I’m finally sharing all the events leading up to and after Bennett’s arrival in today’s birth story post. Labor was essentially the craziest thing I’ve ever in my life been a part of! The entire hospital stay kind of feels like a dream now three weeks later, so I’m going into detail about exactly how it all happened. As a first-time mom, there are going to be a lot of things you aren’t prepared for, so I’m also sharing some tips at the end of the post. And in case you missed ANY of my posts prior to this one, I’ll list them below for even more pregnancy advice:
What I packed in my hospital bag for a full list of items
What to know about the third trimester leading up to labor
Dealing with hormonal pregnancy breakouts
Keep Reading Bennett’s Birth Story + Hospital Tips
In My Hospital Bag:
Leading Up to Labor
Up until the morning I went into labor at 39 weeks, I had ZERO contractions – not even Braxton Hicks. So I wasn’t really sure what to expect or how to identify if I was actually having one. What I did know was that two days prior at my weekly check up, they told me that I was finally dilated one cm. (I always had a feeling that I would be one of those people who would all of a sudden go from 0-10cm pretty quickly.)
Early that morning, I woke up and had what felt like a very brief menstrual cramp. I went back to sleep thinking… hmm maybe that was one? By the time I got up that morning, I realized I was having another brief cramp, so I started timing it. By mid-morning, they were happening 15-20 minutes apart which made me realize these were REAL contractions.
I started doing last minute things around the house that I would want done if I actually went into labor that day. Like making sure all the hospital bags were packed in the car including pillows and blankets. I made sure the dog food was set out, the bed was made… all the nit picky things I normally do. And then when I ran out of things to do, I just waited.
Around 4:30, we decided to grab an early dinner so we could get home in time to take the dogs for a walk. At this point, the contractions still didn’t “hurt” and were around 10 minutes apart. (Too early to be admitted to the hospital.) But for some reason, I thought to text my doctor and let him know my contraction timing. On the way to the restaurant, my doctor called and suggested that I go to Assessment to get checked just in case because he was on call.
Jordan and I actually debated whether we should eat first and then go to Assessment – which sounds so ridiculous now. We ultimately decided to turn the car around and go to the hospital. We figured once we got clearance to leave, we could go eat afterwards… Except we never got clearance to leave – we got admitted to a delivery room!
As soon as I got to my room, the contractions began to be increasingly painful, and I got an epidural almost immediately. My water didn’t break on it’s own, but I basically went from 5cm to 9cms dilated within 30 minutes. (Little man was ready to go!) Forty-two minutes of pushing later, and Bennett made his grand entrance.
Our Hospital Stay
I can’t say enough positive things about the entire labor and delivery process at Woman’s Hospital. It all happened very quickly, and the entire staff was so helpful and reassuring. The most unpleasant thing was actually getting the epidural and waiting to dilate with the “peanut ball” which helps open up your pelvis. Not the two most comfortable things ever, but you are kind of mentally prepared for being uncomfortable from the third trimester if that makes sense.
Our hospital stay wasn’t quite as quick and easy as the actual labor. On our discharge day, we were told they wanted to watch his bilirubin levels for one more day. Bennett had to do blue light therapy which essentially looks like a baby tanning bed – goggles and all. He hated the goggles and the entire blue light situation. That third day was actually the most difficult part of our hospital stay because of how frustrated and uncomfortable Bennett would get. Tons of people were coming in and out of the room, pricking his feet, weighing him etc. Lots of crying that day. (Both him and me.)
The next morning we felt pretty confident that we would be able to go home, but his bilirubin level hadn’t gone down. They wanted to continue watching him and retest him later that afternoon. Thankfully, instead of more blue light therapy, they let us move his little bassinet next to the window for natural light. He was much happier this way and so were we. When the results came back, the levels were still not ideal, but they allowed us to go home that night. We went to the pediatrician two days later to retest, and everything was much improved!
I’ve been writing these down ever since we got home, so I could remember to share them all with you. Here are the BIGGEST unexpected things I experienced that I would recommend being prepared for:
THANK GOODNESS, I’m an over packer. Because of our extended hospital stay, all three of us – me, Jordan and Bennett – were on our very last clean pair of clothes. We ran out of clean swaddles and burp cloths. (Those hospital blankets can only get you so far, and he wriggled out of them pretty quickly. This is the best swaddle we’ve tried so far.)
I wasn’t prepared for how sore my back would be after they removed the epidural. My back was pretty sore for 2-3 days afterwards making it difficult to sit and sleep in the hospital bed. I was SO glad that we brought our own pillows and blankets.
Know your options when it comes to hospital pumps and formula even if you plan on breastfeeding. ASK what your options are if you are not producing enough colostrum/milk. You need to be providing enough milk to help your baby make enough dirty diapers – this is what clears out their bilirubin. (Thus, why we had to stay in the hospital longer.)
SNACKS. When I asked on Instagram for hospital packing tips, so many people said snacks, and now I understand why. All of those middle of the night feeding/pumping sessions… you will be starving. We literally went through all of our snacks so fast. Granola bars specifically.
It’s okay to tell people NOT to come visit while you’re in the hospital. There are already so many nurses in and out of your room at all hours of the day that visitors mean even less sleep – for you and the baby. Now that I’ve lived it, I probably won’t ever visit anyone in the hospital again – I’ll wait until after they get home to bring them a meal!
Photos by Lainey Reed