Owen Beckett Harness: labor and delivery

Our sweet Owen was born on 4/01/14 at 4:04 p.m. He weighed 7 lbs 12 oz and was 21 inches long. Every bit of perfection and then some.

My last doctor's appointment was Friday, March 28th--the last weekday before my due date on Monday. Dr. Allison asked me to choose an induction date just in case I didn't have him before 41 weeks. I asked her, "when can I do it? Tonight?!" She laughed and suggested we look at the calendar. The thought of being induced made me extremely nervous because I wanted to know what my body would do on its own. However, I couldn't handle the thought of being pregnant for very much longer. Ryan wasn't with me at that appointment, so I asked her if I could talk to him and call her back. I wanted to go ahead and have him on my due date because Ryan's vacation time was starting that day, but I decided it would be worth it to enjoy one last day together before Owen's arrival. Waiting one more day would also allow me to wave hello and goodbye to my due date. Yes, I'm that lady who chose to have her baby on April Fool's Day. Sue me. ;)

Tuesday we arrived at the hospital at 7:30 a.m. We checked in, they got my IV started (although quite dramatically), etc. The first hour and forty five minutes were uneventful, although I did cry during that time because my nurse deflated all of my expectations for that day. She asked me to tell her what Dr. Allison told me to expect, so I told her: "Well, she said she would insert the catheter into my cervix this morning, then sometime around 1 or 2 this afternoon I should be ready for Pitocin, and then she said 'hopefully we'll have a baby by midnight!'" My nurse kind of scoffed and said, "well that's awfully positive. I'd say more like tomorrow." My IV was a huge debacle, and there were a few more negative comments thrown my way. I was nervous enough already, so I could have done without all of that. As soon as she stepped out of the room, I began to cry. I just needed a little encouragement and had certainly not been met with any. I was dying to see my doctor because, well, I love her.

At 9:00 Dr. Allison came in to get things started as we had discussed at my last appointment. At 9:15 she inserted a catheter bulb into my cervix to help ripen it. I had been dilated to about a 2 for at least the previous two weeks, and I basically wasn't effaced at all.  It was uncomfortable, but not terrible. I confirmed with her what she told me to expect at my last appointment: "you said this should stay in until this afternoon, right?" Right. The point of it was to help me dilate before they started the Pitocin. The bulb would fall out on its own once it had done its job. I was told to lay flat for 45 minutes, and then I would be allowed to get up and walk. During this 45 minutes, I was having mild contractions that mostly felt like intense cramping. After 45 minutes I told my nurse I needed to pee. I went into the bathroom, felt a whole lot of pressure, and out it came! It freaked me out because 45 minutes is a whole lot shorter than 4 or 5 hours! She checked me and I was dilated to a 5. I went for a 30 minute walk around the floor with Ryan and my mom, and then it was time to start my Pitocin. I couldn't believe how quickly it was all happening! The Pitocin was not fun. The contractions started out fairly mild, then grew in intensity. I would squeeze Ryan's hand pretty hard and make a fist with my other hand. Sometime between 1:15 and 1:30 I asked for my epidural, and I had it in by 2:00.  Those were the worst 30 minutes, and I kept saying over and over, "I'm so glad I asked for this when I did!" I could tell I was progressing during that short amount of time because my contractions were getting more and more intense, as well as closer together. When my nurse checked me I was at a 7, even though she said beforehand, "I'll check you, but I don't expect that you've changed any since last time." (Seeing a theme here?) She told me that the next thing I needed to be watching for was a lot of pressure and an urge to push. So, at 3:00 I paged her and told her that I wanted to be checked again. She didn't want to check me because my doctor doesn't like excessive checking; I understand she needs to make sure she doesn't get in trouble, so I asked her to make a note that I demanded it and to check me. Ha. She questioned me when I said I was feeling pressure because I said "I think I am feeling a lot of pressure." She asked if I was feeling an urge to push, and I responded by saying, "umm, kind of?"  and she basically said something along the lines of "if you really were, there would be no doubt," although those aren't at all her exact words. Well, since I'd never given birth before, I really had no idea what to expect. I maintained that I wanted to be checked, so she checked me and I was at a 9. My water also broke right then. I'm pretty sure I wanted to stick my tongue out at her and wave my hands by my ears like a child. :) She told me that my doctor probably wouldn't come until after office hours (5:00!!), but 30 minutes later she walked in the door. She checked me and said I was at a full 10 and ready to go! I think I said something along the lines of, "NO! I'm not ready!!" and other such nonsense. She smiled and said they'd be back in 15 minutes for me to start pushing. At 3:45 they came back in, set everything up, and we were ready to roll. Before we started, I said "wait! What happens if I push for a few hours and get too tired to go on?" Dr. Allison smiled at me and said, "you won't be pushing long!" Ah, I love her. I have been consistently encouraged by her throughout my entire pregnancy, and she really came through for me on this day, too.

She asked my nurse to hold one of my legs and Ryan to hold the other, and she explained to me what she wanted me to do. With each contraction I would take a deep breath, push as hard as I could for 10 seconds, then repeat two more times before resting until the next contraction. My doctor let me push as I felt the pressure, and it was seriously awesome to see how my body worked with the contractions to get little Owen out of my body. My doctor had one of the nurses throw a sheet over the birthing bar so I could have a little resistance to help me push. It helped so much. I held onto it with my hands and pulled on it as hard as I could every time I pushed. My arms and upper back were incredibly sore for the next two days! I pushed during my contractions for only 15 minutes, and Owen was born at 4:04 p.m. I couldn't believe that my labor lasted only 7 hours. Ryan cut the cord, and then I asked them to clean Owen off just a teeny bit before handing him to me. When they did hand him to me, I was in such disbelief that I had just given birth to this little human! My thought process was pretty much "oh my gosh. you are real. you were inside of me and now you're not. i don't know how to be a mom. you are so cute. who are you? i love you but you freak me out a little."  :-) Dr. Allison spent about 45 minutes stitching me up (...yep) and taking care of me while Ryan and I gushed over Owen, then they took him to the other side of the room to do all the things they needed to do. At least I think that's how it happened.

We stayed two nights in the hospital, and I was so thankful for that. I wouldn't have been ready after just one night! I asked the nurse in the delivery room if I needed to set an alarm to feed him that night, and she said that I probably wouldn't be able to fall asleep because of adrenaline. She was right. I didn't sleep at all that night, nor did I nap the next day. I know it was from adrenaline and hormones, but I was miserably tired and couldn't stop crying. (P.S. I hate all of you for not warning me about the "baby blues," as I've now learned it is called. It was possibly the most miserable 24 hours of my life, starting the morning after he was born and lasting til the next morning... and a little bit at home, but not that bad.)

Owen is a strong little guy. When the nurse first handed him to me immediately after birth, she commented on how strong his shoulders were, and then apparently he lifted his head up while the nurses were doing their thing with him after that. I love that about him because I was so nervous about handling such a fragile, new life. I still cannot believe this little man was living inside of me for 40 weeks. It did honestly take a few days for us to bond. I blame the crazy hormones and a lack of time to ourselves, but we made it through! We came home Thursday right after noon, and when we pulled into the garage I freaked out for a second and asked Ryan what we were supposed to do with Owen once we got inside! He said, "whatever we want!" Such a weird feeling. :-) I felt so proud for having carried Owen for 40 weeks and for the way labor and delivery went. I spent 40 weeks panicking off and on about that moment, and it ended up being incredible. I'll post about this separately, but every single day just gets better and better. We love him so much it's insane, and I now understand what people mean when they say they can't remember what life was like before their babies. I am so proud of him. So proud.


Written March 31, 2014--my due date. :-)

Tomorrow we meet our son, Owen. I have so many thoughts and emotions of all different kinds. I am really glad to know that come tomorrow, my nightly freak-outs can come to an end...although really I know it will just change to a different kind. Ha! Ryan is a champ and handles me perfectly. I am (we both are) so excited to lay eyes on Owen for the first time, but that doesn't mean I'm not fearful or nervous.

I know that couples who have kids right away definitely face challenges that come along with that. I can't even imagine. I have said numerous times that I am so thankful for the time Ryan and I have had--just the two of us--before having kids, but tonight I realized that the time we've had might make it more difficult to adjust. We've had almost five sweet married years together, just the two of us, and it's scary that it's all about to change. I was explaining this to him tonight and said, "I really like it just the two of us." He said, "I know; I do, too. But I think we'll like it the three of us, too." Cue my tears!

I know Owen will fit perfectly into our little family. I can't wait to become a parent with Ryan; I already know it will melt my heart to watch him be a dad because I melt every day just from him being my husband. Tomorrow our lives will change forever, and although it is scary to me, I am thankful to be walking into this season of life with my man.

You're my #1, babe. Love you darlin' sugar buns. ;)
(Photo by Crystal Goss)

(Photo by Kelsey Crawford)

(Photo by Kelsey Crawford)