First of all to any of the male half of the species, I want to say good-bye. I’m saying good-bye because you will probably never read another post again after today.
That’s because I’m going to share my baby girl’s birth story. We’ll be referring to her as “A.” This story includes words like “cervix” and “dilate” and “water breaking.”
See you later gentlemen.
To anyone left reading, let’s dive in shall we?
Now, this story is not funny. Sorry. I sat down to type out A’s birth story and suddenly I had nothing funny to say. Zilch. Zippo. I’m sure something funny probably happened, like my lover needing a minute to sit down (sorry babe, but the truth shall set you free) for a minute to regain himself. Oh and there was her bath where the nurse tried to scrub off A’s beauty mark because she didn’t realize it was permanent. Or the beginning of labor when my dad & husband took off to go lawn mower shopping at Sears. Those things were funny. Squeezing a human being from my loins, not. so. funny.
Aaaannnndd now that things have gotten awkward, please continue reading to learn all about my baby girl’s grand entrance into the world.
Monday, January 20th was the due date for A’s arrival. That day came and went. The Tuesday after I had my regularly scheduled doctor’s appointment. My mom and husband went with me, and we got to see her in all her perfection during an ultrasound to check the fluids around her. Afterwards, I sat through a non-stress test which measured her heartbeat, movement, and monitored contractions. I have no idea why they call it a non-stress test. I was totally stressed. The last part of the appointment was the midwife checking my cervix. Turned out I was dilated only to a 2, 80% effaced, and having regular contractions. (Any men left?) After some discussion it was decided to induce on Wednesday, January 22nd if I did not go into labor on my own that night. I was so excited to share with John and my mom that if nothing else we would be having a baby the next day.
I did not go into labor on my own, so at 6:00 a.m. the next morning I called the Labor and Delivery (L&D) floor at the hospital to see if we could come in for an induction. Unfortunately, they were full and I was told to call back in a few hours. The second time I called received the same reply. At that point it was beginning to look unlikely that I would be induced that day. However, I was beginning to notice my contractions more frequently. My dad had arrived Tuesday night and after the second call to L&D we all decided to drive the hour into Clovis to have lunch and walk around the mall. Around 2:30 p.m. the hospital called to say we could come in for an induction. My contractions had quickened to three minutes apart and I couldn’t walk during some of them. I was hoping I would be in labor on my own and not have to be induced.
We headed over to the hospital and I got hooked up to machines that monitored my contractions, monitored A’s heartbeat, and monitored my blood pressure. I answered what seemed like an endless stream of questions and they prepared me for an IV. It was about 4:30 p.m. by the time the nurse checked me. To my dismay, nothing had changed since the day before. I was still at a 2, 80% effaced. My contractions were around 3 minutes apart but so weak they felt like little more than the baby
doing jiu jitsu moving. The midwife chose to give me a double dose of Cytotec to continue the effacement and hopefully begin dilation of my cervix. Ouch. After administering the dose I was encouraged to get up and walk. I walked or sat on a birthing ball as much as I could. The bed was so uncomfortable. In the meantime the nurse’s shift had ended and a new nurse came in to take my vitals and check how I was progressing. With still no change the midwife made the call to start the Pitocin drip. Because I was not feeling contractions (and because they were coming so frequently, 1 to 3 minutes apart) the intention was to slow the contractions down while making them stronger. I was able to sleep still and get up to use the restroom but by this point I was mostly confined to bed. The new nurse asked what I was intending for pain relief. I wanted to do as much as I could naturally but was open-minded towards an epidural.
A few hours later I was still confined to the bed so the nurse decided to try having me labor on my side. I got rolled over onto my right side and all the monitors got adjusted and I again began to drift off. John and my mom were still in the room with me, my dad having gone to the waiting room to catch a few hours of sleep. A few minutes after moving onto my side, around 2:30 a.m. on Thursday, January 23rd, I felt a pop like a balloon popping and then a rush of fluid. It was such a weird feeling. I sat up in the bed immediately and fumbled for the call button while crying out to my husband and mom that my water had broken and decidedly freaking out. The nurse came in promptly to inquire what I needed and I told her I thought my water may have broken. Which was kind of a lie because I knew my water had definitely broken. She got ready to check but before I let her do that I asked to use the restroom. In those few brief moments my contractions had seriously ramped up and I was starting to feel quite a bit of discomfort. The nurse checked me, and I had dilated to a 5. It was now about 3:30 a.m. I had dilated 3 centimeters in an hour. Ouch. The nurse offered pain relief through the IV and I said yes, still wanting to do this birthing thing naturally (without epidural) if I could. I can’t remember the name of the medication, but it made me seriously drowsy. I dozed in between contractions which were also beginning to speed up in spite of the pitocin. My mom stayed awake with me and my dad came back into the room while John tried to rest a little bit longer. An hour later though I was at the end of the relief from the IV (each dose only lasted about an hour) and I was so angry at John for sleeping I yelled at him that I wanted him to be awake right now. It was about 4:30 a.m. I pressed the call button for the nurse because I was desperately ready for more of whatever it was that was being administered through the IV. While she was in the room we began discussing an epidural. Even though my contractions were painful, I was sleepy enough in between that I thought I could go on without it. She explained that after I was 8 centimeters dilated they would no longer be able to administer the pain relief through the IV. My resolve then began to DISsolve, but still stubborn I told her I would wait it out. She began to leave the room and on her way out she just mentioned that if I decided I wanted an epidural later I would have to wait for the anesthesiologist to come back up to the hospital since he was on call. Resolve gone. I made the decision to get an epidural.
The funny thing is, once you’ve made the decision to have an epidural the pain gets way worse. The sudden increase in pain is probably more of a mental thing than anything else, but I’m telling you I suddenly had no ability to cope with each contraction at all. It took the anesthesiologist at least half an hour to get to me. I remember after one particularly long contraction crying “where is he??”
Earlier in the evening we had already been over all the legal stuff (like, there is a slight chance you could never walk again kind of legal stuff) associated with an epidural. So once the anesthesiologist was in the room it was go time. I had to sit up and hang my legs over the edge of the bed. Which was maybe the worst part of the entire delivery. Not to be dramatic, but when your body is racked with pain hanging your legs over the side of the bed is a form of pure torture. I would have confessed to murder at that point if it made the hurt go away. Thankfully, the epidural went in quick. No thanks to me who couldn’t stop moving. Body racked with pain, remember.
They say it takes thirty minutes for the epidural to kick in, but I swear it was immediate. Immediate and tingly. The nurse checked me again once the epidural had fully kicked in and I was dilated to an 8. For those keeping track, that’s three centimeters in the first hour after my water broke and then three more centimeters the next hour and a half. I was given another half hour to be ready to push. At 5:30 a.m. I was almost to 10 centimeters, but not quite there so I was given a catheter. Which I didn’t feel. Because epidurals are awesome. If I ever sell drugs on the street that’s what I’ll be dealing in. Just come to me for all your tingly goodness needs. At 6:00 a.m. it was time to push. And push. And push a little bit more. I really tried my darnedest, but A was stuck. She was “sunny side up” and her large-ish head was caught on my pelvic bone. So at 7:00 a.m. the nurse called in the doctor. The doctor on the floor that day was Dr. Alexander. Assessing the situation it was decided that she would need to be vacuumed out. Which was fine with me. I was tired and desperately wanted my baby girl to be here. Dr. Alexander got the vacuum in place, I pushed for about two minutes and at 7:09 a.m. on January 23rd A popped out screaming. SCREAMing. Girlfriend has a definite healthy set of lungs on her.
She was immediately placed on my stomach while John cut the umbilical cord. She was covered in what looked like cottage cheese, pink and healthy, and did I mention she was screaming? I cried so much. Her daddy cried so much. And then everyone (my mom, my dad, my husband) all abandoned me to go watch as the nurses cleaned up, weighed, measured, etc. this beautiful new life that had just come into the world. We knew she was perfect from the moment we laid eyes on her. Our perfect blessing from the Lord.
“Every good and perfect gift is from above, and comes down from the Father of lights, with whom there is no variation or shadow of turning.” James 1:17
Sometimes-when she’s sleeping in my arms-I kiss her sweet little face, whisper a prayer of thanks for her, and tell her I love her so much. I am so thankful God chose me to be her mommy. Already she’s grown up too fast. When she was born she weighed 7 lbs. 10.4 oz. and was 20.5 in long. At two months, my precious baby girl was 12 lbs. 7.5 oz and 23.25 in. It goes TOO FAST and I’m just so happy I have the privilege of watching her grow.