Small business owner Jen Ray of 48 Hour Monogram shares the hospital birth story of her first son on the Honest Birth birth story series! Perfect for pregnant mamas to read in preparation for their own childbirth experiences. Every mama is different and every birth is different, and when we share our stories we help each other!
Hey mamas! I am so excited to share the second post in the Honest Birth series today! I got so much amazing feedback on my first post where I featured my sister and the birth story of her son, Brooks, and you can bet I’m going to be sharing a lot more wonderful, honest birth stories here on my blog.
If you missed the first post, you can check it out here. My goal with this series is to provide a place for women to share their birth stories without holding anything back, as well as compile stories for pregnant mamas to read in preparation for their own childbirth experiences. Every mama is different and every birth is different, and I believe that when we share our stories we help each other.
Today I am featuring my high school friend Jen Ray, and the birth story of her first son, Landon. We were on yearbook together in high school and have kept in touch the last ten years since graduation. She married her high school sweetheart, Keith, and they live in Colorado with their two sons, Landon and Lincoln. Jen is the proud owner of a home decor company she started while eight months pregnant with her first son. The company was inspired by him, and they make beautiful, custom wooden monograms. You can check out 48 Hour Monogram here.
The Birth Story of Landon Keith Ray
For as long as I could remember, I had always said “ I do not want to have a baby, until I have traveled through Europe and seen the art.” In December 2012 my husband and I spent a glorious 14 days in Europe, traveling from London to Rome, and everywhere in between. On day 12 in Rome, we sat in our hotel room and I said to him “You know, we should probably have a conversation. Do we want to start trying for babies?” We looked at each other in silence for a moment, and then, simultaneously said, “Nahhhhh” with smiles. Keith said to me, “We just bought you that two door Civic! Maybe in a few years.” I agreed, and we left it at that. However, God had already put different plans into motion.
Once back home, I was on a new medication that could not be taken while pregnant, so I had doctor’s orders to take a pregnancy test to ensure I was not pregnant every month. I proceeded to take my test, and much to my shock, it was positive. I looked at it 100 times in all different lights, looked in the mirror, and smiled ear to ear. I then ran to the kitchen and gulped two glasses of water to take three more tests to make sure I was right!
When I found out that I was pregnant for the very first time, my first emotion was pure excitement, and my second was sheer terror.
Pregnancy, did not suit me. I was terribly ill for the first 14 weeks, and terribly miserable the last eight. The last month, I would have given my left leg to have that little boy safely out of my body. After my 37 week appointment, I even had a false alarm thinking I was going into labor.
On September 19th, (the day before my due date) I woke up like I did every day for the past few weeks, hoping and praying my water had broken in my sleep. I crawled out of bed like a turtle on its shell, then waddled to the restroom. When I sat, I felt a small gush of water. Everything I had read and heard, told me that it would be a significant gush that was unmistakable, so I chalked it up to something mental. Over the next few bathroom visits, (which Lord knows, was every 20 minutes) the same thing happened, so we finally called the doctor. They told us to come in. It sounded like my water was leaking. “Oh my gosh! It’s happening!”
We went to the hospital, and I explained the situation to the nurse. She seemed puzzled, and explained that “leaky water” was not very common, and it was likely something else. She made me feel insecure and implied I wouldn’t be having a baby today. When she went to check me, her eyes widened and she said, “Oh wow, yep, I see it, sure is a fluid leak.” “Ha-Ha! Told you so” I thought to myself. She explained she would take a sample to be tested and would be back shortly with an answer.
After waiting what felt like an eternity, she walked in with a piece of paper in hand, head down, eyes sunken. “I would have bet my career that your water was leaking” she said. Then handed me the paper that showed “NEGATIVE” in the amniotic fluid column. She checked me and I was dilated 3 cm (had been for 2 weeks now) so she sent me on my way.
While I was sad we would not meet our son that day, I was hungry, and really wanted some Buffalo Wild Wings, so I agreed to leave the hospital without a baby in hand.
I kid you not, as the nurses walked me out of the hospital wing, I was forced to stop mid track, and face my first real contraction. Now, I had had a lot of Braxton Hicks up until this point, I mean, A LOT. I also have a fairly high pain tolerance, so when people told me “you’ll know when they’re real” I didn’t believe them. But seriously, trust me, YOU WILL KNOW! At this point though, I had been through two false alarms, and I REALLY wanted those Honey BBQ Boneless Wings, so I proceeded out of the hospital. Throughout dinner I had a few contractions here and there, but they were so sporadic. “They” say to not go in until they’re so many minutes apart, so I second guessed the pain, and proceeded as usual.
While I’ll ate a football player’s supply of spicy goodness, my parents were mid-drive from Colorado to Texas. They had always planned to come for the due date and wait for baby. They were getting tired and come bed time called and asked if they were good to stop. “Ohhh yeaaa” I said, “Nurse says I’m still only a three. No baby tonight. Ya’ll get some rest.”
Keith and I laid in bed, and I tossed and turned with excruciating pain. What was throwing me off though was I had to go to the bathroom, a lot. Every time I’d have the bad pain, I’d have to go. (We’re talking #2 here, people). Keith was straight mad at me because I kept disrupting sleep, and he was fed up with the false alarms. I think he was convinced at this point there was no baby ever coming and I had just swallowed a watermelon. He was no help, so I called my mom. “Mom, I’m so sorry to wake you up at 1 am, but this hurts so bad. If this isn’t labor, something is wrong!” Then a contraction hit. “Ahhhhhh why does anyone ever have TWO babies??!?!?” My mom laughed and I heard her wake up my dad. “Dan, it’s time, she’s really in labor now.” Keith begrudgingly rolled out of bed and took me to the hospital.
Like the two times before, they hooked me up to the monitors, put me in a gown, and they checked my cervix. Keith was almost fully asleep in the chair next to me when the nurse said, “You’re dilated to a seven and 100% effaced.” Keith perked up right out of his chair and said, “Wait, what? It’s real this time?” “Yep!” she replied “You’re not leaving this hospital without your baby.”
They wheeled me to my room and asked me the almighty question, “Would you like the epidural?” I had gone into the pregnancy with no clear opinion one way or the other on getting an epidural. Could I have survived labor without it? Yes. Did I want to? No! So I did what I’d whole heartedly recommend anyone do, and got the epidural! Ladies, get the epidural! Okay, okay, I know I’ll get backlash for that one, but seriously, it was awesome. I am not afraid of needles in the slightest, so that part was no big deal. The hardest part was that it takes a few minutes to put it in, and in that time, you have to stay completely still, all while having a few contractions. After that, my contractions fizzled, and I was able to get some rest while waiting for little man to make his debut.
At 12:45 pm on September 20th, I was checked and deemed ready for delivery. Remember my parents who were driving from Colorado? Well they had called and were 10 minutes down the road, so I did the unthinkable and asked if we could wait for them to get there! They got there in the nick of time, gave me a peck on the forehead, and it was pushing time.
Before I started pushing, the doctor broke my water. She told me it would feel like I was wetting the bed. It didn’t, and I still couldn’t feel my legs. When she broke the water, she had concerned eyes and told me there was meconium, a.k.a. bubba had pooped. I didn’t really know much about what that meant, and they assured me his safety, and told me “Just in case, we’re going to bring in the NICU team to be here and be prepared.”
With doctors, nurses, Keith, about a million people from the NICU team, and zero modesty left, I started pushing and pushed for about 25 minutes. A nurse looked at me and noticed I was getting red in the face when I pushed, my heart rate would sky rocket, and I’d need oxygen between pushes. Then she told me the most valuable advice: “You’re pushing with your head, pull it down and push with your bottom. Push like you’re pooping!” It took me five minutes after that to push out my first born. It took me two pushes and 40 seconds to get out my second, and I thank this nurse for that advice!
Pretty much my biggest reason for getting the epidural was that the labor pain was bearable, but I did NOT want to have to know what it was like to feel myself ripping should that happen. I am here to say, during the pushing process I felt nothing I’d call pain. I ended up with a second degree tear (he has a big ol’ head!).
Hands down my favorite memory of child birth is in this 30 minute time period, I remember looking over at my husband Keith, and seeing the look on his face. I never thought one face could tell so many emotions–fear, sadness, nervousness, excitement, and my favorite one, pride. You’d have thought I was fricken Wonder Woman based on the look on his face, this look of “Holy Cow, she’s a rockstar! I can’t believe she is doing this!”
After 30 minutes of pushing, my job was done, and Landon Keith entered the world. I was out of breath and a little dazed. I waited for my baby boy to be put on my chest, to hear his sweet little cries, but instead all eyes in the room went to him, he was gurgling and couldn’t breathe. I still had not seen his face, but they took him away and crowded around him. Keith stayed by my side, but I told him to go, and he walked to the other side of the room to see what they were doing. My bedside nurse assured me he would be okay. He didn’t sound okay.
A few minutes later ,my now crying and breathing baby came to lay on my chest and there I saw his little squishy face for the first time. I never thought I’d have enough love in my heart with how much I loved Keith, but boy oh boy, little Landon was here and he was mine and I loved him more than life itself.
Keith later told me, that he has been covered in the meconium, and that they had to stick a long tube down his throat and suction out his lungs. I’m glad I didn’t know what they were doing at the time!
I was tired, but oh so incredibly happy. For 2-3 days after birth I was on an emotional high and nothing could get me down! But, postpartum depression hit me real hard, so my biggest advice would be, be careful there ladies! Never be afraid to talk to your doctor, because you want to enjoy every second of your sweet babe’s days, and not have them filled with that yuckiness. Luckily I had a battle plan for baby #2 and did not have the same postpartum experience!
Landon was born on his due date, and was 8lbs, 9oz. left the decision of circumcision to his daddy, and Landon was indeed cut. He’s now a healthy happy four-year-old that I can’t imagine my life without. He is big brother to two angel babies that we lost to miscarriage, and our one-year-old son, Lincoln.
Thanks so much to Jen for offering to be my second guest of the series! Make sure you check out her shop here, and you can follow 48 Hour Monogram on Facebook here. I loved reading her story and can’t wait to share more with ya’ll next month!