Knox Grey – a birth story

September 26th 2018 4:00am: After waking up continuously every hour I finally accepted that I must have gone into labor. That night I simply couldn’t sleep. My mom and my brother had just arrived from Germany … I had planned on having this baby two weeks early, so he was supposed to be two weeks old by the time of their arrival but things turned out rather difficult with him. When they arrived the night before, I literally didn’t even have hope to ever go into labor on my own.

Let me back up to the last month of pregnancy. Knox was always on the normal to big size whenever we had a checkup and I insisted I would have a ten pounder but I was always assured I wouldn’t. About two months before his due date Knox had found a comfortable position that he wouldn’t leave. Sterling and I always joked how funny my stomach looked – like a donut with a hole in the middle. We would see elbows, knees and feet sticking out constantly. I was literally waiting for the moment to see an entire hand reaching out like in one of those horror movies. All we kept saying was that Pax never moved like that.

Unfortunately we were about to find out just why he was moving so funny and why I had horrible back pains and it all started to make sense. When we went in for a checkup, my midwife told me that she was pretty sure he was laying breech and that she would like to confirm via ultrasound if he hadn’t turned by 36 weeks. She informed me that if he was still breech at that point they would do a version at 37 weeks. I remember walking out of that appointment thinking great, no big deal, they’ll flip him if he won’t. Later that day I went on google. Of course google didn’t help, instead it had me worried. A version did not seem to be as simple as my midwife made it seem… it also didn’t seem comfortable at all… all of a sudden the thought of needing a version seemed horrible and so I quickly google searched “how to flip your baby”.

For the next two weeks I did handstands in the pool (it was August). I bet the lifeguards must’ve thought I was insane… I’m sure they never saw a super pregnant lady doing continuous handstands in the pool like her life depended on it. All the handstands and endless other positions I tried did not make this baby move though. I started wondering why the heck they’d do a version so late instead of doing it ASAP while he was still little. I called to tell them to flip this baby now. Well… they declined saying it would be too early and he would have enough time to turn back around before birth and they obviously didn’t want that to happen. 37 weeks seemed awfully late to me to flip him because I had Pax at 38 weeks super fast so I was certain Knox wouldn’t stay in any day longer.

When I finally went in for my ultrasound at 36 weeks and nothing had changed, I was quite anxious because at that point I had googled enough about versions to know that I definitely didn’t want to have one. Then the miracle happened. I parked the car and when I stepped out and went down on the elevator I could tell something had suddenly changed. I walked differently… I waddled like a big pregnant lady because that’s what I was lol but at that moment I knew he had turned because I was unable to walk normal. We went to the ultrasound and my guess was confirmed… he had indeed flipped around, was facing backwards and was in perfect birthing position. I got to see one last 3D picture of his chunky cheeks inside my womb and cried happy tears about the fact that I wouldn’t need a version after all.

From then on anytime he moved was torture. Pretty much the second I was home I already doubted he was still in the right position. By the time I had my 37th week appointment I was certain he wasn’t laying right anymore and unfortunately I was correct. While he wasn’t flipped back to breech, he did turn around facing forward or so called “sunny side up”. The midwife didn’t make a big deal out of this either, she was just happy he wasn’t breech anymore. At this point I was certain this would be my last appointment. I was sure I would have this baby any day now. But the week went by before I knew it and I went to my 38th week appointment. Because I had Pax at that week she agreed to check how far I was dilated. I was at 1cm and he was still sunny side up, the midwife still didn’t make a big deal out of it, so I wasn’t worried.

Then I googled. Then I freaked out. Turned out having a baby sunny side up wasn’t great at all and I realized my midwife just didn’t want me to be scared or worried. Well google had me scared and worried and then talking to friends and strangers had me scared and worried even more. Literally every person I talked to that had a baby sunny side up ended up with a c-section… either a scheduled one or an emergency one. People would tell me to schedule a c-section instead of even trying to birth that baby because they tried and ended up needing the baby pushed back up after being in labor for hours and then having it taken out through an emergency c-section. Imagine hearing all these horror stories? And not just once… it seemed more people confirmed that this was a trend.

I really didn’t want a c-section. I had the best and easiest birth with Pax, I did not want a c-section. I was upset because after this super easy and peaceful first birth I simply expected the second to be the same or even easier and now all of that seemed to be crushed simply because he was facing the wrong way. I couldn’t believe that the positioning really effected birthing that much. It seems silly to me now but at that point I was clueless. I also could’ve believe it was that difficult to make a little infant turn. I tried. It was impossible.

My 39th week appointment came up, here I was, still pregnant. I felt awfully uncomfortable, I just wanted this baby o u t ! None of the nurses could even believe I was still coming in. Unfortunately I had zero signs of going into labor so we started talking about my options. I never ever wanted to be induced or have a c-section but at this point these all seemed very real options to consider and I was so frustrated. (I realize I will have to write down Paxton’s birth story for you so you’ll understand where my frustration was coming from.)

My 40th week appointment I pushed out until two days after my due date, thinking maybe I wouldn’t have to go to it. My mom and my brother were scheduled to arrive from Germany on my due date on September 25th. I really thought Knox would’ve been two weeks old by then but all of a sudden I was facing the reality that he could be born two weeks late and my family would miss him. After more conversations I finally felt defeated and sort of decided that I’d schedule a c-section at my appointment on Thursday and that was just going to be the way I would have this baby. But then Tuesday night and the moon changed everything.

September 26th – midnight, 1 am, 2 am, 3 am, 4 am… I kept waking every hour and didn’t feel tired at all… I felt wide awake, unable to sleep with minimal cramps. I surely wondered what was going on. I didn’t want to jinx myself but by 4am I accepted that I was indeed having contractions. I was excited! At 6 am I decided that I should probably time my contractions because they weren’t going anywhere. They were ten minutes apart like clockwork. I was ecstatic. I was so happy my body went into labor itself. I was so happy the decision about scheduling a c-section was taken from me and I was given a chance to birth this baby. I had always said that IF I was going into labor on my own I would try without a c-section.

I was ready. I woke Sterling and told him to cancel work and that we should get going ASAP because our hospital was far away and rush hour was about to hit. I took a quick shower (really not sure why I even bothered), woke Pax and was ready to go. Well husbands don’t get when it’s time to go… do they?! Mine was in zero rush because you know they don’t feel the pain you’re going through and my pain tolerance is very high so I surely didn’t look like I was in much pain. We finally left at 730…hitting rush hour in all it’s glory.

It took us 2 (!!!) full hours to get to the hospital most of which I had to listen to Sterling complain about me choosing a hospital this far away all while having contractions every ten minutes. I was so annoyed… I mean really, all he had to do was drive, I was the one having to work through contractions for 2 hours, not him! I’m certain if the baby would’ve been laying the right way I would’ve had him on the highway but since he didn’t, I counted down the time to the hospital by how many contractions I’d have to go through until we’d get there. Aka 5 more contractions equaled 50 minutes. My friend met us at the hospital to take Pax for a sleepover and we went up to the labor and delivery floor to get admitted.

Walking up there and checking myself in in all consciousness was so very different for me than the first time around. I instantly liked the nursed that checked me in. By the time they checked me I had contractions every five minutes but I was dealing as good as I could… I had taken a hypno birthing class the first time around and used everything I had learned to work through each contraction. I was only 4cm dilated and my water hadn’t broken. They told me at this point they usually send people back home. This obviously was no option for me since we just drove for two hours to get there in the first place. They agreed that I should just walk around the area… however I had already made up my mind that I wasn’t going to go anywhere. I told them how quickly labor progressed the first time around and that I really didn’t think it was a good idea to send me anywhere. While another nurse computed my info my contractions started picking up to every two minutes and she agreed with me that I wasn’t going to go anywhere.

The hospital had one single room with a birthing tub, which I requested since we birthed Pax there and believe it or not I was lucky enough to get the same exact room. This meant a whole lot to me so I was thrilled. I also ended up getting the nurse I had an instant connection with and my assigned midwife used to be a doula which made me so happy since we didn’t have a doula with us this time around. It was about 11am when I got into the room. I felt extremely uncomfortable and totally did not remember this level of discomfort when I had Pax. I was ready to jump into that birthing tub ASAP but to my annoyance the midwife told me that she didn’t want me in the tub because she had a bad back and it would be too much for her.

This was really upsetting to me as I had the easiest birth in that tub before. We tried different positions on the bed and gymnastic ball but I really was horribly uncomfortable and kept asking the nurse if I could go in the tub anyways. Finally the midwife came around and agreed to having me in there and I was oh so thankful. Before I went in, she decided to check on the position of our little boy and she just couldn’t be certain. I was 6cm dilated and he was way up high instead of all the way down. We ended up having an ultrasound machine brought into the room so that they could see his exact position and even with the machine it was very hard to find him. Unfortunately he hadn’t changed his position at all, he was really quite stuck, sunny side up. We tried different techniques to get him so spin around but he wouldn’t. I was nervous to say the least and I was certain they would decide to do a c-section.

I was asked about my birth plan and I told her – no epidural, no c-section unless absolutely necessary. At this point I had ZERO clue what I was getting myself into. Zero. I asked her how realistic it was that I could birth this baby. She was super calm and certain that I could do it. I told her that I thought he’d be ten pounds and they all laughed saying there was no way, I was so little, and he’d be 8 something. I was asked if they could bring in a student nurse to watch my birth and I agreed because Paxton’s birth was oh so great and I knew rom experience that I wouldn’t give two shits about who was in the room or not.

Then I finally got to go in the tub. I sat in there feeling completely uncomfortable and in so much pain. I tried being on all fours which didn’t help either. I tried sitting just on my knees but really nothing felt good at all. This was new to me. With Pax the tub was amazing, relieving and I couldn’t understand why it was so freaking horrible with this baby. A c-section started to not sound so bad after all. The hospital wasn’t busy whatsoever so I had Sterling, the nurse and the midwife sitting with me the entire time. Contractions were two minutes apart. Nothing changed. I didn’t feel better or worse and I started to wonder what would happen if labor would just suddenly come to a stop. I actually felt bad for everyone sitting around having nothing to do. I even told them they could leave if they wanted to because I could tell nothing was happening and I actually felt awkward and uncomfortable with all the attention on me and nothing to do. Boring!!

I wanted the midwife to check how far I was dilated now but she said we didn’t need to check anymore, we would know when to push. This was also new to me because with Pax they confirmed once I was 10cm and allowed me to push but I was like whatever. I really couldn’t care less about anything anymore I just wanted this baby out of me. So we all sat there waiting around, me in great pain but not moving a muscle.

Eventually the one person I didn’t want to take my words seriously did leave the room. Sterling HAD to get a coffee since we basically had nothing to eat or drink all morning (don’t worry they made sure I was drinking water). So Sterling left to grab a coffee “real quick” but never returned. Sure enough it finally happened… all I had waited for… the distinct change in breathing when you finally go into active labor, only familiar to those who gave birth before. The first time around I would’ve never recognized the signs but this time around I waited anxiously to get to this phase. My body was ready to push.

My water had not broken yet but instead I began to bleed. My midwife decided to let out some water in order to be able to reach me better since she was still dealing with her bad back. I really truly appreciated she was letting me do this the way I wanted to, however, things changed quickly and what I wanted started to really not matter anymore. I was ready to push and as uncomfortable as never before. The tub didn’t help one bit. I was in so much pain and didn’t know why. All I wanted to hear was them say “emergency c-section” When I went into active labor with Pax pushing felt like a relieve but not in Knox’s case.

Because I continued to loose blood my midwife decided it wouldn’t be safe for me to deliver the baby in there, since she was unable to tell how much blood I was really loosing. Without further ado they decided I needed to get out of the water and I didn’t protest. I felt nauseous, ready to throw up caused by the pain and the smell of all the blood in the water. Sterling finally returned as we tried to get me from tub to the bed and luckily he was there to help. I literally felt like a 500lbs person trying to walk four steps. Once on the bed I closed my eyes and never opened them again for the remainder of the birth.

Up on the bed… (I keep wanting to call it table because it felt more like a table to me), I continued losing blood and my midwife asked for an IV to be prepared in case we needed it for a blood transfusion. I didn’t have an IV in me at this point because I absolutely hated needles and didn’t want to have to deal with a needle on top of everything else. I again declined having it put in me, so they left it set up for future use and it was called for backup.

They checked on the baby which felt excruciating to me. I couldn’t deal with pressure on my belly at all. If anyone would just lay their hand on it it would feel too intense, let alone having a heart monitor strapped around it. While I was dying on the outside, the baby was perfectly fine on the inside, still protected by his little sack. My body was fighting hard but my midwife ensured me that his was in total relaxation mode, not noticing anything that was going on. Now because I was loosing so much blood and because I gave pushing my all but nothing seemed to happen, she decided to check how far I was and where the baby was once again. It turned out I was still half a centimeter away from being fully dilated and unfortunately the baby wasn’t even low in the birth canal. He was stuck up high. My midwife gave me the ok to push as hard as possible to get him lowered down and then I was about to find out just why positioning of a baby at birth is so crucial.

Since I continued to bleed my midwife decided it was time to burst his happy bubble and break my water but literally just as that decision was made, my water broke on its own. That made me grin for a split second but it quickly faded. I was quite weak already and he wasn’t in his sack anymore, so it was time to really work on getting that baby out. Now this whole process seemed much longer to me than it really was so let me give you a time. I was out of the tub and on the bed right around 1 pm. Knowing the time was ticking I gave pushing my all and everything. Nothing happened. I quite frankly was pushing against a wall. The baby was stuck. Stuck on my pelvic bone that was and all I was waiting for and honestly all I wanted to hear were the words “emergency c-section!”. I felt defeated. I couldn’t do it anymore. I was in too much pain and too weak to push much longer. Why did I decide on no epidural again?!

My midwife sensed my exhaustion and told me she was going to help me. There was no way he was going to get by my pubic bone, so she put her hand in there to make space and widen it for his head to get by. Now from this point on I felt like a musician in an orchestra, blindly following whatever my midwife said. I put all my trust into her and did anything and everything she asked of me. While she was in there helping to guide his head to go by, she directed me when to push and how little or how much. I did exactly as I was told. Did I mention the pain was unbearable? No? Didn’t think I needed to because I’m sure you guys can picture it.

Together we did it, we got him passed the bone and I finally heard the words I was so desperately waiting for “you can do it, he’s almost out” with another good push his head finally started to surface and you won’t believe what happened next. “Oh he’s deciding to turn!!” my midwife said with a surprised voice! He decided to turn! Now let me tell you this…. having a baby’s head half way sticking out while you can feel his entire body turn inside of you is completely freaky! It also burned like hell and as he was turning he somehow hit a nerve on my upper left side that felt like a full blown kidney infection (if you had one before you know) and suddenly the pain down there was forgotten by the excruciating nerve pain I was feeling that had me once again gagging and gasping for air. I was almost unable to push any more but I knew I was so so close now so that I gave it my all and his head was out.

From Paxton’s birth I knew now all it needed was one more good push and his body and placenta would follow…. except it didn’t. He was stuck once again. Completely stuck. Shoulder dystocia in medical terms. Google it, I can tell you it’s as bad as it sounds! Again it was called for backup and now it was getting hectic and I was getting scared. I knew his head was out yet there were no screams. I was told to push and push but I had barely any strength left to do so. Panicking I did as much pushing as I could but I could tell it was too weak.

Now my worst nightmare really began. Because I wasn’t able to push him out any further, my nurse was asked to help me. I couldn’t believe what was happening next and I’m so thankful it happened as fast as only possible. I was instructed to push the hardest with the next contraction and I really couldn’t even hear the word “push” anymore it seemed impossible but I did as I was told. As I pushed, the nurse stretched her arms out, her hands on top one another very much as if she was going to give me cpr except that she was throwing her whole weight on my stomach, forcing his body to get pushed out from the outside. Really there’s nothing I can even put in words about this. The pain was excruciating. We had to do this three full times, each time I pushed less and she pushed more. I’m still not over this as I’m fighting tears just writing this. The experience was horrific. I wanted her off me, I wanted the baby out and nothing to touch me ever again.

1:32pm – hard to believe this whole nightmare only took half an hour, but at 1:32 Knox Grey was born. His lifeless body was hanging right above me for a couple of seconds while being rubbed frantically in order to get him to breathe and then there it finally was – his first scream and they put him down on my chest. I hugged, squeezed, my little giant baby who quickly lowered his cry and settled into my chest. I also finally saw the room filled with people from all the backup calls but the student nurse wasn’t there… she ended up watching a different birth and I felt bad she missed out on this spectacle. Knox was so, so big, it was quite amazing being able to hold a newborn like that without any fear of breaking him. He looked at us with his little gray eyes and we were just amazed. Caused by birth he did have a crazy head shape…in case you’re wondering! And in his case it looked normal just a few hours later!

My face says it all 😂
This one too lol “love at first sight”
Look at those cheeks

I was exhausted and yet again I was asked to push. Push out the placenta because it did not just come out following the baby as I hoped. I begged, hopeful they could just pull it out by the umbilical cord but apparently they can’t do that, so I yet again had to push. And it was my luck that once it finally came out it broke into two and I had to push an extra time to get the second half out. Really. What. A. Mess! Guess what came next?! Of course they had to stitch me up! Considering all I went through the stage two tear wasn’t bad though, however, I could not deal with anyone doing anymore to me. Laying there getting stitched up for what it felt like minutes on end was awful. I didn’t even want to hold Knox at that point because I just wanted everyone off my body, so dada got some skin to skin time. Of course the stitching was followed by more stomach squeezing which is so so horrible after birth. My nurse also felt so horrible for having to do all of that to me. While I was getting squeezed and stitched up they weighed the baby and sure enough I was right – he was a whooping 10 pounds! I knew it! Ha!

No minute of his life did he fit a newborn diaper 😁
All bruised up from that head trauma
All that hair!!

Following his birth they paid special attention to him since babies that get stuck by their shoulders often have medical issues but Knox was a fighter, went through the whole process like a champ and had nothing wrong with him. He is actually still monitored for it because sometimes you won’t notice problems until later on. Knox also had the lowest jaundice levels the hospital had ever seen haha… just a fun fact. Oh and since we are at fun facts… remember when Sterling left to get a coffee?! Well he later on admitted to me that he was also starving so he went to the cafeteria and ate a burger. Like WTH!!! Men! Zero worries! But back to Knox… he latched and nursed in an instant and was overall just a really calm baby. Pax had been a very dramatic newborn so it was really nice having a very chill little guy.

Knox Grey | 10 lbs | 22″
First little smiles
Angel baby

My recovery the following days and weeks wasn’t easy. The day after birth i had excruciating stomach pains any time I would do even just the slightest moves. I was maxed out on regular pain killers and they didn’t work at all. My nurses worried because such high levels of pain were unusual so I was checked by different doctors frequently. I was also offered oxycontin every hour but refused to take it since I was dealing as long as I wasn’t moving. Nursing that day was tough and Sterling held and settled him for most of that day and I really believe it strengthened their bond a lot. My stomach was just so bruised from the extreme pressure they put on it during birth but also my placenta retracted back in two days which it should’ve done in ten… so all that caused a lot of pain. The following weeks I seemed to have random different issues but im happy to report everything went back to normal. I do believe I have PTSD from this birth and would probably have a mental breakdown if I would ever have to birth again, so these two are it for us!! Knox Grey is our little moon baby! Conceived on the first new moon of the year and born on full moon in the same room as Pax. 🌚 So special just as he is our special little, big, loved guy! I need to finish by saying how tremendously amazing my birthing team was!!! I really had the best midwife and nurse! I have no clue why they decided I could do this when many others wouldn’t have risked it but I’m thankful it all happened the way it did! I’m hoping to see them again some day!! Leaving the hospital is always tough for me because all of a sudden you’re out of this safe bubble and back in the real world and everyone acts as if nothing has changed while your life changed completely by adding another life to it.

Pax helping give Knox his first bath
Heat pack on my stomach trying to get some relief
I didn’t mention we had the nicest and biggest room in the hospital