Rowan turns 18 months today and her mommy, a talented wedding photographer and friend who took my private Lamaze classes wrote this lovely birth story for my blog to celebrate this special day. Enjoy!
Rowan’s Birth Story
Rowan Bridget, you are my first baby. I will always think of you that way and will always remember the day we met with the most overwhelming emotions of love and joy. I remember your birth like it was yesterday. I spent a very long and busy Saturday with your Grammy and Poppop Stackhouse nesting and preparing our home in Jersey City for you (which was still mid-construction by the way) followed by dinner and a movie (“The Equalizer” featuring Denzel Washington). Grammy, Poppop, and I arrived home around 9 PM and so did Daddy and some of his friends who had been in the city all day enjoying a food tour. We said goodbye to Grammy and Poppop and at the last minute decided to visit some friends in Hoboken at around 10 PM. I had been experiencing some cramping throughout the late afternoon and evening, but didn’t think much of it. We enjoyed an hour and a half long visit (I even had a sip of seasonal beer-yes, there is photo evidence) and Daddy’s friends even joked on the way home that the bumpy road and the guys making me laugh was going to send me into labor, but nothing noteworthy happened until about an hour later.
At 1 AM on the dot I woke up to use the bathroom and lo and behold I lost my mucus plug. I remember really questioning if it was time and waking your Dad up to time my contractions, which he did in between little naps. In his defense he was exhausted from being in the city all day! In the meantime I lit a lavender candle, drew a bath, and relaxed for a half hour before getting out and stretching on a yoga ball and walking through contractions. When thinking back I most definitely could have gone back to bed, but I was too excited to sleep and had no idea how many hours of labor I had ahead! Grammy and Poppop had probably arrived back to PA by 11 PM only to hear from me a few hours later that we thought you were coming. We told them to please hold off on making their way back to New York until I was officially admitted and to get some rest while they could. I text messaged all of your aunts to let them know the same. At around 5:30 AM my contractions were still 3 minutes apart, but I was anxious to get on the road and make our way to the Upper East Side because traffic in the city is always unpredictable. We of course arrived with no problem and I was checked only to be told that unless I was ready for an epidural that I would have to walk the halls for a bit which I was happy to do. I did it until I could no longer stand on my own and asked for a wheelchair while your Dad made sure they were getting a room ready for us, stat. At around 7 AM we were escorted to a room that was completely worth the wait. We were unaware of it at the time, but the nurse we ended up with that day, Sally was closely watching us and recognized that I was serious about having a natural birth. We didn’t know this until 2 days after you were born, but she specifically arranged for us to get the Bunny and Charles Koppelman Birthing Room (which I referred to as “The Beyonce Suite”) because she knew it was important for me to have a lot of space to move around during your birth. It was incredible. The view was beautiful, there was a couch, a table and 4 chairs, a big TV, a separate bathroom and shower, and a private room for you. In some hospitals outside of the city this may be normal, but for NYC it felt like we hit the jackpot. The other cherry on top was that Grammy and Poppop Stackhouse arrived shortly after we were escorted to our room and so did Aunt Julie and Aunt Darcy. The hospital staff let all of them join your Dad and I and it was truly the best experience being able to labor with the support of my family. I was able to move all around for very extended periods of time and the hospital only asked that I be monitored every hour for only 10 minutes. This was by far the most difficult part of your birth, having to lie down during contractions. By around 1 PM your Grammy Neal arrived (after an accidental detour to Brooklyn) and joined my family. She was fantastic and alternated with helping me count, breathe, applying cold compresses, and rubbing my feet. Poppop Neal was in Florida and was alerted immediately when I went into labor and started making his way (he took a road trip so that is why it took longer). Your Aunt Colby also got news in the early morning that you were coming and started to make her way from Penn State University. It took her almost the entire day and she was text messaging Poppop Stackhouse her travel updates.
Between 1 PM-6:40 PM, it was a labor of love. A lot of walking, breathing, moaning, massaging, ice chips, and so on. The doctor only came in about three times the entire day and I vividly remember her telling my mom that you seemed bigger than what they had estimated. One of those times was to break my water toward the end and this is when labor started to progress quickly and everything became more intense. My belly stayed so high and you sat so far on my right side that it looked funny, but I felt great in between contractions despite being tired. The most physically challenging part of your birth was resisting the urge to push because you were still sitting too high and not ready to make your debut quite yet. When it was finally time to push the doctor warned me that it could take an hour. At this point she did kindly ask that Poppop Stackhouse and your aunts leave the room. Your Aunt Colby was arriving as this was happening which was bittersweet as far as timing goes. Your Dad and Grammy Neal were on my left side and your Grammy Stackhouse was on my right and it was finally time to meet you! After only a few pushes and only about a half hour later you graced us with your presence as your Dad simultaneously announced that you were a baby girl since we didn’t find out your gender. You were so beautiful and your lungs were so strong. You were laid right on my chest and we snuggled and cried together. You were here and our lives were forever changed. We love you so much sweet Rowan Bridget.
Check out Rowan’s birth video!