Sunday, October 31, 2010

Happy Halloween!

Liam celebrated his first Halloween today-- we went to brunch, then took some fun fall pumpkin pictures.

We also snapped some pics of him in his Halloween costume-- he humored me for a few minutes, then let me know he'd had enough!

Happy Halloween Everyone!

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Liam Loves: Bathtime

Liam was desperate for a bath today, so I decided it was finally time to give the Puj Tub a try.

It was the first time I've bathed him alone and I was a little nervous that he'd have a melt down, as he often does when we bathe him on the sponge on the kitchen counter.

He LOVED it!

He was warm, comfy and cuddled in this tub & he never shed a tear. (Neither did I.)

After a rough week that looks like it may not be over just yet (more on that tomorrow), it was awesome to have some fun time with my little man.

And the sweet smell of a clean baby? Heaven.

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Breaking Down, Breaking Through

Monday night, I shut myself in the bathroom and cried until I was screaming.

I debated about writing this post. I find it mortifying, but I think it's probably good for me. I haven't really written much about the challenging part of parenting on this blog yet, because I thought, who wants to read about that? Well, I do. I appreciate reading about the challenges that other parents are facing. For all of the amazing moments and sweet pictures and make-me-melt smiles, there are some really difficult days mixed in.

Liam has been crying. A lot.
I know what you're thinking-- it's normal for babies to cry...well, not like this.

Nothing makes a mom feel worse than when her baby is in obvious pain and there's nothing she can do about it because she's tried everything. And nothing makes a mom want to CLAW HER OWN EYES OUT than listening to her sweet baby scream at the top of his lungs for almost nine hours straight-- which finally bought me to my breaking point.

Over the past week, Liam has gotten progressively more inconsolable. He's not really a crier-- if he's crying he's usually either hungry, wet, tired, or needing to be held. We thought that Sunday night was particularly bad, when he cried from around 6pm until midnight. It wasn't that he was fussy-- his screams told us that he was really hurting. Then Monday, things got even worse. He was hiccuping, arching his back, spiting up and screaming-- the thing is, he's been doing this for several weeks, I just never lumped the symptoms together and analyzed them. Well, finally I did.


He has acid reflux! The reason my sweet baby is screaming like acid is eating through his esophagus is, well, acid is eating through his esophagus. Monday morning, I called his pediatrician who quickly diagnosed him and prescribed him Zantac. Unfortunately, it took a few doses for the meds to get into his system and provide him some relief. In the meantime, he continued to hiccup, arch his back, spit up, and scream.

Poor little man. I know how bad this hurts-- I had horrendous acid reflux all throughout my pregnancy and have dealt with it off and on for years...and for a baby who knows no other form of communication, I can understand the screaming. But understanding it and coping with it are two different things, as it turns out.

Most days, I feel like I have a tremendous amount of patience with Liam, and lucky for me, he's a really easy baby. But then there are days-- the ones where I haven't slept well in a few nights, the ones where he's much fussier than usual, the ones where I'm alone all day and don't leave the house, much less shower or eat a decent meal-- where patience is not one of my best qualities. I'm starting to realize that it's those days when it's so important to take a break.

I'm a control-freak and I'm often convinced that if I'm not doing something, then it's not being done right. Now that Liam is here, this has never been more true. I have a hard time handing him over (even to Rob!) even when I really should. I also have a hard time asking for help. I wanted Liam more than anything and now that he's here, nothing is more important to me than be a good mom.

In my head, this means being with him every second and always being the one to fulfill his needs. In reality, this means doing the best I can & taking a break every once in a while.

BUT, when I need some time away from him (even after a particularly challenging day), I tend to feel like a failure. I quit my job and there's a lot that we're sacrificing financially for me to stay home with him. Admitting that I can't always do it by myself is difficult, but it's something that needs to be done.

Rob wants to spend time with his son without me hovering over him, critiquing his parenting. My parents want nothing more than to spend time with their darling grandson. I have to let go and admit that some time away from Liam is not only good for me, but also good for him. It's impossible for me to be the best parent I can be if I'm not doing any of the things that made me happy before I was a parent or spending any time alone.

Which brings me back to Monday night. I had been alone with a screaming child all day when Rob got home from work at 6pm. He needed to work on a paper for school this weekend but couldn't concentrate with Liam's screams echoing through the house. As Rob packed up his stuff to head to Starbucks to work, I started crying. I knew he needed to get it done, I simply couldn't fathom spending 3-4 more hours alone with the screaming. Once I started crying, I simply couldn't stop. (Just an aside-- Liam, of course, was never in any danger while I was upset. He was safe in his bassinet in our bedroom where I put him when I knew I needed to step away.)

When Rob heard me completely lose it, he took Liam outside for a walk-- with the house quiet, I was able to calm down and take a hot bath. When he returned, he put Liam in his crib (still screaming, unfortunately), came into the bathroom, told me to finish up and get out of the house. He told me to go to a movie, get a cup of coffee, walk around the 24 hour Walmart near our house-- ANYTHING. Just get out of the house and away from the baby.

So, I did. I drove around for an hour and a half, talking to my mom, crying. I was only gone a little over an hour and I didn't even get out of the car, but I returned home calm. When I walked through the door, Rob was holding my sweet baby, feeding him a bottle. He fell asleep after soon after that.

Rob has encouraged me to be more honest about my needs, when I've had enough. He's encouraged me to regularly leave the baby with him in the evenings and get out of the house. I'm simply not able to step aside when I'm home-- I have to leave. I will.

Yesterday, I packed up all of Liam's stuff and went to my parents' house around lunchtime. I handed Liam over the minute I walked in the door and while we were in the same house for the rest of the day, I wasn't responsible for him. I took a shower, took a nap and took some time alone. My parents changed his diapers, fed him bottles and fed me lunch and dinner. My mom made me promise that we'd start doing this once a week. I promise.

Liam's had six doses of Zantac now. The screaming has almost stopped-- I'm sure he feels like a new baby. I've promised that I will allow myself the time I deserve and ask for help when I really need it-- I feel like a new mommy. It might have taken a breakdown to get here, but it's a breakthrough for both of us.

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Letters to Liam, 1 month

My Little Liam,

An entire month has gone by since I first saw your face and held you in my arms… and still, it seems like yesterday.

When you were born, everyone exclaimed how much you looked like your Uncle Eric, and you did—but every day I see pieces of your daddy and me in you. Last night, I saw Poppy’s two month old baby picture and you are starting to look very similar to him at that age. It’s amazing to watch you change.

You’ve changed so much over the past four weeks. Your tiny newborn clothes are starting to get shorter as you get taller. Your cute little cheeks have filled out. Your full head of dark hair has started to lighten and thin at the top. (Daddy says you still have more hair than he does!) In the sunlight, I can see little specs sparkling in your deep blue-gray eyes, hinting that they may end up green like me and Poppy’s.

You are so alert! I’ve watched you start to focus on your toys—the mobile above your swing, the dangling animals on your play mat. You’re strong, too! When you’re resting on my shoulder, you are always lifting your head up to see what’s going on. And in the past few days, we’ve seen our biggest reward yet—you are starting to smile at us. There are no words to describe that precious feeling.

You love to eat, you hate to have your diaper changed and you’re already a good sleeper. Our first week together was difficult, but you’ve already settled into a pattern of sleeping about 4-6 hours straight each night. With your bassinet next to my bed, some nights I wake up and watch you sleep… I still can’t believe you’re mine.

As much as you’ve changed, I think that maybe I’ve changed even more. The moment that you were born, I became a new person-- I became a mother. I want nothing more from my life than to protect you, to take care of you and to love you. Every time I look at you, I can’t believe that I had any part in making something so perfect.

It hasn’t been easy. There have been days full of tears (both yours and mine), sleepless nights and times where we haven’t always known just what to do, but being your mom is the most rewarding job I‘ve ever had. You look to me to comfort you & take care of you-- I promise not to let you down.

The past four weeks have been the best month of my life, all because of you.

I love you, honey bee.

Tuesday, October 19, 2010


Four weeks ago tonight, I sat in a hospital bed smiling down
at my new son.

Tonight, he lay on the floor and smiled up at me.
Pure happiness.

Friday, October 15, 2010


Today is National Pregnancy & Infant Loss Awareness Day.

While Rob and I did not experience loss directly, it has touched our lives through the loss of infant siblings and the babies of family members & dear friends. On this day, I am keenly aware of how lucky we are that my pregnancy did not present any complications and that Liam is healthy.

Today we remember all of those babies, too precious to stay, who are so very loved.

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Thankful on a Thursday

What we did to deserve this precious creature, I have no idea.

Monday, October 11, 2010

Adventures in Babywearing

Sometimes, I avoid trying new things because I'm scared I won't do them right. Like when I was making the crib bedding for Liam's nursery, I put off making the crib bumper for months because I had never done piping before and was worried I'd mess it up.

I have a feeling that I might be the same way when it comes to parenting-- rather, I know that I will.

Liam is still getting sponge baths every few days, even though his cord stump fell off nearly two weeks ago. We have a Puj Tub just waiting to fill the bathroom sink, but it will likely sit unused for a while longer as I'm nervous about bathing the slippery skin on his tiny body.

This weekend, my aunt visited from TX to see Liam for the first time. On Saturday, we ventured out for lunch, then shopping and the day resembled the type of Saturday that we would have had before Liam was born. It was really nice. Liam slept in his stroller almost the whole time, other than a quick feeding (my first time to nurse in public!). It was the longest we've left the house in three weeks.

CONFESSION: I've been too scared to take him out on my own.

Monday, Rob returns to work. And while I have fantastic parents who live close by and will help me in any way possible, it's time for me to be an independent mama.

We have a carseat that snaps right into the stroller, but what's a mom to do when she needs to run errands that aren't condusive to dragging the stroller along? Case in point: Grocery Shopping. Seems like many mamas just plop the car seat down on their shopping carts, and if it works for you, then no judgement here. However, being the worrier I am, I've read too many articles like this about car seats falling off of shopping carts that I've decided that I'm not comfortable taking the chance.

So instead of coming up with a solution, I've just avoiding grocery shopping for the past three weeks, along with most errands. (One of the beautiful things about having family nearby is that everyone has stopped by to see Liam and they've brought food! We've been so blessed and taken care of!) Rob has run out to the store periodically for the few things that we've needed.

Today, I decided it was time to face my fear and step up to the challenge...I'm running out of time. I had to learn how to use my Moby Wrap.

Several months ago when I tried to learn how to tie it using Mozart as my "baby" I quickly learned that the instruction manual is essentially useless. It's too difficult to see exactly how to tie it based on illustrations. Thank God for YouTube-- there are so many videos showing you all of the different holds. It was so helpful to see people actually putting it on! So, I knew how to tie it, I'd just never done it with a real live baby. If you think I was nervous about the whole bath situtation, think about dangling your three week old child from a six foot long piece of jersey knit fabric.

This morning, I took a deep breath, picked up my fussy baby and slid him into the newborn cradle hold. Within 30 seconds, he went from l'enfant terrible (terrible child, what we call him when he's especially cranky, which is not often) to a sleeping little angel. He slept so soundly, I kept checking on him to make sure he was alright. I did the dishes, I did the laundry and he just slept. It was miraculous.

Armed with a new sense of confidence, later this afternoon I tried the newborn hug hold. Again, he loved it. We took a walk around the neighborhood (he slept the whole time), I made dinner and he was so snuggly and happy.

I feel really silly that I was so scared to try it-- If I hadn't, I really would have missed out on a comfortable way to hold my baby as well as a tool to help me rejoin the real world! With both holds, I fed him right before putting him into the wrap and he slept for hours and hours. He was completely secure the whole time & my hands were free. I know that I could put him in this and have at least an hour to get some shopping done.

I feel great now about being able to leave the house alone, leave the carseat in the car, and hopefully leave my worries behind.

(So, not a great pic of me, but some days it's a stretch to take a shower and brush my teeth in the same day. Today I did both. I'm a rockstar.)

Thursday, October 7, 2010

Good Night

We had a good night last night. No, a great night.

Following our appointment with our pediatrician and our lactation consultant last week, I've tried to be extremely diligent about making sure that Liam eats every three hours unless he's so sleepy that all of the usual tricks (changing his diaper, undressing him, tickling his feet and neck, cool wash cloth on his face, etc) fail to rouse him. If he's that sleepy, it's just not worth the fight.

I think we are finally beginning to establish a difference between daytime & nighttime.

The last three nights, I've nursed him around 10pm, then headed to bed. Rob gives him a bottle of pumped milk when he gets hungry around 12:30am. I just know that I'm about to jinx us, but I'll say it-- He has slept like a dream after that bottle, all three nights. Last night, Rob put him down around 12:45am and I didn't hear a peep out of him until 6:30 this morning. I nursed him and he went back to sleep for another two hours! (The two nights before, he slept until at least 4am before waking to feed, then going back to sleep.)

Dare I say that I actually feel somewhat rested? I know that I shouldn't be overly optimistic-- he's due for a growth spurt anytime now & when he hits it, he may be awake every hour on the hour to eat. But in the meantime, I'll celebrate every good night we have!

Tuesday, October 5, 2010


In our two weeks as a family of three, we've had so many firsts together!

A few days after we got home from the hospital, Liam had his first (sponge) bath:

He did really well! I thought he'd scream the whole time, but he only whimpered a little towards the end when he got a little chilly.

We had our first pediatrician's appointment last Monday and Liam passed inspection with flying colors! He was almost back to his birth weight at less than a week old. He was 7lbs 5oz at birth, 7 lbs even when we left the hospital, and back up to 7lbs 4 oz at his appointment. (Today, at his two week appointment, he weighed in at 7lbs 6 oz.) Everything else looked good, including his cord stump (which fell off later that day) and his circumcision, which has healed completely.

Here he is before his appointment:

Wednesday, after his photo shoot, we had an appointment with our lactation consultant-- we weren't having any problems, I just wanted to have her look us over and make sure we're establishing good nursing habits. I am still using a nipple shield, but it's not effecting my supply, so she said not to worry about it. She weighed Liam before I fed him, then after I finished and determined that he's eating between 3-4 oz per feeding. This was a huge boost of confidence for me regarding our success breastfeeding. He's getting plenty to eat and I've added in a pumping session every morning right after he eats as well as some afternoons-- these bottles of pumped milk have freed me to have other people feed him. (As of tonight, I have 34 oz of milk in the freezer, which doesn't sound like much, but it's over 8 feedings worth of milk! Considering my milk came in a little over a week ago, I think that's pretty good!!)

Speaking of which, Saturday night was our first night out without him (and last night was our second). My brother came into town to see Liam and my cousin (who has 5 year old quadruplets) offered to babysit so that we could go to dinner with him and my parents. We left her with several bottles and stepped out for a few hours-- he did great and we did pretty well ourselves.

My brother Eric holding Liam:
Eric, Mom, Dad, Me & Rob at dinner:

Last night, Rob gave Liam a bottle around midnight so that I could get some sleep. (I would post a picture but we lost our camera last week. Gasp!! If it doesn't turn up this week, we'll be buying a new one.) It was his first time to feed Liam and his excitement over it was simply precious. Rob said, "He looked at me the way he looks at you when you feed him! I love the happy sounds he makes when he's eating! I got to hold him the same way you do when I burped him!" It was such a sweet and private bonding time for the two of them. I don't want to use the bottle of milk that I pump each morning for his midnight feeding (I would never be able to build my freezer stash!), but if I can make my afternoon pumping session a regular thing so that I can freeze one bottle and have Rob feed him the other, I would love for this to be their special time each night. (Bonus: Mommy gets more sleep.)

Things are going so well-- we have a beautiful healthy baby boy and although we are exhausted, we're happier than we've ever been.

Monday, October 4, 2010


Today we celebrated two years of wedded bliss-- it's amazing how different our lives are from last year. Tonight my parents watched Liam while we went out for dinner and a movie-- we certainly spent plenty of time talking about the baby, but it was nice to focus on us for a little while.

After checking in (three times) we were trying to decide what we wanted to do while we knew Liam was being taken care of-- the best thing we could think of? Coming home and taking a nap. So, we did.

My, how times have changed...but certainly for the better.

Friday, October 1, 2010

His Story

"First we had each other.
Then we had you.
Now we have everything."

Over a week later and I can still hardly believe he’s mine… the birth didn’t go quite like I expected, but the baby boy they placed in my arms is better than anything I ever could have imagined.

Here is Liam’s birth story. (Just a warning, it's long.)

At my 40 week appointment, with no sign of labor coming, we scheduled our induction for Sept 21st. My doctor prefers to schedule all of her inductions on Tuesdays and Thursdays, because she’s at the hospital all day. I was really disappointed to be put on the schedule, but I was so hopeful that I might go into labor before that day. Well, Liam was hesitant about being conceived and even more hesitant about being born—I think we probably have a stubborn little boy on our hands. (Wonder where he gets that from?)

At 6am on Sept 21st, we arrived at the hospital, only to find that we weren’t actually on the schedule. It wasn’t a big deal and they got us a room right away, but it wasn’t set up for us, so we spent some time nervously waiting for things to get started. Around 7am, our nurse Pam came in to put in my IV—we were thrilled to see her, as she was our instructor at our childbirth classes! It was nice to see a familiar face.

My doctor’s child had an accident that morning and she was running late, so we had some more time to wait before things got started. At 8am, she arrived and when she checked me, I was still at 1cm & 75% effaced. She went ahead and started the pitocin and broke my water. She had a very hard time breaking my water because the baby was still up so high—it didn’t really hurt, but it was extremely uncomfortable.

Within a half an hour, the contractions started—they were mild for about 20 minutes, then intensified. I went from being able to talk through them (with a little labored breathing) to clenching my eyes shut, my body stiffening in pain. At 10am, I was checked and I had only progressed to 2cm and I was 100% effaced. Pam asked if I was ready for my epidural. I considered it, but declined, because I knew that I wanted to be further along in my labor. Fast forward an hour later to my next internal—contractions were intense at 2 min apart, lasting at least a minute each. I could barely catch my breath before one ended and the next one began. When my doctor announced that I was still only 2cm, I was so disappointed that all of the pain I had been in didn’t seem to be doing any good.

Pam asked again about getting the epidural, and again, I declined. At 11:30 she came back and let me know that not only was I still only 2cm, but also that the anesthesiologist was going in for a scheduled c-section at noon, and I needed to make a decision about whether I wanted the epidural now, or if I wanted to wait until he was out of surgery. We talked about it, letting her know that this wasn’t our plan…that I had hoped to be 4-5cm dilated before getting the epidural, but the fact of the matter was that I simply wasn’t progressing quickly. In three and a half hours of extremely intense, regular contractions, I had only dilated one centimeter and it was impossible to tell how long it might be before I hit that magic number of 4-5cm. Pam assured me that my active labor pattern wouldn’t be slowed by the epidural and feeling extremely defeated, I agreed to get it immediately. (I was afraid if I let him go, it could be hours before I saw him again.)

The epidural was a piece of cake. The hardest part was sitting still through the contractions. The needle used to numb my back was painful, but it was nothing compared to the pain I’d felt over the past few hours. I could feel the catheter as it slid into my back, but it wasn’t painful, just a strange sensation. Within ten minutes, the pain was gone, but the shaking began. I shook uncontrollably for the rest of my labor and for a few hours afterwards—like I was shivering, only I wasn’t cold.

At 12:30pm I was 2.5 centimeters.

At 1:30pm I was 3 centimeters.

At 2:30pm I was 4 centimeters and 0 station.

I started to worry. I knew that all labors progress differently, but the fact that I had only gone 3 centimeters in the span of 5 ½ hours while being pumped full of pitocin that increased every 15 minutes didn’t sound good to me. I could tell my doctor seemed to be concerned. Watching the monitors, I could see that the contractions were about as intense and close together as they could get—out of 100, they were regularly measuring between 75-95, but still, I wasn’t making much progress.

I started asking a lot of questions about how things should be going and what would happen if I didn’t start progressing in the next few hours. I didn’t get a lot of answers. Later on, Rob told me that it was around this time that Pam pulled him out into the hallway and told him that he should prepare himself for this to turn into a c-section. She told him not to let on to me that this might be the case because it would discourage me, but that she wanted him to be prepared so that he could comfort me when the time came. (She knew that I adamantly did not want a c-section or an episiotomy.)

There was a shift change and Pam promised me that she’d find a great nurse to take care of us—and she really did. Sharon, who was with us until 11pm was an angel.

At 4:30pm, I was checked again and I was 8cm and +1 station. I had jumped 4cm in an hour! Hallelujah!! Finally, some clear progress! My spirits lifted a little bit and I started to gain confidence that things were going to be ok.

Not long after that, I started to have some pretty intense back pain. I mentioned to Sharon that I didn’t feel like my epidural was working properly. She explained that it works with gravity and that if I spent too long laying on one side (which they encouraged me to do to attempt to coax the baby down) the medicine would go towards that side of my body. So, I rolled over to the other side, but the pain didn’t go away. I tried laying on my back, but it still didn’t go away.
Sharon brought me a pump with a button that I could squeeze every 20 minutes to increase the epidural, but it didn’t seem to make a difference.

At 5pm, my doctor came in to check me herself and announced that if I was ready to push, she was ready to deliver me. Otherwise, she’d be going home and turning me over to the doctor on call. I still had a tiny lip of my cervix left on the right side and was still at +1, so I wasn’t ready. She announced that she’d update the on call doctor on my status and with that, she was gone. I was livid. My blood pressure sky-rocketed and I started crying. I always knew there would be a chance that my doctor wouldn’t be there to deliver me, but the whole reason we scheduled the induction for this day was that this was her scheduled induction day. And when I had asked Pam about the timing of things, she had told me that her shift would end at 3pm, but that my doctor would be there with me until the end. Now I was faced with having a doctor that I’d never even met deliver me, and from the sound of it, he wasn’t Sharon’s favorite to work with. If I had known that my doctor had a time limit on attending my birth (deliver by 5pm or you’re out of luck) I would have induced on Monday, my birthday.

At 6pm, I spiked a fever and they worried about the stress that this, plus the high blood pressure would put on the baby. I was still at +1. I didn’t want to push— I could feel that my body just wasn’t ready. I wanted to wait and take the time to let gravity move him down, not fight against the progress that my body was obviously not ready to make. My doctor knew this and had been willing to wait as long as we needed to, provided that the baby looked good on the monitors. The new doctor did not have the same patience. He ordered the nurse (over the phone, he wasn’t even there yet) to have me start pushing now. Sharon held off as long as she could but then told me it was time.

At 6:30, she got out the stirrups, and put my legs into them. Rob stood on one side and my mom was on the other (with my dad in the corner of the room, near my head), and with the next contraction, I started pushing. I made it through two pushes, then announced that I needed to throw up. I was so nauseated that I couldn’t concentrate on pushing. I got sick, then went back to pushing, only I felt like I wasn’t doing it right. I didn’t feel anything, not even pressure. The only thing I could feel was that it wasn’t working. Sharon announced that Liam wasn’t tolerating the pushing very well—his heart rate had dropped, so they put an oxygen mask on me and had me rest. My back still really hurt and I couldn’t get any relief from the pain.

At 7pm, the doctor swooped in, introducing himself to everyone but me as I lay there exposed with my legs in the stirrups. He sat down at the foot of the bed and said “Are we ready to have a baby?” before ordering me to start pushing. I pushed a few times, then he announced that the baby was turned sunny side up. (How he knew this so quickly and no one else seemed to, I have no idea) This is why Liam was not coming down and why I had such horrible back pain. (When he was born, the top of his head had a large bruise on it where it had been butting up against my pelvic bone all day.) I watched the horror on my mom and Rob’s face as the doctor stuck his hand in me (practically up the elbow), reached into my uterus and turned the baby. The doctor had me push a few more times, then left, telling us to continue pushing.

Yes, I said the doctor left!!

Later, one of the nurses said that she thinks that he went to check on a gynecology patient on another floor. All I know is that he was nowhere to be found.

After a few more pushes, we took a break for a few minutes. It was around 7:15pm, and I suddenly felt this intense pressure that went from uncomfortable to unbearable. Panicked, I said, “I think the baby’s coming!!” and Sharon said, “Don’t push!!” I told her that I wasn’t pushing but that it felt like he was coming anyway. She grabbed two other nurses and told me to push slightly, then immediately told me to stop—the baby was crowning. The next few minutes were a blur as nurses rushed in and out of the room, up and down the halls, looking for the doctor, preparing the tools needed for delivery. Sharon looked at me and told me that it looked like she’d be delivering this baby, that they couldn’t find the doctor. She told me not to worry—that everything was going to be ok. And I believed her. In fact, I trusted her more than I trusted the doctor—she was my advocate from the beginning.

But make no mistake, I was terrified. I was scared of the pain that I felt in my back. Scared that something bad would happen to Liam when his cord was compressed as I pushed. Scared that something would go wrong that the nurses were not prepared to handle. Scared that I’d need an episiotomy, or worse, the c-section that I dreaded. Instead of feeling like I was in a calm environment where everything was taken care of and truly would be ok, I felt like things were in complete chaos and were out of control. I looked at Rob helplessly and he wiped tears off of my face as they ran off of the oxygen mask. He looked me in the eye and told me that I could do this-- and although I really felt like I couldn’t, I knew I didn’t have a choice.

So, I started gently pushing again as Sharon instructed me to and as I pushed, the doctor wandered back in. I pushed twice and Rob told me that he could see the baby’s head and that he had dark hair! I couldn’t believe we were so close. The doctor asked me if I wanted a mirror and one appeared as soon as I said yes. As I started to push again, Rob, my mom, and the doctor all said, “Open your eyes! Open your eyes, Stef!” and when I did, I saw my son’s face as it entered the world. (And yes, I’m crying as I type this as I look at that same face which has already changed so much in a week, swinging beside me.) The doctor told me that he needed one last push, which he instructed me to start and stop several times and at 7:31pm Liam tumbled out into his arms.

The doctor placed him on my chest as Rob and I touched him, held each other and cried. It felt so unreal that he was finally here, that he’s perfect and healthy and that the worst part was over. They carried him over to the warmer where he was checked out and received a fantastic 9/9 on his apgar. He was 7lbs 5oz and 21 ½ inches long. Immediately, we recognized my nose and Rob’s toes among his features.

Rob, my mom and my dad followed him to the warmer where he stayed for some time with everyone fawning over him while I was repaired. No episiotomy, just a 2nd degree tear when his shoulders were delivered. The only problem was that I was losing a lot of blood. The pitocin was turned up and a second bag was added while the doctor massaged my uterus. After a few minutes, the bleeding slowed and the doctor was able to stitch me up. The only difficult part was that due to the extra pitocin, I had intense contractions for hours after the birth and my epidural had worn off. I couldn’t take any Percocet until I had eaten, but who wants to eat while they’re having contractions?! I managed to eat a little, just so they’d give me the meds.

We spent some time with family, then everyone cleared out so that Rob and I could have some time alone with Liam. The three of us climbed into the hospital bed together as I breastfed Liam for the first time and we both stared at him in awe.

I haven’t talked yet about how amazing Rob was throughout the whole birth. He never left my side from the very first contraction until after our son was born. He watched the monitors to tell me when contractions would subside, he held my hand, he rubbed my belly, he got me ice chips, he counted when I pushed, he pulled my hair back when I got sick and he watched every moment as our son entered the world. I couldn’t have asked for anything more from him—he made a terrifying and exciting day a little less scary and a lot more exhilarating. I was so lucky to have him.

That night, when they took Liam to the nursery for a few hours for his bath, checkup and midnight weigh-in, we tried to get some sleep. Every time there was more than a minute or two of silence, one of us would say, “Can you believe it? We have a son!” and we’d spend another half hour exclaiming over each of his features. Sometime around 2am, I dozed off and woke up startled—Rob was leaning over my bed, kissing me on the cheek. When I opened my eyes, he looked at me and simply said, “I was thinking about the baby.”

So that’s his story—I (narrowly) escaped the c-section and episiotomy and had a little bit of drama, but in the end, got exactly what we wanted: our beautiful son.

Here are some more pictures from his birthday:

“You are the best thing, that’s ever been mine.”
-Taylor Swift