We always encourage parents to write out their birth story after their big day. As time goes on, you'll start to forget all the details and emotions you felt before, during, and after birth. Many parents are worried their story won't sound perfect or be criticized by others, but it doesn't matter, it's your story! We love giving parents an opportunity to publish these raw, powerful stories. This story comes from Tori...
When I found out that I was expecting July 5, 2016, I was so excited yet so scared. I told Jordan the night I found out. It wasn’t anything cute or fancy—I knew I wouldn’t be able to keep it a secret for very long from him. He had just lost a baseball game, so maybe my timing could have been better. After the initial shock, he embraced me and we started our journey to becoming parents.
The first few weeks of the pregnancy were pretty normal. I didn’t have any morning sickness but would have occasional nausea. We told my parents when I was 8 weeks pregnant after a concert. I was surprised they didn’t catch on right away after I had nothing to drink that was alcoholic all night. According to my mom, she said she thought I was the designated driver; my dad said he didn’t even notice. Typical man. We told Jordan’s parents a week later as we sat at his sister’s house. Again, nothing too special and not a lot of fanfare. Just excitement as we told our parents they were all going to be grandparents again.
About a week later, Jordan and I experience what we thought was definite heartbreak. I was sleeping and woke up at about 2 in the morning. I went to the bathroom and I was bleeding a lot. I came back to our bedroom crying because I was sure I had lost the baby. There was so much blood that I was almost positive that the baby couldn’t possibly survive. We didn’t sleep at all that night. I called my doctor and she told me to come in the very first thing in the morning. I ended up going to Benson simply to make sub-plans. I was crying as I tried to type up what the sub and my students were supposed to do for the day. My administrator was so supportive and even told his secretary to drive me to the doctor as I was shaking and crying and unable to get many words out. As I sat in the doctor’s office, I knew for sure they were going to tell me that my precious baby didn’t make it. I went back to the office and they put the Doppler on and I broke down in deep, ugly sobs as the sound of my baby’s heartbeat played loudly through the speaker. I was so relieved and surprised to hear that wonderful sound. The Nurse Practitioner told me that the heartbeat was healthy and baby sounded good. We made an appointment for an ultrasound for that day. During the ultrasound, we saw baby’s’ heart was healthy and appeared to be growing normally. It was later revealed to Jordan and me that I had suffered from a subchorionic hemorrhage. Though the baby was safe, things could switch very quickly. The hemorrhage was fairly close to the uterus and if the hemorrhage got bigger or ruptured again, there was a chance that baby could be hurt. I was placed on pelvic rest and restricted activity for the next five months. Though we were able to get lots of Ultrasounds during this experience, every time was unnerving because of the risk. We did find that I had a blood disorder that makes me clot a lot easier. It seems my son had saved my life—I would never have known I had this disorder if I hadn’t been pregnant.
The day of March 06, 2017 started pretty normally. I had been experiencing some Braxton-Hicks to this point so when I started feeling some contractions that morning, I didn’t really think too much about it. I was trying to time them but they were still pretty irregular and inconsistent. Through the day, they got a little stronger but were still inconsistent. I did joke with my students that I was going to go into labor and that they needed to have a good spring break, which started the week after. I never expected to actually be serious. That night, while I was taking a chemistry test for my graduate class, I felt my first real contraction. It was stronger and could definitely tell that this was a real one. It was 7:10 p.m. My husband just got home from baseball practice and I went outside to tell him that I thought I was in labor. He asked if he needed to take the next day off from work. At the time, I said no. That according to the Internet and my doula, I could be in labor for a while. I finished my test (I got a “B” on it—pretty kickass) and continued to work on my lessons for the next day. Around 10 p.m., the contractions were still pretty consistent and were getting closer together but still not enough to warrant any concern or any reason to believe I wasn’t going to work the next day. Jordan had gone to bed around 11 and around midnight, I told Jordan that I wasn’t going to work the next day—that I didn’t think I’d be able to work through the contractions. I told him he could go and that I’d keep him in the loop. Again, I was reading on the Internet that first-time moms could be in labor for days.
Around 2 a.m., my contractions were getting more intense and closer together. I ran some warm water in our tub and told Jordan he might want to take the next day off to help me labor. All the while, I was texting Missy and my mom and trying to get the best advice possible. I stayed in the tub until the water cooled, drained it, and ran more water. Finally, at 5 in the morning, I decided to try to get some sleep for the first time since 6:30 the morning before. At 5:30 a.m., I woke up as I experienced my water breaking in bed. I woke Jordan up and told him that I thought we’d be having this baby today. I think his response was a mixture of excited and straight fear. I ran the bath water again and submerged myself in the tub as the contractions were more intense yet. At about 6:30, I called Missy and told her I was having troubles getting through the contractions. She came over and I remember her asking me if I was still leaking fluid. I said, “no, I don’t think so”. She later told me that she knew my baby was going to be a big guy because my tummy was still rather large and hadn’t decreased in size much.
Finally, at 8:30 a.m., we decided it was time to get to the hospital. Missy called Julie (my other doula) and the hospital to let them know we were on our way. Jordan drove as I sat in the back with Missy. It was the most painful car ride of my life. We got to the hospital and was taken to our room (with a tub for laboring in) where we started the questions and was hooked up, temporarily, to the monitor. Julie came in and, it turns out, knew the nurse that was in charge of my room. It was rather comforting to know that Missy and Julie both had good relationships with the staff and nurses. After getting changed into my robe and slippers, we walked the hallways. Jordan never left my side as I would breathe and crouch down with every contraction. They were coming stronger and more frequently. Finally, I couldn’t walk anymore. It was so painful and the contractions were coming so quickly. We ran the bath water and I was able to labor in the tub. There was a point during the tub laboring that Jordan kissed me on the forehead. I remember that gesture of affection so well; it brought a lot of comfort during something that was so scary and painful and exciting to experience. I was so relieved to have him there with me during the entire process. I was also getting dehydrated and nauseous during the tub labor so they had to start me on an IV. As somebody who prides herself on her excellent veins, I was shocked that I was dehydrated enough that the nurse couldn’t get the needle or IV into my arm veins. She actually blew out a vein in my forearm. Finally, IV in place in my hand, I was checked again and the nurse said I was 8 cm and 100% effaced. We moved to the bed where I continued to move to try to get comfortable. I really don’t remember much about the bed other than it hurt. I don’t think I opened my eyes much as I was trying to get through the transition labor. The nurse kept telling me to not push, even though that’s all my body wanted to do. Not being able to push made me believe that I wasn’t going to be able to get through labor. I was ready to quit and either ask for the drugs or tell them to take me to OR for a C-Section. I knew it was time to push but couldn’t yet because I still had a little bit of a lip left of my cervix. Julie was so patient and compassionate—she would cheer me on as I told her I wasn’t going to be able to make it.
I remember hearing the nurse call Dr. Guthmann and tell her that I was progressing quickly. I think the first time they called her, she said she was going to grab lunch as it was close to noon. I think they then called her back and said she better come in right away. From what I understand, Dr. G got to the room around 12:05 p.m., checked me and said it was time to push. The first push, I felt like nothing had happened. I was pushing as hard as I could and thought that the baby wasn’t going to come out. The second push, I could feel him crowning and then, as I pushed a little harder, his head was out. They said he had so much hair. Dr. G told me it wasn’t over just yet and I had to get his shoulders out. The third and final push, I was so motivated to get him out of my so I could hold him, I pushed with everything I had left. The feeling of relief was so overwhelming as he was finally out and I could meet this little baby that had overcome so much already. They placed Davis in Jordan’s hands and he put Davis on my chest as he cried a piercing cry. He was so loud and I thought that he already had his mom’s “cheer voice”. I will never forget the picture of Jordan crying and being so emotional as he met his son for the first time. Dr. G and the nursing staff worked to get me cleaned up and stitched up as Jordan was given the opportunity to cut the umbilical cord. I didn’t really cry much until I saw Jordan holding Davis before they took him to be weighed and get his Hep B vaccination. Seeing my husband hold this tiny baby as he wiped the tears from his own eyes filled me with so much love and joy. Though I knew Jordan was going to be a great dad, I never could have imagined how much he stepped up. As they weighed Davis, they told us he was 8 lbs, 10 oz. That blew us away as the week before, they told us Davis was measuring 7 lbs and we would be lucky if he broke 8 lbs. At birth, Davis was 21 inches long. I still can’t believe I pushed him out of me without any drugs. ☺
The first hour with Davis was a whirlwind. Jordan and I were so in love and as Davis laid on my chest, he grabbed Jordan’s finger and just stared at his finger. That bond between father and son was already so strong—it continues to this day. Davis was able to latch instantly and we started our own bond as I was able to continue providing his nutrients to his body, even as he was out of my own. After our Magic Hour, we were loaded up and taken to our room. I remember feeling so exhausted. I was running off of 30 minutes of sleep and adrenaline in the last 36 hours but didn’t want to sleep so that I could stare at the amazing creation that was half of me and half of Jordan. He was simply perfect and I couldn’t get over the idea that he was ours to raise and teach and experience life with.
The experience of becoming a mommy was one that was full of highs and lows. I’m so grateful that Davis beat the odds and that in times when I was sure he wasn’t going to make it, I had a husband who would support both of us and made the pregnancy as easy as possible with all things considered. Davis is growing so quickly and I still can’t believe that he’s my son. As I get ready to head back to work, I am sad to think I can’t spend all day, every day with this little guy. He has stolen my heart and I can’t imagine my world without him. As I watch him grow and reach milestones like smiling, lifting his head, and following my voice, I’m so excited for him and for our little family. We are certainly blessed.