Newborn Photography: Taylor Cole Photography
When I was pregnant, I loved reading about other women’s birth stories. Partly to understand what I was about to get myself into, but also because I truly believe that when a baby is born, it is like heaven and earth colliding. Being pregnant is such an amazing process. The transformation that your body goes through to house your little one and then 9 months later they appear, is truly a miracle. So I decided to share our birth story, for anyone curious about exactly how Ryder came into the world.
Those of you that follow me on social media know that Ryder was taking his sweet time to come into the world. And as a side note, his little personality seems to mirror exactly how he behaved in the womb. He is a little stubborn, strong-willed and independent. I wonder where he gets that from?!
So, because Ryder was not making an appearance on his own, we decided to get induced at 8PM on Wednesday April 11th, when I was 41 weeks. All doctors are different, but my doctor wanted to induce me if Ryder wasn’t born before 41 weeks because complications can occur if the baby stays in the womb for too long. I was in a unique situation that night I went in for induction because Ryder had really made no movement to come down into the birth canal. His head was still sitting above my pelvis and I had not dilated at all yet. My doctor wasn’t sure if he had not descended because he needed some coaxing to come out or if ultimately my pelvis was too small or his head was too large.
April 11th was one the longest days of my life. Matt stayed home from work so we relaxed and watched movies and tried to occupy our time before heading to the hospital that evening. My parents came and took us to dinner before we went to the hospital, so we were nice and full, preparing for the hours ahead of us.
When we got the hospital, we were quickly taken back to get started on filling out paperwork and then were taken to the triage room, where you typically stay until you go into active labor. Matt and I spent the night in the triage room, while the doctors put me on a medication to help dilate my cervix. This medication started to give me contractions pretty quickly, so sleep that night was difficult. I also wasn’t allowed to eat in case there were any complications and we needed to go into an emergency c-section. Come the morning of the 12th, I was hopeful that there would be some progress towards dilation or Ryder’s head descending. Unfortunately, while the medication did give me contractions, nothing else had changed.
The doctors decided to move me into a larger room, the one you are moved into when you are in active labor while they tried another medication – pitocin. This is a common medication to help induce labor, so the doctors were hopeful that this would help with dilation. Ultimately, I spent the day on pitocin with Matt and my family coming to visit in the hospital. We watched movies, while I bounced on a birthing ball trying to get little Ryder to make his debut to the world. My doctor came by in the evening of April 12th and the pitocin had started some movement. I was dilated about 3 cms, but Ryder’s head still hadn’t dropped into my pelvis. She decided to break my water, in hopes to get more movement. While attempting to break my water, I decided to get the epidural (serious props to those mamas that have given birth without one). At this point my contractions from the pitocin were fairly strong, my water had been broken and I was fully numb from the epidural so I was still not allowed to eat anything. I spent the night of April 12th getting stronger and stronger contractions. The nurses used a peanut ball to help try to increase dilation. Each hour I was switched from side to side with the peanut ball, and during the time in between tried to sleep a little bit. This continued all night, until around 5AM when my doctor came in to check on progress. At this point, Ryder’s head still had not descended. I was dilated to 4 cms, but after the entire night and the pitocin almost to max dosage, Ryder was not making any moves to come out. As I mentioned before, a stubborn little one!
By 5AM on the 13th, I was exhausted, starving and had been in some state of labor for about 32 hours. At this point, my doctor shared our options. I could either keep trying for another 12 hours or so (since they broke my water, there is a time limit before c-section is the only option) or I could go straight into the c-section that morning. Noting my exhaustion, I decided the safest route for Ryder and I was to have a c-section. My doctor agreed that was the best option and they prepared me for surgery to happen in 3o minutes.
Going into an operating room awake is a weird feeling, but the doctors and nurses at Scottsdale/Shea were amazing. They covered me with warm blankets since it is typically cold in an OR. We played “Guess Baby’s Weight” just before the surgery. All the nurses and doctors in the room started guessing 6lbs or 7lbs. Matt, sitting next to me and holding my hand, said “8lbs 4 ounces.” The nurses and doctors looked surprised – “you think he is that big?” they asked. I was pretty out of it, but I remember smiling, wondering will Matt be right? It was at that point that everything started to seem real. This point I had been waiting for, the time when I would get to meet my son, was just moments away. The c-section went quickly, or at least it felt that way to me (especially in comparison to hours of labor). Just as I felt some pressure, I remember my doctor saying “well, Dad might be right, he feels pretty heavy.” Seconds later, I saw Ryder in one of the nurses arms. Tears started streaming down my face, as I looked back over to Matt. There was our son. And even from across the room I could tell that he was perfect.
They put Ryder on the scale and I remember hearing one of the nurses say, “Dad definitely wins, he weighs 9lbs 3 ounces and he is 21 inches long.” Ultimately, I knew we made the right choice in opting for a c-section, as my doctor said that Ryder likely wouldn’t have been able to safely fit down the birth canal. There he was, our healthy and big baby boy.
The rest of that morning was a blur as I was fading in and out of sleep. After laboring for so long without much sleep or food my body was exhausted. I drifted in and out of sleep, but I will never forget a few key moments of that morning. The first was when I opened my eyes and across the room saw Matt holding our son. I felt so blessed for a healthy baby and a husband that was starting to learn this baby that I had known in my belly the last 9 months. The other moment I will never forget was when the nurses put Ryder on my chest to feed him. It’s a feeling that is difficult to explain, but when your baby is next to you again it feels like you are back to being whole. After carrying him for all those months, not having him with me felt off. It felt so peaceful for both of us to be back together.
The rest of our stay at the hospital was really amazing. The nurses and doctors took such great care of Ryder and I, ensuring we always had everything we needed.
I hope those of you mama’s-to-be found this post helpful. Let me know if you have any questions or requests in the comments below.