He's here! Our son, Fox, was born on Dec. 14, 2017 at 12:07. He was 8 lbs, 9 oz and 20 inches long, in all his purple and cone-headed glory. He's become cuter literally every day since, and I can't believe how obsessed I can be with just staring at another human. It's taken me 10 days to type this — I started to write all this I don't know how many times, but would get sidetracked with poopy diapers or nursing or all the other ways new babies demand your attention. I'm sure no one will really care but my mom, but I wanted to make sure to write everything down his birth store before I forgot — just for me. But y'all can read, too, if you want. Or just look at cute baby photos (most of which were taken by the amazing Bekah Tabb of Playful Pigeon Photography or Marissa Yuhas of MNY Photography!)
I went into labor at 4 a.m. on Dec. 13 — 4 days past my due date. I had been trying something new every day to get this baby out — starting with red raspberry leaf tea, then evening primrose oil (I honestly don't know if either of these are a thing, just suggestions from friends). I also walked the "pregnancy stairs" at Monte Berico — 192 stairs that women often walk to induce labor. Nothing really worked until I got my membranes swept, and then labor started the next day! I was super lucky, because I know so many women who go way past their due date and my mom flew all the way to Italy to see this baby born — we were definitely nervous about our time crunch!
Once I started labor, we timed my contractions until they were 5 minutes apart and then went to the hospital around 9 a.m. Unfortunately, I was only 2 cm dilated, so back home we went with instructions to return when my contractions were so strong that I couldn't talk through them. I was super confused by these instructions, and totally unsure of when we should go back to the hospital, since I wanted some quantifiable, measurable data. But I was more than happy to return to labor in the comfort of my home instead of attempt to do it in the hospital around other women (as is common in the Italian hospital where we went).
Well, it took awhile to progress in labor. I labored all day with contractions 5 minutes apart. We even went to the grocery store, because, well, I wanted bagels. I took many baths to help with the pain, but the contractions didn't really get stronger, and I lost it around 4 p.m., crying about how I'd been in labor for over 12 hours and I was probably going to be in labor forever. You know, logical, sound thoughts.
At about 5 p.m., after I had had enough, we headed back to the hospital, and the contractions seemed to increase en route. I wasn't sure if I was ready to go back to the hospital (or if my contractions were strong enough), but I was crying to Tyler about how I was going to be in labor forever and how the baby was never going to come. I kept saying, "I'm going to be one of those women who labors for 36 hours!" So, he took me to the hospital. My mom was with us.
Once I got to the hospital, they checked my cervix and I was 4 cm dilated — enough to be admitted to labor and delivery, whoo! My OB gave me a high five to celebrate, as if I had something to do with my cervix's accomplishment. I went up to a private room to continue to labor while they monitored the baby's heartbeat and my contractions, and then at about 6 cm a few hours later, my water broke.
Apparently, the color of my water was tinged — not clear, as it should be. My midwives didn't seem too concerned, which is good, because I didn't know what that meant, and if they had seemed concerned, I probably would've freaked. As a result, they told me I wouldn't be able to labor in the water tub, which I had wanted to attempt, because of risk of infection. The idea of laboring in the tub was the only thing keeping me from getting an epidural, so I was like, alright, time for those drugs. Not a bad consolation prize. I had been in labor at this point for about 16 hours, so I was completely exhausted and ready for some relief. I was also super hungry — next time I'll pack more snacks.
Once the epidural came, things moved really quickly. It was Dec. 13th when I started labor, and we thought the baby would arrive the same day — but as the hours ticked by, it was looking less and less likely. 11:15 arrived and the midwives said it was time to push — and as we pushed for a half an hour, they said it looked like baby would arrive on Dec. 14th. Tyler and my mom helped me through the labor. Tyler held one of my legs while my midwife, an incredible Italian woman named Christina, held the other. My mom stood by my head and talked to me for encouragement.
Sure enough, Fox arrived just after midnight on December 14 after 20 hours of labor. Because of the color of my water (I had meconium), they took him away pretty quickly to make sure he was fine. He wasn't breathing immediately, which was probably good because he didn't inhale any of the meconium, but that meant that we didn't do as much skin-to-skin immediately or delayed cord clamping. Of course, we weren't too upset about this — Fox's health was more important, and he ended up being perfectly healthy.
The whole labor process was incredible. I honestly never thought I would be able to give birth vaginally — I don't know why, but my mother had to have c-sections with myself and my two sisters because she never progressed in labor (and also because I was a 10-lb baby). I wanted to keep an open mind about my "birth plan" and never really had any specific idea about what I wanted to happen, except having a healthy baby — and I'm glad I did this, because I think I would've had too much anxiety if things hadn't gone as planned.
It was really cool to have my mom there, especially because her delivery experience with all three of us was completely different than what I experienced — she kept talking about how incredible it was to be there for that, and I'm so glad she was here. I was so upset in the days after she left, because she was such a calm presence postpartum, talking me through everything and assuring me that every hurdle we were facing (breastfeeding was very difficult for me in the first week) was completely normal and that we would get through it.
Tyler was also the best through the entire process. He was so into the entire labor and delivery process and thought the whole experience was incredible — not an opinion I think most men share. He raved and raved in the days after Fox was born about how amazing it was to watch and be a part of. I mean, he was down there watching everything and not even ~I~ had to watch that. At one point, Tler got pale while I was pushing, and all the women in the room started fussing over him, thinking it was the sight of blood bothering him — really, he just hadn't eaten in a while. Later he told me, "Kate, I've gutted a deer. None of that bothered me." Thanks, sweetheart.
After the labor, I was surprised at how natural everything felt. Tyler kept asking me what it was like — and honestly, I just felt like my body just took over and every thing just seemed really intuitive. I didn't scream or yell or anything during most of the labor process. The two times I got the most upset were after 12 hours of contractions with no sign of progression, and after I had asked for an epidural and I thought the anesthesiologist was taking too long — ha!
We loved giving birth in the Italian hospital with all the midwives. I felt like every single nurse and midwife absolutely loved our child and they were so incredibly sweet and patient as I learned how to be a mom. They helped me nurse, they would change diapers when I couldn't get out of bed, they helped me to the bathroom to show me how to use the toilet the first time after labor (also, thank God for bidets, guys). I felt so loved and cared for — and picked up some really cute Italian nicknames for baby, like "cucciolo" (puppy) or "patatino" (little potato) and "piccinino" (little one).
It's been about three weeks since Fox was born. Every day feels like forever and every time we figure something out, there's another challenge that comes our way. But we're soaking up the cuddles and the new baby smell and the milk drunk faces and the soft hair and the sweet bath times and little baby hiccups (along with the poop and being peed on and the sore nipples and lack of sleep, of course). Also, it's pretty crazy how entertained we both can be at literally just staring at this human we created, and talk about how amazing/cute/funny he is — I mean, are we parents, or what?
Every day is a new adventure, but the most amazing thing is like, the absolute crazy miracle of ~creating human life~, which I still can't get over. And my second favorite part is watching my amazing husband become a father — I could watch those two sleep for days. We're excited and terrified for what the next days and weeks and months and years have to offer — but are loving this new adventure with our Fox and wouldn't trade it for anything.
Hospital photos by the amazing Marissa Yuhas of MNY Photography. In-home lifestyle photos by the also incredible Bekah Tabb of Playful Pigeon Photography. Thank you both for capturing our new family so beautifully!