I can’t believe I am finally typing up Tripp’s birth story! At times it still seems that I should have that growing bump, but he totally is here and we couldn’t be happier 🙂 He is such a sweet baby and a little milk monster! Warning… this is LONG. Lots of words. I tried to get some photos in when I could though.
In short, Tripp came October 30th, 1 day past our due date. I woke up with mild cramps around 5:30am and was holding my sweet boy at 9:44pm that night. I had a natural labor & delivery and my husband coached me through it all. It was an amazing experience. We did read and plan (using the Bradley method) beforehand but knew the whole time things could change and to be aware of all possibilities. Choosing to go natural was one that we decided early on and hearing + reading birth stories throughout my pregnancy helped me tremendously. So that is the motivation to typing up Tripp’s story– to pass it on and encourage other mamas as they go into whatever type of delivery is ahead of them 🙂 And to have it for myself– although I don’t see myself forgetting it!
I am going to start our story the weekend leading into “birth week.” Saturday, October 24th, I woke up and felt different. This was the first time that I started feeling like my body was shifting into birth mode. Mentally I felt more ready than ever to deliver and just had the feeling it was getting close. David and I went about our normal weekend plans (no contractions or anything). Throughout the work week I continued to get things in order for maternity leave– my plan was to work up until I went into labor (and that is what happened!). The cool thing about this week was that it was fall break for the students (no classes Thursday or Friday) and a bye week for Alabama football. Making my scheduling lovin heart happy 😉 Among other cool things, a storm system was moving through (hello pressure change) and a full moon was in store for the week. Oh and Halloween was that weekend.
I went to the doctor Wednesday for my 40 week check up– no dilation to report (this was my first time to be checked). The doctor had me go ahead and make “post term” appointments for Friday and Tuesday in Birmingham for some monitoring to make sure we were okay to wait it out. If no progress was made by Tuesday we would discuss a game plan.
Back to the report of no dilation, I knew with no major contractions I shouldn’t expect anything but I can totally admit it was a little disappointing (what was I doing wrong, what could I do differently, what if he doesn’t come… etc.). This is why I chose not to be examined until the due date– I would have let that stress me out! Plus my mom went past her due dates with my sister and me so I just didn’t see me going early. I actually had my mental countdown for 42 weeks to be safe ha. The doctor knew I wanted to go natural so as long as she didn’t see any complications she was totally okay with us waiting for labor to start on its own.
Side note: Throughout my pregnancy I had acupuncture with a local ND here, Dr. Cox (highly recommend her!). I went once a month then as I got to the third trimester I went every other week. Then I hit 36 weeks and went weekly. The week of my due date I went in for acupuncture on Tuesday and then again on Thursday.
I worked out throughout my pregnancy with the goal of making it to Crossfit at least 3 times each week (mixing in walking on campus and sitting on my yoga ball at work!). Minus the first trimester, this was do-able. With the help of my husband (who is a CF coach!) I modified where needed– there at the end though it was lots of rowing, pole squats, dumbbell and kettlebell movements, and air dyne biking.
So Wednesday I went in for a WOD and then Thursday I went over to my friend Jamie’s for a nice long walk. After the walk I got home and enjoyed dinner with David. We knew we would be heading to Birmingham the next morning for my first post term check-up. I shared with David what Dr. Cox and I talked about in our acupuncture session… then I had a STRONG urge to clean the whole house. And that it just what I did… I cleaned the whole place in record time, 30ish minutes. Which for a 9 month preggo is pretty solid! Shortly after, foot massage and off to bed.
Friday, David woke up at 4:45am to go coach the 5:30am CF class. Like always, I got up and had a cup of bone broth and planned to go back to sleep. Around 5:30am though I noticed some cramps. I tried to go back to sleep but started to realize these cramps were coming every 10 minutes. David got home and I told him– we both knew this was an early sign of labor but could last for hours or days. So we didnt get too excited (with a goal of laboring as much as possible at home, we knew to stay calm and not jump to conclusions). We got ready and I continued to feel the cramps– they progressed to 8 minutes apart.
Jamie, my friend, had suggested to pack the hospital bags for the appointment… you know, just in case. I laughed and said I doubt we will need them but great idea! David had put those in the car already.
I told David that I wanted him to sleep on the way to Birmingham, just in case we were back at the hospital that night (I said this jokingly!). As I drove to the doctor, the cramps continued and I would hold an acupressure point on my ear when they peaked (helped a lot!). It wasn’t “stop you in your tracks” but I continued to glance at the clock when they started. The 8 minute pattern turned to 6 minutes by the time we arrived at the appointment. David felt sure these were contractions and started tracking them on his phone.
We declined any extra ultrasounds unless medically necessary, so other than the anatomy (gender reveal) scan we hadn’t planned to see our boy since. But with me hitting the post term point, the doctor had scheduled us for an ultrasound (check his size) and fetal monitoring. Ultrasound revealed he was good to stay in a bit longer and that he was roughly 6.5lbs. Then I moved on for fetal monitoring– he was doing good and moving around (I was hitting the button like I was told to do with movements). The contractions were getting around 3-4 minutes apart and lasting 45 seconds. The nurse came in and said he was doing great and I was having some pretty solid contractions…
Well at this point David and I both tried to act cool when she said the C word while internally both realizing I really was having contractions. We combined this with what we had been tracking and knew we could officially say LABOR HAD STARTED. WE WERE EXCITED, but still reminded ourselves that this could totally stop or last for a while. Next up, meeting with the doctor and she said I was a “tight” 1 cm but 90% effaced. She said my contractions were probably so close together because of my size— that if we wanted to spend the day in town and come back before 5pm to get checked we could but she really felt it would be at least 24 hours since this was our first baby.
Mind you I was contracting while she was measuring my belly and laying down, no matter how far along into labor you are, is so uncomfortable. So anyways, we decided to go eat Chuy’s (chicken tacos sounded amazing!) and talk about whether we should go back home or stay in Birmingham.
Lunch discussions led us to go back to Tuscaloosa (mainly to get Leo squared away and I wanted to get home and labor… I mean the doctor said possibly 24 hours). This point the contractions were at the stop you in your tracks (well eating) and focus point (3 minutes apart lasting 1 minute)- it was hard to eat. David proudly told our waitress I was in labor– pretty sure she was like HUM CODE YELLOW (made the code up but pretty sure she was a little concerned ha). Now let me say this, by the book my contractions had me in active labor (as in GET TO THE HOSPITAL NOW) before I met with the doctor (roughly 2 hours ago).
So at 2:09pm I sent a group message update (I had started a group message for David to use). David and I had decided in the second trimester that all details would be shared with a small core group and not passed around. This was mainly so David could keep his energy and focus on coaching me through labor. This was a HUGE help and great decision. Anyways, I sent update #1 at 2:09pm saying that we were headed back to Tuscaloosa but would PROBABLY grab a few things and head back that the doctor said Tripp had made good progress and labor had started.
The ride back to Tuscaloosa was ROUGH– it all hit me at this point. As in realizing I was in labor, my body was contracting stronger, and the fact we were driving away from the hospital was concerning ha. I was in the front seat all buckled up and the contractions were continually getting stronger. David was constantly trying to help me relax to let the contractions do their job, but it was hard. I was also mentally battling out that we might have made the wrong decision. I finally said we will get home, feed Leo, and come right back to get checked before 5 (verbalized this helped me mentally!) because no way he will come in an hour and a half (that time was an estimate if I was driving haha not David<— speed limit follower).
Home. We finally made it. I got in bed with the lights off, diffused some lavender, and tried to nap. No nap, who was I kidding! I got David to rub my back, shoulders, and feet to promote relaxing. I went outside and started walking around our backyard (funny the day before I was walking around in the yard playing with Leo and joked with David that I wanted to do this while in labor HA!). At this point, it was around 4pm.
I came inside and tried sipping some bone broth and walked around the house. I went in the guestroom and laid down on that bed and started crying. And praying! I just wanted to know when to go. I also wanted David close– he laid there with me while Leo laid at my feet (sweet family support!). This was actually our sign to go– if you look into the Bradley Method, you will learn emotional sign posts (this was mine). I told David we would leave at 5pm– I thought I could handle that and then we could dodge some of the Birmingham work traffic.
While we waited to leave between contractions I was texting my best friend in Birmingham asking for local hotel numbers in case they didn’t admit us. David was in touch with his brother about coming over to stay with Leo. We made our final preparations, took a picture of me (that was one glorious photo haha), and took a picture with our precious dog Leo 🙂 Something really cool with Leo, he actually put his nose to my tummy before leaving. It was like he was telling Tripp, I will see you soon! It was the most adorable thing ever.
At 5:06pm, we left the house. David sent an update #2 to the group message that we were headed back to the hospital and if we were not admitted that Heidi had pulled us numbers for 2 hotel options.
Here is where the story hits super speed.
For the ride to the hospital (roughly 50 minutes) I was in the back seat. David had moved the car seat to the back. I pretty much held on to the back of the passenger seat head rest and had my legs out like they would be on my yoga ball (wide stance squat really). I swayed back and forth with the music (we wanted to have contemporary Christian music playing during labor) between contractions then I would feel one coming on, tell David, hit the not be able to talk point, squeezed the back of the seat, focused on relaxing that mid section, then it would be over. I know I said “I am SO thankful for the breaks…” SO MANY TIMES ha. Contractions were consistently 2 to 3 minutes apart (this had been happening since around noon– at the doc appt around 11 they were 3 to 4 minutes apart). At one point, David took a video of us. Ha I was like what are you doing?? Come on go faster, focus on getting to the hospital! Now I love that he took that video 🙂
Arrived at the hospital– I remember getting on the elevator and a man said you must be in labor. I said yes sir I am… and he said well good luck! So nice… there was also a lady and she said “looks like baby will be here soon”– again I still was prepared for 12+ hours until Tripp was on my chest. We got to L&D, paperwork was already complete and we just had to hand them this little card with my information on it (Monogram Maternity is awesome through St. Vincent’s). Meanwhile, I am leaned over using the handrail on the wall to get through a contraction. I could feel the nurses looking at me… I remember looking at them all with this look like “please take care of me… I am new with this… Also please keep me” ha! One nurse was really spunky and said I had that look to come on with her. We followed her to a triage room where she was going to examine me… but she was asking me for some information first. She asked for our pediatrician’s name… I said our vet’s name. P.S. I talked about Leo the whole evening… haha! I wanted to wear my own clothes for labor (really just a robe), so I had David pull those out. Then before we could even get those out, she said we are just going to move you to a room… you are ready! Got in the room, nurses all came in to get me all settled in, I apologized for not baking them anything (they were laughing at me lol), and they told me they just needed to monitor Baby Tripp for 20 minutes then I could get up and do whatever I wanted to continue laboring.
They were all so sweet and SO ENCOURAGING about us wanting to have a natural birth. One nurse went and got all the different pain management tools– the peanut, squat bar, yoga ball, and many others things that I just can’t remember. They rocked!
The spunky nurse examined me (laying down again was HORRIBLE!!) and said good job mama you are 4cm, 100% effaced, and stage 0– you are doing great!! So 6:26pm update #3 to the group– David told them I was 4 INCHES (bahahah) dilated and the room number and said we were in there until Tripp came. Here is where it all starts getting a little fuzzy for me. I requested the lights be dimmed, had David start diffusing some lavender, and start some Pandora contemporary Christian tunes. As soon as the yoga (birthing ball at this point) ball came in and they said I could get on it, I did. It was familiar– I sat on one everyday at work! And it just kind of relaxed me and gave me that breath of “this is familiar, you can do it!” that I needed to re-focus. They had me hooked to the monitor so I swayed back and forth while David applied counter pressure during contractions (again still thanking the sweet Lord for the breaks!). This helped me a lot. Once the monitoring was over, the nurses were changing shifts. The nurses who got me all settled in all wished me luck and gave me encouragement as they left. The new nurse, who would be with me during delivery, came in and she was GREAT. Ironically she knew some people from our Sunday school class (at one point she and David were chatting about this and I was all like HEY I AM TRYING TO HAVE A BABY HERE!!! Haha oh the emotions with labor/delivery). Anyways, she was great.
Labor was getting more intense, but I still was feeling strong and focused. Tripp was doing great and I was just happy to not have to hear the monitor going (praise the lord I was able to do intermittent monitoring)– ha I can still hear that thing! My body told me when the contractions were coming, I didn’t like having that thing tell me. New nurse checked me and here came update #4 at 8:10pm “8-9cm! We’re getting close, in transition!”
I will be honest, this was the stage that I was fearful of. I knew it would be INTENSE and a huge mental battle. And I knew it could last anywhere from 20 minutes to 3 hours. But I was close and that took the fear away! And honestly I was surprised I was that far along. There was no tracking time for me though out labor– not once did I realize it took “x” amount of hours to get “c” amount of dilation. That was a birth wish!
So she said I could get in the shower and labor (I requested this as a pain management option– they were totally okay with it!). They put the yoga ball in there with a towel over it and I sat on it and just let the warm (okay hot!) water hit my back. It was all I could do to get through this stage.
I won’t sugar coat this part, I mean I was breathing deep to where I could attempt to relax so I could work with the contraction. But my body wanted to fight hard against the contractions. My mind started giving me some self-doubt thoughts as well. The nurse said let me know when you have the urge to push– and I was like hang on stay with me because how will I know?? She said you just will (spoiler, she was right!!!).
David just kept reminding me to work with the contraction, not against it. Many times I asked David to PRAY me through these contractions. These were hard and coming fast (the “waves” were more of a hurricane strength now!). There’s no describing this stage to prepare someone for it– you just have to go into knowing you are closer than ever to meeting your baby and strong enough to get through it!
Deep moans helped me– that deep vibration helped me give my best attempt of allowing the contraction to work for me. I had decided that I didn’t want to scream or yell through labor– I knew that this would only make me tense and honestly scared! I was able to stick with the deep moans and avoid yelling… but it was hard. All of a sudden, I said without even thinking forming the words in my head “I want to push.” When I say I didn’t even think about this statement, I am serious. It just came out of my mouth! I quickly dried off for her to examine me.
She said I was just a little shy of 10cm and thought a little push on the next contraction would help. Here came the next contraction (again, this laying down for even short examinations and monitoring was HORRIBLE but had to do it!) and I gave a little push and POP. There went my water. Ha– I hadn’t even realized it hadn’t broke yet. Well it did. So she said things are about to get more intense since your water broke but you are about to be pushing! I remember looking at David like WE ARE HERE AND ABOUT TO HAVE A BABY!!! Gosh, these contractions were crazy strong. But they were getting us closer to meeting that sweet boy.
People have asked if I was screaming for drugs or just wanting some relief. For me personally, not once did I think I NEED PAIN RELIEF. I don’t know how to describe it. I didn’t think about anything but working with these contractions and David was constantly having me try different things to manage the pain. He did amazing and I think the reason why that never had the chance to cross my mind was his ability to keep me calm and focused. And he was still in his work shirt which says COACH. Ha perfect wardrobe choice 😉
A little side note, my mom said her labors were slow on the front end and fast on the back end. I forgot this until afterwards… ha. But I think I took after her on this– which I am thankful for.
Jamie, my good friend I mentioned a few times above, had already planned to take photos during delivery. I wanted to have photos of those amazing moments and the moments afterward. She came in on my second contraction “round” of pushing. Threw her camera bag on the little table and grabbed her camera! I remember saying hey and great timing 🙂 She worked some serious magic to get there… and I am so happy she did! Thank you so much Jamie for those photos, I couldn’t be happier to know those moments were captured for us to have!
I forgot to mention my doctor that I had been seeing wasn’t on call (she sees the Tuscaloosa patients at the office here then delivers in Birmingham). So they said Dr. Gunnels would be delivering. I said did you say he? They confirmed. And I was like I have never had a male OB/GYN! Ha I think they all laughed because they knew in the end I wouldn’t care who came in (spoiler, they were right!). And he was great by the way.
So I started pushing at 9:30. Each contraction “round” I would push 3 times and with each push I would hold 10 seconds. I did this 7 times (yes, it was like a WOD, 7 rounds for time, GO!). Pushing was unreal because I had been having to relax during contractions and now I was getting to put some grunts in (chin to chest!). But I had to go to another level mentally (and spirtually) to really find the courage to know I could do it. So yes it was HARD and I totally didn’t believe them when they said they saw a head full of hair. I think it was on my 4th or 5th push I seriously was like I can’t do it and remember looking at David and saying this is really hard (I mean not that I thought it would be easy but just being real here with my thoughts and words!). David just loved on me extra during that break and gave me words of encouragement. Jamie also heard me and said you are SO CLOSE, come on you got it!
I just remember hanging on their words “SO CLOSE” so the final “set” of pushes I did a fourth push– surprised everyone in there but I wasn’t going to do another round by golly! And I heard Dr. Gunnels say put your hands down here, your son is here! I grabbed Tripp and placed him on my chest… BEST. FEELING. EVER. Tripp was born at 9:44pm.
We delayed cord clamping so once it stopped pulsing David cut the cord. Then I was asking if I needed to push to deliver the placenta, and excuse the raw description, but I just felt it shoot out. Ha. We had a doula who is a placenta encapsulation specialist come get my placenta. I am consuming it… #yourwelcome
Tripp was alert and had them sweet hands (long fingers like me!) just going (seriously everyone was oh my goodness at his hands!). His eyes were opened wide and he was snuggled up skin-to-skin with me (VERY important that we get as much skin-to-skin as possible) just taking his mama and daddy in. He was alert and healthy so I held him the entire time. They came over and examined him while he was rooting around figuring out the whole nursing thing (yes, he found the “milk spout” and starting testing that out fast!).
So there it is. Our birth story about Tripp’s birthday 🙂 And our first family photo…
Tripp leaving the hospital…
Thanks for letting me share and thanks for reading! I hope to get back to posting on a regular basis… Once I settle a bit more into mama life 😉 Until then it’ll be sporadic baby focused posts.