Sterling’s Birth Story

Six years later…

A Low Key New Years Eve

As the party planner I am, and as I’m sure you can imagine, I love hosting New Year’s Eve. Even if it’s only our small gathering of friends, we usually go all out and always have good food, treats, sparkling cider, games and a great time. This year was different, I didn’t really have the energy to host our usual group of friends (who actually had plans out of town with extended family….) Which meant a quiet night at home just the three of us, to keep things relatively low key. I planned to make frozen pizza for dinner and had set out champagne flutes to toast Martinelli’s as we watched the ball drop via live-stream and causually counted down into the new year.

My Birth Plan  

My birth plan for this baby was similar to my birth plan for Jade, (read her full birth story here), with a few tweaks that were more practical and realistic, in case of an emergency, etc. I really loved doing the hypnobirthing techniques while laboring with Jade, I felt like I was in control and managed the pain really well on my own. Afterall, this wasn’t my first rodeo.

I planned to have a natural labor, without an epidural or any induction/interventions to get me into labor, just like I did with Jade. So I typed up my birth plan and planned to give it to the nurses, when the time came to go in (Honestly, I had very low expectations of anyone actually honoring my wishes and requests), based on my experience during Jade’s birth. I was hopeful because this was at a different hospital than where I delivered Jade, so maybe things would be different. Here is the actual birth plan I printed and took into the Hospital.

My Water Broke

Around 8 PM I decided to tackle a last minute project before getting into our New Year’s Eve agenda, and check off one of the last things on my to do list before the baby came: Unpacking a few baby gifts and get the nursery closet more organized. Around 8:15 PM I felt a small gush come out and it felt like I had just peed my pants. Seeing how I was 37 and a half weeks pregnant, I thought I should probably check myself and sure enough it looked like clear fluid and not pee… I checked and actually wiped something that looked like a mucus plug (I googled it) not sure what to do next I called out to my husband through our google home (who ran upstairs) to discuss the next steps. I wasn’t sure what was going on, and wondered if this was really happening as I wasn’t having any contractions either, I felt totally fine.

I called the midwife to let her know what had happened. While On the phone she recommended that I lay down and count the babies movements, and if I didn’t get between 7 and 10 kicks in the next hour, I should plan to come to the hospital to get checked. So I took a bath, then laid down and started to count kicks in bed, and I kept having small gushses of fluids come out… This baby hadn’t been super active during the pregnancy, which was comforting, but he did not kick/move more than five times during the hour while I was laying down… We decided to head into the hospital to ease my mind and make sure that baby was doing well.

Not sure if they were even going to admit me, and with it being New Year’s Eve we decided to head into the hospial together as a family to hear our options and possible next steps. Jade was beyond excited to go with us to the hospital and it was super sweet and comforting for me to have her there at the beginning of the night.

We arrived at the hospital around 9:30 PM to hear that it was a very busy night and there were about 6 other mamas already there (who had just delivered a baby or were laboring), New Years Eve was a busy night for babies!

During the check-in process, we could hear loud moaning, crying and screaming coming from down the hall. It was startling and it really messed with my head and confidence of going into my natural, unmedicated, relaxing and peaceful childbirth headspace. I had never heard anything like that in real life, only in movies, and I have to admit, it still makes me shutter when I think about that sound. All I could do was remind myself that I’ve done this before and my body knew what to do. Luckily, Jade was busy playing games on her tablet and didn’t seem to notice. I was so worried about her asking me why some lady was screaming… but she never did, so I guess we dodged that bullet.

A Change To The Birth Plan

They admitted us right away. Once she confirmed that my water had broken, my midwife talked about possible scenarios and options. I was only dilated to a one and hadn’t had any contractions yet, because my water had already broken, if I didn’t deliver in the next 24 hours a C-section was a possible outcome. My midwife suggested starting me on Pitocin around midnight if I didn’t start progressing on my own. Because my last labor was really quick the first time around (four hours from when we got to the hospital), I decided to wait to start the pitocin in case I needed to get the ball rolling.

I had a lot of doubts about starting pitocin, and still being able to manage contractions on my own, as I’ve heard it really intensified labor pains and stacks contractions with fewer breaks in between. But I was also only dilated to a one with NO contractions and really didn’t want to have a C-section unless absolutly nessecary. About an hour had passed since arriving to the hospital and I wasn’t progressing at all, so I decided to start the pitocin. I didn’t want to wait until midnight and just become more exhausted from being up with zero progression. Nick called our awesome neighbors to help watch Jade and he ran her back home to spend the rest of New Year’s Eve with their kiddos.

Nothing has really happened by the time he got back… So we walked the halls, I had some cranberry juice and drank lots of water. I started watching Nacho Libre while bouncing on my birthing ball to take my mind off things and get some laughs in before the real work began. Around 11 o’clock I started having contractions! It was super exciting and they weren’t as intense as I thought they’d be…  We watched the ball drop on TV and Nick and I shared a midnight kiss, I was doing okay at this point.

Things were going according to plan, until the nurse bumped up the dose of Pitocin. By 12:30 AM I was only dialated to 3 centimeters and the contractions were getting SO intense. The nurse who came to check on me mentioned that we were still in the running for the first New Year’s day baby at this Hospital. “Don’t tell me that, I’m super competitive!” I said half joking, but secretly in my head I really wanted to have that first baby of the year.

I am a quiet laborer and a deep breather, so the next parts of my inner thoughts during labor are all thoughts I had in my head. Nick couldn’t believe how calm I was the entire time, so we both had a good laugh when we compared notes at the end.

The contractions started coming on harder and faster (lasting about 90 seconds with two minute breaks in between) Oh good, things are progressing! I thought. So I had them fill up the tub so I could labor in the water for a little while. I was excited because when I delivered Jade, the tub helped me progress really quickly… But with the Pitocin attached to my IV, I was uncomfortable and the contractions kept stacking with shorter and shorter breaks.

I labored in the tub for about an hour and I remember feeling like I must be getting close because of how crazy intense everything felt. Not being able to take the intensity of the contractions much longer, I decided to hop out of the tub and get checked. I could tell I was getting really close, so I asked the nurse to check me. “Oh good, you’re dilated to about a four” the nurse said.

Are You FREAKING kidding me!? A four!? It was 1 AM at this point and I remember thinking “This is going to be a really, REALLY long night”.

I felt really discouraged, but I put my head down and asked Nick to rub my back, massage my forhead, press on my hips and do anything to get me to relax. He was amazing. The nurse came in and checked me again around 2 AM “You’re at a 5/6.” and again the nurse bumped up the pitocin, which bumped up the contraction, which I was NOT happy about.

If looks could kill.

I was so frustrated and uncomfortable I felt like I was further along and couldn’t believe how much more painful the pitocin made everything feel. If I had to compair it to Jade’s birth, the contractions I had from when I was dilated to a three and on felt like the same intensity from when I was in the last 20 minutes of labor with Jade dilated to a 9/10!

At 3 AM I was dilated to a seven… and felt super nauseated and each contraction ached me to my bones. With Jade, I remember feeling so focused on being able to really manage the the surges and contractions as they came, enjoying the long breaks in between. But ever since getting out of the tub, I felt discouraged, super uncomfortable and wondered if I should ask for an epidural… I would go into these fits where my whole body would start shivering uncontrollably, but I wasn’t cold, and I felt so sore everywhere. I couldn’t believe no one had asked me about my pain scale or for an epidural. And honestly, if someone would’ve asked, I probabally would’ve said “Yes please, please, PLEASE!” That pitocin made me feel like I was like getting gut punched over, and over, and over. Which thanks to my time boxing, I knew exactly how that felt.

But every single person honored my birth plan and didn’t ever ask me about my pain scale or ever offer an epidural… I think sheer pride pushed me through the next hour as I continued to breathe through the intensity and pain of the contractions.

Around 4 AM there we’re so many women in labor, a second midwife showed up to help out. She came into my room and checked me. And I was at a ten, which made me wonder if the nurse was accurately checking me, or if I had just progressed that quickly?!!!! I couldn’t believe it. Honestly, I was about ready to give up. I wanted to tap out and was at the end of my rope mentally, emotionally and just physically exhausted. The midwife and Nick told me that I was strong, that I was doing a great job, that he was almost here and it wouldn’t be much longer now… It was the emotional boost I needed as the nurses didn’t really say anything to me besides how far dilated I was.

I felt like if I could just get in a more comfortable position, I knew I’d be able to push him out. During a really rough contraction, my midwife suggested turning to my side and starting to push when I felt ready. I decided in my mind that I would push exactly three times counting down from 10, before giving up and dying on that hospital bed right then and there. Three pushes was all I had left to give.

So I laid on my side, (in that sexy 80s model positon) and felt the “ring of fire” as the midwife massaged the opening, which for the record, hurt like the Dickens! Then Nick held my leg in the air and I could feel the baby coming down and that urge to bear down. I took my first breath in and counted out for 10 seconds. I could tell that he was ready to come out. I instincitivly wanted to push harder and was able to breath out and push at the same time.

My midwife massaged and “stretched” me even more and he came out on the second push! my New Year’s baby, and the first baby of the new year (at that hospital and fourth in Utah County) was born at 4:27 AM. And the best part of the story, I didn’t tear at all (insert happy dance here). I was soooooo relieved and honestly still can’t believe I did it. Immediately the feelings of happiness, and that rush of endorphins flooded and I felt AMAZING and so relieved.

They put him right into my tummy (his cord was too short to go much higher and we did skin-to-skin until his cord stopped pulsing. When I t was time to cut the cord, Nick was able to cut it (another thing that didn’t happen with shades birth). There was no rush to get him cleaned or weighed or any of that, we just soaked up the moment and got to have my birth plan requests honored to a “T”! Which was so wonderful now that it was all over.

The nurses brought in this HUGE gift basket for having the first baby of 2019, (I told you I was competitive.) Filled with blankets, mini Martinelli’s, Candy, lotion, baby toys, bottles, gift cards and two mini champagne flutes, like baby sized (I mean could those have gone to a better person!?), and we celebrated by resting (trying to rest) and soaking up all of the sweetness of this little guy.

We named him Sterling Scott Curtis and he’s been a little slice of heaven. After 24 hours we were able to take him home which was even more surreal and I felt so emotional about the whole experience and really how perfectly everything went (minus the pitocin) and how wonderful it felt to be headed home, and not visiting the NICU.

This whole experience was a good reminder to me that there is no “right way” to birth a baby. Only what works best for you and your baby. Thanks to all of you for sharing in our joy, for your comments of love and encouragement and support getting little Sterling here.

We are just soaking up these sleepless nights (and days) as a family of four and loving every minute. And miss Jade LOVES being a big sister and is such a good helper.

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