Jackson Reed Soong
July 9, 2014
On November 5, 2013 I found out I was pregnant. Jack was our happy surprise and I was over the moon! I had so much fun telling family and friends that we were expecting and with Jack being the first grandson for both sides of the family, the excitement and spoiling was over the top!
I started having Braxton Hicks contractions around 13 weeks and then around 28 weeks I started having real contractions that hurt. At 32 weeks, I went into labor and didn’t even know it! I went in for my scheduled appointment and told my midwife I was having contractions. She checked me and said I was dilating and that I needed to go to the hospital. I casually told her that I was going to go home and take a shower first and she stopped me and said, “Katy, You are in labor and you need to go to the hospital.” I was shocked! I got to the hospital and I was contracting every 3-4 minutes. Luckily, they stopped my labor and after an overnight stay, I got to go home on bed rest. For the next 8 weeks I had prodromal labor every single day! I would have contraction 2-4 minutes apart that would start in the morning and then stop in the evening. When I was taken off of bed rest at 36 weeks and still had consistent contractions but no real labor, I was just down right annoyed! I never thought I would ever go into labor! We had several false trips to the hospital but no baby.
I went in to see my midwife on my due date, July 8, 2014 and told her I was contracting every 3-5 minutes, as usual. She offered to strip my membranes and I gladly accepted. I had been walking around at 4.5 cm and 80% effaced for weeks! I was ready! But I have to admit, I immediately regretted that decision! OUCH! Getting your membranes swept hurts! I went home and curled into a ball in bed. I was cramping and everything hurt. After a couple of hours, I called my husband, Josh, and asked him to come home from work. My mom and sister came over and my mom kept insisting that I was in labor. Honestly, this just frustrated me because I was sure that I was not in labor and never going into labor. By 4:30 Josh and my mom were very antsy to get to the hospital and I was dragging my feet because I didn’t want to be sent home again. After stalling for an hour, they finally got me in the car.
We got to the hospital about 6:30pm and I was 5cm, 80% effaced, and contracting every 2 minutes. My midwife, Amanda, walked in and I asked her if I was in labor. When she told me that I wasn’t leaving the hospital without a baby, I was ready to do a victory dance! It was finally the day! My midwife was there, I had an awesome L&D nurse, Bari, plus my whole giant birth team. I was ready! In attendance was my husband, mom, two sisters, doula, and birth photographer. It was honestly like a party with all of my favorite people and an awesome 90s pop music playlist!
During labor, I was most comfortable in the shower. I liked being able to sway back and forth and switch between the water spraying on my back and on my stomach. I switched between standing, sitting on the birth ball, and sitting on a birthing stool in the shower for the majority of my labor. I tried the tub and just couldn’t get comfortable. My birth team all hung out in the bathroom with me. My sisters caught me up on gossip in between contractions and kept me distracted and laughing. My doula rubbed my back and even gave me a foot massage after I had been standing for about 10 hours. All-in-all, I was having fun with the people that I loved!
When I was 7cm I started feeling "pushy". It obviously wasn’t time to push but they asked if they could break my water and I said yes. After that, everything got really intense, really fast. I started falling asleep in between contractions while laying over a birth ball. When I would start a contraction, I would wake up and not know where I was or what was happening and I would just panic. My doula, Ashley, sat in front of me and each time she would hold my hands, stare into my eyes and say, “just take one breath.” I would listen, take that one breath, and then feel in control again. But then the whole process would just repeat. I was in a loosing battle trying to convince myself to stay awake but it didn’t matter because each time, Ashley was there reminding me to get back on top of my contractions. In those moments, I drew strength from her in a way I didn’t know was possible.
Soon, I knew it was time to push. I got back onto the birth stool in the shower and Amanda checked me. I was complete! I asked her where I had to go to push and she looked at me like I was crazy and responded with, “Wherever you want!” Giving me that freedom was so empowering! I knew there was no where else I wanted to give birth then in the shower so Amanda sat down in front of me and did perineum massage as I pushed. Pushing was a lot harder for me then laboring. Laboring was fun but pushing was all consuming. At one point I looked up at Amanda and thought to myself, “I can’t do it, someone needs to do it for me,” and at that exact moment, she said, “No one can do this but you, so you just have to do it.” Woah! She had the exact words I needed in that moment!
The hardest thing about pushing was that I had gotten myself into a reclined position so even though I was on a birthing stool, gravity wasn’t working with me. Amanda realized that and asked my doula, Ashley, to stand behind me and support me. Let me remind you that I am still in the shower. Without question, Ashley jumped into the shower with me, fully dressed, and held me up as I pushed. Sitting upright, pushing was a lot easier and my son came out all in one push! Josh caught him and handed him to me. It was an absolutely perfect moment. The love of my life was handing me this perfect little baby and I couldn’t of been happier! Jackson Reed Soong was born at 5:51am on July 9, 2014. He weighed 7 pounds 14 ounces (after pooping 3 times!) and was 20 & 3/4 inches long.
My son, Jackson, is everything I could ever want. He’s such a happy, smiley, baby. He’s goofy and curious and has taught me what unconditional love really is. Being a parent is the greatest joy of my life and I wouldn’t trade it for anything!
I need to take a moment and thank all the amazing people that attended my birth.
-My doula, Ashley Suitt is incredibly selfless and supportive. She was amazing all throughout my pregnancy answering questions and listening to my concerns and complaints. She was a rock during my labor! There is no way I could have gone through transition without her! Plus she rubbed my back through every single contraction for over 10 hours which raises her to sainthood in my book!
-My midwife, Amanda Lewis, was everything I could have ever wanted in a care provider! She spent so much time with me at each appointment answering all of my questions. In labor, she spent a lot of time sitting in the room with us while I labored and supporting all my decisions as a mom. She allowed my body to do what felt natural and kept us all safe. She is so kind and gentle and makes you feel all good inside which is great when you’re going through something as crazy as pregnancy and delivery! I can’t imagine having another baby without her!
-My L&D nurse, Bari Melker, was called in because every mom in Baton Rouge decided to go into labor at the same time! It was her day off and she agreed to come in for 4 hours but ended up staying for 14 just to see my labor through! Talk about commitment! She had to change her scrubs 4 times throughout the night because instead of making me uncomfortable and asking me to get out of the shower each time she needed to check my son’s heart tones, she would just jump in with me! She spent most of my labor just hanging out with my family. How cool is that?
-My birth photographer, Rachael Giamanco, who I’m happy to call my friend. I have to admit that I wasn’t crazy about the idea of having a birth photographer there but when it came time, I never even noticed her. She was so unobtrusive and quietly documented the whole labor and delivery. Rachael took incredible photos that I will treasure for the rest of my life. I look at my birth photos more then I look at my wedding photos! If you are on the fence about having a birth photographer, DO IT!
-My sweet, sweet husband… let’s be honest, we weren’t so sure how he would do during my labor. We were both a little nervous, but he was incredible! He were there for me the whole time and I have never been more in love with him then when he handed me my son! I can’t wait to have more babies with him!
-My mom was just that, my mom. She nurtured me and took care of me throughout my rough pregnancy and then through my delivery. My mom is my best friend and I couldn’t of done it without her. She really wanted a natural childbirth but didn’t have a natural friendly OB or hospitable. I’m so so sorry that she didn’t get the birth she wanted with me, but I hope being a part of Jack’s birth was healing in some way. Some days he’s just as much hers as he is mine. That boy loves his Nana!
-My sisters, Annie and Katie, made my labor so fun! They always bringing the fun into my life! Having them with me meant more then I can ever say. I can’t believe you waited up all night to meet Jack and the looks on their faces when they saw him… there’s just nothing better. I can’t wait to see the mothers that they will be and all the nieces and nephews they will give me!