I wasn’t quite sure what to expect when giving birth to our first baby. I’d read and heard so many stories—good and bad—and knew that at the end of the day, there was no way to predict what my birth would look like.
Owen’s birth story starts out like most I’m sure—with contractions. But, before I get into it that night, let’s start a few days before that because those last few days of waiting are excruciating! You’re so sick of being pregnant and so ready to meet your baby that it can really take a toll on your emotions and it did for me.
Owen’s Birth Story:
40 Week Appointment
His due date was Thursday, November 9th and that whole week I was sure he’d come early. The doctor had told me at my 39 week appointment that I was already dilated 1cm. He said that Owen was sitting really low, and that we should expect him at any moment.
I’d scheduled a 40 week appointment with no intention of making it that far, but it turned out he had different plans! I showed up to my 40 week appointment and had continued to make progress. I was 2cm dilated, but still hadn’t had any real contractions, just lots of Braxton-Hicks.
During our appointment, the doctor had a hard time locating his heart beat, even though I’d just seen it on the ultrasound machine. She hooked me up to the NST to monitor his heart rate for the next 20 minutes. His heart beat was there, but his heart rate was pretty low. She said he could be sleeping, but just to make sure, she gave me a sugary drink and within a few minutes his heart rate went up and he started moving like crazy. It was scary there for a few minutes and I wished I had made Rob come, but it all ended up being fine.
I did have a few contractions after that exam and I thought, well, this is it! He’s finally coming. But, alas, the waiting game continued, much to my dismay.
The Weekend Before He Was Born
Friday night we had made tentative plans for dinner with friends and ended up making it. Even though I was tired, I was happy to get out of the house and be distracted for a few hours. Sometime in the middle of dinner, I started getting some bad cramps and thought to myself, “okay, this was it—tonight’s the night!”
When I woke up the next morning, still pregnant, I was bummed. So bummed in fact that I had a little meltdown and just started crying. Thankfully Rob was understanding, let me cry and brought Oliver in for some extra snuggles. A few hours later I decided that crying wasn’t going to help or make him come any sooner, so we just enjoyed the rest of our weekend like we normally would. On Sunday evening, we watched the Broncos game, cooked dinner at home and went to bed like we normal. I still hadn’t felt anything and had finally come to terms with the fact that I might have to get induced and at the very latest, we’d meet our little guy on Thursday.
Early Monday Morning
At 1:52am on Monday morning, I woke up to sharp pains in my lower abdomen. I laid there wondering if this was just another random one-off contraction or if it was the real thing. After about 3-5 contractions within the next 45 minutes I decided it was the real deal. Rob happened to wake up at that time and I told him I was having contractions, but to try and sleep as much as possible and that I’d wake him up when it got worse.
In my mind, I expected the contractions to be more irregular at first or less frequent at least, but in the first two hours they were coming anywhere from 5-10 minutes and lasting a minute or longer each time. By 5am they had gotten a lot more painful and eventually I woke Rob up because I couldn’t focus long enough to hit start and stop on the contraction timer. He talked me through breathing long, deep breathes with each contraction and generally made me feel so much more calm.
Around 6, well, actually I’m not really sure when because I’d stopped opening my eyes, but I think it was probably around 6am, I told him to call the doctor. The contractions were coming every 3-5 minutes and lasting several minutes each. The doctor said, it was time to come in! In hindsight, we probably should have left sooner, but now we know for any future babies.
Getting out the door took a lot longer than we expected too. Rob took the fastest shower ever, I didn’t even attempt one and instead just laid in the fetal position on the bed. As he was packing the car, he told me to put on some shoes and he’d come help me get down the stairs. I made it to the bathroom where I laid down again on the floor—haha, I felt so pathetic! Rob put some sneakers on my feet and we finally got out the door around 7:15— just in time to hit the morning commute traffic (insert eye roll). Thankfully, it didn’t take too long and we were at the hospital by 7:45.
We failed to plan far enough ahead to take a tour of the hospital. However, we used to live just blocks away from Prentice so thankfully we knew the area very well. We pulled up and amazingly enough Prentice has valet. So we didn’t have to worry about parking the car. We just pulled up, plopped me into a wheelchair because I was in a lot of pain at this point and pushed me through the door into triage. I had to sign a bunch of papers, which was pretty much a blur. I think I just scribbled some lines on each one, ha!
Once I was in the room, the doctor checked me and I was 4cm dilated, so she called my doctor and wheeled me upstairs minutes later. I was so happy I didn’t have to sit in triage for long because my contractions were getting closer together, longer and more painful, and I was so ready for the epidural.
Epidural and Labor & Delivery
This room was pretty impressive, haha! It was huge, comfortable and made the whole idea of giving birth a whole lot less scary and more calm. And, at this point, I was just ready to give birth and stop having contractions! I requested the epidural pretty much immediately after we got into the room which was probably around 8:30-9am. I applaud anyone who does this naturally, but I knew from the beginning that was not the route I wanted to take. The doctor came in and Rob had to leave for about 30 minutes while they placed the epidural.
My contractions were really close together, so I was worried about them missing my spine, but the nurse (who was amazing!) helped guide my breathing as they came and went. Within minutes of the epidural being placed, I could already feel relief and could actually open my eyes! I’m pretty sure I told the anesthesiologist that I loved him when he left—haha! I felt about three more contractions, but each one got less and less painful and eventually I was far more relaxed and comfortable. They also give you a button to push if you start feeling pain again. It’s set so that you can’t give yourself too much, but it came in handy over the next couple of hours.
The doctor checked me again after that and I was already 7cm dilated. I was surprised how quickly things were moving, but figured we still had a long ways to go. The midwife came in and felt my tummy and asked if we had any idea of his weight. I told her that according to my last ultrasound, he was 8 pounds and she told me there was no way he was that big. Her guess was 7 pounds, which was funny later on.
I actually felt amazing the next hour! No pain, just pressure when I had contractions and was able to close my eyes and rest a bit. Rob came in and was shocked at my new state! He was like, man, I really was worried about you there for a while, ha! The second hour, I started feeling a lot more pain again even though I’d pushed the button multiple times, so the doctor came back and gave me another dose of medicine and within 30 minutes, I was feeling a lot better. The nurse suggested we both take a nap and rest while we could.
We rested for maybe another hour (honestly, time was a blur) and were woken up by a beeping monitor. It wasn’t going crazy, but it was beeping pretty consistently and moments later, the nurse came in and said that the baby’s heart rate had dropped a lot during the last few contractions, and wasn’t going back up after they were over. She had me flip from one side to the other, which was a lot more difficult because my legs felt like cement. That wasn’t helping, so she had me get on my elbows and knees to try and relieve some pressure. His heart rate didn’t go back up. She helped me flip back to my back and within minutes, the room had filled with doctors and I suddenly got really scared.
Just before that, Rob had said he was going to get water, and the nurse told him he didn’t have time. We both looked at each other like, what? The water fountain was just outside my room and there was no time for that? So, he came over to my bed and held my hand to get out of the way. The next few minutes were such a blur because it all happened so fast.
These bright headlights from the ceiling flashed on and the doctor told me that the baby was under stress and that they needed to get him out as quickly as possible. My first thought was that I was going to have a c-section, but instead she said they were going to use forceps to help get him out quickly. I nodded blankly through my tears and squeezed Rob’s hand tigheter.
A few moments later, I was being told to push to the count of ten. I pushed as hard as I could, but couldn’t feel much of anything. I heard the doctor say, “okay, his head is out, one more big push!”, so I knew I was doing something right. The nurse started counting down from ten again and before I knew it, there he was!
Owen Dashiell Staky was born at 11:59am on November 13th, weighing 8 pounds on the dot and 21 inches long.
It was like a scene out of a movie. The doctor was holding him up in front of the light and I just started bawling as soon as I saw him and heard him crying. I think I was in disbelief that a) I had actually given birth to a human, b) everything was okay, and c) omg, we just became parents!
They took him over to a little area to take measurements, clean him up a bit and then brought him over to me for skin to skin. Amazingly enough, he had no marks on his head from the forceps. I was still crying, but not as ridiculously now. I kept craning my neck to look at him because his face was so close to mine. He calmed down pretty much immediately and I just couldn’t believe he was finally here. Those four extra days didn’t seem so bad anymore. While we were doing skin to skin and taking pictures, the doctors were fixing everything else, errr, down there.
Despite having to use forceps, I faired well and didn’t experience any more trauma than your typical birth, which was a miracle according to the doctor. I like to think it’s because of all the squats and yoga I did during my pregnancy, but who knows! The nurse did say that I would be more sore than a normal birth, but that I was really lucky that I didn’t have more tearing. Sorry, that’s a little TMI I know, but I think we all know it happens.
Thankfully, I was still numb from the epidural so I didn’t even know what was going on. I was too absorbed in staring at Owen. It’s hard to describe those minutes after he was born. There are so many emotions and feelings going through your mind. Mix that with exhaustion and it’s all kind of a blur. I’m actually glad I wrote this post pretty soon after because you start to forget the details so quickly!
Looking back at this part, I’m still shocked at how quickly everything happened. I expected to be in labor for so much longer. Especially since Owen is our first. I expected to push for a long time, but it all happened so fast. From the start of my contractions to his actual birth, was just about 10 hours. The pushing part only lasted about 3-5 minutes due to the forceps delivery.
We stayed in the labor and delivery room for another few hours and took turns holding Owen. Rob fed me a turkey sandwich and some sugary drink since I hadn’t eaten anything since 9pm the night before. By the time we left the labor and delivery room, the feeling was starting to come back in my legs. Though there was no way I could have walked on my own. The nurse and Rob helped me get into a wheelchair and handed me our son. Which is still so weird to say! Then they wheeled us to the recovery room in another part of the hospital.
Rob had texted our parents when we were heading to the hospital. They both booked a last minute flight and arrived that afternoon. My parents arrived around 2-3pm. As soon as they walked in, I started crying again and so did they. My family are all criers! For both Rob’s family and mine, Owen is the first grandchild. I’m so happy that everyone could come in town to meet him!
We stayed in the hospital for two nights before heading home. Prentice has a nursery, so at night Owen would sleep there and the nurse would just bring him in to feed when it was time. I know some people don’t like sending their new baby to the nursery, but we loved that we got a few hours of uninterrupted sleep because we were both incredibly exhausted. Plus, I knew we’d have lots of sleepless nights as soon as we got home, and I’m very glad we took advantage.
By the time we got home, I was feeling okay. Not great, but not horrible either. Yes, I was super sore and tired, but thankful for the nursery and getting some rest while we were at the hospital. I was also so happy to be home and in my own bed!
As of today, we’ve been at home for two weeks now and have been adjusting to our new schedule, as well as doing a lot more laundry, and sleeping and showering a lot less.
Rob went back to work this past Monday, so we’ve been adjusting to our days alone! Shaheen came over (and Zain and Owen met a week before that—future besties!) on Wednesday to bring lunch, hang out with us and go for a walk. It’s little things like this that make such a big difference in these early days!
I’ve been working on getting Owen on more of a schedule now that I’m home alone with him. I know, some people might roll their eyes at this, but it’s been a huge help. Even though it’s no where near perfect yet. At the suggestion of my college bestie, Caroline, I read Babywise before he came and felt so much more confident about getting him on a schedule in hopes that he would learn healthy sleep habits early on. It also would mean that we would get more sleep early on.
Rob and I are both serious sleepers. So having to wake up multiple times in the night has been really tough. More for me though since I’m the one who can feed him! Our schedule is still pretty loose though. If Owen wakes up before “feed time”, I try to hold him off for a bit with pacifier or just feed him a bit early which has been working well. The night times feeds are the least predictable, but I know they’ll come with time!
I can’t complain too much though, because he does sleep 2.5-3.5 hour stretches at night and has been since he was born. Despite that, I have to admit that I’ve found myself googling “night nurse” haha! Like I said, I really love my sleep. The thought of a full night of sleep is just magical and some mornings, the cost seems totally worth it. For now, I’m trying to nap when I can so I don’t have to resort to that, but it’s nice to know it’s always an option, even if it is an investment.
We’ve had lots of friends and family come over to help. They bring food and just hang out for a bit which has been so nice. When you have a baby and someone asks what they can bring, tell them food! Cooking has been a lot more work and having some turkey chili in the freezer (thanks Kelly & Mitch!) and a gift card to Grubhub has been super helpful and really thoughtful!
Next Monday, my sister, Katherine, is flying in to stay with us for three nights and I can’t wait! She’s an expert organizer and helper and I know it’s going to make my week a lot easier and more fun!
Well, that was a long one, so if you made it this far, thank you for reading!
Also, can I take a quick moment and get sappy?
You guys are truly the best! All of your sweet comments and emails mean so much to me. As any mom knows, these first few weeks are trying, exhausting and scary. Reading those comments, direct messages and emails makes me feel like I have a huge and amazing support team all around me. Even if we never meet in person. And, thanks to all of you who answered my questions and concerns about the blocked tear duct. The breastmilk in the eye, tear duct massages and warm compresses totally worked! Your support and kindness has helped make this transition smoother, less stressful and more enjoyable. So, thank you! Seriously, from the bottom of my heart! I can’t tell you how much I appreciate it. I know I will continue to appreciate it when I have more first-time mom questions!
It’s been so much fun to share my pregnancy with you guys. I look forward to sharing more stories and experiences now that little Owen is here! I’d love to know what kinds of posts you’d be interested in reading! Would you want to hear about our newborn essentials? Or our schedule (once we fully figure it out!)? Postpartum recovery, etc.?! Anything else—let me know below!
Check out Owen’s Nursery for some major baby boy nursery inspiration.