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Pushing through: The birth of Gavin Unmedicated

Pushing through: The birth of Gavin

"Everyone expected a fairly quick delivery, but things kind of took a turn."

Seeing the plus sign on that little stick for the second time was just as surreal as the first. Not long after our daughter’s first birthday we realized our baby was growing up, and we no longer had a baby. Was now the time to continue to grow our small family?

I was overjoyed with how quickly we were blessed. We loved having a girl and would have loved another, but we’re very excited to be expecting a baby boy. It made it even more special because he was carrying on a family tradition. My husband’s grandfather had his father, and his father had him the year they turned 30, and the years ended in the number six. It was 2016, and my husband turned the big 3-0 in December. How neat is that?!

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This pregnancy had some slight differences from the first one. This time, I couldn’t stomach seafood, and baby boy started kicking HARD as soon as he could—no flutters for this dude. All in all, it was a smooth pregnancy I enjoyed and felt good (most of the time).

I felt very aware of the time with JUST my daughter slowly slipping away. With every movement, I felt the baby and was excited to meet him and expand our family, but I was split with feeling guilty and worrying how I would possibly love another baby as much as I love my first. How in the world was I going to divide myself? I wondered how I would have one-on-one time and how I could create another special bond with the new babe while keeping the one I created with my daughter.

The last few weeks of my pregnancy became very interesting and frustrating. I developed back pain, which I later discovered was back labor. I would have contractions that would start and get to five minutes apart before stopping. On top of that, I had come down with a sinus infection I couldn’t shake. After two and half weeks of being in labor I was finally admitted to the hospital after a day of cramping, contractions and elevated blood pressure. Once I settled into my room, I found out I was 80 percent effaced and 7 centimeters dilated.

I labored without medications for about four hours with my daughter and husband in the room. I went from bouncing on the yoga ball to walking and squatting around the room. My husband was the best cheerleader. He timed my contractions and helped steady me as I breathed through them. During a few intense ones we swayed, and I felt like we were in high school at a dance, slow dancing away—some laughing helped!

I wanted to go without an epidural as long as possible. (When I had gotten one with my daughter, I felt like it brought everything to a standstill. When it was time to push my body couldn’t fully do what it needed to do, so I had them turn it off!) My water wasn’t going to break on its own, so the doctor assisted and set things in motion. Contractions started coming every two minutes. My mother and father-in-law came to pick up our daughter for a fun slumber party. It was very surreal saying goodbye to my first baby as I was about to welcome my second.

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After my water had broken, contractions amped up to about every minute. I continued to labor, but between my back pain and sinus infection, I began to struggle. I received a low dose epidural in order to rest. I still felt every contraction—and it was still very uncomfortable—but I was able to lie down for 45 minutes.

I developed the shakes and my body reminded me that it isn’t a fan of epidurals. Then I suddenly felt the urge to push! I paged the nurse immediately. As the room was being prepped for delivery, I had them turn off my epidural, so I could do what I needed to do.

Everyone expected a fairly quick delivery, but things kind of took a turn. First, I began vomiting, and after a half hour of pushing there was no progress. The nurse paged the doctor who discovered that not only was the baby posterior, but he was stuck in the birth canal. Our baby boy was beginning to show signs of distress. The doctor gave me three options:

1. Continue to push for 20 minutes to see if I could move the baby at all.
2. Have an emergency C-section.
3. Try forceps—and possibly an episiotomy.

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My eyes began to well up with tears at the thought of a C-section. I would ultimately do the best and safest option for my son and me, but a C-section was not what I wanted. I didn’t want to have a surgery that required a longer recovery. With a newborn, an active toddler, and a budding dog walking and training business, I couldn’t afford the time off. I was determined to keep pushing.

The doctor made us take an hour break with an oxygen mask to help me and the baby relax. We then resumed pushing. With my husband by my side, no epidural, only two cuss words and the assistance of forceps, we welcomed Gavin James into this world four hours later.

Even in my sheer exhaustion holding him for the first time, I was hit with a tidal wave of love and gratitude. There was more than enough love for him. He was another wonderful blessing we had received. Gavin fit perfectly into our lives and family. I can’t remember what life was like before him, and I wouldn’t want to!

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Send us your birth story! Whether you had a home birth, hospital birth, 37-hour labor or emergency C-section, we’d love to read the tale of your little one’s grand entrance. Write up your birth story (click here for tips on getting started) and email it, along with a few photos, to birthstory@pnmag.com. We’ll share it on our Birth Day blog and may even print it in an upcoming issue!