Holy baby. We are in LOVE. i mean, i knew it… but i didn’t know what it would feel like until it actually happened. It’s funny how something like giving birth and having your first baby will be just so incredibly different compared to your wishes and thoughts. Both in good and in bad – i am lucky that mine are mostly good and I went into things with a “whatever happens… happens” mentality.
Let me first recap by saying how i HOPED birth would go. BUT FIRST FIRST, let me say that in hindsight, expecting anything is kinda silly… i mean, yeah, you can really try and you can have a plan, but… life is known to throw wrenches in plans.
So, i had mentally and physically prepared my best to have an “all natural” birth. I just kinda wanted to do it – didn’t think it made me more of a woman or necessarily the way to experience birth how it should be – i just WANTED to because i’m kind of a baby and thought it would be cool if me of all people birthed naturally and pain med free. Let it be known, i am the biggest baby and have very little pain tolerance, so i’m not sure what i was thinking. I had expected to have things be super non-stressful and just flowers and fairy lights and essential oils and Arnold would breathe with me and I would probably have a days worth of labor and have minimal ripping. That is what i “realistically banked on.” I also knew that things change and that mostly, i wanted myself and my baby healthy.
how it happened
Wednesday March 01 rolls around and it’s 4am. i wake up feeling pretty crampy, a little bit more than normally. Kinda have a feeling but kinda not because you never know. Actually, if i could have any super power it would be to let moms know when they should be expecting labor and how it would feel for them. Anyway… arnold leaves for work around 7am and i notice a little spotting, still paired with more menstrual-like cramping. I text arnold and let him know that i feel a little different and want him at his phone and ready. The majority of the morning is spent watching HBO now movies… like “castaway” (i love Tom Hanks… and yes Forest is kinda named after Forrest Gump but spelled more like the mountains and not Forrest Gump haha) and also “don’t tell mom the babysitter’s dead” and “the santa claus” aaaand then “jeepers creepers” – don’t ask me. Arnold texts me around lunch and by that time, my cramps have gotten a lot heavier – enough for me to want to lay down and nap a bit. I wake up around 1:30 with worse cramps and start wondering “omg is this it is something happening” so i start timing things – usually 30 seconds long but around 20-25 minutes – but not anything to write home about. I’m timing these all day and then I text my mom asking what things felt like for her and my mom says “oh you’ll know when it’s the real thing blah blah just rest and don’t worry” – and LADIES – let me tell you one thing – YOU MIGHT NOT KNOW WHEN ITS THE REAL THING CAUSE I DIDNT KNOW. Arnold gets home around 5:45 and i demand he bring home Freddy’s because i’m starving and if this is the real thing then i’ll be damned if i’m hungry.
By the time Arnold gets home i’m having 40 second “contractions” around 6 minutes apart and they’ve been increasing in frequency and also intensity BUT because they’re not too painful and i’m a first time mom, i’m not really freaking out. Actually, the cramps brought me to tears towards the end, but i complain when i’m on my period so i chalked it up to basically baby wuss status. I tell Arnold calmly that i think something maybe might be happening but i’m going to sit and eat dinner. We ate and then he called his mom and we spoke with them because we were a little bit unsure. They suggested that we go to the hospital to check things out.
We basically decide why not, and then i call my midwife and she doesn’t think anything is happening because i’m not at 5-1-1 and i haven’t had my water break or any bloody show and i’m still talking and walking around, but if it makes me feel better then to go in. Arnold is kinda frantic at this point and i’m just getting annoyed because i told them i would be coming and i don’t like not being prompt, especially during what i know now to be early labor. Arnold got so nervous that he knocked down his poor lettuce plant and broke a lamp so we had to clean that up and i’m just waiting and like COME ON ARNOLD.
We get to the hospital around 6:45 and it felt like things went away, i walk myself up to labor & delivery and get all settled and hooked up where they start timing my contractions – oh wow actually 3 minutes apart lasting a minute. i’m laying there thinking “omg am i in labor?!” they check my dilation and effacement – 3.5cm and 80% effaced, so after a call to the midwife they decide to admit me and see what this baby wants to do! i was minorly freaking out and ordered to walk the baby down.
At that point things started to get more painful. Walking was uncomfortable, sitting was uncomfortable, every single position ever practiced was uncomfortable – contractions were 1-2 minutes apart and lasting a minute long and by 7:45 and another check, i was 4cm dilated and considered to be in LABOR. We labored by ourselves in the room, watching Greys Anatomy and diffusing some oils to keep calm. Each contraction got worse and worse and I was trying to stay calm and unmedicated, but they were sucking all of the energy out of me, making me very sick, anxious, and to the point of fainting. It was so painful that i was forgetting to breathe and having anxiety attacks with each contraction so around 11p, they gave me a dose of Zofran with some Fentanyl. since i had been sober for a long time before then, the fentanyl hit me hard – i got very woozy and a little bit happy but it wasn’t working like i had hoped.
Arnold and i talked a lot about what realistically would be best for me – i did not want the epidural because of my previous wishes and was uncomfortable and embarrassed that i was even thinking of it, but because the pain was giving me legit panic attacks and keeping me from breathing, and i was still only 4cm after almost 4 hours of labor and didn’t know what was going to happen, i decided to get the epidural. I was very scared and felt defeated – would the epidural hurt? did i want to deal with a urinary catheter? ewwww and nooooooo… They finally gave me the epidural around 1215a and let me tell you – i felt SO MUCH BETTER that at that point, i knew i could rest and have a better labor and hopefully the rest of my dilation wouldn’t be hindered as i did NOT want to be on pitocin for speeding things up.
Ladies – do not feel bad if you need an epidural. It was night and day for me – i finally could rest and could breathe and relax and get energy to push him out. Medication is there for a reason – it does not make you less of a woman or ruin a proper birthing experience. your comfort at this point is what’s most important and safe for a healthy birth. with that being said, after i couldn’t feel anything anymore, i had my waters broken at 12:45a and then was told to relax because i was only at a 5cm and it could be a long night. so, arnold and i crashed and hoped for the best. they put one of those peanut balls in between my legs to help with my hips opening, and i couldn’t really sleep because i could still tell the contractions were coming and i was really nervous that the heart rate i could hear would go down or something would happen.
Trying to sleep with your baby’s heart beat as the only sound in the room is both sweet and stressful. I knew that we were being monitored and felt safe, but was still really worried something would happen. I finally woke up around 2:25a to a nurse checking on my pain level and seeing how far i was progressing – only 5cm. this was going to be a looooong night. Time to go to sleep and hope for the best! A little bit later, the nurse comes in and wants me on some oxygen because his heart rate is dropping when i have contractions.
4:45 rolls around – nurse and midwife check. At this point i am feeling strong contractions again and am under the impression that the epidural isn’t working. My midwife decides this would be a good time to check and see how far along i am. i’m thinking that it would be nice to be at a 7 with the way things are progressing, but when the midwife yells COMPLETE, i’m a little bit baffled and wondering what she’s talking about until she goes “hope you’re ready to have a baby soon! let me know when you feel the urge to push and we will come help you out.” She also told me that it looked like Forest had a bowel movement inside of me and that depending on how things were after birth, he may have to be taken away from me and a respiration specialist (or something or other) would be alerted just in case. A little while of waiting goes by, i was not feeling the need to push and around 515a, the nurse checks and feels around – baby head!! And that in a few minutes or when the next contraction comes, i can try to push! PUSHING IS HARD – especially because i couldn’t feel anything. i can see that being the down side of the epidural but at that point i wasn’t really concerned that i couldn’t feel anything because i was getting help. About 30 minutes and a few big pushes later, at 5:51a, little Forest came out into the world – helped caught by his daddy and brought to my chest for some skin on skin. I was very thankful that the meconium mentioned earlier wasn’t preventing my baby from being held by us right away.