Benjamin's birth story starts long before labor began. I was 37 weeks pregnant when I went to my OB and she advised I was already 2 cm dilated and 50 percent effaced. My doctor gave me a membrane sweep and said she would most likely see me over the weekend. I walked, ate spicy foods and did every recommended home remedy to get labor going. I was having contractions for weeks. I enjoyed being pregnant more than anything. It was a wonderful experience and I miss it already. However, by the time I was 38 weeks, I was so over being pregnant and very anxious to meet our little guy. Plus, all of the ultrasounds were predicting a big baby and the doctor wanted to induce if I did not go into labor naturally by 39 weeks.
When the doctor said she'd see me over the weekend, I was convinced labor would happen any second. The weekend came and went and by Monday I was still pregnant. I went to the doctor on Monday and even after 4 days of contractions, I was still only 2 cm dilated and had made no progress. She did another membrane sweep, but I was not convinced this time that it would work. When I didn't go into labor that night I gave up trying. No walking, spicy food, castor oil or anything was going to get Benjamin to come out until he was ready.
It was the Tuesday before Thanksgiving. I got up and went to work as usual. That evening as I was watching TV with my husband I was having regular contractions. I was not timing them though because I was having regular contractions the week before and made no progress. I figured I would know when it was for real without having to time every crampy feeling.
We went to bed that night around 11 p.m. I felt a sort of pop inside me and I just had a feeling that it was my water breaking. I got up to go to the bathroom to check. I wasn't sure what it was like to have my water break naturally since my daughter was induced and they broke my water for me. Sure enough, my water broke. It just kept gushing and gushing. No one told me that when your water breaks it just keeps gushing non-stop. I just stood there leaking all over the place. After a few minutes my husband asked if I was OK and I responded, “Yeah, but my water just broke!” He called his mom to come stay with our daughter while I called my doctor who told me to head on over to the hospital.
I thought that my second labor would be easier and much faster. I was told by several people that second and third babies come quick and that once your water breaks labor goes really fast and the baby will just pop right out. This was not the case for me. We put a few extra things in our hospital bag while we waited for my mother-in-law to arrive. After she arrived, we rushed to the hospital.
I was checked in triage by a midwife and was only 4 cm dilated. After getting checked in and situated into our room, I was surprised to learn that my doctor still wouldn't stop by the hospital until the next morning. I quickly caved in and got an epidural. I was a little hesitant because I had such a miserable experience with my first baby. As cliche as it sounds, though, I loved my anesthesiologist. He made my labor an amazing, enjoyable experience! Eleven hours flew by and before I knew it my doctor told me I was 10 cm and could push if I wanted, or I could wait an hour and give my body time to feel the urge to push. I opted to wait for the urge. An hour later I started pushing. It took over an hour to push Benjamin into the world. The epidural was incredible during labor but I could still feel everything at this point. My husband held my hand (and my leg) and coached me during each push, got me water and gave me a cold rag when I needed it. I felt the baby's head crowning and during this period the baby became in distress so they had to give me a little oxygen in between pushes.
After 12 hours of labor and an hour and a half of pushing, Benjamin Cory was born on November 23, 2011 at 12:20 p.m. He weighed 7 lbs 10 oz and was 20.5 inches long.
When he finally came out, he was facing up, aka “sunny side up,” and he had the umbilical cord wrapped around his neck twice. After Benjamin was born, the doctor put him on my stomach to see him and he wasn't crying. He looked a little blue and his body was limp and I kept asking the doctor why he wasn't crying.
As I laid there getting stitched, NICU doctors and nurses flooded the room. It all happened in a haze of confusion. I held Benjamin for a brief moment before he was taken to the NICU. He had a tough entrance into the world that caused some respiratory issues. I was still in the hospital for Thanksgiving. My husband’s family brought us a nice Thanksgiving dinner to eat in our hospital room. My daughter made me a turkey handprint, and later that day when we went to visit Benjamin in the NICU, the nurse had helped Benjamin to also make us a tiny turkey handprint!
The NICU had “care times” when we could change and feed him. He was on IV fluids for days before we were allowed to feed him. It gave me time to pump and build up a good colostrum/milk supply for when he was ready to eat. We were able to give him his first bottle after a few days (I couldn't nurse him yet because they needed to monitor what he was eating).
It was such an emotional and stressful time for us. Benjamin was only in the NICU for a week and one day. It doesn't sound like a long time but it was the longest week of my life. Getting discharged from the hospital and going home without him was heartbreaking. I felt so very blessed and fortunate to live only three minutes from the hospital. My mother-in-law stayed with us to help with my daughter during that week so that we could go to as many care times during the day and night as we could. Although I know that week was just as tough on my husband as it was on me, he was so amazing and still found a way to make me laugh every day. I couldn't have made it through that time without him.
We were so happy when Benjamin was finally off of IV fluids and oxygen and we could see his beautiful face without all of those tubes and wires!
We were able to bring Benjamin home on Thursday, December 1 and he finally got to meet his big sister!
Although Benjamin's birth didn't go as I imagined it would, it doesn't matter. He is perfect and amazing and I love him more than I thought possible. Our family was together, happy and healthy just in time to enjoy the wonderful holiday season!
Now, almost two months postpartum, I am in a constant haze of exhaustion, I smell like spit up, my hair is always a mess, I have 30 pounds to lose and live in my sweat pants but I am happier than I ever could have imagined.