the birth of Milo Davis
Since we’ve passed a year of life for our sweet baby boy Milo, I thought it might be a good idea to finally share his birth story. (Better late than never, right?) I’ve seen many women share their beautiful birth stories with the world and I’d like to do the same. I think it’s a good way to encourage other women to be open about their births and to celebrate our mama strength by appreciating our different stories. I’m not sure if anyone has done this (probably, but I just haven’t seen it), but I decided to ask Mack if he would help me out and write his perspective on how Milo’s birth went. He has remembered and told me things that even I can’t remember and it’s always refreshing to see yourself through the eyes of someone who loves you and who sees you without criticism as you do yourself.
April 8th, 2017 - the day Milo Davis McCartney took his first breath and changed our world forever.
Since the moment I found out I was pregnant (exactly 13 days after conception) I pretty much had a nagging fear in the back of my head of giving birth. It’s such a terrifying thought and there’s no way of knowing what it will be like until it happens, even if you have had children before. Seeing so many stories of horror & wonder, ease & difficulties, made me feel so unsure of what was ahead for me and how I would bring my child into the world. As we grew closer and closer to Milo’s due date, the fear slowly dissipated. I somehow became more calm and was at peace with the fact that in a few short months or weeks I would have a baby in my arms, no matter how he came out. I always thought I would get this weird panic, sort of like reverse claustrophobia, but my mama instincts kicked in and I felt pretty good about what was in store for us. Leading up to delivery, we started to research birthing classes a little bit too late and didn’t have many good options. We ended up skipping classes and books and research altogether and to be honest with you, I’m glad we did. Everything felt so right to me and with only some sage advice from my mom and my own instincts to go on, I was strong for my son and myself and birth was a great experience for me. Not to say that I wasn’t in pain and that nothing ever went badly for me during my pregnancy, but my delivery was the absolutely proudest accomplishment of my life and I’m so glad to finally be sharing it.
I guess I should start at the beginning. Far too early in my pregnancy (around 7 months or so I believe) I had some unexpected bleeding. And by some, I mean practically gushing bright red blood (sorry guys). It was actually the SCARIEST moment of my life and I immediately felt shaky and terrified and we rushed to the hospital. Something inside me went into survival mode though and I didn’t even shed a tear on the way to the hospital. Thankfully our hospital is only five minutes away and living in a small town meant the emergency room was dead at 9 o’clock at night. We were quickly whisked to a small room in labor and delivery and I was immediately attached to monitors. The moment I heard my baby’s heartbeat was probably the biggest relief of my entire life. They monitored Milo and me for a few hours and saw that I was having some sporadic contractions (I’m not convinced they had any purpose, though, because I couldn’t even really feel them). Nothing really happened but the bleeding continued and they had to make a decision. Because of the slight fear of preterm labor and the hospital's lack of NICU, we were sent by ambulance two hours away to Portland. The ambulance ride (which was my first and hopefully last) was absolutely terrifying for me because I was no longer hooked up to a doppler and I felt this intense panic and fear that maybe my baby’s heart had stopped beating and I didn’t know. After probably the longest and most uncomfortable two hours of our lives, we arrived at a much much bigger hospital. Over the next few days I was checked out by multiple doctors, got an ultrasound, lay in a hospital bed, ate terrible room service, and watched tv with Mack. After the blood slowed down and the fear dissipated, it was actually a very boring time for us. Our stay was extended a few times but in the end, nothing came of it and we never really figured out what happened. But we were so ecstatic (a little cautiously) and headed home.
Fast forward a few months, over the barf-inducing heartburn and the enormous basketball belly and endless stretch marks and our beautiful baby shower...April finally arrived. The day before or the day of (I can’t quite remember) Milo’s due date, I woke up in the middle of the night and had to go to the bathroom. Blood again. It wasn’t nearly as much as last time and I wasn’t nearly as afraid because we were so close to go time but I still didn’t feel comfortable waiting it out. I called the hospital and tried to get some advice, but was told that ultimately it was my decision to make. Not taking any chances, I went ahead and woke Mack up and we made our way to the hospital for the second time since arriving in Astoria. I was checked and told I was 3 centimeters dilated and 50% effaced. The nurse told us to go home after an uneventful couple of hours with the comforting assurance that we’d be back the same night or the next morning. Two or three days passed irritatingly quietly. We were soooo frustrated that nothing was happening, but we went to my weekly checkup as normal. My midwife told me that I was actually only 2 centimeters dilated (I had told Mack I thought she would say that the day before) and we were immediately filled with disappointment. Thankfully, the disappointment didn’t last long. The weekend came and I woke up very very early Friday morning with regular and uncomfortable contractions. I took a shower and put makeup on because I had this picture in my head of looking beautiful and made up during labor (which didn’t end up being realistic for me hahaha). Once I woke up Mack, I decided to call my mom because I was fairly certain it was the day we’d finally meet Milo. We decided that my parents would come over and we’d all eat waffles and relax while waiting for things to progress. After eating breakfast and just hanging out for a while, my contractions began to slow down and I felt that same frustration creeping back into my body. I just wanted to get through it all and meet our son. We decided that we’d go out and about and do some walking to try to jump start the contractions again. I’ll never forget going to a local antique store and browsing around, having to stop and lean on Mack every so often for support. After the antique store, we headed to Costco where Mack and Mom proceeded to force me to walk up and down every single aisle without breaks (LOL I know I’m complaining but I’m really thankful for the support system and I wouldn’t have gotten through it without the nudge from them). I even got a delicious swirled frozen yogurt and ate half of it. We went back to my parents’ house and watched some more episodes of the Office. Apparently my mom could see me getting more and more uncomfortable and around 8 p.m. she announced that it was time to go to the hospital. I reluctantly agreed, not wanting to be the woman who arrives to the hospital way too early and then has to hang out for hours upon hours before anything happens when she could still be in the comfort of her own home. When I was checked, I think I was around 6 centimeters dilated and fully effaced. For the next 10 hours or so I became increasingly more uncomfortable. Thankfully, our hospital had an amazing and supportive staff as well as awesome amenities (can you say aaaamaaazing jacuzzi tub???). I actually fell asleep in between contractions when I was in the jacuzzi. It was glorious. One goal I had was to avoid any medication and in turn be able to move around as much as I wanted. I ended up not wanting to move around much anyway (I tried the hands and knees position, leaning over the bed, and the ball and HATED them all). I spent the majority of my time laboring just laying in bed on my side, gripping the rail. Still, I was able to meet my goal of no medication. I gave birth to my almost 9 pound son without an epidural or anything else. I’ve never been so proud or amazed at what my body can do. I made it through by the advice from my mother. She told me beforehand to just focus on my breathing, and that’s exactly what I did. Through every contraction, I focused all my energy and all my thoughts into taking a breath in and then pushing a breath out, over and over. I lost control a couple of times, but I was blown away by how much it helped me. After about an hour and fifteen minutes of pushing, our sweet babe finally arrived. I’ll never forget the moment Mack told me he could see his hair. Just hearing that gave me a new and overwhelming motivation and he was in my arms shortly afterwards. I wish I could relive those moments. They seem so surreal to me now that I can barely remember them.
Unfortunately I am writing this after Milo's first birthday. Anne asked me to do this a while ago and before I knew it our little boy was one.
I told Anne that I was going to start my memory of this story at least two days before Milo was born. She politely informed me that that was fine because she had started her memory of the story from the second she found out she was pregnant. So here I am thinking my story will be long and it will probably be short compared to Anne's.
My story starts two days before Milo was born. It was an early Wednesday morning, about 2 AM, in Astoria, Oregon. Obviously it was raining. Anne woke me up because she was having contractions and had some bleeding. We called the hospital to gauge whether or not we should go or stay and let it progress. They told us to come in so they could check her cervix and see how far along she was.
I was extremely excited. I immediately texted my supervisor and told him that I would not be at work because today was the day! We get around, get our shit together and jump in the car. The hospital is maybe 1.5 miles away as the crow flies so it took no time at all to get there. Anyway we get there and they get us in a room. The nurse we had was super nice and got us all set up. After what seemed like forever they finally checked her cervix. She was ONLY 3 centimeters dilated... Long story short they sent us home.
I stayed home all day Wednesday just in case things started up again. Nothing happened.... I decided to go to work on Thursday because Milo was obviously taking his sweet time to make his way into this world we call home. The second I got to work people started giving me crap, because, well I missed a whole day of work and had no baby to show for it.
Work that day took FOREVER. All I could do was think about Anne and keep checking my phone for texts or calls saying that it was happening. Needless to say I didn't get much work done on that rainy Thursday. I got home and just kept being anxious until we went to bed..
Friday morning it started again. I again texted my supervisor and said I wouldn't be there. Anne was having contractions and things seemed to be moving forward all day until mid afternoon. Around that time it seemed like everything came to a halt. Anne's mom suggested we go out and get her moving to see if it would get things going again so we went to Phog Bounders, a local antique store, and started browsing. After that we went to Costco and we forced her to walk up and down every single aisle in that giant store and it seemed to work. We were there for a while when we decided to go home because Anne seemed to be getting pretty uncomfortable. We went to her parents house and just started hanging out. I put The Office on and just tried to wait patiently.
It was around 8PM when things seemed to get pretty serious. Anne's mom recognized this and said that it was time to go. We went back to our house grabbed everything we needed and headed to the hospital. We got there and they set us up again and again they checked her cervix, but this time she was 5 or 6 centimeters dilated! I was pumped and ready to go, but I quickly learned that I still have to wait.
So we make Anne comfortable and get her little popsicles and what not as things get more uncomfortable. We finally decide to try and get some sleep around 4 in the AM. I had just fallen asleep when the contractions started to get really bad. It was probably 5 minutes after 4 when Anne is all of a sudden in the thick of things. She is in a lot of pain but being an absolute superhero. At the same time I am is sitting there wondering if I could handle going through this again.... Let's be honest. Anne is way stronger than me.
They finally tell us that Anne is about 9.5 centimeters dilated and that she can start pushing whenever she feels ready. Not long after that she was ready. Every second leading up to this I am certain that I will be right next Anne's head. Out of no where the nurse is like come on Dad we need you to hold a leg. I am automatically worried that I will pass out. I have never been squeamish but if you have never experienced how do you know? I was surprised and instantly nervous but I grabbed her leg without hesitating. It was absolutely amazing.
After Anne had been pushing for close to a hour and a half we start seeing progress. All of a sudden I could see Milo's head! His shoulders started to come out and I couldn't believe my eyes. My beautiful son was coming into this world and it was all because of my amazing, tough, incredible wife! Then out of nowhere Milo comes rushing out and fluid shoots all over my shirt. I didn't know what it was and I didn't care. Before I knew it the doctor was asking me to cut the umbilical cord. I was crying and laughing. I felt more love than I had ever felt in my life. I was so totally in love with this little boy who I just met for the first time.
Now I love my wife, but after what she did that day, April 8th 2017, my love for her grew so much more that I could hardly understand anything that I was feeling that day. I still am trying to comprehend everything a year later. I probably never will. All I know is that I love my amazing, beautiful little family more than I ever thought was possible.