Baby New Year: A Birth Story

August 28, 2018

My due date came and went. I remember laying down to go to bed that night, relaxed from a long bath, promising myself I’d continue to take it easy until Desi decided he was ready to come. I played on my phone a little bit, then went to bed at around 11pm.

Having been in early labor for so long, my nights were often filled with random contractions, and like any pregnant woman, lots of trips to the bathroom. But at around 1:45am, I had a contraction that made me jump out of bed (well, as close to a jump as you can get when you’re all belly). I chalked it up as just being anxious and tired, but in the time it took me to go to the bathroom and walk back to bed, I’d had two more contractions, just as strong as the first. I woke Burkley up and we called the midwife. Again, in our 7 minute conversation with her, I had 2 strong contractions, so she told us to come in. 

By the time we got in the car and started driving to the birthing center, my contractions were 1.5-2 minutes apart, lasting over a minute long. This was definitely it. 

When we got to the birthing center, around 3am, I was 5cm dilated. We were given the option of going back home for a little while or staying and laboring there. Given that we lived 45 minutes away, we decided to stay. Since my contractions were already so close together and very strong, we all thought it was going to be a quick delivery. 

But the clock kept moving, contractions still coming every 1-2 minutes. 

By 9am I was 8cm dilated, almost there. 

A few hours later, I started feeling like something was wrong. I remember sitting in the bath during a contraction saying, over and over again, “I can’t. I need help.” The contractions had started spacing out for some reason, to around 5 minutes apart. At around 3pm, 6 hours after the last time I’d been checked, I was still only 8cm. The midwives thought getting some rest would help move things along, but that wasn’t possible the way things were, so we agreed that the best thing at this point was to transfer to the hospital for a therapeutic epidural. After 17 hours of nearly nonstop contractions, my body needed a break.

Best thing ever. 

I got some rest, got to eat a bit, and was finally fully dilated. Ready to push! 

I pushed for an hour and half. And then things took a turn. Desi wasn’t descending like he should have been (geometry problems), and his heart rate started dropping lower and lower with each push. The midwife called in an OB for a second opinion, and they both agreed a c-section would be necessary.

To say I was heartbroken would be an understatement. My dream of a medication free birth had already gone out the window, natural birth was close behind. 

They gave us the option of pushing for a little longer, but neither the midwife nor the OB thought that would change anything, and Desi’s heart rate kept going down. If we waited too much longer, it would become an emergency and he could have ended up in NICU, or worse. 

I looked at Burkley. “I don’t want my first decision of motherhood to be putting my desires before his needs.”

They wheeled me into the OR and before I even knew they’d started, at 10:18pm, I heard his cry. It was the most beautiful sound I’d ever heard. 

The nurses cleaned him up, confirmed he was doing ok, and then placed him on my chest. I was in and out of consciousness from all the meds, but I clearly remember the feeling of him nuzzling his face into my neck and placing his hand on my cheek. We knew each other. 

Little Bean

August 17, 2018

I miss being pregnant. I didn’t expect to, but I do. I regret this deeply now, but I spent a lot of my pregnancy ready for it to be over.

I didn’t have an easy pregnancy. I was diagnosed with Hyperemesis Gravidarum (a severe form of morning sickness) pretty early on. I was dehydrated, losing weight, unable to eat normally until close to my third trimester, and being threatened with home health care before the medication my doctors prescribed finally started working. I had really bad round ligament pains, and moving was difficult. I was in early labor for a month before delivering. We were also going through a pretty serious family emergency at the time. 

But I don’t want to focus on the bad. My son deserves more. He deserves happy memories and stories of him from the beginning. So that’s what this post is about: the happiest moments with who was then known as “Little Bean.”

Finding Out:

I found out I was pregnant at exactly 4 weeks. Because we had been consciously trying, I knew exactly when to test. I woke up eager that morning, anxious and nervous, but filled with excitement and hope. I tried to ignore the test strip while waiting for the results; I wanted to give it time to show up rather than worrying too soon. That second line showed up pretty quickly, though, and I stared at it in disbelief. For some reason, excited as I was, I really thought it was going to be negative. After a few moments, hands shaking, I went downstairs to tell Burkley. It was early, but I couldn’t wait to tell him. Still half asleep, he wrapped me in his arms and told me how excited he was! Then asked if we could go back to sleep! I was too excited, though, and begged him to come with me to get another test, so I’d know it was real! He giggled at me and obliged. Again, the positive result, this time in the form of a digital “Pregnant” showed up quickly. And my hands immediately went to my belly. 


We decided to tell our immediate family first. For my mom, we gave her an early Mother’s Day card to “Grandmother.” With my dad, my sister (who was living with us at the time and we told that same morning) asked him to sign a Mother’s Day card, which she’d addressed to me. We told Burkley’s mom by Skyping her and holding up a onesie that read (in Portuguese) “Everything is better with grandmother kisses!” His dad we told in person by making him think we were just coming over for a visit to catch up. The best announcement, by far, though, was to his brother who lives in California. We sent him a Potato Parcel that read: Deanna’s pregnant. Nobody knows. (We weren’t sure when it would arrive and didn’t want him accidentally announcing for us). 

A few weeks later, after we’d heard the heartbeat for the first time, we had a gathering with my extended family. Midway through the gathering I changed into a shirt that read “Pregosaurus!” (My nickname growing up was Deanna-saur). It was hilarious how long it took my family to realize what it meant. 

At 12 weeks, when we were given the all clear by our doctor, we made it public, posting the picture above! The outpouring of love and support we received was heartwarming! 


The first time we heard his heartbeat, it was like a song I’d always known! It felt like it fit right in the rests of my own heartbeat. 
The first time we saw him kick on the ultrasound, I couldn’t help but gasp in amazement! 

The first time I felt him kick, it felt like popcorn in my abdomen! It wasn’t long after that Burkley could feel it, too! We’d often spend our evenings with our hands on my belly, waiting, as still as possible, to see if he’d do it again! I’d sleep with my arms wrapped around myself, finding peace in the tiniest of movements!
The first time I saw his kick from the outside of my belly, he was actually kicking our dogs nose! She could tell there was something going on and liked to dig her nose against my belly; I guess he was eager to play with her from the start! 

The first time we saw his face, with a 3D ultrasound, I already recognized him. I finally saw in person the face I knew I’d be staring at for hours on end. 

Boy or Girl?

Throughout the first few months of my pregnancy, people kept telling me they thought I was having a boy. I thought so, too, but didn’t say anything. Most of the old wives tales predicted I was having a girl, but as it turned out, we were right! And boy was he not shy about showing us! Before the ultrasound tech could even say anything, we shouted “it’s a boy!”

The Baby Shower:

My baby shower was perfect! Despite being October, it was warm and sunny outside! My aunt was kind enough to host, and she really went all out! It was Where the Wild Things Are themed, same as the theme we had picked for the nursery! Burkley and I were surrounded by friends and family as we celebrated the wonderful gift to come! 


At 32 weeks pregnant, we had the brilliant idea of sticking my massive self on an airplane and flying down to Florida for a weekend. It was actually really lovely! November in Florida is still warm, and being able to float in the water felt so good! We saw manatees and collected shells, and most of all, we relaxed! 

The Desi Tree:

Christmas fell one week before my due date. I’d been in early labor for 3 weeks at that point, so safe to say I was not in the mood to decorate or host anything. But family was in town for the holidays (and anticipating the birth), and our house is kind of the hub for family gatherings (which we actually love, don’t get me wrong). Thankfully everyone was very understanding and made it so we could still have wonderful holiday celebrations without me needing to lift a finger! Despite loving real Christmas trees, Burkley surprised me one morning with the artificial tree I’d been eyeing for a while (I was not dealing with a real tree when there was the potential of having a newborn in the house), and my mother in law went all out designing what we deemed “The Desi Tree!” Instead of the usual Christmas ornaments, it was decorated with Where the Wild Things Are characters and scenes, so we could leave it up as long as we wanted after he was born! It was perfect! 

New Year’s Eve:

My due date was finally here, but no signs of Desi actually coming, so I decided to finally relax. I’d spent the last few weeks really pushing my body, walking, bouncing on a yoga ball, going up and down the stairs, eating dates, drinking teas, forcing down pineapple, trying to get the early labor to switch to active labor. But with my due date finally here, it clicked that I really didn’t have any control over when he came, so why was I forcing myself and using up all my energy? I’m going to need that energy for when he does come, so maybe I should be focused instead on resting and recharging. And that what we did! We blew off the New Years party we normally go to and opted instead for an evening of movie watching in the bath! It was a  wonderful way to end the year and, little did we know, the best way to welcome in our new one!

In the beginning

August 12, 2018

Here's the problem with always knowing you wanted to be a mom: You're ready for kids before you're actually ready for kids. Baby fever was real. But in order to have the life I wanted, to be prepared to offer my kids everything I felt was important, there was a lot that needed to happen, not just for me, but for my husband as well.

Burkley and I met in high school. We were only 15 years old, and while most people scoffed at the idea, we knew we wanted to be together. We said "I love you" early on, we planned our future, we were inseparable, and if we were apart, we were texting each other nonstop (I'm not kidding, we probably could have set a record with how many texts we sent a minute--I think we topped out at about 16,000 texts a month). It was important to both of us that we finish school before starting a family, though. So we finished high school and went to college. We moved in together our sophomore year of college, when we'd both secured jobs that would cover rent and expenses. I was eager to get engaged, like many girls, and even though my hints were anything but subtle, we'd also talked about not getting married until after we graduated. That day finally came 7 1/2 years into our relationship, the day after my birthday, in our senior year! It was perfect! I can tell you that whole story another time, though! We graduated 2 months later; I started working full time as a nanny, Burkley started grad school and working in a physics lab. We saved up money to pay for the wedding and for a house. That fall we were finally wed! 

Ok, I'm definitely ready now! We're married, we have money saved, let's do this! Let's have kids! 

Not quite. 

Sure, we were financially stable for our current situation, but if I wanted to stay home, there's no way we could make that work while Burkley was still in school. So we added a few more boxes to the checklist. A year and a half later we bought our first home (we were 23 at the time), and not long after, Burkley graduated. Great! This is it! Now we can have kids!

Not yet.

Job searches these days can take...forever. 

So we waited, Burkley kept applying, and it wasn't until almost 6 months later that the offers finally started rolling in! 

Now we can have kids!

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