Stuen Lee’s birth story began on my birthday, February 17th. That Monday morning Clint & I headed to my 39 week appointment. He was convinced that we weren’t even going to leave the hospital, but instead just walk down to the labor floor and have her right then. I have to admit, it would’ve been so special to have her on my birthday, but God had other plans.
At my appointment our doctor said everything looked great and she was just about ready to make her entrance! I had progressed to about 2/3 cm dilated and my cervix was almost 80% effaced. When we got that news he looked at us and said, “so when do you want to have this baby?” I immediately glanced at Clint’s reaction & thought.. ok, here we go! I think my response was, “are you serious?” We had talked about inductions a few weeks leading up to this because she was so far head down & my body felt ready. However, when I realized he was dead serious about getting induced I think it just hit me on a whole different level.
The nurse came back with a post it note that read ‘Feb. 19 @ 6 AM’. Doc said, “I’ll see you then” and the rest just fell into place! I’m not going to lie, after my doctor left our room, & we had our scheduled date, I lost it.. it’s like my emotions overflowed.. were we really going to do this? Oh my, is this happening? Will it be a successful induction? How will I handle labor? Is this the day God really choose for Stuen’s birthday? I just cried in Clint’s arms (& pretty much for the rest of the day.) I had been so blessed with a healthy, easy pregnancy that I never really stopped to think about what was coming. It’s like I knew, but I just never processed it. So thank goodness I had the next 2 days to do just that!
My birthday came & went, then Tuesday was all a blur. I barely slept because I was just dreaming about Stuen Lee & trying to control my anxiety over the thoughts of labor. Wednesday morning we woke up bright & early. The 4:30 AM alarm hit, but I had already showered and gotten ready. I was ready to do this!! We threw our bags in the car, took some last minute bump pictures, & kissed our dogs like we never have before. The entire way to the hospital I kept getting notifications from our Furbo. Our dogs just stood at the door and continued barking. I think they had a feeling everything was changing. That alone made it seem like the longest drive ever. I had an uneasy feeling that I cant even describe. Our family was about to become 5.. would the dogs be ok? Would I be ok? – but once we parked the car in the garage I hit ‘Mom mode’. I told Clint, “I can do anything I set my mind to.” its like last year I decided to run a 1/2 marathon without training.. But that wasn’t going to stop me.. I compared this to that.. I had the mentality of ‘I can do this & I will do this’. I had one last job, get our baby into this world safely.
We checked in & within the hour our labor process began! They took my blood for her cord collection kit, got me hooked up to an IV, monitors, and prepped the room for my comfort. Around 7:30 AM I started my first dose of Pitocin. My doctor came in around 9:45 AM to break my water and within minutes my contractions started ramping up. I battled through it until about 11:45 AM. That’s when the nurse checked me again & said I had progressed to 5/6 cm. I decided to go ahead and get my epidural. Once that immediately kicked in I laid in the bed with a peanut ball between my legs, to try to encourage Stuen to turn her head slightly. At 1:20 PM I was 8 cm dilated and at 1:50 PM they told me it was almost time! They called my doctor in and at 2:30 I started pushing. 28 minutes later, Stuen Lee was born. 2:58 PM. 7 lbs. 4 oz. 20 inches long.
At the beginning of the day I told Clint to get ready. I had a feeling it was going to be a long labor since I was getting induced. We were both shocked at how quickly it went and how little Pitocin I actually needed. My doc started me at 2 and increased it every 30 minutes until I stayed at an 8. (It normally goes up to 20). In total, my labor was only about 7 hours, and it went so smoothly. I couldn’t have asked for a better birth for our little girl. Makes me realize that all that worrying I did leading up to it was for nothing.. because no matter what, God had a plan from the beginning. And we are so blessed with the way it went!
Right after her birth we spent some time doing skin on skin before they took her to get her measurements and wipe her off! Clint watched over her as they cleaned me up and I just remember looking over at the two of them and smiling. Wow, how my world had changed. Everyone in the room was so anxious to see how much she weighed so we all paused and watched as the nurse put her on the scale! (Clint was an 11 lb. baby and I was 8 lbs. 13 oz. – so we thought she might be kind of big). To our surprise she was only 7 lbs. 4 oz! Didn’t realize how small she was until they brought her back into my arms! For the next hour Clint and I soaked up baby snuggles together and I fed her for the first time. Around 4:30 PM we welcomed our friends and family into the room to greet her with love!
That evening I was transferred to my postpartum room. Looking back it’s all really a blur.. I just remember holding Stuen Lee in my arms and looking at all her tiny features. I remember watching Clint ewww & ahhh over here. I remember visitors coming in and out. I remember eating a Rafferty’s salad for dinner. And then I remember watching her get her first bath. Oh how that already seems like so long ago, yet it’s only been 8 days! I keep saying to everyone, “I wish she would stay like this forever”. My precious, baby girl.. I only hope one day she realizes how much I truly love her!
February 19, 2020. The day our world forever changed.
Stuen Lee Johnson, Happy Birthday!