I’m sorry for the cliffhanger at the end of my last post! That was not my intention, but a fussy newborn paired with tired eyes does not a blog post make. But, we’re starting to get the hang of things around here, and today I’m checking in to finish the story!
In case you missed it, I shared Part One of Skyler’s birth story earlier and am excited to share the rest of it. Spoiler alert – it ends with the miracle arrival of this one at the end.
Let’s get right to it!
Labor & Delivery
Last you heard, Scott and I checked into the hospital right before 11 p.m. on March 14th. We were taken into the triage area and it was pretty empty. There wasn’t any way to know how long we would be there, but I kept picturing the scene from Friends when Rachel checks in to deliver her baby and watches at least a handful of couples come in and out of the shared triage room before it was finally her turn. I was truly hoping that this wasn’t the case!
But, at this point, we weren’t even sure we were staying to have a baby … so literally anything could happen. I was given a hospital gown to change into and climbed into the bed shortly after. Scott pushed all of our stuff to the corner, and I breathed through contractions as the nurses hooked me up to machines and got everything going.
I remember a medical student coming in and asking me all of the questions I had already answered. I became annoyed since I was in a considerable amount of pain with each contraction and didn’t want to waste any energy answering questions I already addressed. I told him to give me a minute whenever a contraction came along and eventually finished answering anything he asked.
The nurse told me that my doctor was in the hospital, but she wasn’t quite ready to see me yet. She gave me a cervical exam and told me I was about 3 cm dilated. The pain from contractions was getting more intense with every round of them, so I mentioned that I was interested in getting an epidural and asked when most people get them. This threw Scott completely off guard, as he still didn’t believe that we were going to have a baby yet. He said “shouldn’t we wait for the doctor to confirm she is having the baby?” and got a surprising (to him) answer.
Basically, the nurse said that if I was on a desert island by myself and they didn’t do anything at all to speed the birth along, we would still meet our baby by the next 24-48 hours. Scott’s face. Oh my goodness. He couldn’t believe it! Meanwhile, I was like … “Welcome to this labor, babe” as I passed another contraction. I wasn’t kidding, guys!
After the reality set in, they gave us three options regarding the epidural. One was to go home and get through several hours of labor in the comfort of my own home before coming back when it became closer to go time (um, no thanks). Two was to get the epidural then and pair it with pitocin – a hormone that helps strengthen and regulate labor contractions during childbirth. And three was to take the next two hours to walk around the Labor & Delivery floor then get another cervical exam at 2 a.m. to reassess. We chose the third option, and Scott walked me around the floor for the next hour. He made phone calls to our families, and I could tell that each contraction was getting lower and more intense as time went by. Every two minutes or so, the pain stopped me in my tracks, and I held onto the wall, Scotts arms, and breathed as best as I could until it passed.
Some people have asked me what contractions feel like and it’s hard to describe. At first, the ones at home just felt like uncomfortable pressure. It almost resembled someone reaching around my abdomen on both sides from behind and pressing as hard as they could onto my belly. My stomach also became as hard as a rock! The contractions at the hospital, however, were another story. I can’t really describe what they felt like because I think I blacked out a little during each one, haha. They were pretty rough and took my breath away while doubling me over each time. I felt like I could easily turn into the dramatic pregnant lady in the movies that was about to go postal, but I did my best to refrain and keep my eye on the prize. At the end of all of it – we were finally going to meet our baby!
We walked around for about an hour, but I had enough by 1 a.m. I went back to our room and asked for something like a stability ball to sit on. I saw them hanging out in the room next to ours, so I wanted to give that a try and see if circling helped. It did until it didn’t, and I ended up throwing up for a while after that. The nausea (I’m assuming from the pain) was out of this world, and the nurse said it was actually a good sign that the labor was moving along.
The next hour was a blur, and before I knew it 2 a.m. approached, and it was time to see how much I was dilated. It wasn’t long after we heard “5 cm” and we were able to pack up our stuff and move into our delivery room. I was thankful when I saw how big and private it was. As soon as we got settled in, I asked about the epidural and we agreed that the time had come. Word to the wise, however, once I asked for it, it took about 40 minutes until I actually got it.
(As we started feeling comfortable in the room, the nurses encouraged Scott to sleep since he only got a few hours the night before and was basically running on fumes at this point.)
Scott was very curious about everything and asked to be woken up for any excitement, including the epidural. He was fascinated by how they administrated it on the spine and held my hand through it all. It didn’t take long for it to kick in, and my pain level immediately went from about an 8 to a 2 or 3. It was amazing. And of course, Scott was there to document everything.
I felt so much more like myself again. I was able to eat the labor-approved snacks and make jokes with the best of ’em. It was important for me to still be able to feel the contractions to know when they were happening, so I left the button alone that produces a stronger medicine flow. Once I had the epidural, my contractions felt like they did at the house and were much more tolerable.
After monitoring my contractions, blood pressure and vitals for a while, the nurses told me it would be at least another hour or two until it was time to push and to relax as much as possible. They gave us about 45 minutes to rest without interruptions, and I tried my best to shut my eyes and sleep. That lasted about ten minutes … because it basically felt like Christmas morning (x 1000) was just around the corner. My mind was racing!
A Small Scare
Our rest ended quickly when the nurses, my doctor, and a team of others dressed in blue came in to check on us. The doctor told me the baby’s heart rate was dropping rapidly and that if he/she didn’t cooperate they would need to get him/her out as soon as possible. She woke Scott up and we spent the next minute or two praying that everything would be okay.
We think that the contraction tracker might have slipped because everything returned to normal once they adjusted it, and the room emptied again. But man, that was scary. It was nice to know that everyone was alert and ready to take action, though.
After another hour or so, the nurse came in to check my cervix and said I was about 7 cm dilated. It wasn’t long before I was fully dilated after that and I honestly can’t remember what happened between then and the practice pushes that my doctor and team came in for.
I remember laughing as we joked that everyone was getting their space suits on and prepping the delivery table with what seemed like a million tools. It all became real very fast!
Go Time – Are We Really Ready For This?
This pregnancy ended a lot differently than I expected it to. The nursery was far from ready, we barely had a hospital bag together, none of our family was in the state, and we never got around to taking a birthing class. We were definitely winging it!
That said, I lay all of my concerns out on the table for my doctor and team of nurses and they assured me that I would be just fine. They did a wonderful job coaching me through pushing and how to time what I was doing with each contraction. They asked me to push as hard as I could for ten seconds, take a quick breath and repeat for a total of three times per contraction. This happened every two to three minutes for the next hour and a half, so I was pretty tired towards the end.
I just had to keep telling myself to put my chin to chest and to keep my mouth closed during the pushes. As tired as I was, I knew that the end point would be the hardest, but that we would finally be able to meet our tiny miracle and find out if the baby was a boy or girl! That’s the best motivation there is … let me tell you.
After a few minutes of pushing, a nurse gave me oxygen to help me catch my breath. I continued the cycle of pushing, breathing, oxygen reset until about 6:30 a.m. and then it was really time to push. I changed positions a few times throughout the hour and a half, but now it was time to put my legs in the stirrups and really try my best. I asked Scott to push my epidural button once or twice because it felt like I could feel everything again … but who really knows!
My doctor warned me that I would be experiencing a “ring of fire” with the head and that is the best description I can think of. I could feel him coming by the third push in every contraction set, so of course I was extremely tired and waited for the next set before gearing up for big pushes again. I know this set me back a bit, so if I ever go through this experience again I will remember that and just push through it. The quicker the better, right?
People have been asking me if giving birth felt like I thought it would, and my answer is I really don’t know. It was all a blur, and very painful, but it also produced the best thing I could possibly ask for in life. Our baby boy!
I told the team that it was important for me to hear if the baby was a girl or a boy from Scott. We wanted him to announce it to the room and to also cut the umbilical cord.
Hello, Skyler King!
After several minutes of extreme pushing, I heard the most amazing little cries followed by “IT’S A BOY!” from Scott at 6:53 a.m. I didn’t believe it and said “It’s a boy? Our baby is here?!” and the two of us just looked at each other and starting crying. I probably didn’t stop crying for the next thirty minutes or so … it could have been the hormones or drugs, but I think our level of emotions came out with the arrival of this baby because we both couldn’t believe the moment had finally arrived. After years and years of praying, our precious baby boy was here.
I was very happy that the staff cleaned him up and put him on my chest for some skin-to-skin time quickly. That was important for me to experience as well as Scott being able to hold him soon after.
I took this picture as I was still getting stitched up (despite his 6 pound 11 oz arrival, homeboy tore something serious), and I am pretty sure that I had my ugly crying face going for the next several minutes.
Those of you who know us well know that Scott is not a baby person. He is so great with children, but has always expressed how babies freak him out and that he feels much more comfortable once they are old enough to communicate with you. He had zero interest in holding babies and didn’t want to come anywhere close to changing a diaper. This didn’t bother me much since I absolutely love babies and we (somewhat jokingly) agreed that I could send our children to go talk to their dad once they throw tantrums or have something to say that I don’t like as long as I took care of all of the baby needs. Ha!
Once I saw the sight of the picture above, however, I knew that all of that went out the window and that he was going to be so attached. Anddd the tears kept flowing.
My best friend all the way back from middle school, Lauren, was out in the lobby and we couldn’t wait for her to meet Baby Skyler.
She was a champ and brought us breakfast sandwiches, coffee, and a care package of goodies to get us through the next few days at the hospital. We had a few hours to hang in our private delivery room before we moved upstairs to the recovery rooms, and the determining factor was me having a successful trip to the bathroom after birth. (I’ll spare you the details on my recovery with this post because I want it to be about Skyler’s arrival! If you’re interested in hearing more about what that was like – and is still like recovering at home – let me know, and I might share a post later on.)
My mom arrived before we moved upstairs and I could tell that she was so excited to meet Skyler!
She brought my baby album and just kept telling me how much he looked like me when I was born. We actually weighed the same (6 pounds, 11 ounces) and came close to the same length measurements (he measured 19 inches), too!
Pretty soon we moved upstairs and into a crowded, shared recovery room. It was so tiny. There was just enough room for my hospital bed, a glider, my IV machine (they gave me pitocin for the next 12 hours or so), our bags, and Sky’s clear bassinet stand. It was a tight squeeze!
It wasn’t too long before Scott’s mom walked through the doors and we all started crying again. Our miracle baby was here!
We were already so in love with him. Everyone took turns visiting and then gave me time to myself for a few hours that afternoon to rest and recover. The couple sharing the room with us got moved into a private room later that night, so we kind of took over their space to take announcement photos of Sky by the window and asked if we could move into that space instead. I ended up lucking out and had the room to myself until about 2:30 a.m.!
Scott ended up traveling back to Brooklyn that night to settle our moms into where they were staying and also take care of Roadie. He returned the next day with our car seat, boppy, my license, and anything else I forgot to pack on the way over.
I spent all of Friday and half of Saturday in the hospital. Skyler had a circumcision on Friday morning and was fussy enough all day to refuse any type of feeding, so I was glad to have the extra night of help from the nurses. The food wasn’t half bad, and it amazed me how fast the days went. It felt like I woke up, had zero sense of time (I did my best to nap when baby napped), and the next meal had arrived just like that.
It wasn’t all easy, though. We put our names in for a private room after the first night because I didn’t get any sleep at all. Either Skyler woke up crying, the baby next to us woke up crying, or nurses came in to take vitals or talk to one of us all night long. We never got our private room, but that probably worked out for the best since it came with an extra $550/night price tag. I got through the night and next day, and was happy when Scott stayed with me the next night.
With little sleep, we woke up early on Saturday morning (St. Patrick’s Day!) looking forward to being able to take our little man home. The nurse walked in while I was sleeping and told Scott she would return after I got some rest and that a pediatrician would be by to look at Skyler to see when we could be released. They did a lot of testing on him over the course of our stay, and this last one was slightly concerning and had us on a jaundice watch.
He was having some trouble breastfeeding (my milk hadn’t come in yet – nobody really tells you any of this – but again, I’d love to share more in a different post if you’re interested in hearing about it), so I could tell Sky was hungry and frustrated. He had lost some weight, so I was doing my best to feed him on demand and monitor his diapers to see if everything was moving in the right direction. He started doing better the last night in the hospital, but I definitely had a few breakdowns throughout our stay. I just felt so helpless for him!
Overall, the hospital stay was exhausting but felt very necessary. By the end of it, I felt equipped with the basics on how to care for our newborn and confident that we could handle most of it on our own!
I took a few classes during our stay that included advice on latching/breastfeeding and what to do once you’re discharged home. This was all great information that was all re-told in our discharge paperwork discussion with our nurse. The process of going over everything once we were ready to go took at least an hour! It was a lot. But it’s nice to know that parents aren’t sent home blind.
What felt like forever turned into a quick exit as we headed downstairs and were ready to start our lives as a family of three.
We ordered an Uber, strapped Skyler’s carseat in tight (we have one that doesn’t require a base!), and made our way home. We had a great driver who proceeded on our route carefully and wished us the best.
It all felt surreal as we crossed over the Brooklyn Bridge. We were leaving the City and entering our new home that would never be the same. We are so excited to have Sky grow up in Brooklyn, or at least experience his first few years of life here.
Today is actually Skyler’s due date: March 28th — so I’m glad I was able to log in and finish the story. Happy Due Date, baby!
I’ll be back to post how the first two weeks have been going, but I’m going to end things here today.
Anddd that’s officially the longest post I’ve ever shared. (I bet you’re glad I broke it up into two parts now, right?)
Thank you so much for reading all about Skyler’s birth story! If you have any specific questions, don’t hesitate to reach out. I would love to answer them.
And again, thank you for all of the love and support over the last few weeks!
We love and appreciate you! xo