July 24, 2020
I can’t believe we have had our little Beau here with us for over three months already! I always planned on sharing his birth story, but after his birth I have felt quite unsure about sharing. Becoming a mother makes you rethink anything and everything that you do and say. But, if there is one thing I am for certain about our little Beau, it is his strength and that is something worth sharing.
Right after he was born, I shared an overview of his birth story and my labor and delivery experience on my Instagram stories. I never got around to saving it and so I definitely wanted to share it here, on my blog. Beau, if you are reading this down the road and don’t approve, I’m so sorry. However, you are my little fighter and I want the world to know your strength and God’s Glory!
This post is my longest post ever. So, if you plan on sticking around until the end, I would go ahead and grab a coffee or a glass of wine, and settle in. I’m sorry for the length, but I’m long winded and this is a long story! Also, I have written and rewritten this post. I have put it off and put it off, not knowing if it was something I wanted to share. It’s so personal and also very emotional for me, but I’m grateful that after almost three months I feel that I have healed so much emotionally. Becoming a mother has made me feel more vulnerable at times than I think I probably ever have. I wanted to share this with you and really save these raw feelings for myself.
The Early Labor Moments
Throughout my entire pregnancy we were completely blessed. Everything was on track and we were expecting to have a pretty generic labor and delivery experience. I was fortunate enough to have a healthy blood pressure and not have gestational diabetes. As I mentioned before, those were both two big concerns for me as my mom developed high blood pressure during her pregnancy with me and diabetes runs in my family. I tested negative for Group B Strep and with Covid 19, we were aiming to spend as little time as possible in the hospital. Having never given birth before, I was hoping to be in and out. Kind of like a drive through experience I kept saying. How naive was I?
My due date was April 15th, Tax Day, and it was looking like we would be pretty close to that date or maybe even go a bit over. I always felt like he would come early but never dilated really much over a centimeter in the weeks leading up to his birth.
If you know anyone who is a volunteer firefighter, you are probably quite familiar with their fire pager. I didn’t know much about that lifestyle prior to meeting Jay, but these days, it’s a huge portion of my life. Anyways, I’m used to his pager going off at all hours of the night and it just so happened to go off around 3:30am on Easter morning. I laid in bed listening to the page and all of the sudden I felt a pain that was much different than anything I have ever felt. Was this it? Was it really happening?
I sat in bed for a bit longer and they continued coming every several minutes, or so. I thought for sure this might be it, so I decided to make my way to the bathroom. I spent most of my time there during my third trimester anyway, especially at night! For the sake of this being on the internet, I will spare you all of the details, but there was proof that labor had begun however my water had not broken yet. I tried to lay back down for a bit, and encouraged Jay to get some rest, but I was so excited I couldn’t sleep.
Around 5am I decided to take a shower and start getting ready so that I could take my time and also kill some time, as I knew this was going to be a long process. The contractions were quite intense as I stood up in the shower, but it’s safe to say I have a pretty low pain tolerance.
After I got out of the shower, I decided to sit on my birthing ball for comfort while doing my hair and makeup. Around 6-6:30am I called my parents because they wanted to know when I went into labor. Of course, they came right down to be with us and Diesel. We all sat around the house for a few hours, talking and hanging out.
Around 9am, the contractions started to taper off, or so it felt like it, so we all went for a walk down the street to encourage them to come back. Walking definitely brought them back on so every little bit I would walk around the house, yard, or driveway.
A little bit later, Jay’s parents joined us to hang out for a bit and spend some time together. It was so nice having our parents there with us before we went into the hospital, especially since they couldn’t actually be there with us or visit during our hospital stay.
I wanted to hold out as long as I could and did my best to stay at home as long as I could, however our hospital is about a 30 minute drive and we decided around noon that it would be best to start heading that way. I knew when the contractions were bringing tears and I could barely stand through them, I needed to get closer to a hospital!
There were lot’s of tears on my part, as we left to go to the hospital. I felt some type of way about leaving Diesel. I was heartbroken, emotional and scared, too. I had to leave my sweetest boy at home and also go give birth without my mom by my side. I had no idea what the next hours or days would hold and I’m so glad I didn’t or I would have probably had an even bigger breakdown!
We hopped in the car and were on our way…
The Hospital Labor Moments
We arrived at the hospital around 12:30pm, got checked in and went to triage for a bit to get examined. They let me know that I was about 4cm dilated and my water was “bulging,” which I assumed meant it would probably break pretty soon. They spoke with the doctor and I was admitted. I wanted to move things along as quick as possible, so I decide to hold out on getting an epidural for as long as I possibly could. The pain was pretty intense and hearing that I was only 4cm was a bit discouraging, but we completed our paperwork and got settled into our labor and delivery room.
As the hours passed, the pain increased. I spent the first couple of hours on the birthing ball working my way through each contraction. They were coming every 3 minutes or so and lasting for about a minute. Being hooked up to an IV meant there were several bathroom breaks and walking or standing up during labor significantly increased the intensity of my contractions. After being examined by the doctor around 6pm and finding out I was still only, in his words *generously* 6cm dilated, he decided to go ahead and break my water. Some say that having your water broken is not that painful, but for me, it was pretty uncomfortable to say the least. After he broke my water, I felt great for 20 minutes or so and then the contractions started getting intense again. I was hungry, exhausted and decided to go ahead and get the epidural. It took a little bit for them to get everything ready and I got my epidural around 7pm.
Everything was smooth sailing for probably an hour to an hour and a half. I was laying upright in the bed and even got in a little nap for a few minutes. They came in to examine me again and wanted to move things along a bit so they had me lay on my side with a peanut ball in between my legs. Pretty common, no big deal.
Holy Moly, I have not idea what this did, but before I could grab the button to push for more epidural, I was crying and screaming in pain. Something about me laying on my side made me feel like I had no epidural at all.
We went through this process from about 8:30/9pm to around 1am. The anesthesiaologist had to visit our room 3 times or so to adjust my dosage. Not to mention, I was hitting the little button every time I could and even in between trying to get relief. They kept encouraging me to lay on my side, as one side of my cervix was not fully effaced, before I could push. However, the pain was unbearable. I begged to lay on my back and sit up and they were nice enough to give me a break every so often and the contractions would ease up a little bit during that time.
After hours off excruciating pain, gripping the side of my hospital bed, screaming and crying, (poor Jay, I know) my sweet nurse decided to place me on all fours to help me cope with the back labor pain and see if it would ease the pressure on my back. She pushed on my back through each contraction and showed Jay how to help me work through the pain. Eventually I got to the point that I could not longer not push and pretty much told them that I had to, there was no other option for me.
Because I was on all fours, they decided to let me push that way. When they broke my water there was evidence that meconium was present. So, when it was time tp push, my midwife called up to the NICU and had the NICU doctor come down for Beau’s arrival, just to check him over and make sure everything was ok. At the time, meconium in the water seemed like such a big deal to me, but little did I know that it helped make post delivery much safer for him.
I wasn’t really aware of much at the time other than the pain. Gripping the head of the bed and pushing my way through each contraction, which were coming so fast. I could feel his head come so close to coming out and then slip back in when I stopped pushing. I think that really kept me going and pushing hard.
Finally, I could feel that intense pressure breakthrough. All of the sudden there were several people screaming at me and flipping me over onto my back. I assumed this was probably normal procedure for a birth. His head was out and they were yelling at me to push and keep pushing and to push and not to stop. It becomes obvious that I had to push him out right then. I just kept thinking that this was a part of a normal birth experience. I’ve seen the movies, haha.
We pushed for about 20 minutes and our little Beau was born at 1:36am on Monday April 13th, 2020. This was the best and the scariest moment of my life. He was here, he was out and he wasn’t crying. I knew that wasn’t good. I was expecting them to bring him to me and place him on my chest, but instead, they cut the cord and ran him away to his little bed on the other side of the room. When I looked up there were all of at least ten people in the room. At the beginning of my pushing process there were only two, with the NICU doctor was on his way. In that moment, all I could say was, “My baby!” and the tears came.
I couldn’t see him or hear him. The only evidence that he existed was the rush of people around his little hospital bed. When I looked up into Jay’s eyes, and saw the tears, I knew something wasn’t right. He looked at Beau and looked at me. I begged him to go be with Beau. Of course, he ran straight over as I watched from a far.
Jay returned to my bed side and the NICU doctor followed. He told us that they were going to take Beau up to the NICU to examine him and he should be back down with us within an hour. He said if he returned before then, it probably wasn’t good. They allowed me to kiss him and then took him to the NICU.
The Moments After Beau’s Birth
My midwife and nurse cleaned me, stitched me up, and explained what had happened to Beau for me to better understand. Jay, bless his heart, witnessed the entire thing. It’s hard to see between your legs or really focus on anything when you are pushing a baby out, so I needed someone to help fill in the gaps for me.
During birth, both of Beau’s shoulders got stuck inside of my pelvis and would not come through. Shoulder dystocia is more common than I knew and since his birth I have done a little research to help me come to terms with those scary moments. We were both extremely blessed to have very few complications. I have had none so far and he recovered so quickly from his traumatic entrance into this world. Praise the Lord for His goodness.
Remember the part where I shared that the NICU doctor said, “We are going to take Beau up to the NICU to examine him and he should be back down with you within an hour. If I returned before then, it probably isn’t good.” Well, about 30 minutes later he returned. The look on his face said it all. In that moment we knew that it wasn’t good. Thankfully, since this moment Beau has continuously gotten stronger, and even more advanced than most babies, each day. However, at that moment, things weren’t good.
He shared that on the way up to the NICU, one floor up, Beau stopped breathing. They bagged him (breathed for him) and placed him on a ventilator. He was also started on an IV and antibiotics for the meconium in the amniotic fluid. At that time, the doctor didn’t know a lot but he knew that things weren’t good and he informed us that we would be discharged from the hospital before Beau was ready to leave the NICU. I was, as any mother would be, pretty much hysterical. The doctor asked us if we were Christians and reached out a hand to us both. He said he would like to pray for Beau with us, if that was ok. That moment, along with so many other moments, is one I will never forget and will always be grateful for. As the tears rolled down our faces, this amazing man prayed for our little boy and he did everything in his power to help him.
A few minutes later they said that Beau was stable and we could go and see him. I know this probably isn’t the best response, but I was completely terrified. In that moment, I didn’t feel strong enough to meet my baby boy when he was hooked up to these machines. I told Jay and the doctors that I didn’t want to go. I just couldn’t do it. I felt like a baby myself without my parents and here I was faced with my baby fighting to breathe. They all promised me that I needed to go and that it would be good for me to see him, despite my fear of his condition. They were so incredibly right.
We got to see him and kiss his little fingers and toes. Every time I see these pictures I cry all over again and question sharing this. But, the reality is it’s ok. It was scary, but not every birth goes smoothly and that’s ok. I wasn’t prepared for this, no one is. But, some birth stories look like this. You don’t always read about births like this on online publications. You see professional images of mothers with mascara on or a powerful image of a mom pulling her baby out herself in some inflatable pool. But, what about the parents who are exhausted and terrified. That don’t get to hold their babies for hours, days or weeks. My intention is to never make anyone else feel sad or scared but instead to show that you can have a rocky beginning and also a healthy baby and the strongest bond you will ever feel.
Our sweet boy is such a fighter. By the time we were able to get to the NICU, he was already fighting to try to pull the ventilator tube out of his throat. A few short hours later, by 6am, the doctors were able to remove the tube and take him off of the ventilator. That afternoon these were able to remove some of the other lines, his nose cannula and by Tuesday morning he was free of all cords and lines. Tuesday afternoon around 3pm he was able to come and stay with us in our room.
Finally, after almost two days, we could all three be together. Due to Covid 19, the NICU would only allow one visiter to come in a 24 hr period. The amazing doctors and nurses were kind enough to let us both come to see Beau right after he was born for a few moments together. But, after we left, only one parent could come for the first 24hrs and then another could come during the next. I spent Monday with Beau and Jay couldn’t see him until Tuesday. Those were some of the hardest moments focus. How were we supposed to take turns seeing our baby in this condition? Why couldn’t we all three be together? We already were in this situation without the support of our families and now this?
Looking back, I’m grateful that we endure that time without the presence of others. These excruciating moments were growing moments for our marriage and for us as a family. While not ideal, there are things to be taken from even the hardest experiences. I just wish we could have spent that first day together snuggling and bonding. Instead, I spent the first day staring at our sweet little boy, unable to hold him for the first time 15+ hours after he was born. Jay had to wait an additional 29 hours to finally see him again and have the opportunity to hold him.
Wednesday evening, April 15th 2020, we all loaded up in the car to head home and meet Beau’s big brother and spend our first night together as a family in our home.
This is probably the longest birth story you have ever read. I hope you made it this far and I hope it wasn’t too much for you. Sharing this was difficult. I know there are mothers, babies, and families who endure so much more than what we did. But, this was hard for us.
I have sat down on numerous occasions and wrote a few sentences, cried, closed my computer, returned, edited and completed this cycle over and over. Whether it’s the right choice or not to share this personal story, I’m not sure. But, I do know that this little fella has changed our lives and he continues to grow and thrive each day.
We are so grateful to God for healing our baby, keeping him safe and watching over him, us, and the doctors who treated him during this scary time. Thank you to our friends and family for your continued prayers and support. We have never felt more loved, grateful or blessed.
On April 13, 2020 at 1:36am, James Beauregard Parlett changed our lives.
We love you more, and more, each day, Beau.
Love, Mommy, Daddy, and Bubby (Diesel)
Cover image: Tiffany Sigmon
Beau’s Birth Story