It's been a little over three weeks since I last blogged, and I'm very excited to get back to a regular schedule of blogging again. For my first post back since having our baby, I've decided to share his birth story with you.
Before I begin, let me just say: I never really thought I'd share his or any birth story publicly. To me, a birth story is deeply personal - it's a story about something that only a small handful of people have the opportunity to experience for any given person. But, the more I thought about it, the more I realized that sharing his birth story doesn't take anything away from the experience I or my family had. And, in fact, if it can help just one person gain perspective or appreciation or knowledge about child birth, I view it as only adding to the experience. So without further ado...
Our baby was due on Sunday, July 19th, 2015, yet Sunday came and went with no sign that he was ready to arrive. I went to bed Sunday night disappointed but hopeful that he'd show up sometime in the following few days. My pregnancy, by all accounts, was easy and - dare I say it - enjoyable. But by 38 weeks, I was completely ready to not be pregnant anymore. So, by 40 weeks, every day pregnant felt like an eternity.
Around 3 am on Monday, July 20th, just a few hours after my due date had passed, I woke up in pain. Pregnancy insomnia was a real thing for me the last few weeks, but I awoke not due to insomnia but due to abdominal pain. I wasn't sure what the pain was, so I just sat awake for a while experiencing it. Around 3:30 am, I began to think the pain was contractions, so I decided to track them. About an hour after I began to track them, I found that they were consistently 4-5 minutes apart, lasting for about one minute each. At that point, I woke my husband up to let him know and called the hospital to find out if I should come in. After being told I shouldn't be able to talk through the contractions (which I could still do), I was asked to call back in 1-2 hours. So I took a long shower, paced the bedroom for a while, got dressed and called the doctor again around 6:45. At that point, I could still talk through contractions but had been experiencing them every 4-5 minutes for nearly 4 hours and was getting more and more uncomfortable by the minute. The doctor told us it was time to come in.
We arrived at New York - Presbyterian around 7:30 am, at which point they checked and admitted me. A few hours later, they started me on Pitocin to get my labor moving more quickly, and I eventually received an epidural when I could no longer handle the pain (the contractions brought me to tears every time they arrived). Side (but very important) note: the epidural and doctors who administered it were heaven-sent. I cannot imagine giving birth without an epidural and the women who do deserve sainthood. Things start to get a little fuzzy in my mind at this point, as there was so much going on and time was moving at a rapid pace. The doctors checked on me and told me I was 6cm dilated, so they'd come back in 4 hours. But Pitocin moved things along very quickly and way before those 4 hours were up, it was time to push! They came to my room quickly, called for the pediatrician and started the delivery process.
Finally, after about 12 hours of active labor and over an hour of pushing (which was much, much worse than labor and which I could not have done without the huge help of my husband and mom), Noam Henry Toff was born on Monday, July 20th, 2015 at 9:49 pm. He weighed 8 lbs 8 oz. and was 20.5 inches long.
During delivery, the doctors noticed that Noam's heart rate had been decreasing, which was terrifying for me because I didn't think there was anything more I could do to get him out more quickly. Once he was born, they took him away immediately to be checked and turned out that everything was just fine - he was perfectly healthy. While Noam was being checked, I received two sets of stitches (holy hell, that hurt).
Despite some minor scares and major pain, Noam's arrival was by far the most incredible experience of my life. Holding him for the first time and seeing our newly-expanded family together for the first time leaves me speechless. There's nothing I can say to adequately describe what it felt like, and I'll never have the words to express the sheer amount of love we felt that day and every day after.
I'll leave it on this note: a few days after Noam arrived, Jason and I were talking about our love for him. It almost took us by surprise how much we could love someone so completely new to our lives. And, it occurred to us without hesitation or second thought, that we've never met someone who, within an instant, we would die for should we need to. It's a life-changing love, and one that I am immensely grateful to be able to experience.