Monday, August 25, 2014

Meet Preston Alexander!

It’s a bird. It’s a plane. It’s another birth plan flying straight out the window! Can you tell I’m trying to have a sense of humor about this?

It’s a reeeeally good thing I am not some type of crazy perfectionist Type A planner, because if I was I might be having a hard time with the fact almost nothing went according to plan when Preston decided to make an entrance a week ago today.

And this is why, although I prepared the best I could to create the birth experience I wanted ahead of time, I always prefaced my plans by saying, “I realize at any point things can change.” In so many cases, they just do, and I've always been realistic about that.

Still, I don’t think I could have possibly predicted the course of events as they actually played out. Sometimes our bodies just do what our bodies want to do. Here are some noteworthy and “shake my head” moments from our delivery...

Saturday 8/16

10:45 PM - Stood up and felt something wet. Proceeded to lose my mucus plug, then felt a HUGE POP (my water breaking like Niagara Falls), and began feeling real deal contractions all within the same hour. This after my recent OB apt showed 0% effacement and 0 cm dilation just days before.

-I remember that my OB is now on his weekend anniversary getaway. How convenient!

-Call my doula, who is already working another overnight doula job. She instructs me to sleep and she’ll try to make back-up arrangements. Sleep. Ha! Losing water by what seemed like the liter with each gush and contractions are becoming stronger.

-Hubby urges me with each contraction to just go to hospital, and I continue to justify all the reasons why I don’t want to go too soon. We arrive at hospital 6 hours after waters broke. Our doula is able to meet us there.

-Arrive 90% effaced, yet only 1 cm dilated.

-On-call OB is already insinuating Pitocin is needed at this point. Shut it lady!

-Nurse, on the other hand, is awesome and totally backing up my birth plan.

Sunday  8/17

-Continue to labor naturally ALL DAY LONG in a multitude of crunchy ways (shower, birth ball, mooing like a cow, etc).

-Dilation occurring slow as 100 year old molasses. Yet, the contractions keep on coming and hurt like a SOB. This is mostly because my water broke so long ago and there’s nothing to cushion the blow of each contraction, so I’m feeling EVERYTHING times ten.

-Even though they’re strong, they’re stuck at 3-4 minutes apart forever.

-Shift change occurs. Receive 2nd nurse. Miss my old nurse.

-Learn that baby has not engaged his head, but as he’s come down a bit, he’s decided to turn face up (this is not what you want for a natural delivery).  OB is unsuccessful turning him, but will try again once he descends a bit more.

-After 18 hours of labor, I’m told I’m still only 3 cm dilated and that I’m not even technically maintaining “active labor” at this point. OK, now you’ve got to be joking, because I guarantee this has to be active labor. Nope, technically it’s not.

-After 24 hours, OB is now insinuating a C section is going to be needed, because she can’t turn baby’s head after multiple attempts and I’m basically not progressing.  Want to punch said OB in face, but ignore her and continue working with my nurse and doula on creative ways to avoid it.

-Consider getting an epidural at the slight chance that it can give me enough rest and reprieve to allow my body to just relax enough for things to turn around. (This does actually occur in a small % of people). I’m told there are no guarantees that the epidural won’t slow my contractions, but that because they are so strong on their own, it’s slightly possible the epidural could benefit me without “slowing down labor” necessarily. It’s worth a shot at this point if it can help me relax and build strength to try pushing on my own. What have we got to lose at this point? I get the epidural.

-Holy crap, I can’t feel a thing. I get a nap. I wake up and have them stop the epidural meds so I can regain feeling and try pushing this baby down some more. Contractions have unfortunately spaced apart further now though, which is what we were hoping to avoid. I knew it was a risk of course.

-I’m STILL only 4 freaking cm dilated. Laughable.

Monday  8/18

-I’m urged to do something to help things progress and am reminded that even ACOG would recommend using synthetic oxytocin (Pitocin, etc) to augment a stalled progression at this point  (18-24 hours post water breaking).  Neither I, nor my doula could argue that point. I agree to start a small dose of Pitocin (Damnit!), but told we can back off of it if enough progress occurs with contractions.

-3rd shift change, and I get back my original awesome nurse. Have we really been here that long??

-Pitocin is indeed working to increase contractions and dilate cervix. Want to cry tears of joy when they tell me I’m dilated to 8 cm. I really think I can do this.

-Because I want the best chance to push, we do something really brave and taper off the epidural as well to catch a window where I can just push to my heart’s content and actually FEEL what I’m doing. I know I am completely bat shit crazy by the way.

-As we all see it, we are nearing our “last chance” attempts to move baby down to engage and get him to turn on his own for better positioning. Everyone in the room (nurse, doula, me, hubby) are determined. OB is taking a nap somewhere.

-Epidural officially worn off and pitocin is in agonizing full force. That drug is PURE EVIL! I push for about 2 hours straight like this.  Can’t believe I lived to tell about it.

-Trying everything to push and turn this baby. Nurse has used enough olive oil to feed an Italian army, and I am like a contortionist trying to push sideways, sitting half way up, on all fours, squatting, you name it.

-We can see baby’s head and hair while pushing, but it always goes back up during rest.

-After 30 hours of labor, my cervix is stuck at 9 cm, baby’s head is still facing wrong direction and won’t engage.

-OB voices her opinion that we should seriously consider doing a C section. I’m told that I could labor for another several hours with no further progress, even though I’m currently 9 cm, but especially considering all that we’ve already tried. My body had not established a very consistent pattern of labor on it’s own since the beginning. Highly unlikely baby will magically turn to allow shoulders under the pelvis either.

-My nurse and doula discuss the choice with us as a couple. I wish that my water hadn’t broken BEFORE having contractions, but there is nothing I can do to change that now. I cry because this is exactly what I didn’t want to happen, but I know in my heart that we’ve tried A LOT to get this baby out, and he’s JUST NOT COMING on his own.

-With either choice there are inherent risks. I realize how lucky we are that baby has not gone into distress this entire time, but there are no guarantees he won’t. I'm completely exhausted mentally, physically, and emotionally. I’m ready for the pain to be over, and we’re beyond ready to meet our baby.

-We choose to go ahead and do the C section. The minutes seem like hours as we wait for anesthesia to arrive. There is zero rest between the Pitocin induced contractions at this point, and it makes me even more content with our choice to get baby out NOW. Just do it already!

-We’re moved into the OR so fast that the anesthesia doesn’t even have time to fully work apparently, because I can actually feel them opening me up…I’m not talking about “pressure” here people. I can feel OB performing the procedure.

-Shaking like a leaf from the anesthesia being pumped into me, but moaning from the intense pain. The OB is literally yelling across the curtain at the anesthesiologist to “Get this girl something for the pain!” I can’t help but feel like I’m trapped in a bad episode of Days of Our Lives or something. lol Is this for real right now?

-Trying to get a hold of myself mentally, and the thought of meeting Preston and becoming a family with hubby gets me through. The other staff in the room try to maintain a light attitude and play “guess the baby’s weight” around the room. I guess with confidence that he’ll be 8.5 lbs.

-A few minutes later, at 6:08 AM (31 hours after my water broke), Preston Alexander finally met us face-to-face. His cry was THE MOST BEAUTIFUL THING I’ve ever heard in my life, and I began bawling like a baby myself the moment I heard it. He was given to me right away for skin-to-skin contact as they stitched me up, and we resumed following what was left in our birth plan as far as bonding time, breastfeeding, etc. He received a 9 out of 10 Apgar Score, and guess what…He weighed exactly 8 lbs. 8 oz. :)

Tuesday 8/19- Thursday 8/21

-Admitted for the mandatory 3 days post C section surgery recovery. Dad and baby all stayed in room with me the whole time.

-Half way through our stay Preston's weight dropped below normal weight loss levels (10.8%). He was deyhdrated, and completely stopped having wet and soiled diapers. He tested in the "very high" category for bilirubin (which indicated he had jaundice). He was inconsolable at times. It was heartbreaking to see him not well after being so healthy at birth. Scary couple of days for us!

-Preston received phototherapy for over 24 hours straight and was put on formula supplementation (delivered through SNS/Supplemental Nursing System). I delivered his formula through a small tube placed at the breast while I continued to breastfeed colostrum to him simultaneously. (more on this later)

Friday 8/22

-Preston gained a little weight back and began pooping/peeing again. His bilirubin returned to a healthy range.

-Discharged and finally returned home after being gone a full week. So thankful to be home!

So there you have it. "Overprepare, then go with the flow" was definitely put to use for the birth of our first born child. He was worth every prayer, every book read, every expert consulted, every battle fought, every moment we waited, and every single tear of joy and pain shed on his behalf along the way. I still can't believe that Preston is actually here and he's ours. He's absolutely perfect in every way!

Born 8/18 @ 8 lbs. 8 oz.


Broke my heart to see him so unhappy like this under phototherapy lights.
I know it could be worse, but this was really hard. I didn't sleep a wink.

Having some fun one night on a break from phototherapy.
Michael Phelps has got nothing on this kid's armspan!
Doing MUCH better the next day. All ready for his big
debut into the real world. If only he'll stop snoozin!

Can't believe we are finally a family of 3. :)

My handsome little date.

My two main squeezes together. Love these guys!

Trying out his snugapuppy swing. Two thumbs up.

Continuing to get some sun at home to clear out any remaining jaundice.

This face just makes me melt. Perfection.

All of us are settling in little by little.


  1. Congratulations! My LO was born on 8/19, so they are very close. He is adorable - love the photos.

  2. One heck of a birth story, Em, wow!!! You're a real trooper. In the end, Preston is here perfect and healthy!! CONGRATS MAMA!!

  3. You are my hero. Hands down. He is so amazing! It brings tears to my eyes to read this and see your little miracle. I am so happy for you guys. Congratulations. You guys are going to be amazing parents!

  4. He's perfect! I'm crying over here! You're one tough mama! I'm so proud of you, congratulations!

  5. Oh my goodness - first and foremost, CONGRATS!! He is seriously cute. What a handsome man, and yes, obviously worth all the pain. That said... you are one tough cookie! Holy moly! To go through labor almost to the end, unmedicated for most of it, and then have to have a c-section and FEEL THEM CUTTING YOU OPEN? Wow. Just, wow. That's a hell of a birth story. It truly sucks that nothing went to plan, but you're both healthy and really that's all that matters (I know you know that but I feel like I had to say it anyway).

    I feel like you and I had a lot of similarities here... unplanned c-section... too much weight loss for baby... that stupid SNS tube with some formula supplementing. It was all so frustrating. I just remember the tears falling like waterfalls while I sat there tangled up in that tubing, trying to tape the stupid thing to my boob and get her mouth on it, all while she screamed at me and thrashed around and kicked my incision. It was seriously rough. But then... it got better. Even just going home made it so much better. I hope it went like that for you, too (and it sounds like it did).

    One more time, congrats! Preston is one lucky little guy to have such a kickass mama!

  6. Oh Emily, congratulations! He's so beautiful! I'm sorry the birth plan was such a mess, I really wanted the natural birth experience for you, but ultimately I'm just so glad that you finally have your baby boy! I'm so happy for you, Em! Enjoy those baby snuggles!

  7. Congratulations Emily! He's perfect! We both went through a lot to get here, and had our babes just two days apart. Lucky ladies we are! Enjoy every minute!

  8. Oh my goodness! What an incredible story! You are seriously an amazing woman! I'm so proud and in awe of you and the strength you possess! You go girl! Your lil baby boy is absolutely precious and I'm so relieved that all is well! Love ya girl! xo

  9. You're a warrior! Congratulations on your beautiful son. (And you look AMAZING!)

  10. Emily! Congrats!!! Your post made me cry! Wow, what a story. I also had a c section and could feel everything and was screaming in pain! And also had my big boy lose weight and supplement on formula for 3 months and then returned to exclusively breastfeeding! It was so full on and so hard but I did it and don't stress about the formula- he is getting the best of both worlds!! Wow, welcome to motherhood! Relax, nothing is under control!!! Sending so much love!! X

  11. P.s Preston is beyond beautiful!!!

  12. Holy crap! What a difficult experience, but a great attitude you maintained. And totally worth it, I'm sure! Preston is absolutely beautiful, and it makes me so happy to see your little family together and happy at last!

  13. Oh wow, you guys went through so much! So thankful that you are all healthy, happy and HOME!! He's absolutely the most handsome little guy every. :) I hope you know how thrilled I am to officially congratulate you on your son!!! Sending you so much love. xoxoxo

  14. Seriously cried reading this! I've been following your blog for quite some time guys have gone thru so much. To finally see a happy ending is so amazing! Sucks that you had to depart from your birth plan, but in the end, a happy baby is all that matters! So happy for you all and can't wait to follow along as he grows up. Don't goes by fast! My LO is already 14 months! <3

  15. Congratulations!!!! Welcome baby Preston!!

  16. Oh he is so sweet! Totally worth all of the difficulties to get him here. I'm glad you guys are doing well.

  17. OMG wow!!! What a crazy but incredible journey! So glad you and him are both happy and healthy! Enjoy every moment!

  18. Congrats Emily!!! What a precious little family you have :) Girl I can not even imagine what you went through, you are super woman!!

  19. Oh girl!! This all rings oh so familiar!! SAME boat we were in!! Just couldn't get a steady labor going. I am proud of you for going so long. I was only 6 cm after 28 hours and I hit that point too where I just wanted my baby in my arms, safe and sound! And I totally understand "feeling" the c-section. I did too and was shaking like CRAZY throughout the whole thing! Not the most pleasant experience, but it got me our baby! I seriously kept saying "that's what happened to us" as I read your birth story! because they were so similar! Down to Preston needing the phototheraphy, Raegan did too! Normally c-section babies do unfortunately. It was hard to watch her under that light, I completely get that! But he's here now and you are looking AMAZING!! Congrats friend! :)

  20. Oh my goodness! What a birth story! First of all, congratulations on sweet Preston! Second of all, you are AMAZING and so strong. I can't imagine all the emotions you must have been feeling during the whole process. Glad your sweet boy is here, happy, and healthy. Hope you have a speedy and easy recovery!

  21. I'm sorry things didn't go as planned but extremely grateful baby and momma are doing ok. He's one adorable little munchkin. Congratulations!

  22. Emily!!! I can NOT believe everything you went through - holy smokes. I'm SO thankful Preston is here and healthy, but whew, what a story!!! He is such a cutie. Glad you are back home and updating us all! Been thinking about you tons. Congrats again momma :) Get some rest and take care of yourself!!!

  23. First - CONGRATULATIONS!!! Sweetheart, I'm exhausted after reading this! How amazing!!! Man, what a birth story. You are such a trooper; you're superwoman. So thrilled for you, Emily! So glad Preston has arrived; those photos are priceless. Love you, girl!!!

  24. Em, he's so perfect! Congrats!!!!! xoxoxo

  25. Congrats you guys!!!!!!!!!! yay!!!!

  26. Oh my goodness! He is beautiful! CONGRATULATIONS!!!
    Holy crap- As I read through your delivery I kept scrolling up... double checking how long has you have been in labor and in the hospital! You are amazing! So happy everyone is healthy and doing well!
    Love this!

  27. Oh my gosh, what a story! I'm so happy for you guys and wowsers you must be exhausted. Huge hugs and love friend. :)

  28. OMG, he is gorgeous and you all look so happy!

  29. Congratulations!! He is beautiful! I'm sorry your plan went out the window but I, so glad that everyone is happy and healthy :). I did SNS with my boys while they were in the NICU. xoxo

  30. Wow Emily this just made me want to cry. So many ups and downs. I am so glad the biggest up is Preston arriving safely. I am so sorry your birth plan didn't go as you'd hope but grateful for a big healthy baby. You look great by the way. Rest up friend!

  31. HE IS PERFECT!!! You are beautiful.... congrats a million times over.

  32. Oh, Emily, he is just perfect! What an adorable little blessing! Doesn't it feel so wonderful that he is finally here???? Congrats, I am beyond thrilled for you and your hubs! xoxoxoxo

  33. I was hoping you would blog about the birth. I am all too familiar with birth plan not going as planned... but the important thing is that you and Preston and healthy and doing well. Congratulations! Love you!

  34. Oh my goodness!!!! So glad he is here!!! Again, somehow I missed this post after checking my reader daily for it! I kept thinking "Surely she has had him by now!" So glad that's true. He looks so perfect in those pictures :-) And you are a mom! God is good.

    I'm sorry things did not go as you hoped for his birth. I'm thankful for the reminder for myself to trust the Lord that in end, a healthy baby is all that matters. And I think you're awesome for all the work you did put into that birth!

  35. Congrats, Em! You truly deserve this moment and I could not be more happy for you! Preston is gorgeous. You did good, momma.

  36. Oh, he is perfect! Congrats, I am so happy for you!

  37. Oy my goodness, what an experience. I'm sorry it didn't go the way you'd hoped. But he's here and he's perfect and precious! I am beyond ecstatic for you, my friend!

  38. What a crazy experience but I am so glad that both of you guys are happy and healthy! He is absolutely perfect, I know you guys are in heaven :) So happy for you!!!

  39. So happy for you Emily, he is so perfect! God Bless your whole little family. Welcome to mommy hood, it has been amazing to read your story and finally see you get to this place you have been dreaming of for so long :)

  40. What a gorgeous family. I'm so, so happy for you. C-sections are no joke, right? My planned c-section turned into an emergency c-section about 12 hours before my scheduled time. My spinal had to be super fast too, similar to what you experienced. But you BATTLED through the many, many hours leading up to it and I can't applaud you enough for that. Way to go, mama. Way. to. go.