jonah’s birth story

Ten days ago, we were blessed enough to welcome our third child into the world. I want to be sure to document the story of his birth as close to the experience as possible, so that’s the purpose of my post today. As I’ve mentioned before, I truly delight in reading other mothers’ birth stories, even when I’m not pregnant; hopefully there are others out there who feel the same and enjoy this tale. So let’s begin the story of how we became a family of five.

Thursday, November 11th

Let’s start on the evening of November 11th. I had just finished up my last day of clinic prior to maternity leave, and on the way home I got stuck in some traffic and started feeling some weird abdominal cramps. I attributed it to the catered lunch I’d had at work that day. The cramps got stronger as the evening wore on, such that I wasn’t able to participate much in bath time with the boys. These cramps were kind a of a constant ache, so I didn’t think they could be contractions.

By about 10pm, things changed. Once again (as with Caleb), the pains felt very similar to GI distress, but I ruled that out pretty quickly. Soon I could indeed time these pains, and they were about 2-3 minutes apart. The app I was using to time the contractions instructed me to go to the hospital. Seth got dressed, and we were just about to wake to boys to go to their grandparents’ house when the contractions suddenly stopped. They returned again around 2am, but I didn’t even bother waking Seth. They disappeared after about another hour. I stayed home from work the next day, certain that labor and delivery were imminent. I didn’t feel like my normal self, and contractions came and went all day long, including on a Zoom call that morning. Fortunately, Seth worked from home that day and was able to give me a sense of comfort that he would be there if things did indeed “escalate quickly.”

Welp, nothing happened. For many days. I went to the doctor one final time on Monday, November 15th. I was scheduled for another induction on November 18th (at which point I would be 39 weeks + 4). I had decided early on that there was no way I was willing to wait until 41 weeks again! A minimally invasive induction (i.e., just Pitocin, no bulb or Cytotec) worked quite smoothly and efficiently last time, so I was more than willing to schedule another for this child.

Wednesday, November 17th

We checked into the hospital at 10pm this time. By 10:06pm, we were in our room and ready to get this party started. Honestly, the worst part of this experience was the insertion of the IV–it took two tries and really hurt the entire time it was in my arm. I was allowed to rest comfortably until about 11:55pm. At this point, I had two cervical checks (done by different nurses), but both were inconclusive due to the position of the baby’s head. At my last doctor’s appointment, I was about 2-2.5cm dilated and 50% effaced, so that’s what they decided to document in my chart. Pitocin was started at 12:10am. I tried to sleep and get some more rest before what was bound to be a rough night.

Thursday, November 18th

At 1:50am, I awoke to some mild contractions. I dozed awhile longer until our nurse returned to increase my Pitocin at 2:25am. I took a bathroom break (with the IV pole and all…) and kind of stared at the ceiling for a while, willing things to get moving. At 3:30am, the Pitocin was increased again; contractions were stronger but still not consistent. An hour later at 4:30am, back labor began, and I started timing contractions at about 4:45am. They were about 2 minutes apart at this point, and lasting about 30-40 seconds. The photo below is from about 5am, in between contractions.

At 5:10am, I had another cervical check and had progressed to 4cm. I asked for the epidural, knowing that it could take a while for the anesthesiologist to get around to me at this time of day. He arrived at 5:45am and really numbed me up! I was unable to tell when I was having contractions from this point forward; I had to look at the monitor next to me. At 6:00am, I had another cervical check and was now at 6cm. Similar to last time, things really progressed quickly once I reached the 4cm mark. At 6:35am, the on call obstetrician stopped by, checked my progress (7cm), and broke my water. She said she would text my doctor to let her know about my status. Just after 7am (right after the shift change for the L & D nurses), I was checked again and was fully dilated to 10cm. The care team called my doctor, who was pulling into the parking deck at that moment. She said she’d hurry upstairs so we could have this baby.

Sure enough, around 7:15am, my doctor arrived, and the room was a flurry of activity. She gowned up, positioned me in the stirrups, and told me to get pushing. After about two strong pushes, he was out! Jonah Marcus Cohen arrived in this world at 7:22am. The sequence of events was so rapid from 7am on that I didn’t even realize that I still had my mask on while I was pushing–I had been told I did not need to keep it on while in active labor. A bit of a bummer to have my mask in these pictures but also very representative of the times in which we are living.

We had some good skin-to-skin time to bring up Jonah’s body temperature and regulate his breathing. I was a bit shocked at how tiny he was (the smallest of my three children); I was convinced he was going to be a big baby based on how uncomfortable I was for the last few weeks of pregnancy.

We had plenty of bonding time over the next few days, as I was not allowed any visitors at the hospital other than Seth due to COVID restrictions. I was especially grateful this Thanksgiving to have been blessed with THREE healthy boys. Jonah brings us such joy, and I now feel like our little family is complete. Welcome, little one. I can’t wait to see who you become.

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