*Warning, many birth TMI details and such…. Nothing horrible, but still.
In Mid-November, I went to the doctors for my 38-week appointment. Due date was coming up in a couple weeks, but a baby is considered “full-term” (37 weeks, baby after this point is considered fully developed so can be born without complications). When I got there, I did the normal blood pressure, weighing me, and peeing in a cup, then got into my actual doctor’s appointment. He asked me what I thought about getting induced. I hadn’t really thought about it because I thought I was going to give birth at any time already since I felt like my pelvis has been ripping into two for the last two months.
It took me a minute to respond, because I know I was wanting to have a natural birth if I could (without an epidural) and I had heard that getting induced, the Pitocin makes the contractions more painful – so it would make it even harder for me to obtain that goal of a natural birth. Also, I knew that Husband had to stay at school for another semester to finish up classes, and since we could not find any affordable housing together, we chose for me to return home to Washington State while he stayed here all the way in Idaho to finish up school. This is going to be tough on both of us, and he really wants to spend time with the baby as much as possible before that happened.
Since the demand for inductions is high, I set an appointment for one, that could be canceled at my next doctor’s appointment if I chose to do so.
I went home and asked husband what he thought, and what all was going through my head. We chose to stick with the induction date, so we could spend as much time as possible together as a family before being separated for a couple months… but we hoped that she would come naturally before then, but if not… oh well.
I waited a week, went to my doctor’s appointment, and told him the induction was a go (because she is stubborn and decided not to come out yet like we were hoping – even though I was doing TONS of squats, walking, had my doctor strip my membranes, and basically everything else to possibly induce labor on my own). He gave us a paper with the hospital number to call at 5:30 am to see when we should come in on that day.
Then came the waiting game. I set my alarm for 5:30 the next morning, and once I woke up, I gave the hospital a call. They said to get some more rest and to call back at 9:30 -_- At 9:30 I called back and then they said they would call back at 12. Around 1 pm when they hadn’t called yet, I decided to call, and they told me that things were set for me to come in at 2:30 unless they called and told me otherwise.
Around 2 pm, my Mom, Husband and I decided to head out and grab some quick food on the way to the hospital, and my “last supper” (because we had no idea how long my delivery would last) – and I got a Wendy’s chocolate Frosty and some fries … so healthy 😀
We got to the hospital around 2:20, and my mom and I could tell that husband was nervous as heck. He was forgetful, and he looked constantly like a deer in the headlights. We even forgot something once we got in the hospital doors, so he said he would go grab it from the car – and he went down a random hallway instead of the doors we just walked through, then a few minutes later he came running back from that random hallway and then went out the doors and out to the car. Poor guy. He was a thousand times more nervous than I was… and I was surprisingly calm. (except just his reaction was making me kinda anxious)
When he got back, we headed up to the Labor and Delivery floor, got checked in and got brought to our delivery room. It was suuuppper nice, with a huge flatscreen TV and a Jacuzzi tub right next door to labor in (since my water was getting broken right away I wasn’t allowed to use it, sadly.)
After they had me put on the cute robes that tie in the back, I got all cozy in the hospital bed. At 3 pm my doctor came and checked my dilation (still a 3), broke my water, and then said they could start me on the Pitocin.
The Pitocin (started at 3:45 pm) took a little bit to kick in. It didn’t take long for me to feel like I was sitting on a tennis ball stuck in my butt hole (really, though, that’s what it felt like), and I can only assume that was me dilating and the baby’s head getting lower. It made it so uncomfortable to sit, so I asked for a birthing ball… which I couldn’t even sit on either. So I just stood because that at least (mostly) eliminated that uncomfortable feeling. I had no idea how I was going to eventually get back into the bed to give birth to this little baby with it feeling so uncomfortable to even lightly be sitting on my bum. It didn’t take very long before I went from wanting to go naturally to crying while my husband held me and I was asking for an epidural (about 5:45 pm).
Now waiting for an epidural was fuuuuunn. Because of the Pitocin, contractions had barely any break between (I would say about 30 seconds) and were freakishly strong. The anesthesiologist came and started talking about the procedure he was going to do, while the nurse was having me fill out paperwork. With the contractions, and having to let go of my husband for the moments to sign a paper, or even to stop to talk with the nurse to answer questions… I wanted to cry, and even at times yell because they were making me do so many things while I was in so much pain with limited movement. I don’t cry in front of people (except my husband and my mom), so that was really really hard not to cry in front of the nurses while feeling so frustrated while being in so much pain.
The anesthesiologist was funny though. He made me laugh a little bit, which helped the mood and helped me relax (because honestly, more than giving birth – I was even more scared of getting an epidural). The pain of the contractions was bad, and I was shaking a lot because I was scared of the epidural, and I felt weak for giving in and not going naturally like I was wanting to. I honestly felt like such a sissy and was a little ashamed of myself.
However, getting the epidural was super easy. It took a while for it to kick in, but once it did – all the pain and the uncomfortable feeling was gone. And it was a much more amazing and peaceful experience after that.
The doctor came in shortly after and checked my dilation and found out I was a 9. He was impressed.
The whole time he was telling me I would be in labor for 17 hours or so, because that was typical of a first birth, and probably overestimating to make me prepared as well. My mom had 3-5 hour births, and I told him that and he still said (back at the doctor’s office) that my labor would most likely be 17 hours.
Nope, we were at 4 hours and almost done.
The nurse had me start pushing (7:50 pm). She held one leg, and husband held the other. And my mother manned the camera while feeding me mango ice chips.
Pushing on an epidural is weird… you can’t feel yourself pushing, so you feel like you are trying to push out a poop, but you don’t even know if that is what you are doing because you can’t feel a thing. The one thing you can feel is your face, and I felt like my face was the only thing doing all the pushing. It was super weird, and I felt like I looked SUPER funny, and like all the blood vessels were breaking in my face or something (my husband told me afterwards that he was surprised he didn’t see any broken – I guess he was thinking about that too… maybe I did look that funny -_- ).
They helped me push the baby until its head was right by the outside, then they called the doctor. Once the doctor got there I started pushing again. I thought husband would be scared by the whole thing (and never touch me again) but he was suddenly so interested and involved in the whole process. He even watched the baby’s head come out (where I couldn’t ever want do that… hahaha). Apparently, the baby was having a hard time making an exit at the beginning, so the doctor had to do an episiotomy, and once he finished, the baby practically came flying out (Born at 8:30 pm!).
They had me do skin to skin first thing. They put her up near my face, so all I could see was her back, even though I was really wanting to see her beautiful face. Eventually, they took her to weigh and measure her, and then brought her back for me to feed her.
In order for me to move to the recovery room, I need to be able to lift my legs and take a shower. I thought I could, but my legs were way too numb, that the nurse decided to give me a sort of sponge bath in the bed, and then somehow get me in the wheelchair. By the way, moving your legs, and putting any weight on them while they are still numb is the weirdest sensation in the world. Sort of like floating and falling… It is kinda confusing, and scary feeling.
When I got to the new room, the nurse had to help me go to the bathroom (this whole birthing experience is very humbling by the way..). It took me a good ten minutes to even figure out how to go pee because everything was so numb, but I DID IT!!! They gave me good painkillers when I got back to bed (because of the crotch pain I started to feel, and the awful cramps from my uterus shrinking when I breastfed as well).
It was hard to have the baby sleep in the hospital baby bed because she was so far away, so I slept with her in my bed most of the night. Still, I found myself waking up every little bit to see if she was still breathing, and to just look at her beautiful face.
My husband was super active in being a father and would take her right after I fed her and burp her. I never had to change a diaper while in the hospital either, because he would take her and change it right away when it was needed (he is a keeper, and seriously an amazing father so far… he does everything and loves it). It is so obvious that this little girl has stolen his heart. The nurses even made points to mention how involved of a father he is, because every time they came into the room he would be holding or burping the baby, and would always offer to take her while they were checking my vitals and such. They said that it isn’t often that the dads are like that.
Even though we decided on a name beforehand, and basically had no backup… I still wasn’t convinced. I told husband that I needed to sleep on it, and I would tell him what her name was for sure in the morning.
Sure enough, by morning – the name fit and we stuck with it. 🙂
I was, and am still so amazed that my body could create such a beautiful human being. That my husband and I made the choice to bring her here, and she came right away. She is such a beautiful symbol of the love that we share, and the hard times we have gone through and conquered in the last year. I couldn’t help but think of how she waited for us, waited to come here, and now is finally a part of our family.
*photo credit – My mother, Aiden Axthelm