It’s been almost four weeks (!!) since we had our perfect baby boy, Heath Christopher. We’ve been soaking in this newborn stage and figuring out this life with a baby (OUR baby!) and it’s 100% true what they say.. time flies. I’m document my birth story as best as possible because it is also true - you completely forget the pain and time it takes when you first have your baby in your arms!
After we found out he was breech, we decided to move forward with trying an ECV procedure (blog on how that went HERE) and thankfully it was successful! The doctor was able to flip the baby at 38 weeks and 5 days and I gave birth on his due date, July 28th, at exactly 40 weeks.
Let’s go back to when my mom got into town the night of July 25th. I was in a lot of pain after the ECV with round ligament pressure pushing on nerves in my groin which made it pretty hard to walk or pretty much do any movement without yelling out in shooting pain down my groin and legs - it was literally like I had Tourette’s Syndrome with random shouts in pain. I still tried to go out and do normal things like going out to dinner or walking.. but would have to stop and take deep breaths through the pains to try and not look like a crazy person yelling randomly. Even riding in the car was painful!
Okay moving on.. when Mom got here I started doing anything and everything to jump start labor. Ate whole pineapples at a time, dates in my smoothies, drank red raspberry leaf tea, went for long walks while Ryan and Mom played 9 holes at our local golf course, ate extra spicy food, and finally eggplant parmesan. Thursday and Friday we all walked about 3-4 miles total (while Ryan and Mom played a round of golf) and I had found another trick online, eggplant parmesan babies lol supposedly after eating this meal there were tons of women who went into labor. Friday night I called four different restaurants in the area and finally found eggplant parmesan at a Vesuvio’s, a restaurant in Carmel. We went out and I remember having such a hard time walking two blocks from where we parked to the front of the restaurant because of the shooting pains in my legs. Of course I ordered the eggplant parm and ate the whole thing - so good! :)
SURE ENOUGH I woke up Saturday morning to mild labor contractions and started losing my mucus plug. I was so happy and excited things were happening! We had a relaxing morning and my mom made homemade biscuits and gravy before we headed out for a long walk around the Monterey coastline and through Lovers Point. I was having to stop during contractions and breathe through them with the help of Ryan or my mom on the walk, but they were still manageable and it felt good to walk and move. We ordered pizza from our favorite local vegan restaurant and relaxed the rest of the evening, calling it an early night to try and get some sleep. By about 10 pm my contractions were getting stronger. I tried to sleep between them, in about 5-10 minute increments, but it was impossible. I wanted Ryan and mom to get some sleep so I went out to the living room and worked through the contractions on the yoga ball until about 2 am when Ryan came out with me to help me through them. We timed them and decided to wait a few more hours until they were 5-1-1 (five minutes apart, one minute long, for one hour). By 4 am I woke my mom up and told her we were going in to the hospital. Not sleeping for almost 24 hrs I was already exhausted, but excited to get to the hospital and see how baby was doing.
We checked into the hospital and they measured me at 4 cm, 60% effaced and baby in a -2 position. So basically we still had a long way to go. After getting checked in, it felt like time flew by (looking back). I really wanted to try for a natural birth so we worked through contractions pretty much all day. They were getting stronger and closer together, about every 3-4 minutes apart which made sleeping or resting impossible. Ryan and I walked the halls of the hospital (very slowly and stopping during the contractions), got in the shower (which felt amazing and like the only time I was happy during labor haha), and used the birthing ball tons. At about 2 pm, they checked me again and I was still only 6 cm dilated and had been for the past 4 hrs which meant I wasn’t progressing as fast as I should and there was still a long road ahead. My doctor said this would be a good point to start Pitocin in hopes of progressing faster. This would also made the contractions even stronger and closer. At this point, I was completely exhausted from not sleeping and laboring for over 30 hrs, as well as in excruciating pain with every contraction, we decided to move forward with an epidural and Pitocin. So I got started on fluids in my IV, which take about an hr to get through before they can give you an epidural and was counting down the seconds until it was time because of the pain.
Around 3 pm I got the epidural and Pitocin and felt INSTANT relief. I could still move my legs and feel the contractions, but not in a painful way like before, more of the feeling of a lot of pressure. I do remember that I could not stop shaking. Like uncontrollable shaking over my whole entire body. They said it was normal, called “baby shakes” from all the adrenaline going through my body. The only thing that helped was being weighted down by three or four blankets. I was trying so hard to not move when the doctor was doing the epidural but I still was shaking a little bit holding on to Ryan. After the epidural, I took one of the best naps of my life. It’s still so crazy to me that I went from extreme pain to complete relaxation from this magic medicine. Big fan of the epidural haha. Two hours later I woke up and they went to check me one more time. I was 9.5 cm! My body completely relaxed (literally fell asleep) as I went through the hardest transition of labor.. amazing. My water still wasn’t broken at this point so a doctor on call came in and broke it and before I know it they are like “okay are you ready to push??”
It was around 5:30 pm now and I started pushing when I felt a contraction coming on with Ryan holding back one leg and my mom holding back the other. We put on our “baby playlist” of all the songs we loved that could describe our baby or could be ‘his song’ growing up - songs I could imagine us dancing to at his wedding :’) The nurse said she could already see his head and that she could already tell I would not be pushing for very long. She went ahead and called our doctor to head into the hospital, who was out to dinner with his family on a Sunday evening haha. He actually just got back from a week long vacation the night before!! I could still move my legs and feel the pressure from each contraction, even with the epidural, which I was happy about. Believe it or not, I was more scared of getting an epidural and essentially being paralyzed from the waist down than trying to do childbirth naturally! Like I said, I could still move and feel my legs so I pushed laying down with Ryan and my mom each holding a leg back, moved into the squatting position on the bed, on my left side, and then finally on my right side, to help maneuver the baby through the birthing canal.
Around 6:20 pm our nurse literally told me to STOP pushing because our doctor wasn’t there yet. Let me tell you, this was not fun to NOT push during contractions, actually it was almost impossible because this is nature’s way of telling your body to GET THIS BABY OUT! Luckily the doctor showed up shortly after and I was yelling at everyone to hurry up and get him out haha.. his head was literally sticking out!! So he finally gets down there and says “okay, go ahead and push… *one push* STOP pushing… give me your hands and grab your baby!” I pulled him out myself and pulled him to my chest <333
At 6:40 pm on July 28, 2019, Heath Christopher was born at 7 lbs 10 oz and 21 inches long to the song “Linger” by The Cranberries. Yes, I bawl my eyes out every time this song plays.
I still tear up when I think of that moment pulling him out and bringing him to me. I was in complete shock and love and emotions I’ve never felt before. It is truly an indescribable feeling. Heath was so alert from the very beginning and was staring at Ryan and I right away while we had the “golden hour” of skin-to-skin with him on my chest. I delivered the placenta shortly after and the doctor stitched everything up but I honestly don’t remember any of it because I was staring at this beautiful baby boy in my arms! Pretty sure they could have cut off my toes and I wouldn’t have known lol. Heath stayed on my chest for more like an hour and a half and almost immediately started nursing. From hour one he has been breastfeeding like a champ which I definitely do not take for granted. After our hour was up he immediately went for his next hour of skin-to-skin with Ryan :) He was sooo tiny but looking all around and wanting to look at our faces! Another moment I never want to forget is seeing Ryan and his son (and twin) during the first moments of his life :)
This time together was so so special and I’m so thankful for my amazing husband, mom, and team of nurses and doctors at CHOMP in Monterey that helped Heath and I get through delivery safe and sound! I’m soooo happy that we were able to turn Heath with the ECV procedure just days before after being breech and have a successful delivery. Definitely counting our many blessings, the biggest being our beautiful, healthy, perfect baby boy Heath Christopher Dishman :) :) :)