Six short days after I last wrote, ohhhhh about 10 weeks ago, BabyZ made his appearance. Since his arrival, we have been neck-deep in jaundice scares, poopy diapers, breastfeeding struggles, visitors, not sleeping and falling absolutely in love with this little piece of perfection.
It was midnight on Tuesday, October 13th when my water broke. I remember being in disbelief, because it was first… TOO SOON. I was only 36 weeks. Second, I just had a checkup THAT MORNING and everything was fine! Ha! But here’s the tricky part – I was at home alone because my husband flew out Monday morning to his job site (he was going to work until I was 38 weeks). I called him first, then my parents. Thankfully, Mom and Dad were instantly getting dressed and heading my way, while Jersey was calling Southwest to book himself on the next/earliest flight out to come back home. I called the doctor and she directed me to come into the hospital and be prepared to stay.
The next few hours were a blur of frantically packing last minute things into my hospital bag, packing Jersey’s things until I realized he had his suitcase with clothes for a week and didn’t need any more! and heading to the hospital once Mom and Dad arrived. One majorly important thing I forgot to do?
EAT SOMETHING. I didn’t eat anything. I hated myself for this mistake for the next 18 hours. Because, giving birth when you’re hangry just sucks.
At the hospital I was quickly directed to Labor & Delivery, checked in and tucked into a birth room with all the monitors. I had to have an antibiotic dose via IV, because my test for Strep at the OB’s office that very morning wasn’t processed yet. That was my first IV ever in my life and it hurt more than I thought! By this time it was about 3 or 4am. Jersey’s flight was at 6am, landing at 8:30am and I was praying that BabyZ wouldn’t be in any hurry. Good thing I was only 1cm dilated at that point.
I wasn’t feeling many contractions, even though the monitor showed very small ones at a pretty regular interval. This continued until about 8am, when they started me on pitocin to kick up the contractions a notch. I learned that this needed to happen because, once your water breaks, the clock is ticking for the baby. Because he was no longer protected by the amniotic fluid, the risk increases for infection and complications. Fine by me, I wanted to get this show on the road once Jersey arrived!
Once it wasn’t the middle of the night, I let my brother and his family know what was going on, along with a few select friends. Let me tell you, social media is hard to keep under wraps when you wish to announce something yourself. We had one small leak of information on Facebook before we wanted it announced, but cest la vie. Happily, my brother was able to take off of work, didn’t send my nephew to school and they came to the hospital to camp out with my parents in my room. I remember sending my boss a note to inform him and spending quite a bit of time forwarding work emails for a big project I was working on (which now had to be handed off!). My colleagues thought I was nuts for working while in labor, but I knew it would be the last chance I had to focus for a while, especially once my contractions kicked in.
My husband arrived at about 9:00am, wired from adrenaline and lack of sleep. Poor guy, he’d been awake since he flew to his job 24 hours prior to that! I was so glad he made it in time!!!
From here, the story takes off pretty quickly. The hours passed and my dose of pitocin was steadily increased. The contractions began to hurt, but they were still bearable with some yoga breathing. We had some amazing nurses who helped to keep us laughing and pass the time. I was STARVING but they wouldn’t let me eat anything. I was allowed apple juice and water. That was it. Finally the doctor on call came in to check my progress, so we kicked everyone out of the room and I didn’t think anything of it. Just another pelvic exam, of which I’d had plenty in the past 8 months, right? NOPE.
The pain of this exam was so intense it stole my breath and brought tears to my eyes. Once it was over he said I was 4cm dilated and we still had a ways to go. I tried not to
yell glare at him for not preparing me for the pain of that damn exam. He could’ve warned a girl! OUCH. I was glad I was progressing, though.
More hours passed. Family was there, chatting with us. My love never left my side and held my hand through each wave of pain. And when it became apparent that the pain was getting to a “we’re not f***ing around” level, I asked the family to leave. By that level, I mean that a wave of contractions hit me so hard that I couldn’t breathe and tears ran down my face. Once it passed, I stupidly asked the nurse if they would all be that bad. She kindly looked at me and said, “honey, they’ll only get worse from here. If you want the epidural, let me know at any time.”.
Going into labor, I’d told Jersey and my family that I wanted to play it by ear with the epidural. I wasn’t opposed to it at all, I just wanted to see how bad the pain really was before I decided to have one. Well, I can safely tell you that once the contractions began to pile up, one on top of another, like a locomotive accident, each with a greater degree of pain, I knew exactly when to call it. I requested the epidural and held onto my husband’s hand for dear life with every contraction that came between that moment and when the procedure was completed. It’s hard to remember, but I think I got the epidural around 3 or 4pm.
Thankfully, once I couldn’t feel that awful degree of pain I was a much happier person! It was like a light switch was flipped. I was laughing, energetic, joking around, ready to do this thing and meet our little guy! The next time the doctor checked me, shortly after the epidural, I was at 7cm. Woohoo! The nurses were still super attentive and after another hour or so, they actually took me seriously when I told them I felt a lot of pressure down there. They didn’t think it was time to push yet, but humored me and did a quick check.
And ummm… yeah. They felt the head. Immediately the doctor was paged, who showed up in scrubs, all skeptical that they were seriously paging him for me that quickly. I was a first time mom and there was no way it was time to push yet. Or so he thought.
They got me in stirrups and he had me do a “test push” on the count of three. It felt all kinds of weird to try to push when you are numb from your boobs to your hips, but I did. And I was shocked when the doctor yelled, “STOP! DON’T PUSH ANY MORE!”. What? Did I screw up? Did I do it wrong? Is something wrong with the baby? No, as it turns out, the baby was totally ready to come out, but the doctor (who didn’t believe me!) was not prepared to deliver him! He scrambled to get gowned up and the team ready for the baby’s arrival. Within another 5 minutes, he said, “Okay. Let’s have a baby. Do exactly what you just did a minute ago. On the count of three.”
And then I did again.
And then my baby was born. 6:22pm. Two pushes. Whoa.
The moment we saw him, wriggling and red and tiny, and heard his wailing cry, my eyes filled with tears. I looked up at his Daddy, saw his tears that matched mine. He was still holding my hand and he softly said, “oh, my god. look at him.” It was a feeling that so many other parents say cannot be described. The moment your entire life changes. The disbelief that this little creature was made by your own body. That those little feet were the ones kicking your ribs all those times. When he’s placed on your chest and looks at you both with eyes of such solemnity and wisdom, as if to say, “I know you guys. Nice to meet you, finally.”.
It was everything. And more.