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I’m Stephanie, a wedding and portrait photographer and educator based in Macon, Georgia. Here on the blog, you'll find recent sessions, wedding planning advice, tips for photographers, and some personal posts! Feel free to take a look around. Thanks for stopping by!

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February 2, 2021

Nolan’s Birth Story

My intentions for writing this blog is so that *I* don’t forget all the events leading up to our sweet baby boy’s arrival!

Monday, 12/28/2020 – I was eating breakfast and around 9am, I started to feel very dizzy. Something prompted me to take my blood pressure and it was elevated. I’m normally a 120/70 kind of girl but I kept getting readings like 139/89 or 153/97. An hour later, it shot up to 150/101 and I immediately called my doctor’s office. Since I was not having any other signs of pre-eclampsia (vision changes, pain in my right side, swelling, etc.), they told me to drink a ton of water, lay on my left side, and rest all day. And that’s what I did! It was still high after dinner but luckily, I was going to the doctor the next day.

Tuesday, 12/29/2020 – Spencer and I went into the doctor’s office and my blood pressure was still high. Of course my own OB, Dr. Carlton, was out on vacation this entire week so I saw another OB whom I had never met, Dr. Fried… but she was awesome! They ran some labs on me and decided to have me back on Thursday to decide what to do from there. Everyone hinted at me potentially being induced very soon. I had a headache all day that day but wasn’t sure if it was sinus related, because I was struggling HARD CORE with post-nasal drip, asthma, and snoring. Highlight of that day was making a delicious soup with Spencer. It helped take my mind off of the scary things that were happening inside my body.

Wednesday, 12/30/2020 – I didn’t sleep very well that night and had very high blood pressure readings. I don’t think we did much that day besides resting.

Thursday, 12/31/2020 – My blood pressure read 130/106 that morning. Our doctor’s appointment was at 2:30pm that day, so we really just hung around the house, I showered and got ready, and my mom graciously brought over some Publix Subs for us for lunch. Afterwards, we made sure that everything was packed and ready for the hospital because Spencer and I both knew that we were probably heading there after the doctor’s appointment.

Because my blood pressure didn’t improve AND because I still wasn’t dilated, the OB, Dr. Holmes (someone ELSE who I hadn’t worked with yet), decided to call it: they were going to induce me. After the appointment, and the initial shock of *holy crap we’re going to have a baby* set in, we got in the car, and drove across the street to the hospital!

We got checked in around 3:30pm and into our room around 3:45pm. Our first nurse Lindsey was very nice and got us all set up – IV, covid test, labs, monitors, etc. After a few hours of being there, I really regretted not having an appetite before checking in. Before I got my IV though, I snuck in some crackers. SOOO glad I did!

I’m not good at sitting still and that’s really not the best when you’re hooked up to a machine, monitoring your heart rate, the baby’s heart rate, and contractions. Apparently I was having minor contractions but didn’t even realize it!

Around 9pm, the nurses came in to place my Cervadil, which is a cervical ripening drug since I was not dilated or effaced. The pain of the cervical check that came before them placing it in there made me cry. I swear they were trying to reach my brain from my cervix. Once they were done, I was so uncomfortable. I couldn’t relax, couldn’t sleep, couldn’t help but kind of writhe in pain.

I got checked 3 more times and nothing was really changing, which wasn’t good news. Also, every time I got up to use the restroom or change positions or had a minor contraction, Nolan’s heart rate on the monitor dropped. After a while, the nurses and the OB, Dr. Harper (another one who I had yet to meet!) were concerned.

Around 4am, Dr. Harper came in and decided to talk about the possibility of having a c-section. A few weeks before I told my friends that I was nervous this would happen: I would have to be induced but then I wouldn’t dilate and I would have to have an emergency c-section. Around 6am, Dr. Harper decided that that was the safest option for Nolan and me. After breaking down a bit and mourning my own ideas of what I thought my birth was going to be like, peace came over me. At this point, I wanted Nolan out and safe.

At 9am, the nurses wheeled me back to surgery. I got really lucky to have a dream team work with me on my c-section: the anesthesiologist was one of the only people who could put an epidural in while I was lying on my left side AND I had two OBs, Dr. Harper and Dr. Slocumb, perform my c-section.

I don’t like hospitals or surgery or blood or thinking about anything related to a procedure — I’m too squeamish. The worst part of my c-section for me was hearing the team prep for surgery: calling out and counting materials and instructions as I lay there completely helpless. I had a very sweet nurse, Summer, who stood by me while I was getting my epidural. I asked if I could hold her arm while they did it and she gently squeezed my arm, too. Having her there really helped me because Spencer couldn’t come in until it was go-time.

The epidural worked wonderfully – almost too well! I really couldn’t feel my arms and my mouth was very dry. All I knew was that I was holding Spencer’s hand and smiling at him! I hadn’t read a lot about having a c-section… but what I did read was that you feel like you’re on a roller coaster and you feel like an elephant is on your chest. I can verify that both of those feelings are absolutely true. A few minutes of tugging later, at 9:35 am, I heard the sweetest sound in the world: Nolan’s first cry! They whisked him away for clean up and Spencer got to go with him while they finished my procedure. I was SO excited to see Nolan when Spencer brought him out to me! Even though I was so out of it, I’ll never forget seeing my son for the first time.

After I was stitched up, I was placed into a recovery room where a nurse came to check on me every 15 minutes. The worst part about being in there wasn’t the lovely postpartum “massages”… I was patiently waiting for my husband and baby to come see me! Finally, after about 30-45 minutes, Spencer and Nolan walked in. We did some skin to skin and breastfed and it was awesome.

We finally got settled in our room around 1pm and I was so desperate to eat some actual food since it had been about 24 hours since I last ate a meal. I was only allowed clear liquids for 12 hours after my c-section (dang it!) but happily ate jello and drank apple juice while holding my sweet boy.

We didn’t sleep much that first night he was here because nurses kept coming in and out to check on us. Around 5am on January 2nd, I finally got my catheter out and could start to walk around. Spencer got us coffee and breakfast from Dunkin Donuts across the street and it was the greatest worst coffee I had ever had, haha. I eventually was allowed to shower which felt amazing and we just waited patiently for the following morning to get discharged. At some point, we made a few laps around the nurse’s station to get my legs working again but it took a lot out of me.

Sunday rolled around and we were finally discharged around 1pm! We got packed up in the car and headed home where our families had so graciously cleaned and straightened up for us! Spencer and I each took turns showering and holding baby boy. Our families came over to meet Nolan and eat dinner with us as we settled into life as a family of three!

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