Hooray! We hit the first big milestone in Hayden’s life last week. He is now one month old! On the one hand, these first four weeks flew by. But on the other, so much is happening and changing with both Hayden and myself that it doesn’t seem possible that he’s only one month.
I wasn’t sure if I wanted to share the details of his birth story. But the response to my post about my first week as a new mom changed my mind. Sometimes I think I’m writing only for my own benefit, but that post struck up such a great dialogue. And it really meant so much to me. It’s amazing to be surrounded by so many moms — experienced moms, grandmothers, new moms, expecting moms — and to use this platform to connect. S0 for those of you who want more mommy details, this is the story of how we came to meet Hayden Thomas.
Hayden’s Birth Story
Hayden was born on Monday, July 9th at 9:37pm, weighing 6 pounds, 5 ounces.
The days beforehand…
On Saturday, July 7th, my parents stopped at our house overnight on their return from vacation in Maine to their home in Maryland. I was feeling pretty good after taking a few days off work over 4th of July and didn’t foresee having the baby imminently. So my parents decided to return home, knowing they might come back sooner rather than later (although we did not expect it to be the next day!).
T and I spent Sunday planting a flower bed in our front yard. This was one of the last home / nesting projects we wanted to complete before the baby arrived. T-man even said to me, “I want this little boy to come home to a really beautiful home.” And while I mostly watched while T did the hard work, I sat on the ground and helped a bit with planting the smaller flowers.
9am // The morning of…
On the morning of Monday, July 9th, T and I were both working from home. I actually had a different doctors appointment scheduled for 2pm, which we were planning to attend together. Hayden had other plans though…
We spent the morning on conference calls. I spoke to colleagues in Switzerland and several different people in the office in NYC. I was even making plans to be in the office on Tuesday. Sometime mid morning, I noticed a subtle backache. Nothing more than typical cramps that I quickly chalked up to sitting on the ground the day before. It wasn’t coming in waves or really even hurting. The most I thought was that it might be Braxton Hicks contractions.
Around 12:30pm, I was texting with our doula who suggested I try laying down or a different position to see if the aches went away. At that point, I cancelled the 2pm appointment and T decided to shower just in case this was it. While he showered, I laid on our bed, not really in pain but just trying to listen to my body. When he got out of the shower, T checked on me and I was still doing fine. But as he got ready to shave, I felt a sudden wetness and knew my water broke.
1:50pm // So my water broke…
I quickly ran to the bathroom where T was shaving. The doctor told us that when your water breaks, you have 24 hours to deliver the baby, but it doesn’t always mean you’ll go right into the thick of labor. Within seconds of reaching the bathroom, though, my first contraction hit and it was no joke, you guys. Instinctually I doubled over, and was on all fours writhing in pain. Holy hannah!
We joke that everyone tells you labor does not happen like the movies, but we totally had the movie version! T was covered in shaving cream, trying to call the doctor, the doula, and help me get up and get ready to go. He was trying to do all of that while also timing contractions, but they were coming so quickly (probably every 1-2 minutes or less) and it was all so much. He went to grab me a dress to change into and it had long sleeves — mind you, it was 85+ degrees that day!
Initially the doctor told us to head to their office, but the doula suggested we pack our hospital bag too. By the time I got dressed, moved downstairs and got into the car, I knew there was no way I was going to the office. I was in too much pain — it was genuinely shocking how quickly and how intensely it all came on. So off to the hospital we went.
2:30pm // Arriving at the hospital…
I don’t remember much of the ride to the hospital except to tell T to go slowly because it hurt, but also to hurry up! When we arrived, T grabbed a wheelchair and we skipped triage, heading straight to the labor & delivery room. The nurses helped me into bed through contractions and got me all hooked up to the monitors. They were asking tons of questions and checking all my vitals. The only specific detail I remember is losing feeling in my arm & hand as they tried to get my blood pressure.
The staff seemed to think I was being a little melodramatic since it was our first baby and my water broke only minutes before. T explained their reactions to me after since I was so out of it. But when they checked me upon arrival, I was already 8-9 cm dilated!
3:00pm // Give me the epidural now…
As soon as I heard that, I was terrified I might not be able to get the epidural. All the adrenaline, pain and speed at which labor was progressing had really overwhelmed me. When they called the anesthesiologist, he seemed skeptical that I could get the epidural given how far along I was and how quickly contractions were coming. Luckily, he was very experienced and agreed to do it as long as I could hold perfectly still for 2-3 minutes. No problem, except for the fact that my contractions were hitting every 45 seconds! Thank goodness T was there to hold my face and brace me through it. It truly didn’t hurt at all, but the bracing through a contraction was tough.
After the epidural, everything calmed down and I could finally catch my breath (I actually had to ask for a small increase because I was still feeling pain on one side of my pelvis). I know people feel differently about anesthesia, but for me it was the right choice so I could be present for the rest of the experience. Up to that point, things were just so intense that I wasn’t processing a lot. And honestly, the epidural is pure bliss after those contractions!
By 5pm, I was fully dilated but the doctor suggested we wait a little longer to allow the baby to progress as much as possible on his own. I spent those couple of hours chatting with T and our doula, relaxing and appreciating the moment.
7:30pm // It’s go time…
A few hours later, a new nurse came on for the night shift (who we loved!) and she told us we could start pushing. This was a weird and almost frustrating experience. At first, I couldn’t feel the pressure of a contraction and had to be told when to push. Because you can’t feel a lot (and it’s a totally new experience), it’s hard to know where exactly to push and you don’t feel like you’re making progress. About halfway through, I was able to feel the pressure of contractions and give a little more focus to my efforts, though.
One of the funniest moments was when T asked the nurse “when do other people come in?” He was so confused about why the doctor was not involved from the beginning! Luckily, the nurse was very sweet and not offended at all. However, it surprised us both that we spent almost an hour in labor without the doctor.
Once the doctor joined us, I felt like we were making more progress. Around 9:30, I heard her say “okay this baby has to come out.” I got freaked out that he was in some sort of distress or my pushing wasn’t working fast enough. Turns out, she just knew how close I was and was asking the medical staff to prepare for the delivery (bringing out extra equipment, etc.). But since I interpreted it as a scary thing, I gave that final push everything I had and then Hayden was here!
9:37pm // He’s here…
I can’t begin to describe what a crazy sensation it was to feel him coming into the world and being placed on me. I knew T would tear up (he did) and I expected to be balling (I didn’t). It was a moment of total shock and awe. All of a sudden, he was out in the world! This thing I had been feeling inside of me for months was now HERE and was a real baby! It sounds silly, but it all hit me at that moment.
10pm – 1am // Going into recovery…
After delivery, let’s just say there’s a lot that still has to happen. I was in this total haze and only focused on embracing the moment with T and Hayden. We got an hour of skin-to-skin time before our families came in to meet the little man. His cousins and grandparents each got to hold him before we moved into the Mother & Baby wing of the hospital, where we stayed for two nights.
One Month Moments to Remember
His birth story is by far the most memorable part of the first month. But there are a handful of other little details we never want to forget.
1. As Hayden met his cousins and grandparents in the labor & delivery room, his little cry sounded almost like a squeaky toy. It had this funny chirp in the middle of each wail. He still does this occasionally, but it was so pronounced that night!
2. When we met the lactation consultant, Hayden peed through his diaper, onto her legs and all the way into her shoe! She even said it was the first time a baby had done that. #whoops
3. In our early days at home, we let Hayden nap without a tight swaddle over his arms and he made the funniest movements, oftentimes looking like he was directing an orchestra or making a “I can’t even” face
4. He also made a little Zoolander face as captured by in the first photo!
5. His hair is by far the most commented on feature T even compared him to Billy Joe of Green Day.
6. He peed on T during his first bath at home and a few weeks later, I was changing his diaper and managed to “catch” some of his poo in a wipe, mid change. Other than that, we’ve been pretty lucky not to get covered in fluids!
7. To celebrate my birthday and his one month, we took him on his first road trip to Maryland last weekend and he slept like a champ on the ride both ways.
All Hayden photos courtesy of Amy Moore Photography.