Hello, friends! It’s been a WHILE hasn’t it? I don’t think I’ve ever gone this long without posting to the blog since the very beginning of blogging, but then again I’ve never had a month like the month of August. From the beginning, I’ve always had a goal in this space of sharing transparently, but also not blogging before I’ve had time to process what I’m blogging about. So in that spirit, I’ve had to take some time away before I was ready to share both Truett’s birth story AND the month following and subsequent heart surgery.
It wasn’t until I looked back at photos to use for this blog post that I realized what a haunting feeling it is to look back at photos of yourself before something monumental and traumatic took place. I scrolled through the photos of our time in the hospital after Truett’s birth and I shudder a little – knowing what those smiling, happy faces would have to endure, thinking about the lurking and serious heart defect that was waiting to surface in our seemingly perfectly healthy baby.
Whew. It’s a lot, friends. A lot to process over the last month and a lot that I’ll continue to process in the months to come. But what I do know is this: We are so incredibly thankful for Truett’s life and I want to make sure that the beauty of his birth isn’t overshadowed by the events soon after. So, with that said, here is our sweet Truett’s birth story….
Truett’s birth story began two days before he was born. On Wednesday, July 31st I went in for a regularly scheduled 38-week OB appointment. I had been feeling great but definitely having some signs that baby wasn’t too far off from coming. At my appointment our OB checked me and discovered that I was already 5 cm dilated and about 80% effaced. Honestly, I didn’t even know you could walk around that far along and not be in active labor! Because of how far progressed I was and how quickly Collins came once active labor started, paired with the fact that I already had two kiddos and a husband who works about 30 minutes away, our doctor said it was entirely reasonable to put an induction on the calendar for Friday. Initially, I declined, but as I went home and talked with Joe, we both preferred the idea of a more controlled timeline for Truett’s birth.
We made a plan for me to come in on Friday to be induced and started planning everything else around that – including childcare for the girls, getting bags packed, etc. I had SUCH a wonderful induction experience with Collins, which actually gave me quite a bit of fear surrounding this birth because I thought there was no way another induction could go quite so well. but I felt peace in our decision to put a date on the calendar for this baby to be born.
When I checked in on Friday I was having some occasional Braxton Hicks contractions but nothing regular or painful. It turns out I was already 6 cm and 90% and was STILL not in active labor which was even crazier to me – it also made me feel very affirmed in our choice to induce because there is no way I would have made it much longer without going into labor.
After being monitored for about 30 minutes, our doctor came in around 8:30 am and broke my water. Our hope was that breaking my water would be the only intervention needed to move things along. Our doula arrived shortly after and she started us on some exercises and movements to get baby into an ideal position for labor. We also started doing some abdominal lift and tuck exercises timed out with each contraction to help get my contractions more regular so I could make progress.
We spent the next couple hours walking inside and outside the hospital – since I was negative for Group B this time around I didn’t need an IV or any antibiotics but they did have me checking back about every 45 minuets to monitor baby. From about 8:30 until 10:40 I could tell I was having regular contractions that were starting to become more noticeable but I was not in any intense pain up until that point.
I specifically remember looking at the clock at 10:50 – while standing in the refreshment area of the labor and delivery wing – and saying, “Oh shit, that one hurt!” Joe has a photo of me at that point still smiling, but it was a serious effort to put a smile on my face as things were getting more and more painful. I returned to the room to be monitored around 11 and after that I felt certain I was ready to stay in the room and quit walking the halls.
At 11:20 I moved from being monitored on the bed to the ball and tried bouncing on the ball as a way to distract from the intense pain of each contraction. Our doula pressed on my back and Joe held my hand. As I had mentally prepared for labor before it began, I wanted to be “in my head” through the pain if at all possible, which for me meant focusing intensely on my breath and making it through each individual contraction. I had listened to my labor and delivery podcast a LOT on runs, walks, and through workouts in the months leading up to labor and delivery. When my run was hard and I wanted to quit, I used those times to think forward to delivery when I was going to be experiencing intense pain and tried to mentally prepare for those moments. Maybe it sounds cheesy, but I truly think using that time in advance of labor to mentally prepare helped tremendously when the time came to have Truett. Even though the pain was intense, I felt calm and focused.
This is also a good time to note that one distinct difference in this labor from others is how comforted I felt by Joe’s presence and support. I don’t mean to say I didn’t feel that way in previous deliveries, but Joe’s presence was especially comforting to me during Truett’s birth – through hand holding and back rubbing and just being near. I remember telling everyone around this point that, “Everyone should marry a man like Joe Hofmeyer.” I mean it 100%.
Around 11:35 I got into the tub. It was really hot and felt so good as I labored through some really intense contractions. Both with Collins and Truett’s birth, the tub toward the end of labor helped make transition bearable!
I got out of the tub around noon and slowly made my way to the bed through the next few contractions. At 12:08 I was checked again and my doctor informed me I was complete and could push whenever I felt ready. In the weeks leading up to labor, our doula had talked to us about the benefit of waiting for your body to be truly ready before pushing – using your own body’s cues rather than when you were told to push. Even though I was complete, I didn’t yet feel ready to push. I waited about 10 minutes until my body felt ready and in the matter of about two contractions Truett made his arrival at 12:22 pm weighing 9 lbs. 1 oz!
Truly, I couldn’t have asked for a better birth. I think the experience this time around taught me that there is no “ideal” birth. Each one of my births has been different and yet perfect for that particular point in time and life, and in many ways having such a wonderful beginning with Truett – including great bonding and breastfeeding – helped fortify this momma’s heart for what was to come in the weeks ahead.
One of the big mercies in Truett’s delivery was the fact that despite Truett being my biggest baby by over a pound, I had just a tiny little tear and very little blood loss. My recovery compared to the girls was SO much easier and better, and there were countless times that I thanked God for my recovery being so great because it was one less thing to think and worry about as we prepared for Truett’s heart surgery.
Thank you, Jesus, for the life and gift of Truett Joseph, whose life is a gift I am now exceptionally thankful for.