Like a lot of mamas-to-be, I found myself reading birth stories on the blogs of some of my favorite authors, and on pregnancy/baby blogs, to get a better feel of what I might expect when D Day arrived.
If nothing else, by reading a variety of birth stories, you solidify your understanding that there is NO way to know what will happen, and that each birth is truly unique. I think it’s easy to do TOO much reading, or psych yourself out about all the possibilities. I read some, and then quit reading them as the time got closer, focusing on the best possible outcomes, and keeping a flexible, open mind (we didn’t have a birth plan) that it would go however it would go, when the time came.
All that said, I want to share my story because it was, in all, a very straightforward and happy story delivery – don’t get me wrong, still painful and had its crazy moments and surprises, but in all, about as “easy” as can be. I think it’s important to read stories like those, to remind you that it’s not always guaranteed drama and scariness and emergency c-sections. I appreciated reading stories more like mine happened to turn out, and focused on those, versus the scarier versions. To each their own of course, but that was how I kept myself mentally ready and positive going into this!
Sunday, January 4, 2015
We’d spent our morning lounging in bed with coffee and HGTV (like we need ANY more house project inspiration right now!). Page headed over to the house to work on our wardrobes a little before 2pm, and I pulled a bunch of clothes out of the dryer to fold. I was standing there in our living room just about to get started when suddenly…gush. I thought I had peed my pants! I hadn’t had any bladder issues the whole pregnancy, and I was instantly annoyed to think I most certainly had a couple weeks to get through yet, and now I was full-on wetting my pants without any notice? How would I go to work (or even walk across a room?!) if this were to be my life for the coming several days?
I changed my pants and went back to the laundry. Again…gush! Hmm, okay. Could this possibly be my water breaking? I wasn’t at ALL uncomfortable, or having contractions. So I called the nurse line (of course it was a Sunday and my doctor’s office was closed) and tried not to be annoyed with the nurse receptionist, who first asked me the reason for my call (um, I think my water broke but I’m not sure?), but then four questions later, asked me if I was pregnant. (Seriously?!) This exchange was one of the only negative experiences, but it was certainly not the way to start out for a first time mama unsure if she’s in labor ha!
I was told to go to Labor & Delivery downtown to be checked out and have the fluid tested. I called Page over at the house, who excitedly told the carpenter in the background, “Her water broke!”. I immediately hissed at him not to tell anyone, because I was still sure I just had an accident and didn’t want to sound the labor alarm only to admit later I didn’t know the difference between water breaking and peeing my pants!
We debated bringing our bags (and thankfully did) and drove to the hospital around 4pm. I mentioned to Page that my lower back was suddenly bothering me a little. We checked into a triage room and waited to have the fluid tested, while they hooked me up to a contraction monitor and heart rate monitor for baby. Boom. I was at four centimeters, it was indeed amniotic fluid, and the monitor was showing contractions — I just couldn’t yet feel them. We had a silly moment of “so…do we stay here or go home?”. I think the nurse tried not to laugh as she said, “Oh no, we’re getting a room ready for you right now. You’re having a baby today.”
As we waited for our room to be ready, the backache became more nagging and came and went, as I started feeling the contractions. It was manageable and we got settled into our room and texted the parents that it was game time…by sending a pic of my hospital bracelet, and this funny picture of Page:
From 7 to 9 or so I worked through the contractions on my own with Page’s support and our FANTASTIC nurse, who was there from start to finish. I was trying to get to five or more centimeters before asking for my epidural (not for any strong reason, just a personal goal). I was told it was a slow night on the floor so when I was ready, it likely wouldn’t take long for the anesthesiologist to show up.
By the time the contractions made me stop talking and close my eyes to get through them, I asked for the drugs. As it turned out, (full moon that night!), two emergency c-sections took place during my request, and then a second-time mom arrived nearly ready to deliver. (I know first-time moms don’t progress as quickly…but don’t tell us someone is jumping the line in front of us – ha!) At any rate, it was over two hours before Rockstar Nurse nearly bullied them into sending another on-call anesthesiologist and that we were done waiting. I remember her asking me to rate my pain on a scale of one to ten and I asked if ten was wanting to jump out the window, and if so, I was at an 8 or 9. I was holding onto the bed handle with a death grip to breathe through the waves of pain when the anesthesiologist walked in, still taking off her coat as she talked me through what would happen.
Page watched the whole thing but because my ligaments were especially tough, it took a few tries to get the epidural in just right, at one point putting it down a vein. Ouch. The whole time, I was hunched over and told not to move, even through the contractions. I’m still not sure if it was my anxiety or being hunched over for so long as they tried to get it right, but Crew’s heart rate dropped drastically and I remember the room suddenly having more people in it, as they rolled me onto my side and started putting more monitors on me. He recovered quickly and the scary moment passed, as my epidural started to take over. It was nearly midnight, I was at seven centimeters, and we were wiped. We were told I’d be checked in two hours and to try and rest. I think we both passed out within seconds.
Two hours later, our nurse came in to check us, and asking if I was feeling any pressure. Um, yes. She was preparing me that it could still take a bit, but after the check she laughed and said, “oh, you’re ready to push!”. It was at that moment that I freaked a little…everything to this point had been manageable, but something about this final stage made me super anxious. It was almost 4am, and Page grabbed a quick cup of coffee as the room was transitioned into a delivery room.
To my surprise, the next phase was very calm and quiet – just our nurse, me, and Page, doing the initial pushes to the timing of the contractions. To Page’s surprise, after we had discussed him staying near my head when delivery time came, he was asked by the nurse to grab a leg and that he had work to do! In retrospect, Page said it was terrifying in the moment, but now he wouldn’t have had it any other way.
I remember being SO hungry and tired at this point that I’d do a push, then close my eyes and nearly sleep between each one. After about an hour of pushing, our nurse called for the OB on call. She came in and asked me to do one practice push as she gloved up across the room. I had to laugh when her eyes went a little wide and she said, “Okay, never mind, stop pushing!”. She got into place and two pushes later, our world changed forever.
We are so lucky and blessed that all in all, it was a smooth delivery and everyone is happy and healthy. We still can’t believe this little peanut is ours to keep!