We have no doubt that Luke came to us right when we needed him. We had no intention of having babies for a few more years. We both wanted to wait until Colton was graduated, to make it easier for me to work and support him through school. With Colton graduating with a degree in Electrical Engineering, we knew that he would most likely get a well-paying job upon graduation, making it easier for me to stay home with our babies and work if I wanted to.
Every once in a while, one of us would turn to the other and say, “I want a baby!” with the response being, “Not yet. It’s not the plan.” We had just moved into a really nice apartment in a nice town, I had landed my first big girl job with a big girl paycheck, and we were happy on our own. We wanted to be set before adding anything else to our lives.
I remember coming home from work one day, the day after we had come home from a family dinner in which everyone was harassing us about when we were going to have kids. We spent the car ride home talking about how people should mind their own business and how our plan was perfect. When I came home from work that day, I hugged Colton, gave him a kiss, and told him that I hadn’t stopped thinking about the conversation from the night before. I had felt so strongly that entire day that we should start thinking about a baby, but I was nervous to tell Colton. I knew he would say no. He wasn’t baby hungry in the slightest (at this point). After I got up the guts to tell him, with tears in my eyes, he looked at me and said, “I feel the same way.”
Somehow, overnight, our plans changed.
Four weeks later, I took my first positive pregnancy test. It was a week before our second anniversary. I will remember that moment forever. I was way too impatient to wait until I got home to buy a pregnancy test, so I took my lunch break as soon as I could and went to Smiths. I ran back to work (because you can’t find out you’re pregnant in a grocery store bathroom!), and there, I found out that I would be a mother. In hindsight, it might have been a lot more comfortable/picturesque if I would have done it at home with Colton. But anyone who knows me knows that I can’t stand surprises, and I could control this one! I sat on the floor crying (mostly out of disbelief) and fighting off the urge to call Colton and tell him the news. Before I could follow my impulse, a slew of kids ran into the bathroom, ready to start program. I thought about how I would tell him all day.
I’ll never forget Colton’s reaction to finding out about the pregnancy. It was probably one of the most sacred experiences of my life, therefore I won’t be sharing the details here.
My pregnancy was pretty much a dream. I was fairly active the entire time and had little-to-no morning sickness/pregnancy-related illnesses during the nine months. I worked until I couldn’t anymore.
I believe that my pregnancy was a tender mercy, considering all of the other things that we went through as a family during those nine months. Colton suffered a huge relapse, we made a life-changing decision about his medication and another huge decision about work/living situations. We moved into my in-laws home on my 35 week mark. Work came with its own set of challenges, including an extremely busy schedule full of incredible opportunities. By the time I hit 38 weeks, I was absolutely done. My body was exhausted. My mind was exhausted. I was ready for the light at the end of a fairly dark tunnel.
At my 38 week check-up on April 12th, I was told that I had been slowly developing preeclampsia . My blood pressure had been rising for a few weeks (I think it’s because I was pretty stressed/really let my diet go, let’s be honest), and there was protein in my urine that day. I had been dilated to a 1 for two weeks already, so the doctor decided that it would be a nice preventative measure for my own safety and health to have the baby sooner rather than later. She set up an appointment for me to be induced the next day at 8:00 pm.
That night, Colton gave me a blessing. I believe that was the first time that I had ever asked him for one, and he was honored to do it. I remember him telling me that Heavenly Father loved me so much and would support me through the birth. He told me to remember that the Savior had felt every pain and feeling in the Garden of Gethsemane that I was about to experience in the delivery room, and that He could support me through it. I felt so much love for Colton and the Spirit that he brings with him wherever he goes. I also felt so overwhelmed to be welcoming a little boy into this world who would hopefully grow into a strong priesthood holder like his dad. I am so overwhelmed by Colton’s spiritual power and example in my life, and that blessing solidified those feelings even more. I cried before, during, and after that blessing, knowing that it was going to be our last night as a childless couple and feeling overwhelmed at the prospect of being parents.
That night was one of the longest of my life…notice that I said one of the longest. I was basically up all night, thinking about all of the things that I wanted to get done before this baby came. The next day was also torturous. We spent the day cleaning and trying to stay busy. At 7:15, when I was asked to call to check in before leaving for the hospital, I was told by the nurses on call that there had been a huge influx of women coming in who were already in active labor, and I would have to wait and call back at 9:00 pm. At 9:00, I was told to call back at 6:00 am. THAT was the longest night of my life.
At 6:00, I was told to call at 9:00, and so on and so forth every two hours until 5:00 pm. By that point, Colton and I were over it. We were bored out of our minds and couldn’t stop thinking about how unfair this was! I had walked all day, trying to get the labor to jumpstart on its own, with no success. I was exhausted already. But, when the 5:00 call came, we were so excited and out the door in about 30 seconds! When we got there, all of the nurses were SO nice to me. They obviously felt bad about having to put off my induction for so long, and I got really great care. At 7:30, I was induced, and the countdown was on.
The night was long and hard. It was then that I found out what a true contraction feels like. I had a plan to had an unmedicated birth, unless I had a medical reason not to do so or I felt that I needed an epidural. Honestly, I was more terrified of the epidural than the pain of natural childbirth, which it why I elected what I did.
The induction drug that they used (it wasn’t Pitocin, and I can’t remember the name) was meant to ripen my cervix, which would kickstart labor. After four doses and 7 hours of extremely painful contractions every 2-5 minutes, and still being dilated to a 1, the nurses told me that what the drug actually did for me was kickstart labor instead of ripen my cervix. The only thing we could do was wait.
I practiced the techniques that I had read and studied about to deal with labor pains, with success. I was feeling good, but frustrated that I wasn’t dilating as quickly as I wanted to be. At 5:00 am, my water broke on its own. That was one of the most odd sensations of my life. I heard a popping sound and instantly my entire bed was wet. It really felt like peeing your pants, but the amount of liquid was insane. It was honestly a relief! I felt great for about 10 minutes afterwards, and then the real labor pains began.
I can’t begin to describe the pain of a contraction. Mine were mostly in my back. It felt like someone was taking a serrated knife to my muscles and then pulling my back apart with their hands. It was as close to searing pain as I have ever experienced. I was able to make it 12 hours without an epidural, which I’m proud of. I’m glad to know what labor pains and contractions actually feel like, but I am also really, really, really grateful for the relief that I felt as soon as I had the epidural. Colton held my hands and didn’t freak out when he saw the ginormous needle going into my back, which I will forever be grateful for.
After the epidural at 6:00 am, things really got going. I started to feel really cold, shaky, and dizzy. The baby’s heart rate started to drastically drop during/right after each contraction, which were still coming every 2-3 minutes. The nurses gave me oxygen at 7:30 am to support the baby’s supply, and that also provided a lot of relief to my symptoms as well. I was also given a shot to slow down the contractions, since I was only dilated to a 2 at this point. The baby was obviously very stressed about contractions/labor and wanted to come out, but my body wasn’t ready yet.
After not sleeping through the night at all (hello…contractions), I was able to basically sleep through the rest of my labor. I’m telling you…epidurals are God’s gift to women. I felt so much relief and was excited to meet my baby. At 9:00, I was at a 5, at 11:00, a 6, and finally at 12:30, a 10.
Giving birth was an incredible experience and something that I will never, ever forget. I felt so strong and empowered. Colton was so amazing and supportive through the whole thing. We always joked about how he would be queasy during delivery and pass out, since he doesn’t do well with blood. But he stood next to me and held my hand, amazed at what was happening. He watched the entire thing and encouraged me every step of the way. It was his excitement/awe at the birthing process that made me agree to watching the birth through a mirror, which I am so grateful for.
After 10 minutes of pushing, Luke was born at 1:03 pm. Those 10 minutes were some of the most sacred of my life. The room was filled with love, and I felt the Spirit so strongly. The second I saw him, I almost screamed, “HE LOOKS JUST LIKE YOU!” I am so excited that Luke is Colton’s twin. I was able to do skin-to-skin with Luke immediately after birth. The best moment of my life was when I spoke to him for the first time and he turned his head and looked at me. He clearly recognized my voice and was soothed by it. After a little bit of skin-to-skin, he was whisked away to see a respiratory specialist because of his dips in heart rate during labor. Colton went with him, and they did the other routine testing at the same time while they stitched me up from my stage two tear. When they came back, I was able to breastfeed Luke for the first time, and he was a rockstar. He latched immediately and has had zero trouble ever since.
The next two days in the hospital were really amazing. Colton and I had about an hour of alone time with Luke in the delivery room before moving to the maternity ward. Soon after we arrived, my family came to meet Luke, with Colton’s family right behind them. We loved seeing everyone in the hospital and are so grateful to those who came to see us.
Huge shoutout to the LDS Hospital Labor and Delivery/Maternity staff. The labor and delivery floor is so sacred, and the nurses and doctors who aid women and children in the birthing process are truly heaven sent. I’m so grateful for them and the encouragement that they gave me. I thoroughly enjoyed the entire birthing process, thanks to them. Luke and I were so well taken care of.
Colton and I can’t believe that we have been blessed with such a perfect baby. He really is the most beautiful baby that I have ever seen, and he has such a sweet temperament. He is Colton’s twin in every way, and I don’t mind at all. He only cries when he’s hungry, and he sleeps pretty well during the night. He is growing so quickly, which breaks my heart/makes me really excited to see who he turns out to be. It’s been a beautiful five weeks, and I’m grateful to have Colton home with me during maternity leave. I know that not everyone has that luxury, and I am truly grateful for it. I never knew that I could love Colton more than I did before, but watching him become a father has been an amazing experience. I’m so honored to be Luke’s mom and Colton’s wife and to watch both of them grow.