Things I Googled Before I Went Into Labor

If you didn’t catch my post about things I Googled while I was pregnant, read it here.

During the last few weeks of my pregnancy, my Google searches changed to that of a different nature when I started wondering about what labor would be like. Here are some of the things I Googled about going into labor and what I learned.

“WHAT DOES IT FEEL LIKE WHEN YOUR WATER BREAKS?”

When I was researching this topic, I found out that water breaking can actually feel different for different women. Some women reported feeling a giant gush of fluid, while others experienced a slow trickling of fluid. Some also claim to have heard an audible “POP” sound as their water broke. If you are worried (like I was) that your water may break while you’re in the shower or some other time when you won’t realize that it happened, believe me… you will know! One thing I found out from personal experience is that when your water breaks, it isn’t just one-and-done… even if you miss the initial “gush,” you will eventually realize something is not right because the fluid will keep coming! Read more about this topic and my personal experience in my other blog post here!

“WHAT DO CONTRACTIONS FEEL LIKE?”

Never having been pregnant before, I really didn’t know what to expect from contractions. Every time I felt even the slightest stomach cramp or pain, I would think “Was that a contraction??” From what I read on Google, many women claimed that contractions felt like severe menstrual cramps or like your entire uterus was just being squeezed (literally, contracted!) tightly and then released. They all said the same thing, though: you will just know when you go into labor. From my own experience, my water broke before I actually started contractions, but when I did start to feel them, it was very light at first and almost went unnoticed. It did, though, feel like my uterus was being squeezed, held for a few seconds, and then slowly released. Indeed, once I felt that first contraction, I for sure knew what I was feeling!

“HOW TO INDUCE LABOR NATURALLY”

There are lists upon lists upon lists of suggestions for ways to try to stimulate labor. From walking, walking, walking to eating spicy foods and pineapple to sitting on an exercise ball to being intimate with your significant other and even nipple stimulation. If you are big pregnant and close to or past your due date and ready for the baby to arrive, knock yourself out and give some of these a go. But when it all comes down to it, none of these suggestions have actually been proven to work. Some women have done every single thing on every single list and still gone 2 weeks past her due date and had to be induced. Or other women didn’t do any of them and delivered 3 weeks early. The baby will arrive when he or she is ready. Unfortunately, babies like to work on their own schedules and not always around what is convenient or comfortable for the mommas involved.

“WHAT ARE THE SIGNS BEFORE YOU GO INTO LABOR?”

When I got close to my due date, I thought maybe I would be able to tell a day or so earlier when I was about to go into labor. I read through numerous accounts from women on Google about what they had experienced the days leading up to their deliveries, but unfortunately it seems like there is no common ground and it’s different for everyone. Some women reported extreme feelings of nesting the day before and others reported feeling just the same as always. I guess the best way to put it is to say there aren’t really any “early symptoms” for labor. I can tell you about my own experience, though. The day before I went into labor, I had my 40 week OB appointment (I was actually 39 weeks 6 days), and my blood pressure was really elevated. I had to go over to the hospital for monitoring for about an hour, but it ended up coming back down and remained normal after that. My grandma later said something about how that could have been a sign that the baby had dropped further into the birthing canal, but I’m not sure I’ve heard that anywhere else. For the remainder of the day, I just felt kind of more tired than usual and didn’t have much energy (not that most 9-month-pregnant women do). My water broke at 5 am the next morning! So, whether or not those were actually signs that I was about to go into labor… who knows?! What about any of you ladies reading this? Did you notice anything different or off the day(s) before you went into labor? I’m curious to know!

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Why Childbirth Wasn’t the Nightmare I Expected

Ever since I was a kid, I always knew I eventually wanted to be a mom. But I wasn’t around a lot of babies growing up, so I didn’t have a whole lot of experience with them. Because of that, I really wasn’t crazy about babies. I didn’t coo and gush over the presence of a baby, and I most definitely didn’t understand the magnitude of what it took for the mother to bring that baby into the world. Still, I knew I would want to have my own family one day… even if I didn’t dwell on the specifics of what I would have to go through to make that happen.

Once I became pregnant, though, the approaching childbirth became one of my worst nightmares.

I thoroughly enjoyed being pregnant and had a pretty simple and easy pregnancy. However, even through all of the excitement about becoming parents, anticipating what our little girl would look like, and wishing she were in our arms already, the climactic moment that would finally deliver her into the world became a constant source of worry and dread for me. Instead of the image of a “light at the end of the tunnel,” I felt it was more of a “dark hole” I was traveling toward. Yes, by the time I was around 36 weeks pregnant, I was growing more and more uncomfortable and was just ready to meet my daughter, but I was still so nervous about the labor and delivery that would have to take place.

My husband and I went to a birthing class at the hospital, which I thought would help ease my mind about the whole process, but it ended up doing completely the opposite. I think most of it could be attributed to just being in the hospital and touring the obstetrics wing, seeing all of the rooms and equipment. It made it all so much more real, and the inevitable became even more daunting.

Some people asked me if I had a birth plan, and I would reply, “The plan is just to get the baby out.” I knew all of the options I had for delivery, and not a one of them sounded pleasant. First of all, needing a cesarean was pretty much my most absolute worst fear about birth. I understand that many women have them with no complications and all that, but I’d never even been in the hospital before and was already dreading my hospital stay… I couldn’t even fathom having my first surgery on top of that. That left me with two options: unmedicated vaginal birth or medicated vaginal birth. Now, I’m not scared of needles/shots, but the thought of getting an epidural just made me cringe. I also wasn’t thrilled about the idea of my legs and feet being numb or having to get a catheter. No, no, no… none of it sounded appealing to me. I’m the kind of person that doesn’t even take an Advil unless I’m in severe pain, so I was leaning more towards trying an unmedicated birth… but that’s just as frightening in itself. I couldn’t even begin to imagine what it would feel like. I was fully aware, too, that there was always the possibility that I wouldn’t be able to make my own choice about delivery anyway in case of emergency or some other reason.

After these months filled with dread and agonizing over what could happen, it turns out that childbirth wasn’t really that bad. I mean, don’t get me wrong, it was awful while it was happening (for me), but it was such an experience like I’ve never had before.

When I think back on the day I went into labor, the one word that comes to mind is “exciting.” From the minute I woke up and discovered that my water had broken, I instantly became excited. I was still very nervous throughout the entire day, but it was finally happening!–the day we’d been preparing and waiting for. It was exciting to call my husband at work and tell him that we needed to get to the hospital; it was exciting to enter the hospital and get checked in to the room where we would meet our daughter; it was exciting to let all of our family and friends know that the BIG day had arrived!

After months of being pampered as a pregnant lady, birth brings along a swift change in dynamics when the baby will suddenly become the center of attention. Which is fine, of course, and fully expected. But it’s kind of nice during those last few–or many–hours you are in labor and before the baby arrives for all of the nurses and everyone around you to be at your every beck and call to make sure you are as happy and comfortable as possible.

When I was in labor with my baby, I ended up getting an epidural, but it wasn’t as bad as I had been anticipating. It wasn’t super fun or anything, but I survived… and I’m not so sure I would have if I hadn’t gotten it! Having numb legs actually provided me with some comic relief as the nurses and my husband had to help me heave them from side to side and on top of the peanut ball while we were trying to ease the baby into optimal position. It was pretty hilarious.

Even after all the pain and hours of hard work and exhaustion, once the baby was finally delivered, I couldn’t help but feel such overwhelming relief and a feeling of accomplishment. The worst was over, I survived, and I did something pretty freaking amazing… I delivered a tiny human from my body. Even for moms who had to get a c-section, you are still a boss for undergoing surgery while fully conscious and then recovering from that surgery while also caring for a newborn. I can’t even imagine. However your baby entered this world, you made it and grew it and helped deliver it. That’s definitely something to be proud of. And once I laid eyes on my beautiful little girl, I couldn’t feel anything BUT proud. She was even more perfect than I ever could have pictured her to be.

So, even though it was definitely the hardest and most exhausting day of my life, the day I delivered my baby was also probably the most memorable and exciting day of my life thus far. It was difficult, but not as bad as I had expected. The entire day was just filled with the anticipation of meeting our little girl, and once the hard part was over, I could celebrate the arrival of my daughter and also feel so proud at what I had just accomplished. Even still today, I sometimes just gaze at my baby in amazement that I created her and brought her into this world. It was an experience unlike any other and one I will think back on and smile. It wasn’t such a nightmare after all because in the end, I finally got to meet my beautiful baby which was a dream come true.

Battle with the Baby Blues

Almost everyone has heard of postpartum depression (PPD). All of the pregnancy and childbirth books or classes advise you of the signs to look for so you can get help and get treated if you think you are experiencing symptoms of PPD. There is usually also a brief mention of the “baby blues” stage which is more common for postpartum women to experience. While a small percentage of women will suffer from PPD, nearly all women who recently delivered will have a spell with the baby blues, usually lasting anywhere from a couple of days to a couple of weeks. As I was preparing for my own childbirth, I couldn’t quite imagine what going through the baby blues would feel like, and I didn’t know what to expect. Now that I’m a childbirth veteran, here’s what my own battle with the baby blues was like…

Personally, I didn’t have too many noticeable times where I felt emotionally distraught. I usually only felt depressed when I was away from my baby.

The day we brought my daughter home from the hospital, I went to lie down and take a nap while my husband and mother-in-law looked after her. As soon as I got into bed, though, I immediately started sobbing as I placed my hand over my now flat (yet kind of flabby) belly my baby had previously occupied for 40 weeks. I couldn’t help but feel like part of me was missing, even though that part of me was just in the next room, swaddled in a pink blanket.

That feeling of having a part of me missing is what had me most depressed multiple times over the next few days as it kept occurring to me that I would no longer feel little kicks and jabs on the inside from my growing baby.

The first day I left the house and the baby stayed behind, I felt lonely. I was so used to having her company (even though it was from within) everywhere I went. I used to imagine her listening to me singing along with the radio in the car, getting to know my voice and developing a love for music. But once she was born, I would find myself singing along, only to stop and grow sad when I realized she was no longer there to be my audience.

I worried that I couldn’t keep her as safe and happy as I could when she was living in the womb. I didn’t want her to ever be cold or hungry or scared. I was afraid I couldn’t protect her as well as I could before she entered this crazy world.

These are things I still worry about at times, but it only took a few days for me to get out of the baby blues funk. My baby girl is still my little companion as we run errands to the grocery store or post office (even if she’s not quite as easily portable as she was in the womb), and she still has to put up with me singing along in the car. Also, I now look forward to the (very rare) moments I have just to myself.

For other women, the baby blues stage may last a little longer. Our hormones are so out of whack after delivering a baby, and on top of that, most of us suffer from extreme exhaustion and lack of sleep which can add to the distress. If you are suffering from severe depression, though, or it doesn’t seem to be going away, do not hesitate to contact your doctor for help. While the baby blues tend to take a hike before too long, postpartum depression is not something you should try to handle on your own–especially when you’ve got a newborn baby to care for as well!

So, for you women reading this, what did the baby blues feel like for you? Did any of you suffer from postpartum depression?

Why I Didn’t Cry When My Baby Was Born

Ask any one of my close friends or family members and they will all tell you that I am, in fact, a cold and heartless individual.

Ha, not really. But admittedly, I’m not one to readily wear my heart on my sleeve.

Pregnancy screwed all of that up for me.

My best friend couldn’t believe when I told her that the big ball of hormones I became during those 9 months had me crying at movies and even commercials! I’ve always been the one to make fun of people who cried at sad movies. “You have no heart!” My mom would tell me when I didn’t even shed a tear while watching a certain movie that made her weepy.

Yet, once I was pregnant, the flood gates opened. I made the mistake of watching “A Walk to Remember” early in my first trimester. And then the hubby took me to see “The Choice” for Valentine’s Day. Darn you, Nicholas Sparks!!! NOT pregnancy friendly movies. I made sure to steer clear of “The Notebook” while I was gestating. But heck, I even cried at the end of “Pitch Perfect” when Benji finally got his big solo! What!

There was a PSA video that was circulating my Facebook newsfeed for a while about an old man who died and became an organ donor and left his dog behind. Oh goodness, I couldn’t even think about that ad without sobbing uncontrollably. I tried to tell Drew about it one day and only got out “I watched a sad video about an old man and his dog” when I lost it. I couldn’t stop blubbering to even form words until about an hour after the fact.

In the weeks leading up to the birth of my daughter, I spent many hours watching birthing videos online. It never failed; every time the baby was born, they put it on the mother’s chest, and she finally got to meet and hold her baby for the first time, I would get all emotional and teary-eyed. I couldn’t help but imagine what that magical moment would feel like for me… finally getting to see and touch the little being that had been growing and squirming around in my belly and kicking me from the inside for the past several months. It had to be the best moment of any day EVER!

I was sure that I would be a soggy, snotty mess when it was my turn. I told Drew multiple times before the big day, “I just know I’m going to cry when she’s born! I’m definitely going to cry!”

But, I didn’t.

I didn’t even feel CLOSE to crying when she was born. And here’s why:

By the time my daughter was born, I’d already been in labor for 19 hours. I’d had PLENTY of time to think, “This is it! I’m going to meet my baby!” and imagine what that first sight of her would be like. Not to mention all of the months I’d spent previously picturing the moment as well. I was READY. I’d already imagined every way it could go and by the time I was pushing, I was just focused on ending that extremely long day of labor and pain.

Also, I’d been pushing for TWO AND A HALF HOURS. So, when the moment finally came, I didn’t really have time to process the magical-ness of it all. The main thing I felt when I held my baby for the first time was relief. Overwhelming relief. I was no longer in pain. I no longer had to push. She was here. She was safe. She was healthy. I didn’t have to worry about what labor and delivery was like anymore… I’d already been there, done that by the point the baby finally arrived and all I could feel was RELIEVED.

Don’t get me wrong, I was so happy to meet her and just amazed at the process of it all and how perfect she was (is). But it was different to experience it first-hand than it was to focus on what an incredible and perfect moment it was like I could when watching birthing videos from other moms.

The next day is a different story, however, when I turned into a ridiculous mess while trying to read Briella a story called “I Love You Animally.” Why? Because it was just too darn sweet! Gotta love those hormones!

Briella’s Birth Story (part two)

If you haven’t read part one of my birth story, read it here.

When we last left off, I had already been in labor close to 12 hours, had just gotten my epidural, and was trying to get some rest. Yeah… that didn’t happen.

My doctor came back in a little before 7 pm and said I was almost fully dilated, but the baby’s head was turned slightly to the side. He tried turning her a couple times, but she kept moving back. He recommended trying out this weird peanut shaped ball that was supposed to help move her into the right position. It basically looked like a giant exercise ball that was shaped… like a peanut. So, I had to lie on one side with the ball between my legs for an hour and then move to my other side for another hour. It was pretty hilarious and entertaining for the nurses to try to lift my dead legs up onto that ball.

They also went ahead and turned down the Pitocin, so I got to just relax with my peanut ball and watch the Food Network. The nurses thought it was so funny that I was watching the Food Network while I was in labor.

Once the doctor came back in around 9 pm, he recommended that I try to start pushing. Several hospital staff members came rolling in a bunch of scary looking carts and things that made it all seem so much more real. This is happening. I’m going to have a baby.

My doctor put on all of his… layers of whatever they have to wear… the jacket and little booties over his shoes. I started freaking out and got the “mama shakes” again. When I got my next contraction, he told me to try to push. Well, I tried. Apparently I wasn’t doing it right, though. He had me try a couple more times. He said maybe we needed to give it another hour on the peanut ball and explained that I wasn’t really pushing in the right place? How was I supposed to tell???

Let me just take a minute to give a shout out to my doctor–I am so thankful to have him as my doctor because he stayed at the hospital waiting for me to give birth even though he didn’t have to. He was heading out of town the next day with his family, but he still stayed and was taking naps somewhere in the hospital between coming to check on me. He was the only doctor I’d ever seen for my prenatal appointments, so one thing I was worried about before I went into labor was the possibility of having to see another doctor I’d never met before. I will forever appreciate his patience and dedication!

Anyway, after lying with the peanut ball a little longer, my doctor sent in my nurse (by this time, there had been a shift change and I’d gotten a new nurse) and another nurse to help teach me how to push. They also started to turn down my epidural (Nooooo!) so I could feel where I was pushing. Even once the epidural was down, I still couldn’t feel anything in my nether regions… I could only feel the contractions worse. Also, I guess my contractions had slowed way down, so they began turning the Pitocin back up. So, essentially, I was just in pain from the contractions and still not pushing correctly. But, they tried about 3 different positions for pushing and decided the only one that was making any progress was when the other nurse took an extra sheet, tied a knot on each end and basically played tug-of-war with me. She would pull one end while I pulled myself up on the other end and pushed at the same time. What an arm workout!

Also, let me just say: pushing freaking sucks. I felt like I was going to throw up the entire time I was pushing. It was awful.

Sooo… TWO WHOLE HOURS go by of this horrible game of tug-of-war and the nurses finally think I’ve made enough progress to page the doctor. So, in comes my doctor all sleepy eyed and ready to finally deliver this baby, and once again, I started shaking uncontrollably–Nervous Nelly in room 4320! It’s close to midnight and I really want to get this baby out so she’s born on the 10th because she has a cousin who already has a birthday on the 11th. Baby had other plans, though.

I pushed a little bit longer, and the clock passed midnight. The doctor said the baby’s head was stuck behind my pelvic bone. I grew worried because I thought he was getting discouraged and was going to recommend a c-section, which I really, really did not want. Let me tell you, if I was scared of getting an epidural, I was super terrified of needing a c-section (I’ve never had any surgeries before and this was actually even my first time ever in a hospital!). However, he just recommended using the vacuum extractor to help get her out. “Okay, fine, whatever.” I agreed, just thankful that I didn’t need a cesarean. Once he got the vacuum in place, I pushed with all of my strength and before I knew it, the baby was out. I still remember that giant feeling of relief just wash over me. I’m pretty sure I even shouted, “Oh, Thank God!!” Briella had arrived.

She started crying. She was loud. She was adorable. She was mine.

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Briella Lucille
03.11.16 12:28 am
7 lb 15 oz / 22.5 in

I can remember when they put her on my chest, and I just kept staring at her saying, “She’s so cute!” She was even more perfect than I ever could have imagined. It was such an odd feeling… meeting this tiny human whom I’d gotten to know over the past 40 weeks but was still a stranger. It was so incredible to finally see the little face and little hands and little feet we’d been trying to picture for months.

They took her to weigh her and measure her, and my doctor was still going to work down below. Apparently I’d gotten third-degree tearing in like 3 different directions. Awesome. I was truly thankful for my epidural at that point. Even though I’d started feeling the contractions again once they turned it down, I still didn’t feel any of the tearing or stitches. What a relief. I do remember reaching down and touching my now vacant belly and saying, “Whoaaa, that feels *so* weird!”

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Our girl, only minutes old, meeting her family members for the first time.

Once all the king’s horses and all the king’s men put me back together again and everything was cleaned up, my nurse brought the baby over to me and said she was acting hungry, so I got to nurse her for the first time. Also, all of our family had stuck around until she was born. I guess they were having a little pow-wow in the hallway right outside my door, listening to everything that was going on inside. So, they came in to say good night and good-bye.

At like 4 am, the nurses came in and said they needed to move us to a different room. I guess there were a ton of other women in labor that night and they needed my delivery bed, so unfortunately we got moved to a much, much smaller room for the rest of our stay. Oh well.

When we were in our new room, Drew finally got to get some sleep. He was going on 30 hours of not sleeping and I was coming up on 24. I managed to get a little bit when they took Briella to get her bath.

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Fresh and clean after her first bath!

Once the epidural had worn off completely, I was pretty friggin’ sore. Every part of me hurt, I was exhausted, and now I was expected to care for this tiny newborn. What an experience. My doctor came in to check on me around noon (still looking pretty tired himself). He admitted that he had been worried that the only way we were going to get the baby out was to do a c-section, and again I am so thankful that he did not give up on me and it didn’t come to that! What a great doctor.

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Dr. Prouty with Briella.

When it’s all said and done, nothing really went as I had planned or imagined. When I was taking our childbirth class or reading birthing books, I would hear about perineal tearing or using the vacuum extractor and think “Oh, that’s not going to happen to me.” I’d had such an easy pregnancy, I was also under the impression that I would have a quick and easy labor and delivery as well… not 19 hours! But it just goes to show that you cannot plan or even predict how things are going to go with any childbirth. You can do all the preparations your heart desires, but the biggest preparation you can make is just to tell yourself to go with the flow. Even though I didn’t have the easiest labor or delivery, I wouldn’t have changed any of it. This story is unique to us, and it gave me my perfect daughter in the end. That’s the only thing that really matters after all.

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Me with my beautiful baby girl!

Briella’s Birth Story (part one)

Because there are so many parenting blogs in this world, I was hesitant to start my own. BUT–I remember when I was pregnant, I couldn’t read enough different birth stories from other mommies, trying to get an idea of what to expect in the delivery room, so I figured I would add my own to the mix. Everyone’s experience is unique, and it never hurts to hear about all of the various ways childbirth can go.

This is for the mommies-to-be who are just curious about what COULD happen during the births of their own children. This is for me, so I can always remember every little detail about that crazy whirlwind of a day. This is for my daughter, so she may understand how incredible and magical this experience was for us.

This is the story of how my baby girl arrived in this world.

We welcomed her on March 11th of this year, just past midnight. However, the entire process started at about 5 am the morning before. It was one of the longest, most difficult, most exciting, and most rewarding days of my life.

I woke up around 5:00 in the morning on the 10th–my actual due date that had been set from my very first Ob/Gyn appointment!–feeling a little strange. I soon discovered that my water had broken! (This is a story all in itself… read about it here!)

I started to panic a little bit and tried to remember what they had told us at the doctor’s office and in our birthing class. Was I supposed to go to the hospital right away? Or could I wait a little while? I called my husband Drew who works night shift and had left for work at 10 pm the night before. He only had about an hour left of his shift, but once I let him know what was going on, he was on his way home. He has about a 35-minute commute, so I spent that time taking a shower and getting myself ready for what was ahead. Once Drew got home, he took a brief shower himself, ate a quick breakfast, and we were off to the hospital.

Although I was about 99.9% sure my water had broken, there was still a part of me that remembered the nurse who taught our childbirth class talking about women who came in thinking their water had broken, but really they had just peed themselves. Still, Drew called his mom and told her we were headed to the hospital, and I texted my parents to let them know. I tried to tell them not to get too excited yet until we found out what was going on, but they were on their way soon after they got my message. Both of our families live about 2 – 2.5 hours away from us, so they didn’t want to waste any time.

Once we got registered and checked-in at the hospital, we headed to the labor and delivery floor where I got sent to triage to be evaluated. Here, I was able to change into my labor uniform complete with hospital gown and lovely mesh underwear. The nurse checked to make sure my “bag of waters had ruptured” (to put it in technical terms)–it had. Then, she asked a zillion and one questions about my medical history and my family’s medical history and even a question about if my baby came out male, would I want him circumcised? Which I didn’t even answer because I hadn’t even considered the fact that there was a chance my baby could still be a boy… we’d been told she was a girl since I was 14 weeks pregnant! I couldn’t imagine her being anything BUT a girl!

Side note: the nurse also had a male nursing student with her who kept staring at my socks (they had octopuses… octopi?… on them). He also nearly flipped when he found out that I was in labor on my actual due date. “That never happens! The whole time I’ve been here, they’ve either come early or late!”

Anyway, the nurse checked and said I was about 3 cm dilated, which is about what I was at my 40 week OB appointment the day before. She called my doctor to see what he wanted them to do, and he suggested starting me on Pitocin because I hadn’t progressed much since my water had broken that morning (it was about 8:30 am at this point). I wasn’t feeling any contractions until right before they admitted me to a room, and I started to feel small ones that really weren’t too bad.

I finally had my own labor/delivery/recovery room. It was huge and actually pretty nice. Before the nurse came in to get started on my IV, I spent the time walking around as much as possible because I didn’t know how much I could do once the IV was in. I was a little disappointed about having to get the Pitocin. I didn’t have a “birth plan” going in… my plan was just to get the baby out! However, in my heart, I had really wanted to try to do a “natural” birth. I wasn’t completely opposed to an epidural and the like; I just didn’t know what to expect, so I wanted to kind of see how things went first. Also, I had wanted to move around as much as possible during labor, and I knew I wouldn’t be able to do that with an IV and/or epidural.

 

Once my mom got to the hospital, she started playing paparazzi and taking tons of pictures of me. She was impressed that she couldn’t even tell when I was having a contraction… but they hadn’t gotten too bad, yet!

Also during this time, the same male nursing student and another nursing student came in with like twenty cups of ice and water for some reason, and the male student started freaking out again as he told his fellow classmate about how I was in labor on my due date.

Before the nurse started the Pitocin, I could feel my contractions more, but they still weren’t too bad. She kept asking me if I could feel them, and I’d say, “A little…” but I guess they thought I should be in misery, so she kept jacking up the dosage of Pitocin about every half an hour once it was started. She did tell me I could get out of bed and sit in the rocking chair in the room if I wanted to, which I did because I knew I’d be in that bed long enough later on.

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Sitting in the rocker, wishing I could walk around!

By this point, my parents had arrived and Drew’s mom, 2 of his sisters, and one of his nieces also came. Drew had tried to get some sleep before everyone got there, but only got maybe 10 minutes. It was probably around 1 or 2 pm, and my contractions were starting to get a little more painful. In the weeks prior, I had loaded my phone with “relaxing” music and tried to listen to some of it to help me through the pain, but I couldn’t really focus with so many people in the room staring at me. I didn’t like having an audience through all of this, so I had Drew send everyone out to the waiting room.

My nurse kept saying the doctor was coming to check on me soon, but I guess he was running late. I was trying to wait until he got there to see how far along I was before I made any decisions about an epidural. As I was waiting, the contractions got really, really strong, and I was feeling a lot of pressure and pain in my back, which is what made them worse. They made me feel hot and sick, so I asked Drew to get me a cold, wet washcloth to put on my forehead. Poor Drew, he’s really a trooper… he kept running back and forth to the bathroom between contractions to get my washcloth cold for me again. Also, my mom came sneaking back into the room to check on me and decided she needed to stay to help me out. Whenever I got a contraction, she was fanning me with a magazine, Drew was giving me my washcloth, and eventually he started running his hands under cold water to get them really cool for me and then he would rub my back during the contractions… It felt pretty nice… I guess as nice as it could feel…

When my doctor still hadn’t shown up yet, the nurse went ahead and checked my progress around 3 pm and said I was about 4-5 cm. “Yeah, I’m gonna need that epidural,” I told her, just thinking about how much longer I had to go. She told me it would take about an hour until I could get the epidural because I had to get another half a bag of IV fluids and give the anesthesiologist time to get to my room. Sooo… I suffered through the contractions for another hour. She did come back at one point and offer me some pain relief through the IV to hold me over until I got the epidural. I don’t even know what it was, but I was like, “Yes! Yes! Give it to me!” It was awesome. It didn’t last very long… maybe about 10 minutes… but those were 10 awesome minutes where I didn’t have a care in the world. I felt a little woozy and loopy… and Drew said I made a joke about something, which I don’t even remember, but I was feeling good.

Finally, my hero, the anesthesiologist, showed up. I’ll admit that I was verrry nervous about getting the epidural. First of all… a needle through my spine?! HELLO???! Also, I was nervous about my legs being numb. So, when he showed up, I was relieved but also scared, and I immediately began shaking violently (my nurse called it the “mama shakes”). Drew and my mom had to leave the room while I got the epidural, so my nurse stood in front of me and I hugged onto her like we’d been best friends for life. I don’t really remember the pain of the epidural… I remember there being a bunch of super strange sensations and feelings, but the sucky part for me was having like 2-3 contractions while the anesthesiologist was setting up and he kept having to wait until they were over to get started. Anyway, once the deed was done, I instantly started feeling some relief.

This is when my doctor finally showed up. He checked my progress and said I was at 8 cm. I went from 4-5 to 8 in an hour??? Anyway, even though I didn’t make it through labor without getting an epidural, I was pretty proud that I made it to 8 cm without one. They were estimating the baby to arrive in about 3-4 hours after that. Since I was finally feeling relaxed, everyone left the room so that Drew and I could try to get some sleep before the real party began…

 

Read part two here!