Introducing Jude William Butterfras!
As you can probably imagine, Ryan and I are both head over heals for this cutie, and I still can’t believe we get to keep him! Truly the greatest gift our family could receive.
I’ve been advised to write down the birth story before I forget everything that happened, so below that is what you’ll find. I will warn you (especially if you’re a guy) that some of the details you may or may not want to read (childbirth is not for the faint of heart). Proceed with caution.. you have been warned!
No one (not even my doctor) thought I would make it all the way to my due date, but I did! Thursday morning, January 14 I had an OB checkup, and found that I was still only 1 1/2 cm dilated and about 85% effaced. I asked my doc to strip my membranes to try to get things going, because after a certain point they have to induce you (because the placenta becomes too mature and stops producing nutrients for the baby after about 41 weeks). That day we scheduled my induction for the following Monday, but I was determined to get this baby out of me before that day came (I did not think I could handle 4 more days with him inside of me!). We went home, and that afternoon I put on a podcast and walked the halls of our apartment building for about 45 mins. By the end of that podcast, I was starting to get a really bad stomach ache (ps. I went poo like 7 times that day… the body is weird…. I’m just glad I didn’t poop on the doctor or nurses while pushing during labor). About an hour later (at 6p) I started having contractions, but wasn’t sure if that’s what they were because I realized that no one had ever told me what they felt like! FYI, super early contractions just feel like menstrual cramps. We started timing them, and once they became consistent between 5 and 7 mins apart, we packed up our toiletries and gave the hospital a call.
Once we got to the hospital, we waited around for a while until they had a room and nurse ready for us (which by the way, when you’re having contractions, feels like forever). Once in the room they checked me, and a few hours later decided that they weren’t going to send me home because my contractions sped up to every 2 to 4 mins. That night was a long one. I labored for 12 hrs with contractions that progressed to 2 mins apart all night long (meaning I didn’t sleep). At 6a the nurse came to check me again, and told me the last thing I wanted to hear: that I was only dilated 3cm. She talked to me about giving me pitocin, and as soon as she said that some women stay in early labor for DAYS, I said yes. There was no way I was about to have contractions every 2 mins for days on end. Nope. It would be different if they were more spread out, but with them being so close together I was not able to get any rest, and was already exhausted from being up all night. The pitocin made the contractions more intense, but spread them out to 5 mins apart, which I thought was a good trade off. The nurse also gave me an IV drug to make me drowsy so that I could sleep in between the contractions, because she was worried about me being too tired by the time pushing came. I literally would wake up to a very intense contraction, and then fall back asleep as soon as it was over.
Once I was dilated to 7 1/2 cm the contractions became no joke (my water broke when I was 7cm). No more sleeping in between. Word of caution – this is graphic and gross. Skip the next 2 paragraphs if you don’t want to know. Active labor contractions feel like a massive, dry tampon being pulled out slowly over a 90 second period. Yea, ladies. At least that’s what my contractions felt like. That went on for a few hours. At one point I told Ryan and the nurse, “I don’t want to do this anymore.” They both laughed. It got so intense that I started talking to the nurse about the possibility of an epidural. Something to remember: pray to God that you have a good nurse. My nurse was so, so very wonderful, and I really could not have done it without her. She reminded me that my first wish was to try to have this baby without meds. She said that we can definitely do an epidural if I really want it, but in that moment I was speaking out of pain, and she really wanted to honor my first wishes. She told me that I was handling the contractions really well, and she really believes that I can do it. It was her confidence in me that gave me the extra push to hang in there. I asked her, “But how much worse is it going to get?” Her response: “It’s going to get really bad. But I have no doubt you can do this.” That is a good nurse. I’m so glad she didn’t go the easy route for either of us. She helped me breathe through it, and gave me permission to do whatever I needed to do to release the pain. She told me at one point, “Girl, if you need to yell, go ahead and do it.” Haha. There was so much freedom being cared for by her, and I’m so thankful God placed her in my room.
When it’s time to push, you seriously won’t be able to concentrate on anything else. My doc walked in just in time, right as I was ready to push. It feels like the biggest case of constipation you’ve ever experienced, times 100. Everything in me had this compulsion to push, and my doctor was rushing around telling me, “Don’t push yet, I don’t have my gloves on!” My response: “I haaaave to!”
Some people told me that pushing is the worst part of labor. Not for me. The contractions were by far the worst. Once pushing comes, you really can’t think about anything else. It’s almost like the concentration of the contraction distracts you from the pain of it. Pushing is pretty exhausting. I only pushed for about 20 mins, and by the end of it I felt lightheaded. Ladies – start working out now, and don’t stop during pregnancy unless you doctor tells you to! You’re going to need the training in endurance, breathing, and efficiency of effort and energy exerted. My doctor had me push 4 times per contraction. During the pushing, you have to hold your breath as she counts to 10… you then have about 5 seconds to take another deep breath, and then back to pushing. You have to give your everything every time, which is why it’s so tiring. By the 4th push I felt like I didn’t have anything left to give! I already gave it all to you, lady! Ryan was my saving grace in the last 5 mins. There’s a part of me that thought to myself that he’s never going to come out, and I’m just going to be doing this forever (I know, irrational, but remember that I was in the worst pain of my life and I hadn’t slept all night). One of the last pushes Ryan said, “I can see his black hair! He has black hair!” What a trooper. Ryan watched the whole thing, and cheered me on the whole time. It was his words made me decide, “Ok, I can do this. I’m getting this baby out now.” A few more pushes and he was here!
Ps. You feel the shoulders, too. Not just the head… it’s the shoulders, too. Our kid came out superman-ing. One arm up in the air by his head (as if his head wasn’t big enough… he had to stick the hand out, too). As soon as he came out there was a sudden relief, and Ryan and I both started crying. Such an overwhelming feeling to see and hear your son, and realize that this was all worthwhile. Some people say you forget about the pain of labor as soon as you see your child. Not true. I still remember that pain. Worst pain of my life. But would I do it all over again to have him? Absolutely.
Here’s another paragraph you might not want to read if you don’t like nasty stuff. Because my kid was SO huge (8lb 9oz), I tore pretty badly, so the doctor had to sew me up. Now, because I didn’t have an epidural, I felt that mess. Yes, I did. My doctor told me while she was sewing me up that this was one part people who have epidurals never think about, because they don’t feel a thing. I saw the needle.. it looks like a fishhook…… and it feels like a fishhook. Good thing they gave me my baby so I could just stare at him and love on him while trying to distract myself from the stitches. And let’s be real, he is so stinking adorable.
I still can’t take my eyes off our sweet Jude-bug, and can’t believe just a couple weeks ago he was living inside of me! He already has the funniest personality, and is totally chill (I think he’s going to be a lot like daddy). We can’t believe this little blessing. Such grace.