Asher’s Birth Story and First Week of Life

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One week ago Dustin and I brought home Asher Quinn Wesley Nichols from the Hospital and started our life as a family of three. We have been so loved and supported by our family and friends, our church, and all of the sweet messages we have received on social media! Asher has no idea how much love he was born into and will be surrounded by and I cannot wait for him to get a little older and see it for himself!

In honor of being home for a week, I thought it would be fun to share Asher’s birth story! If I can be honest, it was nothing that I expected or planned for BUT at the end of it all we were able to walk away with a healthy baby boy and a healthy Mom and that was the goal!

Asher’s due date was March 30th…which was also Good Friday. With both sides of the family being in Ministry and Easter being one the two biggest holidays of the year, I knew that having Asher early would be the best option if it presented itself. Dustin’s family is in Tennessee now so making sure they could attend the birth was important as well! As my due date grew closer and closer the option for being induced once I hit 39 weeks was introduced. After looking at the risks and options, Dustin and I decided that we wanted to move forward with the induction plan. I was scheduled to go into INOVA Fairfax Hospital on the evening of Sunday, March 25th to start prepping my body for my induction that would start at 7:30am on March 26th.

Dustin went to church that Sunday morning and I stayed home to finish our last minute packing and cleaning. Once he arrived home, we packed up the car and headed out to have our last date before we became “Mom” and “Dad” to our little guy! I had been told that I wasn’t going to be able to eat so Cheesecake Factory was the perfect place to eat my “Last Supper” (Yes Dad, you came up with that joke first.)

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After we finished eating it was time to head to the Hospital! At this point I was feeling all kinds of emotions. I was so excited to finally see the face of the baby I had been carrying for all those months but I was also nervous about what labor would be like and if I could handle it. Dustin was gracious enough to let us stop and take a few “final bump” photos before we went inside.

By 5:30pm we were in our room, changed into my really cute hospital gown, and ready to have one last peaceful night before things got started in the morning…or so we thought. When they hooked me up to the monitors they saw that I was having contractions. They weren’t strong enough for me to feel them but they were happening! As the night went on my Nurse came in every four hours to check on me and give me a dose of medicine that was being used to prep my body for the induction the next morning. With every dose, my contractions got stronger and stronger.

My Mom came by for a little while to check in on how things were going and to make sure that Dustin had the chance to eat dinner. While she was there, my contractions kept growing stronger and more consistent. I was still fairly comfortable so I would just walk the halls with my gigantic cup of ice (THEY HAD THE REALLY GOOD ROUND ICE!) and I would check the screens on every lap to see how all the other ladies were doing. This continued for a little while, I was even allowed to eat dinner! Around midnight Siera came by to say hi and to see how things were going. At that point, I was still pretty comfortable and ready to try and rest for the night, but after my next dose of medicine, the contractions became just strong enough that I knew I wouldn’t be sleeping until I was able to get my epidural.

As the night turned into early morning I was just trying to do what I could do deal with the pain and remain as relaxed as possible; bouncing on the yoga ball, sitting under warm water in the shower, trying to walk around a little bit. At this point, I was not progressing, these were just contractions that were building slowly and we were hoping that the next time I was checked that I would show signs of progression.

Around 6:45am I was bouncing on the yoga ball again and I felt a POP. I wasn’t sure if my water had broke or if the baby had just kicked me but my contractions picked up IMMEDIATELY. When my nurse came in, she couldn’t tell if my water had broken but she said that I was at 3cm. Since I had arrived at the Hospital at 2cm, I was happy to see progress but was hoping that it would have been a little more. As the contractions were getting worse and worse I was in more and more pain. My plan was to wait until I was at 6cm and then get my epidural and rest before it came time to push but I was soon going to find out that my epidural was not going to be an option.

My contractions had gotten to be almost unbearable. They came in clusters of three and I couldn’t lie down, I couldn’t walk, and they were not breaking so I was hardly able to catch my breath between them. Dustin was a rock with helping me stand and work my way through each cluster. My Mom would help me remember to breath and keep my mind focused on that instead of on the pain. I could not have handled this without them. By this point I had requested my epidural since it could take up to an hour to arrive and I was on fluids to prepare my body for that.

Around 7:45am I was having a contraction and all the sudden I grunted like I was pushing. I was just feeling my body and what it was doing but according to my Mom, the nurses looked up at each other and their entire faces changed. I remember them telling me that I couldn’t do that just yet because if my body wasn’t ready for the baby to come yet, I could really hurt the baby and myself. They insisted on checking me and I was slightly stubborn and told them that I wasn’t going to get checked until I could have my epidural. In my defense, it had felt like it had been awhile since I had requested my epidural and I had experience lying on my back to be checked during a contraction (not fun) and I wasn’t going to do that again if the epidural and relief from this pain was near.

My wonderful Doctor, Doctor Lauren Outlaw, came in and was informed by the nurses about what had been happening. With each start of a cluster, my contractions were growing stronger and stronger and the grunting/pushing was becoming uncontrollable and I had to fight my body to not push. Dr. Outlaw came over to me and calmly but firmly told me that I needed to lie down so she could check me. Trusting my Doctor, I slowly rolled into bed and dealt with the contractions while she checked me…and she said I was at 9.5cm. While I was lying down, the Anesthesiologist had arrived and was giving me the lowdown on the epidural. Once we realized that that I was so far along, the room quickly became calm but full of hustle. The nurses started preparing the baby’s area for the arrival. Dr. Outlaw came over to me and told me that I need to make a choice because this baby was not going to wait. I had to not push, sit up, and get my epidural even though it might not work in time or I needed to do this naturally and start pushing.

I kept asking where my Mom was because I was unsure of what I should do. The thought of doing this naturally was something I was not prepared mentally or emotionally for and that scared me. I hadn’t noticed but my Mom had gone into the hallway to make calls to family to tell them that things had very quickly changed and they needed to get to the hospital now. Trusting my gut and not giving into my fear, I made the decision to do it naturally and to start pushing. My Mom was only gone about 7 minutes but by the time she came back in I was dilated to 10cm and was pushing. Siera had gone home to rest, and after receiving the phone call from my Mom, was in the room while I was pushing as well. Dustin was by my side the whole time and was supporting me during this crazy time. Originally they were letting me push on my own with each contraction but when they realized that this was also going to be a short process, the nurses turned their full attention back to me and things went very quick. With less than an hour of pushing total I had Asher in my arms!

Asher Quinn Wesley Nichols was born on March 26th, 2018 at 9:05am. He weighed 7.9 pounds and was 20 inches long. Dustin and I did not have a name picked out before going into the hospital but a week before the induction I had this name pop into my head and a few days later I shared it with Dustin. He loved it so we kept in the back of our minds. We knew that we would know his name once we could see his face for the first time.

It was truly a crazy and whirlwind experience. I was so focused on the fact that I had my baby in my arms that I didn’t find out until afterwards that I had lost a lot of blood during labor. The Labor team was starting to get really concerned but thanks to my amazing Doctor, she was able to keep me from hemorrhaging and was able to keep me going.

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“Asher” means “happy and blessed,” as well as having a strong Biblical meaning. We both loved that it as well as it paid tribute to my youngest brother, Ashton, who was my “first” little baby. “’Quinn” means “wise” or “wise counsel” but Quinn is also the name of a wonderful little boy that I had the honor of watching before and during my pregnancy. He and his family became family to Dustin and I. He would always talk to my tummy and kept up to date on what size fruit Asher was. We loved the name Quinn and we loved the little boy and family behind it so it was a special for us to include that! Wesley comes from my Dad. He has been such a huge influence in my life and Dustin’s and in our marriage. He is a man of integrity and someone I hope Asher looks up to and learns from. Chase also has “Wesley” as a middle name so we loved the idea of carrying that along as well!

Dustin’s family had made it to the hospital as well as the rest of my family so once we had some skin to skin time and I had fed Asher for the first time, we started bringing them all in to meet him! It was so special for Dustin and I to introduce our newest family member to the ones we love.

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Thankfully our stay in the hospital was uneventful compared to the speedy birth and on Wednesday afternoon we were released to go home! Asher got to wear this adorable little outfit from Monica and Andy for the ride home and he even met his fur brother, Beau!

Since we have been home it has been a lot of adjusting and finding a new routine. Dustin has been super Dad and is taking on the diapers as much as he can since I have the responsibility of feeding Asher. Thankfully, he is a great sleeper and eater so he has made it really easy for us! Since this past Sunday was Asher’s first Easter, we got dressed up and went to church! My Dad got to show off his grandson to the church and it was so wonderful to have so many people we love be able to meet him!

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If you made it this far, you deserve a hand-clap or something but since this is the Internet and I can’t come through your computer/phone/iPad and clap for you, I will just share some photos of an adorable baby to thank you. Please keep all of us in your thoughts and prayers as we continue to figure out life as Mom and Dad and also while I continue to recover.

We love you and are so thankful for your support in this new adventure!

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