16 Mar My Birth Story
I’ve wanted to write down my birth story for a while. I feel like as time goes on I forget more and more details and this is one experience that I don’t want to forget.
Let me start off by saying that I had a really easy pregnancy. I didn’t have any complications, I gained just the right amount of weight, I had no swelling, barely any morning sickness, and I didn’t start to get that “I’m SO tired and sore” feeling until the last few weeks of my pregnancy. Because my pregnancy was so easy, I didn’t mind working up until the day before I gave birth. Work actually took my mind off of the anxiety of waiting to have a baby and gave me some much-needed exercise (and ultimately helped to induce my labor 18 days early).
On October 27th, I went into work for about 4 hours. When I left, I started experiencing some minor cramping. The cramping didn’t alarm me because I had been getting Braxton Hicks since I was in my second trimester. I continued to experience cramps that night, but they really weren’t a cause for alarm. I decided to ignore them. The next day, October 28th, I had an early appointment with my OBGYN for a weekly check-up. I remember joking with my husband and telling him that he should leave his phone on because today might be the day. I had cramps for my entire 45+ minute drive to the doctor’s office in Sarasota. When my doctor checked me at my appointment she was surprised to find that I was 4 cm dilated, 100% effaced, and wondered if I was aware that I was having contractions. She sent me across the street to the hospital where I met with very doubtful nurses in Triage. The nurses told me that I would know if I was in labor and that it was probably just a false alarm, but they would hook me up to machines regardless. After about an hour, the nurses returned and were surprised to see that I really was in labor and that I had now progressed to 5 cm dilated. At that moment I was admitted and they were going to move me to a room in the Labor and Delivery Ward. I immediately called my husband who promptly left his internship to grab our hospital bags, drop off our dogs at his mom’s house, and come to the hospital to be with me. After I alerted my husband I started texting all of my relatives and friends that it was time.
In Labor and Delivery I spent a couple of hours alone; this is mostly due to the fact that I made Brad turn around and get my makeup and blow dryer. I wanted to spruce myself up for photos and I had a vision of me holding my newborn daughter with my hair in perfect curls with my makeup done. When my husband finally arrived, I was about 6 cm dilated and still doing well. Every time the nurses would ask, I would tell them that my contractions were about a 3 out of 10 on the pain scale.
Finally, when I was 7 cm dilated, my doctor decided it was time to break my water and get things moving along. This is the part where my memory gets screwy. All I can remember is the doctor holding a sword-like needle and closing my eyes because the pain was unbearable. Immediately after my water broke my contractions jumped from bearable to an 8 out of 10. I almost had my breath knocked out of me each time they came (which was about every 2-3 minutes). After dealing with worsening contractions for about 45 minutes, I decided it was time to get the epidural. It was around this time that my Mother-In-Law (MIL) came to the hospital to be with us. By the time the anesthesiologist made it to my room, the intense contractions had turned me into a blubbering mess. I was in so much pain that I openly welcomed the epidural; even though it was the thing I feared most when thinking about labor. Once the epidural kicked in, about 30 minutes later, it was smooth sailing. I watched TV, talked with Brad and my MIL, and I wondered where the hell my family was until about 6 pm when my doctor came in the room to ask my MIL to step out so she could check me again.
My doctor said that I was 9.5 cm dilated and she wanted me to do a “practice” push to see if I could easily become 10 cm dilated. I grabbed my legs (with my husband taking hold of one), pushed down as hard as I could, and my daughter’s head almost came out! Before I could make sense of it, everything and everyone was moving at double-speed. My doctor started gloving up and the assisting nurse ran out to get other bodies in the room to help. When she came back in, I was having another contraction and my body was doing the pushing for me. Again, Brad held one of my legs, a nurse held the other, and my doctor was right there helping me. I bore down and pushed again right as the other nurses started pouring into the room. I pushed for a total of 10 minutes and she was out, wide-eyed and looking around the room. At that moment it was as if everything slowed back down. I watched her get carried away by nurses to be weighed (6lbs 8 oz) and my husband followed at their heels. I stared at her as they wiped her down with towels and watched her begin to cry. I was so absorbed in what was going on with her that I almost didn’t notice my doctor was still in front of me sewing in stitches. I remember asking her what happened and she assured me that I had just sustained a second-degree tear. At that moment, I really didn’t care because anything/everything was worth the trouble. The nurses laid her on my chest and I looked into her wide eyes and couldn’t believe that this was our baby. We did skin-on-skin and I breastfed her with no issues. After about 2 hours from the moment I started my “practice push”, my family finally came into the room to meet the newest member of the family. Everyone passed her around and commented on how small and beautiful she was. My parents apologized for being so late; they were stuck at work and came to the hospital as soon as they could. After everyone left, our new little family was transported to a private room in the nursery.
I wish I could say that our first night as a family of 3 was bliss, but that would be disingenuous. My epidural wore off after a few hours and that’s when I started experiencing the pain from my tear. Moving was agonizing and our brand new baby cried every 2 hours. Brad helped as much as he could and neither of us got a lot of sleep. Breastfeeding was proving to be more difficult than I had anticipated, especially considering how well she took to it initially. The nurses were all so great and they helped us out so much while we tried to adjust to the start of our new lives. We stayed in the hospital for 3 days and not once did I use my blow dryer or put on the makeup that I made Brad turn around to get on that first day. The visions I had of walking out of the hospital in my pre-pregnancy jeans with my hair and makeup done were farfetched and a product of sheer fantasy. In reality, I limped out of the hospital in sweatpants and sported a loose ponytail. Even though I was disillusioned initially, the fact that everything didn’t pan out like I had envisioned didn’t matter to me. What mattered was that I was going home with my little family. I stared at her in awe for the entire ride home. When we got home I ate the one thing I craved my entire pregnancy but couldn’t have, sushi! That first week was so scary, but it was also thrilling. The reality of being new parents would wash over us at random times and put big smiles on our faces. All of the small things that our daughter did that would be insignificant in the eyes of others were things that made us fall in love with her. We were infatuated with our new baby girl and our new family of 5 (our two FURbabies count too). In that first week, I swore I would never have another child, but the memories of pain have faded and I can honestly say that I would welcome another baby… in a few years of course.