• What time of year was it? What was the weather like? Did it have any affect on the day?
Well, we live in Arizona and it was early November. Unlike the East Coast or the Midwest, it is still hot during the afternoons. Typically the weather in November in AZ are high 70’s and low 60’s. Essentially, PERFECT! I don’t know if the weather had any affect on that day, but it was nice to have cooler weather toward the end of my pregnancy when I was as big as a house!
• Were you delivering when you expected? If not, were you early or late? How did the timing affect your feelings leading up to the day? Were you more than ready to have a baby, or was the whole event a surprise?
My original due day was November 12th and Ben arrived on November 4th so he was a bit early. Funny enough, my husband had called my mom the night before he arrived to come up with a game plan for the BIG DAY. Talk about perfect timing! I defiantly was getting more and more anxious each day we were getting closer to his due date but I was also very relaxed and knew my body and mind would naturally be in the right place. I had total faith in listening to my bodies’ signals and letting those natural instincts take over.
• Who was there with you? How did they handle the labor process? Were you grateful they were there? (Or did you find yourself wishing otherwise?)
I honestly did not care who was going to be in the delivery room. I knew for sure I wanted my husband there of course, but I told my family that anyone was welcome. In the end, my mother and mother in law joined us in the excitement. My mother had 4 children her self and got to be with my older sister when she had her babies so she was used to the environment and what to expect. My mother in law had 2 children but had not witnessed a live birth so she was very stunned. My husband was a great partner to have. He encouraged me, supported me and didn’t faint! He help my hand through every contraction and did such a great job comforting me. I really needed him there through every push.
• What did contractions feel like? Were they what you expected? How did you handle them?
The contractions were intense. It feels like your entire belly from hip to hip is getting a very painful Charlie-Horse. There are high pressures happening throughout your pelvic area. It really feels like you have the BIGGEST gas bubble that is just getting more and more painful as time passes. The best way to get through the contractions is to breathe and take your mind to a different place. Moving around also helped me. To be honest, they were very hard to get through but I have had kidney stones several times in my life and the contractions were easier to handle than kidney stones. Different kinds of pain, but I would rather give birth than have kidney stones!
Side note: I got kidney stones at 27 weeks and was in the hospital for 2 days)
• What thoughts went through your head as you progressed through labor? Did you surprise yourself in any way as you dealt with the circumstances?
As I progressed through labor, I actually stayed focused 100% on the guidance I was getting from my incredible nurses. They were telling me exactly what was going on with the baby, giving me advice and giving me guidance on how to push. I honestly thought you pushed like you were taking a #2 but it is a different kind of push. My nurse gave me a mirror angled at my downstairs so that I could see what was happening and to give me confidence in how I was pushing. I also thought it was SO COOL to be able to watch myself push a baby out of my Va Jay Jay! I was surprised that I didn’t have to push too long before he arrived.
• How long did you push? Were there complications with your delivery? How did you handle them?
From the time my water broke to the time he arrived was about 4 hours total! I pushed for a little over an hour but it only took about 10 good pushes for him to come out. I progressed VERY quickly once my water broke. I went from 2 cm dilated to 7 cm from the time my water broke to the time we got to the hospital. When we checked into the hospital, they wanted to see how dilated I was before we got admitted. The nurse looked at me and said “ uhh your 7 cm right now. We need to get you up to delivery RIGHT NOW”. So the team literally ran me upstairs and we got to work! I went from 7 – 10 cm in about an hour.
• What was the first thing you said when you saw your baby for the first time?
I will remember this exact moment for the rest of my life… My doctor looked at me and said “are you ready to meet your son?” I of course said YES! I pushed one more big push and pop there he was. He was placed on my chest and he gave out the biggest cry. I bursted into tears and looked at him and said “Hello my baby.. hello my Benjamin”. It was such an emotional moment. I was so overwhelmed and full of love. He was so warm and soft. I couldn’t believe he was finally here with us. It was such an unreal feeling.
• What was your overwhelming feeling after your baby was delivered? Relieved? Happy? In pain? Sleepy? Giddy?
I instantly felt relieved… I was glad he was healthy and well. I was relieved that I was healthy and well and we had no complications. I was honestly really proud of myself. I made it through my pregnancy, my labor and now my delivery. I was a parent now.
• Did your water break or were you induced?
I was taking a nap on the couch actually right before my water broke. I woke up from my nap and stood up to start decorating for Christmas ( we wanted to have all the decorating done before the baby came). It felt like someone dumped a warm water bottle in my lap. I stuck my hand down my pants and saw that the liquid that just spilt out was clear. I instantly knew my water had broke. My heart sank and I instantly felt this sense of fear and excitement all at the same time. It was go time! ** Something I didn’t know was that you continue to leak. I thought your water broke and that was it. My water kept leaking all the way until we got to the hospital and then some.
• Was childbirth as scary as it sounds?
It is not. It is a lot more exciting and full of adrenalin. I think as long as your trust your doctors and have a strong partner there to support you, than you should feel nothing but excitement. You are being coached the whole time so it doesn't feel like you are alone and having to guess what to do next.
• What was the worst part about labor and delivery?
The worst part was probably the contractions. They are very tough to get through but women are tough. We can get through anything ;).
• What was the best part about labor and delivery?
Obviously having a baby is the best part, but I think the amount of comfort I had in my team was the best part. Knowing that everyone in that room was rooting for me was such a great confidence booster.
• What advice can you give a new mother who is about to have her first child?
First off, you are a strong beautiful woman. You got this! Its not as scary as you may think. Sure, something’s might not go to plan, but everything is going to be just fine. You are about to meet that little baby who’s been kicking your ribs for the last 4 months. Your body was made for this. Your instincts will kick in and you will do a great job. Don’t stress!
• What would you do differently for baby #2?
Something I wish I would have known about was placenta donation. You can actually donate your placenta as it is now being used for skin graphing and other medical substitutions for people in need. I defiantly am going to do this with baby #2. I also want to get a photographer in to take photos of the day. I wish I had that with Ben but there is always an opportunity the next time around. Otherwise, I would do the same things I did with Ben. Everything turned out just fine.
• What are a few things you didn’t know about pregnancy, labor, delivery and postpartum?
Oooo good one.. Ok, this is going to be kind of long…
Pregnancy: They don’t tell you how hard it gets to sleep at night toward the end. Everyone always told me to get as much sleep as I could before the baby came. I had already been having trouble sleeping 7 months into pregnancy because I was so large. You shouldn’t sleep on your back (which is my favorite way to sleep) and I was forced to be on my sides. Sleeping was already hard and I didn’t even have the baby yet haha.
Labor: Labor is not as scary as you think. It isn’t fun but you can absolutely get through it. It is not the worst part of the entire show.
Delivery: I thought the kind of push I needed to do was like a poop push. It’s not. Its more of a crunch meets poop. My nurse gave me such a great example of what I needed to do. She grabbed a white towel and stood at the end of my bed. She placed the towel between my legs and told me to pull myself up using the towel. She help on end of the towel and I pulled myself up holding the other end. That’s the push. Again, not a crunch nor is it a bowel movement push. Its kind of an in-between thing.
Postpartum: I say hands down that this was the worst part of everything. Compared to pregnancy, labor and delivery, Postpartum is the WORST. Not only are your hormones all over the place (like MPS X 100) but also you are exhausted emotional and physically. Something no one talks about is how to pee and poop after you have a baby. Before you can leave the hospital, you have to pee so many ounces of liquid to prove you can urinate on your own. I had an episiotomy so this became a real challenge trying to pee through fresh stitches. Another thing I suffered were hemorrhoids. Again, its not pretty to talk about but they are a reality in childbirth. I struggled with going to the bathroom weeks after having Ben. Not only were my stitches healing, but I also had to poop around hemorrhoids that I developed. Sure, my doctor gave me numbing cream, witch hazel and plenty of sprays for your coochie but somethings cant even numb these kind of pains. No one ever talks about how hard it is to recover. I don’t know how these celebrities do it.FOr baby #2 I am going to be most nervous for recovery more than anything else. Like I said, bring on childbirth but keep away the stitches and hemorrhoids please!
We are so fortune to have our baby boy. He brings so much joy into our lives. He was worth every agonizing second and I would do it all over again. He is everything we ever imaged and more. Being a mother is one of the most rewarding, frustrating, amazing, tiring, wonderful, overwhelming and perfect things I have ever done in my life.
I'm Kristyn from sunny Peoria, Arizona. I'm married to my amazing husband Jeremy, a mother to our incredible boys Benjamin and Bowen. I love inspiring and empowering others to see their true beauty and fight against the stigmas that society has created about beauty.