Mommy/Daddy Birth Interview Assignment

Hello, friends! Recently, my good friend, Lindsey, asked to interview Kyle and I on our pregnancy/birth/baby experiences as part of a school assignment, and I was more than happy to do it! I thought it would be fun to share with you our answers, so you get a chance to hear a bit from the daddy part of our parenting duo. I had so much fun doing this interview, and it made me miss being pregnant! The baby fever is REAL, guys! Here was our interview:

Mother: Janise
1. How did you find out that you going to become a parent?
We weren’t trying to have a baby, per se, but we weren’t preventing it. We both wanted a baby, and after a while, I had my suspicions that it finally happened. I went to the store and bought two of those 88 cent pregnancy tests, the ones with the silly droppers, and sure enough, they came out positive!

2. How did you react when you heard the news?
I was excited. Really excited.

3. What was pregnancy like?
A breeze, honestly. They say something like 2/3 of women experience morning sickness, which can last for months, or the entire pregnancy, but I never had any at all. I never had any symptoms at all until the last few weeks when my feet swelled, which was awful!

4. What was the birth process like?
I wish I had been more informed of my options, and what could go wrong during labor and delivery. Despite a healthy pregnancy, I developed preeclampsia during labor, and had to be put on a Magnesium drip to keep my blood pressure down, but then it dropped really low, which made me incredibly sick. I had an epidural as well, and Pitocin to help my labor, so I didn’t feel anything at all. I was exhausted though, and slept a lot. I labored for about 14 hours, and pushed for an hour and a half. The pushing was the worst. My epidural had started to wear off, and I was starting to feel again. It was weird though, because I didn’t feel pain, just a LOT of pressure. My partner had to leave the room, and after pushing on my back for an hour, they had me switch to the supine position (on all fours), which was awful, and a lot harder. I felt like I didn’t have a lot of control or say in what happened, and when they would tell me to push, I felt like it wasn’t the right time. Yet when I knew it was time to push, they told me not to. It was really stressful, and I felt very alone, despite being in a room full of people.

5. What do you remember the most?
The moment they handed my son to me. I was still on my knees and elbows, and they handed him to me through my legs. I felt completely numb, and overwhelmingly happy, seeing his face for the first time. That made all the pain, the sickness, and the 4-day hospital stay totally worth it!

6. What do you remember about the first month after the baby was born?
Pain. A lot of pain. You hear a lot about the pain of birth, but no one ever talks about what your body goes through afterwards. I bled for six weeks, and because I suffered a 4th degree perineal tear during delivery, I had a hard time doing much of anything. Housework went completely undone, because my partner had to go back to work early, and I was alone all day, every day, with this newborn. It was a little overwhelming.

7. Is it what you expected?
Honestly, some things were easier, and some things were harder. Not to toot my own horn, but I discovered that I was kind of a natural at the whole motherhood thing. I knew exactly what my son wanted based on his crying, and that made things so easy. He was such a good baby, too! Slept great, didn’t have any colic, and ate like a tiny linebacker. The hardest, most disappointing thing for me, personally, was not being able to breastfeed. I had all these hopes that I was going to exclusively breastfeed, but it never happened for us. He just wouldn’t latch, and I found it impossible to pump enough. I still feel guilty about it.

8. At what point did you feel “comfortable” with a new baby and taking care of him/her?
Within weeks, if not earlier. The first few nights were a bit of a shock, and really confusing. I didn’t have any family or friends to help me, or answer questions, so I relied a lot on the internet to get me through it. I read a lot, and it paid off. He was only a few weeks old and I felt like a pro. It relieved a lot of stress and worry.

9. Did having a baby change your outlook on your partner?
Honestly, yeah, a little bit. Getting him to change a diaper, even 13 months later, is a fight. He used to get frustrated so easily when the baby cried, and he didn’t know why. It is frustrating, feeling like you are doing 99% of the work in raising your child, especially when the other parent is actually there, but he helps out when he is able, which I appreciate.

10. Did having a baby change your sex life?
Completely. I feel really bad about it, really, because we had a great sex life before, even when I was 7 or 8 months pregnant. But thanks to my traumatic delivery, it has been difficult. My body took a very long time to heal, and it is still uncomfortable for me to have sex now, but there isn’t much I can do about it.

11. What is your least favorite thing about being a parent?
The judgment. Parenting itself came easily to me, but the judgment that I’ve received from family, friends, and even complete strangers, is disheartening. Every little thing that I post online, someone always has to say something. Everything from not being able to breastfeed, to co-sleeping (which we stopped doing when my son turned 6 months old), to letting him use a pacifier. Someone always thinks you’re doing something wrong. It took me a long time to adjust to that, and to realize that my son is happy, healthy, and crazy far ahead in his development, so they can go find someone else to judge!

12. What is the best thing about being a parent?
Lately, it has been being able to actually PLAY with my son. He is finally walking and running around, and it makes life so much more fun. Before, when he was just a tiny thing, we could only play on one spot, on the floor, which was great… but this is so much better. Seeing him grow and develop, and learn new things, it is so amazing.
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Father: Kyle

1. How did you find out that you going to become a parent?
We kind of knew for a while that it was going to happen. She bought a few pregnancy tests, and I was outside the bathroom door, and then we knew she was pregnant.

2. How did you react when you heard the news?
I was a little scared, but I was happy, too.

3. What was pregnancy like?
Not very different really. She didn’t have any cravings, or mood swings, or anything like that. Her stomach just grew.

4. What was the birth process like?
Scary. I wasn’t able to be in the room, I just couldn’t handle it. I was still there, on the other side of the curtain, but it was still scary. I was expecting her to scream, like they always show on shows and in the movies, but she didn’t scream at all.

5. What do you remember the most?
I remember when Janise threw up on me, because she had to take Magnesium, and it made her really sick. She wasn’t even completely awake when it happened. They didn’t let her eat anything, but then they gave her an apple, because she was so weak, but it didn’t stay down. That, and cutting the umbilical cord, which I did do!

6. What do you remember about the first month after the baby was born?
A lot of crying. I got really sick right after he was born, and we found out it was because of my blood pressure, and probably stress. So I remember a lot of crying, and being sick all the time.

7. Is it what you expected?
No, it was actually a lot easier. I thought it was going to be like death, or the end of everything normal, but it has been really easy. He is really good.

8. At what point did you feel “comfortable” with a new baby and taking care of him/her?
Umm, I think after he turned 5 or 6 months old, and he wasn’t so tiny anymore. It was less scary. I was always afraid to do anything when he was really small.

9. Did having a baby change your outlook on your partner?
Not really. It has been really cool to see her as a mom though.

10. Did having a baby change your sex life?
YES. It did! Drastically.

11. What is your least favorite thing about being a parent?
I can’t really think of anything. I didn’t have a life or friends previously, so not much has changed about my social life, except now there are three of us here. She’s made it pretty easy for me. I don’t have to change any of the bad diapers.

12. What is the best thing about being a parent?
Seeing how goofy my son is. He’s just like me. The weird faces he makes, and just how silly and funny he is, it just makes my day. He is a funny kid.
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Thanks for reading, friends! Thanks again to Lindsey for choosing to interview us. I hope you enjoyed our answers!

Was your pregnancy/birth experience similar to ours?

Jan (and Kyle!)

One Year Ago, Liam’s Birth Story

Today, my beautiful, baby boy turns one. I’ve had him in my life for a whole year, and it has been the most incredible experience. As well as writing a post about all of his milestones up to this point, I thought I would share the story of his birth. Warning, it is a bit graphic in some parts.

On January 23, 2015, my life changed forever.

I woke up at 5:07am with stomach pains. It was one day past my due date, and I thought I was just having Braxton Hicks contractions. I hadn’t had a single contraction through my whole pregnancy, and honestly had no idea what to expect. I waddled to the bathroom, barely making it to the toilet before I threw up. I hadn’t thrown up once during my entire pregnancy either. In fact, I hadn’t thrown up in years. After throwing up a second time, I walked back to my room, and tried to fall back asleep.

Several minutes later, more stomach pains caused me to jolt awake. I walked to the bathroom once more, and threw up once again. Then, it hit me. This was it. My son was on his way. I sat there for a while with my phone, timing my contractions, to see where I was at. They were anywhere from 8-13 minutes apart, and not too severe. I walked out to the couch and turned on Netflix, deciding to let Kyle sleep in a little longer.

Around 7:00, I walked to the room to let Kyle know that my labor had started, but told him there was no rush. He immediately got out of bed, and began making sure our hospital bags were ready for us to leave. I just laughed and sat back on the couch.

At 7:30, I decided to take a shower. I was still able to stand and walk without much difficulty, and my contractions were still around 7-8 minutes apart. I put on a little make up, double checked our hospital bags, and sat back on the couch to watch Netflix. I labored at home until around 8:45, when my contractions started coming every 2-3 minutes, and even walking them off was becoming painful. We left the apartment at 8:50, and arrived at the hospital just minutes later. I checked in (I had submitted all my paperwork weeks in advance), and waddled up to the maternity ward.

I changed into my hideous hospital gown, and waited for them to tell me which one of my midwives was on duty that day. I was relieved when they told me that my favorite midwife, Liz, would be delivering my son… if I gave birth that day.

Liz came in to check me, and was surprised to find that I was already 7cm. dilated, and that I wasn’t in much pain. She commented on being able to feel my son’s head, and mentioned that she could feel that he would have a lot of hair, which made me smile. She also mentioned that he was in the posterior position (head-down but facing your abdomen), which could possibly lead to complications during delivery, but I wasn’t too worried. She asked me if I wanted an epidural, and I quickly answered yes. The anesthesiologists came in to administer the epidural, and I made the mistake of catching a glance at the needle that they were about to insert into my back. The extremely attractive duo informed me that I would only feel a pinch, and then I wouldn’t feel anything.

They were absolutely right, and it was glorious.

Unfortunately, my painless high did not last. The nurse came in to check my blood pressure, which had been a bit high in the last week of my pregnancy, and informed me that they thought I may have Preeclampsia. They tested my urine, and sure enough, they found protein. Because I was already in labor, they chose to let things progress on their own. My heart rate was fine, and my baby was doing great. They gave me Pitocin to try any speed up my labor a bit, as well as a Magnesium drip for my Preeclampsia, and fluids to keep me hydrated, as I wasn’t allowed to eat or drink anything. I had forgot to have breakfast that morning, and I was starving.

The Magnesium drip made me so, so sick. I was able to get some sleep, thanks to my epidural, and was in and out of consciousness for several hours, only waking up to vomit, or when the nurses needed to check me. They did not insert a catheter, even though I had an epidural, and also had to wake me every hour so that I could pee into a bed pan, which was really awkward and strange. I couldn’t feel anything! Despite the nausea and exhaustion, I felt great, with zero pain. Kyle and I excitedly talked about the arrival of our baby boy, and Kyle started sending out the texts to let family know we were in the hospital.

Hours passed. Many hours. I could see that it had gotten dark outside, but I had no idea what time it was. The pressure was getting intense, and I could no longer sleep, so Kyle and I watched some TV for a few hours. The nurses kept coming in to check me, but it felt like I was stuck at only 8-9cm. dilated for the entire day. Finally, just after 7:30pm, they told me it was just about time to start pushing. Since 12 hours had passed, the anesthesiologists came in to touch up my epidural, which had started to wear off. I still didn’t feel any pain from contractions, but there was definitely pressure. And it was incredibly uncomfortable.

Suddenly, I was terrified.

Liz, my team of nurses, and Kyle were at my side. Liz and Kyle each held one of my legs, and I was instructed on when to push, and what I should be feeling. After several minutes of practice pushes, Kyle left the room. While I had expected this to happen, as Kyle has a weak stomach, and does not do well in high pressure situations, it scared me, and I suddenly felt alone. Liz took charge, instructing one of the nurses to grab my other leg, and the pushing continued.

Once again, no pain. Tons of pressure.

After 45 minutes of pushing on my back, Liz instructed me to get on all fours, and rest my chest on the top of the bed. This is when I started to feel some pain. Or something.

I found pushing in this position to be much more difficult, but Liz informed me that it was progressing much more quickly that way. I don’t remember much, just a lot of pushing, and the nurses laughing at me when I responded with, “I can do better!” when I was told that I was doing great.

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Another 45 minutes of pushing, and Liam was finally here. He came out sideways, of course, and caused quite a bit of damage with his shoulders. One of the nurses passed him to me between my legs, and I was able to finally lay my eyes on my son. He was perfect. His head was covered with thick, black hair, and his skin was perfect, and not wrinkly or splotchy like some newborns are. He looked just like his daddy. I remember thinking, that is a BIG baby!

Kyle came back into the room to cut the cord, and I remembered repeating, “Hello, baby boy!” over and over again, before they took him away to get him cleaned and measured. I sobbed with joy. And shock. Kyle was at my side, holding my hand when I was instructed to push again, to push out my placenta. It came easily, and unfortunately for him, Kyle got to see the whooole thing. He handled it quite well!

Unfortunately, I couldn’t hold my son, or attempt to nurse him, for another hour and a half. Liz informed me that I had a 4th degree perineal tear (the worst kind), probably because of the position that I was in when I delivered, and the position Liam was in when he came out, and would need a lot of stitches. I then met the newest doctor to the practice, who was almost unbelievably good looking, and he proceeded to sew my lady parts back together.

I remember Liz and the other nurses laughing and commenting on how calm and talkative I was, considering that I had just gone through 14 hours of labor, and 1.5 hours of pushing, and a pretty significant degree of tearing. I was calm. I was happy. I was exhausted. I still wasn’t feeling any pain. I wanted to see my son.

There was also a comment made about how my lady parts didn’t look like “ground hamburger“, which apparently some look like after experiencing this type of tearing… good for me?

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My baby boy came into this world at 9:01pm, at 21 inches long, and 7 pounds 15 ounces. He was absolutely perfect.

Unfortunately, despite my plans to exclusively nurse, Liam was unable to latch. There was nothing wrong with him, he just didn’t want to, no matter what we tried. Even the lactation consultant couldn’t help us. He also would not use a nipple shield. I ended up pumping, but it broke my heart, not being able to have my baby latch onto me, to feed him from my breast.

It got worse.

I was in the hospital for a total of 4 days. For the first 2 days, I was horribly sick from the Magnesium that I was on, and was extremely nauseous and drowsy. Kyle also spent most of his time throwing up, due to stress and exhaustion, which made for a very stressful environment. I sent him home on the 3rd day so that I could have some quiet.

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I also received harsh criticism from Kyle’s family, who were not allowed to visit in the first 24 hours, which was hospital policy, and was told that they wouldn’t be visiting because that was the only day any of them could come, despite only living 15-30 minutes away. Kyle’s youngest sister, who was 17 at the time, was also not permitted to visit, because no one under the age of 18 is allowed to visit the maternity ward during cold and flu season, once again, hospital policy. For four days, I had no one. No one came to take pictures. It was just me, my broken body, my beautiful baby, and my baby’s father, who couldn’t get up from the couch without throwing up. Not to mention, the unnecessary drama that my son’s birth had created. It was hard, and it hurt.

When we went home, Kyle was called back into work immediately, despite having taken a week off to help me in our first week as new parents. He went back to work early, and I was alone with our baby, who still refused to nurse. He also would only sleep if I was holding him, and refused to sleep in his bassinet, swing, or bouncer, which made finding time to pump impossible. I had no help from anyone, and experienced a lot of frustration and depression over not being able to nurse or breastfeed. After a few weeks, I switched to formula, and have harbored so many regrets.

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My healing process was relatively smooth. When I went in for my 6 week postpartum exam, she commented on how great a job the doctor had done sewing me up. Despite my 4th degree tear, I didn’t have much residual pain, my bleeding had completely stopped, and I hadn’t experienced any incontinence. I felt great… despite having some pretty bad postpartum depression, which I wish I had talked about more. I gained 31 pounds during my entire pregnancy, but lost all of it, plus an extra pound, before we even left the hospital. I was put on blood pressure medication, but after a few months, my blood pressure returned to normal, and I haven’t needed it since.

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I also ended up sleeping on the couch for 3 months with Liam, before we got a new couch (our old couch was actually a small love seat), and Kyle switched with us, allowing Liam and I to co-sleep in the bed together. When Liam was 6 months old, I transitioned him to his crib, which went fairly smoothly, and he has been sleeping on his own, mostly through the night, ever since. My back, however, has still not recovered from those several months of love seat sleeping.

It has been quite a journey, this last year… but I wouldn’t trade it for anything. Not one, single thing.

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And I can’t wait do it all over again in the future.

Thanks for reading, friends.

Jan