• Tanner Clemens

Blakely's Birth Story

Updated: Jul 14, 2020

I have been wanting to sit down and write Blakely’s birth story from the second she was born, but in a new first time mom fashion, I’m just now getting to it almost 4 weeks later. 😜 But better late than never I suppose! The last couple months of my pregnancy weren’t exactly easy. I was in quite a bit of pelvic pain making it pretty hard to do anything since even standing and walking would hurt. On top of that, I spent the last half of my pregnancy during a pandemic because of COVID-19. While I fully understood and agreed with the precautions that needed to be taken to protect everyone’s health, it was still pretty emotionally taxing on me. Everything we had planned was cancelled. Baby showers, maternity photos, a baby moon, ultrasounds, everything. I took a little bit of time to be sad and disappointed. Then I decided to try to get over it and make the most of the rest of my pregnancy. When it came time to start making plans for delivery, we found out that at our hospital here in Texas I would only be able to have one visitor the whole time and for the entire time I would be there, I would have to wear a mask. Even during labor and delivery. I knew that if that’s what I would have to do, I would be okay and I would get through it. But being that my mom is a labor & delivery nurse and this was my first pregnancy, I was pretty upset that she wasn’t going to be able to be there. I already had to compromise so many things during my pregnancy, I just couldn’t imagine not having my delivery a little bit of the way that I planned. So we started to look into other options and eventually decided that if possible, we should drive to Kansas to deliver at the hospital she works at. That way she could be in there and help me through labor along with my husband AND I wouldn’t have to wear a mask the whole time. Thankfully, we were able to work around my husband’s work schedule and when I was 37 weeks and 4 days, we packed up the dogs, everything we would need up until delivery, our hospital bags and stuff for after. We spent the next 9 days in Kansas and they were honestly some of the best days that I didn’t know that I needed. We were able to see a lot of family and friends before I delivered and I’m so thankful for that! On Monday, June 15th, I had a doctor appointment that my sister and grandma took me to since my husband had to work so we decided to make a day of it by going to lunch and spending some time together. I also had to get a Covid test (which was awful by the way) since we planned to have an induction on Friday the 19th in case I didn’t go into labor beforehand. So I went in for my prenatal visit and for the first time in my pregnancy, my blood pressure was a little bit elevated. Which was a complete shock to me. After running some labs and checking my blood pressure, we decided that the best decision was to go ahead and have me admitted for gestational hypertension and to start my induction that evening. Our fear was that if I went back to my parents house that day and had more blood pressure issues, it could start to get more dangerous and would put me at risk for preeclampsia. I was pretty upset and anxious just because Chas wasn’t there and I wouldn’t have time to go back to gather my things and say goodbye to my dogs since the hospital was an hour away. I know that’s silly looking back on it now, but the fact that our baby was coming so soon and unplanned just honestly put me in shock. Thankfully my sister was there to calm me down until Chas could get there and my family helped him pack up everything he needed and they reassured they would be there to take good care of our dogs so that put me at ease. Since I could only have one person with me, my grandma waited outside in the parking garage so she could take my sister home, but we could see the parking garage from our room so we at least got to wave goodbye! Chas arrived not too long after that and I was so relieved to see him. We then settled in and began the long process to bring our baby girl into the world! At 7pm that evening, I was only dilated to a 1, so my doctor inserted a foley balloon and cervidil to help soften and dilate my cervix. I started out watching the Bachelor since it was Monday night and everything was fine until the foley balloon started to do its job. It was pretty miserable and uncomfortable, but little did I know that would be the easiest part of my entire labor. Chas was super supportive and helpful by constantly filling up my water, rubbing my back and grabbing me popsicles. Eventually I told him to get some sleep while he could because I knew we had a long road ahead of us. I honestly didn’t sleep much at all that first night due to being so uncomfortable. At 3am though, I was finally dilated to 4cm so they took the foley balloon out and I felt instant relief (for a little while at least.) Then at 5am, we started pitocin to help my uterus to begin to contract. A few hours later, I started to feel pain from the contractions so at 9:30am I received my (first) epidural. Then right after that, they went ahead and broke my water. At this point, she was facing up instead of down so we spent a lot of time doing several spinning babies techniques to get her in a better position and help labor progress. At 12:20, there was no change but I was in a good contraction pattern and was comfortable and not in much pain.

At 3pm, I finally started dilating more and was at 5cm.

Unfortunately, around this time when I started to dilate and change, my epidural stopped working. They tried to give me more medicine through it but ended up deciding to just redo it since they couldn’t get me comfortable with more medicine. So at around 4:30pm, I received a second epidural. By 6:40pm, I was dilated to a 7, but at this point she was still sitting pretty high in my pelvis, my cervix was starting to swell and she was still looking up. So at 7pm, they decided to turn the pitocin off to give my uterus a break and hopefully reduce the swelling in my cervix. I didn’t know it at the time, but my doctor, nurse and mom had started to doubt that the baby was going to be able to fit because she was still higher in my pelvis than she should have been at this point in labor. We were still continuing to do lots of position changes to try and get her to turn and face down. They had me take a quick nap because I was so exhausted and still hadn’t really been able to sleep. When I woke up at around 8:50pm, they checked me again and I was finally at 8cm, my cervix wasn’t as swollen and she had moved down just a little bit, which was encouraging. But at this point, my second epidural had stopped working and I was pretty uncomfortable again.

Around 9:30pm, my mom left the room to get me some ice, but unbeknownst to me she was going to find my doctor and nurse to discuss options of whether or not a c-section might be best since the baby was still not moving down. By 10pm, I was in a lot of pain from contractions, so I had Chas text my mom to come back and see if there was anything else they could do to ease the pain. It was then that they all came back into the room and started telling me that they thought that she wasn’t going to fit and that I might need a c-section. I was devastated. Not only because the thought of a c-section terrified me, but it felt like everything I had went through over the last 24 hours was for nothing. Everyone was super supportive and ultimately were all on board to do whatever I wanted to do. But the fear was that if I continued to labor and tried to push, there was a very high chance that she would get stuck in the birth canal, I would end up tearing quite a bit, then would have to be rushed back to do an emergency c-section. Since my epidurals weren’t working, I would have felt everything through labor and on top of that, they would have to sedate me for a c-section and Chas wouldn’t have been able to be in there for it. That was the absolute last thing I wanted. If we were going to do a c-section, I at least wanted to be awake and for my husband to be in there with me. We then planned for them to come check me again at 10:30pm and if she hadn’t come down anymore then we would agree that she most likely wasn’t going to fit and we would need to prep for a c-section.

Anesthesia also came back in and tried to give me more medicine in my epidural in hopes to get me comfortable, but that also ended up not working. At 10:30pm, there was no change so we made the tough decision that it was time to do a c-section. My nurse, mom and Chas wheeled me back to the operating room and I cried the whole way there. Once we got there, they gave me a combined spinal epidural, which is a stronger kind they use for c-sections since none of the others were working, to hopefully get me numb enough for surgery.

Like all of the epidurals, it went in really easily but when he was threading the catheter into the epidural space, it went into a blood vessel. Which is something that happens but it’s not safe to put medicine through so they had to redo it again. At this point I was feeling every contraction and in the most pain I have ever felt. I was extremely upset, crying and starting to get angry too. But finally, after they got my 4th epidural in, this one started to work immediately and I felt instant relief. They began to prep me and start the process of my c-section. I was shaking pretty bad and even got nauseous and threw up a little bit. Which is all normal, but it still made me extremely emotional and terrified that I couldn’t relax. Thankfully, I didn’t feel any pain and barely any pressure during the entire process. Chas held my hand and encouraged me through the whole thing.

Before I knew it, I heard my baby girls first cry and all of the nausea, discomfort and fear disappeared.

At 11:25pm, our perfect little miracle was born at 7lbs 12oz and 20.5 inches. They held her up and she was (and still is) the most beautiful thing I've ever seen. They then handed her to my mom to get dried off and cleaned up. Which was one of the most special moments I have ever witnessed. Shortly after they got her cleaned up, they placed her on my chest and I cannot even explain the amount of love that filled my whole entire body in that very second. It really is true what they say about your entire world changing the very moment you meet your baby. I instantly felt like I became a mom and nothing I had ever done up until that point in my life would ever compare to this. I still feel that way to this day. I’m so grateful that my mom was able to come back with us since she was working at the time and got to be the baby nurse because it was so incredibly special. And some of the other nurses offered to take some really great photos for us that I’m so excited to share with you all and I will cherish them forever! As far as future pregnancies go, we thought that maybe if we had a smaller baby, I would be able to deliver vaginally. But when my doctor looked at my pelvis while she was sewing me up, she confirmed that there was no way that I would ever be able to deliver vaginally because of the way my pelvis is shaped. She explained that it is way too narrow and basically instead of it being shaped like a bowl, my pelvis is shaped like a cup - which is why the baby was never able to move down into the birth canal because her head kept getting stuck at the top. It also explained the extreme pelvic pain I had during the last few months of my pregnancy. I thought that I would always have to have a c-section would upset me, but looking at my baby girl and thinking back on the last 28 hours, I didn’t even care. I was glad we went through the whole process and did everything we could to try and deliver vaginally. And I’m extremely thankful for a team who did everything in their power to help me do so. My nurses and doctor were the absolute best and they all do not deserve enough credit for everything that they do. I also felt really good about our decision to do a c-section. For any future pregnancies, I’m completely at peace knowing that’s the way that I’ll be delivering and I’m proud to be a c-section mama!

We ended up staying in the hospital for a few days to recover and if I’m being honest, those 2 days were mostly a blur to me lol. I just remember cuddling our baby girl A LOT and just feeling completely blissful and in newborn heaven. Our original plan was to head back to Texas after she was born in the hopes she would just be sleepy. But since I had a c-section, we decided to go back to my parents house in Mcpherson so that we could have a few more days to recover before making that long drive. Looking back, I am so glad that we decided to do so because then a lot of my family got to meet Blakely and I was doing so much better after giving myself more time to recover. Not only that, but it was so nice having so many hands to help me during that time. Not only for Blakely, but for my own body and everything it went through as well. I’ll forever be thankful for my family for that because I truly couldn’t have done it without them.

When Blakely was 5 days old, we made the trek back to Texas.

Chas, Blakely and I in one car. My dad and sister in another car. Then my mom and 4 dogs in the third car. We were a travelling circus lol. We stopped every 2 hours for the dogs to get out and run and for me to feed Blakely. It took us almost 10 hours to get through a 6 hour car ride, but nonetheless we made it!

Some people may think we were crazy for going through all of that and driving so far, but I honestly can’t imagine not doing it. It was the best thing we could have done for me and for Blakely and I’m so grateful that I got to have the support of my family there. I would do it again in a heartbeat. It also made for a pretty cool story!