I honestly don’t know where to begin this story. This story means a lot to me because Jess and Jared are friends of mine and while Jess was telling me about the birth of Micah, all I wanted to do was cry.
Originally I was supposed to photograph Jess’s labor and Micah’s delivery, but Micah had his own timeline. Every time I have the opportunity to photograph a labor and delivery, I always recommend planning for a Fresh 48 session. Fresh 48 sessions are a little different because I come in and photograph the baby and the new family within 48 hours of their new life. It’s significantly more low key, and a lot less stressful and bloody. (Sorry for anyone that might be squeamish reading this, but let’s get real.. Labor & Delivery is intense.)
On Wednesday January 3rd I woke up to an excited voicemail from Jess’s sister Jaclyn. “Hey Katie! I just wanted to give you a quick run down of what happened. Jess went into labor early on her own. She was scheduled to be induced this morning at 10am but was feeling a lot of pain/pressure, so she came in about an hour early and they had to do an emergency delivery because Micah was wrapped up in the umbilical chord. We thought she was going to be laboring for a little bit and were planning to call you when it was close, but then everyone ran in and then she just had a baby! Jess said she would love for you to come do a Fresh 48 session, but wants to wait until Jude arrives. We will call you to let you know a better timeline as soon as we figure everything out.”
So the next day, on a Thursday morning, I was able to come to the hospital and finally hear Jess’s birth story. I decided to record it and write it almost word for word interview-style.
Katie: Okay. It’s recording… Thank you so much for letting me do this. It’s my first time recording an interview. I just didn’t want to forget any details or leave anything out in your story, so I thought this would be the best approach. Please start from the beginning. How did everything happen?
Jess: We were scheduled to be induced at 7, but at 3 o’clock in the morning I started having contractions… I knew I was in labor… But it wasn’t quite go time yet, but it was definitely contractions leading up to go time. And so I kind of just labored until around 4:30am when Jared woke up. And he was like, “Are you okay?” And I was like, “I’m in labor… But we’re supposed to be induced at 7am anyway… So uhm… I’m just going to see if I can make up until then before I go in.” The contractions at this point weren’t super close together yet. And so at 5am they started getting really close together. I called Aunt Mary and was like, “We need you to come early.” Because she was going to sit with Jude. And so we got in the car at 6am ,when Mary arrived at the house, and then Jared drove me to the hospital. The contractions at this point were getting really strong and I knew for sure I was in active labor. At this point I just wanted an epidural. That is ALL I kept thinking was… “Once I get and epidural we’ll reconvene all the plans and all that kind of stuff.” So they took me back in a room while they went through a ton of paper work to check me in.
K: How long does that last??
J: It was probably 30-45 minutes trying to get everything filled out and the release forms signed. And I told them off the gun, “I’m not trying to be that person but I need an epidural. Like I’m in a lot of pain. A LOT OF PAIN.”
K: You’re like, “This is baby number two. I know what I want!”
J: Haha! Yeah, like I’m in a lotttttt of pain. I was throwing up before everything. Before they can give you an epidural, they have to put a liter of fluid in you just as a precaution and so before they could even get the IV in and the fluid bag, I was throwing up. I was in that much pain.
K: Oh man.
J: So I knew things were progressing really fast on that front. And so when they checked me the first time, I was already 6. And they’re like, “Okay we’re going to get the anesthesiologist in here and we’re going to push these fluids.” So they checked me and I was 6. They pushed the fluids within 20 minutes. They said that’s the fastest they could get them in me. When the anesthesiologist showed up Jaclyn was like, “Should I call Katie?” And I was like “Well lets wait until we get the epidural cause usually stuff slows down when you get the epidural. I’m only 6, so lets get the epidural. Then we’ll call Katie and let her know that I’m 6 and go from there.” All I could focus on was: I’ve got to get out of pain so I can do something. I was in so much pain, my body couldn’t even let me go pee and I knew I had to pee.
Me: Yeah. At this point you were frozen with pain!
J: Yes. So I’m throwing up… And so they got the anesthesiologist in there and he did the epidural and he’s like, “Okay. It’s gonna take about 15 minutes for this to fully take affect and you’ll start feeling a lot better in about 10 minutes.” They laid me back down, and then suddenly 6 nurses and my OB came into the room.
Me: Oh my goodness.
J: And they said, “We’re gonna break your water right now.” And I’m feeling nervous because I had been told in the beginning of my visit that I had been tested positive for what they call STREP-B. Which is a bacteria of the vagina that is super common. A lot of women have it. And if you test positive for STREP-B, all that has to happen before giving birth is you have to have two bags of antibiotics in your IV before they break your water. Well lets all keep in mind that they had literally just pushed 20 minutes of fluids in me to get the epidural in me to start the IV bag of antibiotics. And they were starting the antibiotics as 6 nurses and my OB were running in telling me, “I’m breaking your water right now.” And they were supposed to do these antibiotics before they broke the water. So I starting thinking, “WHY?!” I’m thinking, “I want to take a nap. My epidural’s about to kick in. I’m ready to take a nap and like ya know not be in pain for a little while cause I had been in pain since 3am.” And so I told them okay. And what they thought was happening was… they called it a bulging sack…
K: I don’t understand.
J: So when your water breaks it’s the sack that’s around the baby with the amniotic fluid. The sack is what breaks and the amniotic fluid flushes out. And then the baby’s pretty much ready to go for birth. With Jude that’s what started my labor, is his water broke, and then he started to make his way out. Usually your labor starts before your water breaks, but once your water breaks contractions reallyyy hurt. So I was like, “Okay. Go ahead and break my water. I’ve had an epidural” so I’m thinking I’m good, ya know?
K: And you’re like.. “Oh. It’ll be fine.”
J: Haha. Yeah. But think about it… I’ve had my epidural for about 2 minutes at this point. I’ve literally just been laid down like it’s time to take it easy. Then they thought that my water was trying to break, but it was causing too much pressure on Micah and so it caused Micah’s heart rate to plummet. And so they thought that if they broke my water real quick it would cause his heart rate to come back up. Then they came in and broke my water, but his heart rate didn’t come back up. Everything got worse.
K: Oh no.
J: After they broke my water, they strapped an oxygen mask to my face. I heard my doctor saying, “No. No. I don’t like it. We’re going now!” and the next thing I know my feet are up in the stirrups, and my doctor is telling me to push because he can get him out faster vacuuming with me pushing than he can get him out with a c-section. And it was like do or die right then.
J: And so I had my epidural for 5 minutes and it had not fully kicked in yet. In fact they never even hooked it up to the machine!
Me: So they only had time to just pricked you?
J: When they insert the needle into your back they do an initial rush of meds but it only lasts a very short amount of time. It is just to numb you, since you’re in so much pain, until they can get the machine hooked up. But in my case, they never hooked mine up because at this point it’s only been 4 minutes since I got the epidural. They’ve busted my water, put my feet up in stirrups, and now I’m in an oxygen mask and I’m being told to push. So I had some meds in my system… That initial rush.. but that was it. So I’m screaming trying to push this baby out because in my mind.. And I don’t know how accurate this is.. but in my mind I’m thinking, “If I can’t push him out he’s dead. Because he doesn’t have a heart rate. Or it’s at least so low that it’s like my doctor was like we’re doing this NOW. Like right now. I’ve been in labor and at the hospital for 2 hours. Right now. This needs to happen RIGHT NOW.” And he’s being suctioned, as I push, and essentially from the time my epidural went in and I sat back in the bed to the time that he was delivered was about 6 minutes.
K: That’s insane!
K: That’s so fast!
J: It was CRAZY. It was so scary because during those 6 minutes I was not processing what was happening. I was thinking, “I want to take a nap.” I was thinking, “Why are y’all in here. I want to take a nap!”
K: And then I’m sure you’re thinking, “My baby might die!”
J: All I remember is looking at Jared, through my oxygen mask, saying.. “What’s happening. What’s happening??” And they’re just going “Push. Push. Push. Push. Push. PUSH!” No waiting for contractions to push. No anything. It was just, Push. Push. PUSH! Push. Push. PUSH! Breathe. Relax. Push. Push. Push! Push. PUSH! Breathe. Relax.” We did that four times. And I’m screaming while I’m pushing because I’m in pain and I’m scared out of my mind. And I remember there came a point where I think my mind just blocked the pain out because I was so focused on if I can’t get him out then I’m going to lose him. And it was like the worst thing to have to happen because with Jude that was the problem. It was pushing him out. I labored just fine with Jude, everything was perfect, and then pushing him out took 3 hours. And in my mind I was like, “This can’t happen. He can’t take it. He has to come out right now!” Thank goodness they were able to help with suction and stuff so it wasn’t all me, but my doctor was like.. “You pushed PERFECTLY. I don’t know what happened before with Jude, but you pushed perfectly.”
K: Was it the same doctor?
J: Mhm. Yes. It was the same doctor that I saw with Jude and it was the same I’ve seen this entire pregnancy. He was going to induce me tomorrow so I could deliver. It was such a God thing though because my doctor never ended up inducing me. I never got the induction medication. I never got the antibiotics. I hardly got any epidural anything and BOOM.. Micah was here. It’s a miracle his head is not lacerated due to being sucked out by the vacuum. His head doesn’t have any cuts, only a bruise and it is a little swollen, but he didn’t bleed into my bleeding which could have caused an infection with the STREP-B and everything. From the time my water broke to the time he delivered was 3 minutes, so he was minimally exposed to the STREP-B. He had a very low risk of getting any of the side effects that would have happened if he was like Jude and was stuck for 3 hours on my pelvic bone and if I hadn’t had the antibiotics. It’s amazing it didn’t happen to Micah.
K: It’s a miracle. It’s a miracle he made it here.
J: Right?! I didn’t have any time. I didn’t even get to call my mom. They were going to be here at 7 or 8 anyway.
K: So Jared and Jaclyn were the only ones here?
J:My mom was here because Jaclyn texted my mom and was like, “Just let me know when you’re in the parking lot and we’ll walk in together.” And my mom, like everyone, didn’t know how fast everything was progressing was like, “Well I’m just now getting in the shower.” That was at 7am. And I was like “Uhmmmm. Just fyi…”
K: She might want to skip that shower…
J: Well we didn’t know things were going that fast at this point. He was born at 8:50. So at 7 we were still getting registered at the front desk and checked in. So I was like, “Yeah I went into labor in the middle of the night so we’re at the hospital already getting checked in.” And then my moms like, “I’m gonna miss the birth! Oh no!” And at this point I’m thinking, “Mommmm. Ya know I just got here early so I can get the epidural because I’m in a lot of pain and then everything is going to slow down like it did with Jude and then we’re still going to be delivering in the afternoon…” Ya know legit that is what I thought. I just need to get some meds and then I can take a nap and go on our merry way with this….. and…. BOOM.
K: He had different plans.
J:He had very different plans. Very very different plans.
K: How are you doing Jared? How are you after all of it?
Jared: “I was pretty much fine the entire time. I’m just tired because we didn’t get much sleep.
J: Yeah Jared was super calm the whole time. I kept looking at him like what’s happening?! And he kept going, “The doctor’s calm. Everything’s fine.” And I’m like… Everything’s not fine! The whole 3 minutes we had to process this. I was like in complete shock.
Jared: Well obviously they were doing something very urgently, but they didn’t seem panicked per say. The doctor was telling Jess to push. It was time to keep pushing.
K:(To Jared) You’re like the steady rock and the calm in the midst!
J: That’s exactly what I needed cause I was freaking out. I knew something was wrong, but I didn’t know what was wrong and I didn’t know what was happening. And everything is happening to my body.
K: It’s like all the sudden you feel like you’re the science experiment and everyone is touching you. Everywhere.
J: Yes! and they rushed in the pediatric people to make sure that he was good once he came out. He came out he was wrapped in the umbilical cord. It was around his neck and through his legs. Like he was tangle in the cord which is what was the problem.
K: Oh man.
J:And he was sunny-side up. They supposed to be head down facing your butt, and Micah was sunny-side up.. So he was head down facing up.
K: “So it was even more painful?”
J: Yes. He was spun. I pushed him out in 2 minutes.
K: That is wild!
Jared: (To Jess) You went from 3 centimeters the day before to 9 the next morning..
J: Yeah. That was crazy. That was what really surprised me was just how fast. Cause it I hadn’t been that dilated when they went to break my water the only option would have been they would have knocked me out and I would have needed a c-section. Cause it they didn’t get his heart rate up he would have died.
K: Before we come to a close, I wanted to hear about how your first night went while my recorder it still recording. How did your night go?
J: It was fine. I didn’t sleep very well because my body was still in shock… But because he had to come so fast…. Babies ingest the amniotic fluid and then when you’re pushing and you’re in labor it squeezes it out of them.. But because he was not quote on quote a “squeezed baby” because he had to be out so fast, or if they’re a c-section baby, then they don’t get the amniotic fluid squeezed out naturally so about 3am this morning he started throwing it up.
K: Is that normal? It sounds scary.
J: Yes. That is normal. There was nothing to worry about. But it was scary to us because we didn’t know. We called the nurse and the nurse told us it was totally normal. This is what happens and the whole shebang. But because it did freak me out, I didn’t sleep the rest of the night. He’s totally fine this morning. They said the more he eats and the more he poops then the more all that stuff will come out.
K: How was it when you were first alone? Like you three? Or was it four? Was Jude there?
J:Jude came yesterday, but it was never just the four of us yesterday. My parents and Jared’s parents came. Jude opened his present he got from Micah. He was happy to see everybody. He’s interested in Micah, but not overly in his face.
K: Which is probably a good thing.
J: Yes. Especially because it’s cold and flu season. I’m curious how he will react when we’re all at home, because we’re not in a familiar setting so everything is different. He was enamored that all of his favorite people were in the same place. Then Micah started crying and he walked over and had a look on his face like “what’s happening? Jude also walked over and looked at his brother a couple of time while other people were holding Micah. He’s at that age when he’s learning to understand.
K: I just can’t believe how big Jude has gotten. I feel like it was just yesterday when we were taking his portraits. Did you have to be on bed rest or anything?
J: There was a couple of times that I had to be on a modified bed rest because I had some bleeding.
K: What does that mean? Modified?
J: I can’t lift a whole lot can’t stand for long periods of time. That kind of thing, so like there were a couple of photoshoots I had to reschedule because I had to go on a modified bed rest for a week and then I would be cleared, but I never had to go on full on bed rest.
K: I feel like that would have to be absolute torture.
J: Haha, Mom had to do that.
K: Oh man. Becky, you had to do that?
Becky: I had to for 6 weeks!
K: Thank you Jess for letting me record your birth story so I could include it with your blog post. I’m SO glad everything turned out okay and that Micah and you are safe and healthy. And I’m really thankful you had wonderful doctors and nurses with you. Thank you so much for letting me make a blog post and for telling your story.
J: I am so thankful too. Like I said, it was completely a God thing that we’re both here, alive, healthy, and safe. And of course. I’m pretty much an open book. You loose all modesty when you get pregnant.
I hope you have enjoyed this Fresh 48 session of Baby Micah. If you would like to find out more about Fresh 48 sessions, please feel free to contact me. I would love to talk with you.