It’s been a month since I last wrote, and I can’t believe how much our lives have changed since then. We are now a family of three! Our little William has brought so much joy into our lives, and we can’t imagine life without him. Some days are long, but when I look back, it seems like the weeks are flying by. I feel like just yesterday he was a newborn and now he’s already 1 month! Now I understand what everyone means when they tell their babies “please stay little forever!”
I love seeing more of Will’s personality develop as he grows, but at the same time I’m beginning to miss his sweet newborn stage.I remember growing up and imagining being a mom someday. I loved baby dolls and would spend hours playing “mom”. I thought I was the best little mommy out there! I always wanted and aspired to be a mom, but felt that it was so “far out” in my future. When you are young, I think you have the perception that becoming parents makes you old, and won’t happen for a very long time. So that’s why becoming a mom seemed so distant to me in my adolescence. But now it is here. I’m only 22 and I’m a mom!
Although I imagined many futures for myself, some that included travel, others that included internships and professional careers, I am grateful that this is my present and will be my future.Many say that becoming parents “forever changes your life” and is the end to all fun, but Braden and I disagree. Our lives definitely haven’t ended, and we’ve still been able to do most things we enjoyed doing together before Will’s arrival. William has just added to the fun and adventure of our lives and we love being his parents.
There are difficult and overwhelming moments, but the occasional smile, laugh, funny noise and/or face makes all the hard work and time worth it. Even though I was nervous about the responsibility that comes with being a mom, I’ve been surprised by how much I love it. I’m not saying it’s easy, but it is the most rewarding thing I’ve ever dedicated my time to.Now I want to spend some time writing and reflecting on William’s birth, a day Braden and I will remember for the rest of our lives.
Thursday, May 31, 2018 (My Due Date)
1 pm – Braden and I went to my Doctor’s Appointment, and our doctor discovered that my amniotic fluid was low. He suggested being induced, and I was VERY excited to hear that! We decided to check into the hospital that evening to start the labor process.6 pm – After packing up our last few things (we had been packed for a week or two), we said a prayer together and headed out. Braden and I couldn’t believe that our little apartment would never be the same again. We stopped by one of our favorite restaurants, Cubby’s, on the way for one last kid-less date. :)
7 pm – We checked into the Orem Community Hospital and I changed into my stylish blue hospital gown. I took a picture with my gown and hospital jug and sent it to my family with the caption “I have the jug, now it’s official!”
8 pm – The nurses inserted the Cervidil (cervix ripener that helps thin the cervix) and continued to check on me every few hours throughout the night. Braden and I watched a few episodes of “This is Us” and I tried to sleep…
Friday, June 1, 2018
8 am – I had been up all night with contractions that were really painful. The nurses would give me pain-killers every few hours, but even those started to wear off after a while as the contractions got stronger. At 8 am they removed the Cervidil and started me on Pitocin. I tried to eat breakfast, but there wasn’t enough time between contractions for me to eat, and I lost my appetite.9 am – They gave me my epidural and it was AMAZING! The contractions were getting strong and I was ready for some relief, especially after not being able to sleep all night. Getting the epidural wasn’t as bad as I thought it would be, and it made everything so much better. For the next few hours as I began to dilate, my mom and I watched the movie “9 Months” and I slept and rested. Braden was a great support to me as we prepared for delivery.
2 pm – My nurse checked on me again and determined I was dilated to a 10! She let my doctor know and other nurses began preparing our room for delivery. Seeing them get all the equipment ready made me nervous for what was about to happen. I couldn’t believe I was about to give birth… I tried to stay calm and rest as much as possible.2:45 pm – I began pushing with the help of my nurse and Braden. At first it didn’t really feel like anything was happening and I wondered how long it would take to push him out. If you ask Braden, the thing I was most nervous about was not being strong enough to push William out.3:30 pm – Our doctor arrived, got dressed, and began to help with the pushing. Everyone kept saying “Michelle, you are so close!”, but after a while I stopped believing them because it felt like Will’s head was still in the exact same spot! Braden was really encouraging and positive, which helped me keep going even though I felt exhausted. I could see him getting excited to meet the baby that had been growing inside of me for 9 months and that was so special. Towards the end I got pretty emotional because the pressure was so strong, and it didn’t feel like he was coming out anytime soon. I cried, and pushed, and cried some more…4:28 pm – William was born! That last push is hard to describe. There was so much relief as I felt him leave my body and enter the world. My body felt so different in only a matter of minutes – he was no longer a part of me, but still a part of my heart. As Will was born, the doctor noticed that he’d swallowed meconium, and that it was all over his body internally and externally. The nurses took him first to clean him up and I watched from my hospital bed as they cleaned and took care of him. I was still in awe that he was mine.
They let me hold him for a couple of minutes to do skin-to-skin, but he was still struggling to breathe. Those few minutes were so special. As I looked at him, I couldn’t believe that Heavenly Father trusted us with this perfect little human being. The feeling of his body next to mine, all snuggled up, is one I’ll never forget even though it was short.
The nurses then took him to the NICU to continue clearing fluid out of his lungs and stomach. Once they took William I felt pretty weird and lonely. My doctor stitched me up and meanwhile my whole body was trembling. The shaking and trembling continued for a few hours after delivery until my body calmed down. Both William and Braden were in the NICU, but thankfully I had my mom in the room with me still.
Will’s first day of life was tough. His condition wasn’t severe, but concerning enough that he needed to be monitored throughout our stay in the hospital. Not only was it rough for him, but also for me. I didn’t get to hold him (besides the few minutes after delivery), and I felt a little distant. An hour after delivery I was able to get up and walk (waddling), and a few hours later my brother rolled my wheelchair to the NICU to see William. I was so happy to see him again even though I couldn’t hold him yet.
Saturday, June 2, 2018
Day two was so much better than day one. I got the best sleep I’d had in 9 months and woke up hungry and ready to eat. After breakfast Braden and I headed to the nursery to see William again. This time we were able to snuggle with him, have skin-to-skin time, and later in the afternoon I even tried breastfeeding him. We went into the NICU every few hours to hold and feed Will which was always surreal and incredible. He still had monitors attached to him, but we quickly figured out how to navigate and work with them. I think the best word to describe how Braden and I felt is “amazed.”
Sunday, June 3, 2018
Day three was a day of hope and faith that things would get better for William and I. Our feedings and cuddles continued, and the nurses slowly began weaning him off of oxygen and antibiotics. They were hopeful that we’d be able to bring him home the next day. I took my first bath postpartum and felt like a new person afterwards! I don’t think a bath has ever been so relaxing or amazing. I was technically “discharged” on Sunday afternoon, but Braden and I stayed in our room an extra night so I could feed William. Since I no longer had a huge belly, Braden and I snuggled up on the guest couch and took a nap together that afternoon. The rest was great, but the comfort of Braden’s arms wrapped around me was even better. As we went to bed that night, we were hopeful of good news the next day.
Monday, June 4, 2018
William had gone 24 hours without his oxygen levels dropping!! Our pediatrician came in that morning to check Will and felt that everything was good! He gave us the ok to take him home early that afternoon and we were so excited! We also had a photographer come take photos of us in the hospital (I’ll share those in my next blog post!) which was really fun. After the photoshoot, the nurses checked Will one last time and then let us take him out to our car. Driving away with him in our car was so surreal! Braden drove very slowly to make sure we didn’t get in an accident :)
I loved the feeling of walking into our apartment for the first time with William. It felt amazing to have him home with us, but it was also really nerve-racking! Within the first hour Will had a projectile vomit that freaked us both out and has us thinking we should just go back to the hospital. Despite our distress, we kept taking it an hour at a time until it was bedtime!Since then we’ve just been taking it a day at a time and figuring things out as we go! Braden and I have realized how much we don’t know and and we continue to learn new things each day. We’ve had so many questions and worries, followed by surprisingly joyful moments. We feel so lucky that William joined our family and is doing so well now.William’s birth day is a day I will always remember. That day my life changed forever, and I became a new version of myself. Someone I didn’t know existed until becoming a mom. Someone with more love, patience, and perspective than before. That day Braden also became an even happier version of himself, with more love and devotion than before. He is the best dad, and the best husband. We love this new life we’ve created together, the two of us, and William. Our love for each other has grown and deepened through this experience and we feel so blessed. Giving birth was a glimpse into Heavenly Father’s plan for eternal families, and for us. It also helped me recognize the innate strength we have within us – that we are stronger than we think.
Thank you William for making me a mom. Thank you for your sweet disposition and spirit. Thank you for having chubby cheeks, for smiling and laughing (even when you were only a few days old), and for being a calm and happy baby. Most of all, thank you for giving dad and I the opportunity to love more than we ever have before. We love you!