Sunday, November 9, 2014

Reece's Birth Story

The other kids have baby books, but I didn't think about picking one up for Reece this past summer, so the blog will have to take the place of his baby book. This post, in particular, may provide way more information than you wanted to know about my labor and delivery, but I tried to go for the PG version. There's no talk of mucus plugs, bloody show, or any of the other not-so-pretty aspects of delivery here. That being said, read at your own risk!

I suppose labor with Reece technically began at 4am on October 29th. That was when I woke up to go to the bathroom and couldn't go back to sleep because of the contractions. They weren't very strong and after days of having contractions, they weren't too alarming. Nonetheless, I wasn't able to get back to sleep until everyone was off to school. I had been tempted to tell Eric that today might be the day, but I didn't want to get his hopes up. We’d been waiting for this for weeks!

The day before was the day after my due date. I decided to finally finish all of the little things that I had been saving for right before the baby came. I got up and wrote a very optimistic to do list. I had already sprinkled the baking soda all over the bathroom floor when a pregnant friend of mine texted me asking if I wanted to go on a long walk with her. I really wanted to say no, and it seemed like scrubbing the bathroom floor was a good enough excuse. Not to mention the fact that after going on a long walk, scrubbing floors was not going to be an easy task. I went anyway, though. I arrived home just in time to get dinner prepped and into the crock pot. Then, I had some lunch and laid down for a little while to rest. Eventually, I got back to work and managed to complete some of the tasks that had been weighing on me. The evening ended with finally scrubbing the bathroom floor, and then I was ready for bed.

I had written off my due date. Everyone knows that you can’t possibly have a baby on its due date, but I was hoping that scrubbing that floor would start things. It didn't happen right away, but as I said, I woke up early the next day with contractions.

I continued having contractions through the morning and early afternoon, but they weren't getting stronger or consistent. The only positive factor was that they didn't stop regardless of what I was doing: sweeping, cooking, or just laying in bed. I was optimistic. Today could be the day. I watched a few episodes of season 8 of Friends…the ones where Rachel is pregnant and waiting to go into labor. Misery loves company!

In the afternoon, I managed to get up and get a couple more things done. As I’d rested, my contractions seemed to be getting a little more consistent, so around 4:00 I finally started timing them. As I started working on finishing up dinner, they started getting stronger. I was still walking and talking through them, but some of them were definitely distracting when trying to get something accomplished.

By the time we sat down for dinner, they were getting harder to talk through, but at this point, I was afraid to get too optimistic. I laid down on the couch, reading articles about labor, certain that the contractions would slow or get weaker. They still weren't lasting much more than 30 seconds, so I didn't think labor was imminent. They remained consistent. I laid down in bed and downloaded a couple of episodes of The West Wing to distract myself. I wasn't able to get very comfortable, though. A friend texted me asking how things were going. I told her that I’d been having contractions, but I still thought I would probably make it to my doctor’s appointment in the morning. I still wasn't confident that what I was feeling was strong enough to be real labor contractions.

By 10:00 though, most of them were about 3 minutes apart and lasting 30-45 seconds long. I started to think this could be the real thing. I went in and started straightening my hair. I think that was Eric’s first inclination that we would be going to the hospital that night. He laughed at me, but I didn't want to have to worry about washing my hair for the next day or two. You know, the important things! He took some time to clean up the house a bit more. It took me a ridiculously long time to straighten my hair, though, because every 2 or 3 minutes I would have another contraction and have to lean against the bathroom sink to get through it. I was almost done when I decided that I should lay down for a few minutes to see if they started to slow down. There was one 5 minute gap at one point, but it didn't take me long to realize that it didn't matter what I did, they were going to continue!

I finished up my hair (quickly!) and had Eric pack the last minute stuff and start loading the car around 11:30. At 11:45, I told him he needed to hurry. He called our friends who had agreed to watch the kids, and started loading them into the car. He had been moving pretty slowly, taking his time, as I hadn't given him any reason to think we were in a hurry. I had just been straightening my hair moments before, after all. At this point, he started jogging as he loaded the kids and loaded the car.
After helping me to the car, we were finally ready to leave. In the last hour, I had no longer been able to remain silent during my contractions, and I had started to worry about how I was going to be able to keep quiet in the car in front of the kids. After waking them up at midnight, listening to their mother yell in pain did not seem like a good way to drop them off with friends. I didn't want to terrify them! Thankfully, I was able to keep quiet (from what I remember) and tried to focus on breathing instead. Cade still asked me if I was okay, so I definitely wasn't hiding my pain, but I don’t think he was scared.

Thankfully, our friends were out on their doorstep when we arrived. Eric was able to get the kids (and all of their stuff!) handed off quickly without even having to run up to their apartment, and we were quickly on our way again. I was with it enough to give him directions out of their neighborhood and to the hospital the quickest way, which was a saving grace. The contractions were never more than 3 minutes apart now, and I wasn't quiet now that the kids were out of the car. I remember staring at the clock through each contraction, knowing that each one would end.

My biggest fear about going into labor naturally was that we would end up at the hospital with a false alarm (or two). I did not want to have to get the kids out of bed in the middle of the night, get them excited that the baby was finally coming, only to return to get them a couple of hours later. At this point, I was pretty confident that this was not false labor, but I was still concerned that I may not have labored at home long enough. I told Eric as we neared the hospital that I was going to be really mad if we arrived, and I was still only 4 cm.  I wanted to be admitted. And I was ready for an epidural! I remember clearly that it was 12:25am as we drove down the hill toward the hospital. We were probably walking through the parking lot (with contractions) at 12:30.

Eventually, we made it up to the 3rd floor maternity ward. I’d made it. I was at the hospital. We walked in the door and the admitting nurse had us change our shoes. I was ready to hit her over the head with mine. I could barely hold myself up (I leaned against the door jamb), but she wanted me to change my shoes! It didn't take her long to figure out I wasn't going to be able to do it myself. (This is one of those "only in Korea" moments--no one wears their outdoor shoes indoors here, and apparently that applies to L & D rooms, as well. Soon, I was laying on a bed in a room. I was ready to relax, but of course, that wasn't going to happen. For some reason or another, a couple of minutes later, they made me move into a different room.

I laid down, and the doctor informed me I was 8 cm already! Apparently I’d labored at home long enough! Of course, now my second biggest fear was a reality: I was too far along to get an epidural. The doctor had first told me that I would see my baby before the morning, and I was terrified as to how many more hours I was going to have to endure these contractions. The morning was still a long way off as far as I was concerned. Soon though, she said it would be 45 minutes to an hour before baby arrived, and my doctor would have time to get there. Not long after, she said it would probably be closer to 15 minutes and wanted to know if I wanted to wait for my doctor to arrive before I pushed (as if I had a choice at that point!); waiting was not an option! Eric had been down in the emergency room getting me admitted for much of this time, so I was relieved when he finally returned. The wall was all I’d had to hold onto during contractions that seemed back to back, and it wasn't very comforting.

Without getting into any gory details, I will say that I remember squeezing Eric’s hand during contractions in the beginning and quickly realizing that wasn't going to do it. The nurse kept trying to get me to do these obnoxious breathing techniques that I thought were a giant waste of energy. She was so stinkin' calm! I was content to scream. Soon, I had Eric in a headlock, as that gave me much more to hold onto and squeeze to try to counteract the pain. I think Reece ended up coming out in about 3 pushes, but I’m pretty sure I started pushing before I was supposed to, so who knows? I just remember feeling a huge amount of relief when I finally felt him slide out. After 5 minutes of screaming that I couldn't do it, he had finally arrived. I’d done it. Our baby boy was here!


  1. You are so amazing Chelsea! I'm so happy everything went well despite being in a very big city in a foreign country. Reece looks like a mini Eric, he is so precious and we can't wait to meet him! We are sending prayers your way for a quick recovery, lots of sleep, and a happy little guy!

  2. Yeah!!! You did it! I bet you'll heal so quickly from this natural delivery. I bounced back quickly with all 3 of mine and I truly think it helps to not have that medication in you. Good job!!!


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