Friday, January 16, 2015

Connor's Birth Story

I know I need to write down the story of Connor's birth, but I'm honestly not sure how to put into words the miracle of our baby entering the world. How do you describe the overwhelming joy of finally holding your child in your arms? How do you express the excitement of heading to the hospital, the anticipation through contractions and labor, or the absolute wonder of seeing your son's little face for the first time? There's just no possible way to do it justice with words on a computer screen. So even though it will never measure up to the story that lives in my memory, here's the (very lengthy and wordy) story of the day Connor was born...

The weeks leading up to Connor's birth were really rough on my health. Normally, I'd have done everything possible to keep a baby inside until his due date, but my well-being was deteriorating so quickly and Connor seemed to be doing so well that we started to pray for him to arrive sooner rather than later. 

The evening after my 36-week doctor's appointment, Monday, December 15th, I started feeling some contractions. They weren't very painful, but they were noticeable (a big deal, since I hadn't ever felt any contractions throughout the pregnancy, Braxton Hicks or otherwise). We started timing them. Eight minutes, six minutes, nine minutes, seven minutes. It went on like that for hours and then, around midnight, they slowed down to every fifteen minutes, then every thirty minutes, and false alarm... nothing was happening.

I woke up on Tuesday disappointed that the contractions had stopped. I wasn't allowed to drive or go to work anymore (per the doctor's orders), so I worked from home all day, waiting for contractions that never came. After Jeff got home, I started feeling some contractions again, and I was frustrated that we were about to have another night like the night before. We started timing them again and by 10:00pm or so they were getting closer together, so we decided to take a walk around the neighborhood to try to speed things up.

We walked and walked, looking at Christmas lights and stopping every five minutes or so for me to make little noises through a contraction. I remember looking at the houses all decorated for Christmas, thinking that by the time the decorations came down we'd have a baby here, in our arms. We walked to a playground in our neighborhood, and I promised Connor that if he would just work on coming out very soon, I'd take him there to play one day. The contractions seemed to be coming every five minutes and lasting for 45 seconds or so, but they weren't very painful at all, so I wasn't convinced that it was actually real labor. I don't know if it was hormones or nerves or what, but I just kept giggling every time I had a contraction. It felt unreal and kind of silly, like I was pretending to be in labor. 

We walked for about two hours until I was so cold and tired... tired of walking and tired of waiting... that I just wanted to go home. We came home and decided to try and get some sleep. We went to bed around midnight, and I thought the contractions would just stop like they had the night before.

Every fifteen minutes or so, one of the stronger contractions would wake me up and I'd wait it out and go back to sleep. 12:20. 12:35. 12:50. Around 1:15am I ended up stuck awake with contractions that were pretty close together, and right as I was thinking about grabbing my phone to start timing them, I felt a big contraction and a gush of fluid! I tapped Jeff on the shoulder, saying "Oh my gosh! Either my water just broke or I peed myself!" I sat up in bed and there was another big gush, during which I said something like "ahh! It keeps coming out! It's not pee!" and Jeff said something like "good thing we put that waterproof mattress pad on the bed!" I kept saying "I can't believe that happened! I can't believe this is happening!" I had talked myself into being able to handle being pregnant for another three weeks so much that it was hard to believe Connor was coming early! I was so relieved.

We got up and called my doctor, and she told us to head to the hospital. I ended up running around the house gathering the last-minute things for our hospital bags with a towel between my legs because the amniotic fluid wasn't coming out in a "trickle" like the internet says it does... it was more like a faucet!

Here's my last belly photo... taken right before we left for the hospital!


We got into the car around 2:30 am, me with a new towel between my legs and a couple towels on my seat. Before we pulled out of the driveway, we held hands and Jeff said a little prayer, thanking God for our little boy and asking for a safe and healthy delivery. Then he kissed me and we drove off to meet our Connor Beckett! It was a moment that will live picture-perfect in my memory forever... wet towels and sleepy faces and absolutely beautiful.

There are so many moments during the whole labor process that just make me laugh at myself when I think about them. One of them is me sitting in bed when my water broke yelling "it keeps coming out! It's not pee!" Another is when we first walked into the hospital. I had left my towels in the car, and I knew the pad I had on wouldn't last long, so I quickly waddled up to the security desk at the entrance and said very matter-of-factly "I'm in labor and I'm going upstairs" and then proceeded to the elevator. I'm still not sure whether I was actually supposed to give them my name or something, but I didn't, and they didn't say anything. Five minutes later I was in triage with a nurse. Haha.

The triage nurse said I was 3 cm dilated and having contractions every three minutes, so things were looking good. She had a little test strip to check for amniotic fluid, but she laughed and told me she didn't need to use it... there was so much leaking out of me still that it was plenty obvious without a test strip that my water had broken!

By 4:00 am we were all set up in a Labor & Delivery room, I was hooked up to IV fluids and a pitocin drip, and Jeff had called our parents and siblings to let them know it was Connor's birthday! I didn't really want to experience pitocin contractions, but since my water was broken already we had to get the baby out within a certain time frame to avoid infection, and pitocin was better than risking a C-section. My mom and little sister came to the hospital and hung out with us in the room, and we just waited, watching the contraction monitor and listening to Connor's little heartbeat. 

The pitocin did its job, and my contractions got stronger and closer together, until they got too strong and too close together, and all of the sudden there were alarms going off at the nurse's station because of my scary-high blood pressure and people were rushing into the room, and I don't remember all the details of what happened next, but they determined that the pitocin was up too high and turned it down, then turned it down even more (I don't know what units they use to measure it, but it was on at 8 originally, and they ended up turning it down all the way to 1), and we decided I should go ahead and get an epidural to try and relax my body some and keep my blood pressure out of the scary range. 

Apparently there's normally some waiting involved with getting an epidural, but there was such a fuss going on with my blood pressure and lots of discussion about getting the anesthesiologist faster, now! and somehow they ended up doing the epidural super quickly. The epidural was the one thing I was most terrified about going into the whole labor process (hello, needle up your spine!), and I had originally told them I didn't want one, but with the blood pressure issues and the pitocin issues it just seemed like the best thing to do, and I closed my eyes and tried to be very brave and let my wonderful nurse talk me through it (Jeff wasn't allowed to be in the room), and it was just fine. 

By 10:30 am the epidural was in place. I'd been having contractions for about 17 hours, it had been 9 hours since my water broke, and I'd been on pitocin for about 7 hours. My doctor wanted to deliver Connor by 7:30 pm (18 hours post-water-break) to minimize the risk of infection, and we seemed to be on track to make it. The contractions were coming at a good pace, I didn't feel any pain with the epidural, and my blood pressure was back down to more normal numbers. From there, it was just a lot of waiting. 

Once the distraction of contraction pain was gone, waiting for my body to be ready to push was such a strange thing. I knew I was hours away from meeting my little boy, my little Connor. I knew my life was this close to changing forever. I knew that in just a few more turns of the clock hand I'd be looking into the eyes of the sweet baby that I carried inside of me for all that time, but how do you wait for something like that? It was a sort of heartbreaking agony to be waiting and waiting for something so wonderful and so close. I talked with Jeff and my mom and sister. I munched on ice chips. I prayed that I'd be a good mommy. I prayed that he'd be safe through the delivery. I prayed that we wouldn't need to do a C-section. I looked around the room and tried to memorize what those last pre-parenthood moments looked like. And then, around 3:30 pm, they told me I was ready. He was about to be born! 

My mom and sister left the room, and Jeff and I kind of just looked at each other... what else do you do when your child is about to be born? I was worried... Connor had measured so big in all of his growth ultrasounds, and I'd been warned by my doctor that a C-section was a very real possibility if he was too big to get out. I knew we might be headed for the operating room even after all the labor I'd already done, and I figured we were probably in for a long, tiring period of pushing.

I did a "practice push" with the nurses, and my heart was so relieved when one of them said "oh, excellent! Stop!" and the other said "you are not going to need a C-section to get this baby out!" My doctor had left on an overseas trip at 3:00 (we just barely missed her!), so we had to wait for the other doctor from her practice to arrive to actually deliver the baby. She got a little delayed, so it was around 4:30 by the time she made it to my hospital room. 

And then it was time. There was a contraction and three pushes. And then just one more contraction and one more push and all of the sudden, when I thought we were still just getting started, it was over and he was here, and I was his mother. I cried, and Jeff cried, and one of the nurses cried at the beauty of the whole thing, and in that moment I forgot the entire world except for that amazing little boy because my mind was so full of our sweet baby. I savored his little cries and cherished the moment that he entered into the world, and even though it only took about a minute for his daddy to cut his cord, it seemed like an eternity before they laid him on my chest.


And then, finally, I held him, and he was beautiful, and his face had me completely mesmerized, and just like I had imagined in my head so many times I told him "Hi Connor... I'm your mommy and I love you so, so much, and I am so glad you're here!" But it wasn't at all like I imagined it really... because I never could've imagined how full my heart would feel, how overwhelmed I'd become seeing his tiny little hands, how he'd capture my entire heart and mind in the tiniest little instant, or how I'd cry joyful tears at the amazing sight of his little face turned toward mine. In one little moment, all at once, everything changed but it felt like he'd already been ours forever and ever. But again... how is it possible to put all that into words? 

So he was here... six pounds and six and a half ounces of absolute perfection, and we loved him instantly with the purest, deepest kind of love.



  1. What a beautiful story! Glad he arrived safely!

  2. Well I totally cried reading this! Connor is so, so loved.

  3. Congratulations. Beautiful story.