Ezra was born 4 weeks early. I was exactly 36 weeks the night my water broke and having him a month earlier than expected, wasn’t exactly something we anticipated happening.
Call me crazy but intuitively, I knew he was going to be here as soon as he could.
When we last spoke about pregnancy on the blog, I mentioned my OB put me on a mini “bedrest” of sorts when I was 35 weeks and 5 days. I lost my mucus plug a week prior and it continued to fall out in small pieces every single day. Then the contractions started. I was told these were likely Braxton Hicks contractions, but I knew these were different. They felt like period cramps on steroids (coming from someone who had insane cramps in high school!) and were very consistent in their timing. I’d have them for 5 minutes then they’d disappear for 30 seconds or so then they’d come right back. And this continued every single day for a week, all day! Likely my biggest physical sign that Ezra was coming soon.
So now let’s get to the birth story from start to finish. It’s a long one, so cozy up with some cookies and milk and enjoy…
The night before I went into labor (that Thursday), my friend came over for dinner. She had brought us food from one of our favorite places and I was up all night with what I thought was food poisoning. Let’s just say I was on the toilet a lot with a bit of the “runs”. I woke up Friday morning and had plans to meet another friend for manicures and pedicures in the city. I took the path in and luckily it was located super close to the nail spa, so I didn’t have to walk around too much being that I was on bedrest.
I spent two hours of bliss in the spa getting a manicure and pedicure and some solid hang time with a close friend. I headed back to Hoboken after and had some couch time until Jord came home for dinner that night. We stayed in and made dinner, relaxed on the couch and started Friends from College (obsessed with that show) and around 9:45pm I said I was going to bed. I was beyond exhausted from being up all night with what I thought was food poisoning so wanted to get to bed early and actually sleeping while pregnant was already a challenge.
J went to brush his teeth and I hopped into bed. He turned the lights off and as he was getting into bed, I said to him “I feel like my water is just going to bust tonight”. NO idea why I thought this or even said that. I didn’t feel any different and had the same contractions all week. I also was only 1/2-1 centimeter dilated at this time.
30 seconds after I said that.. my water broke everywhere. I kid you not. 30 seconds after saying I think my water will break, it was like my uterus popped open a bottle of champagne and it exploded everywhere. I jumped out of bed and sprinted to the bathroom and sat on the toilet to avoid making even more of a mess. Jord looked like he was going to faint when I told him it was actually happening. It is a good thing we had those hospital bags packed though, you really do need to get those together on the earlier side!
I called my doctor who was conveniently still at the hospital and she said to head on over. Being completely ignorant, I asked if I could shower and wash my hair first since it was 8 days dirty. That was a quick no sadly.
I asked Jord to pack some Perfect Bars from the fridge and that’s all we needed to add to our bags (obviously had every other snack packed) and we headed on out!
We called our parent’s on our way to the hospital. The craziest thing about my parents was that they happened to leave Florida that morning to drive back home. We all knew I was going to deliver Ezra earlier but no one really thought it would be on this day! They intuitively knew too. I think when my parents heard me saying it was going to happen soon, they knew I wasn’t kidding. I’m not one to ever really over exaggerate health-related things so they knew to take this seriously.
My parents drove straight from Florida (left on Friday at 7am) right to the hospital! My Mom’s response when I told her my water broke was “No f**king way!”. Jordan’s parents were out to dinner still so they just headed home to get comfy and headed to the hospital to meet us.
We live about 30 minutes from the hospital and since it was after 10pm, there was no traffic. It is the best time for your water to break, I’ll tell ya that! The car ride went by quickly despite the contractions getting more and more intense as we approached. And I think my water was pretty much all over the passenger seat (I sat on two towels too).
Jord pulled up to the front of the hospital and out came a security guard and a wheelchair for me. Just like the movies! J went to park the car and I chatted with the guard who said I was the most chill and relaxed woman in labor he had ever met. I giggled since I’m not really told I am chill too often. He joked my husband didn’t look to chill. And he was right! Jordan looked like he was going to faint or puke and couldn’t even speak. Meanwhile I’m over here like a waterfall with the most insane contractions, smiling and waving to everyone in the hospital saying I am in labor! It was the coolest moment ever – knowing Ezra would be here so soon.
We pre-registered at the hospital (definitely recommend this) so we just needed to sign in and they put me in the pre-operation room. I knew I was having a C-section because of how breeched Ezra was. He was basically stuck in my right rib cage and there was no turning him. There are very few doctors in the world who will deliver a breeched baby and the thought of the C-section actually didn’t scare me as much as I thought it would. I trusted that if Ezra was breeched and wasn’t moving, clearly it was for a reason.
The pre-op room consists of a lot of tests and repeating yourself 10x with the same info to different nurses and staff. It got pretty annoying because the contractions were getting more and more intense and the monitoring and random tests were pretty uncomfortable. Since I was also delivering at 36 weeks, I had to get a steroid shot in my tush to give a little extra love to Ezra’s lungs. The nurse said it was kind of like the flu shot in terms of pain and intensity. After doing fertility treatments and constantly blood work, needles and shots never really phase me anymore. I have a decently high pain tolerance but holy OMG this shot! I rolled over and into my right butt cheek it went and I screamed louder than I ever have before. It was a 6 inch needle Jordan said and that whole thing went into the cheek.
After that the pains of everything else felt like nothing. I had an urge to go to the bathroom (#2) and the nurse said it was just the baby trying to come out and I can’t go. I assured her there was no way he was going to fall out my tush with how high into my rib area he was but she still was hesitant. I politely told her I would have the runs all over this bed if I didn’t get to the bathroom in 1 minute so she let me go. Thank goodness she did because it was my body still cleaning everything out before Ezra came. The most romantic part of this was how Jord had to hold my IV for me as I went aka he stood next to the toilet (true love).
After this I was wheeled into the operating room and it was showtime!
There was a crew of about 20+ people in there and since Ezra is a preemie, there is a ton more monitoring. My OB came in, I got my epidural (didn’t hurt at all compared to the lung steroid shot) and we popped in the labor playlist Jord made and it was go time. I couldn’t feel anything below my boobs and my whole body was numb, it was pretty wild. You don’t feel pain or pleasure, just some little touches and tugging. They also put a curtain right below your boobs so I couldn’t see anything happening, which was a bummer. I wanted to watch them bring our bub into this world!
Jord sat next to me and the doctor would walk us through what she was doing. It only took 9 minutes to bring Ezra into this world. His butt came out first so my scar is a bit larger than planned but I didn’t care at all. As soon as I heard that little blueberry muffin cry and saw him above the curtain, it was like nothing else mattered in this world. I call him my muffin because he actually looked like a blueberry muffin when he came out. His skin was so blue and he was very cold.
Because of this I sadly wasn’t able to do immediate skin-to-skin because he need to be put on the warmer and have monitoring to make sure all is okay. I asked the team not to bathe him and just wrap him up in a blanket. I wanted him to have the amniotic fluids on him for at least a day and just to gently pat him dry.
They bundled him up in a blanket and Jordan and I held him together. It was the most beautiful moment of my life. I was hysterically crying (I didn’t cry all pregnancy but Ezra truly turns me to mush!).
The nurses wanted to take him down to the nursery for more tests and monitoring after a few minutes so I had Jordan go down with him to make sure he was okay. I was wheeled to the recovery room where I FaceTimed my parents as they drove and I begged the nurse to let me eat something. Turns out I had 7 hours to wait until I could eat. Jord even had to sneak me water because I wasn’t supposed to drink anything either.
They brought Ezra to me in recovery and I was able to try and breastfeed and do more skin-to-skin for a bit. We stayed here for a couple hours then they took him back to the nursery to monitor again and we headed to our room. One of the reasons I delivered in NJ at Saint Barnabas was because you get your own room. It isn’t an extra charge and it was very important to us that Jordan could stay with me during the post labor recovery.
Ezra was looking amazing and perfectly healthy the doctors and nurses said so he was able to come back to our room. By this point it was around 3:30am and my in-law’s were with us and my parent’s were an hour away. Flipping champs driving straight through the 20+ hours from Florida.
That first day, Saturday, was pure magic. Filled with so much love, warmth and happiness. Call me cheesy but there was nothing better than having Ezra with us finally. It was even more beautiful than I could ever dream of. I personally was a bit sore and was in a wheelchair from surgery (more to come on a C-seciton in another blog post) so I wasn’t able to move around or stand up much. This led to all the snuggles in the hospital bed and bringing me anything I needed like food (bagel with avocado, eggs + arugula was my first meal and a Chocolate Chip Peanut Butter Perfect Bar for dessert).
I started to breastfeed (or attempt to) and wow what an adjustment! I also was still having contractions, which apparently can happen post labor and they were insane when I would try to feed him. The labor contractions went away for me about a week or so after labor. I didn’t realize this happened (more to come on my experience breastfeeding so far).
We weren’t on social media much the day Ezra was born. We sent a few messages to friends and family announcing Ezra’s birth but we wanted to soak in these moments as a family. The Carpenter family, party of 3! And seeing our parent’s with Ezra was so sweet. We are so grateful for all of the love from our families that day.
Later that evening around 11pm, I finished breastfeeding Ezra (aka tried making colostrum flow out and get these boobs cranking) and I had a little break until 1am. At this point I had been up since Wednesday basically between the “food poisoning” Thursday and no sleep Friday night so we wanted to get some sleep. We gave Ezra to the nurses for the couple of hours so we could trust he was okay (we were so paranoid with every noise at first). Around 1am I woke up and expected to see the nurse next to me to remind me to start to feed Ezra but it was the NICU doctor. She was standing in the dark next to my bed to tell me that Ezra has been spitting up a concerning amount of blood and is being rushed to the NICU.
I bolted out of bed, which was dumb since I couldn’t even stand up without being hunched over still and ran to Ezra in the hallway. Jord and I were basically paralyzed. I didn’t know what to do or think. There was blood all over and my heart just broke. We were told to wait a bit and they will call us once he is settled in the NICU and they know a bit more of what is going on. The doctor said it would either be that he swallowed my blood or he could have an ulcer or we really just don’t know where the blood is coming from. Aka we didn’t have any idea what to think.
A nurse and Jord wheeled me over to the NICU and our little 5lb blueberry muffin was in his own pod, hooked up to a dozen monitors, an IV and had a tube down his throat that was taking out the blood. We did not take one photo in there and to be honest, it isn’t something I like to think about often. Seeing any baby in the NICU truly is one of the most heart wrenching experiences.
The NICU team did a bunch of tests and we were told we’d get the results in a day or so to see what the next steps were. And let me tell you, that was the longest day or so of our lives. Every 2 hours I was wheeled back to Ezra to try and feed him. He had already lost 7% of his birth weight (10% is the max you can lose) and he was having difficulty latching to me to breastfed. Poor baby had a tube down his throat, which made it even more challenging to try and breastfeed at first. This is the case with many preemie babies and if he wasn’t in the NICU, it wouldn’t be as concerning but Ezra was wasting more energy trying to latch on and he wasn’t getting enough food. I would feed him (or try) for 40 minutes, pump for 20 minutes and then next thing you know it was time to do it all over again. We basically had 30 minutes in-between to rest.
After a day in the NICU, the nurse gave us an ultimatum. Either we could add formula into the mix with my breast milk as it flows in or Ezra would need to be in the NICU longer than expected with the IV, etc. That decision was a no brainer to us. I wasn’t happy about giving him formula but having him in the NICU longer was not an option in our heads. He needs his fuel and he was going through enough.
Until Monday late morning, we still had no idea what the test results were. I was sick to my stomach seeing Ezra in this little plastic pod with wires everywhere. The tube in his month didn’t help breastfeeding either. His mouth is already the cutest tiniest mouth!
When Jord was wheeling me back to the NICU for one of the feedings, we heard a nurse say “7A’s blood work came back and it was adult blood, all is good!”. 7A was our little Ezra’s pod and it turns out he swallowed my blood during the c-section. These were the results we were hoping for! As long as it wasn’t his own blood, all was good and he was a healthy boy to come back to us.
If I could have jumped up and down, I would have. It was the best news ever to hear. They told us they were going to release Ezra to us and he can stay in our room now. The Carpenter crew was reunited! We had another full day and night in the hospital. We didn’t want to bring him home yet, just in case. Plus he had to take a car seat test because of his size to make sure we are able to bring him home (he passed!).
Once we had the good news, we announced Ezra’s arrival into this world. We are still overwhelmed by the outpour of love for our family. Truly the most grateful for each of you and especially our parents who were with us every single day in the hospital. Ezra has the world’s best family and we couldn’t be happier to have him home in our arms.
There is so much more I cannot wait to share with you guys about breastfeeding, C-sections, our favorite baby items and more. I promise there is more to come soon!
xx, Rach, Jordan + Ezra
Please pardon any typos! Mom brain is real and I’m running on an hour of sleep over here 😉