This is Knox’s birth story. I had a very different and much longer labor than I ever imagined, but every second was worth it. Intuition came into play, and peace that surpasses all understanding overwhelmed both Paul and me as we had to make tough decisions for our baby. And at the end of it all, we were blessed with a very healthy and thriving baby boy. Praise God.
First of all, I never knew I could be madly in love with a little bald man who is 25 years younger than me. So scandalous sounding, right? But, here I sit on my sofa between feedings just shy of three weeks into being a mommy while my newborn rocks away in God’s gift to us all -also known as the MamaRoo- and I can confidently say I most certainly am over the top, truly, madly, deeply (like a chicky cherry cola) in love. If you weren’t born in the 90’s, that song reference just went over your head. You are forgiven I suppose.
Yes, even in the midst of sleep deprivation, a massive lacking in hot cups of coffee, impressive bedhead until noon, and the multiple times I have been peed on, I have never felt a more immediate ownership or deep love for anything in my life.
I am a mommy.
Knox Chandler Morrison is my son.
Those are words I honestly never knew I would actually say in my life.
I have a son. I am a mom.
The fears you stack up in your mind about being pregnant, having a child, and bringing them home to raise are valid, no doubt. For years I allowed myself to stack one fear up after the next as they came up in my mind and let them collect dust, routinely depositing a new worry hindering me from taking the leap of faith into parenting. What happens if I spend 18 years raising a child who hates me? What if I tragically lost my kid? What if I can’t give them what they need? How am I going to raise a child in today’s world and explain so many things I didn’t have to worry about as a kid? What if my body never bounces back? What if I die in childbirth? How this… how that… these are what kept me from picturing myself as a mom. Then, even when I decided I was ready for motherhood and wanted to start trying, these fears still crept up in my mind. And, if I am honest, some of them still do.
But, I can confidently say on the other side of it, being a mommy is the best role I have ever played. (And I am only 2.5 weeks in!?) It is amazing how you really do “just know” what to do for your kid. All those years of women swearing to me it just comes naturally… you were right. I have never felt more comfortable or confident in any role before than this one. I have so much confidence in knowing exactly what my child needs and how to do it for him.
Okay okay, so the sappy… I will force myself to stop. Knox’s birth… yikes y’all. It was a ride. I prayed for laboring from home through early labor, and then 6 hours of non-medicated active labor at the hospital. L.O.L. Now, hindsight, we know why I had such a long, horrible labor, but in the middle of it you are thinking to yourself, “My God, what did I do wrong?!” So, here is how it went down (in as short of a story as I can put it.)
Monday December 11th, my parents had just come in late the night before with the hopes I would be going into labor soon (I was two days past my due date at that point). Since they live out of town, we felt it best they were here so that they didn’t miss anything if and when I went into labor. That morning I felt fine, nothing out of the ordinary, and my mom, dad, and I were going to go on a drive to a nearby town to look at houses for sale for my parents and explore a potential town they might want to move to. (We are convincing them to move up here.) Right before we left around 11 AM, I got really crampy and uncomfortable feeling. I immediately chalked it up to being past my due date, but hardly even let myself go to the idea I might be going into labor. Well, our entire ride I was miserable and trying to keep engaged from the back seat and point out houses… acting excited… all while increasingly in more discomfort. Finally, I let my parents know about an hour in that I really thought I should get back home because I wasn’t feeling very well. We got home around 1 and I quietly let Paul know I thought I might be in labor. I was getting to the point I was so uncomfortable I could hardly stand up straight. It felt like really horrible period cramps.
I decided to let my parents know I thought I might be in labor. They ran to get us Pei Wei while we waited it out to see what was going to happen. We watched Friends on Netflix and ate our Chinese food for a couple hours, and it was oddly chill. Then around 3 PM my cramping turned into timed contractions, and this was when we were sure labor was here. Paul finished up his luggage and started checking off the “Day of D-Day List” I had on the fridge for us for when this time came. Again, the environment was oddly chill. Then, my contractions went from 0 to 100 and I found myself hanging over the side of the bed moaning in pain. They were every two minutes… which was weird because that’s usually what you have closer to delivery. So we called the hospital to inform them we were in labor and were planning to labor from home for as long as possible. But, when they asked what my contractions were timing to, they told us we needed to come in. Awesome, okay, so laboring from home didn’t last as long as I wanted. But, this was kind of exciting- we were heading into the hospital to have our baby. I was certain, because of my contractions, labor was going to be fast and I would have Knox in my arms before midnight.
By the time I was in the car, my contractions were borderline scream-worthy. I kept saying, “Why am I not getting any breaks?! Why are they so strong already!?” We rolled through a couple stop signs… and got to the hospital where I had two contractions in the parking lot, the lobby, and the hallway to the L&D, and then at L&D hanging onto the railing by the check-in table for dear life. They got me into my room, checked me, and I was only 1 CM.
Are you friggn kidding me?
They couldn’t admit me as “active labor” until they saw me dilate some from 1 CM. Okay, makes sense… that shouldn’t take long. So Paul and I labored our first two hours of non-medicated labor. They came to check on me, and I was still a 1. They told me if I didn’t dilate soon, they would send me home. I actually laughed at them. Like, clearly I am in labor. You would send me home like this? So I labored a little longer with no progress, but increasingly more painful contractions. They gave me a shot in the butt about 4 hours in that was supposedly going to ease me between contractions. I thought this meant it would bring relief from pain… but really, it was just something to make me drowsy so I fell asleep in between contractions. Problem was I was having insanely long (4-8 minute) contractions, and then only getting about a minute break in between. Thus, I was “falling asleep” for about 55 seconds before jolting out of sleep in excruciating pain. It was the oddest thing. But, low and behold, I had dilated to a two in about an hour of that, and I was admitted officially as active labor. I was having a baby (… officially).
We labored non-medicated for 8.5 hours stalling at 2-3 CM. All I could think was, “Are you effing kidding me?” (Just being honest… haha) The nurses were also letting me know I was having very long contractions that were starting to effect Knox. See, when a normal woman has a contraction, babies hold their breath and dunk their heads under water while they get pushed. It’s really stressful for them as it is. But, most NORMAL contractions at their height are like 60-90 seconds… I was having up to 8 minute long contractions. This would explain why I barfed in the middle of labor, too. (I was really relieved to hear this, because I wasn’t timing how long my contractions were… but dang they felt long! It was nice to know I wasn’t being wimpy.) In fact, after I found out I was enduring 8 minute long contractions non-medicated, I felt like a bad-a. I had nurses coming into my room to see if it was true a girl was having 8 minute long contractions. LOL. Once again, like my pregnancy tumor, I was an anomaly that was super interesting for doctors to study. At this point, they had to sedate my contractions temporarily to give Knox a break since his heart rate was dipping with the big contractions. And, they highly suggested I do an epidural since I wasn’t progressing and my body was fatiguing. I would only get more tense from the fatigue here on out in labor, which only would hinder me from dilating more.
I gave it a heck of a shot, and I think Paul is still traumatized, but for some reason my body needed help. (We found out later why, which I will get to.) So, we chose to do the epidural. They had to do an epidural in between my contractions, which again was only about a minute if we were lucky. They let me know I would likely contract in the middle of them giving me the epidural and that I was going to have to sit as still as possible.
HOLD THE PHONE. So, you’re telling me that while a massive needle is in my back and I start having a huge contraction… I have to sit still lest I want this needle to go deeper than it ought to? AWESOME. As if I wasn’t horrified enough of the epidural, which is one of my main reasons I wanted to labor non-medicated in the first place.
Okay, so trying to wind this story down, we turned on She’s The Man and went to bed until about 5:30 AM after my epidural kicked in around 12:15 AM. They checked me again and I was close to a 6, but progressing still way slower than I should be. They had told me when they gave the epidural that we would probably have a baby by 7 AM. That was clearly not happening. They also had to sedate my contractions again because the 8 minute contractions were still happening too often, and Knox’s heart rate was dipping too low. That stalled me out really from any progress for a couple of hours yet again.
At 11 AM, the c-section surgeon came in to discuss why we were likely going to need a c-section. She laid out the options for me, and we could try pitocin to kick my contractions and dilation into gear since his heart rate got back up, but we risked having to do an emergency c-section if his heart rate dipped again from the intense contractions pitocin causes, and me dilating enough in two hours was highly unlikely. OR, we avoid a possibly traumatic situation and skip pitocin, and we do a c-section which was the safest option for Knox. Paul and I took time to pray and talk through it all, and though I hated the idea of a c-section (it freaked me out so much), we felt so much peace about needing to do it. We let the nurse know our decision, and we had a c-section scheduled for 2 PM.
From here, it was in theory smooth sailing and we just got to wait to meet our baby. And then… I started feeling intense contractions again. My whole body was shaking, and I was having flashbacks of the night before. Of course, add it to the list, I was having back labor. Knox had been in perfect delivery position since week 15 of my pregnancy. I joked my whole pregnancy that he would flip last minute knowing my luck. And, sure enough, because of the stress (and later finding out about the cord wrapped around his neck) he had turned, was lodged against my pelvic bone, and I was having the joy of back labor which epidurals don’t do much for. Fantastic. I was back to square 1 my final hours of labor.
They shot me up after a little bit with the really high dosage they use in surgery to relieve me of the back labor pain, and we prepared for the c-section. This is where everything gets incredibly blurry, because the medicine made me incredibly drowsy and felt very out of body. I told Paul he was going to have to talk for me because I couldn’t keep my eyes open. The surgeon and my midwife came in to prep us for surgery, they took Paul, and I started crying. I was seriously terrified of having surgery… awake. I couldn’t shake it. I asked if they could put me under but they, of course, said no.
They rolled me to surgery alone, and I kept asking where Paul was and to please make sure they didn’t start without him. I was so concerned they would forget my husband. (lol) All I remember is bright lights, a ton of people, and being rolled onto the table for surgery. Sweet nurse after nurse kept coming up to me to introduce themselves, commenting on my nail polish or reassuring me everything was okay. I was shaking so uncontrollably that two nurses had to hold my arms down. My body’s response to nerves is always shivering, and I kept telling them I was just really nervous. Then, Paul came in and he sat next to my head. The next 15 minutes were incredibly long as they pushed and pressed me, yanking on this and that. Paul prayed and spoke scripture over me the entire time until our baby boy came out. We had on our worship playlist over the speakers of the room, I softly cried the whole time, Paul would wipe my tears, and we just kept on praying. I wish I remembered exactly what songs were on during surgery, but I do remember Paul saying, “Let’s see what God wants to tell you” when they turned our playlist on shuffle right before they started. I remember there was Shane and Shane, Phil Wickham, and Elevation… but I don’t remember what songs. I do remember singing “Even When It Hurts” by Hillsong, though.
Finally, I heard a baby cry and I looked up to see Knox’s feet in the reflection of the metal rimmed lights above me. The doctors were laughing as apparently Knox peed on me, and then Paul went over to help the doctors and hold him. After what felt like forever of waiting, they brought Knox over to me and placed him on my chest. It was the best moment of my life.
Later while the surgeon was stitching me up, the midwife and nurse told me we made the right decision because Knox’s cord was wrapped around his neck tightly twice and a third loosely. This is, first off, why I wasn’t progressing in my labor despite my intense contractions. It’s also 100% why I believe the Lord gave us peace that surpassed all understanding to not choose a final try at a vaginal delivery and went to the c-section for the safest option for Knox. He was in such distress during my contractions because the cord was choking him. That makes me nauseous even typing out. Had we somehow dilated in the two hours to a 10, they would have had to end in an emergency c-section even still AND I would have had a nurse holding the baby inside of me as they ran me to surgery because the cord would have been killing Knox in a vaginal delivery.
Praise God for his wisdom.
I cannot believe I have a healthy baby boy. After everything, we have a healthy baby. I am so grateful. And, honestly, after everything my body did and endured, I have never felt prouder to be a woman. The woman’s body is amazing. My body literally went through every type of labor and delivery option possible EXCEPT for a successful vaginal delivery… And somehow, I am alive and well and keeping a human alive post-surgery and 29 hours of labor with a lot of help from my amazing husband who I cannot say enough about. Paul literally dove into parenthood completely blind, AND then also had to take care of me post major surgery on top of that. Thank God for parents who also helped us our first two weeks back.
So here we are, healthy boy two and a half weeks postpartum. I can’t believe how naturally we have dove into parenthood together, Paul and I. We have baby on an amazing schedule that is allowing us to sleep through the night, which we know will surely change. But, it is great for now at least to give us sleep until he decides to mix it up. Bubba eats like a champ, poops like a champ, and naps like a champ. I am so grateful for this gift we’ve been given, and I cannot say enough how much being a mommy has changed my life for the better already in so many ways. I didn’t know I could love so selflessly or deeply. I didn’t know I could love Paul more than I already did. I didn’t know I could get a glimpse into how much God loves us until I had a child of my own.
Thank you for every word of encouragement, email, sweet DM or comment over the last two weeks. We have felt so loved, and it’s amazing to have such a support system from all over cheering us on in this new season of life.
From our hearts to yours, thank you.
xoxo- Han, Paul, and Knox