So I had a baby

I still cannot believe that I made this beautiful tiny human and brought her into the world. Here is my birth story. {This post is pretty long, so thanks for reading.}

So it all started when I was 37 weeks pregnant and my OB told me I was already 3 cm dilated and 50% effaced. I was pretty excited that things were already moving. She was convinced that things would progress quickly once labor started. That week I felt my first twinges of contractions. I wondered what I was feeling because I hadn’t been experiencing Braxton Hicks contractions so far during the pregnancy. By the way, BH contractions SUCK. Whoever said that “most women don’t even feel them” was a big fat liar. We went to the hospital so I could get checked out and I was admitted because my contractions were coming pretty regularly. But the BH contractions eventually stopped so I went home. First false alarm! Little did I know, there would be many more. From then on, I experienced BH contractions every day but we still waited for our little one to be ready to arrive.

At 38 weeks, Paul and I were having a lunch date and I started to feel a trickle. I thought my water had broken but we continued our day to see if anything progressed. I eventually we went to the hospital to verify whether my water had or had not broken. I was still experiencing strong and regular BH contractions about 10 minutes apart but they confirmed that my water hadn’t broken. False alarm number 2! I went home with my tail between my legs because I felt silly for coming all the way in just to be sent home. Thankfully, the OBs and L&D nurses says it’s very normal for first-time mothers to come in to the hospital multiple times before actually giving birth.

When I was 39 weeks along, I was at my non-stress test and I was experiencing very strong contractions regularly about every 4 minutes. I was sweating and very uncomfortable so I went back to L&D to be checked. About an hour later, my contractions slowed down and I was sent home AGAIN. False alarm number 280,984. At this point I was feeling hopeless and frustrated. I felt like I was never going to meet my little girl and hold her.

My BH contractions kept coming day after day but I was trying to stay calm while waiting. I baked some goodies and took a lot of baths. At 40 weeks {our due date, yay!} I went to another OB check-up and had my membranes stripped. My cervix was even more effaced and it had moved into a good position. I finally had hope that our little girl would be coming very soon!

At 40 weeks and 5 days I woke up to extremely strong contractions. Throughout the day they were becoming progressively stronger and at around 3pm they started coming regularly every 8-10 minutes. However, doubt set in again because I had experienced regular and strong contractions before and I was convinced that they would dissipate eventually, just like every other time. But on some level, I knew these were different. They would take over my body and I had excruciating pain in my lower back.

Paul convinced me to call the birth center and they told to come in. By the time we reached the hospital {about 4 miles away} my contractions had become so intense, that I was screaming through each one and they were coming every 4 minutes. I went to the triage room but they didn’t even try to monitor my contractions and went straight to checking my cervix. I was 4 cm dilated and 90% effaced and I was finally admitted to have my baby. Holy moly! I used that new adrenaline to try to get through the pain. My contractions were coming every 3 minutes and lasting for a minute at a time. I felt like my sacrum was breaking from the inside but I was determined to labor naturally for as long as possible. Back labor was the worst pain I’ve ever experienced or could have ever conceived.

At that point, I was projectile vomiting and Paul was starting to panic seeing me in that kind of pain. At around 11 pm, I tried some fentanyl to take the edge off. It helped at first, but even with a dose every 20 minutes, I was starting to feel incredibly rigid and I wasn’t breathing through my contractions. The pain was making me convulse and I felt like I was losing it.

They checked my cervix again and I had not dilated any more since they checked me at 6 pm. I cannot even describe how hard that was to hear. I couldn’t believe I was in THAT much pain and I still had 6 more cm to go. My hopes were to have as natural a birth as possible but the pain was preventing me from breathing. With the help of Paul and my mother, I was able to see that what would be best for me and the baby. I needed to breathe and relax through the next parts of labor to get ready for the marathon of pushing. At around midnight, I got an epidural and it was one of the best decisions I had ever made. I was finally able to breathe normally and Emma’s heart rate was responding well to my more relaxed state. I was then able to rest for about 3 hours.

Paul continued to hold my hand and reassured me that baby Emma was on her way. The contractions were coming on even stronger and closer together and were lasting over a minute long but I was able to focus on breathing, relaxing my body, and resting for the next phases of labor. At around 4 am, I started to feel the contractions through the epidural and I was convulsing and vomiting again. The nurse said that it was a good sign that I was in transition and that I should be close to pushing soon. Of course, I still had doubts that things were moving but I tried to breathe through this phase. At around 4:30 am, the OB checked me again and lo and behold, I was 10 centimeters dilated and fully effaced! I would be ready to push! 

Starting at 4:40 am, I did a few practice contractions to get a sense of what it felt like to push through the epidural. Pushing was very difficult. It took all my energy to get through each contraction and I felt like I was going to pop blood vessels in my head. I was starting to feel the pain of each contraction and my upper abdominal muscles were screaming. The nurse encouraged me to press the button for another bolus of the epidural, but I wanted to be able to somewhat feel the contractions and know when to push.

The OB and nurse kept checking on the baby’s position and they told me she was slowly moving down the birth canal. With each contraction, she moved further and further down and eventually she was right at my pubic bone. I had to give it my all to get her past the bone. I was given an oxygen mask between contractions to make sure baby was getting enough oxygen. I kept saying that I couldn’t do it and I was crying that she would never come but Paul, my mom, and the team were telling me that she really was moving and I was doing a great job.

I still wasn’t convinced until they told me to reach down to feel her head. Once I felt that little bit of her precious head, I somehow managed to conjure up the last bit of strength that I had and pushed with all my might. More nurses, doctors, and the pediatric team filled the room and I knew in my heart that it would be any second now. With my final push, they guided her whole body out and she was born at 7:22 am. They placed her directly on my chest and I was sobbing with relief.

I had done it. Her first cries took my breath away and Paul and I were in awe of her. Paul and I were crying and kissing and the nurses wiped her down and put a little hat on her. She just looked around as she laid on my chest and we were so in love.

A team of OBs worked on delivering my placenta and repairing a moderate tear but I did not even notice what they were doing. I was staring at this perfect human in front of me. Paul cut the cord and we were now the proud parents of a perfect little girl. She laid on my chest for about 2 hours while we tried to initiate breastfeeding. I couldn’t believe that I had done it. Paul told me he wanted the middle name to be Grace. She was 8 pounds, 3.8 oz, and 20.5 inches long. She was finally here and our twosome became three.

I am still in awe by this whole, incredible experience. God bless our little family.