Ari’s original estimated due date was on March 29, a couple days after his daddy’s birthday. Russ and I spent all of March waiting for this kid. We finished the nursery, washed all the baby clothes, and organized the entire house before March because we thought our son might come at any moment and we wanted to be prepared. We even celebrated Russell’s birthday early. Then March 29 came…and went. I went to all my OBGYN appointments every week and each week the nurse taking my blood pressure and weight will comment how baby wasn’t here yet. I continued grocery shopping and the cashiers at the store started to recognize me and ask me when my baby was coming. I felt a lot of pressure to pop out this kid but he was on his own time. It got hard leaving the house because random people will comment about how I looked “ready to pop” which, yes I was ready to pop, but I didn’t need the constant reminder that baby wasn’t here yet.
Russell and I walked an average of 2-3 hours a day. I ate spicy foods. I ate an entire pineapple by myself. We tried all the tricks to get baby to come but none of them worked. I would start getting a few minor contractions but they would never last through the night. Finally on March 29, we saw our doctor and he checked my cervix. I was at 0 cm dilated and 0% effaced. Basically, my body was not showing any signs of going into labor soon. I like my doctor and trust his advice, so when he suggested a c-section as the best option, I was saddened by that reality. Russell and I went home that day feeling defeated but we went ahead and scheduled a c-section for the morning of April 5. As the day went by, we got comfortable knowing that at least we had a due date for Ari and that we were going to meet him soon.
7 AM – woke up because I kept feeling water gushes. My water didn’t break, but there was definitely a leak. I tell Russell and he said we’re going to the hospital anyways at 9 AM so we can tell the doctors then.
9 AM – Arrive at the hospital to check in for my c-section. I can’t rave enough about how awesome the nurses were at the hospital. The first nurse I encountered was when I was in triage, all dressed up for the c-section. She asked me why I was getting a c-section and I explained my situation. She said she’s seen other women deliver bigger babies and she told me that I could probably deliver this baby naturally if I wanted. She asked me if I wanted her to check my cervix just in case I progressed since the last time I got checked. I told her yes and she checked. I was almost 2 cm dilated and 80% effaced.
I decided I wanted to try for the vaginal delivery and soon enough I was going to get induced.
2 PM – We finally get a room in labor and delivery (ocean view!) and they hook me up to pitocin. They start me on a low dose since I was contracting regularly without the medicine already. My body had naturally gone into labor earlier that morning. I think we would have ended up at the hospital on this day with or without the c-section appointment.
5 PM – Contractions start hurting. Before this point, I was able to walk around and bounce on a yoga ball but when I reached 5 cm, I was curled on the bed with my eyes closed. My nurse gives me a pain med through my IV to take the edge off. I spend the next hour or so feeling totally out of it but still able to feel the peak of every contraction.
7 PM – I ask for the epidural. At this point I’m 7 cm. The anesthesiologist comes and I keep my eyes closed because I don’t want to know the size of the needle. My night nurses and the anesthesiologist were all so awesome. The first time I got the epidural, it only numbed my left side. The anesthesiologist said he wanted to try again so that I could get the pain relief I wanted and I agree to it. By 9 PM, I don’t feel pain. I can still feel the pressure of each contraction but I was able to relax for the rest of the night.
4 AM – I tell my nurse that I’m feeling a lot of pressure at every contraction. She checks me and says I’m 10 cm dilated. Yay! She wants to give it an hour more to let the baby drop further down so that pushing will be easier.
5 AM – The lights are turned on. The nurse brings in a table that the doctor will need. And it’s time to start pushing. My nurse instructs me on how to push and we do a few practice pushes until I get the hang of it. After awhile, the nurse says she can see the top of the baby’s head and that he had a lot of hair. She asks me if I want a mirror to see it; I decline because there are certain images I rather never see. Russell takes a look though.
5:30 AM – The baby is crowning and my nurse tells me that we’ll take a break until my OB gets there. I basically hold the baby and wait for half an hour. Thank goodness for the epidural because I don’t want to know how much it would have hurt to feel the pressure of the baby’s head.
6 AM – My OB arrives and we start pushing. There was only one moment that I felt very intense pressure and I think that’s when the baby’s shoulders were passing through. But the moment I felt that pressure and I thought, I don’t think I can keep pushing if it’s going to be this much pressure, he was out.
6:18 AM – Ari Henry comes out! One of the best experiences of my life seeing him being lifted up then plopped on my chest. His cry was so amazing and he stopped crying the moment he cuddled on my chest. I remember how awake and curious he was. He had his eyes open and kept looking around. Russell got to cut the umbilical cord and we coo over baby Ari during the golden hour.
Ari was born 9 lbs 7 oz, 22 inches long.
I had a feeling he would be a big baby (I mean, his father was a 10-pounder when he was born) but I assumed Ari would land in the 8-pound range. I was surprised when the pediatricians announced his birth weight. He doesn’t look like 9 pounds. He’s just really long and I’m guessing that’s where his weight comes into play. Either way, thank you epidural for making sure I felt none of that coming out.
We were able to go home on the evening of April 7th. Ari’s first week of life was a blur. I don’t think I’ve slept a full night’s sleep since the day before I went into the hospital. But I guess that’s what being parents of a newborn is all about!
We’re so thankful for this kid. There were a few hiccups his first week of life including another trip to the hospital. But that’s a memory I don’t like reliving and maybe I’ll write about that in this blog one day. For now, I’ll leave this post to focus on his birth story. I’m just thankful that Ari has been growing and gaining weight. We are so happy being parents!!