Photos by the amazing Mikaela King
The last picture of me pregnant
My contractions started around 2pm on Friday, July 29th. I thought they were just Braxton Hicks from what I read about Braxton Hicks so I didn’t actually think I would go into real labor later that evening. Jesus and I went out to eat at our new favorite Thai restaurant and our waiter who has gotten to know us over the last couple of weeks asked when the baby would come and I jokingly said “tonight”. 🤣 A mama knows. I also told the nurse who did my non stress test on Wednesday, the 27th that I was going to have my baby Friday (I was a day off, dang it).
They probably were Braxton Hicks up until around 1am when they gradually became stronger and were consistently 4-5 minutes apart. I called the midwife (while sitting on the toilet because it was the only semi comfortable place to be) and explained to her that my contraction timer app said it was time to get ready to go to the hospital. She said with most first time moms, they advise I wait until my contraction are 2-3 minutes apart. I lost it. As she was explaining that I had a mental breakdown because the pain was so bad that I couldn’t fathom being in even more pain, not to mention being in the car on the way to the hospital in this much pain. Then a contraction hit and she was able to hear me laboring and told me to come in. After laboring at home for almost 2 hours, we decided it was time to go to the hospital.
At 2:42am, Jesus grabbed my hospital bag and the diaper bag, both which I had packed earlier that day, and we got out the door and into the car. 😅 The car ride was absolutely excruciating. My contractions became closer together between 2 and 3 minutes and nothing helped the pain. What’s odd is that the day leading up to us going to the hospital, I had this huge surge of energy where I got a lot of last-minute things done. I guess my body knew what was up. Haha! When we arrived to the hospital we were escorted up to labor and delivery where they checked me in, which felt like it took years, and they got me hooked up to an IV. When my midwife checked me, I was already 4cm dilated, 100% effaced, and at a -2 station. PRAISE THE GOOD LORD!!!! If you don’t know what any of that means, I didn’t either. Just Google it! This was such good news because it meant that all of that pain wasn’t for nothing, I was progressing, and a lot faster than most first-time moms from what I’ve been told.
I went into this birth with a very open mind about my birth plan. I wasn’t tied to any one thing like laboring naturally or getting an epidural and decided early on that I would make those decisions once I felt what a contraction was like. Well, as soon as the midwife checked me and told me I was 4cm dilated, I immediately requested an epidural. They couldn’t give me an epidural until I had an entire bag of fluids, but they could give me fentanyl to temporarily relive the pain. Of course, I didn’t know how long it would take to get an entire bag of fluids so I labored with fentanyl on the toilet until they checked me again at 5:55am. I was dilated to 6cm now! It was time to get out of the triage room and into the room I would deliver in.
They transferred me to the new room and got me set up and that’s when things really got hard. I was shaking with every contraction and the pain was so bad I threw up. They were waiting on the anesthesiologist to get out of a C section and told me it would be another 2 hours, I felt so defeated and hopeless that there was no relief for the pain in sight. I soon realized that I was going to have to buck up and do this, because he had to come out. He was coming out regardless of whether I was in too much pain or not. Based on how I was progressing, I calculated that I would be around 8cm at 8am and probably close to pushing, since I was dilating a centimeter an hour. By the grace of God, the C section ended early and I got my epidural at 7am and continued laboring. Sweet, sweet relief. Mentally and physically, I was relieved. I was able to rest (not sleep) but that was still a God send. I told Jesus that he should try to lay down and try to get some rest before I had to start pushing, so we both tried to rest. They told me that I would start to feel like I had to take a poo when I was ready to push and I hadn’t felt that yet.
The contractions were getting stronger and stronger and I could feel the pressure start to intensify with every surge. This was a relief because many people told me that a lot of times, epidurals can stall labor. Not mine! By 10am I was 10cm dilated and 100% effaced but my bag of waters was still bulging and in tact. My midwife thought it was so cool to see my bag of waters that she took a picture of it for me! We discussed allowing him to descend further down into the birth canal naturally to see if the pressure of him descending would break the water naturally. At 11:45 he still had not gotten as low as we needed him to start pushing so we made the decision for my midwife to break my waters. Let me preface the pushing part by saying: everyone keeps asking me if I 💩 on the table… The answer is I don’t know because if I did, they were very discreet about it. I highly doubt it though because when I was in labor, I was glued to the toilet so this may be TMI but it’s just a natural part of birth.
After my water was broken, I pushed for about 35-40 minutes because he was sunny side up. For those of you who may not know, babies normally enter the world face down which is where the smallest head circumference is when delivering but Nilo came into the world face up, which is why I had a third degree tear in the lady bits and other parts that shall not be mentioned! Birth is a beautiful and gnarly experience, for sure. None of my doctors realized he was sunny side up; otherwise, he probably would’ve been a C section. I’m thankful they didn’t notice because I did NOT want a C section. No hate to anyone who has had a C section because delivering a healthy baby is the only goal of labor in my mind, but that’s just not what I personally wanted. His heart rate kept plummeting between 60-80bpm in between contractions so they put me on oxygen and I pushed like it was my full time job. He came out with the cord double wrapped around his neck but fully recovered and is a perfect angel. After over 12 long hours of labor, he arrived to the world at 12:34 weighing 8lb 7oz and measuring 21 inches. We are so in love and in awe of this precious life we have been blessed with.
Photos by me 🙂
As soon as he came out, my amazing team laid him on my chest to have skin to skin (I get chills just thinking about how sweet this moment was). Jesus was crying like the tender father he is and we were in blissful happiness that our son was here and healthy! Our doctor, midwife, and “baby nurse” she called herself, were taking bets on how much he was going to weigh as I was getting stitched up. It took a little over an hour for the doctor to stitch me up because that third degree tear was no joke and about halfway through stitching, I delivered the placenta. I’ve always been told that birthing the placenta is an equal task to the birth itself, but in my experience it was menial in comparison. It was cool to see the vessel that nourished my child for 10 months.
After the bustle was over and the doctor’s left us with Nilo alone, we naturally fell into a rhythm as parents. Of course we had a million and one questions but the hospital staff was amazing in helping us out with recovery and beyond. At this point I still couldn’t walk due to my epidural but Jesus was amazing with Nilo which made my new mama heart happy. Everything went as expected–except for breastfeeding. I felt like I had a good grasp on how to get him to sleep, change him, calm him, etc. but breastfeeding was a whole other beast. I honestly had no idea in the world how labor intensive breastfeeding is or that I would have to feed him and pump every 2-3 hours until he reached his birth weight again. I got one solid pump of colostrum where I got a couple of syringes full and then the next day or so of pumps I got very little. That was emotional for me because I just wanted to make sure my baby was nourished properly and not hungry. Fun fact: your baby’s stomach is only about as big as a marble when they’re born and even just a couple of drops of colostrum can satiate them. I did not know this! Has I known, I would’ve been a lot less stressed!
The rest of our hospital stay was uneventful, which was great. They had to give me an iron transfusion because I lost so much blood during delivery but other than that, all typical things. Jesus was running home to grab things or shower or get us food and Nilo was with me in the room other than the one time they had to take him for all of his newborn tests. It was nice to have him there with me the entire time. I didn’t want him going to a nursery. That also helped us figure out sleeping arrangements in the hospital. After I had my first shower and had a final visit with the pediatrician and lactation consultant, we were allowed to leave! WHAT! I just had a baby and I was allowed to just walk out of the hospital with this new human that I have to keep alive. Oh, and don’t mention that Jesus and I had to figure out the car seat situation, which was a comical sight but also stress inducing because this is the safety of our baby we’re talking about. There was no precaution too large on our first drive with Nilo in the car. It felt like Jesus was going 20 under the speed limit on our way home. 😂
We got home and settled in nicely and that’s when I placed an order on Amazon for all of the things we needed once we knew what we were missing. The very next morning my sweet momma sent us breakfast through Uber Eats from across the country-which was truly a God send. We hadn’t even thought about what we were going to eat and had a long night with 3 hour wakings to feed. If you know new parents, breakfast the day after they arrive home is the way to go. Just do it for them! We were settling in nicely as a family of 3 and it all felt so natural to be here together.
Mommy’s first opportunity to take real photos of me!
The First Month
Jesus and I knew from the beginning that we didn’t want having a baby to keep us from living our lives. We want to enrich his life by doing all of these things with him! So we do! My mom and most of my siblings came to visit from South Carolina a couple days after he was born, which was super fun. Yes, I know what you’re thinking… of course it made me nervous that they flew across the country and were near him but he has antibodies from my breastmilk and has already had COVID in my womb so that made me feel better about it. We took him on his first real outing (not counting Pediatrician appointments) with his Aunties and Uncles to the farmer’s market at only 8 days old. From there Nilo has already been to Muir Woods, Point Bonita Lighthouse, the Painted Ladies, the Full House house, the Ghiradelli Chocolate factory, Pier 39, a Giants game, Muir Beach, Stinson Beach, and the list goes on and on. Not to mention all of the local restaurants he’s already experienced. He’s been breastfed everywhere from the Target parking lot (mommy’s favorite store-how could we not?) to the pediatrician’s office. He has also been visited and loved on by his Coots relatives.
We have been so blessed by the outpouring of love and generosity of our friends and family and can not thank everyone enough. From packages full of baby goodies like books, more clothes, and bath time duckies to giftcards and edible arrangements, he truly is so blessed (and spoiled-LOL). Thank you for making it this far! We love you and can’t wait for every single one of you to meet him! Please enjoy this collection of photos of our lives recently.
Newborn Photos by Ashley Kaplan Photography