I wasn't really planning on telling that many people about labor and delivery but I am constantly amazed at who asks me about it and what they ask me. So, here is my experience with labor and delivery. I don't think it is too graphic but as everyone says, after you give birth, you really don't have any issues with a lot of stuff!
Friday August 27th was the first day I started having contractions. Throughout my pregnancy, I didn't really experience any Braxton-Hicks or any contractions so that day I thought, "this is it!". Little did I know that I would continue having contractions for the next week and a half. Every night, I would go to bed thinking, "Maybe tonight this will be it!" and every morning I would wake up with nothing.
Saturday September 4 was the first night they got pretty regular. Again I thought that maybe we would be going to the hospital. I made Nate take one last belly picture:
The next day, Sunday, I was still pregnant but having contractions that were stronger. Again, I made Nate take one last belly shot:
Still nothing on Monday. We sat home all day with contractions that went nowhere.
Tuesday morning I went to work. I had a doctor appointment late morning where I found out that I was dilated to 3 cm so all those contractions WERE doing something. He offered to "strip the membranes" and I said yes. I continued to have contractions for the remainder of the afternoon and left work at about 4:30. Of course when I got home, the contractions had subsided. Our friends offered us Brewers tickets to Tuesday night's game. Everyone at work told me not to go since I was technically in early labor. I felt though that I had enough of sitting around and that if I sat home, again nothing would happen.
So we went to the game. I had some contractions throughout the game but nothing terrible. We left early and got home around 9:45. I went to bed right away. At 11:30, a contraction woke me up. I opened my eyes and GUSH. My water broke! I woke Nate up, telling him that my water broke and he replied, "are you serious?!". We called the hospital and were told to come in.
This time, I made Nate take one last belly shot - FOR REAL!
I didn't have any more contractions while we got ready to go to the hospital. We called our parents and siblings and headed to the hospital. I called my boss's office voicemail to tell her I wouldn't be in in the morning. We got to the hospital and up to labor and delivery. They asked me about the color of my water and determined that there was muconium in it, which basically means that the baby pooped in it. This is very common for overdue babies. What this meant was that we were going to have a 4-person NICU team present for the birth to take the baby and suction the mouth and nose so that the baby didn't aspirate any of the muconium. I wasn't going to get to hold the baby right away. They also said that the baby likely would not cry right away and that we shouldn't be alarmed when we didn't hear a cry.
I changed into the lovely hospital gown and BAM! Contraction city. Contraction #2 would start before Contraction #1 even was over. I was not expecting this. I was expecting to have breaks and build up to the onslaught. Yeah. Lesson #53 that you should have no expectations when it comes to having a baby!
I did not have a birth plan or anything because I didn't know what to expect and wanted to just see how things went. After 3 hours of the contraction onslaught where I basically was standing hunched over the bed, I told them to bring on the epidural.
Nate could not be in the room for the placement of the epidural so the nurse was going to have to help me. It took a long time to get it in because I was basically having constant contractions but eventually it was in. AND AHHHHHHHHHH!
The heavens parted.
It was absolutely incredible how I went to being in some of the most intense pain of my life to absolutely nothing. I confirmed with the nurse that I was actually still having contractions. At that point, the nurse brought in a cot for Nate and told us to try to sleep since I would need energy for pushing and we basically hadn't slept at all. I was WAY too excited to sleep but did manage to get an hour of sleep.
At 6 AM, we were up. We decided to turn on the tv. There was a Saved by the Bell marathon on TBS. 4 episodes of Zach, Slater, Kelly and the gang. We discussed early 90s fashion with our nurse, Susie. It was hilarious. Definitely NOT how I expected to spend the time going from 8-10 cm!
Oh Mr. Belding...
At 8ish my doctor came in and announced "Happy Anniversary". (I had mentioned that at my appt the previous day). He confirmed that the baby was face down (the right way) and that I could start pushing at any time. The nurse told me that she would recommend waiting until I could NOT stand it anymore to save myself some work with pushing.
At 9:00 AM, I couldn't stand it anymore. The pressure was crazy! Susie gave Nate the instructions - she and he would take each of my legs and let me grab the backs of my thighs during pushing. After he received instructions, Nate said, "Susie what should I do if I feel like I'm going to pass out". I gave him a look and said, "really?! ALREADY?! We haven't done anything yet!". He confirmed that he felt fine but wanted to ask before things got hot and heavy. Phew!
So we started pushing. And pushing. I was worried that my epidural wouldn't allow me to feel when to push but I actually could tell when I was having a contraction because the pressure would increase so I was able to dictate when I would push, which was nice. I also did not realize that epidurals only work to a certain point and that I would feel a LOT more of the pushing that I thought. HOLY CATS. Nate was AWESOME during this whole thing - he would lift me from my shoulders to help me curl around my stomach. For some reason, mentally, I thought I had way longer to go than I truly did. Nate & Susie kept telling me the baby was right there - they got a mirror so I could see, the doctor was there, the NICU team was there - there was a party in my room but I still thought I had hours left to push. I could not get over the last bit to get her out.
My doctor suggested a pudendal block which would take over for the epidural so that I would not feel as much of the stretching. I said YES! He asked are you afraid of needles.
JESUS. Of course I am afraid of needles. I haven't been able to successfully donate blood once! He told me not to watch. I did not watch but thought the thing was over so I looked. WOW that was a HUGE NEEDLE. Nate immediately grabbed a pillow and used it to block my view.
After the block, I gave 3 more pushes and she was out! Nate immediately called, "Honey, It's a girl!!!" She not only cried upon entering the world, SHE WAILED. The doctor gave a laugh and said, "well, I guess we have nothing to worry about with her!". By protocol, the NICU team still had to check her out. So we watched and cried and I just kept saying, Oh my gosh she is so PRETTY! I finally got to hold her after about 5 minutes:
As you can see, I was pretty excited. :)
My doctor had estimated that the baby would be 7 lbs. Every med student and resident that came in during labor guessed 6 and 3/4 lbs. So when they announced 8 lbs 5 oz, the doctor literally did a double take. "Now that's a great example of good prenatal care".
And all that Shiva Rae prenatal yoga paid off - I had zero perineal tearing! I did have to have one stitch on a small tear inside my vagina. Hey, I can't really complain. I didn't have any side effects from my epidural and was up walking around shortly after.
So that's the story of how Maggie came into the world! I think it is a pretty good one, and am very happy with how everything went.