This was my first pregnancy and delivery and let me tell you, it did not go as expected in every aspect. I always heard not to get too hung up on the due date, so I went into the week I was due with an open mind that Kolby could potentially not make his appearance when we expected. But each day that passed after my due date felt like months – I was ready to meet our baby boy!

I didn’t have any signs of labor either. I never felt Kolby drop, my mucus plug never came out, and my water never broke. I thought I was going to be pregnant forever. On February 3rd, my friend and I decided to take a Costco trip so that I could get some walking in. As we were walking, I felt some sensation in my stomach that I hadn’t felt before. It wasn’t painful, but it was definitely uncomfortable and something I had never experienced before throughout my pregnancy. My stomach was so rock hard, you could have probably bounced a quarter off it. I told my friend that I thought something was happening and I drove home. Once home, I called my husband at work and told him that there was no rush to come home, but that I was pretty sure Kolby was finally on his way. Friday evening I started getting contractions. They were the kind of contractions that they describe in books – almost like strong menstrual cramps, but bearable. As the night went on, they started to get stronger, but they were all over the place. Sometimes the contractions would be two minutes apart, other times 10 minutes, then back to four minutes, then up to 15 minutes. We didn’t sleep at all that night, then around 4am my contractions suddenly stopped. I didn’t have another contraction until late Saturday morning. And when they came back, they back with a vengeance. This time they were all back labor. With each contraction there was excruciating pain, a pain unlike anything I had never felt before. I screamed through every single contraction, but they were still all over the place as far as their timing. I never once had a moment of relief, because between the excruciating pain, my back was still throbbing. I couldn’t sit or lay down. This pain continued for all of Saturday into the evening. Around midnight, I had my husband call Kourtney because I had been in labor for so long I didn’t know if the amount of pain I was experiencing was normal, and I needed to know that this baby was going to be out of me soon. I distinctly remember telling my husband, “when we go into the birth center, if I’m only 2cm dilated, we’re going to the hospital because I’m not doing this anymore.”

Up to this point, my contractions were still not consistent, but as we were driving to the birth center (we’re in Albany), they finally became consistent at 3 minutes apart. When we arrived at the birth center, Kourtney checked me and I was 7cm dilated. I labored for another hour and then I felt the intense urge to push. I was 10cm and given the go ahead to begin pushing. I pushed for around 45 minutes and felt like nothing was happening. My water still hadn’t broke up to this point, so Kourtney broke it, and BOY did that get things moving! I started in the bathtub, pushing as hard as I could. I was so exhausted from being in intense labor for so long that I was falling asleep between each push. I tried many different positions and places in the room, and finally ended up on the bed with my husband behind me and me slightly on my side. I continued to push for a grand total of 2 hours and 30 minutes. The last 15 minutes of pushing, Kourtney informed me that Kolby had gotten stuck on my pubic bone and I needed to get him out as quickly as possible. I was given oxygen for Kolby. When she told me that, I swear I pushed for 5 minutes straight without taking a breath. I heard Roslyn say, “here he comes!” and that “ring of fire” they talk about as the head comes out…yeah, that’s a real thing. One final push, and Kolby was born on February 5th at 6:04am.

Typically, after delivering baby and the placenta, the uterus contracts to stop the bleeding. Apparently my uterus decided not to contract because it was exhausted. So because my uterus didn’t contract, I continued to bleed. Unbeknownst to me, Kourtney attempted to manually stop the bleeding. This didn’t work, so I ended up needing a shot of pitocin, as well as Cytotec (which was a suppository, so that was fun). With these interventions, the bleeding was contained. Because of this extra blood loss, the first couple times of trying to sit up resulted in me passing out. All in all, I was in labor for a grand total of 52 hours and pushed for 2 hours and 30 minutes. Kolby was born at 21.5 inches long and 8 pounds 14.5 ounces. Despite the fact that my labor and delivery had some complications and was nothing like I expected it to be, in the end it was all worth it.

Post-Partum Depression

Another thing that threw me for a loop was how difficult adjusting to life with a newborn would be for me. My job before having Kolby was working with children ranging from the ages of 6 weeks to 3 years. I figured that since I had so much experience working with young children having my own child a breeze. If I could love those babies that weren’t my own so much, surely the love for my own child would be overwhelming. And that’s what people told me. “The second he’s born you’re going to be filled with a love you never knew.” But I wasn’t. In fact, the first two months of motherhood I slipped into a depression that I had never felt before. I cried almost every minute of everyday. And not just some tears rolling down my cheek, but full on guttural sobs. I couldn’t control it. It just came over me and there was nothing to stop it. I wanted nothing to do with Kolby. I didn’t like him, let alone love him. I wanted to run away and never come back. When he would cry, I wasn’t taken over by the emotional connection to my baby to help soothe him. I did everything I could to make him stop crying because I didn’t want to hear it anymore. All I could think was, “shut up. Just shut up”. And I yelled it at him. Then I cried more because I had just screamed “shut up” at my 4 day old baby who didn’t know any better than to cry. Who was I? I felt guilt and shame. I had this beautiful baby boy that I had wanted so badly for so long, that so many women would do anything to have, and here I was yelling at him. Not wanting to hold him. Not wanting him near me. I felt like I had made the biggest mistake of my life. I just wanted my old life back. I didn’t want to be responsible for this baby. Zoloft was suggested several times throughout those first months, but I never felt that was something I needed. Finally, after two months the haze started to lift. I was feeling better, Kolby was sleeping better, hormones were balancing out, and I was finally starting to feel a connection to my baby. Another thing that I really feel helped me was realizing that breastfeeding wasn’t for us. We struggled immensely the first few months with nursing and I eventually was exclusively pumping every two hours around the clock. Once I made the decision to switch to formula, I felt such relief. Today, my relationship with Kolby has blossomed into something that, at the beginning, I felt was impossible. Now I ugly cry because of how much I love him. I can’t imagine my life without him. He brings so much happiness and joy to our lives, and I think having gone through that struggle, I appreciate and adore him that much more.