I am still in total shock that we have a baby. We...have...a...baby! Total shock. And complete awe. I find myself staring at him, in disbelief, that he's all ours. Telling myself that we are in absolute control and care for this little tiny human. It's all quite scary but extremely empowering too. So before I get to the complete story, here are his stats. It's hilarious to me that I used to get sort of annoyed seeing my friend's baby stats splattered all over Facebook. I just didn't get it. Why would everyone want to know that? Now I understand that they do serve a purpose.
PS - Be warned, if birth stories aren't your thing, I'd leave now and come back for tomorrow's post. I haven't spilled all the beans but I'll admit it's pretty graphic. I wanted to make sure to journal as much detail as possible so we'll have this for our family, forever!
Name: Nash Quay
Birthday: November 14, 2011
Birth time: 7:46 pm
Birth location: Austin, Texas
Height: 20 1/2 inches
Weight: 6 lbs 8 oz
Eye color: Bluish grey
Hair color: Strawberry blonde
Oh and just for the record, I can't believe I'm actually sharing the first picture ever, above. But guess what, we totally keep it real over here at CasaCullen and I still think this was my favorite moment of the entire birth, looking into my baby's eyes for the first time. This picture was taken by Walt and I just love the raw emotion because I was truly in disbelief that this amazing creature was all mine, all ours. He wanted us, we cherished him...we were now a team. I will always love this pic, no matter how dreadful, tired and worn out I look. It marks the beginning of a very important journey...a lifetime of love. Click HERE to see more pics from Nash's first week.
The Morning Of
I woke up super tired Monday morning. No walk for me. I actually made myself a homemade mocha latte and plopped down on the couch to get some work done. I typed out our post all about the guest room curtain panels HERE. Then I got to work over on RunwayDaily HERE, chatting about knee high boots and socks and how it's a really fun way to mix up your fall fashion staples. I answered numerous emails from clients and then it was shower time around 11am. It was a slow and relaxing morning...just the way I like it.
My good friend Jenn, over at Bump Club Austin, actually asked if I'd attend a yoga class at Kula Yoga. I'd never been there but I love that this particular center focuses on family. The yoga class was for a local news channel spot and she just needed pre and post natal yogis in appearance. Of course I informed Jenn that, even when I'm not pregnant, I'm hopeless at even sitting indian style on the floor. I might be the most un-flexible person she's ever met. She said it didn't matter and they'd love to have me. As I showered that day, I laughed at the absurdity of attending a yoga class that far along in my pregnancy. Little did I know this was my last shower, sans baby.
I actually snapped a pic to text to my immediate family because I knew they'd get a good laugh. Attesting to the ridiculousness that I was going to a yoga class, they're texts back were great. All I've done is walk my entire pregnancy and I knew this would be hilarious. I shot it off to all of them and they showered me back with laughter and 'go get ems!' I love that I have a picture from my last morning carrying him. It actually brings tears to my eyes to even look at my bump now that he's no longer in there. My pregnancy was by no means text book and easy, but I did embrace my bump and loved feeling my daily wiggle worm.
Yoga - Yeah Right!
Everyone was wonderful and I thoroughly enjoyed being around such a great group of women. There were about 15 of us and the center was inviting and warm. I laid down on my borrowed mat and really tried to do so many of the moves. I'd started to notice, during the weeks leading up to this day, that he was making things rather uncomfortable for me. I carried super low so there was so much that made me uncomfortable. I powered through it though and thoroughly enjoyed the conversations with other Moms/Preggos that also attended the class...such sweet women! There were snacks (Honest Tea and Kind bars) so I snatched up a few and headed out at about 2:30pm.
Extra! Found the footage from the Fox News special:
Gettin' My Errands On
I had a BOGO entree gift certificate to Pei Wei that I needed to use that night. I decided to pop by a few nearby stores and then pick up some takeaway for us for dinner. I was too tired to cook. My list of errands consisted of: Play It Again Sports (I was searching for a weight set for Walt), Hobby Lobby, Savers and then Pei Wei. Once I made it to the shopping center, I decided I also wanted to pop into Neiman Marcus Last Call to see if they're sale was any good. Oh my gosh, it was great! I was hook...line...sinker, SOLD and totally reeled into the NMLC sale rack extravaganza.
Was That Just Tinkle?
So I've been scouring the racks for around 30 minutes, already filling my arms with items to try on and gifts to buy. I was on the search for Walt, my Mom and my sister and I had some really great options for all three slouched over my forearm when 'it' happened. I literally starting wetting my pants. As you can see from the yoga pic above, I was thankfully in black pants which gave me some sort of privacy as the situation unfolded.
I was also totally startled by the fact that I was tinkling my panties because I've had zero incontinence issues during my pregnancy. I literally threw all my goods over one of the racks and waddled as quickly as I could to the little ladies room. I sat down, went tinkle and realized...that wasn't the same feeling. That wasn't the same hole. Then the fear set in.
I exited the restroom at around 4pm and started towards the door. Everything seemed to move past me in slow motion. I rushed past the snakeskin Rebecca Minkoff clutches that I'd eye balled on the way in. A blonde lady glanced up at me as she added the Elizabeth and James cocktail dress in fuchsia that was also in my try-on pile. The bathroom, unfortunately, was at the back of the store so I definitely had some ground to cover before I was out in the parking lot and safe in my Xterra. All I could think over and over was, 'Was this really happening? Could this be it?'
I immediately got out my phone and called Walt. It was at this time that I realized that my water was breaking. It was broken. More and more kept gushing out of me as my waddle intensified. Holy smokes that was a very vivid, weird, scary and amazing feeling...all rolled into one. As soon as Walt picked up his phone, this conversation ensued. And yes, I even asked him for exact wording as his memory is much more clear than mine.
W: "Hey beautiful."
M: "Baby, I think my water broke. Where are you? I'm really scared."
W: "Ok, don't worry and don't get upset. This is really exciting. I'm way up in north Austin but I'll head that way now."
M: "I'm really, really scared. I'm not ready yet. I want him to bake longer than this. I can't believe this is happening."
W: "Have you talked to your Mom? Have you talked to the Doctor?"
M: "No, I'll call them both right now. Baby, I'm sitting on our Envirosax in the car and it just keeps coming out. I'm scared."
W: "Don't worry, don't worry. Call them and call me right back, ok?"
I called my Mom. She said to call the Doctor. I called the Doctor and the labor receptionist said head directly to the hospital. I called Walt, he said that he'd race home to get our perfectly packed hospital bags (we'd completed that task only a few days earlier) and he'd meet me at the hospital. Everyone that I spoke to made sure I was a-ok to drive and I felt confident that I was.
I called my Mom back and she proceeded to tell me that her first delivery (my older sister, Brittany) only took 4 hours. She worried that I might deliver similarly, so she suggested Walt come straight to the hospital. I called Walt back and told him the new plan. No hospital bag pickup from home and come directly to the hospital. He agreed. I'd see him in 45 minutes.
Then I called my Mom back and she actually talked to me the entire way to the hospital, which was about a 15 minute ride. I cried and told her how scared I was. She asked if my contractions were getting worse and I admitted that they were. She said that once your water breaks it all just starts happening. She also reminded me over and over again how special it was that Nash was coming on his own terms, on his own clock, in his own time, in his own way. We wouldn't have to be induced and this was ALL HIM. It gave me a huge sense of relief and she certainly was that voice of reason I needed at that exact moment.
Committed, I Mean...Admitted
I pulled into the hospital at about 4:30pm and this was, without a doubt, the most surreal parking job of my life. I must've looked like a deer in headlights because as I stumbled through the lobby, there were a few families gathered in the lobby. They all stared at me, through glazed eyes with blank stares. I wanted to scream, 'My water just broke and I'm scared to death.' I was waddling, clearly in some sort of pain. I was also squeezing every bit of my nether regions together in hopes of stopping the water flow. Into the elevator, up to the second floor...and down to labor and delivery I headed.
When I arrived, they immediately knew who I was and why I was there. Thankfully, the Doctor's office called ahead. I was taken into a room and they checked my fluid. Diana the nurse said, 'Well Morgan, it's surely amniotic. Looks like you're staying, lady. We'll move you down to room 217 and get you admitted and checked in.'
Hospital gown on, I met with Joanna from admittance who proceeded to ask me a million questions. While she did that, I actually caught up on some emails on my phone, in between contractions, while I waited for Walt to arrive. I knew I was in for hours of hard work ahead of me, so I was super thankful that I snatched up and ate two of those Kind bars from the yoga class. They'd be my only source of sustenance to come. I waited for Walt and emailed and waited and waited.
Finally he arrived at about 5:15pm and the nurse informed us that I was only 2 cm dilated, 80% effaced and Nash's noggin was at station +2. We had a ways to go. She suggested we get up and walk laps on the L&D floor for the next hour and half and then they'd re-check me then. I already felt like a crazy woman because of the pain. I had no idea how bad it would get.
Walk the Walk
Holy bonkers...we walked and talked and walked and then didn't talk for over an hour. I'd grab the handrail and do my breathing techniques, working through the harder contractions. Walt was the amazing support system I needed. By the time 6:30pm rolled around, I informed him that the contractions were getting too uncomfortable to walk around anymore. I wanted to go in the shower and feel the water beat on my back. I was experiencing some back labor and it was getting the best of me. We slowly walked back to the room, called the nurse and she explained the shower to Walt. She also suggested I get checked again.
It had only been 1 hour and 15 minutes and when she checked me, I had progressed to 5cm, 100% effaced and he was now at station 0. Diana kept praising how well I was doing to move from 2cm to 5cm in a little over an hour. She said that first time Moms only usually progress one cm an hour. If I kept going at this rate, I'd have a baby in 3 hours or less. That gave me hope. But I still wasn't sure if I could labor, naturally, through all this pain. My birth plan was a natural birth. No pain management, no epidural. I wanted that, I wanted it...bad!
Here's where the birth story takes a funny turn. So it's now 6:45 and Walt is preparing the shower and I inform him that there's no way I can get out of the hospital bed and make it to the shower. He looks at me in total shock. Ten minutes ago I was gung-ho shower. He walked across the room and rubbed my back and asked me what I needed. I tell him to stop touching me...please. And then I apologize for being crazy. He laughs and says it's fine. He's awesome, always.
The contractions have gotten so bad, so close and seriously painful. I'm was now in a fetal position, laying on my left side, with both hands firmly grasping the handrails on the hospital bed. I was longer speaking, except for explicit words mumbled over and over and over again, under my breath. I was breathing through every contraction with every bit of effort, concentration and intensity I could muster.
Cheryl (the night shift nurse) came in to check on me at 7pm and I inform her that I'm not going to make it. I need drugs and I need them now. I could barely even tell her this because the pain was so intense. All hopes of a natural birth were done. I couldn't labor like this anymore. The paint was unbearable, tears were streaming down my cheeks. I'm was done. Done!
I told Walt that I won't be a hero but I don't care. I want to remember this moment. The pain was now so strong I started seeing two of Walt. He asked me a questions but I entered back into my own little world of contraction pain again. I hear nothing. I say nothing. I see double. Breathing and cursing like a sailor, my two choice words rhymed with duck and pit. I said them over and over and over again. (Sidenote: This is a gal that barely ever even mutters a naughty word in everday life, fyi.) Walt knew it was serious when he heard these. We laugh now, but not then. It was 7pm.
The epidural was ordered and I felt a huge sense of relief. Then Cheryl asked me to put my legs into the stirrups so she could check me. Put...my...legs...into...the...stirrups? Are you serious lady? It took a while to process it before I really got it. Then I couldn't decide if I wanted to scream obscenities at her or just start bawling. I could hardly raise my eyelids, let alone, move my legs. How in the world was I going to hoist them into said stirrups. One glance at Walt and I knew he'd save me. I quietly muttered to him to grab my legs and put them in. Again, he's awesome and just knew what to do.
I prayed silently that I'd at least be 7, possibly an 8. That would mean that I'd only have a bit more to go before he'd be here. I knew, with an epidural, I could do it. Cheryl headed down south again and literally, I saw her eyes bugged out. She said, 'Morgan, you're a 9 1/2. We're gonna have a baby in 10-15 minutes. The epidural isn't going to make it. I'm calling the Doctor.'
I know she was trying to remain cool but Cheryl was in pure shock. I could tell she was nervous even though I was seeing two of her. So what does this all really mean for me? I had actually labored through the most rugged, rigorous and painful part of labor...the transition. I now shudder at the mere sound of that word. I have a new-found respect and appreciation for it. But I was almost through it. I'd slayed the beast and didn't even know it. It was 7:15pm and Cheryl had left the room to go find help.
I'm laying there, with just Walt in the room, and I can remember asking him over and over again if I'm dying. I'm also still cursing like a sailor and I still have my body twisted around in all sorts of ways because I was firmly grasping the left side rail with both hands while also keeping both feet in the stirrups. I told him at 7:30 that something was happening. He asks what I'm talking about. I just stare and repeat, 'Something is happening.' He doesn't understand.
I can't even speak. I stare at the double image of my husband. It was a feeling that I can only describe as something straight out of Alien. What was happening to my body? I felt a massive shift inside me that scared me, I start to think that he might be coming through my stomach. It's like a mini-hurricane going on inside me and it hurts like hell. The pain is indescribable...greater than hardcore crying or alligator tears. It's shocking, alarming and has me unable to even utter a phrase. Finally I muster the strength to have this conversation:
M: 'Baby, push the red button, he's coming!'
W: 'Are you sure?' (His expression was a combo of complete shock and total fear. And another sidenote, if a pregnant lady tells you to push the red button, don't ever question her judgment, ha! We will laugh about this for years to come!)
M: 'Walt, this baby is coming...push the red button now!'
He presses the red button and they ask what we need. Walt informs the nurse that I keep saying, over and over again, that the baby is coming. In 20 seconds Cheryl's back down below, checking my progress and she agrees, he's coming. She told me to hold strong and refrain from pushing.
This is where things get almost laughable. Really lady, refrain from pushing? At this point I can only describe the feeling as my vah jay jay dry heaving over and over again. You know when you get a stomach bug and you just keep throwing up but nothing is coming anymore. That's precisely what it felt like, down there. There was no stopping it, so I just started crying to Walt. I couldn't NOT push.
Cheryl raced out the door and swooped back in with my Doctor and a few other nurses. We can't recollect how many people were in the room at this moment, but it was a full house and I was spread eagle...nice. Still dry heaving down there and still being told to hold him in. This was one of the craziest feeling in the world, powerful indeed. Mother Nature, I'm your bitch.
Push It Real Good
Now this was what I had trained for all those months. This is what I had mentally and physically (walking, lunges and kegels) prepared for over and over again. Its the part I'd read about, the part I feared the most. This is what separates the good from the great, the weak from the strong. But now that I've been through it, I completely realize that's such a dumb way of looking at it. I wanted an epidural...but I was just too far along. I also caved to the pain, but there was nothing they could do. Now it was go time, no turning back.
Walt grabbed a leg, Cheryl grabbed a leg. My Doctor and another nurse were 'in place' and ready to rock. Doc told me to push for 10 seconds straight and don't stop pushing. We tried that once and she reiterated that I needed to hold the push for an entire 10 seconds. My second attempt was better but I still wasn't holding it the full 10 seconds. I was out of it, unable to even full grasp the directions she was telling me.
The third push was pathetic, I was in too much pain. On the fourth push Walt exclaimed, 'He has red hair baby!' Half of me wanted to slap him for his big beautiful smile and painless body and the other half wanted to leap out of bed and hug my awesome Irish man. I vaguely remember his expression, it was priceless. Something between elation, excitement and complete joy.
Now it was time for a 'talking to' from my Doctor.
Doc: 'Morgan, listen to me and listen to me closely. We're going to push three times in a row. Each one you will absolutely hold for 10 seconds and not let go. You'll take a few breaths in between but then push again. This baby is coming.'
Ready, set, push. Fifth push and that lil' ginger haired squirt was almost out. Sixth push and hello 'ring of fire' pain and his head came through. One more push (that makes seven) and Mr. Nash Quay was in our world. Our boy, our son, our red-haired baby love monkey. He cried briefly and then he was totally alert and aware. He stared at both of us with huge dark blue eyes. Blinking and watching, taking it all in...he didn't even make a peep. I couldn't even imagine what he was thinking at that moment. I was head over heels, love at first sight. (Pic above)
I will never, ever forget Walt's expression when Nash came out. It radiated more joy than I'd ever seen from him. Even when I tried to re-explain it to my Mom yesterday in the car, I started tearing up. He repeated over and over again to me, how much he loved me and how proud he was of me. We both kept staring at our baby and saying 'Nash' over and over again. We laughed, our eyes watered...but most of all our hearts were taken from us. They were no longer just for each other. We now shared our hearts with someone else.
Check out the best video ever! (Obviously, I'm biased.) Nash would've been only a few minutes old in this video. Apologies for the quality of video/pics because our camera was in our hospital bag, still at the house. This was all done from my new iPhone which we're super thankful I had with me. (PS - click the Youtube link on the bottom right of the video if the stupid ads annoy you!)
Hotel Seton, I mean...Hospital
Here's some of my favorite pics (below) from our hospital stay which was actually totally blissful and beyond enjoyable. All the nurses kept laughing and making jokes about how relaxed Nash was. They said they'd never seen a baby so alert and also so relaxed.
The one funny thing about baby boy Nash for the first week was the fact that he was cool as a cucumber in most circumstances (ie: blood draws, circumcision, etc) but the second you try to change his clothes or diaper...he screams bloody murder. I mean the only way I can describe the shriek that comes from is tiny mouth is ear piercingly abrubt. We've now deemed it, 'Baby Pterodactyl!' He is not fooling around when those pipes get going!
Now he's totally a-ok and much better with diaper and clothing changes but all the nurses got a kick out of the fact that our boy, was all boy. He wanted to be in dirty clothes and he didn't want his diaper changed, ha!
We're settling into some sort of routine and we think we've figured out only one feeding from midnight to 8am. So that gives us two huge chunks of sleep, which are much appreciated these days! Hope you enjoyed his birth story as we're still dying laughing about my water breaking at Neiman Marcus Last Call. That would happen to me!
Also, if you would've bet me one million dollars about his birth time being 3 hours and 46 minutes after my water breaking...I would've laughed HARD! This little man was ready to come meet us, that's for sure. Maybe we should've named him Mario...Mario Andretti! I could go on and on and on about our love and adoration for this amazing little man, but I won't bore you with all that jazz. Just know that we're totally smitten and completely overwhelmed by our the level of adoration we have for this blessed bundle of baby boy joy.