Here is the story of sweet Reagan Marie’s BIRTH on Wednesday, March 2, 2016.
Tuesday, March 1, 2016. Little Baby Haguewood’s birth month had finally arrived. I had officially made it to 38 weeks and life in general felt strange. I felt like I was in a day-to-day holding pattern just waiting for something to happen. I was finally caught up on my chalkboards and feeling exhausted! Bending over and working on my designs was really frustrating in those last few weeks. I couldn’t bend over because my HUGE belly was getting in the way. I would start to breathe heavy and my poor back was hurting so bad. I would draw a letter or finish a word and then get up and walk around for a little bit to relieve the pressure on my back and belly. I spent quite a bit of time either laying down flat OR moving around. Sitting stationary was no longer working for me.
Tuesday morning I lost my mucus plug and couldn’t believe it. I knew that this occurrence didn’t mean anything other than that things were “moving in the right direction” and my body was preparing itself for delivery. I had read about this happening but it felt exciting and weird to actually experience it. We were officially getting closer to meeting our sweet little baby. I wrapped up my March 1st blog post and decided to get “pretty” for the day. We had some plans later on that afternoon and I knew I would feel better if I got up and did my hair and makeup. I decided to head to Target that morning to just paroose around for a bit and kill some time. I felt so much better when I was up and moving around. I had the pregnancy waddle down like a champ and was completely out of breathe after doing a few laps around the store. Time to head home and get ready for my weekly OB appointment.
I had been attempting to take a daily stock of how I was feeling day-to-day so I would be prepared if anything “labor” related were to happen. Everyone I talked to told me that first time moms usually carry full term and I was still two weeks out. The night before, I had actually been feeling super off and had slept worse than usual. I had cramps and back pain consistently and had a strange feeling that I might go into labor “soon.” I made a few mental notes to share these feelings with my doctor that afternoon. Jeffrey was pretty convinced that I was just tired and uncomfortable. He was so helpful in calming me down and helping me to relax. I needed to prepare myself for two more “long” weeks of pregnancy before I was even full term.
We went to the appointment and I was quickly told by the nurse that I definitely wasn’t in labor. She made a point to again tell me that I would likely go full term and these were normal sensations. We quickly met with our doctor who confirmed that I was 1cm dilated but definitely not in labor. I still couldn’t shake this feeling that I was going to go into labor soon but with the doctor telling me it wasn’t likely, I decided to try my best to relax and unwind. After my appointment I took a two hour nap and woke up that evening feeing WEIRD!!! I had pressure and pain. But honestly, every evening I would get tired and emotional. Every little ache and pain would push me past my limit and I would cry and take multiple hot baths to try and calm down. I assumed it was just another night of being in the final weeks of my pregnancy.
Jeffrey was sweet enough to make me dinner and I decided to go to bed and watch a movie to relax. He joined me in our bedroom and was wrapping up some work in our lounge chair while I tried to unwind. My body was hurting so bad. My belly hurt and I couldn’t get comfortable no matter what position I was in. I kept looking at him thinking I can’t be going into real labor right??? He looked at me like I was crazy. The whole interaction was so funny and something I will never forget. I could tell something was going on with my body but there was no way I was really going into labor. Then it started to hurt really bad. I climbed into a hot bath to relax. I felt jittery, overheated, and anxious and had to get out right away. I remember cupping my head in my hands thinking, “I really need to get ahold of myself.” After a few deep breaths I climbed back into bed and started a movie. I was feeling a little better. Thats when it happened…
I was completely relaxed… maybe even starting to doze off a bit. I felt and heard a huge POP. My body reacted instinctually and immediately by jumping out of the bed. There was a huge gush of fluid and I immediately looked at Jeffrey and said “holy shit I think my water just broke.” He was staring at me in shock. I think he was more surprised by how fast I was out of the bed. I hadn’t moved that quickly in the past month due to my humongous belly. He kept asking me if I was sure. I ran, more like waddled, to the bathroom and there was another gush of pale pink fluid. At that moment, I was damn sure my water had broke. The first thought that popped into my head was “I was F**KING right!” I know my body and I knew that I was going to go into labor that day. Jeffrey calmly came into the bath room and we sorta just stared at each other for a few minutes both not really sure what needed to come next. We had talked about “the plan” but now it was actually happening. And so were the contractions…
After about a solid five minutes of PURE SHOCK we finally got our heads in the right place and rockted into action. Trying to figure out the phone number for the hospital maternity center was the first task. I can’t believe I didn’t pre-program the number into my phone. The next 30 min. were a complete blur of trying to find the right bags and making sure I had mascara and a curling iron between contractions. Super Important items. I had everything ready but nothing was packed. I decided at the last minute that I needed a different bag and repacked everything. Some necessary items were still in the laundry and I felt it was necessary to take a quick shower before leaving.
Bags were packed in the car, I was showered and cleaned up, we said goodbye to the puppies and kitties and I did a final once over on the house. My contractions were about 1 minute apart by this point. I made our bed quickly and was walking out the bedroom door when there was another huge gush of fluid. SHIT. Time to clean up again and climb into another fresh pair of leggings. We quickly cleaned the carpet and finally made it out the door.
image source here
The ride to the hospital was torture because my contractions had picked up the pace. They were hitting about every 30 seconds. I had zero down time in-between contractions to breathe and relax. It felt more like a few big huffs and puffs before bracing myself to “breathe” through the next contraction. Given that it was 11:45 at night we had to go to the ER to get checked in before heading to Labor and Delivery at the Maternity Clinic. We pulled up to the hospital and suddenly everything felt real. Not to mention the contractions. I was not prepared for the “pain” that comes with contractions. I had mental prepared myself for some really strong pain, but had also convinced myself that “the pain was only temporary” and I could get through it. True. But oh my GOD, contractions are the most painful thing I’ve ever experienced and i’m a freakin’ cancer survivor people. Labor pains are the real deal.
We got checked in and someone from the Maternity Unit was going to come down and wheel me up to the clinic. Jeffrey left me to go park the car and I was momentarily “on my own” to deal with the contractions. Another couple in labor came in right after us and the woman could tell I was hurting badly. She kindly took my hand and asked if this was my first baby? I quickly said all in the same breathe that “yes it was, and my husband was parking the car and my contractions were coming every 30 seconds and were really painful.” She was an absolute godsend in those brief moments. She was having her 2nd child and helped walk me through what to expect and we “breathed” through a few sets of contractions together. Suddenly a nurse appeared and we were whisked off to the Maternity Clinic. I was handed a clipboard of paperwork and had one heck of a time attempting to fill it out between contractions. I was officially admitted at 12:05am on Wednesday March 2, 2016.
Finally Jeffrey was back, and I felt like I could breathe again. I had never been so thankful to see my husbands face. A nurse popped around the corner to take us to a triage room to assess my labor status. I got undressed and climbed into a hospital gown. Getting leggings off through my contractions was the toughest part. They checked to make sure I was dilated and having real labor contractions. Which I was…no doubts in that department. 2 cm dilated in fact. I had been 1cm dilated earlier that day. Apparently they check for amniotic fluid also. CHECK.
Once my labor status was confirmed they wanted to get me into a hospital room and get some fluids going asap. My original birth plan called for waiting as long as possible for any pain intervention. I knew I was going to want it, I just wanted to try and go “natural” for as long as possible. Well given that my contractions were still 30 seconds apart, I wanted my pain killers ASAP!!! Gripping the edge of the hospital bed and staring at the clock in front of me was all I could do to get through each contraction. I was instructed to get dressed again and we would head to my labor and delivery room. It took me about 15 minutes to climb back into my leggings given that I was having so many contractions.
For some reason I was dead set on walking to my hospital room. They offered to wheel me down the hallway in a wheelchair but I wasn’t having it. I could walk to the room. No rhythm or reason for any of my decisions at this point. I was just trying to survive minute to minute. Literally!!!! When we got to the room my nurse showed me the restroom so I could change and get ready for an IV etc. My contractions were so bad, I spent the next 45 min. in the bathroom all by myself trying to get undressed and into yet another hospital gown. I didn’t want Jeffrey to see me in that state and I really wanted to do it myself. I remember sitting down on the floor at one point in the bathroom between contractions crying and thinking, “how in the hell am I going to survive this? I can’t even get out of the damn bathroom.” Later I found out that poor Jeffrey and the nurses were just sitting in the room listening to me cry and struggle between contractions, waiting for me to come out for 45 minutes because I wouldn’t let anyone come in and help me. Again, not a lot of rational thinking taking place at this point.
I did finally emerge from the bathroom however, and the next step was to to meet with the night doctor. I was asked about a million medical questions. My contractions were beyond horrendous and the doctor suggested a shot of medicine to “take the edge off.” I said I wanted my epidural. They agreed immediately. Normally you don’t get an epidural until your at least 4cm dilated because it can slow the labor progression. I was in such extreme pain however that they wanted to get me some relief as soon as they could. Because it was late at night/early morning I had my epidural within 10 min. I was terrified. One big needle + my spine = not a good thing. Also I was getting the “shakes” really bad. The doctor explained to me that the surge in hormones causes the body to convulse and shake. It was uncontrollable and my knees were banging against each other constantly. I was terrified of shaking and moving, or god forbid having a contraction, while they administered my epidural. I sat hunched over and breathed through 1 single contraction and then my doctor did what she does best. It was over so quickly and I didn’t contract during the procedure. Truly the epidural was the easiest part of the whole labor and delivery and the relief it brings is beyond words. I went from the most excruciating pain i’ve ever felt in my whole life to complete relaxation and calm. If your open to pain intervention, I fully and 100% recommend an epidural. It was a game changer. But that is just my experience and I know everyone and every labor is completely different.
Jeffrey later told me that when I was contracting I would stare at him, and my eyes were so dilated from the pain that he could immediately tell that I wasn’t fully present anymore. That much pain takes you to another place entirely. After my epidural I could relax and breathe. The pain was completely gone. Like zero pain!!!! The nurse wanted me to sleep for a few hours before my labor progressed any further. They checked my cervix at 2:30am after the epidural was administered prior to leaving us alone for a bit to sleep. I was 2.5cm dilated. Not much progress. I didn’t care at this point. Jeffrey decided to lay down. He fell asleep immediately and I just laid there for hours soaking up every moment of the experience and what had happened thus far in my labor journey. I had to be rotated from side to side to keep the epidural working. I laid there for hours listening to the fetal heart rate monitor and the sound of my baby’s beating heart. I’ll never forget that time. I would stare at Jeffery sleeping so peacefully, realizing we were about to become parents. So much calm and peace after the intensity of the contractions I had felt previously.
***I love that in this picture you can see that it was 2:30am from the clock on the wall. My epidural was kicking in, we were finally alone for the first time since being admitted, and I was feeling so much BETTER. Therefore my husband can smile again. A very tired, my wife was just in extreme pain smile, but a smile nonetheless.***
Finally 5:30am rolled around. Jeffrey was still asleep and I was being cleaned up and rotated AGAIN. I asked the nurse if she could check my progress. Given my earlier status I was expecting maybe 4cm to 5cm. Nope. The nurse checked me and said, “oh my, your 9cm dilated.” I had almost fully progressed in 3 hours. Jeffrey woke up a bit when the nurse came in to check me. He heard the words “9cm” and shot up off the sofa. “What??? 9cm???” Had I really progressed that far that fast? Later I found out that my labor and contractions were so intense that the relaxation from the epidural actually made my labor speed up. My body was no longer fighting the pain of the contractions but was working to have this baby. My body wanted to have this baby and it also really NEEDED an epidural to do it apparently. My body would have been laboring for several more hours than normal if I had gone “natural” because the intensity and frequency of the contractions were too much.
I couldn’t believe that I had progressed so quickly. The pace of the nurses and people in my room went from zero to sixty almost immediately. Suddenly it was ON…we were going to have this baby…SOON! My labor nurse wanted to give me another hour or so to become fully dilated and she said it would help the baby continue to drop naturally into position. My body was on a roll when it came to moving that baby down and she didn’t want to stop the progress while my epidural was still going strong. That last hour was anything but dull. We quickly made a few phone calls to family to let them know it was almost time and then we braced ourselves for “whatever” was coming next.
My epidural was still working but the sensations and feelings were becoming much stronger. I could feel a tremendous amount of pressure and was feeling like it was time to push. I had a deep “mind-body” feeling that it was just time. I simply knew my baby was about to be born. My body also decided at this time that I needed to get sick. I spent almost twenty minutes upright throwing up into a little hospital bag. Again, the doctor informed me that this was from the hormones. I was quickly learning that there is no modesty in labor. By 6:30am I was completely dilated and the nurse had me start with a few practice pushes to get my rhythm and breathing down. We did pushes for 10 seconds in sets of 3. I was able to relax a bit after the 3 sets and Jeffrey was by my side with a cold wash cloth for my forehead. My heart rate and blood pressure were all over the place so they had me on an oxygen unit in-between sets. After the practice pushes I was able to relax for a few minutes while they set up all the supplies for the doctor. My OB was on call until 7am and then the regular day shift OB was going to take over and my doctor would have her regular day off. I was very close to my doctor and felt entirely comfortable with her. At first I only wanted her to deliver my baby but when it came down to it and we passed that 7am mark, I didn’t care who was down there as long as they were helping to get this baby outta me!!!
I could feel extreme pressure when I was contracting and learned to push with the contractions. At 7am we started pushing for real and it was EXHAUSTING!!! My whole stomach felt contracted like I was holding one continues abdominal crunch and then there was deep pressure down into my body. Other than the pressure and tightness in my abdomen, I felt NO PAIN whatsoever. Thank you epidural!!!! Really, the pushing phase was just tiring, like running back to back sprints for an hour. The doctor flew into the room for about the last 10 minutes or so. She was fantastic and extremely helpful with my lady parts and maneuvering baby so the exit was as least damaging as possible. Halfway through I was able to stop pushing and feel the baby’s head. When initial writing my birth plan this was not something I was interested in doing…gross right? Nope, it was completely magical and amazing in the moment. To feel my little baby for the first time before she was even born is something I will never forget. The doctor told me I had two maybe three more pushes and then our baby would be born. As soon as she said those words, thats when it felt “real” for me. I remember the moment crystal clearly. Only a few more pushes and our baby would be here. After the months of growing and wondering what baby was…it was happening NOW!!! The moment was here. Holding Jeffrey’s hand we pushed and then all of a sudden there SHE was. I saw them pull her out of me and they laid her on my chest face down.
I couldn’t stop looking at this little squishy pink baby. No crying, BIG BIG eyes, and gripping for my chest to hold onto the warmth of my body. The doctor looked at Jeffrey and said “would you like to announce the gender?” I had in that moment completely forgotten about the gender. I literally couldn’t believe they had just pulled a baby out of me and wasn’t thinking about the gender at all. They flipped baby over and Jeffrey said…”it’s a GIRL!” I looked at him and we couldn’t stop kissing each other and our beautiful baby girl who had been in this world for less than a minute.
At 7am we started pushing and at 7:44am Little Miss Reagan Marie was born into this world.
What a moment. To say it is something I will never forget feels too cliche to even capture the true nature of what it felt like to hold my daughter for the first time. It was was “otherworldly.” Something rooted so deeply in my soul that I can’t even explain it.
Reagan being born is simply a “feeling and a moment” that I will forever cherish and relive in my memory until the day I die. Reagan’s birth was the most incredible and wonderful experience and I wouldn’t change a second of it. She is perfect and amazing and simply oh so tiny!!! I will never ever forget those first few moments of her life and am so thankful that we were able to document our first few minutes as a family of three.
We love you to the moon and back little Rea Rea!!!
I know this post is incredible long but I simply had to put all my thoughts and memories down while they are still fresh in these first few months. I’m sure all the mommies out there can understand the value of our child’s birth story. I’m so thankful I was able to capture the moments in the most authentic way I know how, through writing about my thoughts and feelings.
xo xo Friends,