Well, I don’t even know where to begin, having been away from the blog for so long. In fact, I’m a bit overwhelmed when I think of all I have to write about…I guess I’ll just start with the beginning and work my way up to the present. So, I guess we’ll start with the birth story.
As you may recall, I was scheduled for an induction, so Chris and I arrived at the hospital on Dec. 8th around 5 pm – the last time we’d just be us two. I was a little bit nervous and a lot excited. My bag was all packed – by the way, I brought WAAY too much stuff. Those lists that tell you what to bring? Way too much! All I used of my own while I was there were my shower toiletries, the baby book to get footprints, and one magazine. And of course a going home outfit for me and Emily. Didn’t wear the nightgown, nursing bras, socks, underwear, or slippers – I wore the hospital gown and those hideous mesh panties and huge diaper pads while I was there. And didn’t read most of my collection of books/magazines or watch any movies – I just didn’t have time (I’d been told that induced births can take a while when the cervix is not terribly favorable, as mine wasn’t – that’s why I needed the cervadil before the induction technically began). After we checked in quickly (I had preregistered), we settled in and ordered some dinner while we waited for the doctor to come to put in my cervadil. I had to wait a bit to eat since I had to get approval to eat – I knew I wouldn’t be able to eat the next day, but most people were pretty sure I could eat that night. Dinner was pretty meh – basically some fairly tasteless hamburger meat formed into “steak”, some green beans, and a small salad, but I was still on my GD diet, so my options from the room service menu were pretty limited.
Finally, the doctor showed up and put the cervidil in place (not terribly pleasant) and I had to stay in bed for at least 2 hours afterwards, for it to start to take effect, I guess. After the 2 hours I could get up if I needed to, but was advised to stay in bed as much as possible so the cervidil didn’t shift too much. Using the bathroom was interesting with a giant string hanging from me. They also came in around 10 and gave me a sleeping pill to help me sleep to rest up for the next day. It didn’t do much. I didn’t sleep much that night. While they told me that the cervidil would simply get my cervix more favorable for the induction the next day and that it probably wouldn’t start contractions, it did. They were fairly mild at first, but by morning, they were starting to hurt. The doctor checked my progress in the morning and I was really disappointed to hear that I was only at barely 2 cm. After a full night of contractions, I was hoping for a little more than that. So, at that point, my IV was put in and we started up the pitocin to get labor going. Fairly quickly, my contractions started picking up. A couple hours later, I was checked again and again was highly disappointed to hear I’d only gotten to 3 cm. I was hurting pretty bad at this point, so the nurse offered some narcotic pain medication, which I happily accepted. That was fun. It didn’t take away the pain completely, but took the edge off and made me super sleepy. I could barely keep my eyes open. Meanwhile, every once in a while, they would increase my dose of pitocin.
After about 2 hours, the pain medication started to wear off and the contractions were getting pretty bad, so I asked about getting an epidural. I was a bit scared about getting it, since it’s a needle in your spine, but I was in pain. It was fairly quick getting it in, but it hurt a bit and I remember struggling to keep perfectly still through the contractions. I started feeling relief pretty quickly, but it only lasted a while. I was given a button to push for an extra dose, which I ended up pushing a few times, plus having the anesthesiologist come and give me an extra larger dose on top of those. I’m not sure if I just expected too much of the epidural (like, pain completely gone and only feeling pressure) or if it didn’t work too well on me, but I was still definitely feeling a good amount of pain. Very soon after getting the epidural, I was laying there, with my external monitors around my belly and felt a big movement, heard a pop, and felt a gush of warm liquid, as if I had just peed in the bed. It didn’t hurt or anything and I just remember saying something like “Oh! Uh, I’m suddenly very moist…” and looking at the nurse who checked me, to find out that my water had broken. So much for worrying that I wouldn’t notice it if it happened at home. I couldn’t have missed that! About an hour after getting the epidural, the monitor was showing me to be having very frequent, very strong contractions and they were stressing the baby just a bit, so they dialed back the pitocin. The doctor came in to check me and I was at 8 cm! I had progressed very quickly. Everyone seemed pretty surprised. Including me! Especially considering the night and morning of slow progress, I figured I’d be in labor till the next day, as the doctors had warned me might happen. Nope, I was having this baby very soon!
It was at this point that I started to freak out a bit. I was in a lot of pain, wondering why the epidural wasn’t working as well as I’d hoped, a bit overwhelmed with the quick progress and knowing that the baby would be here soon, and worrying about the baby after hearing that her heart rate was dropping a bit with the very strong contractions, so they gave me some oxygen. That seemed to help the baby, but it didn’t help me much. I felt kind of claustrophobic with the mask. I also remember my teeth chattering a lot. I kind of got to a point where it hurt so much I didn’t think I could do it, and I’m sure I said as much. And oddly, most of the pain was in my butt. I felt like it was going to explode (though I’m told I didn’t poop on the bed/floor at all! Yay!). Chris was wonderful though. He held my hand and kept saying really encouraging things to me. He knew I could do it. Soon, I was getting a strong urge to push and I told the nurse and they checked me once more, finding me to be fully dilated. So, I started pushing. I was happy to be moving on to the final part, but I didn’t feel like my pushes were doing anything. And they were exhausting. The nurse suggested that instead of the typical hold your legs back and push technique, we try me basically playing tug of war with her with a towel. Oddly, that helped me get the right kind of pushes going. I was getting about 4 good pushes per contraction. Finally, they told me could see the baby’s head and they called in the doctor (meanwhile I didn’t want to stop and wait – I just wanted to finish it!). I could tell by Chris’s voice that she was almost here – he sounded so excited and amazed. I’m actually really surprised he looked. Beforehand, he was sure he’d be a “above the waist only” support. A few more pushes and her head was out. This was incredibly painful. I was really happy and so excited that she was about to arrive, but wow, it hurt. One more and the rest of her was out. Compared to her head, that second push to get the rest of her out was nothing. I could feel that I tore, but once they put her on my chest, I completely forgot about everything. The next few minutes were a blur. I remember Chris kissing me and telling me how proud he was of me. And then he went and grabbed the camera and started taking pictures of our daughter as they checked her out and wiped her off. I also remember the placenta coming out in a gush (sorry, that’s pretty gross imagery) but I don’t remember pushing it out, and I remember being sewn up (I’m told I had second degree tears up and down – ow), but mostly I was just watching everyone clean up our daughter (I do remember asking if she was, in fact, a girl, which obviously she was.). She was crying, so I knew she was fine, but I just wanted to hold her. Chris, unfortunately, didn’t get to cut her cord, but it wasn’t something he felt really strongly about and we hadn’t mentioned it, so it’s not that big a deal. Finally, after they checked her out (she got 9’s on her Apgars!) and cleaned her off a bit, she was wrapped up in her little burrito blanket and handed to me and I was just in shock that I had a baby. She was here.
Going into this, I didn’t really have a birth plan. I knew I’d be getting pain medication and obviously I knew I’d need to be induced, but beyond that I pretty much just wanted to get our daughter here safely. I trusted the doctors to do whatever was necessary and to advise me in the appropriate manner. They were great and I’m so thankful to them for helping us deliver our daughter. I’m also so thankful to the nurses. Every nurse I met during my stay was so nice – comforting me when I was scared, encouraging me when I needed it, and genuinely seemed excited about the birth of our daughter. I do wish the epidural worked better, but I really don’t think that was anyone’s fault. Chris was amazing and so helpful. I couldn’t have done this without him. He was so positive and encouraging and that really helped me. It was amazing to see him with our daughter after she was born – just to see him look at her with such love and hold her for the first time made me so happy. He’s such a good dad and he really loves her. It’s amazing how an experience like that can really strengthen your love for someone. I’ve never felt closer to him. Chris, I love you so much.
And of course, Emily. Our perfect, healthy, beautiful daughter. It was so amazing to meet her finally after having her grow inside me for 10 months. As someone with a master’s in biology, it amazes me that something that starts out so small, resulting from just this sperm meeting just that egg with perfect timing, grew into this amazing little person who’s a little of me and a little of Chris. As a mother, I’m just so happy to have her here – this baby that we so wanted and prayed for. The baby who looked like a gummy bear in our first ultrasound, the baby who made me cry when I first saw her heart flickering on the screen and again later when the ultrasound tech told us it was a girl, the baby that I felt kick me all day long, but mostly at night (and oh, did her wakeful nights continue, but more on that later, haha). Our “babet”. The baby who made me a mom.