banks’ birth story | march 12th, 2016
There’s a page in Banks’ baby book that is reserved for a letter to him before he was born. It’s bittersweet that I was never able to write that letter. Banks came two weeks early on March 12th, 2016! I never thought I would be the type to share the experience publicly, but in my third trimester I was OBSESSED with reading other mother’s birth stories. So, I thought I would share the wealth, maybe there is another mom-to-be like me out there — looking to other’s experiences to calm her nerves.
Banks was due on March 24th, 2016. But, he had been measuring bigger than “normal” the entire pregnancy. I had a feeling I would go into labor early, but the experienced mothers in my circle assured me that they had felt the same way and were late — some very late. So, I tried not to get my hopes up. My parents, currently living in Germany, got into town at 1am on March 11th. Bags were packed, car seat was installed. My parents arriving was really the last “milestone” we wanted to reach before his arrival. That night, my mom had invited me to happy hour and a play. Morg and I joked about it possibly being our last weekend alone, and planned an entire day of dates for the next day.
I was having contractions all day (I had been for weeks…) so I didn’t think twice when they continued through the play that night. I could barely sit still and it was probably the most uncomfortable I have ever been — confined to a theater seat. I got home around 10:30pm and told Morg there was absolutely no way I could sit through our movie date the next day. I was too uncomfortable! The contractions continued as we got ready for bed that night. Morg mentioned that I was wincing more than normal, and that the contractions were pretty consistent.
I was in complete denial.
I had taken a birthing seminar called The Yoga Way To Birth (highly recommend it!), and I was breathing through the contractions with ease. In my head, there was no way I could be in labor. I was coping way too well! Still, Morg was growing more and more concerned from bed. I told him he could time a few contractions if he wanted to. He downloaded an app, and I shouted at him to “Start!” and “Stop!” while I got in pj’s and brushed my teeth.
After about three contractions, Morg got out of bed and started getting dressed.
I laughed at him, “What are you doing? We have to time them for at least an hour!”. Of course, he didn’t listen to me and called the hospital. The contractions he had timed were only two and a half minutes a part. I had had a doctor’s appointment that morning and was already dilated 4cm. As soon as he mentioned that to the nurse over the phone they said I should come on in.
Still in denial, I casually put on shoes, grabbed a water, etc. while Morg ran around the house throwing a few final things into our hospital bags. I was so sure this wasn’t it — they were definitely going to send me home once I got there.
We got to the hospital at about midnight. I was 5cm at that point — so they decided to monitor me for a few hours before admitting us. Thankfully, our hospital had a jacuzzi tub for laboring mothers. I sat in the tub for about 3 hours before the contractions got even too painful for that. They checked us into our room around 4am — this was the room that Banks would be born in (#14)! I didn’t know it at the time, but my parents and brother had been in the waiting room since 1am.
Going into the birth, my goal was always a peaceful, calm birth. That was it. I wanted to go natural as long as possible — but the minute things got traumatic or cloudy, I wasn’t going to feel guilty about asking for medication. That point came around 5am and 7cm. Morg said I started to look like I needed an exorcist. I fully blacked out. Apparently, my Mom had come into the room to see how I was doing and had to leave so that I didn’t see her cry.
The epidural was a godsend after 9 hours of unmedicated labor. I could feel some pressure, and I could move my legs. Best of all, I felt completely aware and present again — the goal! After the epidural was in, our nurse, Jen, suggested we try to take a nap. I slept for three hours. When I woke up, I was 9.5 cm dilated.
Our midwife, Olivia, came in at 11:45am and we were ready to push. Thirty minutes later, Banks Kennedy Ralls was born at 12:31pm on March 12th. At 8lbs 8oz, 20in long, he was in the 91st percentile for size at two weeks early. He was (is!) perfect!
Morg and I remember looking at each other after I placed him on my chest and both of us had the no-tears cry going on. It was the most magical moment of our lives — and it’s only gotten better since! I can’t wait to see all of the ways he’ll change and grow. I can’t wait to teach him about life and love. I can’t wait to learn all of things he’ll teach me. We’re so grateful!
*First photo by Hazelwood Photography.