On June 5, 2020 at 12:14pm, our worlds changed in the most miraculous way, and my heart swelled up bigger than I ever thought possible. On that first Friday in June, Britton Kai Baxter made his grand appearance into the world and instantly stole mama and daddy’s hearts forever! He weighed 7 lbs. 1 oz. and measured 20.5 inches long. That day was truly the very best day of my entire life, and I wish that I could just relive it over and over again. It was so special for so many reasons (even though it may not have looked how I originally imagined it, thanks to Covid-19), but the whole day was perfectly executed the way God had it planned out all along, and it was so evident that His presence was with us at all times. I have never felt more love in my heart than on that special day, and I’ve truly never felt the kind of happiness and joy than I felt when the nurses placed Britton in my arms. It’s the most special feeling that really just can’t be put into words. I’m so thankful for our birthing experience and most grateful for our healthy baby boy, who has absolutely changed our lives in the best way!
I’ve been looking forward to writing out Britton’s birth story so that I can hold onto it over time and come back to this post for years to come. I’ve also been excited to share his birth story with all of you. Our family has really opened up our lives and our hearts to our *Internet fam* over the years, and I genuinely feel like you all are my people. I feel so thankful to know that so many of you have already played such a special part in Britton’s life, simply by praying for him and for us throughout this entire journey. Your sweet prayers, thoughtful comments, and meaningful messages bring actual tears to my eyes whenever you all share your love for our boy (even if you and I are thousands of miles apart). Every day, I still sit there in disbelief when I’m reading your all’s sweet comments about him and just think, “How? … or why do we deserve to be surrounded by such loving people from all over, who are genuinely SO thoughtful and caring?” There really is a lot of good in the world, and I will choose to see that above all else. My point here is … y’all are the BEST (and I’m so grateful for you).
Okay, back to the birth story 🙂 Let’s rewind to when the party got started …
For starters, I’ll tell you that we went into all of this as first-time parents with little to no expectations, other than to have a healthy baby boy. Throughout my entire pregnancy, we had a birth plan that went pretty much like this: get to the hospital, get the epidural, deliver a healthy baby (however that may happen). And for the most part, our whole experience went pretty much according to our birth plan (which we are thankful for). However, even the simplest of birth plans (or maybe I should say, “pregnancy plans”?) still have small details that may get thrown off track along the way. Unfortunately, a global pandemic that we all know as Covid-19, threw off a lot of our plans starting at the beginning of my third trimester. In all reality, I didn’t see all of the changes coming our way that inevitably changed every single part of my last trimester of pregnancy … and now, it’s also changed how I’ve experienced my baby’s first two months of life as well.
Precautions were set in place back in March that were very much necessary, but also really changed the way that I always thought my pregnancy would be and eliminated quite a few special moments for us along the way. I don’t want to dwell on this too much in this post because it’s something that I really struggled with during the last part of my pregnancy (something that I don’t love to look back on), however, it’s part of our story so I feel like I need to touch on the matter. After all, giving birth during such a serious pandemic is actually a miracle in and of itself. So, I’ll leave it at this …
Of course as a first-time mama, my heart longed for those special moments with friends and family near the end of my pregnancy … baby showers, last date nights with my hubs before baby, gatherings where loved ones would get to see my growing bump and feel the baby kick, a last little getaway with my husband (just the two of us), even getting to go in-stores to shop for last minute baby must-haves, getting to have my husband with me at our last few doctor’s appointments, having those last ultrasounds, etc. But most of all, I really struggled with the fact that my mama and my sister (or any family for that matter) wouldn’t be able to come to the hospital on the day we delivered baby boy. With the Corona Virus, there were no visitors allowed in the hospital (well, one exception that I’ll explain later). Having our family there on delivery day was the ONE thing throughout all of this that I stayed so hopeful about up until the last two weeks before I delivered because I couldn’t imagine going through all of that without my family there. My entire life when I pictured this special day, I always imagined my mom and my sister being in the delivery room with Teej and me for the birth and then the rest of our family members coming in to meet baby after delivery. As many of you know, we are a super tight knit family, and I never would have imagined that my family wouldn’t even be allowed inside the hospital during the birth of our baby boy. That was the one thing throughout all of this that really wrecked me. It took a lot of prayer and time with Jesus for me to finally be at peace with this reality. But as always, God came through and covered me with a massive blanket of peace and calmness when the day finally arrived.
Honestly, our delivery day certainly looked wayyy different than I ever would have imagined, but in the end, it really was SO special for Teej and I to have that intimate time together — just the two of us — as we welcomed our precious son into the world. It was such a calm experience full of love that we’ll cherish forever. With pretty much every single plan we had getting thrown off course in our third trimester, I decided that I would just need to focus on the light in this situation because even though OUR plan was being ripped to shreds, I knew that somewhere in the mess, our Heavenly Father would show us His special blessings that we may not have gotten to experience with our own plan. God had a perfect story written out for us all along, and He wrote it this way long ago. He was in complete control, and holding that promise in my heart made me feel so at peace throughout the entire experience, even though so many things didn’t happen the way I always pictured in my head. I’m so grateful for his faithfulness!
*Disclaimer: Of course, there are much more serious issues going on in the world, regarding the pandemic, and I stand behind all of the precautions that have been set in place to protect us. But at the end of the day, I’m human, and I think all of us (in one way or another) have had some uneasy feelings about the whole situation and the way that this has really changed all of our lives this year. With that said, we have fortunately stayed healthy throughout everything that’s been going on (… we have all been very cautious to make sure everyone stays that way). And, that is truly all we can ask for — I’m so thankful for that! As long as we have our health and each other, then that is really what matters MOST.
Our due date was June 7, 2020 so on Tuesday, June 2nd, I went in for my final doctor’s appointment for him to check our progress and see where baby was at. On that Tuesday, I was 39 weeks, 2 days. At that checkup, my doctor did all of the routine procedures and also did a membrane sweep, which definitely induced labor for me. On that day, we measured approximately 1.5-2cm and 75% effaced. Together with my doctor, we also made the final decision to have a tentative induction scheduled for Friday, June 5, 2020 where we would need to check into the hospital on Thursday of that week at midnight … this made everything feel SO real! It was the craziest feeling to just know that we would be meeting our boy that week at the very latest. I was so ready! The excitement and adrenaline that I felt that week cannot even be put into words. I just couldn’t wait to finally have little B in my arms!!
About an hour after leaving my doctor’s appointment on Tuesday, I started feeling contractions that felt much stronger and way more crampy than the Braxton Hicks that I had been feeling for the couple months prior. I assumed this was because of the membrane sweep that my doctor did that day since it’s supposed to help you naturally start the labor process. My doctor told me that this would happen and from that point on, I could progress very quickly or very slowly, depending on how my body reacted. As the day went on, the contractions continued to get stronger. By that evening, TJ was timing them on his phone, and they continued getting closer together. We instantly thought, “OMG THIS IS IT.” We went ahead and put all of our bags + carseat in the car just incase and then decided to go grab dinner at Outback since that could potentially be our last meal just the two of us.
Later that evening, my contractions were MUCH stronger and they were 4-5 minutes apart for about 45 minutes … at this point, we both were SURE that we would be headed to the hospital soon. But then … right as we’re approaching the 1-hour mark for timing the contractions, they separate to about 15 minutes apart and stay that way for the next TWO DAYS. Lol, like WHAT? Not gonna lie, we were a little bummed because we thought it was go-time and we got our hopes up that we would be meeting our son that next day!
Anyways, I had those same contractions all day on Wednesday and all day Thursday. They were typically about 10-20 minutes apart on average on those days, which meant that we were in the early stages of labor but not ready to go to the hospital yet. Every so often, I’d have a few that were about 4 minutes apart, but those usually lasted for only 20-30 minutes at a time. So all that to say, I wasn’t super comfortable that week, but we just tried to stay patient and let my body do its thing.
Now here’s where it gets interesting …
That Thursday night at midnight (June 4th), we were scheduled to go in to start the induction process (which I only shared with our family since that was such a personal decision for us). So it’s about 9pm on that Thursday, and TJ runs out to grab us some late night dinner since I wouldn’t be able to eat after checking in at the hospital. He gets back, we eat real quick, I hop in the shower … and then, when I’m blow drying my hair (around 10pm), my contractions start getting a lot stronger AND super close together again. I thought it was just a fluke again, but I started timing them on my contraction timer app just to be safe, and sure enough, about an hour goes by and the contractions have consistently checked in at about 1-2 minutes apart for an hour. My app told me to “go to the hospital” 3 times before I let TJ call them. By this time, it was about 11:15pm, and I figured that we would be heading to the hospital in the next hour anyways (for our original check-in time), but he thought it was best that we go ahead and call to let them know the situation.
We told the nurses what was happening, and they wanted us to head that way as soon as possible. Since I already had the induction scheduled and they had me down to check-in into the hospital room at midnight, they didn’t send me to triage. As soon as we arrived to the hospital (around 11:45pm), they checked us in and took us to our room.
As soon as we got settled, the nurse came in to check my progress and I was still at the same place I was on Tuesday during my doctor’s appointment (which we were all kind of shocked about). However, the nurse did confirm that I was in labor and that she would consult with our doctor for the next steps since we originally were supposed to be starting the induction process that night.
Our doctor wanted us to move forward with one round of Cytotec that night, so that’s all that occurred at that time. The plan was to just get some rest and then to check my progress in the morning to see where we were at before making any decisions on whether or not to use the pitocin for induction.
The nurse checked me again at 5am on Friday, June 5th, and at that point, I was still only at 2cm. She contacted my doctor, and he advised her to keep holding off on the pitocin for the time being. My doctor was planning to stop by around 7am to check and see progress, so around that time, he came in and although I was still at only at 2cm, I had progressed to about 85% effaced. At that time, he did another membrane sweep. Then, he had a scheduled C-section for another patient at 7:30am, so he told me he would stop back by after that to break my water.
Our doctor came back to our room around 8:15am to break my water (which by the way, I was SO nervous about but there was not really any pain in my opinion .. nothing to worry about mamas!). At that time, I had (conveniently) asked my nurse when I should call for an epidural, and she told me that I could get it whenever I felt like I was ready. She had already warned me that once my water was broken that the contractions would get much stronger and probably closer together from that moment on. And oh boy was she right about that …
I never knew what to expect when it came to “active” labor contractions, but whew, it’s hard to even put into words what they actually feel like. That said, I absolutely respect and admire anyone who does it all natural (go mama go!), but for me personally, I was very thankful for modern medicine and absolutely welcomed it at that point. Labor is no freaking joke no matter what your journey looks like, and if you birth a human, you are a ROCKSTAR — no matter how you brought your baby into this world!
It had been only about 10 minutes after they broke my water when I looked at Teej and said,”I know they just left the room, and I feel like maybe I should wait longer to call for the epidural, but I honestly don’t know how long I can wait.” … Let’s just say, things started progressing VERY QUICKLY from that moment on. I was so confused on why I was in so much pain so suddenly, but then again, this was my first time ever doing all of this, so I guess I just thought it was all “normal”.
I had TJ call for the epidural around 8:30am, and unfortunately, there was one patient ahead of us on the list for epidurals, so I had to wait a little longer than expected before I could get mine. Contractions continued to get more and more intense, to the point where I could hardly speak through them and they were coming about 1-2 minutes apart. Around 9am, the anesthesiologist came into the room to get my epidural started. By this point, my contractions were impossible to speak through, and they were occurring about 30 seconds apart. It was intense, to say the least but I knew it would be worth every ounce of pain.
The process to get the epidural started took about 30 minutes as a whole before I started feeling some relief. And I do want to point out that getting the epidural was absolutely nothing (in my experience)!! I heard so many horror stories from people telling me that the epidural was the “scariest part” or that “it hurt” or that they were “afraid of the needle”, but honestly it was none of those things for me. And sister, when you feel those strong contractions coming through, the LAST thing I was thinking about was that needle lol. Someone could have put a whole dang knife back there for all I cared, if it meant that I would get some relief for more than 30 seconds at a time ha. 😉 The hardest part of the whole epidural experience was trying to stay completely still during the contractions so that the anesthesiologist could do what he needed to do to get that process started. But if you find yourself in similar shoes during your epidural process, my advice would be: MIND OVER MATTER and focus on your breathing (tell your partner to remind you to breathe) … as silly as that may sound right now, it will be super helpful. TJ was so amazing throughout those really tough contractions, and when he would see me start to hold my breath, he would simply remind me to breathe, while telling me that I was about to get a break in “just a few more seconds”. Little reminders like that really seemed to help me get through them. He was extremely supportive and knew what I needed to hear to get through some of those hardest moments. I couldn’t have done it without him by my side. As much as it is a physical thing, I think it is all just as much mental. I tried to focus on breathing slowly, and I kept telling myself that my body was MADE to do this. I kept reminding myself what all that pain was for — and it would be worth every second of it.
A few minutes after getting my epidural (around 9:45am), it had set in, and mama was feelin’ GRRREAT. I even decided to put on some makeup at that point since I was feeling so much better and we were just playing the waiting game. 🙂 Then, our nurse wanted to check my progress, and we were pretty surprised with where we were! When my doctor broke my water that morning at 8:15, I was still only at 2 cm. But at this check, I had progressed to 6 cm and 100% effaced!!! I was actually kind of shocked, but at the same time, I was like ummm, well no wonder I was having such painful contractions. We progressed pretty quickly in just over an hour, but I was super thankful because that meant that we were going to most likely have our baby boy here later that afternoon! At this point, the nurse updated our doctor and obviously, he made the decision to not move forward with the pitocin that they had planned to use for the induction. Things were progressing very well on their own, and deep down, I am so thankful that it happened this way. It’s still SO wild to me that we had scheduled an induction for the day that he was born, but he ended up coming on his own — I call these type of moments God winks 🙂
About an hour & a half later (around 11:15am), our sweet nurse came back again to check progress and get this you guys … 9.5 cm dilated!! WE. WERE. SHOCKED. She checked again just a few seconds later, and we were complete – 10 cm dilated, 100% effaced, and ready to start pushing!
Our nurse had me do one “practice push” before calling everyone in, and then around 11:30am, she called for the other nurses to bring everything in for setup and got our doctor to come on over. At this point, she told us that baby was extremely low and predicted that we would be meeting our boy in less than an hour! I literally felt so much adrenaline and so many emotions come over me in that moment!
Everyone got in and set up around 12pm, and it was officially GO TIME … at this point, I was completely pain-free, feeling excited and nervous all at the same time, but overall, feeling such a sense of peace. There was so much love filling the room — my husband right by my side, the absolute best doctor and nurses that we trusted wholeheartedly, Lauren Daigle on the speaker, and most importantly, God’s presence all around. I couldn’t have prayed for a more smooth, more special experience. And for that, I will be forever grateful!
I pushed two times to bring our baby boy into this world, and at 12:14pm, our little miracle was placed in my arms for the very first time. I can’t describe that moment as perfectly as it deserves to be described, but it was unlike anything I’ve ever experienced. From that moment on, I knew my heart would never be the same! That single moment was the best feeling of my entire life, and I wish I could relive it a million times over.
After Britton was born, Teej and I both did skin to skin with him and basically spent the next 24 hours just staring at him. 😉 Those first few hours that we had together are the moments that I will cherish for the rest of my life!
Now, I mentioned earlier that there were “no visitors allowed” due to Covid restrictions, however, there was one exception that was allowed at that time (the restrictions apparently change by the week, depending on Covid numbers). But oh how thankful I was for this exception! Basically the deal was that we could have one person’s name listed that could come into our room if TJ stepped out of the room for a period of time. So of course, I chose my sweet mama to come in to see us later that afternoon after Britton was born. She was SO excited, and my heart just melted when I saw her come in the room. No matter how old I get or how many babies I have of my own, I’ll always need my mama. Those moments of seeing her and baby boy together for the first time are beyond special to me!
Baby B was very ready to make his grand appearance, and I’m pretty sure he thought it was a race to see how fast he could fly out, lol! He arrived much quicker than we ever anticipated, but we were so thankful for a quick, smooth delivery and most importantly, a very healthy baby. We couldn’t be more grateful for our sweet doctor and nurses who took the best care of us during our stay — they are truly angels on earth!
I’m hopeful that by sharing our story with you all that any new mamas who may be feeling anxious about labor and delivery would find it a little more comforting and reassuring. During my pregnancy, some women would tell me the scary or stressful stories of pregnancy, labor, delivery and recovery. But I didn’t ever really hear much about the stories that would leave me feeling hopeful, and that’s what I was longing for … I know that everyone’s journey will look different and there is every kind of story out there when it comes to labor and delivery. However, I hope that by sharing our experience that you’ll find some peace in knowing just how happy and pleasant the journey can be. Of course, it’s called “labor” for a reason, so you could have a few tough moments along the way, but just know that it will all be so worth it, and it will be the very best day of your entire life!!
Thank you all for so generously welcoming Britton Kai into your lives and into our love ‘n’ labels fam! I could never express how much your prayers, love and kindness has meant to our family during this special time. We love you ALL!