The social media and blogging world is crazy. I love to share but I also love having a private life, so let me start by saying I had zero intentions of sharing anything about my birth story or the labor/delivery experience. All I knew about labor and delivery was I only wanted Dan in the room and I wanted the epidural. (Please don’t attack me for wanting an epidural). It’s a very personal choice and I’m grateful I got it!

They tell you to come in with a plan, to take child-birth classes, to be super comfortable with your doctor, etc. I had none of those things. NONE.

We wanted the birth experience to be very private, so much so that we didn’t tell anyone we were going into labor. I didn’t want friends and family checking in on us, adding to the pressure (literally and figuratively). But, after talking to some friends (days before labor) some of my opinions started to change. I feel like pregnant women are told horror story after horror story and I’m here to say, ladies, we have to stop! Our bodies were made for this. In the last couple of weeks of pregnancy, I didn’t want to talk to anyone about labor/delivery because I thought that the more I heard, the scarier it would be. I talked to a friend days before labor who said that birth is her favorite thing in the world, and she would do it every day if she could. I was SHOCKED by this statement but hearing things like this really helped ease my worries.

I recently met a birth photographer who did amazing work and really wanted to photograph my birth for us. I was extremely hesitant and said no, no, no, until I said yes. Days before labor. And even then, I told her that I would text her when I went into labor if I decided it was something I still wanted. I’m a commitmentphobe ;).

Ok, let’s get into it! It was a super early morning on January 10th, I had been up all night and at 5 days overdue in anticipation as I was scheduled to be induced that morning and after having contractions on and off for the past 24 hours. We have to back up for a second… contractions are not AT ALL what I thought they would be. I expected contractions to feel like Braxton Hicks (major tightening in my abdomen). Nope. My contractions felt like really bad period cramps. (TMI? Maybe stop reading now).

We started the induction with pitocin and a Foley Bulb Catheter which is essentially like a balloon that helps slowly open your cervix. Once you are dilated to 4cm it pops out, they increase the pitocin and then it’s a waiting game. My labor progressed really quickly and the contractions came in hard and fast. I suffered through them until I couldn’t any longer, got the epidural and then the mood of the room shifted from pain and discomfort to relaxation and smiles all around.

After the epidural, we joked around with the nurses, ate popsicles, chatted, and watched Live PD for a couple hours before it was time to push. I had only seen Live PD a couple times, but the shows were limited and it’s incredibly distracting so that’s what was on in the background, even while I was in active labor. I’ll never think of that show the same way again, haha. (this is really anticlimactic, but that’s how the labor and delivery was, sorry not at all sorry). I pushed for what felt like 10 minutes (it was actually more like an hour) then my precious angel was here, and I don’t remember anything else that happened for the next two hours. I just stared at her as we did skin to skin and literally my eyes did not come off her precious little face. I don’t remember Dan cutting the cord. I don’t remember delivering the placenta, nothing. Because nothing else mattered except that I FINALLY got to hold my beautiful, healthy baby.

Labor/delivery was the most beautiful experience of my life. A couple hours after I had her, I said to Dan “Alright, let’s do that again ASAP”. He told me I’m nuts and need to pump the brakes, AS IF he had a super rough 9 months then just endured 10 hours of labor. Safe to say I now want 10 kids.

When I announced that I would be recapping Bayler’s birth story, I got some questions from y’all and wanted to answer them here:

What was the most important thing you took to the hospital?

The great thing about being in the hospital is that they have pretty much anything that you and baby would need during those first couple of days. With that said, the most important thing I brought would have to be my fuzzy socks. I wore them the entire time I was laboring then had a new, clean pair for every other day in the hospital. You are pretty much just hanging out in bed the whole time but when you’re walking around the room, I didn’t want to be barefoot.

What were the most surprising/unexpected things of the days following birth?

I swear I had some special new mom endorphins because I wasn’t sleeping a wink but still felt like I had energy and didn’t want to nap because I just wanted to stare at her. I think the most surprising thing for me would have to be the recovery. The cramping didn’t stop for about 4 days and it was way more severe while breast feeding. I didn’t want to take any pain killers, but I definitely had my fair share of Advil for the first week.

How did you cope with the pain? Did any techniques work?

One word… Epidural. J I did also bring lavender oil in a diffuser that I would smell during contractions before I got the epidural. The most important thing was just trying to relax and breath. Also, distractions were very welcomed.

How painful was labor? Be honest!

Honestly, it was farrrr less painful than I thought. The worst part for me was actually a side effect of the epidural. EXTREME ITCHINESS! When I say extreme, I mean extreme. Like it felt like little tiny bugs were crawling all over my entire body. Sounds pretty torturous, huh? haha. But, I’ll take itching over the contraction pain any day.

Did you get a breast pump? If so, which one would you recommend?

Yes, I got the Elvie Pump (portable) and you can read more on that HERE. I also got the Medela pump for a little more intense pumping.

Are you glad you had a birth photographer?

1000%. Like I mentioned, I was very on the fence about it up until the last second, but I could not be more thrilled we decided to have a birth photographer, specifically Ashley. I was initially apprehensive just because I was so anxious about the labor and delivery but Ashley has some kind of super powers because I literally didn’t even notice she was in the room! I completely forgot she was there and then less than an hour after I had Bayler, she texted me around 10 of her favorite photos from the gallery as a sneak peek. It wasn’t until I got that text that I realized, “wait, where is Ashley and where WAS Ashley?”. I didn’t know that she was in the room and then I never noticed when she left. That is what you want from a birth photographer in my opinion.

She was there before all the commotion answering some of my questions (she’s super knowledgable about the process since she has witnessed so many births.) Anyway, to answer the question briefly yes yes yes yes yes.

All photos by: Ash Blythe Photography

What to include in your baby registry?

This post will be published shortly! Stay tuned 🙂

How did you choose your doctor and hospital?

I chose my doctor based on recommendations from friends and I had Dan do some research with the medical community. If you don’t have people to ask, someone gave me great advice to call the labor and delivery unit and ask a nurse who they would choose to deliver their baby.

Must haves for the first weeks?

For baby: Lots and lots of diapers. We prefer Pampers Swaddlers. Snot sucker. Swaddle for sleeping and naps (we switch off between the Ollie & Love to Dream Sleep Sack). I think she prefers the Love to Dream at this point because it lets her have her arms up, bath supplies (soap, lotion, towel), cozy sleeper onesies, dock a tot.

For mom: Lanolin Cream, My Breast Friend breast feeding pad, baby carrier (we love our Solly Baby & Ergo), the hospital will send you home with ice packs, pads, spray and water bottle that you will want. Another tip: take what you want from the hospital. You pay for it all so don’t be afraid to ask for more diapers or more ice packs.

Just curious if her name has a special meaning? It’s so unique.

No special meaning, we just struggled to find a name that we both agreed on and one day I pitched Bayler to Dan and he actually didn’t hate it (which was a start) and it grew on him pretty quickly and now we both love it. I have always loved gender neutral names but didn’t want anything too crazy.

Where did you get the white pom-pom ball blanket in some of the photos you posted on instagram?

Amazon! Here is a link:

How is breast feeding so far?

It’s going really well! She latched perfectly from the beginning and she’s been a good eater since then. She gets that from her mom J It took some getting used to and the first couple of days were pretty painful just because it took my body some getting used to, but now it’s the best! I love that we get that time to connect and bond and that I can feed her whenever, wherever.

What products are you using on your newborn? Looking for the most natural and effective?

I will go into more depth in my baby product post but for now…

We love Tubby Todd for bath products.

Cera Ve Baby for lotion.

Any products you thought you needed that were a waste?

It’s hard to know so far since there are some that she doesn’t love at this point, but I think she just needs to grow into them. I will say, we thought we would use a bassinet for sleeping, but ours wouldn’t fit her dock a tot, so she wasn’t contained enough and would wake herself up. We ended up buying a pack n play after being home from the hospital for a couple days and she sleeps much better in that. It also has a convenient changing station, so we don’t have to go back and forth from our room to the nursery for diaper changes in the middle of the night.

Food you brought to the hospital / when to eat?

Every doctor is different but mine didn’t let me eat anything. I knew that going into it, so I made Dan run and get us bagel sandwiches which I shoved down my throat on the way to the hospital. The nurses had popsicles & pebble ice which they would bring me throughout the day on request. I had so much adrenaline that I wasn’t even a little bit hungry. The snacks we packed were all for Dan.

How long did your labor last?

We got to the hospital at 8am and I had the baby at 7:11 pm. When we got there, my nurse said that since it’s my first baby, they usually progress pretty slow and her shift ended at 7pm and she didn’t think there was any way she would meet our baby. She ended up staying after her shift since we were so close and got to meet her which was fun! Baby girl was ready to come out and it didn’t feel like a long time at all.