Henry's Birth Story

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First of all, thanks everyone for your kind words and congratulations. As you probably all know by now (especially if you read Steve's blog), Henry was born one week ago today. After feeling like he'd NEVER come, we have had quite the week welcoming him into our lives. I love him more and more each day. Though I'm definitely still tired and sore, I'm looking forward to getting out of the house more this next week. Steve and I went for a 45 minute walk with him on Friday. It felt SO good to just get moving and actually see sunlight, even though I was a little pooped at the end.

I thought I had a boy baking in the oven since the moment I found out I was pregnant, so I think it's pretty funny that that's how he came out. In retrospect, I'm glad he was a "surprise."

I have found it really interesting and helpful to read other people's stories regarding the birth of their children in the past. It always amazes me how very different people's experiences are. If you don't want to read a long, potentially TMI story, come back later and just skip this post :)

Something told me before my run on June 10 that it could be my last for a while. Call it instinct or just knowing that the timing was getting close, but it was in fact my last run with baby Henry in my belly...

My water broke at 11 PM Friday night. At first, I didn't even think that's what happened. He was kicking all over the place, and suddenly I felt a very small "pop" and a little gush of fluid. I jumped out of bed and told Steve my water broke. I went to the bathroom and decided that all of that baby twitching must have just caused me to lose bladder control, even though that had never happened to me. I sheepishly informed him it was a false alarm. Then at around 2 AM, I lost another small amount of fluid and started to think that maybe it had broken after all. I tried not to wake Steve. I called into the hospital, and they said that since I wasn't having much in the way of contractions, I should give it an hour or 3 before coming in.

I woke Steve up a little after 3 so we could get a few things lined up in case this was the real deal. We got to the hospital around 5:30. By then, I still wasn't sure my water had broken at all. When they did the exam, they were just as confused as me and wanted to keep me a few more hours for observation. As we sat in the triage unit, a physician and a nurse both came in to inform us that even if my water hadn't broken, we wouldn't be going home. Henry had an episode of bradycardia (low heart rate) that was significant enough to worry them that he was in distress. At 8 AM, they repeated the exam but found that it most definitely HAD broken, so now we were on a time frame. Usually they'll only let you go 24 hours after it breaks. Since I really wasn't dilated at all (I was at a 1 and 50% effaced - women walk around for WEEKS more progressed than that) and was not having a lot of contractions, they started me on pitocin, which Henry it seems did not like. He had a two more episodes of his heart rate dropping to the point of doctors and nurses rushing into my room and doing all sorts of interventions to make it come back up. At 2 PM, my MD told me that he had broken her 3 strikes rule and I would probably need a C section. They decided to see what my body could do on it's own and gave me a 7 PM deadline to "make progress". I tried all sorts of different positions, walking, etc. Just before 7, my contractions were 2 minutes apart lasting about a minute each.

Stopping for a contraction

I was getting pretty pooped by then. When they checked me at 7, they said I had made significant progress. I was now dilated to 2 and much more effaced. After all of that work, I didn't feel like that was much to brag about. They gave me an 11 PM deadline and some Nubain, which made me feel a little drugged but let me get a little rest between the contractions. At 11, I was dilated to a 3, and they were OK with that progress. At that point, I had been "in labor" (sort of) nearly 24 hours and had been awake for 40+ hours save three brief hours Fri night.

I had hoped to be as drug-free as possible throughout labor, but it was decision time. I decided to get an epidural, try to sleep a little, and see if numbing me would help my body stop fighting the pain and actually let me make progress. I had spent the last 9 months using all sorts of muscles to keep him supported during my runs and throughout the rest of my day. They were working against me. In the back of my mind, I knew I'd need either an epidural, spinal anesthesia, or (if he had a REALLY scary bradycardia episode) general anesthesia for a C section anyway. It was the best decision I made. I slept off and on for 5 hours, and when the checked me at 5 AM, I was dilated to a 7. I have no doubt in my mind that without the epidural, it wouldn't have happened. By 6:45 Sunday morning, I was fully dilated, but he was still pretty high up and they wanted to see if he'd come down with the contractions without me having to push him down. We started pushing at 7:45. He hadn't come down much on his own, so I had to push him down. At first, the pushing was actually pretty easy. My contractions were pretty sporadic - sometimes 10 minutes apart, sometimes 2. I was so relieved that I wasn't heading to a C section for the moment that I was actually joking around (I am very sure the epidural helped).

They say that one disadvantage of having an epidural is that you can't push effectively, but I could still tell when a contraction was coming, and they kept telling me how great my pushes were. We had one more REALLY scary bradycardic spell that lasted several minutes where they called in extra nurses and the NICU team, but we got him recovered. I was SO hot in there. Even though I was wearing nothing but a sports bra, Steve was putting icy wash cloths ALL over me. The room wasn't warm, but I was WORKING. I never thought that I couldn't keep going. I knew I had to. I was just so worried that Henry would have another scary episode. At the end, they kept asking if I wanted to feel his head, but I just wanted to focus on recovering between contractions so that I would have enough energy to keep up effective pushing. I pushed for 3.5 hours total, but eventually, he was out! Steve got to announce that we had a boy. They plopped him on my chest, and I felt something splash me in the face. I didn't think much of it until later when they explained that when Steve cut the umbilical cord, blood flew EVERYWHERE. He even covered the walls with it.

Our family right after his birth. You can see blood on my face and on the pillow...

Henry was 7 pounds, 6.2 ounces, and 20 inches long. Oh, and we think he's pretty cute :)

I held Henry in my arms for a long time and knew I'd never be the same.

The day we were discharged from the hospital

Steve was AMAZING throughout the whole process. I couldn't ask for a better daddy for our son. Happy Father's Day, Honey!

We were also very fortunate to have my mom in the delivery room with us. She's an OB nurse by trade, and having her love, support, and expertise there was SO helpful, especially during some of the scary episodes. We love you, Mom (Grandma)!


We got to bring Henry home Tuesday evening. The Script's "For the First Time" played on the radio: Even after all these years we just now got the feeling that we're meeting for the first time. I welled up for the zillionth time of the week.

The rest of the week has been a roller-coaster of emotions, mostly happy, although breastfeeding is SO not fun right now, and that has caused a few sad/pained tears. Everyone reassures me it does get better. In the meantime, this keeps me motivated:

We think we'll keep him :)



Congratulations! He is a really cute baby! Love the pic of the three of you right after his birth, that is so precious. Im sure you have heard so much advice about the bfing, but it does get better. For me it was the two week mark when I didn't wince at the pain every time. That part of new motherhood is so not cool ;-)


Henry is adorable! Congratulations!


I've read Steve's report but yours is a bit more scary - it must have been hard but you did SO well - and Henry is so gorgeous. Enjoy him!


great job!!! family is the real thing! greetings from your supporter from rome, italy


Congratulations! Thanks for sharing the birth story- I'm so glad everything worked out OK! Did you have a boy name and a girl name picked out, or did you just name him when he was born?

Jephy's Mom

Congratulations! Wow you did a lot of work, good thing you kept in such great shape. Yes, it gets better but you will never forget the toe curling pain of breastfeeding in those early weeks.


Way to go mama! I love reading birth stories, so glad to hear that everyone is safe and sound.


Wow, it is always so interesting to me that while everyone's experience is different, we all follow the same paths. I, too, am convinced that all those core muscles we work so hard on were preventing me from getting my Zoë out. I also wanted a drug free labor, but the epidural was also the best decision I made. Good on you for lasting as long as you did, and also for keeping your head in the game and going with the flow.

Breastfeeding *does* get easier. And it is so worth it when it does! For me, it got better at 3 weeks, and even better again at 6 weeks, and I read that for most women it happens faster than that. Hang in there, mama!


Great story, and congratulations! He's adorable. BFing is shockingly difficult, counterintuitive and painful for the first week or two. Then it's better, and frequently it's awesome. And there's nothing better than seeing your chubby baby and thinking, "I did that"!


Congratulations!! Breastfeeding does get easier with time. It took me a good month or so before I'd call it easy.


Thank you so much for sharing your story. I don't know you guys at all, and it had me all teary-eyed. Sounds like it was a very rough few days, but so thrilled that you have such a beautiful amazing little boy to show for it!!!!! Congrats to you both!


Congrats, mama! You did it! He's beautiful, and you enjoy every single second of your new little family.


Congratulations, he is so beautiful!


Definitely puts the marathon to shame :) Great job bringing Henry into the world!! Gotta plan those stroller walks now.


So excited for you guys! I've loved following your whole 9 months! He's too darling!!!


cutest baby ever! congrats pharmie and steve!


Congratulations, mommy!! I'm so glad you were able to literally push through and avoid a c-section. Nice job! Hang in there with the nursing...it does get easier and will be so worth it!!


precious pictures!!! Congrats!


I don't have a blog but have enjoyed reading about your active pregnancy - good for you! I'm sure it helped you with the long labour so congrats. Breastfeeding is so rewarding. It took 5-6 weeks for my daughter and I to really get it but now she is 15 months old and we still have the close/bonding time when she nurses at night. (also very handy to soothe/comfort her when she is sick/teething!) Good luck with everything, it seems like you and Steve will be great parents!


Congratulations! Your birth story brought tears to my eyes - you are so brave and strong. Henry is so beautiful...you must literally be on cloud 9. Wow, congratulations again!

Brent Buckner

Congratulations. Thank you for sharing.


Oh my gosh, what an ordeal! You definitely earned "Iron Mommy" status with this one! I'm so glad everything turned out ok and that Henry is healthy and perfect! I was hoping to be able to come to Lifetime and have Henry and Lorien meet, but I don't think that's in the cards. Hopefully they'll get to meet each other eventually! I'm so glad we're both through this -- now the real fun begins! :)


Congratulations!! I left the blogosphere for a bit making two babies myself. This is such an amazing time, in so many ways. I now tell my friends who are pregnant to expect it all - love that grows every day and will get to the point that you don't think you can love any more and then it will grow even greater, coupled with wondering why you ever decided to have kids in the first place. Talk about a roller coaster. But it just gets better and better from here on out. Re: Breastfeeding, if your nipples are hurting like mad see if your MD will prescribe APNO, all purpose nipple ointment. It was a breastfeeding LIFESAVER for me and now I tell everyone about it. Enjoy that sweet little bundle of love!!


Wow, congrats! He is cute. and alot of babies ARE NOT CUTE:) hee hee. I hope you are feeling back to your self soon and i cant wait to meet him!


congratulations!! i would've stopped by sooner, but i haven't had as much time to surf as i used to before my babe was born may 30. your henry is adorable, and i loved reading your post on his birth. i hope breastfeeding is snapping into place for you. i didn't latch mayson on properly the first time and bruised a nipple. the only thing that got me thru the tortuous next week was knowing my baby needed the extra strength from breast milk (she spent 9 days in the nicu)...and like you, her heart rate also dropped a couple times. it was frightening to watch as a a herd of serious nurses descended on our room. on a parting note...a question...did the pitocin make your entire body swell? me? i felt like that inflatable michelin man for a week. congrats again to you and your family :)

Sixteen Chickens

Congratulations! He's beautiful, and dare I say, looks like his Daddy. Which makes me wonder... why haven't we seen a photo of his perfect little toenails yet? ;)


Notes from a stranger that has no children of her own:

1. You could not be more beautiful immediately after the long, hard fought birth of your son.

What is up with that?! Sheesh.

My gorgeous best friend just had her first son (April 28, he was due April 16. He will never hear the end of that I assure you) and after her pitocin, almost 40 hours, and subsequent C-section she looked, well... let's just leave it at, you look amazing.

2. He really IS cute and I have only (honestly) said that about one newborn. (we all say it at the hospital because I
think you go to hell if you gasp in horror at the alien-like
creature your friend/sister/etc just spawned)

3. Breastfeeding, now this is coming from the friend of a new mother who has only watched, seems ridiculously hard for mommy and baby. She cried a lot in the first couple of weeks (well, he did too, but I think
that is par for the course :) )

She had to use formula a few times and she felt like a failure, which is absurd to those of us that watched how hard she and Michael (the baby)were trying. Once her milk came in better she pumped and had bottles ready so her husband could help and she had something to go to if her son did not seem like he got enough breastfeeding alone.

I only say this, not as advice because I do know diddly about any of this, but it broke my heart to see her so upset at herself about using a bottle occasionally or struggling so much with breastfeeding, and feeling like she was "bad at being a mom". I don't know if people are honest enough about that part, or really, even just how hard and not fun some parts of those first couple of weeks of their life are for a new mom with hormones out of whack, no sleep, and your body healing from a trauma.

None of this may apply to you, but if it does give yourself a break and know that you are doing a great job.

For the record, Michael will be 8 weeks on Thursday and he is sooooo much better and really pretty darn fun now and I will tell you as the 'aunt', I am not sure I was convinced we should keep him during that second week, but don't tell mom I said that I may have my babysitting privileges revoked :)

Congratulations again.