Carson’s Birth Story

When we rolled into our due week, we were still taking bets on whether he’d be early or super late. I was starting to think Justin would win and I’d have to be induced (and I can be a sore loser sometimes). Turned out Carson was planning to come right on time which is completely out of fashion for us O’Connells!

Those close to us know that I was TERRIFIED of actually going into labor – I must have heard the joke “it’s a little late to go back now” at least a dozen times.

I didn’t think I was strong or brave enough to do it.

I’m so thankful to have had Justin by my side always reminding me that I was a rockstar and that not only could I do it, but I was going to be awesome. God bless that man for dealing with all my craziness during those 10 months.

Everything happened much quicker than I expected. Tuesday, February 12th, I was up all night with contractions every 30-40 minutes but I was still able to talk through them so I wasn’t sure if they were real or just Braxton Hicks. [As you recall from my update] By morning, I was convinced he was coming either that night or early the following day but things quickly progressed from there…

2:30pm – Scheduled OB appointment – Contractions were about 10-12min apart. Cervix was at 1cm and was told to come back in 2 hours to check on things (it was 4pm at this point)

4:20pm – Made it home and took a shower; I didn’t think I’d make it back to the office and my contractions were 8min apart

5:30pm – We took a Lyft back to OB’s office (couldn’t wait lol) and was 1cm dialated – IT’S GO TIME! Dr called the hospital and let them know we were on our way

I tried my best to smile on our way to the hospital. Kudos for our Lyft driver for trying to get us there as fast as he could during Manhattan rush hour traffic!

6:30pm – Arrived at the hospital; 4cm dilated and begging for an epidural. I was too dehydrated and needed to go through a full IV bag before I could get it done

~8:00pm – Finally got an epidural

Feeling like a whole new person after the epidural kicked in.

8:40pm – 6cm dilated

~9:30pm – 8cm dilated and Dr broke my water

10:30pm – 10cm dilated and almost ready to push

10:45pm – Started pushing!

11:30pm – Took a break to catch my breath and thought that maybe we would make it to Valentine’s Day after all; everyone in the room was taking bets on what time he’d arrive 😂

11:41pm – Carson was out and in my arms

While I was very fortunate to have a positive labor + delivery, here are some things I learned that I didn’t expect during my experience going into labor:

  • Losing your mucus plug doesn’t really mean much – other than you shouldn’t sit in a bath or put anything up your lady parts (which you shouldn’t be doing any way while pregnant). Mine “fell” out almost 3 full days before I delivered. I personally also barely had any bleeding with it; everyone’s experience is different but the internet can make it seem like a big event
  • Don’t wait or expect your water to break before you go into labor – mine never broke which is more common than people think. My doctor physically broke mine when I was around 8cm dilated. Not gonna lie, it wasn’t the most comfortable experience but bearable since I was already on my epidural
  • Epidurals don’t make all the pain go away – but it does take 95% of the edge off. Trust me, this is coming from the girl who apparently scared one of my OB’s patients in the waiting room and was very loud in the hospital triage until I got it in. What I learned that day was that you still need to feel the contractions to push along with them. The further along I got, the more I started to feel them again; the best way I could describe it is the familiar lower back pain rolling in. We played a game while I was in labor that I’d predict one coming on and Justin would watch the monitor to see if I was right (I always was 😉 )
  • Active labor usually takes 2-3 hours on average – y’all, when they told me that I was like WHAT, that sounded like forever to me. Turns out time flies by when you’re pushing a baby out of you. I was very lucky that I only labored for about an hour and a half and was surprised that it was even that long – it felt so quick! I remember looking up at the clock at one point and thought “wow it’s been an hour already?!”
  • Post delivery can be painful – this was more uncomfortable than pushing him out and lasted almost 40 minutes. At that point the epidural had mostly worn off, I was exhausted and running on no sleep (my contractions started the night before and kept me up), and just wanted to relax and soak it all in. All the pressure and pushing on my stomach took away from the moment (disclaimer: I know it’s important to do it right!)

Overall I had an amazing experience (all things considered lol). If I could give advice to a mom-to-be is to breathe and take it all in; it all goes by so quickly. Looking back, I remember the good and the painful with fondness. What advice would you give an expecting mama?

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