If you follow me on Instagram, then you might have already heard the news. We were 100% not even close to expecting him this early, but he came bursting into the world at 6 lbs 12 oz 5.5 weeks before his due date on July 22nd, and we could not be more in love. Welcome to the world, Atlas!
Our Birth Story
The Saturday before his arrival date was a completely normal day. I woke up feeling a little strange and I knew that my Braxton Hicks contractions (which I had been having for months) felt “different”. Still, truly did not expect that I would be going into labor that night. Cody and I cleaned the house and his parents came to visit us. We spent the day out running around and shopping.
That night we went out for dinner and I started having contractions that were about 6-7 minutes apart. They felt different that my usual Braxton Hicks, but I really didn’t think anything of them. Fast forward to several hours later (6 hours later), and I was still having contractions now 3-5 minutes apart and much stronger.
By then it was about 2am and we finally decided it would be a good idea to go to the hospital. However, I was still 100% sure that I was having some sort of early false labor and that we would be coming right back home! We went to the hospital with 2 bottles of water and a protein bar. No bags, nothing was ready, nursery was in shambles, and I just wanted to go to bed.
Once we were there, we were told that I was in fact having real labor but we needed to slow it down and stop my contractions since baby was still 5.5 weeks early. After an entire night of trying everything, it was obvious that labor was NOT stopping and was actually progressing despite all of our efforts. By 8am I was officially checked in to my delivery room and dealing with full blown contractions about 1-2 minutes apart. I was exhausted, hungry, and in SO much pain (y’all….I had no idea!).
My intention was to have a natural birth, but I was always open minded to interventions if they were necessary. Throughout the labor process, I spent a lot of time praying from contraction to contraction, asking for God’s peace and strength as we went through the morning. By 10am, I was dilated to a 4 and contractions were about 30 seconds apart. I very quickly progressed to a 7, and at that point I decided to go ahead and get the epidural.
Even though I’m tempted to have guilt about my decision (since I had my eyes set on a natural birth), I know that it was the right thing to do. I do think that if I had had a stronger personal conviction about it, I could have gone further. But at that point I didn’t really know why I was attempting a natural birth. Secondly, in the contractions leading up to it, I prayed a lot about what I should do and truly had such a peace about getting the epidural. Not only that, but I was afraid that I was going to be too exhausted to push since I had been up all night in labor. At that point I was physically shaking from so much pain and exhaustion and I was falling asleep between contractions, so I felt like I needed help if I was going to make it to pushing. My nurse and Cody were very supportive, so we went ahead and went through with it.
I enjoyed the benefits of the epidural for about 15 minutes before things took a turn…
My doctor came in suddenly with a flood of nurses and specialists, all dressed and ready for surgery. My worst fear about delivery was suddenly and unexpectedly becoming a reality. She came to me and told me the situation: because I had the epidural, it caused me to relax, which in turn led to a lot of bleeding. This was because I was having placenta abruption. She gave me the option to go ahead and push and attempt to continue to have this baby the way that I wanted to, but she made me aware of the major risks involved.
Again, more prayer, shaking, fears, stress. Cody and I spent some time praying about what our decision should be as I progressed and the doctor/nurses watched me. As I was closer to the time to push, after considering the risks and finding a lot of peace through prayer, I decided to go ahead with a c section in order to bring him into the world the safest way possible. It was definitely such a hard and emotional decision!
He arrived perfectly healthy and beautiful about 15 minutes later at 1:11 pm. We love our little guy so so much and would not have had his delivery any other way! Even though it completely didn’t go as planned, even though his arrival was completely unexpected and sudden, I cherish the memories we’ve made so far and am so mesmerized by our little one.
We love you, Atlas McMichael!