Brynn Amaela turned nine weeks old last weekend and I am just getting around to posting her birth story now. I guess that in itself captures how life has been with a newborn. My friend said “the days are long and the years (in this case weeks) are fast.” I couldn’t agree more. But for this post, I want to focus on the labor and delivery.
Brynn’s birth was the most amazing experience of my life and by far my favorite day. Everything started on Friday, March 17th, the evening of my scheduled induction. My husband and I were told to go to the hospital at 8pm to start the induction process but to call labor and delivery before we left to confirm the time. Well it turned out that St. Patty’s was a busy evening. After calling at 7pm, I was told our check in-time was to be pushed back and to call at 9pm for a new time. I tried to distract myself with television for the next two hours. Finally, I got our new time- 11pm.
On our way to the hospital, my husband and I talked about how odd it was that we were going to have our baby but I was not in active labor. The car ride was not what we had imagined. No contractions or heavy breathing. No sense of urgency. I was calm and not in pain. I was a little sad I wasn’t experiencing going into labor on my own. (Hours later this feeling would be washed away with the very real contractions.)
When we arrived at the hospital, we were told to sit in the waiting area. That is where we encountered two women who were indeed in active labor. I sat between them as they waited for their rooms. I felt like a bit of an imposter. Needless to say, our induction was pushed back again. After watching the women get ushered into their rooms and wishing them lots of luck, I was escorted to my room at 12:00am. Here is the timeline from 12:00am to 5:23pm when my baby girl arrived!
12:00am- signed consents, found out blood pressure was very high, also found out I was having some big contractions but was not experiencing any pain. Feeling super excited!
1:00am- doctor on call (my doctor arrived in morning) inserted balloon catheter. Doctor asked me if I was uncomfortable and feeling the pressure after the balloon was blown up. When I told her I was quite comfortable, she was surprised. A conversation but whether to get cervidil ensued. After some back and forth and the doc calling my doctor to consult, it was decided cervidil would be skipped since I was already having contractions and had responded so well to the balloon. For a few minutes, I felt like a champ. I thought….”Contractions and a balloon aren’t phasing me- maybe I have a crazy high pain tolerance ?! Maybe this labor thing won’t be too bad?!” (These thoughts would also be washed away hours later).
3:00am- Pitocin started and nurse told us we should try to get some sleep ,I was of course wide awake, Husband settling in to his cot which looks more like a beach chair. Husband dozes off and I am wide awake.
3:33am- our neighbor (one of the ladies I met earlier in waiting area) has baby boy in chilliest, most calm birth. It sounds like she pushes three times. I listen and get emotional. I keep thinking “there was just two of them in waiting room and now they are a family of three.”
4-6am- Contractions are amping up now. Not unbearable but definitely painful.
6-6:45am- zzzzz Finally slept for a little
7:15- Get up to pee (which involves untangling wires, unplugging my iv thing from the wall and dragging the iv bag with me). I find I am bleeding a bit. Not sure if it’s from the balloon but happy to see progression
9am- my doc is here and removes the balloon. I’m pleasantly surprised to learn I am dilated to 5 centimeters. The hope with the balloon is to go to 3-4 centimeters. Again my body is an overachiever- in this case it turns out to be a good thing (wasn’t always good for ivf). The doctor breaks my water and my husband decides to watch! I feel the pop inside of me like a little balloon exploded. The amount of fluid that pours out of me is insane. Feels like a gallon.
9am-12pm- Here is where things get interesting. After my water is broken, my contractions come like crazy! It’s like 0 to 100. My husband watches the screen telling me they are about a minute apart and then quickly only 30-40 seconds apart. They are also so intense: I was told with induction, contractions can be super intense super quick but experiencing it is a whole other thing. Suddenly I can’t lay in bed. I insist on getting up. These three hours essentially involve me walking around the room like a gorilla and hanging on to my husband’s shoulders for dear life. I can feel my face making the sadest, most pleading look at him although I can’t speak. If I could I would say “Help”- not in a yell but a quiet pathetic whimper. I’m pretty sure my face says my pathetic drawn out “help” for me. Then I decide I need to get in the shower. The nurse helps to wrap my IV arm up so I can drag the whole iv pole back to the bathroom. I stand in the hot water. The rails on the sides of the shower take the place of my husband’s shoulders as I put all my weight on them. After about 15 minutes I get out of the shower. I immediately bring up an epidural to my husband telling him I think I have an hour left of this in me maybe an hour and a half but if it’s going to be much longer I want epidural. The nurse comes in shortly after and I ask her how much longer do you think until I can start pushing. She responds “at least 4 more hours” and just like that the anesthesiologist is called in.
12pm- The Epidiural: despite the anesthesiologist being a complete deuce my epidural went pretty well. I was told to get in position with the nursing helping me. As I leaned forward trying to remain perfectly still (a nearly impossible feat in the midst of contractions) the doc says “Do you always tilt your back to the side?” I respond in my head “No asshole only when I’m in labor.” As he starts to insert the needle he tells me “if you feel it going to one side or the other tell me.” I again respond in my head “seriously ?! So I’m responsible for making sure you don’t paralyze me!” Then it’s over and I’m laying in bed. My legs aren’t completely numb and I don’t feel trapped (like I thought I might). I feel comfortable and like I can finally catch my breathe. My nurse Stephanie tells me I should probably sleep and relax now while I can.
12-1pm- I’m feeling great but not sleepy. I dilate to seven centimeters- woohoo.
1:30-3:00- I finally doze off for a bit. I pump the epidural button a bit as I start feeling the contractions again.
3:00- I dilate to 9 centimeters. I put on Bruce Springsteen’s The River to try and wake up and get motivated. I stop pushing the epidural button as I want to feel the pressure so I’ll know when to push. Doctor is telling me it won’t be long now and I’m starting to feel the contractions.
4:40-5:22- Pushing time! This part is different then I expect. I feel in control and motivated. My contractions aren’t coming quickly so I’m not pushing the entire time. It’s more like 3 pushes every few minutes. I think I end up doing about 7-9 rounds of pushing. At first I can’t get the hang of it. I am tensing my face and my arms way too much. Then once a mirror is brought in I finally get it. I think seeing the baby’s head coming out helps me realize what the good pushes are. I watch in the mirror as I push. My nurse and husband are at my side holding my legs and counting down. They are so encouraging and the counting is really helping. My doctor comes in towards the last few pushing rounds and tells me there is a woman down the hall that is progressing fast and he wants to see how I’m doing to decide who will be delivering first. I give him a superstar push and he says “oh you are having this baby soon. I’m not going anywhere!” I’m relieved. I push for another round and see everything getting very red down there. Baby girls head is about half way out now and she has tons of hair. Suddenly I am terrified I am going to see myself tear in the mirror and I demand that it be taken away. I don’t watch my lasts two rounds of pushing. I can feel burning and tons of pressure. The last push of the shoulders brings some pain.
5:23-Suddenly I’m reaching down and pulling my girl up on my chest. She’s not crying but she’s alert. She’s the most beautiful thing I’ve ever seen. The moment is peaceful, serene and joyous all at once. I’m staring in her eyes and she’s really looking back at me. I glance at my husband and tears are pouring down his face. After a few minutes she is latching onto my breast. It’s amazing and feels so natural. I feel an instant connection and euphoria. She lies on my chest for what feels like awhile. It’s the most amazing feeling. While I am basking in her, my doctor tells me I am delivering the placenta and then he is stitching me up saying I have a small tear. I glance at the doctor and the end of my bed. It looks like a war zone down there: blood and fluids all over the floor. I ask him to show me the placenta as a curiosity has taken over me and holds up something that looks a lot bigger than I anticipate. After a few glances, I am back to basking in my little love. Then my husband is escorting her to a little area in my room to get weighed, given a vitamin K shot and cleaned off. Now I hear her cry for the first time. My husband announces her weight to me 8 lbs 2 oz. then she is back in my arms. My heart is so full. My baby Brynn Amaela has arrived.