There are several days in my life I thought were “the best days ever” but they were each topped by the next amazing life event. January 28, 2019 trumped any “best day ever” I’ve ever had.
Let me first begin by saying I am a firm believer that ALL births are absolutely beautiful – no matter how that baby enters the world. I am truly blown away by the physical and mental strength it takes any woman to bring a child into this world – so, not to toot our horns or anything, but DANG, women, we really ROCK!
When Tyler and I first found out we were pregnant, I began doing “all the research” on labor & delivery and how to prepare. Yes, this meant I was reading books beginning in the first trimester. After a short time, I had made my mind up on delivering naturally (non-medicated) with as few interventions as possible (but still being open-minded/flexible to whatever got us our boy in a healthy way whenever the time came). I knew it wouldn’t be easy & I knew I would receive comments along the way about that choice – but I stuck to my plan and prayed and prepared as best as I could. One of my favorite books I read during preparation was Ina May’s Guide to Childbirth. I was empowered and inspired by the stories within and knew that I too wanted to experience that natural, unmedicated delivery. Tyler read the Husband Coached Childbirth (well, the first 100-or-so pages because he ran out of time…). Without further adieu, here’s the birth story of our sweet Knox Matthew Knierim:
January 27th began as any other Sunday in the Knierim household – I rolled over in bed and remember saying, “This could be our last Sunday just the two of us”. I didn’t really expect that to be true, or to go into labor that night. After our appointment the previous Monday, we knew were dilated 1cm and 50% effaced (at 35w5d). I spent the week really increasing the stretches and exercises I had been doing, bouncing on my ball, eating dates & pineapple, and praying something had changed when we went back in. We had another appointment scheduled for Monday the 28th to see if anything had progressed (plot twist: never made it to that appointment).
After church, we had a quick bite to eat and I headed to our TSR team meeting. The girls had a million questions on what to do if I went into labor AT the shop (questions I didn’t have the answer or plan for…). We headed to Addison’s after the meeting & I ate a spicy-ish chicken salad that I guess really did the trick…. who knows!
When I got home (about 6:30pm), Mollie started trailing me through the house as I got ready to unwind and catch up on The Punisher with Tyler. It was odd because she’s usually only attached to Tyler and doesn’t pay much attention to me…. guess she knew all of our worlds were about to flip! Tyler and I laughed about it and he even made a comment that she must know something is going on. I still didn’t think much of it or expect to go into labor that evening. We kicked back and watched our show for a bit before Tyler asked me about our hospital bag randomly. I didn’t have it packed yet (I was waiting on a few last minute things to arrive) and he suggested that we pack them and get them in the car first thing that week. Oops. We hit Play on The Punisher and about 30-minutes in (now 7:30pm) my back kind of twinged so I stood up to readjust my positioning on the couch (#36weekspregnant) and my water broke. Tyler had gone to use the restroom and when he came back out, I calmly said, “I don’t want you to freak out right now but I’m pretty sure my water just broke.”
At this point, I hadn’t had a single contraction or anything! I could still feel Knox moving but there was a bit of panic just not knowing for sure what was going on, so we headed to the hospital. (Note: In my ultimate birth plan, we labored at home as long as possible…We did NOT drive to the hospital with no contractions???)
We checked in to labor & delivery around 8:30pm and they confirmed that my water had in fact broken and that I would be staying to have the baby. THAT ESCALATED QUICKLY. Tyler went back out to our car and got our bags (I think he needed the fresh air for a second). We were in a triage room for about 30 minutes when I finally started having some contractions. The nurses checked me and I was dilated 3cm & 75% effaced. I knew if things didn’t progress on their own, I would likely be required to be on pitocin to help speed things up – something I had been trying to avoid as much as possible! When we finally got to our room, I asked for the mobile monitor only to be denied since I was pre-term. Bummer. I knew I needed to be up and mobile as much as possible to help my body get into active labor. So, for the next hour, I unplugged my monitors to “use the restroom” periodically and also to get up and walk around our room. I bounced on the ball & did more of my stretches and exercises before the doctor on call came in to discuss our “plan” with us (around 10pm). Prior to checking me, she told us we would likely need a low level of pitocin if things didn’t progress on their own soon. After checking me (now at a 4), she said we could wait and see how far I got and make a call after a bit more laboring.
Please keep in mind – at this point, we were anticipating a “next-day-delivery” so told our families to stay home and get some sleep and be ready for his arrival first thing in the morning. When we first checked in to L&D, the floor was extremely quiet. Over the next few hours, things really picked up and you could tell there were several babies being born around the time as us. The nurses didn’t come back for quite some time to check on us (I’m assuming they expected labor to last a while). After about an hour and half of laboring (now almost midnight), the contractions really started to pick up in intensity. I told Tyler I was hitting my breaking point on pain and that I wanted to be checked again. I told him I would need an epidural if I wasn’t progressing any…and he was quick to calm me down and reassure me that I could make it through without the epidural. Tyler went and grabbed a nurse to see where we were and the look on her face was pretty telling – I was at a 10 and ready to have this baby!!!
I was so happy and proud to have labored with no epidural and gotten from a 4 to a 10 in just a few hours. I truly couldn’t have done it without Tyler encouraging me, helping me get relief from the pain, and just overall being a rockstar labor coach. He knew what I needed before I even asked (including Maren Morris playing in the background and a cold rag on my forehead when things got REAL) and helped me to stay positive and breathing through it all. The next part – the pushing – is something I will absolutely never forget.
Remember all of those other births happening on our floor? Yeah, well, let’s just say I had to wait on the doctor for quite some time as the nurses (and Tyler) helped me breathe – and NOT push – until the doctor arrived. When your body is ready to push, it’s ready to push, so this stretch of time was TOUGH. After about ten minutes, the doctor arrived and announced he had blonde hair. WAIT, WHAT?! The baby is THERE and she can see his HAIR. What the what….?! (Sorry, is that TMI? We laugh about it now. Tyler looked like he had seen a ghost when she said it lol)
It was finally time to push!! I pushed through three contractions (about three minutes total) and the doctor told us that if I could push like that again in the next contraction, I could have the baby right then. I had to let go of Tyler’s hand but when I looked back at him, I could see the excitement in his eyes that we were FINALLY about to get our boy. *I’m not crying, you’re crying*. After the next push, we had our *tiny* dude at 1:14am (January 28th).
The next few minutes were a whirlwind of happiness and love as we formerly met Knox – our sweet, early surprise. I should have known he’d make his entrance interesting (and super fast) after spending nine months carrying around a wild child! So, there you have it, easily the best (most shocking!) day of our lives. I’m happy to share any information or talk more about our experience for anyone on the fence about a natural delivery. You CAN do it!