Cooper Robert Elliott decided to join the world on Sunday, July 20, 2014. It was the most special day of our lives. I still cannot believe it's all real and I feel extremely blessed to have this sweet, healthy baby boy. Cooper was due on July 14th, and when that date came and went, I convinced myself he was never going to come (crazy preggo thoughts). They started discussing induction with me in the case that I went over what was healthy for Cooper and it scared me to death. I really wanted to avoid an induction and I had every hope and prayer pointing towards him coming to the world when he was ready (despite the temptation of being able to bring him earlier by choice of induction).
So it all started on Saturday morning, around midnight. I started getting cramps and I could tell things were a little different. I decided to go back to sleep and just ignore it. I woke up Saturday morning and nothing had really changed except for the fact I kept having cramps. I started timing my cramps and realized they were the early stages of labor! Yay! I was so excited but I also knew this could go on for days so I tried not to get my hopes up. Matthew ended up staying around the house on Saturday just in case everything were to progress. I cleaned, cooked, did the usual stuff around the house and went about my day. By early afternoon, my contractions started getting more intense. Matthew started timing them because the midwives wanted me to get to where my contractions were consistently 3-5 minutes apart for an hour. So, we started the countdown! At first, they weren't all that bad. I was able to still walk around and do my chores and I would just have to pause at every contraction. Well, once they got to be around the 3-5 minute mark, they were intense. I was trying everything I could think of to get through them. We took a birthing class and obviously I knew that contractions hurt, but boy, do those hurt! Matthew was there with me through it all and after each contraction, he would go to his little spreadsheet he made (nerd alert!) and record the contraction. At this point, I kept asking him how much longer I had to go until we hit the benchmark :) If they were ever more than 5 minutes apart, we had to start the countdown over (which happened a few times and it's extremely disappointing!)
Anyways, we get to the benchmark and Matthew calls the midwife. She says I can either continue to labor at home or I can come in. With how much pain I was in, I couldn't imagine waiting longer and the car ride was something I was dreading so I decided to go in at that point.
Since we went into labor after hours, we had to enter in through the ER. Not the best situation but we had to just go with the flow. After checking in through the ER (which took forever and I'll just go ahead and say all eyes were on deck while I was having contractions in the middle of the ER :) ). We had to wait a little for someone to come get us but someone finally came and got us and took us up to labor and delivery. We arrived at triage where they checked us in and checked my vitals and how far I had progressed. 6cm! I would have liked to have been farther along but 6cm was definitely the goal, so that was encouraging. Since I had progressed so fast, they were worried I was going to be delivering pretty quickly so they expedited my check in and got us to a labor and delivery room quickly. Contractions at this point are really intense and I am just praying that it's all over quickly.
In the delivery room, I basically just have to go through contractions while they keep tabs on vitals and Cooper. The worst parts were them checking his heart rate because I had to be still which felt impossible. They said they were losing Coop and felt like he was in distress, so they made me labor in bed with an oxygen mask.
Anyway, they keep checking me and each time they check me, they say I'm only at 6cm. The first time it was like eh, ok, let's just keep going but by the third time (and about three hours later) I was about to lose it. I stopped progressing and I was just getting more miserable at this point. At one point, she checks me and my water breaks which was one of the worst contractions I had and I lost it and begged for an epidural. Matthew encouraged me to try and keep going so I regrouped and tried to keep going. After my water broke, the nurse said I should progress pretty quickly so I was hopeful.
About an hour later, they check me again and I am barely 7 cm. Since I was progressing so slowly and I was only getting more stressed, I asked for the epidural. I feel like this was definitely the best decision I could have made at that point. A natural labor was something I was really passionate about and really desired, but the length and intensity of my labor pointed me in a new direction. After I received the epidural (around 1am) I was able to rest (not immediately because it took about another hour for the epidural to work).
Both of Matthew's parents came into our room around the time the epidural kicked in and we talked and gave them updates. I decided I wanted Matthew's mom to stay and she was more than happy to be there. Around 6:00a.m, they told me it was time for me to push! Best news ever! So, we started pushing!
Next speed bump, I pushed for about two hours and there wasn't much happening. Also at this point, there was a shift change so I got new nurses and new midwives. The midwife that came in was just who we needed at that point. She realized my contractions were not close enough together to have effective pushing so she gave me some Pitocin. Cooper's oxygen level kept dropping so I was having to take oxygen and they also kept losing his heart rate, so I started worrying that a C-section was in my future. Luckily, we didn't have to resort to that! About an hour later my contractions pick up and she says it's time to push again. I start pushing and he came at 10:53a.m.! It was the most amazing experience of my life. I couldn't believe it was all real and I still cannot believe it.
I wasn't able to hold Cooper immediately because they thought he swallowed some meconium so they had the NICU team in to assess him. From there, they found a heart murmur as well.
It was really emotional for about the first hour of him coming but in the end, it all resulted in a healthy baby boy.