Theodore Henry, A Birth Story

A few months after Tad was born, I recorded his birth story on my personal blog. Because it is his first birthday, I felt the need to share it again. Here is the revised version of Tad's birth story:

"Tad came as a huge surprise for everyone, including himself, probably. Probably not, he's a pretty determined little dude. I found out that I was pregnant within the wee hours before I was scheduled to board a plane. I was going to spend a couple of weeks with my parents to gather the last contents of my bedroom. I had been staying in my hometown for the summer before I started my first year of college. I found out a week later that I would be raising the little seed I was carrying, alone, without a partner, at nineteen.

I cannot say that I would want it any other way, mostly because I don't know any better. We, meaning my parents and I, who have been so generous with their time, have made what we have been given work for us. 

It was a truly blissful pregnancy compared to what I had read and heard. I suppose the worst part was watching as my nose slowly grew to an entire other size (thankfully, that has now changed). and the whole carrying-a-human-inside-of-your-body part wasn't always fun everyday either. My mom and I spent lots of afternoons watching reality television, and I gradually began to eat everything on my plate plus seconds. I think I bonded the most with my dog the entire time, as my motherly instincts made themselves at home. Most of the time, it just felt like I was waiting for my entire life to start, and it was driving me crazy.

I thought I started to notice signs of labor about a month before I gave birth, more so because I just wanted this baby out of me. I was impatient and stressed. I went to the hospital once two weeks before I gave birth with false labor and steady contractions, but I wasn't dilating. Two days before I went into the hospital, April 6th, I thought I had started noticing signs of preeclampsia, swollen extremities, blurry vision. The blurry vision was what had me in a panic. I went in to see my OB, everything was fine. I still had one more week to go until the pregnancy was considered full-term, but they had done an ultrasound the week before to guess how big the baby would be, and that was estimated at well over eight pounds. My OB decided to swipe my membranes and see if labor would kickstart. I went into labor two hours later. 

I decided to wait out the contractions for as long as possible before heading in. I was paranoid about false labor and really did not want to go through being sent home angry and disappointed if it wasn't the real thing. I took a shower, read a few more chapters of Outlander, took a nap, and fixed my hair and makeup. We checked into the hospital at 5 PM on April 7th. I sat in a room with several other beds and mothers waiting to see if they were having their babies that day, too. The nurse helping me called my OB to tell him I was in, and then she nodded to my mom and I saying, "We're going to get a room ready for you." I started to cry, and then my mom did, too.

From then on, labor was quick.

At first, the nurses thought my labor might need to be induced and they put me on pitocin. I was only on that for about an hour; my contractions were coming in at 1-2 minutes apart, and I was dilating very slowly. There were no complications with pre-labor. He was positioned correctly and pressing like hell on my back. I didn't really have any specific plans for how I wanted my labor to go, natural, drugs, whatever. I knew that if I came in with a plan, I would just end up disappointed.

My contractions started to become extremely painful, and I was vomiting. I quickly opted for the epidural. Before I was given that, they had given me some other pain medication that reminded me of how I felt on laughing gas and something to help with the nausea. The man who gave me my epidural was getting annoyed with how much I was moving and babbling on like an idiot - but he was very thorough! I didn't even really realize it was happening. 

Then everything was freaking awesome. I was eating ice chips like a happy camper, rubbing my bulging belly, waiting for my damn cervix to open up and give me my baby. The nursing staff was wonderful. Everyone was entirely helpful and very kind, something I was really nervous about. 

They asked me to start pushing around 1 AM, and I pushed for a little over an hour, but nothing was happening. The head nurse was trying to lift up my pelvic bone, but his head was stuck behind it. My OB drove to the hospital to come deliver my baby, which, according to the nurses, was something he never did in the wee hours of the morning. I started to push as hard as I could, the nurse's hand pressing hard against my pelvic bone, my breath held and my teeth clenched. My OB walked in, took one look at me, and shook his head. Looking back now, I'm sure he knew well before my labor started that this baby was going to be too big to come out the natural way.

I was then told that I had to go into an emergency c-section. Like I said, I didn't really have a birth plan, and before going into the hospital was totally fine with going through whatever they needed to do to get the baby out. It must have been the pressure of the moment, but I suddenly went into hysterics. For whatever reason, I was convinced that I was probably going to bleed out and not make it, which is just silly to think now. 

They asked me which parent I wanted to take with me into the operating room, and my mom quickly volunteered as she wiped sweat and hair off of my forehead. We stood together for a moment as she calmed me down. They suited her up, my dad said good luck and that he loved me, and they wheeled me away. My epidural had started to wear off, and I was trying my hardest not to cry out at the intense back labor I was going through, hoping they would give me another dose soon. They did. I was floating and could feel them tugging, my body flailing all over the place, and then I heard him cry out.

Tad was born on 3:07 AM on April 8, 2015. He weighed 9 pounds, 3 ounces and was 20 inches long. I remember being nervous that he would be ugly and asked my mom to check on him once he was out. As she walked over she kept saying how beautiful he was. We were both crying. They played a lullaby over the intercom and stapled my belly closed while they cleaned him off. I had originally wanted to hold him, maybe even pull him out myself, as soon as he came out if it had been a vaginal birth. The nurse brought him over to me, swaddled in his hospital blanket, and held him close to my face so I could see him. I wasn't able to touch him because I was shaking so badly, but I kissed his little nose and told him how much I loved him.

I waited the longest half hour of my life before I was able to hold him and nurse him for the first time. We snapped the first photo of he and I together, and he latched on perfectly. Once I was taken to my room, it wasn't long before he was brought to us and he never left except for one of the two nights I stayed, my mom and I asked if the nurse on call could watch him so we could both get some sleep. My hospital experience was really wonderful. It was a wealth of information, calming, and I felt ready to take Tad home with us when it was time for us to leave. Our birth experience wasn't what I thought was going to happen at all. In the end, I think it worked out even better than I had ever expected. There was no pain, no complications, and my recovery was quick. I was on my feet within hours, walking that sweet little boy around the maternity wing. 

He was more beautiful than I could have ever imagined. I'm so glad you were born, Tad Henry!"

Happy first birthday, my littlest love. You are so smart and healthy, rambunctious and curious, stubborn and dramatic. I love you with all of my heart.

xoxo Kayla