Wilder has been outside my body for four weeks, which simultaneously feels so much longer and so much shorter than that. And in that sliver of time – because despite all the marathon nursing sessions and the billion diaper changes, four weeks really is nothing – this amazing baby boy has already changed so much. I joked on Instagram that it’s onesies today, college applications tomorrow, but there’s real truth to it. All the hormones surging through my postpartum body are making me tear up as I write this, because it’s perfectly reasonable to cry about your 4-week-old baby growing up too fast and someday flying the coop … right?
So because time goes so quickly and my hormones are still raging, I figure it’s the perfect time to share Wilder’s birth story. Not only is it fresh in my mind (some things you just can’t forget), but I will likely cry all over my computer as I relive the experience. So LET’S DO IT.
About a month before Wilder was born, I woke James up in the middle of the night screaming “OH MY GOD, MY WATER BROKE.” Spoiler alert, it hadn’t – double spoiler alert, it never even happened during labor – but from that point on, I was terrified of spontaneous childbirth. I felt a twinge and wondered if it was a contraction. I felt something wet (TMI, it was usually just pee) and wondered if amniotic fluid was slowly leaking out of me. To shut me up, my doctor promised that when I actually had a real contraction, I would know.
Here’s another spoiler: She was so damn right.
Contractions – real ones this time – woke me up at 4 a.m. on January 16, but they were all over the place when we tried to time them. Instead of trying to sleep through them or between them, I hung out in bed all day and played Candy Crush. Had I known that I wouldn’t get sleep for the next 43 hours (and that I would not sleep for longer than three hours at a time from that point forward, thanks to Wilder’s nursing schedule*), I would have taken a nap. I would have napped all freaking day long. But nope, I chose Candy Crush.
At midnight on January 17, after a full day of contractions that gradually went from “Labor is so easy, maybe I won’t even get an epidural,” to “I think something is going to come crashing out of my vagina in two seconds,” we finally hit the 5-1-1 mark: Intense contractions that lasted for one minute, five minutes apart, for one hour. Everything that followed was a blur, and the next thing I knew, we were throwing random shit into a duffel bag and speeding through town toward the hospital.
I was in such pain at that point, I figured the baby would fall out of me at any moment. But upon further (and very painful) examination, we learned I was only one measly centimeter along, which is basically nothing. Under normal circumstances, the hospital would have sent me back home to wait it out, but despite my totally average and relatively boring 41-week pregnancy, these were not normal circumstances. Wilder’s heart rate dipped and my blood pressure skyrocketed, giving us a pass for admittance and further monitoring – totally OK because we somehow remembered to leave extra food out for the cat in our haste to leave the house.
It was at this point – between two-minute contractions that made me feel like I was going to (TMI again) poop out a baby – that I got an epidural. And it was also at this point, while the anesthesiologist’s needle was chilling somewhere in my spinal cord, that all hell broke loose.
My blood pressure, which had been so stupidly high, suddenly tanked. The baby’s heart rate went from the 150s way down to the 70s, then continued to drop every time I had a contraction (which, thanks to the epidural, felt nothing like the “My insides are turning into lava,” shit I had just experienced).
Doctors came in and looked at monitors. Machines beeped and IVs dripped. I was re-positioned a billion times. And then, within a matter of minutes, I was prepped for the operating room and wheeled across the hall for an unplanned C-section.
This is, of course, not at all what I wanted (or expected) for our birth experience, but when it came down to it, sticking to some well-thought-out birth plan didn’t matter. I mean, I didn’t even care when I was hoisted up on the operating table, totally numb from the boobs down, hospital gown hiked up to my neck, and my nude, immobile body completely exposed to a room full of strangers (shudder), because I knew no Hypnobabies routine or dimly lit birthing room could have safely brought Wilder into the world. And, at that point, what could have possibly been more important?
In that sterile room just minutes later – with James sitting on a stool next to my head, bright operating room lights in our faces, and a flimsy curtain separating us from whatever surgical madness was happening in my abdomen – we heard Wilder’s first cry, and it was so, so beautiful. And then we heard that the cord was wrapped around his neck twice, and that he had been swimming around in meconium-filled amniotic fluid, which was way more action than we bargained for so early in the morning. Despite how opposed I’d been to a surgical birth, the C-section was a blessing and I’m ridiculously thankful for the doctors who moved lightning-fast to get me in and out safely with a totally healthy, perfect, red-headed baby to show for it.
Wilder continued to cry the entire time they cleaned him off – as a matter of fact, he still hates bath time four weeks later – and when his tests were finished and they passed him into James’s waiting arms, he immediately stopped wailing and listened to his dad tell him how happy he was to finally meet him. It was, without a doubt, the most special moment of my life. I melted. James melted. Little Wilder Deery – a few minutes old, weighing a teensy 6 pounds, 7 ounces, and named Deery in honor of James’s mom – was finally here, and he was the most incredible thing I had ever seen.
I cried happy tears about him all day, and I still do, four weeks later. I mean, Wilder and I had a showtunes sing-along last week, and I had to stop halfway through “Seasons of Love” because I was crying too hard looking at this fantastic, tiny human that WE MADE. This little baby who lived inside me for more than 41 weeks, kicking at my ribs and getting hiccups every night. Who secretly jumped around during quiet times at work; who danced around in my belly at the sound of familiar voices and music; who had been on my mind for so long that sometimes I still can’t believe he’s finally here.
Little Wilder is such a joy, even when he’s hungry (which is all the time) and crying (which mostly at night) and clingy (which makes blogging a bit more challenging). These last four weeks have flown by, and we’re really excited to fill our house with a bunch more love and adventure – and a shit ton more baby gear – in the weeks, months and years ahead.
*WILDER SLEPT FOR 5 HOURS STRAIGHT LAST NIGHT. THIS IS CAUSE FOR CELEBRATION … AND CAPS LOCK.