Hello to all of the wonderful, loyal followers of The Rehling Unit! In celebration of Joely Joel’s first year of life, we’re sharing his birth story in full detail with you all as little detail as possible! However, since Rebecca was on some serious drugs she asked me to fill in the gaps.
Alright, here we go…
If you’re just joining us, you should go read Rebecca’s previous post about the beginning of our hospital trip but to catch you up…Reb had made up her mind that she was NOT going back to work the next week and was determined that she would get Joel out. We spent that Saturday doing (*almost*) everything possible thing to induce labor. Reb went to bed that night disappointed, but I went to bed on alert. Sure enough, we woke up not even 30 minutes after falling asleep because Reb’s water partially broke. We didn’t know that was a thing but apparently it is (on a completely unrelated note, if you’re expecting, go save your doctor’s on call number in your phone right now). We had the most anticlimactic ride to the hospital ever. I didn’t get that high octane drive that you see in the movies…maybe next time. Anyway, the nurses checked Rebecca out and talked to the doctor and they decided to admit her to induce labor. And that’s where we left off!
I don’t think either of us fully believed that this was about to happen when the nurse left the room. We both kind of were letting it sink in and I remember Rebecca genuinely asking me “so this is happening, right?” The nurse came back pretty soon to get Reb started on Pitocin to start the contractions/labor. It was about three in the morning, and they gave Rebecca some pain meds (not the epidural yet) to ease the pain from the contractions so she could get some rest. Now, I on the other hand, was completely wired. I had originally asked my buddy Erik to help keep everyone updated so I didn’t have to worry about communicating to everyone at once, but now I had all of this time on my hands…so I started letting family and friends know what’s up.
If you know Reb at all or have seen our house (if you haven’t, click here!), then you know that she LOVES Christmas. So to help Rebecca take her mind off of the contractions, we listened to Christmas music the entire time she was in labor (over 15 hours straight). Well here I am, sitting in a chair next to her bed, listening to music, firing off texts, watching some Netflix when the adrenaline is starting to wear off. When all of a sudden, something magical started to happen. Rebecca started into a drug induced sleep talk marathon! So I resisted the urge to fall asleep because I wanted to take in this moment and write down all of the crazy things she said, so I could be able to tell anyone and everyone that would listen- including one day, the internet. This is the moment that I have been waiting for. I give you, the Top 8 Things Rebecca Said While High on Pain Killers:
- *sneaky tone* “We can’t take the shopping carts with us, okay… But ask and see if we can.”
- “Are we the only two people in the room? Because I feel like there’s a TON of people here”
- “Are you jumping up and down? Why are you jumping up and down?
- *breathes loudly* “Why am I making such a loud noise?” *breathes louder*
- *The First Noel starts playing* “This song is like Joel’s name…” *Reb proceeds to sing* “Jo-ellll Jo-elllllll”
- Reb: *starts violently smacking her arm against the bedrail*
Me: “You okay babe?”
Reb: “My arm is asleep…..”
- Reb: “Why are you wearing a doo-rag?”
Me: “I’m not, Babe…”
Reb: “Well it is NOT cute…”
- My personal favorite High-Reb quote:
*in regards to the pain med* “This s— WORKS!”
Now eventually the drugs started to wear off and Reb started to wake up and the pain was getting worse. Reb’s request to help her get through the contractions was for me to watch the monitor and let her know when she was almost done with that contraction. She could hold on as long as she knew when it was about to end. Sounds reasonable, right? The only problem was: I had no idea what I was looking at on the screen. Not sure if it was sleep deprivation, but I could not figure it out… Reb would keep (kindly) screaming at me to let her know how much longer each contraction was. This could only go well for me… Once I realized how the machine worked, I realized that it was NOT in my best interest to explain to Reb in the moment that the graph doesn’t tell you how much longer is left, it simply tells you how strong each contraction was… So, what did I do? I rolled with it, and just kept saying “Oh yeah, this one’s almost over, almost over, you’re so close” and then when the contraction would break I would say “good job.” That lasted for hours. There were some massive contractions where I told her that she was “almost there” about 10 times…. Oops… Sorry Reb…
The nurse said we could go ahead and get the epidural since Reb was in a lot of discomfort but had a long way to go. The anesthesiologist (FYI- I just spelled that right on the first try, no spell check, no big deal) came in to give Reb the epidural. He sat Rebecca up on the side of the bed, asked her to stay still and directed me to sit right in front of her for her to focus on. As he made conversation, I caught a glimpse of that massive, friggin’ needle and pretty sure I whispered, “Holy crap” (except I didn’t say crap) under my breath. Reb took it like a champ; I was amazed.
That’s when the doctor said, “Dad this is a great time for you to go get some food, and get some rest.” My buddy Davis had told me to let him know if I needed some food so I hit him up and without hesitation he said he was on his way. I told him I would meet him in the lobby so I got out of the room and went for a walk. Obviously, I beat Davis to the lobby so I thought to myself “Oh, I’ll just wait here on this couch here for Davis…” And naturally, since I hadn’t slept in about 36 hours, I did not last long….
I woke up in a panic. I had no clue where I was, but I did have a bag of Whataburger sitting next to me. I was so scared that I had slept for hours and missed everything. Reb was going to kill me. I thought “well Casey, it was a good run.” Turns out it had only been like 30 minutes. Anyway, thanks again for the tacos, Davis. You’re a gentleman and a scholar. And sorry that you got shooed away by the grandparents when you tried to visit Reb.
After several more hours of contractions, and lying to Reb about knowing exactly how much longer each contraction was going to last, the contractions were getting stronger and Reb still had time to go but she was at least moving along. Again, I realized that I needed some food because it was well past lunch and all I had was half a breakfast taquito. My worst nightmare was passing out in the delivery room because I hadn’t eaten anything. They gave Reb a pretty good dose so I figured it was a good time for me to sneak away. So, I texted both of our parents saying, “Hey could someone come sit in the room for a quick minute so I can grab a bite in the café?” BIG MISTAKE. At that point, ALL of the grandparents obviously came up to see their baby girl even if she was passed out. Well with my luck, the very second the door started to open, Rebecca started to wake up. The grandparents all poked their heads in together and Reb immediately goes “WHAT ARE YALL DOING HERE??” To which I said “This was a mistake. Someone just bring me food please. Thanks. Bye. Leave. Now.” Reb’s wonderful mother, on the other hand, known as Tita, says “No, my baby wants me here, I’ll stay.” So she strolled to the side of the bed, leaned over, and said “It’s okay baby, I’m here…” Reb opened her eyes, and again asked “What are you doing here??” Then Tita gently and lovingly laid her hand on Reb’s shoulder and Reb said “Stop, that hurts, and stop breathing on my face!” Let’s just say I felt honored that I was the only one that Reb wanted there.
Side note, all of our parents were so incredibly patient and supportive that day, and every day since. We are so fortunate to have them in our lives. We love you Grandma, Poppy, Papi (yes, we have a “White Poppy” and a “Latin Papi”) and Tita!
After all of those shenanigans, it was time to try pushing. Again, it was very anticlimactic (at that point) because I was expecting they would be wheeling a screaming Rebecca out through the hall to the delivery room. Nope- that was the delivery room. The doctor and nurse were still just wearing normal scrubs and were so calm. The doctor and nurse explained to me my job…which apparently is more than just holding her hand and encouraging her?? I had to hold her leg back and bend it into whatever position they needed, etc. I had no problem helping but I remember thinking “Uhhhh is this worked into the bill?” But seriously, side note, the doctor and nurse were PHENOMENAL. We sincerely hope that everyone loves their doctor and nurse as much as we did.
Rebecca went through two 30-45 minute pushing sessions with a nap in between each. At the end of the second session, Rebecca was still really feeling her contractions even through the epidural, and she still needed to dilate more. They basically nuked her with another epidural, and knocked her out so she could sleep, and then put a peanut shaped exercise ball between her legs to help move her along. And turns out, that seriously worked. Rebecca woke up and felt…to put it delicately…Nature’s Calling…so, she told the nurse that she needed to go, and then the nurse literally says “Alright, THIS IS IT.”
That’s when the doctor and nurse came in and they were on a freaking mission. They moved swiftly and efficiently. The doctor got her mask and glasses on. She would be pulling on her gloves while simultaneously letting the nurse help her put booties on. I was seriously amazed. Now this is what I was expecting. That part was totally like the movies.
After a still pretty long session of pushing, Reb was making lots of progress. And let’s just say we could begin to see all the things. And I’ll tell all of the men right now, it’s not gross. There is so much going on and you will have so many thoughts and emotions swirling around that being grossed out is not even an option. It’s truly beautiful, exhilarating, and incredible.
Joel had been in delivery for so long (he had a serious cone head) that his heartrate did start to drop just a tiny bit. The doctor seemed calm about it but to be safe they brought a NICU nurse down just in case. Obviously, I started to freak out a little bit, but it turned out to not be a big deal and his heart rate came back up as he got further along. They even told the nurse she could leave.
All of a sudden, I could tell that this ish was actually happening. Reb kept yelling at our doctor to just pull him out, but I guess it doesn’t work that way… Suddenly, his entire head came out and then one minute later, one shoulder emerged. Then the doctor pulled off one of the most skillful and athletic moves I had ever seen. In one smooth motion she grabbed Joel, pulled him out, and immediately flung Joel (in the most professional and safe way possible) onto Rebecca’s chest where the nurses immediately snapped into action cleaning him, checking vitals, clearing his lungs, etc. I can still hear Rebecca’s cries of joy. All she could say was “Come here, Baby Boy!” over and over. I could not stop hugging and kissing my new family, and could not stop telling Reb how proud I was of her.
At this point they began taking his measurements while I triple-counted his fingers and toes and tried to tell what color his eyes were (per Reb’s numerous demands requests). We both took turns holding our sweet little chicken nugget, and we ordered some dinner so we could eat by ourselves before going to see family (thanks again for being so patient). The food was actually pretty good but neither of us wanted to eat, let’s be honest. So, we took turns holding Joel while making the other eat.
Joel Francis Rehling came into the word at 5:40 in the evening on December 11, 2016. About an hour later, it was time to move to the recovery room. We gathered out stuff, opened the door and stepped out to show our new little family to our parents, our brothers, our sisters, our grandparents, and so many loved ones.
And one year later, we could not be more thankful for all that this past year has taught us. Our purpose, and our vocations have never been clearer. Joel has taught us to Be Brave, to enjoy the sweeter things in life, that laughter is contagious, and not to let a little bit of crap kill your vibe. We can’t believe that Joel is already one. We look back on this past year thankful to God for the blessing that this year has been, grateful for all of you walking along side us and supporting us, and eager to see what the next years hold.