On Thursday, September 28th, 2017, Andy and I welcomed Jack Robert Rose to the world. The most perfect little one we could have ever dreamed of. And I thought it was about time (um 5 months later!) that I introduced our precious baby boy to the blog. The very last post I did, I recapped my pregnancy as we waited on the arrival of our little one… without knowing that a day later (and 4 days before his due date) I would go into labor! I’m so excited to finally share a bit about Jack’s birthday as well as some of our favorite newborn photos of our sweet Jacky boy.
Jack’s timing could not have been more perfect. My mom arrived from California on the Monday prior to his original due date, which ended up giving us a couple days to get organized and do some last minute baby prep. And then it was on that Wednesday morning that I woke up and started feeling contractions. I kept saying to Andy and my mom that something for sure felt different (although the contractions weren’t strong yet), but I also didn’t want to be the little boy that cried wolf and have it be a fake-out! So we went about our day… Andy went to training, and my mom and I went out for lunch and then went and bought a microwave (yes, for real, a microwave). As the day went on I could feel the contractions getting a bit stronger… and it was setting in that this thing was actually happening!!! I remember feeling a bit nervous, but mostly just excited to meet our baby boy.
Later that night, I was starting to get more and more uncomfortable. We phoned the hospital and they said to wait a little while.. so we ordered pizza and tried every distraction technique in the book. I took a couple hot showers which kinda sorta helped relax me. But finally at around 10:30pm, the contractions were coming strong and fast, so we headed to the hospital hoping that this thing was well underway. I was so nervous that we would get there and they would check me, only to say that it wasn’t time yet and to go home. (I’ve heard this happen so many times!) But thank goodness I was already 5 cm dilated!!!! I remember feeling so happy, and pretty proud of myself that I had managed to stick it out at home for so long.
At this point, it was almost 1am and we were all thinking that it wouldn’t be too long now before we would be meeting our sweet boy. Andy was buzzing because he thought we’d have it all wrapped up and he’d make it to training by 10 am. HA. Little did we know that the next hours would drag on… well, at least for Andy and my mom… it was all a bit of a blur to me! By now, I was extremely uncomfortable and in a lot of pain from the contractions. I needed some relief. Enter my new best friend…. gas and air. I don’t think gas and air is as common back home in the States for labor and delivery. And I’m not quite sure why… because it is LEGIT. You’re probably wondering what it is. It’s laughing gas! A more natural, fast-acting form of pain relief that you inhale through a mouthpiece to help ease contractions. It doesn’t block out the pain completely, but it helps take the edge off. I found that it really encouraged me to take deep breaths. And the best part is that you have full control over it. Meaning you can use it whenever you want, and as much as you want, during labor. The funny thing is, all along throughout my pregnancy when we would discuss this option, I didn’t think I was going to like it. It makes you feel a bit loopy… and I thought for sure I would hate that. Boy was I wrong! By the end of it, I was clinging to the mouthpiece for dear life!! haha. Gas and air for the win!
While the gas and air was definitely helping me cope with the contractions, I still felt I needed a little something extra to help with the pain. So my midwife gave me an injection of diamorphine, a common drug used for pain relief during labor in the UK. It’s just a quick injection in your thigh and the effects last between two and four hours. This made me super sleepy. Which was kinda awesome, because in between contractions I would doze off… and ultimately helped those hours go by a bit quicker for me. That part of my labor is such a blur to me! I was pretty out of it. I remember hearing Andy and my mom talking about coffee runs in the background while I was snoozing haha. Bless them.
Anyways, moving on… It wasn’t until around 6am that I was fully dilated and ready to start pushing. I remember feeling exhausted already from the hours of contractions and wondered how I was going to manage to get this little guy out. By this time, the effects of the diamorphine had worn off, which meant I had to rely solely on the gas and air. In the end, I pushed for four hours. Yes, you read that right. FOUR HOURS. It felt like an eternity. There were so many moments where I felt so discouraged and like I wasn’t getting anywhere. The midwives and my mom would tell me “There he is, we can see the top of his head!”. But then the contraction would come and go, he would slip back in, and I felt like was back to square one. I remember crying and saying “I can’t do it, I can’t do it”. My energy was gone and I was giving up. But Andy and my mom continued to support, encourage, and cheer me on for four straight hours after no sleep and a long night in the hospital. They were such champs! A few different times the doctor came in to check on me, and said that they normally don’t like to let women push for so long, and that if it didn’t happen soon, he would suggest using forceps or a suction to help get the baby out. I really was determined to do it on my own. Luckily, I had some wonderful midwives who stuck with me until the end. Plus, baby boy was doing just fine in there and his heartbeat was perfect so there was no real urgency. He was just nice and cozy in there I guess!
(Sidenote: I will say, with this being my first baby, I think it helped that I was able to have control over my body and feel the birth, because you don’t really know how to push until you do it. But, I will also say that I am not opposed to an epidural next time! HA. ;))
Alas, at 10:26 am, Jack Robert made his his entrance into the world! 8 lbs 3.5 oz and 21 inches long, with blue eyes and a full head of dark hair! A healthy, perfect baby boy. Our baby boy. I just remember repeating over and over “I did it, I did it!” and hearing my mom say “He’s perfect, Ry!”. Andy was speechless, and the closest to tears as I’ve ever seen him. After finally making his way out, Jack was immediately placed on my chest where Andy and I stared at him in complete awe. What a little miracle.
The next hours were spent soaking in our new baby boy and getting a bit of rest. I have never been so tired in my entire life, or so in love. Seeing Andy hold our sweet son was one of the happiest moments of my life, my heart just felt so full. PS I was totally that girl who had her hospital bag packed weeks in advance with every possible thing you could think of. Including a cute robe, makeup, camera, etc…. all the essentials to take cute photos with baby after he was born. HAHA. I didn’t use a single thing in my hospital bag. To all those women who manage to get cute photos after you give birth… power to ya!!! That was definitely not me. I looked like a hot mess express. Hence why there’s only a few *acceptable* images from the hospital for the blog ;). We ended up leaving the hospital by 10 pm that night with baby Jack in tow! Leaving the hospital with your newborn baby is one of the most surreal experiences ever. Also, I have never been so excited to get home and take a shower.
Looking back on it, I know it was fear that held me back for so long. I am the first to admit that i don’t deal with pain all that well. And with each push, it’s like I was holding back just a little bit, and almost kind of fighting it, scared of what it would really feel like. And it wasn’t until those last few pushes that I really got over the hump and just went for it. AKA I probably could’ve made it happen a bit quicker if I wasn’t such a scaredy-cat. Sorry Andy and mom ;). It really was the hardest, most intense thing I’ve ever done. And quite honestly, the recovery wasn’t a walk in the park for me either. I was sore and uncomfortable for close to two weeks afterwards. I remember crying to Andy in bed one night wondering when I was going to feel normal again.
But I’d do it all over again for that precious baby boy.
In the end, I couldn’t have done it without my amazing support system. Andy was amazing. Holding my hand and encouraging me the entire time. And having my mom there as well was so special. And overall, I was super impressed with my whole experience with the UK’s healthcare system and all the wonderful midwives. Obviously with this being my first birth, I have nothing to compare it to other than stories I’ve heard from friends and family back home in States, but considering it’s completely free (no, seriously… you literally just walk out with your baby, no co-pay or anything), it all seemed pretty normal to me!
If you made it to the end of this, thanks for reading! I didn’t intend to write so much or go into so much detail, but got swept up in reliving what was such a special day for my little family. 🙂
And finally, just a few 😉 of our favorite photos from our first couple months with our sweet Jacky boy…