Since I had gotten so little sleep on Sunday evening, I left work early on Monday and went home and took a bath. When I got out and was changed, I went down to check my phone to make sure there weren’t any pressing emails that had come in from work, and was surprised to find a voicemail from the Dr. Sure enough the blood work had some in late that afternoon and I was diagnosed with cholestasis (ICP) and needed to head to the hospital that evening to be induced. They called at 4:30, I got the message at 5:10 and we needed to be at the hospital at 6 pm, so although we had the bag packed and were ready to go, it was still a little frantic trying to get everything together. I had a mix of emotions while listening to that voicemail from the Dr. I was excited that it was finally happening, but was also very scared for the labor. I had always heard the contractions of labor are a lot more intense when you’re induced, and overall, just really didn’t know what to expect. Your Dad was a little frantic too, as I was listening to the voicemail, I told him, ‘It’s go time,’ and he thought my water broke or something, but then I explained the positive blood work. I had to listen to the voicemail like three times because he kept talking while I was listening and couldn’t get all the details. Once we confirmed we had received the message with the clinic, Dad took a quick shower, while I got the rest of our stuff ready. On the way there, we stopped at Chipotle so he could eat. I’m not sure if he was more excited that I let him stop or that we were going to get to meet you the next day.
The labor and delivery section of the hospital was pretty full when we arrived, there were only two rooms available, one of which happened to be the second best room, which was ours. It was very large and had a huge bathroom with a special tub to do water births. Your dad took a couple quick last belly photos before I put on the hospital gown and got ready. As they were checking me in, they did a pelvic exam and learned that I had dialated to 3 cm, which they were surprised about and wanted to check to see what medicine they wanted to give me. Originally, they were going to give me a medication that helped dialate me, but decided to give me something to help soften my cervix instead. They also commented on how low you were inside of me. They had a hard time doing the internal exams because you’re head was right my cervix, which would explain the pelvic pressure and need to pee so often. Once they did that, Daddy and I were good for the night and we could just hang out. I hadn’t eaten anything yet that evening and was hungry so Daddy went to the store to get me some Cheetos, sweatarts and some tums, then we watched Disney’s Cats. By this time Daddy was pretty tired so he went to bed and I attempted to, but just couldn’t sleep. I had an IV in my hand and it just drove me nuts and I couldn’t sleep, I played several games oh phase 10 and Suduko. I was also very anxious for what was to happen the next day.
Finally around 5 am I feel asleep but woke up around 7:30 am when they came in to check on me. Dr. Grajczyk came in just before 8 am, did an internal exam. The medicine didn’t seem to do much as I was 65% effaced (I was about 50%) when I came in and dialated to about 3.5 cm. She broke my water and gave the instructions to start administering the Pitocin. Having my water break was definitely interesting. It looked like she took a crochet needle to break it and there was just a little sound like a blister popping, and then lots of water. It felt like I was peeing my pants and it just wouldn’t stop for a couple of minutes. Eventually it slowed enough where I could stand up, I put a huge pad between my legs and waddled to the bathroom. I was then instructed to put on a pair of mesh underwear that were kind of like shorts and went up over my belly with the large pad in them and wear those throughout the labor as the water continued to leak out of me. One thing I was surprised by was that my belly didn’t look any different after my water broke. I’m not sure why, but I kind of thought it would be smaller or would kind of deflate like a blister does.
As soon as my water broke, I started having contractions. They weren’t too painful and I could talk through them for the most part, but they weren’t frequent enough or strong enough so they started administering the Pitocin around 9 am. I labored on the birthing ball for most of these. Each one was a little stronger than the next and they were coming about every two minutes and lasting 30 seconds. Your daddy was a rock star in helping me through them. He was so positive and encouraging and continued to remind me to relax my shoulders and keep breathing. I tried a few other positions, but could absolutely not do anything just laying or sitting. I needed to have some kind of movement through the contraction. So in addition to bouncing on the birthing ball, I would occasionally lean on Daddy’s shoulder and rock back and forth. Throughout the whole labor, I was really cold. We had to put the ball in the sun to help keep me warm. Also at the peak of the contraction, I would get slightly nauseous, but thankfully never threw up. Around 10 am, they checked me again, and I hadn’t dialated at all, but was now 85% effaced, which they said was really good. Typically, your cervix softens before you dialat further. So we continued to labor naturally, and I would say the pain scale would increase about one number every hour or so.
At noon, I was checked again and had dialated to a 4 and was still 85% effaced. I was a little discouraged by that because the pain was increasing a lot and it had been 4 hours and I had barely progressed. So I decided to get in the tub to try something new. Once I got in, labor started to take an odd spin. My contractions shifted, I would have three in a row without one ever ending, and the first one would be really intense. Then I would have a 5-minute break. At the time I didn’t know this was really happening, but I would fall asleep on your Daddy’s arm between the contractions. After about an hour, I knew I needed the epidural. The three contractions on top of each other was too much and I knew it was only going to get worse. So they began giving me the fluid for the Epidural and did another internal exam and I hadn’t progressed at all. I was still at a 4 and 85% effaced. I was so happy I had made the decision to get the epidural because it was heartbreaking to hear I had gone two hours and the pain was intense and I hadn’t progressed. Additionally, you had shifted inside of me and were kind of sideways slash backwards.
Before I knew it, the anesthesiologist was administering the epidural. I never saw the needle and I immediately began feeling the pain relief. The hardest part was sitting hunched over during a contraction. I was surprised that I could still wiggle my toes and had some feeling in my legs. I thought the epidural completely paralyzed you from the waist and below. By 2 pm, the epidural was in full effect and Daddy and I took a nap since I got so little sleep the night before. We woke up about two hours later when the nurse came in to see how I was progressing. In two hours I was 100% effaced and had dialated to an 8. I was so excited I had made such good progress and didn’t feel a thing while I was sleeping. Within 45 min I was at a 10 and we began pushing.
The nurse said it takes awhile to learn how to push so we’re just going to practice. She would tell me when a contraction was coming and I would take a deep breath in and then hold my breath for 10 counts while pushing and repeat three times for each contraction. That pattern continued for about an hour, which I thought was all practice, but then all of the sudden the nurse said we can see the head and I was amazed. I thought that meant you were going to come out in the next couple of minutes, but it turns out, they can see your head for awhile and I still needed to push you a ways out. Throughout the pushing, they shifted me from one side and to the other to help rotate you inside of me. I also was very cold, and shaking like I had really low blood sugar while I was pushing. I asked to eat some crackers or something, but they wouldn’t let me so I kept drinking juice. The pushing part of labor was the biggest surprise to me, I couldn’t believe how relaxing and low key it was. We were laughing and joking with the nurses between contractions, showing them pictures of the nursery and making bets on your size and gender. There was no screaming, yelling, sweating or anything. I didn’t have any pain, but could just feel pressure or a contraction.
Again, Daddy was great through this whole process. He was there holding my legs, helping move me around and was so encouraging. He always made me feel like I was making good progress and doing good. He kept saying “You’re doing great “P”, keep it up, push push push.” Eventually the doctor and nurse wanted to know why he kept calling me “P” so he shared the “peanut” story. Daddy was also watching how you progressed out of me, which I thought was very cool and was surprised by it. He usually doesn’t do very good with blood and bodily type things, but he thought it was very cool. Another interesting thing about you was you kept moving your head around in the birth canal. The nurse said she had never seen another baby do that.
Finally, you were just about to come out so Dr. G got on her scrubs and she had to make a small episiotomy since I wasn’t tearing naturally. One push later and you were laying on my tummy. Daddy announced you were a girl while he cut the umbilical cord. The first time it didn’t go all the way through so he had to give it a second chance. You were absolutely beautiful laying there on my chest. You had a beautiful color and your head was shaped perfectly. The nurses quickly took you away and began whipping you off and doing an initial test.
You scored a 9 on both of your APGAR tests. You had a beautiful cry. I remember just laying on the bed kind of in shock but watching you scream and flale your arms and legs as they cleaned you off. I couldn’t believe you were here and were a girl and was amazed at how perfect you were. As they were cleaning and sewing me up, they announced that you were 7 lbs. and 15 ounces and 21.5 inches long. Again, I couldn’t believe that you were so little. I was planning on you being over 9 lbs. In fact, the nurses and doctors and I were all making bets on how much you would weigh. My guess was 9 lbs. and 8 ounces. Out of the 8 people that were in the room when you were born, Daddy was the only one that thought you were a girl, everyone else guessed boy. Daddy was busy taking photos of you and got to hold your little fingers while they cleaned you. Soon enough you were back in my arms and I just stared at you in awe. One of my favorite moments was watching Daddy hold you for the first time. He had a huge smile on his face and couldn’t take his eyes off of you. He was so happy and in love with you, so much so that he teared up and couldn’t believe we had created something so perfect.
Little had I known, but they had shut my epidural off 20 min before you were born to help me feel the contractions. But I still had no pain. And within an hour, I had feeling in my legs again and was able to stand up and walk to the bathroom. I had some bleeding, but it wasn’t bad at all. I was surprised at how painful my south-side was after. I don’t know why I was surprised, but I guess I thought it only hurt during labor and not after, but it was very sore for several days following. Padded ice packs helped with the swelling and the feeling that my insides were going to fall out of me–especially as I got in and out of sitting positions and walking. I had to walk very slowly—almost waddle like I was still pregnant.