i’ve recounted B’s birth many times to a handful of friends and fellow mother’s. but, it has always been doled out in chunks. never from beginning to the whole end.
the reason is because as many births can be- it was overwhelming and emotional. because i know people judge hard (and have), unless they’ve experienced the same thing themselves.
so as B approaches the big 3, i thought i would sit and write out the details… before i forget them all.
on june 12, 2014, i was at work like any other thursday. 36 weeks pregnant and as i sat at my desk, i noticed that B was not moving as she usually did every morning. i told one of my co-workers and she suggested i try some juice, so we went to the cafeteria where i downed a cup of juice, waited and still- nothing. i decided to call the maternity ward to see what the nurses might suggest. it had been far too long at this point, and i was worried. they told me to come in for monitoring.
i drove myself to the hospital thinking i would be back to work shortly after. i tried calling N, but i knew he was in a job interview and would be unreachable for a few hours. i called my father in law to let him know where i was headed. my sister in law was also pregnant at the time and scheduled for an induction that upcoming weekend.
a few of my mom friends in my birth club had joked the day before saying that friday the 13th and the full honey moon were coming up. who would take one for the team and give birth on that day?
at the hospital, i was taken back right away and hooked up to the monitors. this was at 11:30am. the nurse asked me if i knew that i was having a contractions once a minute, and asked “don’t you feel them?”
“yes”, i responded, “i’ve been feeling them for about two weeks now… isn’t that normal?” ah- first time motherhood and all of its naivety. i drank more juice. i waited. some tests. an ultrasound to check fluid levels. then finally she kicked! three hours of being hooked up, N finally arrived at the hospital and they said they were gathering my discharge papers and to hang tight.
i distinctly remember N asking me if i wanted one of the cookies he was eating. i told him, no- we could just go get something to eat once we left there because i wanted “real” food. that was one of the big mistakes i made that day. not five minutes later, nurses and doctors came rushing into the triage room. i was still hooked up to the fetal monitor. they told me that B’s heart rate was continuously dropping and to roll over on my side because they were going to break my water. i wouldn’t be leaving the hospital until i had this baby. this was around 2:00pm.
i was in fact in such shock because even though i knew i would be having a baby within the next 4-5 weeks… i didn’t think i would be having a baby that very weekend. i had a birthday party planned for N in two days. my sister in law was supposed to be the one giving birth on sunday. being the virgo that i am- i had of course already packed my hospital bag, which was waiting by the door at home along with my neatly typed up birth plan (which LOL to that because the dr practically did laugh out loud when i presented it).
“you’re really calm. why are you so calm?” asked the nurse (i actually totally adored this nurse because she was the most real with me through the experience). i really had no answer. when something shocking or bad happens to me, i just typically don’t panic and try to process and plan my next steps instead. all i honestly remember at this point was A LOT of warm gushing water and saying hello to really big contractions immediately.
i was taken to a labor and delivery room and everything was cool as far as laboring went for the first 2 hours. i was able to get up and move around which helped so much. B was face up which meant incredibly intense back labor (and has anyone seen the size of that kid’s head… no joke, my friends). and then they came and told me that B’s heart rate kept dropping and i needed to stay in bed and not move around so they could monitor her properly. ugh. pure and utter crap. okay- not really, but it sucked for me as i could not get any relief at all by just staying in one position.
time continued to press on and i was progressing really well. they say labor pain is incredibly bad and that you forget it as time passes. honestly, i have experienced worse pain (like two dry sockets after having my wisdom teeth pulled… labor was much better than that for me). however, it was not easy. that sh** sucked and i was so thirsty. i remember telling everyone in sight that all i wanted after this was a white powerade once this was done. my body was craving sodium like crazy. 5cm, 6cm… did i want an epidural? no. more time passed. N was tired and passed out. again i was offered an epidural. no… finally at 7cm a nurse came in and said to me, “i know you don’t want an epidural and i know you want to do this naturally. i’m really worried you might end up having a c-section and if you don’t get the epidural now, they will put you under completely to do the c-section.” at first, i was taken aback and felt bullied by her statement. but, then i looked at my situation. decreased fetal heart rate. prior placenta previa with the placenta still very close to the opening which could potentially complicate things. i agreed to the epidural and found sweet, sweet relief. for a few hours. this was at 8:00pm.
i stopped progressing all through the night and was stuck at 7cm. around midnight i realized that i was feeling every single contraction again. not just a little bit, but just like normal contractions. the anesthesiologist came in and added more medication. great for another hour and then the contractions hit me again.
per the norm, my nurse came in to check vitals and they discovered i was running a fever. hooray! tylenol, cold cloths, anesthesiologist gave more meds to my epidural. my fever was not messing around and i was burning the epidural meds off like they were nothing. at one point the anesthesiologist said, “i think i’ve given you enough to put an elephant down.” this is when angry pregnant lady emerged. i was tired, hungry, thirsty (although they let me have ice chips for a bit), in pain and pissed off.
finally, they decided that since i was running said fever and not progressing, they would start me on a light dose of pitocin to help push me to 10cm. not like i had much say in the matter. pitocin makes labor so so SO much worse and at this point i had said screw it to the epidural since all it was doing was giving me 10 minutes of relief at a time and making me shake like crazy.
then, it was time to push. this was at 11:50am. the anesthesiologist asked if i wanted another hit of medication before i started pushing. i (probably rudely) declined as it was much easier to have full control of my legs and all i really freaking wanted to do was push. i pushed and pushed… and pushed. B was still sunny side up. B’s heart rate continued to drop with each contraction. i was put on oxygen in between contractions which was far more annoying than it sounds. they tried turning her and she would just flip right back around. finally i had part of her head almost out (still sunny side up- that stubborn child…), but they told me she just wouldn’t slip under my pubic bone. that was super cool.
the doctor told me maybe they could use forceps? but, my fever was continuing to rise. the doctor was pro-forceps. three of the nurses came to me and highly recommended a c-section… they told me they didn’t believe the forceps would be right decision and we needed to decide right then because of all of the factors between myself and the baby. i know a doctor knows more, but i trusted these nurses. this was at 1:40pm.
so, off to the OR i was pushed. i remember continuing to have contractions as they were getting the room ready and they kept telling me, “don’t push”… but hello- having to push during a contraction and resisting is nearly impossible without pain relief… so i continued to push as discreetly as i could. i was incredibly worried about anesthesia since it wasn’t working before, but whatever they gave me when we got in there was some serious stuff because by the time i was all set up, i felt nothing. at this point, N informed me that they were shoving B back up my vagina/birth canal (sorry for the visual), so she would be back up high enough to take out of my stomach.
the rest of it was a blur. i didn’t feel tugging or pain. i don’t even remember her crying because i was just so tired and doped up on the heavy pain meds. once she was out i told N to go over and see her and bring me back photos while they weighed her and made sure she was healthy. i remember crying and our admittedly cool anesthesiologist snapped photos for us (and he asked if i was crying from happiness or pain- which was kind of funny to me, considering the circumstances).
Baby BAM, as she was so fondly referred to throughout my pregnancy, was born June 13, 2014 at 2:07pm. 5 lb 11 oz, 18.5 inches long… head in the 99th+ percentile (which is where it stayed until she was 18 months old, when it finally dropped to the 98th percentile).
in recovery, the nurses told me that i had contracted Chorioamnionitis during labor. It’s an intra-amniotic infection which is what was causing my fever. My placenta was not salvageable for encapsulation and was to be sent to the lab instead… and i would have to be on IV antibiotics for the next 3 days to fight the infection. it was like the sad, sad cherry on top of the whole crazy experience. i had to wait an hour while B was in the NICU for breathing issues (and then ongoing issues with jaundice through our stay). and then she was brought to me. it felt perfect and foreign at the same time to have her in my arms- finally, yet too soon. i know mother’s who have given birth earlier and i am lucky she came out so perfect and with such mild issues from being born pre-term. but, i would’ve given anything to let her grow those last few weeks in my stomach to develop more. those are stories for another time though!
in the end, we left with a perfect baby who will now suddenly be 3 in the blink of an eye.