Well it’s been two solid months, of absolute craziness, but I’m finally sitting down to write the story of our son Jayden’s birth!
I wanted to remember things while they’re still fairly fresh, so we can always come back and look at the details as he grows up.
For anyone who doesn’t already know, we had our first baby in March. The whole shebang has been an insane, life-changing experience. Jayden has changed Cole and I’s world in the best way possible, and I feel like he’s going to live just as incredibly as he was born.
An Impatient Person’s Guide To Waiting
I would contest that one of the hardest things about giving birth is that despite what the Internet says, you can’t make it happen on your own time. I left work a week before my due date, thinking it would give me a few days to get things in order and relax a bit before the baby came. Little did I know we’d still be waiting two more weeks!
I filled up a lot of the time by shopping online for last minute baby things, watching reality TV, and half-reading baby books. (My favorite was definitely Ina May’s Guide to Childbirth. If you’re interested in natural birth and aren’t afraid of slightly “hippie” ideals, I’d highly recommend.)
Four days past I was miserable, bored, and utterly frustrated.
I started filling up my social calendar as much as possible. You know… just in case the baby decided to never come. I wrote a long moody blog post about it that never went up, then cried, complained, and researched inductions. At one point I even told my mom, who had flown into town, that she might as well go home.
And then came Monday the 13th.
I should have known Jayden would be born on the 13th.
In 8th grade I claimed the #13 uniform in track & field, because no one else wanted it. I started declaring to everyone that 13 was “my favorite number” because I thought it made me seem edgy and fearless.
Cole and I got married on September 13th. It was the perfect Saturday during the perfect time of year. It seemed fitting.
On March 13th, I got up early and completed an entire cardio kickboxing workout – because I’m a lunatic. I knew my body didn’t feel quite right, but I chalked it up to constipation. (TMI, right??)
Afterwards I met up with a friend for breakfast. I was having major cramps and it was hard to sit still, but I’m tough! On the drive home I realized “Shoot, I think I’m having contractions.” So I pulled into a parking lot and started googling how to count them. My favorite thing is that I didn’t bother to research this until FOUR DAYS after my due date. But, I digress…
Back home I tried to count my contractions. But somehow instead I ended up watching Real Housewives of Atlanta while I scrubbed all of our baseboards. I finally texted Cole once things got a little harder to deal with, since his job is about 45 minutes from our house. I knew it might be good for him to come home early and avoid traffic.
The Day That Changed Everything
I spent the next 2 hours doubting whether or not I was actually in labor.
But by the time Cole got home, my contractions were 4 minutes apart! Around 6 pm Cole, my mom and I got in the car and finally headed for the hospital. My contractions made the ride excruciating, but we got to the hospital fairly fast considering the time of day.
At check-in I could barely talk, and by Triage I couldn’t even lift a leg to take my socks off. The Triage nurse told me, “You’re 9 centimeters dilated. We need to get you in a room right now.”
“You’re 9 centimeters dilated. We need to get you in a room right now.”
For anyone who doesn’t know, 10 centimeters dilated is go time, so I was definitely pushing it. We’d been dangerously close to having this kid in the bathroom at home, and I had no idea!
Once in our room, the midwife on duty came in, who just so happened to be one of my favorites from the practice we’d been going to. Then about 45 minutes later our doula, a friend from church, arrived. (I fully intend to eventually do a post solely on doulas. She was a lifesaver and kept me sane throughout the birthing process. 100% recommend!!)
I’d always wanted to try for a natural birth, so being too late for pain meds really helped with that. After about two excruciating hours of pushing and almost blacking out, Jayden’s heart rate began to drop. Although I was completely dilated, my pushing wasn’t as effective as it needed to be, and the little guy needed help coming out.
The midwife and one of the hospital doctors suggested an episiotomy (where they use scissors to enlarge the opening… ouch) to speed things up. After the episiotomy the stubborn kid still wasn’t budging. Using a vacuum was the next step. This obviously would make anyone nervous because who wants their kid vacuumed out? But by that point I knew he just needed to be out. Since his heart rate had dropped so much, the NICU team filed into our room, ready to check all of Jayden’s vitals and make sure he was okay when he arrived.
Cole says at this point he counted 15 people in our hospital room. I will have you know that this room was the size of a medium walk in closet, so yes, things were a little tight.
A few moments later, the vacuum was used, and we heard a soft baby cry. And then it got louder. He was here! He was in the world! I got to quickly touch him before the NICU team rushed him across the room to make sure he was okay.
A Star/Child Is Born
A few minutes later he was back in my arms. He was 6 lbs and 9oz of perfection.
It was hard to believe this was the person I’d been carrying around inside of me since last Fourth of July. He was adorable, and somehow more awesome looking than I could have ever imagined. He had huge brown eyes that tried to focus in on me way sooner than I expected. His skin was light and he had so much luscious, dark, straight hair. Laying on my chest, he lifted his little head up immediately like a pro. This was Jayden. This was our son.
I’m pretty sure I cried, though the whole experience is fuzzy, so I can’t be sure. Cole had been sitting on the floor trying to recover from the whole ordeal. But after he recovered, one of my favorite memories is him sitting in a chair smiling with Jayden in his arms for the first time.
The next few minutes and hours are fuzzy. Trying out breastfeeding for the first time, then staring in awe as this tiny person rested on my chest. The realization that his entire well-being depended on us was (and still is) pretty overwhelming.
Family members filtered into the room in shifts to see the little guy, laying kisses and hugs on him. Then there were the two hospital nights of essentially no sleep as nurses and doctors came in throughout the night and day. Needless to say, we were more than ready to head back to the comfort of home when it was all said and done.
We’re now almost two months past Jayden’s birth, and having him home with us, creating a new normal, has been such an adventure. I don’t think I could ever fully verbalize to anyone what giving birth or becoming a mom for the first time is like. It’s just a whole lot of feelings – the best ones and the worst ones. It challenges and stretches you in new ways (literally), and makes you feel more joy than I can ever remember feeling at once. I’m still learning how to be a mom, how to love another human being selflessly and without reservation. And I’m sure I still be learning the same lessons… even at his high school graduation.
Jayden Flynn, I am so glad you were born and we’re excited to see who you are and what you become!