It was Thursday night, August 28th, 2014 when I was lying in bed unable to sleep. I had so much on my mind as I knew my baby girl would be arriving soon. I was excited and anxious as I lay awake staring at the ceiling. Kevin was fast asleep, of course. Up to this point, I didn’t have any signs of labor. I didn’t have braxton hicks in the weeks prior and I didn’t feel any different physically, so I literally had no idea when the big day would be. Around 1:30am I started feeling intense cramps, almost like menstrual cramps. I got up, went to the bathroom and noticed there was blood. I knew things were getting started and I was so excited! I was about 6 days overdue and scheduled for induction the following week if nothing happened before then. I had really been praying that my body would naturally start the progression, but as the days went by I wasn’t sure that would happen. But that night I knew labor was beginning. I got back in bed to rest for a bit since my plan was to labor at home for as long as possible before heading to the hospital. As I was laying there I started leaking clear fluid. It wasn’t a big gush or anything, more of a slow trickle. I thought maybe it was my water breaking but I wasn’t sure. Again, I tried to rest, but the leaking continued and I decided to get into the bathtub. It was 4am when I woke Kevin up to tell him I was getting in the bathtub and that after much anticipation, the process was surely starting. I laid in a hot bath for about an hour and noticed mild contractions were starting. I got out, blow dried my hair, got dressed, had a snack and got back in bed to try and relax. Kevin grabbed my camera and took these photos…
I tried getting into different positions to ease the pressure and stretch my hips.
For the next few hours I labored as the contractions came on stronger and stronger. Mardy followed me everywhere I went.
My first phone call was to my mom. I told her it was time and to start heading our way since she was driving in from Dallas with my sisters and nieces. I then called my doula to update her on my status and to let her know we would meet her at the hospital. Then I called the doctor and she said it sounded like my water had indeed broken and to go ahead and go to the hospital. All in all, I labored at home peacefully for about 7 hours before finally heading to the hospital around 9am.
The car ride to the hospital was very uncomfortable as things were progressing at a much quicker pace. I was moaning and groaning and unable to speak. As soon as we got to the hospital Kevin pulled up to the entrance and helped me walk inside. A hospital staff member met us at the door with a wheelchair and we took the elevator up to the labor and delivery floor. As soon as we arrived I was greeted by my doctor who just so happened to be standing at the nurses station. She said something along the lines of, “We are super busy today and don’t have a room available for you yet. Hold tight!”. Well, I started crying because I was so uncomfortable and just sitting there in the hallway. About 30 minutes later they got us into the last room they had.
I got into bed and the nurse checked my vitals, checked the baby’s heartbeat and told me I was at 4cm. Honestly, when they told me I was at 4cm I got a bit discouraged thinking, “What? I’m ONLY at 4cm and it’s already this intense?” I was convinced I was going to be one of those girls who would labor for 30 hours. So I figured I had many more hours ahead of me.
I had it in my birth plan that I wanted intermittent monitoring and did not want to be hooked up to anything so I could have the freedom to walk and move around, so the baby’s heartbeat would be monitored every 20 minutes. I decided to get into the shower because being in hot water really helped me. Kevin put his swim trunks on to accompany me in the shower and I undressed. The nurse decided to check baby’s heartbeat one more time before letting me get into the shower and found that her heartbeat was really hard to find. Suddenly, there was a panic. The room flooded with nurses and they called the doctor. I was hooked up to what felt like a thousand wires as they told me to get on all fours and placed a heart monitor on the baby’s head. They found her heartbeat, but it had slowed because she dropped so quickly so they suggested I stay in bed for a bit. They put an oxygen mask on my face to help me breath.
From here things were moving very quickly. So quickly that Kevin was still standing there in his swim trunks and flip flops and I wasn’t able to put on my special birthing gown I bought, let alone any clothes at all in exception to my sports bra. I must say, as a usually modest person I didn’t even care that I was naked and hanging out for the world to see. Ha! The contractions were coming so fast that I barely had a break in between each one- maybe 30 seconds. Within one hour I went from 4cm to 8cm. I labored for another hour or so and they checked me again- I was at a 9! They informed me that my original doctor was in surgery, so one of the midwives stepped in to stay with us and help deliver baby Robin.
The wing of the hospital we were staying in just so happened to be under construction so there were jack hammers and construction workers right outside our window. During one of my contractions I glanced out the window and saw a man in a hardhat hammering away. I just remember thinking, “well, this is interesting.”
I continued to labor, breath and focus. Kevin was on my right side holding my hand and my sweet doula, Lecreshia, was on my left side holding my other hand. Having them close by helped comfort me and I was able to fully focus on my breathing. During each contraction I squeezed their hands SO hard. I’m sure they appreciated that after a few hours. I had worship music playing in the background, I created a “birthing day” playlist and had it on repeat for several hours. It really helped me focus, but I’m sure everyone else was tired of hearing it.
The body is an amazing thing- at one point I felt tingly and almost numb all over… for a moment, I thought I was going into shock from the intense contractions, but really, my body was releasing it’s own anesthesia. So amazing.
At about 9-10 centimeters I had a strong and sudden urge to push and told my midwife. She told me to go with it and listen to my body. I started to push. My midwife then recommended I get up off the bed and squat. She said gravity would help the baby descend quicker and easier. So, I stood next to the bed, squatted and pushed when my body told me to. Kevin was right by my side encouraging me, along with our doula. Because things were moving along so quickly we didn’t have time to call our birth photographer that we had planned on having there. Luckily, I had my camera on hand. Our midwife saw my camera laying on the table, grabbed it and started taking photos- how awesome is that? I am so thankful she thought to capture these precious moments for us.
After pushing for about 30 minutes her head started to crown and I climbed back into bed to lay on my back and propped my leg up onto my midwife’s shoulder. Honestly, the contractions were far more intense than her head coming out. When her head started to come out I actually felt a bit of relief. Everyone always talks about the “ring of fire” which I did feel, but it was so much better than the contractions I was experiencing at 9 and 10 centimeters. A few more pushes and Robin Holiday was welcomed into the world! Friday, August 29th, 2014 @ 12:35pm weighing 8 lbs, 6oz and 19.5 inches long. From start to finish it was 11 hours of labor. Thank the Lord! They laid her on my chest and I saw her for the first time. Kevin cried and said, “you did it!”. Gosh, I love him. I did not cry, I think because it was such a whirlwind I was just in awe of the whole process.
That head of dark hair! We were so surprised by it. I was bald as a baby and Kevin had blonde hair so it was a sweet surprise to have this baby with lots of hair.
Seeing my baby girl for the first time…well, there are no words that can describe that feeling. It was truly the best day of my life.
I had a few moments of skin to skin time with baby and when the umbilical cord stopped pulsating, Kevin cut it. Then it was time for me to deliver the placenta and get stitched up as I had a second degree tear. In the meantime, Kevin sat on the couch with baby Robin and had some snuggle time.
I had a few minutes to get dressed and hold my baby girl before my family arrived.
My mom, sisters and nieces arrived to the hospital 30 minutes after she was born. They came up to our room to see her and took turns holding her. Everyone was very excited to have another girl added to the group!
Kevin went with Robin to the nursery to give her her first bath.
I was transferred to our postpartum room, which actually ended up being on a different floor because the hospital was so busy that day. The hospital ended up having 70 births that weekend! Crazy.
After Robin had her bath, Kevin brought her back to me so I could nurse her and rest for a bit.
Kevin had called our friend Shanyn to come up to the hospital and she took lots of photos for us after baby Robin was born (I will share them in my post partum story). I am forever grateful for all the images I have of this special day. It is such a gift to have these moments captured that will allow me to relive this day over and over again and will allow my sweet Robin girl to see all the details of her very special birth day.