she checked me again, and sure enough I was 10 centimeters dialated. She said, “Okay it’s go time then! Round up the troops and I’ll call doc… don’t push yet.” (troops?! What troops!?)

The doctor was 20 minutes away, so I just laid on my side and tried to hold the baby in. Ben and I held hands and eagerly waited meeting our SON! It all had felt so surreal up to this point – I was a little bit in shock that we were actually having a baby today.

Around 8:45, doc arrived and the nurse gave me a refresher on pushing instructions.

I kinda sorta pushed through one contraction, but had forgotten how. The second contraction, I stepped up my game and little man came out after 4 more pushes.

Few things bring more instant joy than hearing that loud newborn cry after birth. It is so euphoric. And though I have spent 1800 words telling you this story, they cannot do the feelings justice. It is so beautiful. (I’m one of those freaks who, while I don’t love being pregnant, LOVES birth. Ben thinks this is delusional and insane.)

elliot birth story; epidural birth story; epidural vs natural birth

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We spent some time just us 3. Eventually, my epidural wore off enough for us to move out of labor and delivery. I ate 3 full meals (seriously). Then crashed and slept. Later that afternoon, the girls came and met Elliot for the first time!

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It was so so so fun to see them meet baby Elliot. Addie, especially understood that he was the baby in my tummy and he was in our family now. In fact, when they had to leave with their grandparents and we had to stay at the hospital, she burst into tears. And every time we went somewhere the first couple weeks, she’d double check – we’re all going to our house right? We’re not leaving Elliot here are we? He is in our family so he goes to our house now too, right? 🙂 

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We had a handful of visitors. By the time it was time to go home, Ben was ready to go, but I could have stayed a couple more days… The more kids that are at home, the more I’m guessing the hospital feels like a vacation. Relatively speaking.

I basically nursed, held our baby and slept for 2 days straight. Blissful recovery. Ben squeezed in some nerd stuff… This picture of Elliot sleeping while Ben codes in the background makes me laugh!!

elliot birth story; epidural birth story; epidural vs natural birth

Needless to say, they kicked us out. So, home we went.

elliot birth story; epidural birth story; epidural vs natural birth

And then there were 5! (Turns out I still don’t have a pic of all 5 of us. Woops. #BloggerFail)

The End.

Oh, and if you’re into birth stories, here are Addie’s & Emma’s.