As parents of three little ones, Kristina and Andy now know exactly what to expect during a delivery. But, when their first was born they were a bit nervous. They were even more nervous when it looked like Andy might miss the birth altogether. Below is their story.
It was the night before my husband Andy’s big test, and I was very pregnant. The test was for his work, and it was a big deal. It’s an 8-hour exam, you can only take it a certain amount of times in your life, and if you don’t show up for your scheduled date, it’s an automatic fail. Of all nights, this was the night that I could not go into labor. But our baby had other plans.
The beginning of the pregnancy had been fairly difficult for me. I dealt with really bad morning sickness. Actually, it was more like morning-noon-and-night sickness. But my OB-GYN Dr. Aimee VanStraaten was such a great support through it all. She walked me through every potential solution I could try, from holistic recommendations to medications. No one thing got rid of my nausea completely, but just having her with me through it all meant so much.
I finally started to feel better around 24 weeks. The night before the big test, I was a bit achy but doing just fine otherwise. Then just as we were sitting down to dinner, I felt a sudden gush of fluid. I remember thinking, “Did my water just break?”
Delivering without Dad?
We arrived around 6 pm, and then contractions started. We were brought to a birthing suite and a nurse evaluated me. She told us that the gush of fluid I had felt was leaking amniotic fluid. My water hadn’t broken yet, but I was in the very early stages of labor. My stomach dropped. If we were going to be up all night delivering a baby, how was Andy going to take his test the next morning?
However contrary to my expectations, we did not deliver that night. In fact, I barely progressed at all. Still, neither of us got much sleep. Before we knew it, morning had come and Andy had to leave. A slow panic crept over me as I realized that I might have to deliver our first baby without my husband.
After he left, I grabbed my nurse’s hand and asked her, “I’m not going to have this baby in the next eight hours am I?” She looked right at me and reassured me that no matter what happened, I was going to be fine. I really needed to hear that. I hung onto her words as the hours went by and my contractions started to get more intense.
Working through the pain
To deal with the ever-increasing discomfort, I walked the halls, used a birthing ball and my nurses put pressure on my back. My plan was to see how far I could get without pain medication. I wanted to deliver naturally, but I also wanted to be able to get an epidural if the pain got really bad.
Through that whole time, I was holding out for my husband to be there. My nurses would periodically check me to see how dilated I was. Every time they’d tell me I had progressed another centimeter, I would think to myself, “No, not yet!” I was trying to hang on and slow things down as much as possible.
Finally, at around 3 pm Andy got back. He finished the test early and I was so thankful to see him! I was also very ready for an epidural. Once it kicked in, it was the best thing ever. It calmed me way down and after both of us being awake for almost 24 hours, we finally had some time to lie down together and rest. However, that didn’t last for too long.
We hadn’t been resting for an hour when the contractions seemed to pick up again. At 9 pm, they told me I was ready to push. Carts were wheeled in and everything was prepared. I thought to myself, “Oh my gosh, this is actually happening.”
Welcome to the world, Keegan
I pushed for about 45 min. They asked me if I wanted to feel his head when he was crowning, and I did. It was so surreal. After that, they told me I had four to five good pushes left. On that last push, I felt all this pressure being released. When I looked up, they were holding him. Then, they put him right on my chest.
I’ll never forget that moment. He was so cute and was making the sweetest little noises. It was just such a raw moment. It’s hard to put into words. It is such a miracle to have a baby.
Through the whole process, the nurses I had were amazing. They did a really good job communicating. I never had to repeat myself to multiple people. After he was born, they anticipated what I needed before I even asked. They were so helpful, and it made me feel more confident, especially as a first-time mom.
Having your first baby really changes you as a person. It makes you think about things differently and see things in life that you never even gave a thought to before. Through everything, the staff at St. Luke’s really made it easy to transition into parenthood! I’m so grateful for all their help.