Our little man has arrived! After a whirlwind of excitement and then a lot of waiting around, River Morrison was born on May 6th, 2017. He was 6 lbs. 15 oz., 21 inches long, and 100 percent cute. He’s also his dad’s identical twin.
I’ve been trying to sit down and write his birth story since we came home from the hospital but, SURPRISE, newborns take up just a liiittle bit of your time. To be completely fair, I could’ve totally made it happen during one of his many naps, but I’ve usually spent those hours getting in an uninterrupted meal, catching up on the newest season of Below Deck, or taking a much-needed shower. Priorities, ya know?
Our due date was May 3rd. Despite multiple efforts of inducing labor on our own, that day quickly came and went. I knew the due date was really more of an estimate, but I was still determined to have this baby as close to then as possible. Sam and I did everything from going on four-mile walks to eating the spiciest ramen we could find, but the little guy was more stubborn than we anticipated. I mean, I even polished off an entire bag of Flamin’ Hot Cheetos as dessert one night. Just taking one for the team like the selfless human that I am.
Due to my high levels of HCG and mature placenta, we had been going to fetal monitoring appointments twice a week for the last month of my pregnancy. On May 5th, we arrived for our 9:30 a.m. appointment. I ended up having a five-minute-long contraction and the baby’s heart rate slowed during that time. The nurse told us this was a little concerning and would likely mean I’d need to be induced as soon as possible. She ended up calling the doctor on-site and he agreed that it was time for me to head down to the labor and delivery floor. The nurse called my OB to fill her in and, knowing I was 40 weeks and two days along and nearly four cm dilated, she felt good about moving forward with the induction. I wasn’t feeling any pain at this point and Sam and I were just excited that we were really going to have a baby today! The nurse told us she wouldn’t be surprised if he came within six hours. We were freaking out. Sam called our families and told them to join us at the hospital as soon as they could. Sam’s mom, my parents, and my brother all arrive around 10:30 a.m. The excitement was palpable as we took “oh my god, this is it” photos and all placed our bets for when he’d be born, how much he’d weigh, and how long he’d measure. The excitement gradually faded as we continued to wait for what turned out to be eight hours before a delivery room was available. It wasn’t until 5:30 p.m. that I was walked up to L&D and officially admitted. So much for that Cinco De Mayo baby we were secretly hoping for!
Once Sam and I were put into our room, the amazing nurse (shout out to Randi!) gave us the rundown of what would be happening and pretty quickly started the Pitocin. She started at 1 ml and told us she’d be increasing the dose every 30 minutes. I was hooked up to the IV but was able to utilize the mobile cart. Sam and I took a dozen or so laps around the hospital floor in hopes of getting things moving. The contractions were coming in consistently but there still wasn’t much pain or a lot of progress with my cervix. It took about six hours for the Pitocin to really kick in and the contractions to become more painful. I had been waiting to experience the pain and was a little shocked when it all started happening. I tried my best to practice the breathing exercises I knew from yoga, but holy shit, those contractions are no joke. After the second or third, I knew I was going to ask for an epidural. I believe my exact words to Sam were, “I’m getting the f*cking epidural.” Until then, I had been open to the possibility of going unmedicated, but that changed pretty quickly once the pain officially hit!
Luckily, the anesthesiologist arrived to my room pretty quickly after I let the nurses know I’d be getting an epidural. He was extremely professional and talked me through exactly what he’d be doing and when. I appreciated his openness and felt really well taken care of the entire time. I hadn’t thought too much about the specifics of delivery, but I was definitely most nervous about the epidural. I had heard how still you have to stay (and how big the needle is) and I was terrified I wouldn’t be able to avoid squirming through all of the contractions. Sam was amazing as I squeezed the life out of his hands and all ended up going well. Shortly after, a doctor came in and broke my water. Things were starting to get real!
A couple hours into the epidural, the baby’s heart rate had dropped and I was given an oxygen mask to use for the remainder of the night. Apparently, that’s a fairly common thing, but the nurses didn’t explain that at all and it seemed super scary at the time. It also didn’t help that Sam was showering when it all went down, so he came out to find me with an oxygen mask on and the nurses checking on all the vitals. Poor guy was pretty freaked out. After things calmed down, the nurses checked on the progress of my cervix and it was just about go-time. Sam called my mom to let her know the baby was on his way and just after 4 a.m., I started pushing. My mom and Sam were awesome, helping support my legs alongside the nurse for the next hour or so. One of the best things about the pushing process was getting to use a giant mirror. TMI? Maybe. But I was able to see my progress during and after each push, and it really helped in keeping me motivated and knowing I was actually getting somewhere. Once I only had a few more pushes to go, the doctor on call arrived. My normal OB was off that night and I had never even met this other woman before. Not the ideal situation, but also not one I thought too much about while I was trying to push a human out of me. The baby’s heart rate was still dropping with every contraction, so the nurse got a little more serious and asked me to push as hard as possible. At 5:35 a.m., our little baby came into the world. His umbilical cord was wrapped twice around his neck, so the doctor quickly cut it away and put him immediately on my chest. Seeing the actual moment our boy was born and feeling the palpable rush of excitement around me was the most exhilarating thing I’ve ever been a part of. Having our newborn baby lie on my chest and Sam wrap his arms around us both was easily the most amazing experience of my life. That’s something I’ll never forget.
Oh, and his name. Sam and I were going back and forth on a couple names for what seemed like forever but ended up agreeing to make a game-time decision once we saw him. It took almost three hours after he was born for us to decide on River. We both kind of gave each other a look after talking through each name and just knew it felt right. We had decided on his middle name a few weeks prior, so that was the easy part. Our first dance at our wedding was to Crazy Love by Van Morrison and we loved the idea of being able to keep that memory alive through his middle name. So that’s that! We freaking love you, River Morrison Pitluk.
photos by my mama, Roxanne Baisden