It was both very relieving and yet very nerve-wracking at the same time to know when Rhys would be born.
Due to my bleeding incident, my OB and perinatologist wanted me induced no later than 39 weeks. They both believed that Rhys would do better out of me than inside. They also warned, as we were discharged after my bleeding, that if I started bleeding again, or my water did break, or had contractions 5 minutes apart for an hour, to come back in and they’d induce me right then. Justin thought I’d bleed before then.x`
The past two weeks, I wasn’t allowed to do much. I sat on my butt while my mom and sister took turns visiting me and keeping me company while Justin was at school and work. They wouldn’t let me pack even small things (but I still sneaked a few boxes…I didn’t lift anything, so I felt ok doing it). Then, June 30th, my family came down to help finish packing up the apartment, and on July 1st, my family helped Justin and I pack up and move from Provo to Sandy. My mom had taken all of last week off to help me set up the house before Rhys came. With the exception of curtains and a floor rug for our living room, we finished.
Friday, July 4th, my family came by to visit. I was feeling a little nervous as I was going to be induced the next morning. Dad and Justin gave me a calming priesthood blessing promising I’d have the strength and courage to do what I needed the next day. Then, Justin and I headed down to the hospital to get some gel to “ripen my cervix.” But, as they saw I was dilated 3cm already and 80% effaced, they didn’t feel the need to give me any and sent me home to get a good night’s rest before the next day. Justin and I had Costa Vida (my favorite!) for my last meal and we ate about half a pan of brownies. We played Rummikub and cuddled in bed, again praying I’d be ok both physically and mentally tomorrow.
Bright and early we arrived at the hospital and I was immediately put on an IV and pitocen. Immediately, the contractions started, but I couldn’t feel them (much like when I was bleeding). Soon, it felt like I was on a period with menstrual cramps, but no worse than that. I, again, got nervous, so I called my mom to come down. I wanted the comfort of my husband, but also of my mom (which I didn’t think I’d need or want!). Around noon, I could definitely start to feel the contractions and tried my best to breath through them. I was ready for the epidural.
That was the worst part! Even after reassurances from my friends, and knowing that my husband has had worse–spinal taps!–I was still a bit nervous about the epidural. I knew Justin didn’t want to watch because of his own experiences, but thankfully, he stood right in front of me and was a great support. He put his head down and I rested mine on his. I squeezed both of his hands as he whispered encouraging thoughts to me. I knew he was holding his breath for me as well. And, it was not just a pinch like my friends told me. It hurt! But, as soon as it kicked in and was taped and secured and I lay back down, I felt better. As it continued to progress, my legs felt heavier and then didn’t feel at all! I’d never been that completely numb before! I couldn’t even lift my legs!
A couple more hours passed and I started feeling something down below…some sort of pressure, almost, almost like pain. We called the nurse in and she saw I was 9 cm dilated. She called my OB and had my mom and husband come hold my legs so I could do a few “practice pushes.” I wasn’t nervous about them–I knew I was numb, but would still be able to push! I mean, I’ve always done well on curl-ups, so I just did that same motion. But, after the first few pushes, I began to feel light-headed. So, they put an oxygen mask on me. Wow! That really helped and I was able to do 3-4 pushes per contraction. The doctor soon came in and the nurse switched with my mom who got her camera ready. I pushed more and Justin started smiling–he could see Rhys’s head. Mom suggested the mirror be brought over so I could see–no thank you! All of a sudden, I felt this swift motion through my body and heard crying. Rhys was out!
I had only pushed for about an hour and a half. Rhys was born! And it didn’t really hurt at all. My OB did have to cut a bit of tissue in me to allow Rhys’s head more room, and I did tear just a little bit. But, other than that, according to the doctors, nurses, and Mom, a very easy labor.
When I first saw my son, it didn’t matter what was on him, I wanted to kiss him (but couldn’t because I still had the oxygen mask on). I started smiling and crying, as did Justin. We were so happy and proud to finally be parents. I didn’t know I could feel such pride in something that was only a few minutes old. And to hear that cry, that wonderful cry and see a healthy boy–what peace! He measured normally, which again relieved us. And, as the nurses were observing and cleaning him, he hardly made a peep. We were so proud of our good, brave, strong boy.
The first time I held him skin-to-skin, I immediately felt a bond with Rhys–I knew that he knew and loved and needed me. And, seeing him open his eyes and look directly at me, I can’t even describe the feelings! Justin held him and cried more, too. I felt such love for both of my boys.
I was so happy Justin and my mom (although just in the background) were both there supporting me through the labor. Having both of them there made me brave and unconcerned. I knew that with them, I could do anything I needed to get Rhys out. And I did. And I was fine. Stitched up, thirsty, hungry, and numb, but I was fine.
The rest of my family came in and met Rhys. They instantly fell in love with him. After we visited with them, and I ate, I fed him for the first time. He had some trouble with his latch because his tongue was wagging everywhere–he was actually tongue-tied at birth, but my doctor immediately snipped it.
We were then moved to the postpartum wing. That first night was hard. I was mentally and physically exhausted and Rhys was still having trouble latching, which caused me a lot of pain. I also freaked out about the postpartum bleeding, because it seemed like a lot (which in reality, it wasn’t). Justin and I were also super nervous about SIDS and didn’t want to both sleep, but we were both just so exhausted, so that first night, we agreed to let Rhys go to the nursery for about 3 hours so we could get some shuteye.
The second day in the hospital was a bit of the same–a lot of pain from breastfeeding, so the nurse gave be a shield, postpartum pain and bleeding, hardly any sleep, trying to understand Rhys’s different cries and needs. Rhys was also circumcised on the second day and Justin said he would not be going with our second son…
Justin’s brother and his family came to visit us that night. Our sister-in-law is a lactation specialist, so I was very blessed! She and I talked a little bit and she observed me breastfeed and gave me some pointers, and some confidence about the excruciating pain I was having. Thank you Rachel! The second night was a bit better. Rhys and I did a lot of sleeping skin-to-skin.
Monday, we came home as a family. No longer are Justin and I a couple. We three are now a family. And it is very nice to know that. We are just so in love with our precious son and love watching him.
We’ve survived a full week thus far and can’t wait to spend the rest of our lives with Rhys Michael!