CLICK HERE to listen to my BIRTH STORY & POSTPARTUM DEPRESSION JOURNEY with Leyton & Finn on THE BIRTH HOUR PODCAST in more detail HERE!
Finn’s birth story here on the blog just like Leyton’s birth story is more for my personal keepsake than anything else but I know lots of you wanted to read it as well. I’m so excited to be able to have these annual birthday letters, birth stories and everything in between for the boys documented here with photos/etc because I’m TERRIBLE at keeping up with printing out photos, baby books and the like.
I was stressed off and on throughout my pregnancy about whether to do a vaginal delivery or a c-section because I had a pretty traumatic birth experience with Leyton. I basically have PTSD from my birth/postpartum experience. Half of the doctors I visited with in my doctor’s practice were recommending I avoid the risk of delivering again vaginally and the other half were telling me that my body was showing them it could handle this and I may be robbing myself of an easier and better birth experience this second time as well as a faster recovery.
The Lord really used my doctor and the Thrive Moms app devotional on Peace in those final weeks to help speak to my heart and prepare me for what was ahead. I talked with my doctor about 3 weeks before our due date at my appointment and he told me I was already 3 cm dilated and that he didn’t think I would make it to my due date of 8/22.
At that 37 week appointment Dr. McKenzie laid it all on the line with me. He said, “Heather, you are looking at me right now like a woman who is thinking check please, I’m ready for my c-section. And if you are even considering having a vaginal delivery, I need you to get your mama mojo on and mentally prepare for this.” Well that sure as heck shocked me into the reality of all that was going on and how quickly baby would be here.
I started playing the “what if” game. “What if we think I’ve been pushing too long? Can I stop and have a c-section then? What if I can’t get an epidural? If that’s the case Dr. Mckenzie, I’m not doing that.”
And that’s when my doctor told me, “Like we just said, God is in control. So we have to let go of some of this desire for control.” In my hormonal state I of course teared up and had a real come to terms with reality moment. We decided we would get an ultrasound at my 39 week appointment to determine how big Finn was and whether that should possibly sway me towards having a c-section instead.
When I came back the following week, baby of course measured 7 lbs and 15 oz as best they could tell. I kind of had in the back of my head that 8 lbs would be my tipping point to make me opt for a c-section. I thought, “Well, Leyton weighted 7 lbs 11 oz and they told me he would weigh more than that at his in-utero weight estimate so I’m sure Finn will be smaller than what they guesstimate for him as well.” Funny how God knew that and put him RIGHT UNDER my 8 lb cut off. Little did I know at the time he would come out weighting 8 lbs 6 oz!!!!
Dr. McKenzie recommended I schedule an induction as soon as we could so that he wouldn’t continue to get bigger and risk having another traumatic birth experience. So, 2 days later on Thursday, 8/22 Eric and I went to the hospital at 6 am to have baby Finn!
Things started out pretty normal. I got up, got ready and we headed towards the hospital. It feels so surreal to leave your house for the last time, knowing that you’ll come back and EVERYTHING will have changed. You’ll be brining this new baby into your home…like, WOW!
My nurse started my Pitocin and I started feeling contractions come on pretty hot and heavy. I asked Eric to pray with me and I also asked our photographer to take one last photo of me standing up with the MASSIVE bump to document right before I no longer had sweet baby Finn inside my belly.
After we took that photo, things took a turn for the more dramatic. I started having to stand up and then sit down on the ball and then pace and then cry and then scream. It was not pretty because Eric and I were like, “Ummmm how come it doesn’t seem like we are getting a break in between contractions?”
It just kept being full on horrendous pain with no break. I had asked my nurse to go get me some pain medication thinking we could go a little longer before the epidural but since my pain wasn’t lessening Eric said to another nurse in the room, “I think she needs the epidural now.”
Luckily as I was in the WILD WEST OF LABOR (hahaha) as my doctor called it, what felt like an angel breezed into the room. I found out later she is a doula who is on staff at the hospital I was at. She had the most calming, confident reassurance in her presence alone. Without her and Eric there talking me down, I don’t know if I could have contracted non-stop for that long.
My sweet nurse came back in the room and they wanted to check me to see how far I had progressed. I had progressed from 3 cm to 8 cm in only 45 mins!!!!! Holy smokes…as I was still writhing in pain with no relief Eric noticed on the monitor that the Pitocin was still cranked up. He said to the nurse, “Hey, do you think we might want to cut back on the Pitocin?”
When I heard that it took everything I had not to come out of my skin. I was like, “WAIT, WHAT?!” Why is that question being asked?! Luckily I was too far gone into the pain management section of my brain I couldn’t even respond.
Apparently I did get pretty close to being too far gone to get an epidural because not long after that about 15 people came RUSHING in the room and prepped me so fast for an epidural that my head was spinning. All I remember is the anesthesiologist telling me my son would be born on palindrome week. While I was thinking what the heck does that even mean? Someone in the room was breaking down that that meant it’s a word phrase or dates that are the same backward as it is forward. (For instance 8/1/18)
At that point, my nurse told me my body was so tired from contracting that hard with no break that I needed to rest for a while to regain my strength before actually pushing. So, we sat there and listened to music (THANKFUL the hubs DJ’ed for me and that I included this in what we packed in the hospital bags).
I had almost forgotten about the shakes that come with labor. But man, are they strong and SOMETHING! My nurses and the doula had me push as they counted to 10 each time. It was so hard by the end to have enough breath to be sustaining the pushing and I was so beat in between pushes that I would lay back and close my eyes. Eric was encouraging me every step of the way, helping me focus on where to push, when to breathe and when to rest. His presence and words mean more to me than I can ever express.
It was so frustrating because they were saying that they could see he had tons of hair and he was so close to being out. But then I just couldn’t get him out fast enough. I kept pushing and pushing and it felt like forever and when would it ever end?! I pushed for about 45 mins…(much shorter than with Leyton) and I was shocked when he came out but was barely crying. They told me everything looked great and then they said, the umbilical cord it a little short so we’re going to hold him up so you can see but he couldn’t quite reach all the way up to me yet.
Eric cut the cord and they laid him right on my chest. I remember thinking, “This is the moment. This is it. Soak in everything!” I had tears that sprang to my eyes but not a full on cry like I had with Leyton. I was just so excited to be in the moment and have him here safely and to have made it all the way through without the complications of last time’s traumatic birth.
I noticed Finn had lots of bubbles coming out of his mouth and they said that he probably took a big gulp in the birthing canal and so they’d have to keep suctioning him out and we could just wipe it away as bubbles kept coming up.
One of the most memorable moments was Dr. McKenzie asking Eric if he could kiss my forehead and praying over us with his arms over baby Finn. Such a sweet and special moment. <3
The worst I felt other than via the pain in labor was not being able to eat afterwards for a few more hours while they waited to get me up to the next room and off the delivery floor. Thank God I brought protein bars with me to tide me over. They asked me to walk to the bathroom with assistance and without being able to feel my legs from the epidural and then having my blood sugar bottoming out, Eric said he thought I was going to pass out because I had almost no color in my face. Every step I thought, I’m going to pass out or throw up. For anyone who is giving birth soon, PLEASE do yourself a favor and pack protein bars or other hearty snacks in case you get stuck with no food after BIRTHING A BABY AND NOT EATING for 12+ hours…
One of the funniest moments after delivery was Dr. McKenzie telling me when he heard from the nurse how fast I had progressed and that I didn’t have my epidural yet that he said, “You don’t understand. I’ve made this girl promises. She HAS to get that epidural.” I died laughing when he told me that and that he saw me in the wild west of labor at one point and was so glad I got that medication.
Needless to say, Finn made it all more than worth it and his JET BLACK hair and tons of it made us fall in love immediately. My heart has doubled in size for Leyton and Finn and now we are just so very happy to have God’s provision played out in how He’s fitting together our family and in teaching me through this birth process. Peace was my theme word I kept having to lean into during this pregnancy and I’m hopeful I keep it in mind as I start the new journey of a mom of two.
PHOTOS: Kristie Allen Photography
If you are a mama to be reading this, I’d highly recommend you read these posts to help you prepare for baby/postpartum!
- What to Pack in Your Hospital Bag
- Newborn Photo Shoot Ideas + Our Newborn Pics
- The Ultimate Baby Registry from a Mom of 2
- My Struggle with Breastfeeding & What I Wish I Would Have Known
- A Day in My Life (Hour by Hour) with a Newborn
- Pregnancy Q&A
- Postpartum // Nursing Friendly // Baby Products we are using and loving