*Disclaimer: if you do not want to hear about going into labor, bodily fluids, birth or pushing a baby out do not read on.
A little back story. I had a very easy and enjoyable pregnancy all the way until the end. I seriously loved being pregnant. Minus the nauseousness from the first trimester. I was obsessed with reading people’s birth stories. I wanted to prepare for the unpreparable (is that a word? spell check says no) which is obviously impossible. I just wanted to know all possible outcomes. I did not go into labor with a birth plan because I knew it would probably go down the tubes anyway so I had the mentality whatever happens happens.
When you get to be about 36 weeks along you start going to the doctor every week for checkups. They check all the regular stuff like baby’s heartbeat, blood pressure, weight, protein in your urine, etc. But they also start cervical checks. Basically just to find out if your body is preparing for labor at all. They check for effacement and dilation. Before being pregnant I knew what dilation was but really didn’t know about effacement until we took a labor and delivery class. Basically effacement is when your cervix shortens completely to allow the baby to pass through the birth canal. Your cervix has to be 100% effaced and you must be at 10 cm dilated before you start pushing or else pushing would be a waste of time and effort.
I think I was 36.5 weeks at my first cervical check and I was told I was 70% effaced and 3 cm dilated. She said the baby could come anytime, anytime being that day or 2 weeks from then. I was like well gee that’s super helpful! All we knew was that my body was preparing itself and she was convinced I wouldn’t go all the way to my due date. So we go home super excited that baby was coming soon! A week goes by and nothing. BOO. Not even a single braxton hick contraction (practice contraction).
At 37.5 weeks I went back to the doctor and got checked again, this time I was 90% effaced and at 4 cm, woohoo! Things were moving along and I had no idea. When you go to the hospital you have to be at least 4 cm before they will even allow you to get an epidural and I was already there and didn’t even know it. We got really excited again. I remember seeing my mother in law the next day and she asked if I had any contractions and my response was “I have no idea, what do they feel like?” She told me when your whole stomach tightens really hard for a couple minutes and then relaxes. This is what I had heard from our class as well so that’s what I was waiting for…
My last official bump photo, this was taken the day before she was born!
On the morning of April 8th, 2014 I was 38 weeks pregnant. I woke up around 4:30 am from what felt like slight abdominal cramping. Very similar to what you would feel on your period. I knew right away this was it. I don’t know if it was just my body being ready or what but I had no doubt in my mind our baby girl would be born that day. I got up and went to the bathroom feeling like I peed a little. I thought I had because anyone who has been pregnant knows that at the end your bladder is the size of a pea. I figured it couldn’t be my water because it wasn’t a big gush. Well it was a slow leak. Gross. I would have rather started with the whole gush to get it out of the way but no. I was starting to get more and more uncomfortable and didn’t want to get back in bed and risk waking Kevin. I wanted him to be able to sleep as long as possible so at least we both weren’t totally exhausted. I went downstairs and laid on the couch for about an hour cringing and moaning through the contractions. When I finally came back up I stayed in the bathroom and thought hey maybe I should start timing these. They were about 6 minutes apart and getting more and more painful. I had to really focus on not making noise with each one passing over me.
Finally at 6 Kevin woke up. I told him this was definitely it and he kinda sorta went into crazy-packing-running-around panic mode. It was not helping me relax, like at all. This might sound totally stupid and superficial but I decided to put some makeup on before we left. I knew I was going to be photographed and wanted to look semi decent in the photos looking back. Luckily I had showered the night before because I did not feel like getting in the shower. Kevin was on pins and needles, I’m trying to do my makeup and pack up my last minute things all in between contractions that were 5 minutes apart at this point. He could not believe what I was doing he wanted to go to the hospital NOW. We live less than 5 minutes away and it wasn’t even 7 am. I knew there wouldn’t be traffic or anything and I was just trying to relax through each contraction. Yeah, wasn’t working.
Finally we get to the hospital around 7:15 am. I get into triage and put on my gown while I get checked. I was 100% effaced and almost 6 cm. This was definitely it! I got so nervous and so excited at the same time, it was such an insane feeling knowing today was the day we were going to get to meet her! We were assigned a room right away which was nice. I tried to just relax and breathe through my contractions until I knew I needed the epidural. I went in knowing I would want one, I’m a pretty big baby and no offense to anyone who chooses natural birth but I just knew that it wasn’t for me. I’m in the camp of the less pain possible the better. My awesome nurse Michelle called for the anesthesiologist at 8. He finally arrived at my room at 9. The second I swung my legs over the bed, my water broke. Like big gush broke. Ugh. Whatever at least I was getting some sweet drugs. To be totally honest the epi hurt pretty badly. But the sweet relief felt after was amazingggggggg. I was told I was still going to feel my contractions but they wouldn’t hurt. It took a little bit for the epi to kick in but when it did ummm I couldn’t feel anyyything. Like nada. I was totally and completely numb from the waist down.
We realized at this point we had forgotten my good camera. I couldn’t believe it! I called my mom who lives very close to us and the hospital she went to our house and brought us the camera. We kept her name a secret the whole pregnancy and even when my mom came in to drop the camera off she was like “Okay can you tell me the name now, I won’t tell anyone that I knew!” We were like um no! You have to wait until she’s born, you’ve waited this long you can wait a couple more hours. She was so mad haha. We just hung out for a while I was texting with my friends eating ice chips because I was SO thirsty and hungry. I hadn’t eaten or drank anything since dinner the night before. BIG mistake.
The cliche (but delicious) ice chips
I got my hair into a pony tail! Woo!
Michelle told us to just relax and try to rest until the doctor came and it was time to start the practice pushes. At that point I was at 7 cm. Closing my eyes and actually resting felt so good. I woke up about an hour later startled. It was 11 am and Kevin was asleep too. I looked over at him and said “what are we doing! I’m about to have a baby, this is NOT normal, we need to wake up!!!” We sat there waiting and waiting and waiting for what seemed like forever. Finally Michelle came back and checked me. I was at a 10 it was go time!
The doctor that was on call from my practice came in and said she would be back when the real pushing would begin but for now we were just going to start practicing and try to get the baby engaged. Ok cool. Let’s do this! At this point it became clear to me just how well my epi was working. I turned my head and Michelle was lifting my legs into the stirrups. Talk about out of body experience. It was SO weird. I was nervous I wouldn’t know if I was pushing right because I couldn’t feel a damn thing! We did some practice pushes for like 20 minutes and Michelle was happy with the progress. So she called the doctor in. We waited, and waited, and waited, she never came back. A second doctor from my practice comes in 30 minutes later and says “I’m so sorry she had to do an emergency c-section, so now I’m here! I will be right back and then let’s have a baby!!” At this point I am just SO anxious and excited to finally hold our sweet girl. Little did I know that the second doctor wouldn’t return either.
to be continued…