Oh boy, finally sitting down to write baby Heslin’s birth story. He’s 9 weeks old now, and I’ve replayed our little story in my head a million times. I want to start by saying that giving birth is magical and wonderful any way it happens. It is a very personal choice to decide how you want your baby to be born. This is in no way me saying that everyone should go au natural, because it is not for everyone. There is no wrong way to give birth. I was fortunate enough to have a healthy pregnancy that lead to a very smooth delivery.
I toyed with the idea of a natural birth, and loved the idea of it, but was not 100 percent committed to it. I knew all of the befits and love the idea of a natural birth, but could I do it? Once I decided that this was the route I wanted to take (as long as there were no serious medical complications), I spent a lot of time mentally preparing myself. If you are thinking about a natural birth, I would highly recommend hiring a doula in your area. If anything, my doula helped me prepare myself for what was to come. She helped my husband, Hess, and I communicate and visualize our ideal birth experience. I am a firm believer in the concept of energy movement and, "you get back what you put in." I also used Hypnobabies, which is a six-week course that teaches you how to practice self-hypnosis specifically for a more peaceful natural birth preparation. I listened to the tracks every night before bed, and I swear, I slept like a BABY every night. Ok. So, let’s get to how it all happened.
The countdown had begun. I was now exactly 39 weeks pregnant; one week from my due date and knew Heslin would be making an appearance any day now. I worked throughout my entire pregnancy, co-running my fitness studio, Evolve, and teaching Pilates classes, and I was determined to not stay idol for too long. Keeping busy and as “normal” as possible is what kept me sane and not an anxious mess. I will never forget this day. I taught all of my classes at the studio and went to pick up my last few necessities (AKA a new robe and PJs—yes, “necessities”) for the hospital. Something told me that I wouldn’t make it all the way through the next week, and I needed to get as much done as possible. Later that night Hess and I went out to eat sushi (don’t worry- no sushi for moi) with some friends, just like any other Friday night. Maybe it was the shishito peppers that did me in. I woke up at about 3 AM with a weird crampy feeling. I had experienced “contractions” all week, but these were different. I woke Hess up to warn him. In my birthing preparation, everything tells you to relax and get as much rest as possible, so that’s what I was going to do. I told him that everything was probably fine and that I was going back to sleep. He decided to get up and told me he was going to “do a few things”. He always knows how to stay calm… or at least how to appear to be so I don’t freak out. Well, at about 3:30am I woke up again with more contractions, but I was still determined to “rest”. By 4:00am I was up again, but this time to what sounded like a little balloon popping. Yep, this was it. My water just broke. Hmmm, now what? I called my mom first, because of course she knows everything about this stuff. Not to mention that she and my family would have to drive in from Austin to Baton Rouge to make it in time for the birth. Our thoughts were, “They had plenty of time. Labors usually last all day.” I called my doula next to decide where to go from here. My contractions were manageable, but they were pretty close together; maybe six minutes or so. I showered, did my hair and makeup, rounded up my snacks, homeopathic remedies for soreness, fatigue, etc. to use during the delivery. I was prepared, right? I dilly-dallied around the house for about three hours, until the contractions were about three to four minutes apart and becoming more intense. We decided it was about that time to go to the hospital, but not before I decided that I reallyyy needed to make a pit stop for some Harmless Harvest Coconut Water. What? I needed my electrolytes! Lord, I think I was delirious, but my husband went along with my idea anyway. As we were heading to the store, my contractions became more intense. I came to my senses and decided it was best to go straight to the hospital. Coconut water could wait.
We arrived at about 7:45am. I told Hess to just leave everything in the car, because he would be able to grab it once I got up to the room. It was time for a nurse to “check” me. Come to find out that I was a measly 2 cm dilated…WTF! For those who haven’t experienced birth, I had to get to 10 cm. I thought to myself, “This is bad. How long am I going to be in labor?!” By the time I was wheeled up to my delivery room, I was second guessing this “natural” business. As soon as the nurse came in I asked, “Sooo, if I get the epidural, will I not feel this anymore??” She responded, “That’s right, but you know this will end.” Which I knew it would, but that still didn’t change the fact that I was only 2 cm dilated with a loooong way to go. It was hard to see the end, but with Hess on one side and my doula and nurse on the other I began to get myself together. I put on my Hypnobabies birthing track, and I got a rhythm going. The pain was still there, but I was able to control my thoughts and work through it. I stopped thinking about how long the process could be and was just in the moment, taking each contraction second by second. What I didn’t realize was because my water had broken, it took away that extra “cushion” making my contractions extra intense and literally one after another. So essentially, there was no resting, no changing positions, no getting into the birthing tub, or bouncing on the ball. What about all of my snacks and homeopathic tools I planned on being a part of this? Nope. None of that. All I wanted was ice chips and Chapstick-- yes my lips were insanely chapped. I think I applied thirty coats of it. All of my “birthing” stuff was still in the car, by the way, because at this point there was no way I was letting Hess leave my side.
So, if you haven’t given birth, it kind of feels like the baby is going to come out of your butt. Yep. We’re gettin’ real here. Although I obviously KNEW that wasn’t going to happen, it was the craziest feeling, and NO ONE warned or told me about it! In the moment, I had totally lost track of time, but it ended up only being about an hour of contractions before feeling the sudden and natural urge to PUSH! Woah…it’s crazy how your body just innately knows what to do. My body literally started pushing for me, and I began pushing with everything contraction. To me, this was the easy part. I knew the end was near. With each push I made a little progress. “Would you like a mirror?” the nurse asked. “No, no… I’m good. Y’all can just let me know what’s happening down there.” A few more pushes and they could now see his head! Ahhhh, he has hair! All I could ask was, “Is it dark?” Now I know I’m about to have a baby. A very real baby. I kept pushing and could tell we were getting close. On the second to last push my contraction stopped, but I could feel his head! I was thinking, “What the hell?” It seemed like the next contraction took forever to happen. Finally, with one final push he started to move out. I heard his little cry for the first time and felt the biggest sense of relief. Heslin was finally here. The doctor instant handed him to me and Hess cut the umbilical cord. The baby I had carried everywhere with me for the last 9 months was now laying on my chest nursing. HOW the heck did I get here? I could not (and still can’t) believe that I just gave birth to another human; the most perfect, tiniest baby boy! Heslin Griffith Crockett IV was born July 8, 2017 at 11:00 am 6lbs 8oz. Our lives are forever changed because of him, and we wouldn’t trade it for the world!