Thursday, January 31, 2013

Happy Birthday Shepherd Justin Duke!

*I wrote this the night Shepherd was born, and just have been adding things here and there*

So here I am at 4am less than 24 hours after Shepherd was born. I should sleep because its dark, I have had 5 hours of sleep in 24 hours and there is a sweet cooing/sleeping baby next to me. But I can't because I want to remember every perfect moment of this day. So warning long mushy post ahead! And for dude readers...just read this....I had a baby! :)

January 26th at 5am, I woke up to pee and surprise! My water broke. I called my OB on call and they told me to come on in. After about 10 minutes I still hadn't had any contractions, so I woke up Justin. I had him call my parents who were coming over to stay with Inara while we left. I hoped in the shower. I wasn't sure if my water had broken, but once the contractions started coming on I was sure that was what happened. I made it through the shower and my contractions were about 2-3 minutes apart. I told Justin to tell my parents, they might wanna hurry up.

On our way to the hospital I told Justin to stop and eat because it would be a while before he could.  I knew once I arrived I would be NPO, so I got a little something for me too. Just a V-8 fusion. I figured if I was going to be in labor for 24 hours I needed at least SOME energy.  With every contraction in the car I wanted an epidural. Then it would subside and I would think Its ok, I got this.  I told Justin I didn't want an epidural until I was 5-6 cm (I have no rational reason for choosing those numbers). I remembered to try and relax to let my contractions do the work, but it was so hard. Justin was awesome and very quick to remind me to relax and that I could do this.

We arrived at GSH triage a little after 6. They got me changed, started and IV and talked a little about an epidural.  I told them I would like to go natural because of a previous bad experience with my spinal with Inara. They said that was fine, but they would put the order in "just in case I changed my mind". I was then checked at was 4 cm dilated! I was only 2 at my OB appointment on Thursday, so I was VERY happy with this news. Mentally I was still preparing for the worst- a long hard labor.

By the time I was transferred to my labor & delivery room I was feeling REALLY bad. The contractions were just as close as they were at home, but much more intense. A few times I freaked out and told Justin I didn't think I could do it...not the go natural part...I was talking about having a baby. They were so intense it seemed impossible to make it work.  I tried to pee in the bathroom and ended up getting sick and throwing up a few times. Secretly I was excited hoping that I was in transition, but still preparing for a long hard labor. But it was then I asked for an epidural. When I wasn't actively contracting and in my right state of mind, it still seemed like I would need one.  About 30 minutes later and a few really awful contractions the CRNA arrived. It seemed like it took forever to get it in, but once it was and I had some relief I told her that she was my very best friend!

Very happy (and obviously tired) after my epidural :)

She said she would come back after a few contractions and see if I needed a bigger dose. I had some hard ones and I could breath through them, but I also wanted a little more relief, so she re-dosed me..and it.was.wonderful!  They checked me at 9am and I was 8cm! I honestly couldn't believe it, but oh my! I was so happy :) They then decided to put in internal monitors to monitor the pressure on my scar. I had a few more REALLY intense contractions and baby did NOT like it.  They turned me on my left side and game me some oxygen. They were super calm about everything and neither Justin or I felt uncomfortable or scared.  After a few minutes they checked me again and I was fully dilated! Miracle!

Then I was sat up high in the bed to let gravity do some work of getting baby down, so I didn't have to push as long.  About 2 hours passed and a few cat naps for both Justin and I (who by the way was a total rock start and I KNOW I couldn't have done it without him), and finally they said I was ready to push. At this point I really couldn't feel anything, so I was a little nervous how the pushing would go.  Justin stayed back but visible, Katie was on picture duty, my awesome nurse counted for me and I pushed!  At first it didn't seem like I was really doing anything because like I said I couldn't feel anything. But my OB is wonderful and kept encouraging me and reassuring me that I was being a great "pusher".  In between contractions it was totally clam and relaxed. I rested, chatted, and tried to relax for the next one.  I pushed with each contraction for about 30 minutes, and still couldn't feel a thing...not even pressure.  Then about noon I was able to tell he was really close.  And everyone's excitement really helped me push even harder! 3 contractions and 9 pushes later and he was out!

Fresh new baby!

I heard the most amazing newborn cry, he was put on my chest, and it truly was love at first sight. I couldn't stop crying and was just staring at my perfect son.  My son whom I thought might not make it this far. My son who I kept waiting for a disaster...was here. He was perfect and mad...and did I mention perfect :)  I got to hold him on my chest in awe for about 15 minutes, stare at his beautiful face, squeeze his chunky arms, and then I got curious. I wanted to know how much he weighed and wanted to give Justin a chance to hold his son too!

Love at first sight :)

They took him away to get cleaned up and weighed and I heard his weight: 8lbs 8.9oz.  I couldn't believe this monster of a baby was A) actually just inside of me and B) came out of me. The doctor even couldn't believe I had that big of a baby inside.  They stitched me up and Shepherd was so content to be held by his Daddy :) He was so happy in his arms.  I was able to nurse him and was am seriously so much in awe of this little perfect human that God had blessed us with.


Big boy!

First time with Dad

So thankful my BFF could be there and take some pics for us !

Just relaxing

After I was transferred to the Mother Baby Unit my parents arrived with Inara. I could not have asked for a sweeter daughter or be more blessed by God to witness their first encounter. She was so interested in him and apparently at home when she saw his picture said "Awe, I love him. He is so cute. And then kissed the screen".  During his bath when he was crying she was singing him a song to help calm him down, was trying to soothe him with some shushing noise, and kept saying "Its ok. You're ok". I know it won't last forever, but their first meeting is one of my favorite times in my life :) Here is a video of her when she first came into the room to meet him. Be prepared for some serious cuteness!

I seriously had never had a "love at first sight before", until I met him :)  Later on the in the evening when it was just the 2 of us, we just gazed in to each others eyes and I couldn't help but cry! He is already awake so much of the time, is a good little eater, and seems to be pretty content. I just love him so much and it was so wonderful for him to finally be safe in my arms after so many uncertain things about my pregnancy.


  1. YAY! I'm so glad that you got to do so many of the things you wanted - and it sounds like things went mostly smooth! So excited for all of you! (Oh, and I showed my mom Inara greeting Shepherd, and my mom cried without even knowing her!)

    1. Thanks so much Lindsey! That is so sweet about your mom! :) The nurse in the room said she doesn't think she has seen a sweeter reaction to siblings meeting in 30 years :)

  2. Oh my word, Lauren! I am so glad you blogged throughout your pregnancy with the little man. It has been exciting to read along with this story and see how sweetly and perfectly God answered your prayers and reassured you with what you were fearful of. He is perfect! I was trying to keep it together but by the time I watched the video of Inara singing Happy Birthday I started crying ;) I am blessed by reading about your family. Congratulations, Dukes! Happy Birthday, Shepherd!

    1. Thanks so much Fran. I am so glad I'll have an account of God's faithfulness! I think I cry when I read ANY birth story :) So thankful God could use our story to bless you :)

  3. Oh, Lauren your story brought me to tears. I'm SO pleased to hear you got to have a VBAC, and it went well! It must be so lovely have little Shepherd in your arms. :)

    1. I love birth stories too! And so thankful for a VBAC, like I said still sore but so, so SO much better than my c/s :)


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