Blaine’s Birth Story

When I first found out that we were pregnant, I couldn’t help but daydream about having a big belly...being out on the water breaking and having to rush off to the hospital just barely making it in time to deliver. I mean, that’s what happens in the movies, right? Nine months flew by. I am a pretty sentimental person, so as each week passed, I really soaked in every physical change, every ache & pain, every crazy feeling, every kick and hiccup...everything. As week 40 approached, my sonogram showed that our baby boy was growing big and healthy, facing the correct way & in the right position for birth. It seemed as though he was ready to get out of there...but God...and my body...had different plans. At 40 weeks, I was 0 centimeters dilated and 0% effaced. Now, I know this does not always mean much. You can go from 0 to 100 (I mean 10) real quick! The thing is, I had friends who were already 2 and 3 centimeters dilated & having contractions with due dates later than mine, so the thought of my body not even being a little bit ready honestly scared me. Was something wrong? Was this normal? What does a contraction feel like? Being my first pregnancy, I truly had no idea. My doctor mentioned that by the next week, I would need to be “induced.” Um...what? Induced? Would I need to have a c-section? What exactly did that mean? Isn’t this process supposed to happen naturally? I felt huge. It felt like our baby boy would literally “fall out” any second, haha. Why wasn’t my body working? These thoughts began to overwhelm me. I tried everything. I prayed and prayed. I walked almost every day of my pregnancy, but that weekend I upped the miles. I got a foot massage (or two), ate spicy foods, tried eating dates (nope, almost threw up), bounced on a ball, and ate tons of pineapple. If there was a wives tale for inducing labor naturally, I tried it! At 41 weeks, I seriously thought, ahhh...this is worked...but a quick checkup with my doctor showed I was still 0-0. Cue the water works! The word “induce” haunted me. I asked my doctor if we could wait until I was 42 weeks, even though I was absolutely uncomfortable. I still wanted to see if the process would happen without the help of medicinal methods, however our doctor knew that baby boy was growing bigger each day and that we couldn’t wait any longer. She gave me a few more days. On Monday, October 1...Jay and I were off to the hospital.

Even though the start of my birth experience wasn’t what I was expecting, I wanted to share our story because it was God’s plan & we couldn’t be happier. There are some things in life that you just can’t control or predict. Stuff happens. It’s how you respond that matters. I’ve learned through it all that you just can’t be stressed. You need positive energy; and then let everything happen as it should. 

Now, back to Monday night. Jay and I checked into Medical City Dallas at about 5 p.m on October 1, 2018. The first step in the process is a medication known as Cervidil. Cervidil is a vaginal insert that helps soften the cervix and prepare the body for birth. In my opinion, it is pretty painful, but hey…you gotta do what you gotta do! For the first two hours, I was told to stay in the hospital bed. I was able to eat and drink until midnight. Everyone has a slightly different experience, but my contractions started pretty soon after those first two hours in the bed. I had never felt a contraction before...but once I did, I realized it is true when people say, “You’ll just know it is one.” WELL, YES. I FINALLY KNEW! My contractions quickly progressed and became very intense. They were close together—just a few minutes apart. The nurses were monitoring our baby’s heart rate the entire time to make sure he wasn’t in any distress. As the night went on, the contractions got stronger. I was offered an epidural but declined because once you receive one, you are bedridden. I wanted to get up and walk around the next morning before labor hopefully began. If you can handle the pain, which I’m sure you can (we mommas are strong), I suggest holding off on the epidural from my personal experience…otherwise you’ll be in the same hospital bed for quite some time, until after you give birth, depending on how long that takes. I faintly remember it all now, because the happy memories stand out in my mind far more than the painful ones, but I know I was in tears & the fetal position for about twelve hours; and getting up to use the restroom was seriously awful. Jay was with me the entire time telling me that everything was going to be okay. The contractions were so strong, and it felt as though there was no break in between each one. I ended up having to get a little help through an IV in order to rest for the next day—knocked me out for about 2-3 hours. Hallelujah! 

The next morning, my nurse removed the Cervidil around 6 a.m., and I got up to wash my face and refresh. The night before was unbelievably painful...the Cervidil must have worked, right? My doctor arrived to check. I went from 0 centimeters dilated to .5 centimeters—not even a full centimeter. Cue the waterworks...again! Negative thoughts quickly flooded my head but thank you to my amazing husband, my mom and the unbelievably kind labor & delivery nurses at Medical City Dallas, I was able to turn my frown upside down. As I said above, you just can’t be stressed. You need positive energy; and then let everything happen as it should. About an hour or so later, I remember my nurse said, “Wait a minute...your contractions are getting stronger again…and they are pretty close together.” Oh, I could tell. I asked for the epidural. After the epidural, my doctor came in to break my water. She checked, and I had dilated to 6 centimeters…without any Pitocin yet. Thank you, Lord! 

I did end up needing a little bit of Pitocin after that to keep the process going, however baby boy did not react well to it, so we had to stop. An oxygen mask was now needed. The last thing I remember is rolling over to the right because the epidural did not work for some reason, and I could still feel everything on that side. I was trying to lay in a certain position while pressing the button to send medicine down to that side. My sweet nurse looked at me and said, “Girl, you are right there. If you feel the urge to push, please tell me.” It’s all sort of a blur from here. I was so hot. I had my portable fan that I’ve used since the beginning of my pregnancy sitting on my chest (you’ll see it in the photos, lol) and a wash cloth on my forehead. Literally as my nurse closed the door, I looked at Jay and said, “I feel the urge to push. I literally feel the urge to push…right now.” He ran out and grabbed her. She ran back in, checked...and I remember her eyes were so big as she looked up at me and said, “Girl,  you did it! You’re at 10 centimeters!” 

It was time to push! 

I pushed in all sorts of directions and in so many different & interesting positions, haha. Jay was literally amazing and participated in every push! It felt like forever but then fast at the same time. It is hard to explain—I know that doesn’t make much sense! My doctor and Jay and the nurses kept yelling, “Wow! You’re almost there! Keep going!” At one point I remember yelling back to them, “Y’all are such liars! He’s not coming out—I can’t do it!” Of course, I was slightly joking. Well, sort of. Over 25 hours in the hospital and 3 hours of actual pushing later...

Blaine Burleyson McArthur was born at 7:37 p.m. on October 2, 2018. 

Our squishy baby boy was 9 lbs. 2 oz. and over 22 inches long. I knew he would be a big baby because Jay and I were both over 8 lbs. when we were born, but I had no idea that he would be that big! After a few seconds, we heard his sweet cry and the doctor handed him to me. The first thing I said was, “He is so soft!” as I held him in my arms, rubbed his back and cried. We did it! Jay and I were parents. Just looking at his daddy next to me with tears in his eyes was such a special moment. 

Looking back, everything was perfect in our eyes. Yes, it was exhausting both physically and mentally, but it was worth it. It was the most beautiful moment that I have ever experienced. My dear friend, Cassie (@CassieLoreePhotography), quickly drove over to snap a few before and after photos of us, but when everything escalated quickly, she was able stay in the room and photograph the entire birth. Looking back at the photos now, I am so thankful she did this as we were able to re-live each moment and see details that I did not even get a chance to see during labor. I will cherish these memories forever.

“Every good and perfect gift is from above.”

—James 1:17

Thank you all for joining us on this special journey and for all of the love you have shown us over the past nine months. I know many of you all are asking about my recovery (he was a pretty big baby), and I am currently on week 5 of PUPPP (also known as “Pruritic Urticarial Papules and Plaques of Pregnancy”), so I will have to share those details in a separate post soon. If you have any comments or questions, I would love to chat either below this post or on my Instagram (@SydneyBMcArthur). Blaine is one loved little dude!

Love y’all!