Atlas Luke Andrews – The Birth Story
Hi friends! Allow me to introduce you to the newest member of the CnC family…
Meet Atlas Luke Andrews!
Our baby boy arrived on Saturday, October 5th at 8:52am and OMG! We are so in love.
Here is his birth story…
On Wednesday I went into the hospital for fetal monitoring since I was past my due date. Atlas was healthy during my pregnancy, so I didn’t think too much of the routine fetal monitoring. However, the tests showed Atlas’ heart rate was dropping slightly during some of my contractions. The woman administering the test reviewed the results and casually said, “This doesn’t look good. You can go ahead and go on up to labor and delivery.” Umm…what the what?
I had a mini meltdown because I wasn’t ready to have a baby that day. I hadn’t finished packing the hospital bag, I was recovering from a nasty cold (←being sick at 40+ weeks pregnant is a unique kind of torture), I didn’t want to be induced and more importantly, I hadn’t washed my hair in 3 days. I wasn’t about to meet my boy for the first time with a greasy mop on my head.
Long story short…Atlas’ heart rate was dropping during contractions, but not enough for it to be a huge concern so after several hours spent in labor and delivery listening to 2 women going through natural childbirth (sounds just like a water buffalo) I got sent home.
Fast forward to Friday…
I went to see my doctor on Friday morning to see what kind of progress I was making. I was almost 4cm dilated and 80% effaced. We scheduled an induction for Monday, but my doctor said she would be surprised if I made it through the weekend without going into labor. She messed with my membranes (I’ll spare you those details, but that has been known to naturally induce labor) which hurt like a mother and then sent me on my way. I left feeling a little bummed at the idea of being induced since I really wanted to go into labor naturally, but I was excited to spend one last weekend as a family of 4.
Only, we didn’t get one last weekend as a family of 4 because by the time I got home from the doctor I was having pretty intense contractions. Within 2 hours of being home I called Dave and asked him to come home from work because my contractions were about 7 minutes apart. I wasn’t totally convinced I was in labor because I had heard so many stories of women going into ‘false labor’ so I told Dave I wanted to hang around the house as long as possible to make sure I didn’t go to the hospital too early.
We ended up walking the dogs (we stopped at every contraction for me to
breathe and take it like a champ cry and complain), ordering Mexican food and watching a movie before my contractions started coming every 4 minutes and Dave decided he was done waiting and we were going to the hospital.
**Yes, we packed more for our hospital stay than most people pack for a week long trip to Europe.
Despite my consistent painful contractions, I had a difficult time leaving for the hospital. Truth be told, I didn’t want to leave Ob & Marley. I knew when I returned home life wouldn’t be the same for them or us. It just made leaving feel so strange and I instantly felt homesick when we walked out the door.
Around 10:45pm, we caught a cab to the hospital and soon after arriving we were admitted into labor and delivery.
It finally felt official – we were having our baby!
My doctor (who I love) wasn’t on call for the weekend, but her partner was. I had yet to meet her partner since I moved so late in my pregnancy, but I was instantly relaxed after meeting the doctor that would be delivering Atlas. She was wonderful and I felt confident I was in good hands. She immediately got me hooked up to an epidural (that made her my best friend) and from that point things changed for the better. An epidural is a beautiful thing. It didn’t hurt at all (felt like a bee sting) and within minutes I could no longer feel the contractions. The doctor broke my water (couldn’t feel a thing) and hooked me up to Pitocin (I didn’t experience any nasty side effects) to speed things along.
Dave and I were able to laugh and talk through the night and enjoy the anticipation and excitement surrounding Atlas’ birth without me screaming through contractions.
Except for one point in the night…
When my epidural stopped working. The machine that administered the medicine cut off causing the epidural to wear off. At first I started feeling intense pressure and then I was experiencing full blown contractions that were much more intense than the ones I came to the hospital with. I can’t even begin to describe the pain. I didn’t feel human. I felt like an animal. I was shaking uncontrollably, crying, grunting…it wasn’t pretty. I wasn’t stoic. I wasn’t dignified.
Needless to say, we got the anesthesiologist in right quick to get that issue straightened out and within 30 minutes I was numb again and a happy camper. I’m telling you – epidurals are the JAM.
Our night unfortunately went downhill pretty quick though. As my contractions intensified, Atlas’ heart rate began to drop very low (just like the fetal monitoring predicted on Wednesday). The doctor and nurse had me put on an oxygen mask and switch positions several time until we discovered Atlas’ heart rate handled my contractions better when I was on all fours (so much for remaining dignified).
I spent the next several hours rotating positions trying to keep my baby’s heart rate up during contractions. At some point during the night we also realized Atlas was ‘sunny side up’ meaning he was ‘face up.’ The doctor attempted to move him once I was closer to 10cm dilated and fully effaced so we thought we were in the clear. Shortly after 8am I started feeling a lot of pressure south of the border and my doctor told me it was time to push.
I knew something wasn’t quite right because originally I was told the only people in the room would be Dave, my doctor and my nurse because the doctor preferred to do all her deliveries herself. However, when it came time for me to push there were a few nurses and 3 doctors in the room. Turns out, Atlas was still sunny side up. I was told they would need to use a vacuum to get Atlas out and I started to panic, but was reassured that his little head wouldn’t be harmed. At this point I just wanted him out because we were so worried about his dropping heart rate. I wasn’t in the mood to protest. I wanted to meet my healthy baby (we could deal with the cone head later – I just wanted him alive and breathing).
I was given instructions on how to push and I was told I wouldn’t have much time to get him out because the umbilical cord was wrapped somewhere around him.
Pushing was one of the hardest things I’ve ever done. It wasn’t so much that it hurt, it was just insanely difficult. Harder than any workout I’ve ever done. Harder than any race I’ve ever completed.
After a few minutes of pushing I was told I would need an episiotomy. At this point I began to have a meltdown. I was crying and begging them not to cut me, but Dave and the doctors reminded me it was for Atlas’ safety and I would recover.
I didn’t realize it at the time because I was in the zone, but there was a team waiting outside my room ready to perform a C-section. Babies who are sunny side up are typically delivered via a C-section. The doctor performed the episiotomy as a last ditch effort to avoid a C-section (per my request – I really didn’t want my stomach cut).
It took an episiotomy, a ‘minor’ tear (FYI: No tear south of the equator should ever be considered ‘minor’), a vacuum, 3 doctors, 2 nurses, 1 awesome husband and less than 30 minutes of pushing for Atlas to make his entrance into the world.
And just like that, we became a family of 5. Life changed forever.
The cord was wrapped around his entire body, which was causing the drop in heart rate and the doctors were able to quickly remove it and get him breathing. His cry was THEE best noise I’ve ever heard in my life.
Our night spent in labor and delivery was both sweet and stressful. I know a lot of women who say their husband drove them crazy during delivery but I honestly couldn’t imagine going through that process without Dave.
He made me laugh. He got my epidural issue resolved. He whispered words of encouragement in my ear. He was quiet when I needed him to be. He played Michael Buble when he didn’t have the words himself. He got me upgraded to a private room when he realized I was losing my mind in the semi-private room (perhaps that will be a post all by itself). He was nothing short of amazing and I’m so thankful I get to walk this parenting journey with him by my side.
I wasn’t prepared for labor. I certainly wasn’t prepared for the recovery (I was convinced for 3 days following Atlas’ birth I would never walk normal again). But the thing I was most unprepared for was the love I would feel for my son.
Life is definitely crazy with a newborn. I’m still recovering and we’re falling into our new ‘normal.’
But our home feels complete with Atlas in it. My heart feels full.
I didn’t know it was possible to fall more in love with my husband, but over this last week I’ve done just that. And I didn’t know it was possible to be so madly in love with a baby, but I am. I actually miss Atlas when he’s asleep in his crib. Like, he’s only at the foot of my bed…I can practically touch him with my toe…but I miss him. Its a weird and wonderful kind of love.
Life is good.
Thanks for rejoicing with us during this special time! ♥