I wanted to share Owen’s birth story because it was exciting and crazy and amazing. I can’t believe that I am a mom and I have been for 9 days! It has been amazing and I absolutely love it. Owen is perfect and wonderful and we love him so so much. It is amazing how natural it feels to take care of him and feed him and I am just so blessed.
First of all, I had planned to give birth naturally, without medication. I was interested in it before I got pregnant and read a lot of things about it and ways to prepare for it, etc. I knew I couldn’t just show up to the hospital and hope I could do it naturally. I needed to prepare for it just like I prepared to run a race!
Some reasons I wanted to do it was because I wanted to be able to be in control of my labor and birthing time. I wanted to feel my legs and be able to move and walk around. I also wanted my body to do what is natural and have the baby when he is ready. I didn’t want to be induced (unless there was a problem of course), or get pitocin because I just felt like my body would do things on its own. I wanted to stay at home for a while when I was in labor instead of rushing to the hospital and staying there for a way long time. I wanted to stay home, relax and then go to the hospital towards the end if possible. I wanted to focus on being positive and not focus on things going wrong or having issues. I had also heard many stories of epidurals not working, or partially working, or even rarely some major complications after having an epidural. Natural birth just sounded intriguing to me and my neighbor told me about Hypnobirthing which is what she did and she had her 3 kids naturally. I did a lot of research (of course), and eventually decided to take Hypnobabies classes. It’s a childbirth hypnosis class and they basically teach you relaxation techniques to help you have an easier labor. I also hired a doula, which is a childbirth assistant and someone who helps you stay relaxed. It seems way hippie and crazy of me I know, but I felt like it was right and we were so glad we had her! I interviewed several women and decided on Talya because she felt like one of my girlfriends and she wasn’t weird or hippie woman at all! She also taught our classes and we really liked them. We were skeptical at first, but we ended up liking them and learning a ton. Dan was really glad we had Talya because even though he is a great support to me, he was unsure about how to best help me and he just needed a little direction from her. I truly believe that by taking the classes and practicing the techniques in the classes, it helped me have a really great and healthy pregnancy and a super fast labor and I was able to do it naturally! For me, it was not about being competitive or proving anything to anyone, it was just something I felt was right for me and we did what we thought was best. If anyone has questions or wants more information or details about it, I would love to talk about it!
So anyway…I was due on Christmas Eve and Owen was born on the 23rd. For about 2 weeks before he was born, I was having Braxton Hicks contractions but I didn’t really know if they were “real” contractions or not. They were not uncomfortable at all, just tightening in my upper stomach. I kept waiting for something to feel different, but it never did! I kept working because I basically felt fine, just uncomfortable and impatient! I had been feeling awesome and totally patient about him coming until I was about 38 weeks or so and then I just wanted him to come! I worked in the office on the 17th and then worked from home the rest of the week. My job is awesome and I can work from home easily so it was pretty great.
I had been dilated to a 3 and 80% effaced for about 10 days. On Sunday, the 23rd, I woke up early around 6:45am which is not unusual for me the past few months. I go to bed early, but I wake up early and feel great. It has been nice since usually I’m so so sleepy! But I felt a contraction around 7 and I knew for sure that it was different. I didn’t know if it was the real thing, but it was definitely different than anything else I had felt before. It didn’t hurt so I just got up and went downstairs for a while. I felt two more during the hour and half I was downstairs and I went back and got in bed. I got back in bed an hour or two later and told Dan what I had felt and we decided to time them because I could tell when they were coming and going, which is something I hadn't been able to do with the Braxton Hicks. So we used Dan's contraction timer and I had a few more while we got ready for church. There were still a few times that I wasn't positive if I had one and I didn't tell Dan every single time because I wasn't 100% sure. Looking back, I'm sure I was having them but they were random and probably 15 minutes or so apart. I was fine to get ready for church and we were planning on just going to Sacrament since I had already gotten a sub for Primary.
I was feeling a bit more uncomfortable but it still wasn't too bad. I was telling Dan when I would have a contraction and he was tracking it on his phone. They were getting a lot more noticeable and I was uncomfortable but still fine being at Sacrament. At about 11:45 or so, I thought my water broke but I wasn't positive. Later, we found out that it had partially broken. I told Dan we needed to leave in a few minutes because I was just ready to go home. But I was able to see my Sunbeam kids sing in Sacrament meeting!
We got home and ate some lunch and I was still having contractions but doing fine. My mom called and I talked to her and didn’t tell her because I still wasn’t positive this was it. My contractions were probably 10-15 minutes apart. I decided to take a bath and Dan was helping me with my Hypnobabies stuff to keep me relaxed. I don’t remember being super uncomfortable and I was still doing pretty well. After the bath, we rested on the bed and kind of dozed a bit. That was around 2:00 and maybe around 2:30, I was suddenly really sick and I threw up my lunch. The contractions were a lot more intense and I was having a lot of trouble focusing and relaxing. I remember feeling panicked and really scared. I told Dan that I was really scared and he was doing a good job of calming me down. Dan called our doula to have her come over to help me. Luckily, Dan and I had finished up our packing while I was still doing fine. Talya got to our house at about 3:30 and by then, I was really uncomfortable and scared. I didn’t feel like I could do it and I was afraid that I was going to have to feel like that for 12 more hours or more!
Talya got there around 3:30 and she came in our room and was kind of rubbing me back and helping me to calm down. It was pretty intense and I kept saying that I didn't know what to do about going to the hospital or what. She said "Haley, you have had 2 strong waves (contractions) and I have only been here a few minutes." I said that I needed to go to the hospital but I didn't know how I was going to get there. I remember feeling so panicked when I thought about all the steps required to get to the hospital: get out of bed, walk down the stairs, get to the car, drive to the hospital, get out of the car, go in the elevator, etc. It was stressing me out majorly but Talya said they would help me and they did. Dan was rushing around trying to get me a shirt and I just put on my slippers. I was holding onto Dan while we walked down the stairs. It is pretty foggy and I don't remember many details. I remember having another super intense contraction right before we walked out the door to the garage and I sort of collapsed on to the floor on my hands and knees. I got back up and we made it to the car.
I sat backwards on the front seat on my knees and put my head down by the backseat floor. It was so awkward but I didn't care and it seemed like the only possible thing I could do. I heard Talya tell Dan to run red lights if he had to. The drive was pretty awful but luckily it was fast. Dan was talking really calmly to me and I think I was just moaning. I wasn't screaming or anything though. I heard him say that he could see the hospital but he couldn't run the red lights because there were cars in the way. I kept telling him to hurry and when would we be there. Dan went to the emergency room because he thought we had to go there on weekends. I told him no, and he rolled down the window and Talya told him to go to the main entrance. I remember being super furious that he went there first even though it was probably 20 seconds difference in time.
We got to the entrance and I really don't remember much but they put me in a wheelchair and I didn't open my eyes once. Talya was with me but I found out later that Dan had to go check in and give them our insurance card. I had pre-registered and he said they told him he saved at least 20 minutes by doing that! So glad we did! I remember them asking who my doctor was and how far along I was and stuff like that. I remember feeling the elevator going up and then we were in a room. At some point, the nurse checked me and said I was an 8. I was conflicted because I was relieved that I was so far along already and almost done, but also mad that I wasn't a 10 because I couldn't imagine doing this any longer! Apparently we got to the hospital at 4:00. I remember seeing a clock right in front of the bed and I saw it when it was about 4:15. At some point, my midwife got there and I heard her saying she was only a few minutes away when they called her.
Dan was totally calm and awesome through everything and Talya was helping me too. I remember several times, her saying "Look at me!" and I looked right in her eyes and that really helped. My midwife checked me again and I had started to feel like I needed to push. She said I was a 10 and could push when I wanted. She told me that this was going to take anywhere from 5 to 20 minutes and my baby would be here. Pushing was really hard and really painful but I could feel everything which was pretty amazing. I did several pushes and at 4:43, my baby was born! Dan caught him and suddenly he was on my lap and the very first thing I remember was seeing a huge hand reaching up towards the ceiling. I said something about his huge hands and I was just patting him and saying things like "Hi baby, oh my baby..." I couldn't believe it and the relief was immediate.
I was exhausted but felt so much better. I had some small complications about an hour or two after he was born because I lost more blood than they would have liked and I passed out twice! My blood pressure dropped a bit but they gave me some fluids and I was okay after that.
We hadn’t called anyone to tell them what was happening because it was so fast so it was pretty fun for Dan to call our parents and tell them he was already here! The labor was so fast, I wasn’t even uncomfortable until about 2 or 2:30 and he was born at 4:43! Dan’s parents and brother came up and my mom, sister and Andrew came up to see us. It was so fun and everyone just loves Owen!
We were able to go home 24 hours later and have our sweet baby for Christmas Eve! I can’t believe he is here and how much we love him. He has been such a sweet baby, sleeping and eating perfectly. He even stays awake a lot and just looks around at everyone. Some of my favorite things about him is that he has the same hairline as Danny, he looks like he is going to have blue eyes like Dan and every time he sneezes, he sneezes twice, which is exactly how Dan is! I adore it and am so happy every time he does double sneezes! It is awesome and we can’t wait to see what the future brings with our little guy.