Life / Motherhood

Jack Finley’s Birth Story

Introducing Jack Finley McClelland.

He made his swift, unexpected, and early arrival on December 28, 2017 at 9:37am.

He came in at 7lb 3 oz and 19.5 inches long.

I wanted to document his birth story so I wouldn’t forget a single detail. Tomorrow he’s two weeks old (and just shy of his due date, 1/13/18) and I already can’t believe how time is flying. Can he stay this little forever?

I went into labor Wednesday night (12/27) around 11pm, I woke up from watching the Iowa Bowl game to go to the bathroom, after a few trips, I noticed that my back was starting to hurt and that more of my mucus plug (TMI – sorry not sorry) had come out (it had come out earlier that morning and I had called the nurse’s line – they said it could be labor was happening soon or could be happening in two weeks – not very helpful). I hadn’t had pain like this throughout my entire pregnancy and thought to myself, “Could these be real contractions?”

To distract myself, I turned on Pride and Prejudice (the Kiera Knightly version, of course). About an hour or so later, I decided to wake up Cody and told him that I thought that I was in labor. I had been timing the contractions and sitting on an exercise ball as the contractions came and went. We ended up calling the after hours nurses line and told them we were going to come in, my contractions were following the 5-1-1 guideline, plus I had noticed some spotting.

We made it to the hospital around 3 am, after the first snowfall, of course, but thankfully the roads were cleared just in time. I had 3 or so contractions in the car and tried to breathe through them while still tracking them on my app. Cody parked the car and I had another couple of contractions in the waiting room.

We checked into triage and I was only dilated to 1.5cm but was now around 80% effaced (one of those disappointing moments where you think you are a lot further along then you actually are). Instead of sending me home, they had me walk around and labor for another hour to see if I progressed any further. My contractions were getting closer together and started in my back and would radiate around. All I could think of so this is the ‘back labor’ that they speak of. I had Cody put pressure on my sitz bones/lower back area during every contraction.

The nurse came back in and I had progressed to about 4cm and said the doctor would be admitting us. I know Cody and I both had sighs of relief, we really didn’t want to drive all the way back home only to drive all the way back to the hospital a few hours later.

I had no birth plan other than getting baby and me here safe and healthy. I knew if the time came, I would ask for drugs if I needed them. So trust me, I asked for them once we got settled into our room. Once they got the epidural in place (much scarier process in my head then in reality), the doctor on call broke my water (he had noted some blood when he did it, but didn’t seem any cause for alarm) and said that he could see this baby being born by 5pm. My nurse said let’s try for 1pm, before the shift change. Not finding out the gender of the baby really gets people excited!

With the epidural in place, Anne recommended trying to get some rest. I remember being in a state between sleep and awake when Anne came back in and said she wanted to adjust how I was laying and put a monitor on the baby’s head vs. on my stomach. I hadn’t started to panic even though she came back a couple more times to adjust me and said that during my contractions Baby Mack’s heart rate was going down. She left the room briefly and I had another contraction, it was when I could hear the heartbeat slowing down and I started to have a bit of anxiety, but was out of it enough that I wasn’t sure how serious things could get or were getting with every contraction.

Nurse Anne came back in and said if we couldn’t find a good spot/side for me to lay on to get Baby Mack’s heart rate back up, there would be a chance for an emergency c-section. With one last check of our vitals and contractions, she called our doctor. They made the call and soon I was signing papers for an emergency c-section. Our doctor even had to bump someone’s scheduled c-section for me. It felt like it happened in a blink of an eye and there was little time to process what was happening in the moment.

Within fifteen or so minutes, Cody was dressed in scrubs and we headed into the OR. I’m not sure how much time passed, I was awake during the c-section but in a really foggy state of mind due to the drugs. They pulled out Baby Mack and Cody was able to call out that it was a BOY! I remember my doctor telling me all the reasons why we ended up needing a c-section, but I couldn’t really comprehend what she was saying. I could hear crying and saw him get taken over to the warmer to have his umbilical cord cut. They brought him closer to me so I could see him get weighed, I couldn’t help but cry as I finally got to see him. So we went into the hospital around 3am and Jack arrived by 9:37am.

As it turns out, our little one who had been heads down for months, was sunny side up. His cord was also wrapped around his shoulders and my placenta had started to pull away from the uterine wall. Despite all of those things, he arrived healthy, safe, and sound, which at the end of the day was all we wanted.

Cody and I were able to go back to our room and spend a few hours doing skin-to-skin, feeding, and snuggling Baby Boy McClelland. We admired his tiny fingers, toes, and how much hair he had already. We waited until the afternoon to call our immediate family to tell them the good news. Cody and I were torn between two names and ended up flipping a coin to come to a decision, and that is how we landed on Jack Finley.

We are so over the moon with his arrival and he is practically perfect in every way. Here’s to a speedy recovery for Mom, sleepless nights, and endless cuddles as we figure out life as parents and Lola adjusts to her baby brother.

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