The Birth Story of Rhett Kauffman


November 30, 2016.

I was 40 weeks + 3 days pregnant (or 40 + 5 according to my first due date).  I had an OB appointment at 10am and was feeling pretty frustrated about the lack of signs indicating labor was anywhere near.  A week earlier I had measured 2 centimeters and 50% effaced, which was absolutely no progress from the week I was quite surprised to learn I was 4 centimeters and 80% that morning.  My doctor stripped my membranes and suggested I would likely go into labor within 24 hours.  I wasn't so certain.  She had done the same thing with each of my other pregnancies (under very similar circumstances with Holden), which resulted in nothing.

She also scheduled an induction for two days later - Friday, December 2 at 5:30am.  She offered to induce me the very next day, but crazily, I turned her down.  Since she was so confident I'd go into labor naturally within 24 hours, I wanted to give my body the full 24 hours to do so.

I headed home--half hopeful, half pessimistic, anxious and nervous, yet somehow still very calm.  There were so many emotions floating through my head.  I really wanted to go into labor on my own, as I had really enjoyed that experience with Holden, but I was also incredibly nervous to know I was already 4cm and 80% effaced.  There was nothing I wanted more than an epidural before delivering this baby, and for the baby's health, I really needed the four hours of antibiotics, as well.  Mostly, I did not want to birth a baby on the side of the road.  My doctor's exact words, "When it happens, it's going to happen fast."  Of course, I already knew that.  My induced labor with Brantley was just over six hours long, while my labor with Holden was about four hours from start to finish.  I was beginning to think I should have accepted her offer to be induced the following day.  After all, it'd be easier to find care for our boys and surely that would give my body enough time for both the epidural and antibiotics.

In the end, it didn't make one bit of difference.

That afternoon, I tried to take a nap, but couldn't sleep.  Despite the chilly temperatures, I took Kinnick for a walk.  Craig offered to get the boys from daycare, so I made a chicken pot pie for dinner and we had a very standard evening with the boys.

Around 9pm on the 30th, I decided to go upstairs and take a shower.  I felt so completely normal, but wanted to stay showered in the instance that I went into labor.  I had texted two of our "on call" caregivers for Brantley and Holden (our daycare provider and one neighbor) just to warn them of my circumstances.  Oddly enough, Ms. Stephanie, our daycare lady, was doing a holiday mart type thing for her Norwex business at the school just a few blocks from our house.  She lives a good 20+ minutes from us so she texted to check in at 9pm as she was packing up to head home.  My exact response at 9:18pm, "Still feel very normal, but I took a shower just in case it happens overnight."

As I was drying my hair and then lying in bed after my shower, I had a few contractions that were very Braxton Hicks-like.  Tightening of my stomach and not at all painful.  This was not out of the ordinary and I chalked it up to the uncomfortable positions involved in drying my hair upside down and trying to get comfortable while browsing social media in bed.

At 9:38, I texted Craig downstairs, half joking but also very aware of the tightening in my stomach and said "Don't drink too much.  There's a chance you'll have to drive to hospital tonight."  He was having a glass of wine when I headed upstairs, and no, I didn't truly expect him to have more than a glass or two (it was a Wednesday), but I also wanted to give him fair warning.  At that point, despite the tightening, I still expected to fall asleep and wake up pregnant the following morning.

At 9:52, I texted him again.  "I think I might be having contractions.  You might want to come pack a bag.  I've had a few cramps that are semi-uncomfortable."  I expected him to text back something like "Are you serious?" but I'm pretty sure he was upstairs before his fingers could even type that phrase!

I still wasn't 100% sure.  But that uncertainty quickly (like in 10 minutes quickly) turned to call Stephanie and see if she can meet us at the hospital to get the boys - it's time!

I never timed the contractions, but they were coming quick enough that I didn't need to.  They were also growing more and more painful.  Amidst my pain, I packed a bag for the boys and threw the last-minute things into my hospital bag, while Craig made arrangements with Stephanie and carried two sleeping boys to the van.

I had quite a few more contractions en route to the hospital (about 10-15 minutes away) and they were becoming painful enough that I was kicking my feet and stretching out to try and manage the pain.  The boys, awake by now, were ultra confused as to what we were doing and Brantley even asked for cereal, as he just assumed it was morning and he was headed to daycare as normal.

Stephanie beat us to the hospital and Craig transferred the boys, while I headed inside to check in.  I was in extreme pain by that point and all I could think was "I need that epidural ASAP!"  I didn't say much more than "Thank you" to Stephanie and didn't even hug or kiss the boys good-bye.

It seemed to take forever to check in, even though I had pre-registered just weeks before.  The older lady took her sweet time and for some reason, couldn't find me in the system.  {Eye roll}  Then, we had to wait to be called back to triage.  It was probably only a few minutes, but felt like an eternity. 

Once in triage, the nurse hooked me up to a monitor to track my contractions.  She asked how far apart they were and I'm sure she was annoyed when I said I hadn't timed them.  (I didn't need to--I knew I was in labor, I knew this was the real deal, and I knew this baby was coming fast.)  She also checked me - 5 centimeters.  I tried to tell her how urgent this was, how fast my other labors were, and how badly I wanted the epidural...she just kept telling me to "calm down".  Let's just say she wasn't the most compassionate nurse around.  She also kept leaving the room for what seemed like long periods of time and I was begging Craig to do something.  My fear of not getting the epidural was growing more real by the minute, as was the pain of the contractions.

They finally admitted me and took me to a labor and delivery room (maybe around 11pm?).  I was most relieved to be done with the triage nurse (oh, hey, she stuck around for awhile), but still begging for an epidural.  Their first priority, of course, were the GBS antibiotics.  They also needed to wait for my labs to come back before an epidural was even possible.  Those next 30 minutes were awful.  I felt so much pressure (which I had never felt with either prior labor), in addition to the pain, and I kept telling Craig "I can't do this anymore."  I also told him to stop talking and stop touching me.  Ha!  Sorry about that, honey!  I had acid reflux just gurgling in my throat, and between that plus the God-awful pain, I threw up.  It was good 'ole triage nurse who held my hair.  The labor and delivery nurse checked me and at that point, I was a 6.

It wasn't but two minutes after I heard the glorious phrase "Your labs are done" when the anesthesiologist showed up.  I recognized her immediately as the same one who had administered my epidural with Holden and I wanted to jump out of bed and hug her.  That was definitely the first smile I had cracked since arriving to the hospital.  I had a few more horrible contractions while she prepped me, but as bad as they were, I kept telling myself the end was near.  I was just so thankful to be getting the epidural!!!  The epidural was in around 11:30pm.  Almost immediately, the pain lessened and about 15 minutes later, the pain was gone completely.

This would be an excellent time to comment on how much I love modern medicine.  Seriously, if you choose the all-natural route, more power to ya, but it is not my cup of tea, nor will it ever be.  Tylenol for a headache?  Yes, please!  Epidural during childbirth?  Hell to the yes.

About five minutes after the pain disappeared (11:50 or so, if you're keeping track), my water broke.  I felt a huge gush and sure enough, that's what it was.  That was a first for me, as it had been broken by a doctor with both Brantley and Holden.  At 11:55, she said she was going to check my progress and then suggested we may want to take a nap before go-time.  She was utterly surprised to find I was already 10 centimeters and ready to go.  I remember her saying, "You're lucky you got that epidural."  Amen.

Despite my body being ready, we had to wait for the delivery doctor, who happened to be my doctor because she was on call!  We were under the impression that she was still at home and needed to drive to the hospital (the nurse, too), but she was actually already there prepping for a c-section on another patient.  The nurse paged her just in time, and because she knew it would happen fast, she came to deliver my baby first.

At 12:11am on December 1, less than three hours after my first suspicion of labor, less than two hours after arriving to the hospital, and after pushing for about five minutes through two or three contractions, Rhett Kauffman was born.  Despite the days worth of waiting on his arrival, it happened all too quickly and I couldn't believe it when they pulled him out and held him up for me to see.  He was perfect.  He had a very bruised face from such a quick delivery, but still perfect.  Turns out, he just wanted to be a December baby.

It's worth mentioning that as I was pushing, I was still feeling that horrible acid reflux in my throat.  I thought I was going to throw up again due to the burning sensation, which grew worse with every push.  Craig gave me some sips of water, which helped.  Had Rhett not come when he did, I'm certain I would have lost my marbles again.

Craig cut the cord and my doctor delivered the placenta--all while I starred at Rhett and cuddled him skin-to-skin.  In true Craig fashion, he teared up over the outcome of a seemingly healthy baby, which made me do the same.

The moments following were very laid back.  With Brantley and Holden, I remember doing skin-to-skin for a short while before the nurses whisked them away for all the newborn stuff (weight, height, Apgar test, bath, etc.).  This time, I held Rhett for a good 30 minutes or so before any of those things were done.  Despite me not getting the full dose of antibiotics, he appeared to be healthy in every way.  The nurses explained that because his delivery was as quick as it was, he not only had a very bruised face, but he likely didn't have time to pick up any of the harmful Group B Strep bacteria.

I attempted breastfeeding a short while later and was thrilled when he latched immediately and sucked for about 40 minutes.  I've never been overly successful with breastfeeding, and although I'm definitely giving it another shot (third time's a charm?), I don't have any goals or expectations.  If it works, great, and if not, I know my formula-fed baby will be just fine.

We were awake that night until 3am.  Sometime during that span, the nurses offered to bring us a turkey sandwich. 😂  We both passed, but I did snack on some saltines.

With the exception of our parents, we didn't notify anyone of Rhett's arrival until the following morning.  In a sense, it was nice to keep it between the two of us for a good five or six hours.

We were discharged from the hospital on Saturday morning.  The hospital requires you to stay for two midnights post-delivery.  Since Rhett was born just minutes after midnight, both my doctor and our pediatrician gave us the option of going home on Friday.  To Craig's surprise, I turned down the offer.  When Holden was born, staying in the hospital for two days and being away from Brantley was the hardest part.  Now that I have two kids at home who require a lot of care and attention, being in the hospital was like a mini-vacation for me.  I needed just to worry about myself and Rhett; versus myself plus three kids at home.  So I opted to stay until Saturday morning.  This also gave me the option of sending Rhett to the nursery one final time on Friday night for a solid 2 or 3 hour stretch of sleep.  I don't regret it for one second.

My recovery has been great.  With the exception of the cramps afterwards, it has been my easiest of recoveries.  I had no negative side effects of the epidural and had full feeling again just hours after delivery.  Those post-birth uterus-shrinking cramps though - yikes!  One week later and I'm off the pain meds, but I took Naproxen religiously while in the hospital.

Another notable difference - I remember immediate relief when they pulled Holden from me.  I could breathe easier and had no further acid reflux or any of the annoying symptoms I experienced while pregnant.  This time, the acid reflux seemed to hang around for a day or two post-birth.

So there it is.  The not-so-short version of the super fast birth story of Rhett Kauffman.  As impatient as I was in the days leading up to Rhett's birth, especially those days beyond my due date, I couldn't be happier with how it all worked out.  I know God was in control of every little detail and I feel like His plan was perfect in every way.  We are so thankful for this healthy little boy - definitely our favorite Christmas gift to date.

(And now for the abundance of photos.  You didn't expect anything less, did you?)




  1. Wow! That was quick!! I am always amazing at how slow check in can be even if preregistered and I swear they lost our preregistration both times. Ugh! I had the same result with Emmy. I was Strep B positive, but she came so quick it wasn't an issue. Cheers friend! You did great and he's perfect!!

  2. Wow!!! I'm so glad you got that epidural and that you were there in time for it all since it went so quickly! Glad little man was ok too!

  3. Holy smokes, mama! So quick!! So glad that everyone is happy and healthy - he's a handsome boy for sure! And amen for epidurals, I got mine at ONE centimeter when I was induced with Gracyn. My nurse told me I "didn't need to be a hero" so I got that bad boy as soon as I could! Ha!

  4. Congratulations! He is one handsome little guy and so happy everyone is healthy! I feel the same way with epidurals... they make the birthing process enjoyable :)

  5. That was so fast!!! And I'm SO glad he's finally here. Congrats mama!

  6. Oh my goodness that was SO fast! I just love reading birth stories, thanks for sharing! And congratulations again mama!

  7. Oh my goodness that was SO fast! I just love reading birth stories, thanks for sharing! And congratulations again mama!

  8. LOVED reading this and so very happy for you! He's precious!

  9. Awwww love it :) He was TOTALLY meant to be a Dec baby!! I'm so glad it all worked out (even though it happened so fast) ok! And that you got that epidural...all about modern meds over here too ;) Totally agree on the hospital stay=mini vaca. I felt that way with Allison...sent her to the nursery the second night and didn't regret it one bit!! I also ordered as much food as they allowed me too! haha!

  10. Birth stories are some of my absolute favorite things to read. It is just amazing what our bodies can do! I'm so happy for your family Sarah! I can't wait to hear the story behind his name. I have a hunch, but I'm not sure!

  11. Oh Sarah, he's just so perfect! Thanks for sharing this - I love a good birth story. I love your photos - did you take them yourself. They are really good!

  12. I love that it all worked out the way it was supposed to. And I'm so jealous he came so fast! If I had fast labors I would totally have like 3 more ha! He's perfect!

  13. I'm so glad you got an epidural. After missing out on one with our middle man, that was the first thing on my mind when I got to the hospital with our 3rd! I barely got it in time!

  14. I'm so happy you typed this all out because as we were texting, I was wondering how you went from feeling fine, taking a shower, to having a baby. WOW. When your kids decide they're ready, they come quick!
    And I FULLY agree with you on the epidural. I am SUCH a wuss for pain and although Mason came super quickly too, that was too much for me and that epidural was worth every penny I paid for it. Oh and I'd like to note, I also threw up, but Seth got the pleasure of holding my hair on that one :) lol
    (Also, I totally laughed out loud, by myself, just now when you said Brantley was asking for cereal because he assumed it was morning. LOL)

  15. The outfit in the last photo is darling! So adorable. Congratulations, and I love the name choice.

  16. What a whirlwind!! I cannot believe how fast it happened! I literally laughed out loud when you said Brantley asked for cereal- ha ha! I'm so glad you got the epidural in time and I hear ya on the mini vaca, that's exactly how my 3rd time was too. Congrats again, he is perfect!!

  17. What a fast delivery! I'm sure you are so happy to finally be holding that sweet babe in your arms! I just can't get over how fast it happened! And yeah, I stayed at the hospital with my second one as long as they let me - it was a little mini vacation! I got to watch shows, nap, cuddle my babe, and not have to worry about anything! I was happy to be home after a while, but I sure enjoyed my stay! :) Glad you got to as well!

  18. Birth stories always make me tear up! This one is no exception.
    I can't believe how fast it all went once it was time! Holy buckets. Good thing you got to the hospital when you did!
    Congrats, again, to your beautiful family of five!!

  19. hes so perfect!! Epidural is def the way to go!! haha

  20. Oh man, I love birth stories! Rhett came so fast. He was ready to meet his sweet mama! I am so thankful for a healthy baby and delivery for you. He's absolutely perfect and I adore him already. Congratulations Sides Family and welcome to the world 3.0.

  21. Congrats to the Sides family of 5!! I loved reading his story. How exciting!! Enjoy your maternity leave!!

  22. He is absolutely precious! You are a labor and delivery queen! My fear would be a natural labor without an epidural too (though after hearing about Courtney's spinal headache, Im all stressed out now lol) CONGRATULATIONS!!

  23. I'm just now getting around to reading this - yay for the epidural! So glad you didn't end up without one! I know you were worried! I didn't mention in Maci's birth story, but about a half hour after she was born, the anesthesiologist popped in and asked if he was needed for an epidural. Um, YES! Haha, would've been nice. I survived though. Love Rhett's birth story! Those postpartum cramps are definitely insane - I was shocked at how bad they hurt. I don't remember them hurting as bad with Mila! Rhett is so, so cute. I hope you guys are all doing well!