Tate’s Birth Story

On June 29th, I went in for my 38 week check up hoping that the lab results for cholestasis were in. They weren’t, but since I was at the very end of my pregnancy and cholestasis is a serious condition, my OB was prepared to take him immediately if the results came back positive. Additionally, I was still having issues with Polyhydramnios, so my doctor got me scheduled for an induction on Tuesday, July 6th (one week from my checkup and also B’s birthday), with the possibility that I would be induced earlier. At this appointment, they saw I was having contractions via NST (I couldn’t feel them) and I was dilated to 2cm.

After that appointment, I called Jesse and told him that anything we wanted done before the baby arrived needed to be taken care of in the next 48 hours. I was really worried we would get positive lab results and have to rush in to the hospital immediately.

On July 1st (Thursday), I spent the entire day trying to run last minute errands. I took both boys (B and Moose) to get their hair cut, went to multiple stores (Kohl’s, Target and Homegoods), and tried to tie up loose ends around the house by getting laundry taken care of, dishes washed, etc. When I went to take B for his haircut, I felt a contraction, then felt another one within the hour. After I got home, I downloaded a contraction timer. They were pretty sporadic so I wasn’t very concerned.

Towards the afternoon, they started coming every 19-23 minutes. They weren’t getting longer or stronger, and the length of time wasn’t shortening, so again I wasn’t worried. I know women who have experienced contractions like this for a couple of weeks before going into active labor, so I continued making preparations. I even went to the nail salon to get a pedicure, haha.

That night, I pumped out a blog post and went to bed around midnight. At 3:20am, I woke up to a medium sized contraction and felt a slight gush. I got up, and as I was getting up, I felt my water breaking so I ran to the bathroom, yelling at Jesse on my way. I didn’t quite make it in time (oops!) so we had to get that all cleaned up. Jesse called my mom (who lives in SC while we live in FL) to let her know to head down. He called our neighbors (who were our emergency contact to take B for the night in the event this happened) while I called the doctor’s office.

After all that was taken care of, Jesse got B packed up and at the neighbor’s house while I made preparations. Once Jesse came back, I told him to get in the shower because I wasn’t sure how long we would be in the hospital. (With B, my water had been broken for over 24 hours before I had him, and that was with multiple rounds of induction medication. I was prepared to be there for the long haul.)

At this point, my contractions were every 2-2.5 minutes a part so I told Jesse that he needed to get a move on it. (The guy moves slower than a three toed sloth). Unfortunately, that caused him to panic, and he said, “You don’t have time to shower! We have to get to the hospital NOW!” And I told him I was not about to be spread eagle for 15 people to see with an unshaved cooter so he would have to wait.

So in true Bex form, ya girl showered and shaved. (And I took my sweet time! I didn’t know when I would get another long shower again so I enjoyed it.) My water was still breaking (aka steady streaming) so I put on a pair of Depends to circumvent having to sit on towels in the car or leaking on the floor of a hospital. We were almost out of the neighborhood when Jesse told me he forgot important hospital paperwork and made us turn around and go back home. I might’ve contemplated murder in that moment.

Jesse then proceeded to drive the speed limit to the hospital which was 30 minutes away!!!!! We got to hospital at 5am. Once we were checked in, they found I was 5 cm dilated and they were shocked I was calm/ not really reacting. (I don’t think they truly thought my water was broken or I was in labor at first.) The nurse kept asking me to rate my pain on a scale, and said, “are you SURE you don’t want an epidural?” I wanted to wait it out as long as possible because I have a strong resistance to pain medication (it wears off extremely quickly) and your girl was not about to feel the actual birth. I passed the time by texting Chandler to let her know I would not in fact be posting for our podcast that day and making other random preparations.

Apparently epidurals have a tendency to lower your blood pressure and as y’all know, I already have stupid low blood pressure. This meant they needed to pump me with fluids (1 liter) prior to receiving the epidural, which meant I needed to time it perfectly. Well I dilated quickly, so I had to ask for the fluids and the epidural before I was ready. I was 7cm when I got the epidural around 7:30am.

My contractions weren’t painful until the anesthesiologist was inserting the epidural. It only went to my right side at first, so the nurse had to turn me on my left side to try to get the epidural to flow to that side. Not long after, my blood pressure crashed and I turned to the nurse and told her I was going to pass out, which I did. The blood pressure cuff wouldn’t even register a reading. This meant I had to get pumped with more fluids and Excedrin to try to get my blood pressure above 90. It kept crashing so I had to be given another medication (it started with an F) and I didn’t try to up my anesthesia in fear it would cause bigger issues.

The nurse checked me and found that his head wasn’t lowering the way it was supposed to, so she put a peanut ball under one of my legs and would rotate it every 20 minutes or so. During this time, I was really woozy/ on the verge of passing out. My doctor was actually in the OR performing a hysterectomy and the nurse ran down to let him know to wrap it up because I would be ready to go in the next hour.

Around 8:45am, the nurse checked me and I was ready to push. My doctor hadn’t shown up yet so she ran to get him and told him he was needed ASAP. He came busting through the door about 15 minutes later, as I was texting one of my best friends, Bre. He walked in and said “I feel like I just ran through the JFK airport”.

Around 9:20am, we started the actual pushing process. Conveniently, this is when our Instacart delivery guy got lost in our neighborhood and started calling my phone for directions. I was like “I’m really sorry for the bad timing but I’m actually giving birth right now so I can’t talk- here’s my husband”

I pushed for 3 rounds, a total of 10 pushes for 15 minutes before Tate was born at 9:36am. He came out extremely purple and the nurses told me that was common with fair skinned babies (completely caught me and Jesse off guard and freaked us out). B did not come out purple so we were not expecting that. I turned to Jesse and said, “we did it” and high-fived him.

They kept me in recovery for a couple of hours before moving me to a postpartum room. I went to the bathroom for the first time and the nurse was shocked I could walk without assistance. (Anesthesia wears off quickly for me- #redheadproblems). She kept trying to push 1,000 mg Tylenol on me which I kept declining because it doesn’t do anything for me pain management wise.

This time around, I had far less bleeding (extremely surprising considering I hemorrhaged with both B and my miscarriage) but I was much more sore. I also tore more this time around, and even had a slight episiotomy.

All in all, this was a wonderful experience and an absolute piece of cake compared to B’s birth. I didn’t have my blog when I gave birth to B, but it took 42 hours to get him here and 4 days in the hospital. It was a really traumatic experience for us overall, and one of the reasons why we were reluctant to have another for a long time.

Having Tate has been very healing for us and our family. With B, we didn’t really enjoy becoming parents because we were in the trenches so much. I’m also incredibly glad we had Tate at the time we did. He came at a perfect time for us, and it really cemented the belief I have that everything happens for a reason. While I will always be sad about the baby we lost, I know that Tate is perfect for our family and he came exactly when he needed to.

Q & A

How long was your active labor?

Almost 6 hours exactly from the time I woke up to the time I delivered him.

What did your contractions feel like?

Contractions feel like period cramps that get stronger/more painful as they progress. My contractions in active labor of around 7 cm felt like strong period cramps that came in waves. I have very painful periods/cramps so I’m not sure if that contributed to my tolerance or not. Most women in active labor struggle to talk through their contractions and I didn’t experience that at all. I was putting in an Instacart order on the way to the hospital. I talked to my mom on the phone (who was freaked out about how calm I was to the point she thought I didn’t need to go to the hospital until I told her how close together my contractions were).

With B, I experienced birthing-level contractions due to the induction medication and I will tell you that was the worst pain I have ever felt in my entire life. My legs were shaking from the pain and I was yelling. Did not have that experience at all with Tate.

Would you ever consider going natural? (AKA no epidural)

On purpose? No. I probably *could’ve* gone natural with this birth, considering my pain levels (I’m actually a little sad I had to get the epidural so early instead of being able to wait it out longer), but I really have zero interest in it. I do not want to feel getting stitched up, or a shot for my hemorrhaging, or the other shot for RhoGam. I know a lot of women who go natural like being able to get up quicker but honestly? I just gave birth, I don’t WANT to move. I want to NAP. Also, I have suffered enough.

When was your due date?

My due date was July 12th and I had him July 2nd.

Fun fact: Both B and Tate were born on the first Friday in the month of July. Tate was 10 days early and B was 10 days late!

How do you mentally prepare yourself for the birth?

Educate, educate, educate! Join mom groups on Facebook when you’re pregnant and spend time reading people’s birth stories/experiences so you can get a better idea of what to expect. Many women struggle when they are blind-sighted by something during the labor/birth/recovery process. Understanding what’s happening to your body will help you get in a better mind space. Take a birthing class if you can, or watch Youtube videos that explains the process in detail. And then know that you can create a birth plan, but nothing will go the way you plan it. So many women set themselves up for failure with a detailed birth plan that doesn’t end up meeting their expectations. The best plan is to really have none (in my opinion) and to go with the flow. Go in with no expectations and be prepared for the worst; that way, you won’t be let down.

What’s the story behind the names?

With B’s first name, we went through a list of over 10,000 names (yes, you read that right) and only agreed on two, which made it fairly easy to decide (the other name was Nixon). His middle name is my late brother’s name. With Tate, I actually decided on that name not long after I had B. I was in our townhouse, going through his closet and saw the brand name, Tucker and Tate, on a clothing item hanging in his closet. I thought Tate was such a cute name for a boy so I immediately put it in my Baby Names List in my Notes App (every woman has one!). His middle name is a family name on Jesse’s side of the family.

Did you know the gender ahead of time and if so, why didn’t you announce?

Yes, with all the issues we had with this pregnancy, it was basically impossible to not know ahead of time. We found out the gender at 12 weeks with the NIPT testing (that I had done to rule out a possible partial molar pregnancy). We continued to have so many issues I wasn’t sure he would make it, so we waited to announce the pregnancy until I was 20 weeks. Not announcing the gender was more of pure laziness; I didn’t feel like making another announcement. I was already feeling overwhelmed with everything going on and a lot of people were asking me constantly about it. I just didn’t feel like fielding any more questions, to be honest.

How much weight did you gain with this pregnancy?

I gained exactly 40 lbs with this pregnancy. I’m currently 3 weeks postpartum and I’ve lost 25 lbs; still 15 lbs to go until I hit my pre-pregnancy weight.

Did COVID mess up your plan? What changes were there?

I’m not someone who has a birth plan at all, so the only thing it messed up for me was no visitors in the hospital. This meant we had to send B to our neighbors’ house in the middle of the night instead of taking him with us because he wasn’t allowed at the hospital at all. That was stressful for me. We had to wear a mask when checking in to the hospital but they didn’t require us to keep them on while in our assigned room. I kept mine on almost the entire time. I kept it down when I was in the room by myself, when I pushed and when I slept. Otherwise, I kept it up (mainly when I was in contact with a nurse).

About a week and a half after I gave birth, the Delta variant spiked here in Florida, causing our hospitals to become overwhelmed again. I’m not sure if this caused tighter restrictions to be put back in place in the hospital we delivered, but I am very thankful we delivered before this spike happened.

Does Tate have any hair?

Yes, he actually has red hair! This kid is 100% me. I’ve been calling him my little Dutch baby because he got all my Dad’s side of the family (which has the Dutch genes). He has my fair & sensitive skin, red hair, and long legs.

Were you hoping for a boy or girl?

I initially really wanted a girl because I have always wanted to experience both and I really didn’t want to be pregnant again after this, especially with all of our issues. If I had one of each, I felt like I could be at peace with being completely done.

Are you going to have a third?

Well, I consider Moose one of my babies so I feel like I already have 3 boys. In all honesty, I’m not sure if we will have another baby. I loathe being pregnant. Ask me in another year!

Is he easier or harder than B?

Way easier so far. We are only 3 weeks in but it’s nice to be able to put him down so I can actually do something. I had to hold B the entire first year of his life basically 24/7. He’s also a way better sleeper. In fact, we had trouble getting him to eat because he wanted to sleep so much. B had a bad witching hour. I have vivid memories of walking the length of our townhouse and shushing loudly while bouncing him. We practically dented the floor pacing that length in an attempt to soothe him. B also refused to take any sort of bottle, and we couldn’t take him out without him screaming. With Tate, we can actually go out. It’s been a very healing experience to have an easier baby. I will be honest, Jesse and I didn’t enjoy becoming parents when we had B because it was SO HARD all the time. It put a major strain on our marriage because of how difficult he was- we couldn’t do anything. It’s been wonderful to have a “normal” experience with this baby.

Was it hard to go from 1 to 2 kids?

No, zero to 1 was way harder, but that’s because of B’s nature. Again, he was very hard so the adjustment to becoming first time parents and then having a baby that was difficult on almost every level made it overwhelming. This has been a very natural and smooth transition for us so far. B and Tate are complete opposites in personality so you almost become a parent again for the first time as you re-learn what to do and have to use new techniques. It also helps that B is 3 years old and pretty independent. It would be much harder if I had two “babies” at once, but I told Jesse that I refused to have another super close in age.

How are you feeling mentally this time around? Is your PPD worse?

I’m doing so much better. The labor and delivery process was extremely easy and I’m on Zoloft daily to help manage my anxiety and depression. I experienced some heavy perinatal depression in my first and second trimesters but it got better, and I was able to feel a bond with Tate from birth, which didn’t happen with B, sadly. I’ve been weepy a couple of times but overall, I’m so much more confident as a mom this time around and the Zoloft has kept my intrusive thoughts and rage to a minimum. I’m very careful to not miss a dosage, though, otherwise the intrusive thoughts come back.

When did you stop your postpartum bleeding?

I’m actually still bleeding! #dependslife #grannypantiesfordays

Did you ever get your cholestasis results?

I’m honestly not sure. When I was admitted to the hospital, I hadn’t received them yet. By the time I got out of the hospital, they had entered a ton of different bloodwork results for me from my time in the hospital, so I’m not sure if those results are squished in there somewhere. I’m going to ask about it at my 6 week checkup.