"Are you sure?" Justin asked.
No I'm not freaking sure - this is our first kid!
The doctor had stripped my membrane the day before, so I was really crampy and I had more mucus discharge.
"I have no clue!" I said. "I mean, there isn't a puddle or anything."
Everyone always told me that I would KNOW when my water breaks. But I always had this fear I'd be the woman who just had a drip of water come out and then I wouldn't know my water really broke...then I'd end up delivery my baby in an Arby's restroom. Although, I don't eat Arby's much - so let's just be real...It would be a Starbucks restroom.
Justin and I both agreed my water probably didn't break, but I certainly felt like something was off. I couldn't sleep so I woke up and started frantically cleaning the house at 3:30 am. Laundry. Dishes. Counters. Everything needed cleaned. Evvvveerrrryyyyythhiinnngggg (said like the kid from The Sandlot).
Anyway, my cramping and pain got worse so I emailed my boss and said I'd be in just a little late. I also asked if I could work from home if I didn't end up feeling better. I took a quick a power nap around 5 am and decide I'd be better off working than sitting at home on the couch all day. In case you haven't noticed, I am not one to just sit around all day - I love being busy or active!
But I also found motivation in knowing this would be my last day before C arrived. I already had plans to take PTO get a pedicure the next day and enjoy some "me" time. If Cooper didn't come naturally, we had plans to get induced on Sunday evening.
So, I got dressed up, fancied myself up, and headed out the door to get my Pumpkin Spice Latte / go to work!
|Who knew this would be my last baby bump selfie!?|
When I got to work, everyone kept mentioning how much my belly dropped. I didn't feel well, so I was dragging along the office. At one point, I had to grab the door frame because I felt such a strong cramping feel (I later learned this is what a contraction feels like).
I found myself breathing at my desk through some of those painful "cramps" that I thought were simply from the membrane stripping.
Around 11 am, I went to lunch with my friend Mel -who told me she was going to give Coop a hard time for being so late! We had a wonderful lunch - sharing both laughs and tears. She gave me some final tips about labor (i.e. a good tip she mentioned was taking stool softeners with you to the hospital- you'll need them should you birth a child).
After lunch, I stopped by the liquor store to get some booze for my boss and team! I left them notes and thanked them for being SO amazing and supportive during my pregnancy. I'm sure my boss knows more about pregnancy (and me) than he EVER wanted to know- but we joked about everything. I'm not sure my boss even reads my blog so I'm not sounding like a kiss ass here when I say that I truly couldn't have asked for a more supportive and understanding boss during this pregnancy. He was great!
Anyway, I got back from lunch and was really "in the zone" with my projects. I really wanted to finish up as much as possible before I left. My stomach starting feeling worse and worse - so the afternoon off was looking more and more promising!
Around 3 pm, I was typing away at my desk. I leaned back to get adjusted and then heard a GIANT pop! Literally I thought a shot gun fired at me...and then the Hoover Dam opened up all over my chair!
Chad and Cayla were walking back from a meeting and I said, "You guys- my water just broke!"
Everyone thought I was kidding and then I stood up.
"No, I'm serious!" I said. "It's everywhere!"
And it kept coming and coming and coming.
I really don't remember what everyone said ....people were coming up and asking how I was feeling. I felt fine. I felt calm. I just didn't know what to do.
I called Justin first and said, "Babe- my water broke!"
"Shut up!" he said. "No it didn't!"
"Yes, it really did!" I said.
At this point, I had sort of drawn a crowd. I'm not known to be quiet.
"You're kidding with me..." Justin said, still in denial.
"Babe - I swear my water broke!" I said.
"Oh wow," Justin said. "Okay ummm....let's meet at home!"
We had plans to meet at home - I had myself CONVINCED I would have time to take a shower and relax at home before we went to the hospital.
Chad drove my car and Cayla followed us so she could drive him back home.
God love Chad - he has three kids of his own so this isn't his first rodeo.
"I need to eat," I said. "But I'm not that hungry!"
I found some crackers in my purse, desperate for anything. WHO KNEW how long it'd be since I could eat again...
But nothing sounded good and I could barely eat anything when I was having those contractions.
Chad was timing them for me...and they were five minutes apart.
"Are you sure you don't want me to take you to the hospital?" Chad asked. "You guys could just meet there."
"No, I want to shower!' I said. "And I need my things."
"You might not have time to shower...." Chad said.
At this point, I started to feel the gas start.
"Listen," I said. "If I fart - I'm sorry. Just don't say anything, roll your window down, and act like nothing happened."
We both laughed and then another contraction happened.
"That was only four minutes apart..." Chad said.
Here we freaking go....
"I'm getting the damn epidural!!!" I told Chad as I breathed through another contraction.
At home, Justin had everything on the kitchen table and ready to go! Thankfully I had a list of last minute items that I needed him to grab in an event like this...
So we got home, I went to the restroom, changed my clothes (which did no good because my water kept leaking and leaking), and I snuggled with Bandit!
|My oldest son.|
We got into the car and everything started to sink in.
Holy cow- I am having a baby today.
I am scared.
I don't know what I am doing.
Will this hurt?
Will I be in labor for days?
When we got into the car, I told Justin he needed him to time my contractions.
And you know what he did?!!?
He pulled out his cell phone and put on the stop watch, "Here you go!"
"NO!" I shouted. "YOU FREAKING TIME THEM! WATCH THAT CLOCK AND TIME THEM!"
That was TRULY the only time I yelled at him, which was hilarious when we look back at it.
We (obviously) hit every single red light on the way to the hospital.
My water was gushing everywhere still and I just gave up caring about what I looked like.
Finally, we got to the hospital around 4:15. As I got out of the car, a pile of water fell to the ground again. My shoes were filled with water too. They were literally squeaking like legit water shoes as we walked into the hospital.
I had to stop once or twice to breath through my contractions.
They felt SO close together.
When we got into the hospital, the front office receptionist looked at me and immediately picked up the phone.
As my water leaked all over the hospital, we got to the elevator and headed up to the third floor. Thankfully, the receptionist had called them and said, "We have a woman coming up in labor!!"
After getting my weight, we went into my delivery room and I changed into the robe. I honestly didn't care who saw me naked or what bodily functions took place. I simply wanted to be comfortable.
By this time, my contractions were only two minutes apart.
Hannah, my nurse, was a true ANGEL! She kept telling me how strong I was and how great I was doing through everything. When I got my epidural, I held onto her closely ...In fact, I even grabbed her butt and pinched her sides.
The epidural wasn't as bad as I thought it would be. When he was putting the needle in, I was fighting strong contractions. I just closed my eyes and pictured myself running a half marathon. It was the November race. I remembered exactly what I was wearing. I pictured myself at mile 5. I was running fast. Strong. And I was focusing on my breathing. In my mind, I was running a race. And in reality, I was getting a giant needle shoved up my back.
"I'm so sorry," I said. "I promise I'm not trying to feel you up! I just grab whatever is closet to help..."
She laughed and told me not to worry about anything.
Once I got my epidural, I felt great. A few times, I started shaking and crying for no reason.
"I am happy and fine, but I just can't stop crying," I said. "I promise nothing is wrong!"
"It's okay!" Hannah said. "It's just your hormones and the medicines!"
I could still feel my contractions in terms of pressure (like you have to take a poop), but the sharp pain was gone. I could even move my legs, which I liked!
Justin's parents were the first to show up - so they chatted with us while I ate ice chips and kept repeating the story about how my water broke...and how I honestly couldn't believe how LOUD that pop was before the flood gates opened up.
My mom showed up next with my sister Cierra and then my dad, Beth, and Britt showed up.
But they didn't have time to visit for long because around 6:00 I told Hannah I had that "I'm going to poop my pants feeling" aka the baby is pushing down and might be ready to come out.
By 6:15, I was 9 CM dilated.
"I had a feeling about you!" Hannah said. "I knew you'd go fast after your first check!"
At one point, Cooper's heart rate was dropping and my shaking was getting stronger. They had to put an oxygen mask on me, which made me panic a little more.
"Nice, slow breaths for me, Ashley," Hannah said.
I was getting scared.
Is everything OK?
I tried to focus on my breathing and nothing else.
Eventually, it was time to push. My doctor had been in the room for a while now and she was amazing. She was so encouraging and kept making me smile and relax. I honestly LOVE her and I am so thankful I had her + the labor nurses to get us through Cooper's birth.
I started pushing and pictured myself in the movies. Woman are always yelling and screaming at this point. But I felt so relaxed. I was so focused on having a healthy baby and just focusing on each breathe - each push.
I pushed for about 30 minutes. Justin was amazing the ENTIRE time and he even held my leg while I was pushing (so he watched even though he didn't know if he would or not).
I know at one point - there was a bit of a panic when Cooper's heart rate dropped and they couldn't find it. Justin said the look on everyone's faces was scary and the mood in the room changed. But I couldn't see any of this because I was on my side and the oxygen mask took up much of my face.
"I see his head!" Justin said.
I pushed a few more times and then it was time for the big one....
"One more, Ashley!" the doctor said.
I pushed with EVERYTHING I had in my body and I felt Cooper's body pass through.
Then I heard that first cry and the doctor lifted him in the air.
The first thing I remember is seeing his giant cone head and wondering if that was normal.
Because he had a bowel movement in the womb (pretty common for overdue babies), they had to bring in the NICU team to take care of Cooper right away. The doctor cut his cord quickly and I didn't get the chance to hold him or see him.
I was shaking again and I just wanted to see my boy. I just wanted him to be healthy. I just wanted him to be OK.
And thankfully, my prayers were answered.
Cooper Joseph Sieb was born on September 12, 2013 at 7:41 pm - weighing 7 lbs even and measuring 21 inches long.
Justin walked over to look at him and turned back to me with the biggest smile in the entire world.
"He is perfect," he said. "And you're my new hero. You did so amazing, baby. I am so proud of you!"
He kissed me on the forehead and we both looked across the room at our baby boy.
Our world will never, ever be the same.
|Making hilarious faces from hour one.|
|Love at first sight.|
|My sweet baby boy.|
|Our first family photo.|
The next few hours were a blur - but they were filled with so much love and happiness that I simply can't describe in words.
We went across the wing to the recovery room and that's where I met Aunt Libby aka our recovery nurse who made my first night manageable. It was pretty painful to use the restroom and hard to walk, but she was always by my side. Taking care of me and Cooper at the same time. When he cried, she would soothe him and say, "It's okay beautiful Cooper...Aunt Libby is here."
She was very comforting. My mom and sister hung out until Justin got back with food. The only thing I wanted was a turkey sandwich from Jimmy Johns, but they were obviously closed by the time we got into my room and settled with Cooper.
"You could just walk around and show everyone here how to go this!" she said. "You're both naturals!"
Justin ended up bringing me back a grilled chicken sandwich. I wasted no time trying to start nursing Cooper...and the nurse was impressed with my dedication and effort.
So while I sat there nursing Cooper, Justin stood beside me shoving cold french fries and sips of Sprite into my mouth.
And that grilled chicken sandwich was probably one of the best chicken sandwiches of my life.
Cooper went to the nursery for an hour or so that night, so I managed to get about an hour of sleep. Little did I know this amount of sleep was "the new norm" for my life.
The following few days have been so amazing, but oh so challenging.
I've shed many tears.
I've laid in Cooper's nursery on the floor next to his crib because I was nervous to leave his side.
I've starred up at the ceiling and pondered calling the hospital simply because I didn't know why or how to get my sweet baby boy to stop crying.
I've learned that gas drops at the most amazing invention ever.
I've lived my life by two hour intervals of nursing, pumping, cleaning bottles, and trying to care for myself and the house in the meantime.
I've looked into the eyes of my son and wished so badly I could trade places with him to take away his pain (I'll write more tomorrow about Coop's jaundice issues + breastfeeding challenges we've had).
I've cried simply because I love someone so very much.
I've spent hours and hours praying for Cooper to have good health and happiness. And thanking God for this amazing miracle in my life.
And I've fallen deeper in love with my husband than ever before. Every single time I see him look at Cooper, feed him, or fall asleep with Cooper on his stomach...I love him ten times more. He's been incredible and I honestly don't know how I could ever do this thing called "parenting" without him.
And the journey has only just begun....
PS this is a working blog post! I am making edits and adding photos when I can get some free time... But lots of people have asked about my labor and delivery so I wanted to start sharing some of our story!