Hello everyone! I am so happy to talk today about how the first week of being a mama to Miss Selah Kyle has been and to share my birth story. Listen to today’s podcast to hear me really go into detail about how we are doing, but I wanted to post about it here as well so I can go back and read this for years to come.
My birth story started with Braxton Hick’s contractions for 4-6 weeks before Selah’s arrival. It was just during exercise, and I wouldn’t describe it as painful, but more uncomfortable. Then, Wednesday night (March 17th) is when I started having real contractions, but still not what I would describe as painful.
At around 10:30 pm on Wednesday night is when I really started feeling pain, and I could not go to sleep. Around midnight, I checked in with Marco at his work, took a shower, and started getting ready in case we had to go to the hospital. During this time, I was timing my contractions, and they started becoming more painful. Finally around 4:00 am is when they started becoming super painful, and I called the hospital to ask when we should start heading over. The nurse told me to wait until the contractions were about 5 minutes apart, but by 4:45 am I told Marco I was ready to go. I said “there’s no way they can send me home at this point, I’m in so much pain.” (Little did I know, they still could have!)
When we got to the hospital, I was 3.5 cm dilated and 80% effaced. They recommended that I receive the epidural when I was 6 cm dilated (they had asked if I wanted it, and I said yes). During this time, the contractions were intense. I kept reminding myself that women’s body’s are truly made to do this.
By around 6:00 pm that day, the contractions were so bad that I was throwing up between them from the pain. The nurse measured me again and at this time I was 5.5 cm dilated. She shared with me that the anesthesiologist would be headed to the OR for surgery, and that he’d be gone for one hour. I had the choice to get the epidural now, before I got to a 6 (like I wanted to) or to wait an hour and get it once he got back. I opted to wait the hour, as long as they could get me a bath tub to labor it. They did, and it was so helpful. In the tub, I was able to lean over and float. This helped so much, and I was able to breathe through each contraction even though by this point it was an almost unbearable pain (though, we were made to bear it – wow, our bodies amaze me!). It was so empowering to see what we can endure.
Finally, after an hour or more in the tub, the anesthesiologist was back and I was able to receive the epidural and it was so nice. I told Marco “I think I’m in love with him.” Ha! I was able to finally relax and just be excited to deliver Selah. I was at this point 9 cm dilated. Shortly after, the midwife came in and said I was fully dilated and effaced. She brought in the nurses, broke my water, and we started doing practice pushes.
I will say for the epidural, I could not feel my pushing. I couldn’t feel the contractions which was amazing, but I couldn’t feel myself pushing. I started feeling itchy from the epidural, so they gave me a medication to help, but it made me super exhausted and dizzy. I told the midwife that I had to rest and stop pushing, which turned out to be a blessing because I was able to rest for about 30 minutes. By the time I finished resting, some of the feeling in my lower part was back, so I was able to feel my pushes but not the pain which was the absolute best. After only about ten more pushes, Selah was officially born.
I will never ever forget that moment that I was finally able to hold her and look at her. Marco kept saying “She is so beautiful! She has so much hair!”. I kept her for an hour to bond with her and then gave her to Marco for skin to skin so I could sleep. I was so tired. I think I fell asleep the moment I handed her to him. Wow, what an incredible marathon that was!
Before giving birth, I always wondered… if it’s that painful… are women still happy they did it? That they gave birth? Would they do it again? I just want to share, for women who are wondering the same thing… that though it’s painful, it’s also empowering. It’s pain with purpose. You know that good is coming! I would do it over again 100x to get to the sweet baby girl on the other side of the pain. It is so worth it, and I’d say there’s nothing to be afraid of. You were made for this.
Once our girl was born we stayed at the hospital for two nights and it was such a magical experience. The doctors and nurses we had were amazing, and they made me feel so comfortable. I did tear a little bit, but it was an easy repair from the doctor. A few stitches (Marco tells me I got 3 – I wouldn’t even know, I was so in another world once she was born!) and the healing has been great.
One thing that has surprised me about newborn life is nursing. There is such a huge learning curve for breastfeeding. Sometimes she is able to latch and it’s amazing, and other times she is so frustrated and upset and it feels impossible to get her to latch. We’ve been working with a fantastic lactation consultant who has helped so much. I am currently breastfeeding and pumping, and in the night Marco is able to wake up to give her a bottle at midnight which is so helpful! It makes the nights so much easier and we all are able to get sleep – and it relaxed me knowing that I get to sleep from 9:00 pm when we go to bed, until 3:00 am when I wake her up for another feeding (if she doesn’t wake up earlier, which she usually doesn’t).
One of my favorite things to have discovered since having Selah is that who we were before becoming a parent is still who we are after, it is just magnified. A friend told me this a while back, and it is still my favorite description of motherhood today. When thinking about having kids, I wanted to know that I could still be myself after. I am definitely still myself. I have new priorities and I feel a bit “new” but I am still me. I share this with you to let you know the same… you will still be you after kids. Things will change, but your personality will not leave you (I guess this was a fear of mine!).
Nothing is perfect (in anything in life), my hormones are still regulating and I have moments of overwhelm and tears, but when I allow myself to just feel it all, I am able to bring myself back to feeling calm. My encouragement for you if you’re in the same boat or will be in the future: when those hormone waves hit and you feel overwhelmed, just feel them. Talk them out. Process it. But don’t judge yourself for having them – anything worth having in life is hard! It is normal and okay. You can truly embrace it as part of the process.
Seeing Marco as a dad has been amazing. Something that I have learned over the past almost seven years of marriage and nine years of dating is to encourage each other, not criticize each other. Instead of saying what we are doing wrong, we encourage each other with what we each appreciate and it helps us so much. We’ve tried our best to continue this into parenthood and it makes the experience so much more joyful. I do my best to let go and trust that he has great instincts to parent, and he does the same for me. Personally, I find this helpful.
To hear more about how this week is going and to hear a Q&A where I answer questions that you all sent me via Instagram, listen to the podcast episode that just went live today.
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