On the Day You Were Born
I've started seeing more and more documentation of women sharing the "birth stories" of their babies, and I think it's a great way to help me remember some of the smaller details of the day, as well as share + normalize what different paths of birth look like! Without further ado, here's your birth story, Miss A.
Before we get to the actual day, I would be remiss to share that you, my darling girl, were not punctual. Your due date was supposed to be the last days of January (somewhere between January 29th and 31st) but our doctor's appointment came and went, as did your due date, with not a single sign of potential arrival.
After a second doctor's visit, Dr. Ricardo decided that we would set an induction date for Monday, February 8th - and that I would report to the hospital on the Sunday afternoon to get the process moving with some tablets [presumably while watching the Super Bowl] and he'd come Monday morning when he was back at work to deliver you. I kept panicking because I didn't know what a contraction would feel like and he just looked at me deadpanned and said, "Trust me, you'll know".
On Saturday night, our last night before heading to the hospital, your dad and I were sitting on the couch together watching Bohemian Rhapsody when I felt a single contraction. Dr. Ricardo was right. As soon as it happened, I knew. Then twenty minutes later, another. And another. Every twenty minutes, through the night. I was able to sleep for about 4 hours through them until I could no longer ignore the sharp pains, as infrequent as they were.
We both were up by 5am, where I was taking lots of mini-showers to ease the lower back pain, and tracking the contractions on the app I downloaded called Storky. Dad & I hadn't told anybody yet about the contractions because they were still every 20 minutes or so, and it didn't seem like things were going to speed up anytime soon. Also, please note that we'd been basically on baby watch since mid-January, so by this point, we didn't want to get anyone's hopes up.
This went on for the rest of the early morning where my contractions were about every 20 minutes until all of a sudden around 7am, they dropped in frequency to about every 15 minutes.
Then around 10 am, it dropped to every 10 minutes, with some as little as 5 minutes apart. Yeah - it was time to start telling family to get excited!
By 1pm, my contractions were firmly 5 minutes apart, and lasting over a minute each, which is when they recommended we head into the hospital. Your dad called ahead, and the nurse at the front desk suggested we wait further since this was our first pregnancy, and it usually takes a long time to advance. She told us to call back or head in when we got closer to 3 minutes.
Can't say I loved car contractions!
To that, you said "no problem" and within the hour, I was having contractions less than every 3 minutes start to start, which really meant that out of every three minutes, I spent 33% of it having a contraction, and 66% trying to recover + prepare for the next round. Since you now know your dad, you'll also know that we got right into that car and headed for Lakewood Ranch Medical Center. No baby was going to be born in the backseat on his watch!
We walked into the hospital by 3pm, and started to check into the room. I filled out what seemed like a million forms, and Brady unloaded the car and got everything into our room, and you kept on doing your thing in my belly. The nurse checked my dilation and it was a couple of centimeters...meaning there was still a long way to go. In fact, they asked if we'd rather go home and wait for awhile instead of be in the hospital, but I shut that down quickly. I knew we'd be way more panicked at home not knowing when to come back than to just stay put!
Over the next couple of hours, my pain threshold started to really dwindle down. Being hit with wave after wave of unrelenting contractions every 2 minutes was wearing on me and both the laughing gas and an opiate relaxer options weren't cutting it. I said "Doc, gimme the good stuff!" and we started an epidural. By this point I was about 4cm so progress was being made, but no one seemed to think this baby would be coming anytime soon.
The epidural gave me the chance to take a nap [Dad too!] -- and it also gave you time to start working your way into position. Within a couple more hours we went from "this is going to be a long night of waiting for your baby to arrive tomorrow" to "you may have your baby in your arms by the Super Bowl half-time show, so let's call in the Doctor on call!" The doctor was called in, I watched The Weekend perform terribly, and the Doctor on call checked on you, broke my water, and said that we should use a bit more time to "labor down" before we start pushing! I had it in my head though that you were going to be born on the 8th, not the 7th, so I kept watching the clock and prolonged pushing for as long as possible.
My epidural began to wear off close to 10pm -- I could feel my left leg tingling, and then getting more and more sensation back. I could also feel the pain of the contractions, dull as they were, and when my right leg started getting feeling, I knew that this would not be a pain-free delivery! When I asked for another epidural the answer was nope, baby's too close to arriving! Good luck! This hour and a half feels like a total blur -- considering I hadn't had anything to eat or drink since well before 2pm, it makes sense -- but I do know that the Doctor came in and it was push o'clock by 11:30pm.
The next 45 minutes were in hyper-speed. Nursing staff rolled in all of the things they needed, and our hospital room got a bit more crowded. My legs went up in the bed and I was told to push every contraction [really, every other one because I was so knocked out from the pain!], and they could see you starting to come out! This went on for a few contraction cycles - so maybe 15-20 minutes. I looked like they do in the movies - complete with your father being unable to hold a wet rag in position on my forehead and me yelling at him to "JUST HOLD IT THERE FOR THE LOVE OF GOD!". Sorry babe, you were doing your best.
The whole time, the doctor was getting you in position and I could feel him rocking you up and down, up and down. All the while, he was watching the heart rate monitors that were set up, and after a few looks of quiet concern, he asked the nurses to call for more staff and another cart. Brady and I looked at each other like: how bad is it? And for a moment I thought they were going to cut me open right on the table.
Because your heart rate was unstable during the pushing, he wanted to use a Kiwi, which is a suction-assist, to help get you out more quickly and safely. That was a quick and easy yes from me! The cart came in, the Kiwi got linked up to your head, and with what felt like a single push you sailed out into the Doctor's arms, and then after a swipe from the nurse in your mouth, a quick vigorous wipe down from another nurse and a wail, you were up onto my chest crying and wondering where in the world you were and what the heck just happened.
Ten days of waiting after 10 months of cooking, 24+ hours of contractions, 45 minutes of pushing, 1 Kiwi and all of a sudden, there you were. Your dad & I couldn't believe you'd finally arrived!