Our sweet, sweet BOY arrived on October 23, 2017 at 7:51am. His birth was nothing like what I expected or planned but it truly could not have been more perfect. It was the most beautiful welcome into the world.
As always, I cherish this space for the connections and friends I’ve made through it but also for the memory keeping it does for me. I have started using a Promptly Journal (PERFECT baby/childhood book if you’re looking!) so I will have a hard copy of these memories and this story but I really wanted to share it here as a testament to the strength and power of women. If you know me AT ALL, giving birth has been my biggest fear for my entire life. Becoming a mother has been my dream but giving birth my fear. Funny that they would coincide, right? Well, I can honestly tell you, no sugar coating – yes, birth is hard, the hardest thing I’ve ever done BUT I did it and since that day the only way I’ve described it is beautiful and incredible. So here is the story of our precious Clay’s arrival into the world.
To give a little back story let me set the scene of the week prior to his arrival.
We had our weekly OB appointment – I was dilated 1.5-2cm. I had a little scare with spotting after they checked me so late that night we made the very difficult decision I would not travel to Pennsylvania for the wedding of our best man (where Peter was serving as best man). We figured it would be safer for me to be close to my doctor if need be and my parents and brothers were only 5 minutes away.
Peter left for PA that morning. I went to work and on with my usual day. Around 9pm I walked into my kitchen and experienced what I thought was my water breaking. I quickly called my doctor, Peter and my mom. The doctor said to come into the hospital, Peter was completely panicked being 5 hours away and my mom promptly drove over. In hindsight this was definitely not labor starting. Now that I’ve actually experienced the onset of labor I know this was not it. I had been planning on packing my hospital bag that weekend so I quickly threw a bag together, trying to remember what I had written out on our actual packing list. The best laid plans, right? I also decided it was the perfect time to take a shower and “get ready”. We went to the hospital around 11pm where they did all sorts of tests to see if my water had in fact broken. They came to the conclusion that it had not broken yet (but I was dilated 2-3cm) and we left around 1:30am.
Peter drove home from PA first thing in the morning because the doctors said it could be that day or it could be a week but based on the fact I had progressed from Wednesday to Thursday they thought it would be any time.
Throughout Friday and Saturday I was having minor contractions but I would start to time them and they would be completely irregular and very far apart.
We had a super low key day at home, watching movies and eating delicious food. It’s almost like we subconsciously knew it was our last day to do absolutely nothing. I kept thinking of little things all day that needed to be done for baby but I would go to start it and would immediately fall back into my laziness, ha! We decided to order Thai food for dinner and while I was inside the restaurant picking up our meal I started feeling like I was having period cramps. I remember thinking, “this baby is coming tonight.” But didn’t want to actually say it out loud for fear of jinxing it. So I started timing my contractions as the gentleman went and got our food from the kitchen. Seriously laughing as I write that! I kept timing them for the rest of the night (this was around 5:30) until we went to bed at 10ish. There was one point where they were about 8 minutes apart for 45 minutes but then spread way out to about 15 minutes apart. I figured this was just a normal part of being 38.5 weeks pregnant.
At 4:00am on the dot (immediately looked at my phone) a contraction jolted me awake. I shot straight up in bed and grabbed Peter’s arm. It went away fairly quickly but I was awake so why not go to the bathroom?! I know all you fellow mamas can relate. As soon as I stood up I felt an immediate rush of fluid between my legs and around my feet. I stood there for a second and said, “Peter, I think my water just broke.” He was dead asleep and was like “What?! Really?!” But I told him to go back to sleep, I was going to take a shower and time my contractions. I honestly didn’t want to have another false alarm like before and had been continuously told to labor at home for as long as possible so I thought a shower would buy me a nice chunk of time. I used the Full Term app to time my contractions. Any mamas-to-be download this! It was easy and extremely helpful! I jumped (well more like waddled) into the shower and just tried to relax. My contractions were coming at what seemed like a rapid rate but I was in such a daze I wasn’t sure if it was me just being a wimp. Its difficult to describe what they really feel like but I think the most accurate way is to say they are like extremely intense period cramps. I mean the worst you’ve ever imagined having and they just continue to get worse and worse.
As I was showering and opening the shower curtain to click my time on and off, I realized I was out of shampoo. This suddenly seemed like such a big deal to me. I yelled, “PETER!” And he seriously JUMPED and as he tells it now, basically thought I was delivering the baby in the shower. By the time I was finished I was leaning on the towel bar inside the shower trying to stay calm and get through the contractions. Peter suggested I call the doctor because he looked at my phone and the contractions were about 4 minutes apart. Some were even 3 minutes apart, which should have really been a sign but I was clearly distracted. THANKFULLY one of my doctors was on call and she told me to head into the hospital. I tried to convince Peter I had time to blow dry my hair but he gently suggested we just get to the hospital. I complied and he got all of our stuff into the car. One of my favorite parts of preparing to leave is the video our Nest camera captured of me having a contraction and Peter holding me up while I lived/suffered/struggled/soldiered through it. He was so calm and supportive, it was exactly what I needed.
We live 6 minutes from our hospital and throughout my pregnancy I kept saying how amazing it was that we lived so close but truly that drive felt like the LONGEST and BUMPIEST ride of my life. I felt like the princess and the pea, I could seriously feel every tiny pebble we drove over. I basically hovered myself over my seat the entire drive because sitting felt so uncomfortable. We finally got to the hospital and the security guard asked if I wanted a wheelchair. NO! I couldn’t bare to sit any longer and wanted to march myself up to labor and delivery as quickly as humanly possible. I had to stop for contractions along the way but we made it and unlike my last visit, they immediately brought me into a labor and delivery room. No triage for this mama! The same resident came and checked me (I was like, “oh hey! it’s me again! pretty sure it’s legit this time!”) And almost immediately she was like “WE’RE HAVING A BABY!!! YOU’RE 9.5 CM”
Um, excuse me, what?!
It was 5:15. An hour and 15 minutes since I had been jolted awake.
They say the worst part of labor is the transition, which I had CLEARLY already gone through but I had tunnel vision – I NEEDED that epidural. I looked at Peter like my life was going to end if I didn’t get that epidural. We had established he would advocate for everything I wanted during labor/delivery so I knew he would make sure I got it. It is pretty rare that they would give an epidural when you’re that far along but my doctor told me after that as long as the baby isn’t crowning she will let the mom get it. The anesthesiologists work for the entire hospital, not just L&D so they warned us in our birthing class that it can take a while to get the epidural once it is ordered. Thankfully it was so early in the morning, most surgeries hadn’t started yet and I think they put a bit of a rush order on things, ya know, with me being 9.5 cm and all.
The anesthesiologists arrived and went through all of the risk factors of getting an epidural, which of course is important but in my 9.5 cm daze I was just ready to sign the dang paper! Peter says my signature was legitimately a scribble. I believe it. They warned me that in order to get the epidural I needed to be able to sit completely still through the contractions. At this point they were about 1 minute apart so it was an almost constant flow of contractions that I had previously been struggling through and now had to basically become a complete statue. I was nervous. Peter left the room and as he left he turned around and said “If you want the epidural, now’s your chance babe. Sit still, you got this!” God bless our incredible nurse Molly as she let me lean on her and rest my super sweaty head on hers. Truly, nurses, you are AMAZING. I wouldn’t have been able to do this without you.
Okay so for any other nervous mamas out there this is for you. I always 100% knew I wanted an epidural but was TERRIFIED of this supposed huge needle they stick in your spine. First off, they do everything behind you, you never even see it, especially if you just keep your eyes closed through the entire procedure. More importantly, they give you a little numbing shot right in the spot where they are going to place the epidural. That is ALL you feel. It feels like getting a little shot which at this point in labor felt like nothing. You feel a little pressure as they place the epidural but nothing else. Within minutes I felt insane relief. I relaxed, I could smile, I could really absorb the moment. My mom had arrived while I was getting the epidural, which was a huge relief! When the doctor told us I was 9.5cm we called my mom (she was going to be in the delivery room) and she panicked thinking she wouldn’t arrive in time. At this point I was chatting away, laughing, letting the epidural set in and honestly just enjoying myself, ha! I felt like a kid on Christmas morning, full of excitement and anticipation. My dad and brothers came in to see me for a while and we all just relaxed.
I know a lot of women are all about natural birth, which is wonderful and admirable and every woman’s choice but don’t ever feel guilty or ashamed or less than if you want an epidural. Birth, no matter how it is done is a beautiful accomplishment. As long as your baby arrives healthy that is ALL that matters. With that being said, if you are on the fence let me just say this. Not only did the epidural take away the pain from the contractions but it allowed me the opportunity to enjoy the delivery of my son. Before I had the epidural it felt like I couldn’t focus on anything, I couldn’t absorb the life changing moment that was about to occur. I was so distracted by getting through each contraction I could barely speak let alone think about anything else. Once I got the epidural I was able to spend time with Peter and my family and as I was pushing I could truly enjoy the beauty of birth. It also allowed me to just focus on this blessing that was about to arrive. And in case that wasn’t reason enough, I didn’t feel anything post delivery when they were delivering the placenta and stitching me up.
Once the epidural set in, my doctor came in with a resident and our nurse. Just a quick side note because again, NURSES. Our nurse Molly’s shift ended at 7:00am and we had bonded with her so quickly. We begged her to stay and although she couldn’t, she worked her magic and made sure we got the BEST nurse for our delivery, Chelsea! Molly did end up staying through Clay’s birth just to witness it, which makes me feel so connected to her.
I started pushing at 7:17 and Clay arrived at 7:51. The pushing was difficult but I was so determined at that point I really wasn’t focused on how hard it was. Our nurse Chelsea was so uplifting and motivating it made the moment much easier. THANK YOU, CHELSEA!!!!!!
Clay Henry Adams entered the world and immediately we were like “IS IT A BOY OR GIRL?!?” It took Peter a second, I think he was just in pure shock of the incredible moment but he then proudly said, “It’s a boy!!!” and they placed him on my chest. I was crying and just holding onto my son for dear life. It was absolutely beautiful and the greatest moment of my life. You are truly never prepared for the overwhelming emotion of when you meet your child for the first time. It really feels like “oh of course it’s you, it was always you.” A love unlike any other. Chelsea told us after that she even cried because it was such a love filled moment.
Clay weighed in at 7lbs 15oz and 20 inches long. A perfectly healthy baby boy, all we could ever ask for!
Throughout our pregnancy we kept our baby names a secret. We shared with a few very close family members but no one else. We just didn’t want anyone else’s opinions or comments regarding the names we were considering. We had 2-3 names for a boy and girl as we wanted to wait and meet this person before deciding who they were going to be. Clay is Peter’s Grandfather’s middle name and was at the top of our list for most of our pregnancy. As soon as he arrived everyone asked does he have a name?! And without question we said, “YES!” He just felt like our Clay and there was no doubt in either of our minds. The middle name was a bit trickier. We had a few middle names picked out, all family names (keeping them secret in case we are blessed with another baby in the future!) but they just didn’t feel exactly right. Family is extremely important to both Peter and I and we wanted our child’s name to represent that. So as we sat there with our newly welcomed angel we hemmed and hawed until it just clicked, HENRY! One of my brother’s is named Henry and Peter’s Grandfather is named Henry Clay (where we got Clay’s name) so it just seemed like the absolute perfect fit.
Clay Henry Adams, you are everything and more to your daddy and me. We have cherished every moment with you in our lives. We thank the Lord that he blessed us with you as our son and we cannot wait to experience the countless, precious moments in the years to come. We love you, baby boy.
Here are some random photos from our first few hours with Clay!
Professional photos are from the incredible Victoria at My Motherhood Story. Thank you, my best girl!!!