Declan James Flowers: August 16, 2019 – 8lbs and 4oz – 20.5 inches long
I have had a lot of people ask me about my birth story. It’s funny, because I never really seemed interested in birth stories before having Declan. Honestly, it always freaked me out a little knowing that someday I would be facing the unknown that is birth. Looking back now I realize it was because I didn’t fully understand the amazingness of this whole process.
Of course this isn’t going to be the run of the mill birth story – it’s going to be a birth STORY after all what type of writer would be if I didn’t tell a story.
So I am going to share my story DISCLAIMER there are photos and descriptions that are my birth story so if you aren’t someone who does well with this type of stuff, I’d stop reading and wait for my next blog.
Going into my pregnancy I was very specific with what I wanted. I wanted a doula, and to labor in the tub. I wanted essential oils diffusing and worship music playing. Like most moms “I HAD A PLAN”. I wrote out my birth plan, it was 4 pages long checked with what I did and didn’t want. I know what you are thinking, and yes I am that person. I didn’t want an epidural or to be induced. I didn’t want to have a C section. My mind was set.
As you are aware from my previous blog, my pregnancy was not easy for me. When 40 weeks hit I was not only shocked I was still pregnant, but I was DONE! My OBGYN asked me if I wanted to strip my membranes. She said it was a natural way to “jump start” my labor if my body was ready and that usually within 48 hours I would be in labor. So we decided to go for it. That was on Wednesday August 14, my due date. A few short hours I would have my first contraction.
Thursday August 15, 2019 – the first day of school for our kiddos. Ellie in TK, Joshua in 1st and Micah in 3rd. I don’t know about you but in our home it’s a big deal. The kids pick our their clothes the night before. We style their hair just perfectly. Eat a special breakfast and of course I take a billion photos. Then we take them to school and walk them to class. Well imagine my “surprise” not so surprise when at 1am I wake up with my first contraction. Mind you I actually hadn’t slept much up to that point as my mom had emergency surgery that evening (Wednesday) to remove her appendix and while doing so found a cancerous mass on her kidney. (but that is another story)
The contractions were every 60-30 minutes and by morning they were 15-20. I knew baby boy was on his way and of course reminding me that I was no longer in control of my life and to go with the flow. On our way to school, yes I still took the kids to school and I walked them to their rooms, my contractions were every 7-10 minutes and with a 25 minute car ride I had at least 3.
The contractions at this point were starting to get a bit more uncomfortable, but nothing I couldn’t breathe through and so after dropping the kids off we decided to go visit my mom in the hospital.
While there, my contractions started to get worse and I realized I was having “back labor”. Picture this scene. My mom is sitting in her hospital bed. I am sitting in a chair at the end of her bed. Contractions start and she times them while I stand and pace around her room trying to control my breathing. Multiple nurses came in and said “Are you in labor?” I would laugh in between contractions and say “having contractions, so I guess yes!” All would respond with “we don’t have labor and delivery here, don’t go into labor.”
Side note: Why doesn’t AG Hospital have a labor and delivery?
Ok, so back to CONTRACTIONS! It was now pretty close to noon, and I decided it was time to get my “birthing plan” into place. I decided to go to my mom’s house and use her tub while having contractions, at this point they were probably about 5-7 minutes with the occasional 9 minute contraction. Fast forward to about 7:00pm and we are at home, Shelden is packing up the kids clothes and I am in my room having contractions every 5 minutes. Another one starts and my step son Micah was in my room and started to rub my back when “POP” gush and I scream “ my water broke!” and run into our bathroom. I hear Micah yell in a panic “Daddy!!! Mommys’ water broke!!” I am not even sure if he knew what that meant but he was so concerned at that moment.
After my water broke it was on, my contractions were every 3 minutes and I could no longer “breathe through them” I was practically crying through them! Shelden immediately started our breathing routine. Breathe in saying “I am” Breathe out saying “relaxed.” We didn’t go to the classes and to be honest in that moment I am not sure if I would even have remembered what they taught us. We called our doctor who was up at French and she said to come on up. I was certain there was NO WAY I was going to make it the 45 minute drive to San Luis Obispo, SLO if you are local, so I had Shelden take me to Marian Hospital which was only a 15 minute drive away. All I could think about was getting to the hospital as soon as possible.
The contractions were coming harder and faster and with every contraction more amniotic fluid gushed out. We got to the hospital and they wheeled me in through the ER. I must have looked straight out of a movie, breathing through each contraction, my eyes closed and trying to position myself more comfortably in the wheelchair. Since we weren’t originally going to Marian I didn’t register there and before they could admit me, I had to fill out all the paperwork. Hindsight is 20/20 because I was only dilated to a 3 and I sat in a room and filled out paperwork for an hour and a half.
To save time I won’t go into that whole thing, but have you seen Zootopia? Well, imagine that sloth at the DMV checking you in while you are having horrible contractions. That was what I dealt with for an hour and a half in a tiny room before I was even able to go into the labor and delivery room. At one point through gritted teeth I asked her, “is this the room I am going to have my baby in…” It’s about 9pm and I am finally wheeled into my room. My contractions at this point were so bad but as best I could, I kept up with the mantra “I am, relaxed”.
Once in the room, I immediately got in the tub. This is where my memory gets a little foggy. I am not sure how long I was in the birthing tub, Shelden said 45-60 minutes. My contractions were so bad at this point I could barely breathe. They were coming every 30-60 seconds and were lasting anywhere from a 1.5-2 minutes, with hardly a break in between.
I remember feeling like I had to poop. I thought that was odd because how could I poop while being in labor. Yes, now I know that is a big indication that the baby is ready, but at the time I just thought I had to poop. The nurse didn’t check to see how far I was dilated before going into the birthing tub so in my head I was thinking I was still around 3 maybe a 5, and I didn’t want to poop in the tub. I remember saying to Shelden that I wanted my mom, I think my exact words were “I want my mommy”. I told her I couldn’t take the pain anymore that I didn’t think I could do it, and that I wanted the epidural. They got me out of the tub, and the contractions were still coming so fast I could hardly stand and walk to the bed. I also still have the feeling of needing to poop.
Once they get me to the bed I thought I would get my epidural immediately, however, that was not the case. I hadn’t originally signed the waiver so I still needed to do that and they needed to take my blood and call the guy who gives the epidural. This whole hour was a blur I vaguely remember bits and pieces. I remember the nurse coming into draw my blood and being so efficient I was even having a contraction while she did it. I remember my mom rubbing my feet with Stress Away Essential oil. I mostly remember my amazing husband standing by my side, holding me and whispering “I am, relaxed”.
Once the epidural guy came they usher my mom and sister out of the room but allowed Shelden to stay, thank goodness because by this point the only way to describe how I felt was euphoric. It felt like an out of body experience. I remember the guy having me sit on the edge of the bed and Shelden was holding my hands to keep me still. I felt nothing at this point, not even the epidural. My only thought was I might seriously poop right now. After I got the epidural, that euphoric feeling faded and I was able to open my eyes. It was 11:30pm. He told me I was having a contraction and asked if I could feel anything. I said, “Yes, I feel like I have to poop” and he said that was the pressure of the contraction so that was good I was able to feel that.
Things calmed down and I was able to rest. The nurse didn’t check to see how far I was dilated before the epidural so I hadn’t been checked since the very first time, when I was at a 3. Shelden went and got a snack and my mom was able to sit down for a bit, as she herself just got out of the hospital. While laying there with my eyes closed I had the distinct sensation of pooping. I said to the nurse “ummm, I think I just pooped” her response “oh no, that would mean it’s time for baby, you’re just having a contraction.” A few minutes later that same feeling, “I am pretty sure I pooped” she dismissed it again. I get I am numb from the waist down but I was certain I was in fact pooping so I say “I am pooping, can someone please come check”. My sweet husband starts to walk over and I quickly say, “Not you, Mom, you do it because you changed my diapers”, she lifts up the sheet and well…you know.
My mom goes out to get the nurse and when she comes in the room she comes over and says “Oh I guess I should get the catheter in you, and check to see how far you are dialted” as she goes to do it, she says, “OH!!! there’s his head!!” and runs out of the room. She comes back in and starts setting stuff up, my mom asked her if she was going to change the pad I was laying on and she muttered something along the lines of the baby is coming now and the doctor is on his way, I have to get ready for delivery.
Dr. walks into the room and immediately the overhead lights come on and it was go time. I look at the clock, it was 12:15am Friday August 16, 2019!
It all happened so fast. Dr. Fahmi was amazing! He was so encouraging, never pushing me too hard but just hard enough. Declan’s head size was 99% percentile so I would push and he would start to come out and I would relax and he would go right back. I remember at one point Dr. Fahmi, chewing his gum said to me, “ok momma we are having a big baby, do as I say and we can get him out.” I wasn’t quite sure what he meant but I knew I only had 2 hours of pushing before they would do a C section and I was determined to deliver vaginally. I would push for 10 seconds, doing two of those at a time with no break and towards the end Dr. Fahmi started pushing me for 3 and then 4. I don’t remember how many pushes I did, but I will never forget the feeling of the last push. The feeling of relief that it was over. The overwhelming joy of hearing my baby cry. The satisfaction of what I had just accomplished and a feeling of peace as they placed him on my chest.
Declan James Flowers born at 1:01am with tears streaming down my face and him looking up at me. I did it. I was able to bring my son into the world. It didn’t go as planned but it was perfectly planned by God and honestly I love how it went. From the sweet moment with my stepson to the chaos of checking in.
I know this blog post was long and while I hope you enjoyed it, I really did it for me. These last three months have flown by and there will come a day when I will struggle to remember the little details of that amazing journey. I will be able to look back at this post and be taken back to that room at Marian Hospital on August 16th.
Until next time!