A Birth Story // Jackson Daniel Joseph
I went into early labor 3 days before my due date. It was Sunday, January 6, 2013, at 6:30 am, I was 40 weeks pregnant and oh so ready for this baby to come! The early labor that morning was pretty easy. I don’t think I reeeeeallllyyyy felt something until about 11:30 that morning and about that time I woke Richard up (yes, this man LOVES his sleep!) and told him “I think this is the day!” Although still half asleep, I think he was pretty excited. That day seemed to go by EXTREMELY slow. We cleaned up around the house, took boxes out to the trash. I insisted on walking EVERYWHERE because I thought that would move my little bebe along faster! BOY was I wrong! It was mid afternoon that same day that I realized there was A HOLE in the outfit I wanted to bring Jackson home in so my mom and I headed out! Crazy? Maybe, but the contractions were about 20 minutes apart and really light, so I toughed it out. When we were done with our last minute shopping spree I was hungry and was craving a salad. Go figure! So we went to Schlotzsky’s. I know! As I’m typing this and remembering back on the day, I’m kind of thinking whaaaaaa??? But this is THE TRUTH! I was SO hungry! But after eating, I felt so jazzed so we went to Michaels. I, of course, had an idea for a new project thanks to Pinterest and before I was not able to move I wanted to go get my supplies. We walked around Michaels and I do believe by the end of that shopping trip I was hurting a little more. So I took my preggo butt back home and waited it out. Richard had gone to work for a couple of hours so my mom and I just decided to chill out and watch a movie. I remember watching the clock ALL day that day. Every little bit of contraction; I’d time and then wait for the next one. It was about 6:15pm when the most intense contraction happened. OUCH! After that, they came faster and harder. By this time they were still about 8-10 minutes apart but MAN ALIVE those suckers HURT! Richard came home a few hours later and I was still in the SAME spot on the couch, contractions 6-8 minutes apart and intense as all hell. It was already getting to be 1:00am and Richard was getting tired and I was exhausted but couldn't sleep. How could I? I still hadn't packed my bag. I hadn't showered. I hadn't put on ANY makeup. (Don’t judge me) AND I was watching the Kardashians! (Don’t judge me) About an hour later, both Richard and my mom were passed out, my bag was packed and I was feeeeeeelin the pain! I decided to go sit in the bathtub and try to relax. Though there was NO WAY! I got out, put on some eyelashes (don’t judge me-there are pictures people!) It was coming on 4:00am and I just sat on my bed and cried. I was in so much pain and I was already exhausted and I was scared. The ONE thing that I had been wanting for the past 40 weeks was about to be here! And all I could think was…..”Can I do this? Am I ready for this? Well, it’s too late now sister, this little man is coming!” It was around 4:30am when I woke up both my mom and Richard and told them I thought it was time. So we decided to pack it up and head out. I've never seen Richard move so quickly. The ultimate cliché daddy-to-be…running all over the house, grabbing items for our hospital stay, double checking to make sure we had all we needed and stuffing it all into the car while I tried to relax on the sofa. Finally we were packed and ready and off we went to the hospital.
Once I was in the room, it was around 5:15am and I was on the monitors. My contractions were indeed regular and super intense, but I was only dilated 1 cm. ugh. I was beginning to get extremely frustrated. I was in so much pain and the nurses kept telling me that this was only the early labor, what was I going to do when the REAL labor came on? REAL LABOR? REAL LABOR? By this time my contractions had been intense and regular for almost 12 hours! And that’s not REAL LABOR? And to make matters worse I wouldn't dilate anymore. It was 11:00am and they sent us home. I cried more. Also, I felt bad because my Dad and Stepmother drove the 30 miles at 5:00am to come see me and nothing was happening. So we ALL headed back to the house and wait it out. The Dr gave me some Ambien and told me to sleep and relax. Ambien? Not sure what that was supposed to do but I sure could not sleep. I was BEYOND exhausted. Painful contractions, 3-5 minutes apart for that period of time can do a number on the body. There was not much sleeping, a lot of breathing, a lot of trying to relax and a lot of squeezing of the hands. Sometimes I would lay down, but when your body's working and shifting and contracting that hard, laying still seems like the worst kind of torture. It felt good to move my hips, so I spent time on my hands and knees in the bed. Holding my mom’s hand until I’m sure her fingers nearly fell off! I felt like all I was doing was trying. Trying to focus. Trying to keep my breath steady. Trying to be patient. So I took another bath. My day was spent moving from the bed to the sofa, to the love seat, to the bed. I cried, a few times. I felt like I could not do it anymore. I was so tired. All I could think was that I just wanted this baby out of me. I was sure I was going to die by contractions. My family just tried the best they could to comfort me. Tell me they loved me and I could do this! I told them I didn't know WHY anymore would WANT to do this more than once!
My Mom and Stepmother were a huge help. They’d let me squeeze their poor hands and tell me to breathe as my eyes rolled to the back of my head. My mom still jokes that she thought I was possessed. Possessed with pain is what I tell her! Ouch again! Everyone really helped me get through. My dad sitting quietly with Richard as they tracked my contractions. Whispering how long that last contraction was. I cried. Sobbed actually. The pain, the physical and emotional exhaustion of it all had me outside of myself. The contractions were coming so quickly and so intensely, I felt like I had no time to catch my breath. It was almost 5:00pm and my mom had had enough. She called the Dr and they told me to come back in.
So back to the hospital we went. Luckily we didn't unpack anything. By that time, I was ready to punch someone if they told me I hadn't made any progress. And I hadn't. I was still only at 1 cm but they decided I should stay and get an epidural to help me relax and that it would probably move things along. I got the epidural around 8:00pm and by 9:20pm I was still only at 2 cm. No one ever tells you that actually getting the epidural might be worse than just enduring the rest of labor. You have to bend your extremely pregnant body waaaaay over and hold completely still while you have that contraction, while they shoot that HUGE needle up your back! But, it was actually worth it. 20 minutes later I was numb and could still feel the contractions but I wasn't consumed with the pain. And I was finally able to sleep! SLEEEEEEP! For a whole hour! But after I woke, I hadn't progressed any. The Dr broke my water to try to move things along even further and by now the contractions turned into pressure! I was desperate for all of this to be over. By this point nothing could soothe me. Not even the epidural. I can’t really describe the pain I felt. Its definitely one of those things you have to experience. It is deep and powerful and all consuming. I was desperate to meet my little boy. I was ready.
At this point it was after midnight and I wanted to know how far along I'd progressed. I was so tired. And from the intensity of my labor, I knew for sure I was at a 9 or a 10. The Dr checked me. "You're doing so good" she said, "but you're still at a 6.” By this time I had been on oxygen for a few hours. I was in so much pain and could not relax that my breathing was not getting any oxygen to the baby. I felt horrible. Like I was bad at this in some weird way.
I think another hour had passed when the nurse came in and told me I was a 9. I was so excited! I instantly felt calm and rejuvenated! But she seemed concerned about something and told me she wanted the Dr to come back in to check me as well. It was going 4:00am and I was BEYOND ready! What could be the problem? When the Dr checked me she told me I was really only a 6 and they needed to keep a close eye on Jackson. She left the room and not even 10 minutes later she rushed in and told me she needed to get him out NOW. Emergency C-Section was what needed to be done.
After being in labor for so long I developed a fever and my cervix was starting to swell. My blood pressure went through the roof and Jackson’s heart rate had risen to 198 beats/minute. Timing was crucial. They had to save my baby and me. Time to freak. But I didn't. I was surprising calm. My mom and Richard were the ones that seemed to start getting anxious. I don’t know if I've ever seen Richard look so scared in all the 13 years we've known each other. I held his hand and told him everything was going to be OK, this was OK and I was ready.
The Dr came in with all of the nurses and they wheeled me to the operating room, picked up my limp body and put me on the operating table. I was so numb. Soooooo numb. I mean obviously that is the main goal when having emergency surgery but I remember my arm feeling like it was falling off of the table and I couldn't do anything to get it back ON the table. Strangest feeling in the world. Richard didn't even have enough time to get in and pull up a chair before the Dr had me cut open. He watched the WHOLE THING! Crazy man he is! I remember trying desperately to stay AWAKE! I wanted to hear my baby scream! I wanted to see my baby! NOW! And what seemed like an instant later I heard 3 soft little cries and in that instant he was here. I just remember looking up at Richard as he caressed my cheek and cried. I don’t even remember if he said anything. I just saw tears and then I cried in pure bliss. The nurse walked over and handed him to Richard and he showed me this sweet little baby. This so insanely pure being that was ours. I was so overwhelmed by the love I felt in that moment. Everything around me no longer mattered. I just saw him. This was the little man I felt move and grow inside of me for the last 9 months. Who I had labored so long for. He was worth every second of the pain. He was the most beautiful thing I’d ever seen. And he was finally here. Mine forever.
For the next few hours I am not aware of much. Once they took Jackson away I slept for a while in the recovery room until they woke me up to take a sip of water and take some medication. Richard came in and showed me pictures of Jackson. He was beautiful and I absolutely hated that I couldn't hold him. I was still pretty numb, so to even drink water was a real task. I was sent back to my room and was told that Jackson was in the NICU and that I couldn't see him for 12 HOURS or until I could put myself in a wheel chair and go see him. Well what the hell do you think I did? I don’t even remember what time it was, all I knew was that I needed to see him. Once I was in that room and Richard handed him to me, I cried like I’d never cried before. I think it had been 6 hours or so after I had given birth to him and I was just NOW able to hold him! He just looked right at me with that gorgeous little face that I’ll never forget. I’m not sure I've ever felt so much love in all my life. It was the most beautiful moment. It was just us three. Our new little family was perfect.
My birth was nothing like I expected. I think I experienced every side of labor. The pretty side of "using relaxation and my birth breathe" to get through the 2 days, then the ugly side of “my body's trying to kill me and I’m just going to moan and make weird noises right now, thank you!” Obviously a C-Section wasn't part of the plan. But as it turns out, it was exactly how it was supposed to be. God has a plan for all of those unexpected moments and in ALL of those moments God chose Jackson for me.
Jackson Daniel Joseph Kern was born January 8, 2013 at 4:19am. 7 lbs 20.5 inches