As we’ve just celebrated Ryan’s fourth birthday, I thought now would be a good time to finally write down the story of Ryan’s birth. Here we go.
Throughout my pregnancy I had very clear ideas about how I wanted birth to go. I did lots of reading and preparing, and printed several copies of a birth plan to make sure everyone at the hospital was on the same page. I also thought I wanted a natural birth, and I had a lot of conflicting feelings about what that meant. Eventually though, in the midst of labor, I came to believe that all birth is natural, no matter what, and that helped me relax about what it would take to bring Ryan into the world.
Leading up to his birth Ryan was consistently measuring on the bigger side. As my first child, this led to frequent conversations with my doctors about inducing and possibly having a cesarean birth. After waiting it out as long as possible, we made it six days past my due date to Nov. 13, and scheduled an appointment to induce labor. We checked into the hospital around 8 pm and within an hour I was given Cervidil to encourage dilation, and then we planned to keep it on through the night (12 hours). But to everyone's surprise, my water broke around 1 am, and they decided to stop administering the Cervidil. At that point, my labor started, along with heavy contractions.
Even once my contractions started I was still very much on the fence of whether or not to get an epidural, going back and forth with Michael about the pros and cons. Though once I felt my sanity slipping away with the waves of pain brought with each contraction, I realized I needed some relief. Since it was the middle of the night, there wasn't a lot of staff around, so Michael left our room in search of a nurse. Finally around 2 am, the anesthesiologist arrived and administered the epidural. Once I had the epidural, I was able to relax and get in a couple of hours of sleep. Then around 5 am, the nurse checked my progress and when I watched her move my unfeeling legs, I panicked and requested that we turn off the epidural. As it turns out, I had a very strong and uncommon reaction to the dose I was given. So after a consultation with the anesthesiologist we decided to turn off the epidural and my feeling slowly returned. Around the same my doctor, decided to give me Pitocin, to increase the pace of my contractions. At this point, we also called my mom, because I wanted her to be with us in the room for Ryan's birth.
By around 8 am, my contractions had increased and I was ready to begin pushing. The epidural was not worn off completely, and so I was able to push and give birth with the perfect mix of pain relief and control. Michael stood by my side, helping to hold one leg, while my mom stood at the other, and they both worked with me, through the pushing and contractions, for 45 minutes. I am so grateful to have had them there during this experience—those moments of teamwork are memories I will never forget. In some ways the minutes seemed to last forever, but in other ways, it felt like it all happened so quickly, and then finally at 9 am Ryan was here. The nurse cut his cord and he was cleaned, weighed and measured, coming in at 9 lb, 13 oz and 22 in. A new day was here, the sun was shining through the windows, Ryan and I were healthy, and our sweet journey as a family of three had begun.