It’s hard to believe it’s been a month since Grey became a part of our lives. We have been so busy taking care of him and our client work that it’s been hard to find the time to write the birth story and collage his newborn photos together. Steve and I wanted to document such a special day in our lives so we can remember the story of how he entered the world…
With my due date being Christmas Day, I had hoped the baby would stay put for a few extra days so our child wouldn’t share their birthday with a major holiday. Thankfully Christmas came and went, and Steve and I enjoyed what we called our “bonus days” as a couple before the baby came into the world and made us a family.
On December 29th, Steve and I went to my week 41 doctor appointment and were told the baby was not coming anytime soon. My doctor said we would likely need to talk about an induction the following week based on the lack of progress my body was making. It was discouraging to hear, but I chose to hold off on scheduling the induction, with the hope that spontaneous labor may still happen. My general birth plan was to deliver the baby as naturally and unmedicated as possible and let my body do what God designed it to do.
The next day, on December 30th, I woke up feeling sick to my stomach, had a headache and was very tired. I had consistent cramping all day long, and five minutes after lying down to go to sleep that night, the baby kicked in a big way that felt different than anything I had felt before. I heard and felt an audible popping sensation, and all of a sudden my water broke in a huge gush. The rest of the scene was just like a movie. We rushed to pull last minute things together, called the hospital, I edited and printed my final birth plan and at midnight, we made our way to the hospital.
During the pregnancy, Steve and I decided to hire a doula to help coach the labor, as I really wanted to do it naturally. (This was one of our best decisions, she was amazing!) We called Rita, our doula, on our way to the hospital and she met us in triage. When we were moved into our private room, it was such a crazy thought to think we would be meeting our baby and becoming a family in that very room.
I felt unsure about what I wanted to do during the labor, since this was a new experience for me. It felt odd to have so much attention and focus all on me. Lying down on the hospital bed felt very uncomfortable, so the nurse brought in a yoga ball, and I spent several hours rocking back and forth on the ball, then moved to the tub.
Because my water had broken, the doctors didn’t want to do any checking at the risk of infection, so I started having doubts that I was making any progress. I remember talking to Steve while I was in the tub sharing my fears that I wasn’t having “real” contractions and that I’d only be somewhere around 2cm dilated. The contraction pain didn’t feel unbearable to me, so I figured this must not really be the real thing.
Around 6:00am, the doctor came to do a cervical check and I was 7cm dilated. It was such a confidence booster to hear that high of a number and it gave me a burst of energy knowing we were getting closer to meeting our baby.
I spent the next few hours squatting and doing lunges in the hopes of moving the baby down. Steve and Rita were working so hard with me, coaching, encouraging, providing counter-pressure to my back, getting barf bags for me, and giving me sips of water and chapstick. (Something I didn’t remember learning in birth class was vomiting during labor. I vomited after almost every contraction from the beginning of labor all the way through the very end of pushing.)
The next time I was checked I was told that I had progressed to 8.5cm. I continued to squat and do lunges for the next couple of hours. The nurse at the time asked if I was an athlete, but I think I was just so determined to do whatever it took to get the baby to come out, and if hours of squats worked, then I was going to do it. Squatting and exercising actually felt more comfortable to me than lying down on the bed.
I started having a very strong urge to push around 9:00am and asked to be checked again. It was like my body had to push and I couldn’t control it. The doctor came back in to check me and said I was at 8cm, and hadn’t progressed any further. This was so upsetting to me and at this point I lost my focus, started to cry, and was feeling defeated and very tired. The option the doctor gave me was an epidural to take away the urge to push as she said it was too early to be pushing. This was not what I wanted, but I was seriously considering the epidural just so I could have a bit of relief.
My nurse suggested that I revisit the bathtub, so I went in the tub again. This tub was tiny by the way. As a 5’11” pregnant woman, this tub was not very comfortable for me and I couldn’t really move much during my contractions. I was also very upset about my progression, and was feeling so lost and emotionally drained.
The next part of the labor was a pivotal moment, and Steve was my hero. He was not too happy with what the doctor had told us (his protective husband claws came out), so decided to ask for a second opinion about how far I was dilated. Because my urge to push was so strong and taking over, Steve asked that the attending doctor take a look at my progress to see if I could be cleared for pushing as my body was already telling me to. (I think his exact words to the resident were “can we have a ‘real’ doctor’s opinion?”) I was happy to get out of the tiny tub and get checked again, and sure enough the new doctor said I was at 10cm and to do what my body was telling me to do. This was such good news!
I started pushing around 11am, and I remember looking at the clock and thinking to myself that I wanted the baby out by noon. The whole pushing part is a blur to me. At one point the baby’s heart rate had dropped, so they wanted me to wear oxygen and flip over and push on all fours. I did whatever they told me to do, but thankfully when the attending doctor came in, she had me flip back around. All I really remember were the bright lights on me, smiling and encouraging faces all around the foot of the bed, and then my OB/GYN came in when it was time to deliver the baby. She was not the on-call doctor that day for deliveries, and came up from her office dressed in her scrubs just for me. It was such an amazing moment to see her. It was a huge rush of relief to have someone familiar enter the room. It honestly felt like a celebrity had walked in and I was in awe that she would take the time and choose to be there with us.
The pushing is so hard for me to describe. I think my eyes were closed most of the time, but whenever I opened them, there were smiles all around me and so much encouragement to continue pushing on each contraction. Steve was up by my face constantly telling me I was strong and I could do this. I’ve never felt so strong and powerful than I did during that hour. Just before noon, the baby was crowning and Steve and I got to touch the baby’s head. On a big contraction, the baby came out all in one strong push.
Because we didn’t know our baby’s gender before the birth, I reached down and took a look and shouted, “It’s a boy!!” It was 12:05pm on New Year’s Eve that Greyson Clarke Moore was born, and he made his entrance with very loud, but sweet cries. I couldn’t believe I was hearing my very own baby, and meeting this little life who had been inside of me for almost 41 weeks. There were so many emotions to feel, fingers and toes to count, and thoughts to process, but I mostly felt an intense amount of love for Steve. He had been such a strong but sensitive labor coach and supportive partner to me, and to be given the gift of a beautiful baby made my heart so full. Our lives were forever changed in those moments. We became a family.
photography: Matthew Land Studios