I can’t believe my baby girl has been here for four weeks now! It’s that cliche of time where it feels like she’s been here for just a minute, yet it’s like a lifetime has passed.
The day my pregnancy “finished” and my baby girl came into this world was a pretty amazing one. The process started with a regular monitoring appointment with my OB on Aug. 25. She had just gotten back from holidays that week and I told her baby and I held off, waiting for her to come back. She did my cervical check, and noted that I was 2 – 3 can dilated, which I was pleased about because I hadn’t noticed any contractions, but had seen some mucousy discharge that week. She asked if I was ok to do another cervical sweep, and I said ok despite the fact that I would have been quite content to stay pregnant into September, plus when her locum did a sweep for me, it did nothing so I wasn’t entirely convinced it would work anyways. Well, my OB was definitely not delicate about it and afterwards I was feeling a bit sore and crampy.
I decided I best run some errands and cross some items off of my to do list just in case baby was going to make her debut soon. I spent the day running around, managed to fit a pedicure into my stops and when I got home later that evening I finally had some time to sit down and rest, that’s when I noticed the crampy-ness and back pain were sporadic, but not lessening up. I googled what contractions would feel like and when it came back as intense menstrual cramps I realised that I had actually been having contractions and back labor all day.
It got a bit worse in the evening but I was determined to make cookies, partly as a distraction, and partly because I really wanted to take them to the hospital as a thank you for the nurses who would take care of us when the time came. So I puttered around the kitchen, occasionally taking a break to sit on my exercise ball or lean against the couch. After the cookies were done, I relaxed on the couch until about 10:30pm when it felt like things were slowing down, so I went to bed.
I slept pretty well the entire night (as well as one sleeps at 39 weeks pregnant). I woke up in the morning around 6am when J was getting ready for work and noticed the contractions again, but didn’t pay them much attention. When J left at 7:00 it became apparent that I was not going to be able to go back to sleep so I lay in bed and started timing contractions. They were between 9 to 6 minutes apart so I figured I should get up and get showered in case I had to go to the hospital soon. During the course of time it took me to get showered the contractions got closer together pretty quickly. By the time I was working on putting my make up on they were between 5 to 3 minutes apart and more intense. I text J and told him he was probably going to have to come home, despite the fact that he had only been at work for about 40 minutes. By the time he got home I was struggling to braid my hair, doubling over the bathroom counter every three minutes.
J tried to remain calm but got the car packed pretty frantically. I had planned on eating breakfast after I finished getting ready but that was out of the question now and for the best as we had to pull the car over on the way to the hospital so I could be sick on the side of the road. The car ride sucked but luckily it was a bit past rush hour and we live very close to the hospital.
We arrived at around 9:30am. Once there I got admitted to labor and delivery assessment, where they make sure you are progressing before they admit you to an actual L&D room. It must have been pretty clear to them that I was moving along because after a couple checks from a nurse, and the resident doctor they started doing up the paperwork to move me into a room (assessment is basically just little cubicles with curtains). By that point I was at 4 cm dilated and my membranes were bulging. I mentioned that I planned on having an epidural and the nurse told me they couldn’t administer it in the assessment area but she did offer morphine which I happily accepted. About 30 seconds after she injected it, I had to be sick again. I was really glad we had a light dinner the night before.
I think it was around 11:00 am when I was moved to a room and the nurse asked if I wanted to try a warm shower before getting the epidural but I was pretty uncomfortable at that point so I declined and said I would take the epidural when the anesthesiologist was free. They told me it may be a bit of a wait because he was in for a c section at the moment. The morphine had helped take the edge off and there was nothing I could do about the wait, so all in all I was pretty calm. Surprisingly it was a very short time later that they came in to administer the epidural. I have scoliosis, and I think it was a resident inserting the needle because it took 3 pokes and about half an hour (and a different doctor after all) to get it in. One of my biggest fears was not being able to get the epidural due to my scoliosis but they managed. I kept wiggling my toes to see when it would take effect but the nurse told me I would still be able to move, just not feel anything, which proved true when she put a latex glove full of ice on my skin and I couldn’t feel the cold, it was the weirdest sensation.
After that I lay comfortably in the bed, chatting away and being told I was having contractions that I couldn’t feel. The nurse offered to give me oxytocin which would help the contractions keep going and make sure I continued to progress (in hindsight it was overkill because further into my labour they had to turn it off all together as I was contracting too frequently). Around 1pm they officially broke my waters though I’d had a slow leak since the resident doctor checked me in admitting. At approximately 3pm the nurse told me it was time to push. Large amounts of amniotic fluid were soaking the pad under me with every push, I was surprised at how much there was! Once I was pushing and the contractions were at there strongest I was surprised to find I could feel the immense pressure from baby, as well as the tightening sensation of the contractions and was in a fair bit of pain. I’d thought that the epidural would negate all feeling but I guess I was wrong, or they do it in such a way that I could still feel enough of the contractions to push. Either way, the experience was not what I expected and I was really glad for the epidural because I can’t imagine what it would have felt like without it. Kudos to the au naturel ladies, you have my full respect.
For the next couple hours I pushed with all my might and by the time my doctor showed up she was apologetic that I had been pushing for so long, she was surprised everything has progressed so quickly since the previous day (so was I to be honest!). I was lucky that I managed to have my own doctor there for delivery, if it had been much later I would have ended up with the on call doctor. Once my doctor was there things really started moving along. She is an awesome doctor but she is definitely not gentle. There was a lot of stretching and pulling going on and I had some renewed strength to push. My doctor offered that they could try forceps or a vacuum to help me out, I tried a few more pushes on my own and then decided I was going to need some help from the vacuum. As it turned out, baby’s head was at a bit of an angle before they used the vacuum and it would have been near impossible for me to push her out on my own. After her head was righted the rest happened rather quickly. After a little over 3 hours of pushing we met our daughter at 6:15 pm, August 26.
J followed her to the warmer in the room where they cleaned her up and weighed her. They told me she was a big baby and I was thinking over 8lbs, but I guess 7lbs9oz was big for my petite stature. I’m probably lucky I didn’t last all the way until my due date or beyond. They brought her back to me, placed her on my chest and the world around me all came crashing on. I cried; heaving, loud sobs. All of the emotion and exhaustion (physical and mental, both if that day and of all the days that brought us to that point) and she was finally there in my arms. J snuggled in with us, and we marvelled at the addition to our family.
I delivered the placenta easily and quickly. My doctor was sewing up a 2nd degree tear while I held my new daughter and lemme tell you I think the epidural had worn off a fair bit by then because it hurt like a mofo. I was kept in labor and delivery a bit longer than normal because I had a hemorrhage and they needed to make sure it was under control before they sent me to postpartum. Once we were sent down to our room for the night, our families descended upon us, and life as we knew it had forever changed.
Overall I’m very happy with how the delivery went; I got the epidural, I got my own doctor and I avoided an emergency c section. J was great, encouraging me, watching our baby come into the world and cutting the cord. The tearing, the three hours pushing and the vacuum assistance are just part of our story.
The first 24 hours was a sleepless blur, the first week I was an anxious mess, and though things have been tough, they have eased somewhat over the course of time. I’m still stressed a lot of the time, and I’m still an anxious mess some of (ok, most of) the time but were functioning, albeit at a much different level than we’re used to.
I never intended for this to become a “mommy blog” so I’m not entirely sure what to do with this space. There may be sporadic updates, and I still have some unresolved feelings with infertility (does that ever really resolve itself?) to discuss. I’ll definitely be following everyone else’s journeys as well!