Hey mamas! Welcome to the seventeenth post in my Honest Birth series! I’m excited to share another real mama’s birth story, because I think it’s so important to share our childbirth experiences with each other. 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 friend Tiffany! Tiffany and I have followed each other’s blogs for years, and we’ve become friends! She and her husband have a daughter and a son and they live in Washington. Tiffany shares health and fitness tips, workouts, and recipes on her blog, A Fit Mom’s Life. It’s a great resource for any mom trying to improve herself! She even has a free seven day health and fitness e-course challenge that you can sign up for on her site! Anyway, today Tiffany is sharing the hospital birth story of her son, EJ!
Ready to read all about her son’s birth story? Here we go!
The Birth Story of EJ Huebner
I had the best birth experience with my first child (much better than the whole pregnancy aspect, if you ask me), so when I was pregnant with my second, I expected the birth to be very similar to my first.
Famous last words…
Let’s back up a bit. My whole pregnancy with my son was different from the beginning. I was exhausted most of the first trimester, I had to stop working out at 24 weeks because he was carrying so low I was in constant pain if I tried to do anything too physical, and he was measuring big the whole time (my daughter was the exact opposite, a tiny little bean of a baby).
So when I got to 37 weeks, and the ultrasound technician told me baby was measuring 7 1/2 pounds already, I started freaking out. They say babies typically gain half a pound a week the last 4 weeks, which meant EJ would weight over 9 pounds at 40 weeks! Oh heck no! So I spent each day from then on out trying to will my body to go into labor. I did ALL THE THINGS people say to do. I was bouncing on balls, walking everywhere, eating all the foods they say to eat….and nothing happened.
At my 38 week appointment I was hoping to be at least a few centimeters dilated, but alas I was at a 1 ½. My OB said that EJ was very low, so when I did go into labor it would be quick. So my hubby started working from home in anticipation of baby coming any day.
When I got to 39 weeks, and was still pregnant, I was so depressed and terrified of labor. Cue the tears! I can’t push a 9 pound baby out! My daughter was 6 pounds 11 ounces, how am I going to do this?!
You know how “they” say that second babies usually come earlier? Well, “they” are all liars! At my 40 week appointment (on a Monday) I was desperate. We had another ultrasound and baby was measuring 9 pounds. Oh. My. Lord! My OB, who is like a really good friend and father-like figure all rolled into one, could tell I was stressed out. He checked me, and I was at a 2. He said the hospital wouldn’t allow a scheduled induction until I was at least a 2 ½. So he scraped my membranes, and got me to a 2 ½ (which wasn’t as painful as people made it out to be). The nurse made an appointment for 2 days out for me to be induced.
I went into labor that night, but never dilated beyond a 3. By Wednesday I was exhausted from laboring for a day and a half, the contractions were pretty painful and I just wanted him out. We got to the hospital around 10:00 in the morning for my semi-induction. I got my epidural right away so I could rest while the Pitocin started working. I’m so glad they let me get the epidural first because I know Pitocin can really make the contractions doubly painful.
We monitored my contractions for a few hours and then around 5:00 in the evening, the resident working with my OB came in to break my water. That got the contractions really moving and I was dilated to about a 6. But the contractions were irregular and EJ’s heart rate would start to drop every so often, so they would have me switch positions to bring it back up. Around 7:00 I started to feel nauseous. They were monitoring my temp and by this point it had spiked to over 101 degrees. I had gotten a cervical infection (I’m assuming from breaking my water). They quickly put me on antibiotics and I started getting the shakes. I’ve had the shakes before, but never like this. It was uncontrollable and as much as I tried to relax, they wouldn’t stop. I started to feel nauseous again and ended up vomiting. But the shakes continued for 2 hours and my whole body ached so badly.
EJ’s heart rate continued to fluctuate and at one point 5 nurses rushed into my room, got the oxygen mask on me and started rolling me from side to side to try to get his heart rate back up. I knew something was wrong but was trying to stay as positive as I could because I knew it would take all of me to push him out. But I was so scared. This happened another time or two and it was at this point that I was starting to worry about him.
They then informed me that he had pooped in utero. I didn’t know what to think, but the doc and nurses didn’t seem too concerned so we continued to adjust my position to keep baby’s heart rate up. Oh, did I mention that my entire left leg was numb from the epidural? Yep, completely numb. So I could barely move myself at all.
I continued to shake and use the oxygen for a few more hours until my OB finally came to check me. I was at a 10 with a lip (no idea what that means) but they said I could push through that. I also knew from the look on my OB’s face that I needed to get EJ out as fast as I could. It was then that the NICU team came into the room as a precaution in case baby needed a little extra help after being born.
He was facing sideways when I started pushing so I heard both the doctors talking about how to best get him out. That definitely had me a bit worried and I was concerned I wouldn’t be able to push him out at all.
I started pushing at 10:40 and after 7 minutes, 4 contractions, EJ was born at 10:47 PM weighing 8 pounds 6 ounces and 21 inches long. They put him on my stomach and he was completely covered in poop. And he wasn’t breathing. I just rubbed him while the doctors cut his cord then they took him from me. The NICU team worked on him in the delivery room for a while. They had the bagged oxygen on him trying to get him to breathe and were pumping his heart. All I could say was “He’s not crying!” and started crying myself. I could barely see what they were doing because my doctors were working on me but I could have cared less because I couldn’t see my baby. Finally after what seemed like an eternity they said he was breathing and took him to the NICU. They asked if my husband wanted to go and I told him to go with them. I didn’t want our boy to be by himself.
At this point my docs were still working on me after I delivered the placenta, and the nurses were getting everything cleaned up in the room. They told me he was in the best hands possible and I just thought “No he’s not, he’s not in my hands.” I tried my best to keep it together but I was laying there without my baby.
Once the doctors were done and the room was cleaned up, my nurse went to grab me some crackers, and I was all alone. I had just delivered my baby after a long, hard pregnancy and labor and I was all by myself. I’ve never felt more despair and utter sadness in my entire life. I just started crying and praying to God that he was okay. I prayed like I’ve never prayed before.
Kellen started sending me photos of him and keeping me up to date about what was going on. Once I got the feeling back in my legs and went to the bathroom I could go see him. And it was taking for freaking ever for my left leg to gain feeling back! Kellen came back to the room to show me some other photos and we both sat there while I just sobbed. After about an hour my nurse said screw it, I needed to see my baby, and she and Kellen helped me into the wheelchair and wheeled me to the NICU so I could see EJ.
Seeing your baby hooked up to a bunch of machines with a tube down his throat…..I can’t even explain the pain and agony my heart was going through. He’d wake up every now and then crying, fighting the tube, but you couldn’t hear him because of it. That has to be one of the worst sights a mother can see.
Because I was still a patient I couldn’t stay in his room with him; plus he was in a pod with 2 other babies at the time. So I had to go back to my room to sleep. But I woke up every few hours to pump and visit him. I couldn’t stand to be away from him.
The next morning I went to see him around 8:00 and he was off the ventilator! They said he was fighting it so much they thought they’d try and take him off it, and he was doing great! They’d never seen a baby come off the vent so easily. We knew he was a fighter. I also got to hold him for the first time, which was the best feeling I’ve ever experienced. When you’re forced apart from your baby, that first moment of togetherness is amazing. Later that day they transferred him to his own room. Once I was discharged (the following day) I was able to move my things to his room, which is where I stayed for the next 5 days while he gained strength and recovered from the strider he had after being on the ventilator.
The doctor finally discharged us because she thought he would do better at home, away from the stress of the hospital. And she was right. He started eating more and thrived once we got home.
Even though my birth story isn’t the one I’d hoped for, I have a happy healthy baby who brings so much joy to our lives. We are so fortunate and he completes our family perfectly.
Wasn’t that a great ending? I had a lot of similar things happen to me in my first son’s birth (throwing up and the shakes during labor are the worst!). I loved how Tiffany ended her story on such a positive note. Little EJ had a rough start to his life but things worked out! And now he is the cutest little two-year-old!! Thanks so much to Tiffany for sharing her story on the Honest Birth series! Make sure you check out her blog, A Fit Mom’s Life, and visit her on Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, and Pinterest! And don’t forget to check back again next month because I’ll have two more Honest Birth posts going up!