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.
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!