Hi friends! Happy Tuesday.
Drew + I are over the moon to announce that our little bundle of joy arrived Friday, May 27th at 11:04 pm. Maxwell Todd was 8 pounds even and 21 inches long. Our entire experience has been more wonderful than we could’ve ever expected. We are those new parents that do not want to miss a single moment of his life + take a million pictures.
I wanted to share his birth story today. Don’t worry, I’ll leave out the graphic details. 😉 As an important note, I wanted to do a natural birth + that dictated my thought + decision making process. I wrote a letter to encourage myself on Friday afternoon at a coffee shop + I’ll share that later this week for those interested in my mindset going into birth.
Here is how Mr. Maxwell came into the world:
Around 11:30am on Friday I started to experience cramps. I was talking to my younger sister Esther on the phone (she is currently studying abroad in Ireland), she asked when the baby was going to arrive + I told her I had no idea. Up to this point I have been having plenty of contractions and even some crampy feelings, so I learned to not get too excited. I went ahead with my plans to go to lunch to get out of the house + write a blog. The blog I wrote was the labor mantra + encouragement that I mentioned above + will be sharing soon! The cramping continued and seemed to be every 15 minutes or so. I sent Drew a text at that point + told him “I hope things escalate.” He was at work + sent a message back that he was hoping it would too. After passing 40 weeks, we were getting pretty anxious to meet our babe. Although the cramping continued, I went to Target + grocery shopping.
When I arrived home, I decided to start timing the contractions. They were getting more intense + covering a larger area of my stomach. I flipped on Ellen, as I knew she would be the perfect person to help me through the increasing intensity. I watched Ellen and Dr. Phil + started to believe this WAS IT. By the time Drew arrived home at 5pm, I was having contractions every 5 to 7 minutes + they were more painful than any of the previous ones had been.
I was SO thankful that my husband was home. He followed me around the house as I walked + breathed through the contractions. He was encouraging, excited, + nervous. I’m the type of person that goes into the a zone when something gets painful or intense, so all of those sweet pictures of the husband massaging his wife’s back or a woman draped over her partner during a contraction was NOT us. And that’s okay because we both knew that going in. Drew remained the steady, strong, + encouraging support person that I knew he would be. What I needed more than anything was his words + his confidence in me.
I had wanted to be at home for most of the laboring, so I was in no rush to call or go to the hospital. Drew is a little more cautious, so he encouraged that I just call + see what they said. I obliged and talked to the OB on call. I gave her a summary of what was going on: I had been having regular and increasingly strong contractions for 3 hours and 16 minutes at that point (my running watch with a split timer was perfect to keep track, and helped me mentally). She asked a few more questions + then advised that I actually leave for the hospital at this point. This surprised me because I figured I had plenty of time since it was our first child. I asked if I could take a shower + she said that would be fine and we’d see her soon.
On the way to the hospital, the contractions started to increase in strength+ were getting closer together. One of the fears of this first time momma was going to the hospital too early + getting sent home. We arrived at triage at 7 pm. Baby looked perfect on the monitors + I was 5 cm dilated when they checked my cervix. We were told we were staying + that they were setting up a room for us.
Excitement to meet our baby + relief that he was coming into the world on his own rushed over me! When you go over 40 weeks, they mention + discuss the possibility of an induction. Since I did want a natural birth, I was hoping to not have to continue the induction conversation.
We arrived into our room + met our amazing labor nurse. Our personalities meshed really well from the start. My favorite thing was she just could tell I was in a zone + she supported that.
Things escalated pretty quickly. I was working through all of the contractions by standing up and squatting at a high countertop in the room. As Drew put it, I was essentially doing half squats for 3 hours. Between contractions I would walk around the room + talk to Drew + the nurse. Breathing + timing through the contractions is what made things tolerable. I would just take long deep breaths in + out. It was similar to making it through a track workout, I just had to get through one at a time without fear of the next. I enjoyed looking at my watch after several long deep breaths because I would look up and see that the contraction would be over soon.
The nurse knew I was a runner + she said “Amy, this is more mental than anything…just like running.” She offered to start a bath, which I declined at first because I really enjoyed moving + do not like being hot. The next time she offered + she told me I could hop right out if I didn’t like it, but most people found it to be very helpful.
Praise the Lord for that bath. It helped me through some very intense contractions.
The whole time, I knew I could do it. I truly didn’t even think of asking for pain medications + never once did. At 7 cm I was rating the pain of the contractions around a 6-7. I figured I had to save the higher numbers + that was the last time she asked me my pain level. She knew I was committed at that point to an intervention free birth + I think she could tell me pain level from there on out.
Of course there were times were it became really scary + painful. I would say something, make an intense noise, make a scared face or worried eyes…the nurse + Drew would be right there to tell me that I was doing it. That I could do it. That I was doing awesome. My nurse was honestly a little firm with me at times + I loved that. Just like a coach that gives firm encouragement because they want more out of you.
One of the times that I became scared was when I felt out of control of my body. I had to vomit, pee, + go to the bathroom all at once. I hadn’t expected to vomit SO much. But at each stage the nurse would say, this means your closer to meeting your baby. This means your baby is working its way down.
They only checked my cervix three times. The first check I was 7 cm, the next I was 9, and the last I was complete and ready to push.
My water broke at 10:39 pm. I only had to push Maxwell out over 3 contractions + 15 minutes. I had expected it to take a lot longer than that since our nurse had prepared us that for first time mommies the pushing was usually 1 to 3 hours.
Because of that expectation she set, when Maxwell came out I was in complete awe and truly shocked. Everyone in the room said my face was priceless. I thought I still had a little bit of a journey ahead of me. I was the one that saw his little penis first + announced that it was a BOY. They placed him right on my chest + he didn’t leave it for a very long time. I couldn’t get enough of him then, I still can’t get enough of this sweet baby now.
I only spent about a combined 3 minutes in that hospital bed during labor + delivery. Each time it was to get my cervix checked + then I would hop out. I hated being in it + it made things feel a lot more painful + scary. Maxwell was not born in a bed + I’m thankful for the wonderful nurse + OB that allowed me to tell them I wasn’t interested in being on my back or being close to that bed. They supported + empowered me in my wishes.
Drew + I were the only ones in the delivery room + the only two that knew our baby was on the way out. We wanted to experience becoming a family of 3 + bonding with our baby without feeling rushed. Because of his late arrival time, we really felt like the world was just the 3 of us. We called our families in the morning + they excitedly came to meet him.
I was SO in love with him from the minute he was into the world + the love just keeps growing. Seeing Drew become a dad is the most precious thing that has ever happened during our marriage. He has taken onto it very quickly + Maxwell feels very calm in his daddy’s arm. Our transition home has gone very smoothly + I’m thankful that Drew won’t go back to work until next Tuesday. I’m recovering nicely + the biggest challenge for us right now is breastfeeding. We’re getting better + better! But oh man, kudos to all the mommas out there that made it through the sore nipple phase…ouch! 🙂
From the bottom of our hearts THANK YOU to the team at Meriter Hospital + Madison Women’s Health for the best care that we could’ve asked for.
Obviously in tears writing this post. Thanks to everyone for your well wishes + support during this very exciting time. Now for some pictures! XO. Ames