I still can't believe she's finally here. She's no longer moving around in my belly, she's now officially an outside baby. I also can't believe how amazing everything went with her birth. It was such an overall wonderful experience. So much better then I could have hoped for.
Things started overnight and early Friday morning, July 6th. My contractions were strong, but nothing consistent. They were coming every hour, sometimes more, sometimes less, but they were pretty strong and definitely different then the contractions I had been having before. They came and went throughout the day on Friday. I would sometimes have to stop what I was doing and hold on to something nearby, focusing my breath and trying to relax as they came and went. They would never get any where near a consistent five minutes apart, so I just kept going about my day and getting through each one.
Throughout that night and into the next morning, the contractions started to become extremely intense and much more painful. The came almost exactly one hour apart throughout the entire night. Each one seemed to last a really long time and each one seemed to be stronger and more painful then the last. I just laid in bed, on my side, trying to stay calm and focused and breathing through each one. It was a very long night and somehow I still managed to get some sleep between each contraction.
I got up early Saturday morning and told Joe that I had a feeling we were going to have a baby that day. My mom texted me around 9:00 am asking the peanut to come out and meet us. I told her what a horrible night it had been. She said she would get the little pool in her back yard ready so I could sit in it. I told her that this was the day. It had to be.
I started getting some things packed. They started becoming about 10 minutes apart consistently. About 10:00am, I decided to lay down for a while and see if I could get any rest. The contractions kept coming, getting closer and closer together. I laid in bed wondering if we should maybe head to the hospital soon. I just didn't feel it was time quite yet.
I really really wanted to have an unmedicated, natural birth. This isn't always easy in a hospital setting and I knew the longer I could hold out at home, the better chance I would have. I knew as soon as I got to the hospital and they started trying to poke me with things and make me sit in the bed while they monitored me, that it would be so much more difficult to handle the pain and make it without any assistance. I was afraid I would cave as soon as I was stuck in that bed, the contractions getting stronger and stronger and more and more painful and the nurses saying, "Are you sure you don't want an epidural? Are you sure we can't give you anything for the pain?" I just didn't want the temptation. I also knew that dealing with the contractions in my own home would be so much more bearable. I could lay in my bed, take a shower, sit on a ball, walk around the house, or lean up against my wall, all in a familiar setting. I could have the help of my husband and the distraction of the munchkin.
I got out of bed once I realized the contractions were started to get closer and closer together. I started to time them and realized they were around 2 to 3 minutes apart. Looking back, I am surprised I didn't just drop everything and head in at that moment. I didn't really have a master plan or think really hard about what I was doing. I just kept going with my gut and doing whatever felt right. We started bringing everything into the kitchen to get ready to load in the car. I told Joe to grab the cooler so I could pack up all my food in it for our stay. He asked if we really needed to, he could always come back for it. I told him that we were definitely going to have this baby when we got there and I was going to be starving afterwards! After an hour of the contractions being 2 to 3 minutes apart, I called my mom and told her that we were dropping off the munchkin and heading to the hospital.
The ride to the hospital was the worst. Every bump and sharp turn felt like I was being stabbed somewhere down below. The contractions were getting so strong and close together I could barely see straight. By the time Joe pulled up to the emergency door exit, I knew there was no way I could even get out of the car by myself. Joe helped me out and walked me in. He parked the car, while an employee put me in a wheelchair and brought me up to the maternity floor. We had called my OB on the way there and told her it was time.
As soon as I arrived in the maternity ward, they could see how much pain I was in. I told them my contractions were only a couple minutes apart and they started working really quickly. It was a whirlwind of nurses and technicians all bringing equipment into my room.
They asked me if I wanted an epidural and I told her no and that I didn't want any pain killers of any kind. They put me into the bed, hooked up the little monitors to track the baby's heartbeat and my contractions and then went to check my cervix.
"She's at a 9 and 100% effaced!"
"Call her doctor, this baby is coming!"
I think I timed that one pretty good if you ask me!
Suddenly my legs were up on the racks and my doctors partner, who was already at the hospital came into the room. There was no way my doctor could make it there on time. My water had not broken and was still in place. The doctor told me to let her know when I was ready and she was going to break my water. She said that things were going to move very quickly after that. My mom still wasn't there and I didn't want her to miss it, but I was in so much pain and I needed to move forward. The doctor broke my water and right after, my mom flew into the room.
With Joe on my right leg and my mom on my left, we were ready. Atleast as ready as I would ever be. The doctor told me to let her know when I felt ready to push and to start pushing with the contractions. For each contraction I would bear down and push as hard as I could as Joe and my mom would help pull up my legs. I was pushing so hard and at one point the doctor told me to relax my face as much as I could and try to push only through my bottom.
Joe told me later that my face had been so red and all of my veins were popping out, so that was probably why she offered that suggestion. Also afterwards, I had tiny red dots, little blood vessels, that were all over my face and shoulders. They faded after a day, but if the doctor hadn't suggested that to me and I hadn't followed her advice, I probably could have done some real damage there.
Through each contraction, I pushed as hard as I could. They kept telling what a good job I was doing and I tried believing them, even though it hurt like hell and I couldn't tell if I was really making any progress or not. At one point I remember saying that I didn't know what to do, it just hurt so bad and then I asked if anything I was doing was even helping.
I had read about the "Ring of Fire", but nothing could have ever prepared me for it. I knew as soon as I felt it that it was exactly that. It was crazy intense, a burning feeling that really felt like a ring of fire. Everyone was telling me to push as hard as I could, to push right where the pain was. The doctor said that she could see her hair and her head was coming out. Joe and my mom were taking peeks, getting excited and telling me that she was coming, to just keep pushing. I took a deep breath, let it out and pushed as hard as I could, then pushed a little harder.
Suddenly I felt the intense pressure and I knew her head was coming out. I also felt a huge sense of relief as soon as it passed through, them more pressure as her shoulders came through. I could actually feel it all, each part as it passed through. It was crazy painful, but so wonderful at the same time. I can't describe that feeling... but even as the pain was hitting me, I was somehow grateful I could feel it.
Later Joe told me that right before her head came out, as it was pushing it's way out and stretching things, that my vagina looked like homer simpson's mouth, but with the slit going in the other direction. Ewe.
Finally her shoulders passed and a huge feeling of relief passed over my body. The doctor pulled her the rest of the way out. I was able to stop pushing and let me body relax.
Holy crap, what a relief.
We arrived at the hospital right around 1:00pm and she was born at 1:52pm!
Joe cut the cord, and she was handed to me. She was covered in the thickest layer of vernix you could imagine. My cheesy little baby! I was so happy she was finally here and that I could love on her and hold her.
The doctor finished everything up below as they checked the baby over and made sure everything was okay.
It was weird passing the placenta and feeling everything. I had a small tear, so the doc stitched that up as well. I told them I wanted to start nursing right away and once the doc was finished up with everything else down below, they handed her over to me. She latched on right away and nursed for 15 minutes on each side!
Her first bath took forever. The nurse had to work really hard to remove all of the vernix from her skin. Joe asked her if we could collect it in a bottle and use it to moisturize our skin. She laughed, but also looked at him like he was crazy.
I couldn't believe how great I felt. I was able to get up and use the restroom and there was nothing constraining me to the bed. I had zero swelling anywhere on my body and other then feeling pretty sore down below, I felt completely normal. After my first birth experience with the munchkin, I was stuck in the bed for hours afterwards waiting for any feeling to come back to my legs from the epidural. I hated it. What a different experience this was!
I was overwhelmed with so many emotions. I was so inlove with this new baby. So happy she had arrived safely and healthy. I was so grateful. I was also so happy that everything had happened the way that it did. That this birth experience was everything I had hoped for. I felt incredibly lucky.