During my pregnancy, I spent so much time reading birth stories and watching birth vlogs. I loved seeing the various experiences different women had and I cried along with them each time it got to the part of the baby being placed on their chest for the first time. I can’t believe I am sitting down to now write my own birth story.
For starters, I had a very different idea of how my birth experience would go. I thought I would end up being induced, then labor for maybe 2 days and push for upwards of 4 hours. With the way my pregnancy had been going, I was trying to brace myself for a long few days before we were able to meet our daughter. Thankfully, my experience was much different than what I had in mind, and I’m going to share that below, gross details and all.
A little more background, at my 40 week appointment my Doctor let me know that she was on call Friday, Saturday and Sunday, but by Monday morning it was another doctor from a different practice. She said she had a feeling I wasn’t making it to my scheduled induction because I was 3 cm dilated and over 70% effaced, but she hoped it would happen while she was there. Friday night I was bleeding a bit and I called her, she said it was more of my mucus plug (which I had lost 2 weeks prior and then continued to lose up until Olivia was almost here), Saturday I felt a gush of liquid, called my doctor and she sent me to L&D, come to find out I had peed myself and we were sent home. At this point I said I wasn’t calling again unless my water broke and it was like a waterfall so I was sure labor was in progress, otherwise I would be waiting until my induction.
Now for the story:
On Sunday, May 27th, we went to a late breakfast and came home to relax. I was scheduled to be induced on Wednesday so we knew that no matter what it was our last weekend with just the two of us and we wanted to take advantage of naps if we could. I fell asleep watching TV and then woke up around 1 not feeling very well. It felt like a typical stomach ache and I chalked it up to something I had for breakfast not sitting right. I felt like I needed to go to the bathroom so that paired with my stomach ache seemed normal….for somebody not pregnant at least. I was back and forth between the living room and bathroom for a few hours feeling uncomfortable, until I was on the sofa and got a really strong pain in my lower stomach, around 5:30 pm. I went back into the bathroom and the pain was so severe that I let out a yelp in agony, this happened a few more times within a few minutes.
Dave came into the bathroom after hearing my yelps and told me we needed to go to the hospital…it wasn’t until that moment that I realized these were contractions! I knew my doctor wanted me to wait until the contractions were 5 minutes apart and lasting for an hour. I started timing them right away and they were 4 minutes and lasted for a minute each. These contractions were INTENSE. It was nothing like I expected, was told or had been experiencing leading up to this point, which is why I had no idea I was in labor just a few minutes earlier. I sat on the edge of the bed, Dave held my hand, and both of us shed some tears as we timed the contractions for an hour.
Around the 45 minute mark I called my mom so her and my sister could get ready and ride with us. I needed somebody to sit with me in the backseat and talk me through the breathing because my mind was in another place during each contraction. I couldn’t talk, move, think, etc. all I could do was focus on what I was being told and that was to breathe. It was storming like crazy on our ride over but Dave still managed to get us there in about 30 minutes, arriving right around 7:30 pm.
Once we arrived, I had 2 contractions while walking up to the registration desk, at this point I realized these contractions were getting closer together and all I wanted was an epidural ASAP. My sister helped me through contractions while we waited to be called back to triage and at this point I wasn’t sure how long I could make it. A few minutes later we were called back and I had about 3 contractions while the nurse was attempting to get information from me, this was such a miserable experience. I wanted to get this part overwith to see if I would be admitted but I could barely get through her questions. This was also when they asked about a birth plan and if I wanted an epidural, I told her yes I wanted it as soon as possible and handed her our birth plan. My only “plan” was to have an epidural, do skin-to-skin for 30 minutes with me and 30 minutes with Dave, and to breastfeed as soon as possible. I tried not to restrict myself as we all know, God is the only person who knows how labor and delivery will go.
After sitting in triage for about 20 minutes (it was right on the dot of shift change so it took a bit) they did an exam and I was 3.5 cm dilated. I really thought they would tell me to go walk around to see if I would dilate more. But, after a few minutes they let me know I was being admitted and we went to my labor and delivery room. I met my nurse, she started an IV almost immediately and she said as soon as that IV was finished I could get the epidural. In my mind I was counting down the contractions, at this point they were 3 minutes apart, so I just had to make it through about 15 more to get to some sort of relief. I had mentioned to Dave how thirsty I was and that I felt really nauseous, so he brought both up to the nurse. She gave me medicine for the nausea, and let me have water. This was a Godsend because I thought I could only have ice chips!
Around 8:30, my doctor came in to say hi, break my water and insert an internal contraction monitor. Since I hadn’t had the epidural yet she said I would feel pressure, but I felt so much more. I was screaming from the pain of having that monitor inserted (I have no idea why it hurt so much) and the contractions. Dave later told me there was an intense amount of blood while she was doing this. She also did an exam and I was already 5 cm dilated, it took less than an hour to go from 3.5 to 5.
Thankfully, as soon as the fluids were finished, around 9:30, in came the anesthesiologist. I was terrified for the epidural up until about 3 hours prior. The thought of a needle going into my back, the risks associated with it, and the restrictions of movement, I didn’t think I could do it. Once things were happening, I would have let Dave do it if he could have. I slowly moved to the side of the bed, grabbed onto Dave and somehow had 2 contractions without a single movement while the epidural was being prepped and inserted. I didn’t feel a thing besides a little bit of a pinch in my back. I couldn’t believe how fearful I was for something so simple, especially compared to the contractions.
Thinking back onto the several hours before I had my epidural reminds me of how much Dave loves and cares for me. He sat next to me on the bed before we left our house, he was breathing along with me on the car ride, he literally held me up as contractions started through the lobby, he let me lean on him while we were in triage and then he stood right next to my bed and let me practically break his hand while waiting for the IV to finish. We both cried a few times, but these special moments of his unending support mean more than the world. He continued to encourage me through the entire process, it’s a blessing to have such a wonderful person to spend these moments with.
After the epidural, I felt 2-3 contractions and then I wasn’t feeling a thing! My contractions were off the charts, but I wasn’t phased anymore. The nurse placed the catheter, again- a fear, and I had no idea she had done it by the time she was finished. At this point it was safe for Dave to leave my bedside and go get my mom, sister, dad and grandmother. They came back for a little while and then rotated with my MIL, BIL, SIL, and grandfather during the laboring process. Our families had taken over the lobby of L&D, so much love awaiting Olivia’s arrival!
After about 15 minutes with the epidural, contractions started to slow a little bit so they gave me pitocin, another thing I feared, but again I couldn’t feel anything. It was a little after 11 pm when things were slowing down and I could take a few minutes to think. Dave and I went through our list of people to tell we were in the hospital and sent a few texts, realizing it was pretty late at night we didn’t get to tell everyone right away but we figured we would let them know in the morning. Not thinking we would have a baby by then. I also remember asking my nurse if she thought I would have the baby before her shift ended because 1- I LOVED her and 2- my doctor would be leaving at the same time. She said she thought it would be close but that she had a good feeling I would have a baby before 7 am.
Around 12 am I was shivering a bit and started to feel some pressure in my right side, I was told I could press the epidural button to get an extra dose, but if I pressed it twice they would have to redo the epidural. I wanted to save those extra doses, so the nurse had me roll to the right and put a peanut ball in-between my legs. Since I couldn’t feel much, my mom and Dave took turns holding the ball in place. The nurse also gave my some medicine for a fever which was some of the cause of the shivering. The peanut is supposed to help open your pelvis, which I thought might be painful, but again it wasn’t. I laid like this for about an hour and when I wasn’t feeling the pressure anymore I went back onto my back.
During this time it was me, Dave, my mom, sister, grandmother, and a rotation between my SIL and MIL in the room. I will cherish this hour or so forever. Some of my favorite people sitting with me in the middle of the night, going without sleep all to support me while I was laboring. I know everyone is different and a lot of people want the number of visitors to be limited, but I wouldn’t have had it any other way. I don’t remember much of the conversations that took place, but I will never forget the fact that they were there.
The doctor’s assistant came in around 1:15 to check on me and do an exam, I was already over 9 cm dilated. She left the room and then came back in about 15 minutes later and said she wanted to do some practice pushes, this is when my face went completely white and my entire body was tingly. WHAT?! I had no idea things were going to progress so quickly. I hadn’t even changed into the delivery robe I brought, put on a nursing bra or anything. The nurse asked everyone to leave that wasn’t going to be in the room for delivery and we were prepping.
I took a few minutes to get my thoughts together and the nurse told me to push where her hand was, I couldn’t feel a thing but knew if I said that they would turn my epidural down, so I gave it my all and pushed where I thought I should push. She said it was perfect and told me to keep going. Dave and my mom each were holding a leg, my sister was standing beside the bed and all three of them, along with my nurse, were encouraging me throughout the entire process. After 1 set of 3 pushes during one contraction, they could see Olivia’s head. At this point, my sister was bopping around the room taking pictures and sharing encouraging words to keep me going. After about 10 minutes of pushing, the nurse asked if I wanted a mirror. I was 100% against this going in and said no right away, but then changed my mind and used it for about 2 contractions. At one point I started coughing and the nurse said to keep that baby in until the doctor got there.
Around 2:15 the nurse went to get my doctor and I thought this would be the beginning of several hours of pushing. When she came in, she set some things up, asked me to hold my breath instead of letting it out and push when I was ready (but I couldn’t feel anything so I watched the contraction monitor), still thinking I would be doing this for a while, I prepared myself and pushed. I got through one set of 3 pushes, we laughed a little in between, and I started to push again. Seconds later, The doctor said “meet your baby” and Olivia was being placed on my chest at 2:24 am.
I was so overwhelmed with emotions while trying to catch my breath, I probably sounded crazy getting through those tears. Dave, my mom and Emily were all around us and crying tears of joy. Three of my very best friends, all there to witness my newest best friend enter the world. It happened so fast and pain free that I knew God had his hands all over this experience. I had prayed for a peaceful delivery, and that is exactly what I got. From Dave telling me we needed to go to the hospital around 5:45 to Olivia being born, my labor and delivery process was around 9 hours and it was the complete opposite birth experience than what I had expected but it was everything I had prayed for.
The doctor offered for Dave to cut the cord, which he previously said he wasn’t going to do- and he did it! After a few moments of Olivia on my chest, the doctors took her to the warmer to run tests as my doctor explained everything that had just happened. I had a 2nd degree tear, which is somewhat normal especially for how quickly she came out. My mom stayed with Olivia while she had her weight, length, etc. done and Dave stood by me holding my hand the entire time. THIS moment stands out so much in my mind. Through it all, Dave stood right next to me and held my hand. He wanted to make sure I wasn’t alone after the delivery experience. Even though he could have easily ran over to stand in awe of our baby, he stayed by my side.
There were a few complications shortly after all of this, which I will share in part two of the birth and recovery process later this week.
If you made it through this entire post, props to you! I’m so happy to have this story to look back on in the future as memory fades from this day.