by Jenna Kutcher
I looked at Drew with tears in my eyes and said, “We have a daughter.” But maybe we should start from the very beginning… this episode is a little different than our normal ones because today we’re sitting down and sharing Conley Kate’s birth story on the podcast.
A birth story on the podcast? Well, yes! You have been such a special part of all of this — your support through our fertility journey, sharing our excitement over the 9 months of growing this little human, anxiously anticipating her arrival well past her due date, and the joy you’ve shared with us on her birthday meant the world to us.
From being induced to meeting her, the scary things that happened afterward and what it’s really like being first-time parents (we share it all.) I know we will cherish this episode forever, and I’m already misty at the idea of playing it for our daughter when she is old enough to hear the story of how she came into this world and changed ours forever… and let’s be honest, this is more so that my “mom brain” doesn’t block out all the details and forget the whole thing.
Our due date was December 8th, 2018 and for some reason I was convinced we were going early, which totally messed with my head! I am a planner and I had that deadline in my head, especially when it came to work. My team and I worked together to batch work a ton of projects and get ahead, so I was essentially finished with my work before Thanksgiving. I just wanted to be ready before my due date so I could take maternity leave to truly rest and snuggle up our miracle baby.
When I had an appointment at 37 weeks and my doctor told me the baby was low and things were starting to get ready so I kept thinking, “This could be the night.” Fast forward to the week after our due date and no baby. I tried everything. Teas, pineapple, exercise. Yes, we were having sex. I Googled “Old Wives Tales” and scanned my DMs as they filled with your suggestions. Still no baby. While it was fun to read other stories, it was also frustrating. I felt like my body wasn’t progressing and I would be pregnant forever. My rational self knew that a few days didn’t matter but a 41 week pregnant woman isn’t totally rational… not at all.
The Decision to Induce
Once we set an induction date I felt like I finally had peace. There was an end in sight. I still hoped my body would go into labor naturally, but at least I knew that by Sunday, December 16 we would hopefully have a baby in our arms. I finally had the peace to enjoy our last few days of pregnancy. And we really enjoyed it. When people told me to relax… That is literally all we did! I watched Netflix and we took naps together and went out to dinner.
When Saturday night rolled around and I still was only dilated 1 centimeter, we went into the hospital to begin the process of inducing labor. To help my body along, the hospital placed a Foley balloon catheter and we were able to go home and sleep in our own bed. It was that night when the contractions began and the pain started. Still, I was able to get in 5 solid hours of sleep before waking up, finishing Michelle Obama’s book (great book, by the way) and calling the hospital to see if they had a bed for me.
Thankfully, they did. That’s when I made my first request of the day: A gluten-free pizza with ranch and hot sauce at 6 a.m. It was delicious and totally worth it.
One thing worth mentioning is that once we announced we were getting induced my DMs blew up with people sharing medical facts and horror stories about inducing labor. I was overwhelmed and worried that this was what parenthood would be like — people judging us and thinking they know what’s best for my body and our child. I went dark on Instagram but assured my followers that we had a great medical team supporting our every decision. If you’re following someone on social media who have chosen to share their pregnancy story with you, I encourage you to encourage THEM instead of sending horror stories and unsolicited opinions or facts.
At the Hospital
Checking into the hospital felt like checking into the hotel. Even when we got to our room it felt like a hotel… we unpacked, got all of our stuff organized! It was relaxing, you know until everything started happening. My contractions had basically stopped, so I was hooked up to an IV, they started me on Pitocin to get things moving and monitored to help everything along and keep an eye on baby. For the play by play of the day, from contractions getting closer together, to Drew’s jokes, and the Packers game on TV, press play on the player above to listen to the whole story.
We talked through many different scenarios as my contractions got closer together and more intense. Not knowing how it would feel or what I would need in the process of giving birth, I didn’t really go into it with a set plan. If I felt doing it naturally was the right thing, I’d do that. If I wanted an epidural, I’d ask for one. And that’s exactly what I did. When I was still in a clear mind I asked for an epidural — And I’m glad I did.
Before the epidural, I could barely catch my breath or talk between contractions. They were hitting right on top of each other (after 6 hours of Pitocin and waiting for them to strike.) I was growing more and more uncomfortable and worried that it could still be hours and hours (which it was!) After, I was smiling and chatty and a whole new woman. I am glad I went through nearly four hours of contractions and testing my strength to realize that some women do this the entire time. The energy changed in the room after the epidural. The nurses and doctor even called our room the “party” room! We truly were so happy, excited, and ready to meet our baby.
Transition and Pushing
After the epidural, we were basically just waiting for the contractions to get me more dilated and ready to push. I had an amazing epidural so I was able to move around, move my legs and feet, and still feel contractions (minus the crippling pain part of them) and so I felt really active in the labor experience. We used a peanut ball to change up positions and help baby continue to move down into position. It was a few hours, so we chatted a lot, watched Top Chef, and finally tried to catch a nap (based on our nurses suggestion that it was going to get real, really soon!)
At shift change, I told the nurses I thought it might be time and sure enough, it was. We called my mom and sister back into the room and within 15 minutes baby girl was earth side. They told me the average first time mom pushes between 2-3 hours and I wasn’t having any of that, so I put my CrossFit muscles to work and Conley came out in 5 pushes. It was absolutely surreal.
More from this Episode
For Conley Kate’s full birth story, including the emotional moment Drew and I shared as we met our daughter for the first time and the scary things that happened as she made her entrance into this world, listen to the full episode on the player above. We recorded this episode less than a week after our miracle baby was born, and my mother held her in the nursery as we came together in front of the mic (running on low sleep but full of excitement) to share this story with you.
We know the pain and struggle that can come with starting a family, so it’s crazy to be on the other side. Exactly a year ago on Christmas Eve would’ve been our due date for our second baby. Three long years we tried to make this dream of becoming parents to a healthy baby come true. Now here we are with Conley Kate, and those difficult seasons make even more sense at this moment. Thank you for sharing in our journey and your kind words the whole way through.