What started out as a normal scheduled doctor's appointment quickly turned into Miss Carolynn Bea Stock making her grand entrance, on her own terms.
Tuesday afternoon we had an additional ultrasound appointment to make sure that little miss (though we didn't know she was a girl at this point) was still happy, healthy, and growing. Everything at this appointment looked great and the tech guestimated that she would be about 8.5lbs, disclaiming that this could go a pound or so in either direction. The next day we had what was our last "scheduled" appointment. We had packed our bags, installed the car seat bases, and gone through all of the checklists but decided it wasn't necessary to take our things with us to this appointment since everything looked great the day before. I wanted to take my car since I had just gotten it back from being worked on and getting new tires, so even the car seat wasn't with us, that was in Ryan's car.
We got to UMass Memorial for our 3:30 PM appointment and by about 4:00 PM were being wheeled (well, I was being wheeled) over to triage for additional monitoring. Carolynn's heart rate wasn't something that our doctor was comfortable with. While they were monitoring it was ranging from the high 90's to the 160 mark. What we were told was that the "happy range" would have been something more along the lines of 120 - 170bpm. After asking my thoughts on induction (not my preference, but was open to it if needed), our doctor highly recommended we go over to triage for longer monitoring.
Here is the timeline from what I remember and the notes that Ryan so kindly took.
Staying for the Longhaul:
Scheduled Appointment | Wednesday, August 18th - 3:30 PM
Head to Triage | 4:00 PM
"We" 100% Ryan watched the Red Sox game
Ordered Chick-fil-a from DoorDash for dinner
Waited, waited, waited
Left Triage - Head to Labor & Delivery | Wednesday, August 18th - 12:00 AM
Labor & Delivery:
Cervidil | 12 hours
Dilated from 1.5 - 2cm... from midnight on the 18th to Noon on the 19th
Not going to lie, I was extremely disappointed at this point
Cook® Cervical Ripening Balloon with Stylet | 12 hours
At this point, I was about ready to throw in the towel with pain medication
Our nurse told us that it's fully dependant on the person, some want/need Morphine and others are completely fine. I definitely didn't want to have to get Morphine but the second those balloons were inflated my body went into full stress/panic mode. I broke out into a cold sweat and definitely couldn't handle that pain, especially for 12 hours pre actual active labor.
Cooks Balloon Removed | Friday, August 20th - 3:30 AM
Water Breaks on its own (thank you God) | 4:00 AM
Dilated from 4/5 cm - 10cm | 6:30 AM
Time to push!
Two hours later at 8:37 AM on Friday, August 20th | Baby Carolynn Bea Stock was born!
Our experience from start to finish at UMass was amazing. We were so impressed by the doctors and nurses from triage, labor & delivery, and postpartum. Since we were there as long as we were, we actually were able to see the same nurses on multiple shift changes. The triage nurses, though we couldn't see them from behind our curtained-off section were beyond appreciative of each other. During our 6-hour stay there we heard countless different people genuinely thanking each other for simple little things like helping them with a mundane task, sharing food, or just simply being positive. This is a super small thing, but in a scary/stressful situation of the unknown like we were it was nice to hear positivity over stress or complaining.
Ryan was a rockstar sitting in a less than comfortable chair for 6 hours while we waiting for updates, he kept me calm as we could hear the heart rate monitors that I was hooked up to tracking myself and Carolynn. The nurses kept coming in to check on us and reassure us that though her heart rate was irregular it was consistent and strong when it would go back up. They also continually apologized to us for how long it was taking to get us into a more private room in L&D. Now you may remember that I said we packed all of our things but had nothing with us... well, Ryan also had to coordinate his sister Erin (best dog sitter/aunt ever) to get to our house to take care of Porter for us while we were in the hospital... he also had to coordinate with my mom to get all of our things from our house to Worcester and dropped off in my car which was in one of the other garages on the hospital campus so we would have those once we were in our room.
Time definitely stood still while we were at the hospital. Because of Carolynn's heart rate, we were hooked up to monitoring for 40 minutes on, 20 minutes off pretty much the entire time we were there. I was also hooked up to a blood pressure cuff that was going off every 15 minutes which made it hard to fall asleep/stay asleep. While we were waiting and in early/active labor we watched the Patriot's pre-season game, Food Network, and a lot of TLC haha. While I was pushing we had TLC's Four Wedding's on in the background, muted... while listening to Ryan's playlist he made for me which included a lot of Thomas Rhett, Kip Moore, Dan + Shay, and a little bit of Johnny Cash including Ring of Fire which the nurses appreciated.
I'll let Ryan add his piece here about labor and how much more involved he was than what he was anticipating.
Friday morning around 6:00 AM, the nurse informed Maggie that it would be time to start pushing. Now, with this being my first experience as the soon-to-be father, I had few expectations going into this portion of labor. I guess I watched one too many Rom-Coms because when I heard that nurse tell Maggie it was time to push, I was waiting for a bunch of nurses and doctors to enter the room to help Maggie along in this final frame before the baby arrives as I stayed by Maggie's head and helped her emotionally as best as I can. Not so fast my friend! As soon as the nurse informed Maggie to get ready to push, she then turned to me and stated that she would be holding one leg and I the other. So there we were, just myself and the nurse assisting with Maggie as she would push during contractions for close to an hour and a half while we were watching TLC's Four Weddings in between contractions.
Side Note - Four Weddings is an absolutely brutal show and I cannot understand why any of these women would want to be on it. Sure the winning bride would get an all-expenses-paid honeymoon, but the other three would then get informed how poorly their wedding was scored by the other women. TLC even showed the totals for each! Imagine having your big day critiqued and then find out everyone hated it. What a show. God bless reality TV.
During that hour and a half, a nurse or doctor would check in on Maggie's progress and check back every few minutes. It wasn't until around 8:00 AM where Maggie had progressed to the point where they knew the baby would be arriving soon and more and more nurses started to pile in. With each nurse/ doctor, we asked each which boy named they liked better because at that time, Maggie was, and I can't stress this enough, CONVINCED we were having a boy. It wasn't until at 8:37 AM that I then got to announce the sex of the baby with a high pitch, couldn't-believe-it shriek of "it's a girl!" For the hour after as both Maggie and I got to hold our newborn baby girl, we kept looking at each other and saying, "I cannot believe it's a girl." Carolynn Bea had arrived on her terms and surprised both her parents to which we couldn't have been happier about it.
Maggie again, come to find out that the reason Carolynn’s heart rate was fluctuating so drastically was because the umbilical cord was wrapped around her neck not once but twice. Our doctor told us that one time was common but twice was pretty rare. We are so thankful that a scenario that could have turned out much scarier than it was ended with us having our healthy and perfect baby girl.
Par for the course Carolynn came at a time with extreme weather. Anyone who knows me knows that I typically bring extreme weather, normally rain, to happy occasions like birthdays, anniversaries, and weddings. The fact that there was a tornado warning in Worcester and incoming hurricane Henri didn’t surprise us in the slightest. Our postpartum nurses were amazing. They made us feel extremely comfortable and supported during our first hours as new parents. Because of the storm which ended up being nothing to write home about in our area, we decided to check out of the hospital a bit early on late Saturday afternoon to head home! Below is a quick little recap that captures the emotions of welcoming our daughter into this world.
Even though it wasn't our ideal scenario for Carolynn to come into this world we are so so happy that you are here baby girl and that you came to meet us a few days early.
We're happy to share our story, understanding that everyone's experience is unique and different. There is no right or wrong way as long as your baby joins this world healthy and happy.
Love, The Stocks
Maggie, Ryan, Big Dog Brother Porter & Carolynn