I wanted to write down George’s birth story before details start becoming blurry as time tends to do. I loved reading other people’s birth stories leading up to the big day, especially the positive ones. I’ll preface this by saying ALL birth stories are amazing – if you get to hold your little one in your arms at the end, even if things didn’t go as planned, that is all that matters. However, I’m so thankful that I did have such a positive experience and these are the stories I clung to as I prepared my mindset for birth. So I hope if any mamas-to-be are reading this, please find comfort in knowing that birth is your own unique experience and does not compare to anyone else’s. It will be life changing and miraculous no matter what happens.
May 18th, 2021
My due date was June 2nd so as we were approaching the 38 week mark, I was anxiously awaiting any ‘signs’ of labor. I had people telling me I was going to go to 40+ weeks but I just had a feeling the baby was going to come early. So low and behold, on the morning of the 18th I went to bathroom and saw that I had lost my mucus plug (after endlessly researching what a mucus plug was in the beginning of pregnancy lol). I had so many of my friends say “wtf is a mucus plug”?! It sounds grotesque I know 😄 FYI the mucus plug is what seals the opening to your cervix preventing infection throughout your pregnancy. I asked my friends and did an Insta story asking how quickly you went into labor after losing your plug and I got so many varying responses – half the people say they went into labor the day of after losing it, and others said several days or even weeks after! Thomas was away on a trip on his final day, but I had a feeling (and was hardcore wishing) my water would break that night. But I was skeptical, so we went back and forth on whether he should come home that day just in case. I kept saying ‘no no it’s fine, I doubt it will happen tonight’. But thankfully he didn’t listen to me and decided to come home ‘just in case’.
Thomas got home in the evening and we went about our night as normal, but in anxious anticipation and hoping my water would break I made sure the house was tidy, hospital bag was packed and everything was ready for baby just in case. At 11am I got up to pee for the millionth time in my pregnancy and when I stood up I noticed a tiny little bit of clear fluid leaking into my undies. It was only a teeny bit though so I thought that maybe I had peed myself a little lol. Of course I hopped on google and started looking up “signs of water breaking” and it said if you are unsure than to lay in bed and see if the water “pools up” in your vagay. So I went back to sleep hoping to wake up to a big gush of water.
May 19th, 2021
At 2am I woke up to pee again and saw no signs of water in the bed or anything so I headed to the bathroom – Sure enough when I stood up from the toilet a ton of clear fluid was leaking all over the floor. But since it wasn’t a big “gush” like in the movies I was still skeptical and questioning it which is silly thinking back about it because it was a ton of water on the floor! Thomas was asleep in our guest room out of necessity (my snoring got very out of hand at the end of pregnancy lol), so I woke him saying ‘babe I think my water broke but it could also just be a little pee’. He walked in the bathroom and looked at the floor and said ‘that’s a ton of water babe! we gotta go!” IT WAS BABY TIME! I always said I wanted to labor as long as I could at home, but because my water broke and I started feeling contractions I wanted to get to the hospital just to be safe. I started getting ready, braided my hair, put on a little makeup, and in that time frame the contractions felt like light period cramps so they were not painful at all. We headed off to the hospital, pulling out of the driveway knowing the next time we pulled back in we would have our little nugget with us!
We got to the hospital around 4am. We went to Advent in Daytona Beach! The first thing they do is check to see if my water really broke and if I was actually in labor and not false labor. As I was getting undressed in the room for the nurse to check me, a steady stream of amniotic fluid was leaking all of the floor. Thomas took a towel and wiped it all up but the nurse came in and said we should have left it since they can swab that and do a quick check making sure it’s actually amniotic fluid. So if you are being admitted, make sure to leave any traces of the fluid that’s leaking so they can easily check in to get you admitted faster. My contractions were coming every 5 minutes or so at this point. The nurse did a cervical check, and she said she could feel the babies head! I wasn’t expecting her to say that this soon, so it was so exciting to hear those words out loud. I was only 2 centimeters dilated and close to 100% effaced. I didn’t know this up until my last weeks of pregnancy, but effacement means that cervix stretches and gets thinner as labor nears. I also had to be swabbed for COVID prior to be admitted. The q-tip stuck far up in my nose is almost worse than labor.
Once we got settled into our room my mom and stepmom headed in – They were already eagerly waiting in the parking lot at the hospital! I’m so thankful that we were able to have them in the room with us – just a couple months ago that wouldn’t have been allowed for COVID precautions.
I got all hooked up with an IV and the monitors to keep a check on the baby’s heart rate. My contractions were getting more and more intense but after a couple of hours laboring on my own I still had only dilated about a centimeter, so we decided to start Pitocin to strengthen contractions and move things along. That’s when things got intense. I wasn’t sure what I was expecting contractions to feel like, but these felt like a bad period cramp x50. I thought I would want to be laying down to bear down through the contractions, but I found that standing, holding on to Thomas and swaying back and forth was how I got through them the best. It was just comforting and a sweet moment to be able to hold on to him, preparing to bring our little babe in the world. The other position that helped was standing and leaning over the bed. After trying the peanut ball and laboring on the exercise ball, I found that standing was the only way I could really get through the contractions. The Pitocin had moved things along a little but not much, so by 11:30 after laboring on my own over 7 hours I decided to get an Epidural. I knew going into birth that I would likely get an epidural after hearing the positive stories from my sister-in-law and best friends. I held on to Thomas while they administered the epidural which just felt like a hard pinch – the hardest part was remaining still through contractions. Thomas said it was pretty intense to watch the big needle go into my back so thankfully I didn’t have to watch that.
The epidural was bliss. Within minutes my contractions were dulled and I was finally able to relax a little. I was able to chat and experience this time with the fam and I even took an hour snooze. My dad even got to come in the room and hang with us up until it was time to push. During this time, the epidural helped my body relax and dilate even more! Around 3pm I was 7 centimeters and 100% effaced so we were getting closer! The babies heart rate was a little low so they had me alternate positions and eat sugary popsicles which helped. When I first got the epidural it was at the perfect level of strength, I was numb enough to not be in pain but could still move my legs. But after a while it became too intense and my legs were fully numb and my right leg kept slipping off the bed! They didn’t want it that intense since I needed to be able to feel the contractions enough to push, so they turned down the epidural from a 12 to a 7. After an hour I was at 10 centimeters and ready to start doing some practice pushes! At this point they turned the epidural off completely since I still was pretty numb. This ended up being perfect because I wasn’t in pain but I definitely felt the pressure from the contractions which helped me push the baby out faster. On the next baby, I will definitely tell them I want an epidural but to keep it on the low side right from the get go.
Once I started pushing it feels like a blur. I pushed for about an hour but it feels like it was only 10 minutes. It felt so surreal once our nurse started calling in my doctor and the delivery team. I had Thomas and my mom by my side, my stepmom taking pictures for me and my mom had Thomas’ mom and grandma on FaceTime, so it was quite the party!! When they said “I see the head!” I asked for a giant mirror so I could watch, which only made me push harder since I could see what was happening! After a few intense pushes, the baby was out! We didn’t know if the baby was a boy or a girl so the whole room was anxiously awaiting the big reveal. Thomas and I were both crying in those first few seconds and the nurse said “dad, open your eyes and tell us what it is!” and Thomas goes… “IT’S A BOY!” My sweet baby boy was finally here! George Oliver Knudsen came into the world at 4:54 PM weighing 6 pounds 13 ounces and 19 3/4 inches long. They placed him in my arms but the cord was wrapped around his neck and arm so we were all struggling at the same time to get that off. He let out a little cry but my doctor had Thomas cut the cord quickly and they took George over to the heating station to check him out. I could hear him crying the whole time but of course I was asking “is he ok, is he ok?” And the doctors assured me he was great and that they would have him in my arms in just a minute. Meanwhile I delivered the placenta (which is a crazy thing to look at!) and then he stitched me up since I had a 2nd degree tear. I wasn’t in pain at all during the whole stitching process thankfully.
When they placed him in my arms I couldn’t believe it. People always said this and it was hard to imagine at the time, but it truly is instant love. Looking at him for the first time was such a magical experience – one that I am forever grateful for. His precious little hand immediately wrapped around my finger and I stared at him in awe while he took in his new surroundings. He quickly started rooting and doing the breast crawl – it was so incredible to feel him latch for the first time. Breastfeeding was pretty easy right from the beginning which I’m so thankful for. The lactation consultant was the real MVP during our whole birth process and helped us with all of the different positions and taught me how to hand express colostrum more efficiently. She gave us syringes so I could hand express colostrum and give to George as a “snack” between feedings to help him put on weight which I thought was so helpful!
Seeing Thomas with George for the first time was an experience unlike any other. He is the most caring and loving husband so I knew he would be that way as a Dad, but to see it actually happen made me fall in love with him all over again. The first time watching them do skin to skin was the absolute sweetest sight. And George is a complete mini me of Thomas lol. I sometimes see small glimpses of me as a baby in George when he makes certain expressions but overall he is Thomas made over which is so cute.
My first meal after birth was pot roast and mashed potatoes in the hospital and it truly tasted like the best thing in the world. Trust me, you will be RAVENOUS after giving birth. If you are delivering at an Advent, get the pot roast and mashed potatoes sister. Then that night we had Steak n Shake burgers and milkshakes Uber’d to the hospital which was divine. A thin little burger and shake never tasted so good.
The first night with George was also a blur of sticky tar meconium diapers, trying to master the swaddle, logging all of his pee’s and poops, and staring at him, jumping up at every little sound he made. George in mid scream, Thomas and I looked at each other at one point smiling and said ‘holy shit what is happening’ lol. Mom mode definitely takes over though because when your baby starts screaming, from day one you turn into a diaper changing ninja and try and do everything as fast and efficiently as possible. The nurse shows you how to do everything once (swaddle, diaper, etc.) and after that you are on your own pretty much but it comes naturally.
In terms of healing, thankfully I wasn’t in too much pain from birth but of course getting up and down out of bed is uncomfortable. Definitely take advantage of the peri bottle, witch hazel pads, padcicles and everything else the hospital gives you. I’m going to write a whole other post on postpartum essentials and everything that helped me in the 4th trimester.
We were in the hospital for two nights and went home on a Friday. That was so crazy packing him up and getting into the car the first time! It was nerve-racking at first, but once we started going down the road I relaxed a little and just stared at him the whole ride home.
Growing him for 9 months, experiencing birth and bringing him into the world is the most incredible thing I’ve ever done and I’m so grateful that I get to be his mom. It’s a love like no other and I’m so excited for the journey of motherhood and parenthood with Thomas. I’m so excited to use this blog to document this journey and life with George ❤️ Thanks for reading George’s birth story!!