How I Created a Breastmilk Stockpile

So my son Vincent just turned 6 months old last week.

He’s healthy (20lbs, 27 inches) and happy (see below for smiling adorableness). My doctor is completely thrilled with his development overall.

I love being his mom, and I have loved nurturing him and taking care of him.

Along with that, I love knowing that my body has produced enough nutrition to allow him to thrive.

However, in my journey of motherhood (he’s my first baby afterall) I have learned that breastfeeding is not for me, at least not this time around (see previous post on Exclusively Pumping). However, I still wanted to provide him with the best nutrition possible.

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I’ve been exclusively pumping for about 3 months now. That means that instead of breastfeed, I pump and feed him with a bottle (or he gets bottles of breastmilk at daycare which I send with each morning).

Again, I LOVE knowing that my body is taking care of him. However. I HATE PUMPING.

This isn’t surprising since I’ve never once heard a mom say “Yes, pumping is AWESOME!”

No. It’s time consuming, tedious, boring, and uncomfortable.

I figured this out after only pumping a few times.

So, I created a goal for myself.

By the time my son was 6 months old I WANT TO WEAN MYSELF OFF THE PUMP but still HAVE ENOUGH FOOD/ BREASTMILK FOR HIS FIRST YEAR.

In other words, I needed to create a stockpile. 

As you can see, I achieved my goal. I have done the math, and if I begin to wean myself now (a process which usually takes a few weeks to do it properly) I can be done pumping by the time my son is 7 months old, but still have enough food to HOPEFULLY make it to his first year without using formula or other substitute.

breastmilk stockpile deep freezer.jpg

(deep freezer full to brim – I also have a good pile in my regular freezer)

How did I achieve this? Well, I’ll fill you in.

Whether your baby is 6 months old or you are preparing yourself for your future little one, you can start your stockpile now. HOWEVER I will say one of my benefits was starting early because I was able to train my body right away.

Tip #1
Start Pumping Early

I started pumping when my son was about a month old.

The doctors recommend waiting to pump/bottle feed until a child is about 8 weeks old, because it can take about that long for your milk supply to figure itself out and that’s about the best age (so they say) to introduce a bottle to avoid nipple confusion (which my son got anyways even though he didn’t get a bottle until about 9 weeks old).

Why did I start pumping so early?

Well, I wanted to train my body to produce enough milk for me to both nurse and pump. As previously stated, your body takes a couple months to sort out its supply (as in how much to produce for each feeding and how often your baby feeds).
I knew I wanted to create a stockpile for daycare or for trips out of the house in the future, so I wanted to start pumping and freezing milk.
Since I started pumping early, my body was trained to think thats how much milk I needed to produce.

The only potential downside to this method is that you create an oversupply. You are telling your body to make more milk than necessary.

An oversupply can lead to a fast let down, clogged ducts, or foremilk/hindmilk imbalance.

To help avoid this, you need to get on a set pumping schedule, and it can help to pump first BEFORE feeding your baby so your baby doesn’t have to deal with the fast let down. Also, I recommend only pumping twice a day (unless your supply is extremely low). I usually aim to pump 4oz on each side per session. I freeze my milk in 4-5oz bags, so essentially pumping twice a day I freeze 3-4 bags of milk.

Tip #2
Get a great pump like mine.

I have the Medala Pump In Style. It’s quick – usually only takes about 15 minutes for me to completely empty both breasts, sometimes only 10 – and I’ve NEVER had an issue with it.

Pumping Medala Pump

I just have to wash all the parts regularly (I wash them quick with soap and water after every use and sanitize the equipment thoroughly almost every night) in order to prevent mold.

I have talked to moms about their pumps, and no one every raves about them. I totally brag about mine to my friends, and I plan on keeping it for baby #2 !

Seriously, you want an effective, easy to  use pump so you don’t dread pumping and so you can pump quickly and move on with your day (or to caring for your little nugget).

Tip #3
Pump in the morning

Your supply is highest in the morning, so the morning is the best time to get a routine going and get used to your pump. I could usually feed my baby then still pump 4 ounces on each side.

I tell all my friends if they are going to pump only once a day, do it in the morning. Your supply will always be lowest at night, and trying to pump in the evening can be extremely frustrating.

If you have a goal in mind like I did, it can also be EXTREMELY helpful for creating and maintaining a large supply to pump in the middle of the night.

My little nugget typically woke up around 2am, and I’d nurse him. When I was done I would pump the side he didn’t finish nursing on (usually at night he’d only do one side) and get about 4-5 oz. Early morning-mid morning (2am-8am) you are going to get the highest amount of milk.

Once my baby started sleeping through the night (around 4 months old) I still got up and pumped around 2am every night for about a month to help build my stockpile. It was a pain, and I admit that, but now, like I said, my little guy is 6 months old and I’m ready to start weaning off the pump. I will no longer be a slave!!

Tip #4
Get on a set schedule for feeding and pumping

Your body will thrive under a routine. It’s seriously creepy/amazing.

For example, this was my feeding/pumping schedule for my first 3 months

5am-feed
8am-feed/pump
11am-feed
2pm- feed
5pm-feed
8pm-feed
11pm-feed/pump
2am-feed/pump

You can do different variations of that. However, I recommend pumping at least once in the very early morning, and again whenever you start your day. Your supply is best then.
I always pumped late at night too to try to increase my supply (since it’s always lowest at night). But that’s your call.

The strange/creepy thing is that seriously like clockwork I can feel my boobs start to letdown/leak at around 11am every single day, and again around 2…etc etc…. They know they’re going to get used soon. Your body thrives on a schedule, and your body “remembers” how much milk to produce when. If you stick on a routine of when you pump, you will train your body to have that much milk ready for you. Crazy! But it works!

Note: I was fortunate enough to work in an environment which made pumping at work on a schedule fairly easy.
Be preemptive though. Talk to your boss before returning to work about your ideal schedule. THE LAW SAYS THEY HAVE TO LET YOU PUMP! KNOW YOUR RIGHTS!
Yes, it’ll be a pain some days. But trust me, it’s worth it.
Also, keep your work schedule in mind when you are creating your pumping/feeding schedule.

It also helps to have a manual pump like this one:

Baby Registry Manual Pump

Why? Sometimes it’s really tough to coordinate finding a place/time to pump with your electric pump. For example, a long drive or going to a concert and dinner. If you want to maintain your schedule, you’ll need to pump. Having a hand held/manual pump can be a major life saver. They’re tricky to use the first couple of times, so I recommend practicing before you actually need to use it, but you get the hang of it pretty fast.

Tip #5
Stay Hydrated and Eat Right

It’s SO HARD, even on maternity leave, to have time to take care of yourself. You’ll be either holding a baby, trying to get a baby to sleep, or feeding a baby 99% of your time. And when you’re not, you’re probably trying to sleep.

MAKE SURE YOU TAKE CARE OF YOURSELF.

Breastmilk is basically water, fat, and protein.
I could EASILY notice a difference in my pumping on days I wasn’t drinking water or would forget to eat. Seriously.

I never made any special breastmilk increasing meals, but I made foods that were easy but full of protein. I also stocked up on gatorade and powerade or vitamin water (whatever was on sale at my gas station or grocery store) and tried to drink at least 2 of them a day.

My favorite easy snack was just dipping apple slices in peanut butter. I also ate a lot of peanut butter toast. Anything that you can eat with one hand that isn’t hot (in case you spill on the baby you’re holding) is the best.

When my husband got home from work, he was in charge of dinners. We ate a lot of chicken (cheap, easy to cook, full of protein) and vegetables (we love brussel sprouts, potatos, and carrots).

We also tried to make foods which would create a lot of leftovers for us so that way I could have easy lunches when I was home with the baby. You won’t have much time for cooking, so having easy meals will help you continue to eat.

For example, usually once a week we’d make some form of pasta (which is always enough to feed an army). We’d have enough leftovers for a day or two. Then we’d make something else leftover-focused such as stew or enchiladas (my personal favorite) or meatloaf. Again, I’d then have leftovers for a day or two. It was a good system.

I was also fortunate enough to have an amazing mom who made a few freezer meals for us while I was in the hospital (she came and stayed at my home for about a week) so when we were really in a pinch we could throw something from the freezer in the microwave. She made us pulled pork, chicken wild rice soup, and lasagna.

Tip #6
Pump for at least 15 minutes OR until you hit your desired amount. 
I always aimed to pump about 5 ounces on each side.

If you’re trying to increase your amount- for example if you are only getting 2 ounces- don’t get discouraged. Keep pumping for a few minutes even after you get your last drop. Your body will learn that you need “more food” for your baby and respond appropriately after a couple days.

Tip #7
Get comfortable and relax

One of the best things I ever did was go hands free. Get a hands free bustier for your pump like this one:

hands free pumping

OR make your own by cutting holes into a sports bra or belly band.
Either way, having your hands free to eat lunch, flip through a book, or scroll through your phone makes pumping so much more enjoyable.

Another tip is to get a comfortable chair and set up a special pumping zone. I have a great glider, and I keep a small end table next to it stocked with my pumping essentials as well as usually a book. I always bring some water with me or sometimes a snack. I also keep a baby bouncer like this one:

Baby Registry Baby Bouncer

in front of my glider. That way if my baby is awake I can put him near me and still talk to him or sing to him or watch him play with toys.

Often thinking of your baby or even looking at pictures, and especially being near your baby, can increase your production.

Finally, relax. Being stressed out about pumping is going to do you more harm than good. Trust your body.

Along with this, pumping shouldn’t hurt. Don’t use the maximum setting, just use whatever setting is comfortable (I’m just barely past medium). Make sure your shields and all equipment are the correct size and set up correctly as well.

Thank you for reading! Hopefully you enjoyed my tips! Feel free to share yours as well!

Top 8 Baby Toys for 6 Month Old

So my son Vincent (or “Vinny” as I call him) is 6 months old!

HOLY COW.

As the mother of an average, healthy (somewhat larger than average) baby, I would LOVE to share with you the toys and gear that have made both baby and I’s life enjoyable so far.

  1. The Activity Gym. If you don’t own one, get one. Seriously. As early as his first day home from the hospital, we used this Activity Gym for tummy time and play time. Before, he used to just stare at everything and make little adorable noises. Now, he reaches for things and swats at things, and has even started rolling over! We even ended up getting a second Activity Gym/Ball Pit because we loved it so much. My husband LOVES the ball pit and plays with the baby in it quite a bit.Baby Toys Activity Gym
    Vincent and his Activity Gym

    Baby Toys Ball Pit
    Vincent and the Hubby’s favorite – the Ball Pit/Activity Gym Combo

  2. The Bumbo Seat. We also have the tray. It’s perfect to use in combination with the Activity Gym. It gives baby a different perspective on the world (he has a small world so far) and helps give him some much needed head/neck exercise. We started putting him in it at around 4 months old. He’s at the age where he is trying so hard to sit up on his own (sometimes we surround him with a Boppy Pillow to get him some more core practice) so he really enjoys being able to sit up like a big boy.Baby Toys Bumbo and Links
    Vincent Chillin in his Bumbo Seat under the gym (and flicking us off accidentally)
  3. Links. These toys are so cheap but so entertaining for him. Plus, they’re portable (we attach them to his Activity Gym, his Exersaucer, his carseat, a shopping cart..etc) and they are easy for him to hold on to. He is very into grabbing anything and chewing on it right now. Links usually come in a variety of textures, so he loves gumming them.  You’ll see in the photos above the links hanging from the gyms. Here they are pictured on their own.Baby Toy Links
  4. Easy to Grip Toys like this Ball. Again, his favorite skill lately is reaching for things and putting them in his mouth. I don’t really want him chewing on anything furry or that he could choke on, so toys like this are great. He can hang onto them easily.
    Baby Toys Ball
    Vincent practicing his grip on his Ball before dinner
  5. Exersaucer/Jumper. Both at daycare and at home, this is his current favorite toy, and it is my savior. Whenever I need to do something like the dishes or make lunch, I can stick him in this jumper for 15-30 minutes (sometimes longer) and he is completely content and safe! Plus, it’s good exercise for him!

    Baby Toys Jumper Exersaucer Walker
    Vincent enjoying his jumper

  6. Board Books. It is NEVER too early to start reading to your kids! We read at least 2 books before bedtime, (our favorite is Goodnight Moon and Time for Sleep), and usually a couple more during the day. I recommend board books over paper pages because a) your baby will put everything in his mouth and they are more sturdy b) they are harder to wreck if your baby gets a hold of them.Baby Toys Board Book.jpg
  7. Crinkle Toys like This Giraffe. This is our favorite toy to bring with to restaurants or in the car because it’s small but it keeps him occupied! I got this as a gift from a friend, and for whatever reason our baby is endlessly entertained by it!

    Baby Toys Crinkle Giraffe

  8. The Bath Tub. Okay, so this isn’t technically a “toy”, but giving your baby a bath is one of the most fun things you’ll do. Plus, if baby is fussy, sometimes giving him a bath will relax him or at least distract him. I love this tub we got off of Amazon! It’s a “grow with me” style, so it works for them as infant all the way until they are big enough to sit up in the tub by themselves (well, under supervision).

    Baby Bath Tub Toys

Please feel free to share any other toys you recommend!

The Birth of My Son

The Birth of My Son

Everyone’s pregnancy and birth story are different.

I was the pregnant lady that HAD to read every pregnancy book on the market, paraded through literally hundred of Pinterest posts, and forced herself and her husband to CPR, First Aide, New Parent Classes, Car Seat Safety Classes, the works. I wanted to know EVERYTHING and be prepared for anything.

Although I am grateful for all the knowledge I gained and I enjoyed the learning experiences, no amount of research, reading, or interviewing other moms can truly prepare you. However, I always love hearing and sharing birth stories with fellow women.

Your birth won’t be/wasn’t the exact same as mine, but feel free to read and gain insight from my experience!

Here is the birth story of my son, Vincent.

Birth of My Son 5
My son a few hours after he was born.

I was one of the rare people who actually went into labor and gave birth on her due date.

Something like only 5% of babies are born on their due date, so I think that’s pretty cool. I was told most first babies are expected to go past their due date, and that was a miserable thought to entertain.  

This was even more of a treat because it was my first day of maternity leave. Talk about good timing! I didn’t have to sit at home for several days off work, bored, anxious and baby-less.

I went into labor at about 4 am on October 27th, 2016 – my due date.

I woke up around 4am, and wasn’t sure why. I often woke up in the middle of the night to pee or because I was sore from having to only sleep on my left side (I was told that was best). I laid in bed for a while, trying to figure out which reason I had woken up for, and wasn’t sure. I got up, went to the bathroom, had some water, then tried to fall back asleep. After laying awake for another ten or so minutes, I felt it.

Everyone tells you when you get “real contractions” you’ll know. Let me tell you, it’s true. They were definitely different than the Braxton Hicks I had been experienced for the past several weeks.
Side note – those BH contractions are super annoying and confusing. They are uncomfortable, and they cause you to stress out about if they are “the real deal”. Let me assure you, like I said, that what “they” say is true: You’ll know a real contraction when it happens.
It was lower, and I definitely felt a lot more pressure in my back and lower area. I felt a strong, pushing sensation that moved downward and throughout my whole abdomen region.
I was too shocked and excited to move. I feared that it was a fluke- who would be lucky enough to go into labor on their due date? I looked at my phone to check the time, and then waited. Sure enough, about 25 minutes later I felt another one. My heart raced. I woke my husband up.

“Dylan, don’t get too excited, but I think I might be in labor.”

He totally pulled a movie move, and shot up out of bed and asked me if we needed to get to the hospital.

I told him it was still about 25 minutes apart, so that we probably had a while.

We laid in bed and waited, and sure enough about another 20-25 minutes later there was another one. We laughed and got excited and talked about how this might be the day we meet our son. Our due date.

We laid in bed until about 6 am, then we realized we were never going to go back to sleep and we decided to start our day. We let the dogs out, made breakfast, and I instantly started cleaning the house, because if it was the big day we had a lot of family that would be couch crashing soon.

We were fortunate enough that, since it was my due date, I had my 40 week appointment that morning at about 11am.
We killed time until then, keeping busy making the house nice and playing with the pets and taking a long shower. At this point the contractions were more uncomfortable rather than painful. They were noticeable enough that I would have to pause what I was doing for a minute, but I wasn’t bending over in pain or wincing.

Birth of My Son 3.jpg
Shortly after birth, first time opening his eyes!


We arrived that my 40 week appointment totally excited. We were trying not to get our hopes too high, but we wanted to be told that our baby would be here soon! My contractions hadn’t stopped, and they were still about every 25 minutes. The pain was still very mild, it more just felt like a pressure that would build up and recede.
My doctor Nancy came in the room asked the standard “How are we feeling today?” and I almost hugged her when I said, “I’m pretty sure I’m in labor!”

She checked me over, felt my abdomen and felt inside me, and sure enough, I was.
She told me I was about 1.5 centimeters dialated and 70% effaced (thinned out). She also said the baby’s head had definitely begun to drop into delivery position.

She then decided to do what they called a “membrane sweep” to try to “speed things along”.
A membrane sweep basically means they stick their finger(s) inside you and swirl them around vigorously. That’s what it feels like. It’s basically a more uncomfortable cervix check.

She told my husband he could probably go to work that day (he was supposed to work 12-9) because most first labors take several days, but if I were to go down to contractions less than 10 minutes apart he should come home.

We were kind of disappointed to hear that, but not totally surprised. My cousin, who now had a three month old, told me she woke up in labor Thursday morning, but didn’t go to the hospital and deliver until Saturday.

We left the office and said, “Hopefully we see you soon!” Turns out, we’d be seeing her later that day.


That membrane sweep really worked. My husband and I left the doctor’s office and decided to get some coffee and donuts at Dunn Brothers. All of a sudden while we were sitting inside, my contractions started to feel more intense. The pressure was greater, and they lasted a lot longer. I actually said, “Whoah!” and I remember pressing my hands to my stomach.
We sat and talked and drank coffee, but every contraction now was distracting and extremely uncomfortable.  I told Dylan I couldn’t sit down anymore- the pressure was too intense -I needed to get home and move around.

Once we got home, pacing/walking was what made me feel better. I was probably at about a 5 out of 10 on the pain scale. We continuted to monitor my contractions, and we noticed I was now already down to only about 15 minutes apart.
We decided to take our dogs for a lap or two around the block to try to kickstart labor, and to also get them some last minute exercise in case we went to the hospital. My husband called into work, since things seemed to be moving quickly.

About halfway through our walk, I was having trouble. I literally had to stop moving each time I had a contraction, and pause to bend over and breathe for several seconds. The walk seemed to help speed things along though, because by the time we got home I was down to ten minutes apart and they were building in intensity.

I was stuck at ten minutes for awhile, with the pain building quickly. I was trying everything to keep the pain at by, but nothing would make me feel better.
I was experiencing major back labor – pain that shot up my back and made my spine feel like it was ripping open with every contraction.
I tried leaning over the couch, I tried laying down, I tried walking, bouncing, rocking, taking a hot shower, but I just couldn’t make the pain lesson. I thought I was at a 10 on the pain scale.

Finally, at about 3pm my contractions were at about 5 minutes apart. My labor was definitely moving quickly. We had only left the doctor’s office 3.5 hours prior!

 

Birth of My Son 6.jpg
My husband and son the day after he was born.

My husband called the hospital to let them know that I had reached five minutes apart, and I was told to wait an HOUR before heading in, but since things were speeding up so fast, my husband and I ended up ignoring their advice only waiting only about 30 minutes.

We got into the car with our previously packed “go bags” and car seat, and all of a sudden the pain was overwhelming and so were my emotions.


I began sobbing on the way to the hospital.
My husband was amazing and supportive, and he kept reassuring me that we were going to be okay and he kept telling me how excited he was and how happy he was.


When we pulled up to check in, the women at the desk waved me through with sympathy. I must’ve looked as bad as I felt.

I was given a room and was triaged-  which means I was checked to make sure I was actually in labor enough to stay at the hospital. I was dialated to a 3, and my contractions were still only about 5 minutes apart. I was told we could get our bags from the car- we were staying! I was going to have my baby!

My husband immediately ran out to the car and started calling our family and posting a FB status, while I suffered and cried.


I had decided somewhere early on in my pregnancy that I didn’t want an epidural. I had read about lots of disadvantages (being bed ridden, possibles side effects for you and the baby) and had watched videos of so many moms doing it “the old fashioned way” so I thought, why not me?


After laboring for 3 hours without any medication, I was giving up.
I had tried bouncing on a labor ball, sitting in a hot tub, walking, squatting, everything.

I was checked at about 6pm and told I was about 5 cm dialated. I couldn’t believe that in three hours I had “only” grown two centimeters. The pain now felt like a 13/10 on the pain scale, and it was almost all in my back.

I found out later that my mom had also had terrible back labor. Believe me, you do not want to experience that.

I told them I wanted the epidural. I was spent, and I was in so much pain that I couldn’t think straight,

The doctor tried to convince to keep doing what I was doing. But I was done. I had been up since 4am and hadn’t eaten anything other than a donut, and I just wanted the constant pain to end. I was sobbing and practically begged for it. They told me it’d be about 30 minutes before the anesthesiologist could get to me, but he was on his way.

 

Birth of My Son 7.jpg
My son and I right after he was born,

As a side note- major props to the moms who do this without an epidural! I thought I was going to die, and I didn’t even experience the full birth unmedicated.

At this point my parents showed up. I was kind of mad – I had told them I didn’t want visitors during my labor, and for good reason. I was in my ugly hospital robe, sobbing and swearing, when they came in. When my mom saw me she cried and hugged me and told me they were so proud of me. It was nice to hear, but I wasn’t in any state to enjoy their soothing words.

Luckily, my nurse came in and made up an excuse to kick them out.

While I waited for my epidural I was given dilated, which basically just feels like laughing gas. I could feel the pain still, but it made the 4 minutes between contractions soothing. I was able to actually breathe and sit without feeling like I was dying, at least for a couple minutes here and there. I was able to finally stop sobbing every time I felt a contraction hit.

Finally, around 6:30, I the anesthesiologist made it to my room.

What they don’t tell you is that the epidural takes close to 15 minutes.

First, they have to clean the area. Then numb you with a giant needle, but you need to hold very still, which is hard to do when you’re having contractions.
I was really freaked out too. I was worried I’d be paralyzed or have some kind of reaction or something.
I also felt extremely guilty. I had wanted to be tough and do it “the natural way” for my baby, but I was “giving up”.
My husband reassured me that he was still proud of me, and that there was nothing wrong with needing some help.

After they numb you, they need to actually do the epidural, which takes about 10 minutes to set up, make sure you’re holding still, and then for the medicine to kick in.
The actual epidural looks scarier than it is though, and my anesthesiologist reassured me that this is what he did for a living, and that everything would be all right.

I could tell the second it started to work. All of a sudden there was no pain, just pressure. I felt discomfort, but I could actually lay down and breathe. It was kind of an out of body experience. I could feel what was happening to me, but it didn’t hurt. I was so relieved, I almost started to cry again.  

My nurse stayed with me to monitor me, and all was going well for the first several minutes. Then all of a sudden she got up, and she asked me to try to roll onto my left. She had to help me because the meds make you paralyzed from the waist down. Then she tried to roll me to my right. When I asked what was going on, she calmly said that the baby’s heart beat had slowed down.

I instantly felt like I was having a heart attack. She told me not to panic, but that she had just paged the NICU and several doctors were about to run in.
This was my first experience of the love I have for my son. The horror that he was in danger was overwhelming. I couldn’t breathe, I was shaking, and I just kept asking, “Is he going to be okay?”

My room was quickly filled with 5 or 6 doctors. They had me flip over onto my hands and knees, they broke my water, and stuck a monitor on my baby’s scalp to monitor his heart beat. They gave me a shot of epinephrine to increase our heart rates. After about a minute, they had me lay back down. At this point I was sobbing, not from pain, but just being overwhelmed and scared. My husband kept kissing my forehead and reassuring me everything was fine, but I was inconsolable for several minutes.

The doctors explained that sometimes when the epidural kicks in it messes with the baby’s heart rate, but it was now back to normal and no serious damage had been done.

I think I made the doctors repeat that to me about a thousand times before I believed them.


After I was finally consoled, I began to try and rest. It’s not really possible to sleep, even without pain. I still felt constant pressure, and I was still being monitored/checked on every hour at least.

I was bed ridden, but I was fine with that because I was exhausted.
I was checked around 9pm and told I was at 8cm and that they had called my doctor so she could come deliver my baby. Apparently the epidural and “relaxation” had helped my body speed things along.

I attempted to rest, until around 10. Suddenly, the pressure felt stronger. I feared maybe my epidural was wearing off. I paged my nurse, and she and a doctor arrived and checked me. I was fully dialated, and my baby was in position to come out.
They asked if I felt the urge to push, and I told them I was feeling a lot of downward pressure. They got excited and immediately called in a couple more nurses and my own doctor into the room.

My doctor laughed when she saw my husband and I, and said, “I’m glad I got to see you twice in one day!”


They told me to do a few “practice pushes”. This was a little strange, because I had a lot of people crowded around my lower area, basically telling me how to push.
Honestly the biggest help, strange as it sounds, was when the doctor put a finger exactly where she wanted me to push towards.”
I got over my embarrassment pretty fast. I was excited for my labor to be over and to finally meet my baby boy!

On my third “practice push” they told me it wasn’t really practice anymore, my baby was making serious progress.
The nurses donned what my husband called “Splash Gear”. They threw on masks, face shields, and put buckets and towels everywhere.
I was feeling a ton of pressure and tightness and other strange sensations. I kept pushing, about every 5 minutes or so. It was another unexplainable feeling. It didn’t hurt, but the effort of pushing was exhausting. They had me push as hard and as long as I could through every contraction. Those 90 seconds or so of pushing are seriously intense!

Thankfully, they soon told me they could see his head! They even had me reach down to touch it. That was really weird, but also strangely motivating.

I became extremely excited, and after a couple more pushes he was out! At 11:13pm my son was born.

I think that’s the only time I have ever heard my husband cry, and he cut the cord.

They handed me my baby, and I was instantly in tears for the millionth time that night, and all i could do was say “Oh my god, oh my god oh my god” about a thousand times as I stared at his tiny little body. The doctors let him lay on my chest as the checked him over and patted him down. Then they tended to my stitches that were needed (2) and checked me over.

Birth of My Son 2.jpg
Getting weighed and measured shortly after birth. Eyes wide open!

After giving us a few minutes together, they took him to weigh him and give him his first round of tests/shots. He was 21 inches long, and 8 lbs 2.9 oz. My husband held him and nurtured him as I watched from my bed.

I had a nurse put me in a wheelchair to bring me to the bathroom. It takes a few hours for your epidural to wear off, so I had to be escorted everywhere until the following morning.

Be prepared to see yourself lose A LOT of blood. I was completely horrified.

The first hour after his birth and check up was called “The Golden Hour”. It was just me, my husband, the baby, and occasionally our nurse who would peek in to check on us.

I don’t remember everything about that night, but I do remember most of that hour. My husband crawled beside me in bed and the three of us snuggled and talked and we introduced ourselves to our new son.

I could’ve stayed like that all night, but most of our family had arrived by then, so they all wanted to meet the baby.

I was too out of it to fully enjoy that experience though. I was wiped and also super emotional. I was ready just to snuggle with my baby all night. I had waited 9 months to meet him, and I wanted to have him all to myself.

We took a few pictures, then they said goodnight and headed to our house to sleep.

I have to say, it was a very out of body feeling to finally hold my son, and to spend time trying to nurse and smell and enjoy him. It took me several days to wake up and remember that I wasn’t pregnant anymore – my son was here!

Like I said, everyone’s story is so different. Mine was smooth for the most part, and everyone made it out without any complications. We are a very lucky family.

Feel free to share your birth stories! I’ve attended several mom’s groups, parenting classes, or just talked to other moms and I always love to ask about them! It’s one of the most exciting moments (or days) of your life, and they’re all amazing,

 

Birth of My Son 8
Headed home from the hospital.