Ben’s Birth Story

Small Warning: Hopefully you can figure this out from the title of this post, but in case you can’t, this post is the account of my son’s birth. If words like dilation, cervix, or vaginal gross you out, you may not want to keep reading. :) Also, this post is really very long, but honestly, it was a long day.

If you don’t know about my first pregnancy, you can read about Alice here. Be warned, it’s a sad story, but the stillbirth of my daughter played a huge role in the birth of my son. (Actually, it plays a huge role in my life every day, but pregnancy and childbirth in particular.)

[ Saturday, May 3, 2014 – 6:30am ]

Few things will get me out of bed at the butt-crack of morning on the weekend. Having a baby… well that is totally worth waking up early. My induction was scheduled for 8am. I got about 4 hours of restless, excited, tossing and turning, uncomfortable, 36+ weeks pregnant sleep on Friday night. Jason woke me up Saturday morning and we packed the car and headed to the hospital to have a baby.

Now, packing a suitcase and heading to the hospital to check in like it’s a hotel and you’re there for a weekend getaway is really strange. But that was our plan all along and we’d been counting down the days (and then the hours) until we would be able to say it was our son’s birth day.


[ 8:20am ]

Soon after we got to the hospital (about 20 minutes late, because that’s just how I am) we were in a room, I was in a super attractive hospital gown, and we were ready to get this show on the road. Excited texts were being sent and received because everyone knew that this was the day we would be having a baby.

[ 9:30am ]

I started the day knowing I was somewhat dilated. My doctor had checked my cervix earlier in the week and told us we were good to come to the hospital on Saturday (versus needing to start drugs Friday evening.) I was currently 2cm dilated and 50% effaced. My Doctor said my son should be born around dinnertime. My IV was put in, a drop of pitocin was started to start contractions, and all we had to do was wait… and wait.


[ 12:30pm ]

My best friend Mary arrived, with camera in tow, to stay with us and to photograph the day’s events. We had been texting and she was worried I would progress too quickly for her to get there in time (I quickly went from 6cm to 10cm when I delivered my daughter and I only pushed for 6 minutes. She had a good basis for concern that it would happen again.) Better safe than sorry, she came to hang out with us even though I was only dilated to 4cm at that point.


[ 2:00pm ]

Still right on track and starting to really feel the contractions, I was also hungry. I wasn’t allowed to eat solid food but the (amazing) nurses were great about getting me juice and soda and jell-o… a pregnant girl’s dream diet, huh? I requested the anesthesiologist around this time for my epidural. I was starting to need to breathe through my contractions and, since it was part of my plan all along, I decided to have them go ahead and numb me up. At the very least I wouldn’t be able to feel my stomach growling.

Disclaimer: I know I wanted an epidural because, regardless of my intense fear of needles, I am a huge wuss when it comes to pain. I had one with my first labor and I knew I would have one with my second. Those of you who birth naturally, good for you. It’s not for me. Those of you who want the anesthesiologist to meet you at the door when you get to the hospital, good for you too. However you choose to go through the labor and delivery process, that’s awesome.

[ 2:30 pm ]

I’m sitting on the side of the bed and leaning way over as my back is prepared for the epidural while Jason faces me. Let’s back up a bit… just over 13 months prior to this day Jason and I went through a horrific loss. This all took place in the same hospital, on the same floor, at roughly the same time of day, as this labor. We knew that both of us would have to deal with some PTSD triggers and flashbacks. One of the hardest things I did that day was get the epidural. I was scared and shocked and unbearably sad. I worked myself up and my needle phobia (that I’ve had since I was 8) didn’t help matters. I basically panicked and my sobbing and shaking made it very hard for the anesthesiologist to do his job. (That being said, he wasn’t the most personable guy in the first place. Seriously, he was grumpy.)


Now, fast forward to my current story… my first experience with getting an epidural had me set up for anxiety before I even asked for it, so I knew it would be difficult. Making it even more difficult, the anesthesiologist on call was the same guy. (Crap luck, or what?) Leaning over and holding Jason’s hands I soon started crying. I wasn’t sobbing though, and the process was actually done fairly quickly. It hurt, as getting a tube inserted into your spinal column does, but it was over quickly and I could breath easy, and try to get my emotions under control a bit. It was emotional for both Jason and I as we remembered the last time, but not nearly as bad as we remembered either. I definitely built it up in my head as being this awful terrible thing. In all honesty, it was awful and terrible the first time, but without all of the emotions of our loss it was much easier this time.

[ 3:00pm ]

My amazing nurse, Joanie, introduced me to The Peanut Ball. I was about to get up close and personal with a large, oddly shaped, yellow ball. The ball was placed between my legs and I laid on my side. It is meant to help open your pelvis and can reduce both tearing and the amount of time you have to push. Sign me up! I was ok with both those things. Roughly every half hour the nurse and my mother-in-law (a former nurse) helped to turn me over and reposition the peanut.

Picture now, if you will, me unable to walk, in a hospital gown, which opens in the back, surrounded by my nurse, mother-in-law, best friend (equipped with a camera, remember) and husband. Let’s just say that it’s a good thing I’m not modest because everyone in the room was treated to multiple views of my ass. And Mary, bless her, didn’t photograph any of it (at least not that I’m aware of.)


[ 8:00pm ]

Still starving. Still being rotated every half hour. Still 4cm and 50% effaced. Grrr. Contractions were 2-3 minutes apart, which was perfect, but they weren’t as intense as the doctor would have liked. The pitocin was doing it’s job, but my body wasn’t cooperating. Add to the mix a fever and chills (me), an increasing heart rate (me), and another increasing heart rate (baby). Everything was basically mirroring my first labor, but this time we were able to monitor the baby. Jason was becoming more and more anxious watching the fetal monitor climb as baby’s heart rate climbed higher. Anxiety and panic played a huge part throughout the day for both of us.


[ 10:00pm ]

Add an intense migraine to the mix of my symptoms. My head was pounding, the light hurt my eyes, and nothing else had resolved itself. Baby’s heart rate was still high as was mine and my fever hadn’t broke yet. I was shivering on and off from the fever. Literally, my teeth were chattering even though I was covered in warm blankets. They had me eat a Popsicle and drink broth to get me more hydrated and get my blood sugar up, hoping that would help my headache. They also gave me oxygen, which I’m sure helped to wake the rest of the room up as well. :) The alarm on my heart rate monitor had been adjusted twice so that it wasn’t constantly going off when it reached a certain rate. My heart rate was frequently around 150bpm and baby’s was closer to 190bpm. I was having more and more trouble controlling my panic (something I had dealt with throughout my pregnancy) due to my other symptoms.

[ Sunday, May 4, 2014 – 12:30am ]

By this time I was sure I would be super dilated. I had to be. It had been forever since I was last checked and the pitocin was doing it’s job. My first labor was only 16 hours and we were nearing that length. Subsequent labors are always faster, or so I’ve been told. The doctor checked me again and I was 5cm and still 50% effaced. Dammit. I was anxious to be able to have a reprieve from my panic and headache. Jason was just anxious. Everyone was tired. And I was still starving.

After checking me and finding out that I hadn’t progressed my doctor recommended a c-section. Jason and I had talked about the possibility already because the baby was breech at one point. We basically both said yes at the same time. We were ready to meet our son and be done with labor. There was too much to worry about and nothing to be done when all you could do was wait and stare at the monitors. I know Jason had enough of staring at the monitors and I had enough of feeling frustrated and sick.


[ 1:00am ]

The procedure is explained to us. Papers are signed. The anesthesiologist is called back. My epidural had worn off significantly (awesome) so it was recommended that I get a spinal to numb me for surgery. I agreed and even though Jason couldn’t be there with me when I was being prepped in the operating room, my doctor assured him that she would take his place helping me to stay calm. While I was getting the spinal put it (which took two different tries) my doctor was beside me the entire time holding my hand with her other arm around my shoulders. Honestly, I couldn’t have ever asked for a better care team. She said she would help me not to panic and she did. Lucky for me I was still a little numb from the epidural so I didn’t even really feel the spinal being put in. And after that I couldn’t feel anything at all (which means it worked!)

[ 1:05am ]

I’m laying down and they’re making sure I’m numb and ready to go. I start to feel sick (which is so awesome when you can’t move) and like I can’t breathe. Apparently when your chest is numb and you can’t actually feel your chest moving up and down as you breathe it can cause panic. I felt like I was only able to take quick, short breaths. I kept telling my doctor I couldn’t breathe and she kept assuring me that, if I could talk, then I could breathe. It’s good logic when you stop to think about it, but when you’re on the edge of hyperventilating and freaking out your mind doesn’t really stop to think about how logical something like that is. To distract me I asked the assistant anesthesiologist to talk to me. I don’t remember what he said but I remember listening to him talk and him stroking my hair.

The two surgeons (my doctor and another resident) told me they were pinching me and that if I couldn’t feel it they were going to start. Soon after that Jason came in and sat beside my head while I tried to breathe and stay calm. It was calming just to have Jason in the room with me and I was so grateful he was there.

[ 1:24am ]

My doctor said something along the lines of “here he is” and I heard a cry. A cry. I heard my son cry for the first time. He was alive and I couldn’t be more grateful for anything in the world than I was for the sound of that cry. A nurse brought him around to my left and Jason told me to look. The first glimpse I got of my son was when he was naked and wailing at the nurse. Jason was told to go with him to the other side of the room and I told him to go. Around this time Mary was in the room as well and as they stitched me up I could hear my son crying, my husband crying, and my best friend crying. And of course I was crying and completely overwhelmed with emotion.

From the time they started surgery to the time Ben was born was 8 minutes. How crazy is that? Modern medicine is so awesome. It took a little more time to stitch me back up but while they did Jason came back over to me. This time he was holding our son. I’ll never forget how delicately he held him and what he said to me. “Sam, look what they gave me.” We were absolutely floored. Ben was born at 36 weeks and 3 days. We were prepared for him to need to have oxygen or to have to stay in the NICU for a little while. We had been warned that early babies could need extra help breathing. We were ok with all of this and prepared for him to be taken out of the room to be treated. Instead, there was Jason holding him. He was swaddled and sleeping and absolutely perfect.


[ 2:00am ]

Now is around when I lost track of time. It’s very early in the morning, I just went through 15 hours of labor followed by an emergency c-section. I am more tired than I have ever been in my life and starving, but adrenaline is keeping me going. We are all brought into the recovery room where Jason’s mom got to meet Ben (she even got to hold him before I did! I couldn’t yet because I was still numb. She says she feels badly about this but when Jason asked if she wanted to hold him I didn’t expect her to say no! :)) I was being given post-op instructions by the nurses but I was only partly listening while staring over her shoulder at my baby.

When the anesthesia wore off enough that they were finally able to give him to me they laid him on my chest. He looked up at me and squeaked… and just kept squeaking. I remember asking if everyone was listening because that squeaking was basically the cutest thing I had ever heard in my life. He was the most perfect thing I had ever seen. Through my exhaustion and emotion and tears and adrenaline I remember thinking about how perfect he was and how grateful I was that he was finally here with me.

[ 3:00am ]

Jason called my Mom and was able to tell her first that Ben was here. He handed me the phone and she told me how happy she was for me. We were both crying (of course). I told her I didn’t blame her for falling asleep (I knew she had because she hadn’t answered my texts for a while) and that she should go back to bed. It was 4am on the east coast and she said there was no way she would ever be able to get back to sleep. Good point Mom. :)


[ 4:00am ]

We are transferred to the postpartum floor where we would stay the rest of the time at the hospital. For the next few days Ben slept a lot and we just stared at him. There was obviously more to it than that but really that’s the important part. The three of us were together and the rest seemed easy compared to what we had already been through. Ben was tiny and perfect and we were absolutely in love with him.

BabyBen-1Benjamin David Piette | May 4, 2014 | 1:24am | 6lbs. 9oz. | 20″ Long | Welcome to the world munchkin.

(All photos in this post were taken by my talented friend Mary. :))


5 Responses to Ben’s Birth Story

  • Kristen says:

    I LOVE YOU GUYS SO MUCH! Can’t wait to meet you baby Ben!

  • Amy-Leigh Lyell says:

    Crying again! Lol. Beautiful, amazing! You have such a way with words!

  • Holly says:

    This was beautiful!!! Your words + Mary’s amazing photographs = tears of joy! When are you coming to Philly?!!!

  • Corryn says:

    Hi Sam, I only have known of you and Jason as twitter/facebook acquaintances (@corryn), back when I paid more attention to social media, but was drawn to your blog by Jason’s facebook post of Benjamin’s birth story. I’m considering pregnancy in a year or two and have a lot of fears regarding parenthood so I look forward to reading your blog for more insight. I’m hoping that the more I learn, the less fearful I’ll be. ;)

    I poked around a bit and I think we have a lot in common (Twin-Cities natives, craftiness, beer, distaste for jello for hunger supression ;). I also have to agree with Amy-Leigh – you have a way with words! I love your raw, sometimes sarcastic, and always upbeat style.

    Congratulations to you and Jason on your sweet new baby boy! What an adventure. :D

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Hi. I'm Sam. I'm glad you're here. This blog of mine is a place for me to write about whatever I'd like... maybe you'll be interested in what I decide to put here. That would be awesome, wouldn't it? :)