It was a brisk Tuesday evening in March. I was due with my daughter that upcoming Saturday. I was achy, exhausted, and excited about the week ahead. For those of you who know me well, you know I wasn’t doing well with the whole, “the baby comes when it wants to”. I am a planner, and the unknown made me very anxious. I was ready for the birth of my beautiful baby and spent most of my days trying to get her to make her arrival just a little bit earlier than expected (more on that story here).
My sister had invited my husband and I over for dinner that night. It had been a while since we saw her, so even though I was feeling extremely fatigued, we decided to head over for a nice meal. A few hours into our visit, I started feeling really crampy. I had experienced a lot of braxton hicks over my third trimester, so I didn’t put much thought into it. Just to be safe we decided to make it an early night and we headed home and went to bed.
I woke up in bed around 4am. Multiple bathroom breaks in the night were second nature to me at this point. I remember feeling really crampy again as I peeled myself out of bed. I waddled my way into the bathroom where a new sensation hit me all of the sudden. I thought to myself, “oh my gosh, I have reached the point in my pregnancy where I literally peed my pants.” At first the feeling of sheer embarrassment rushed over me, until I turned on the bathroom light. It was clear as day that my water had just broke. I screamed my husband’s name and he came running. It was time to head to the hospital for the birth of our baby girl!
Now in this moment I felt oddly calm. I wasn’t having any contractions at all so I wasn’t in any pain, and I thought to myself, “I can do this!”. In fact, I even put makeup on before I left. The only reason I got into the car is because my husband (who is usually the relaxed one), was running around all over the place in sheer panic. It’s funny how things usually turn out the exact opposite of what you expect!
Once we got into the car butterflies started going frantic in my stomach. I think that’s when the reality finally hit me. We settled into the half hour drive to the hospital. Snow covered the ground like a blanket, and the sun was just beginning to rise in the distance. My husband focused on the road, and I focused on calling my family to let them know the good news.
We arrived at the hospital just as the doors unlocked. For those of you who are going through this, they always tell you what doors to come into based on the time of day. We were so flustered that there was no remembering all that crazy information, so I thank God to this day that we ended up at the right location at the right time. We parked the car in the valet spot (highly illegal, I’m sure), my husband got me a wheelchair and we set off into the hospital.
At this point I still had no contractions, but I was still dealing with uncomfort of my water breaking. Fun fact: it’s not just a one and done process like you see in the movies. Your body keeps producing the fluid to keep your baby safe, which is good and all, except that means you just keep leaking, and leaking, and leaking. Fun times! After our argument about how to get to the labor and delivery ward (why do husbands never listen?), we were finally checking in.
At our hospital the routine is to take you to a triage area to make sure you are in active labor before admitting you to the room you will give birth in. Usually they do a check to see how far along you are, but after they made me pee in a cup and saw all the fluid, they just took me right over to the birthing area. I will never forget the nurses comment, “Oh okay, we are definitely in active labor, let’s go!”. Things seemed to be moving rather quickly, which I was excited about, because again, I was still in zero pain at this point in time.
Once I got into my labor and delivery room, that’s when the panic set in. I think I must have had about six or so nurses in there each doing something different to prep me. One of them was asking me questions, one was putting in an IV, one was taking my vitals. It was so overwhelming, especially because I absolutely hate hospitals in general. They did a check on me and I was only a few centimeters dilated. Since my water broke, we were on a time crunch to deliver the baby in order to avoid infection. So I was put on pitocin and was told to labor down for a while. Things finally seemed to settle down for a bit and life was good.
Well let me tell you guys, pitocin is NO JOKE. I started feeling contractions probably about 10 minutes after they put me on it. These contractions didn’t feel nice by any means, but I was able to push through them one by one and was still in good spirits. In fact, I almost (for a split second), thought about skipping an epidural until the nurse told me that the contractions I was feeling were nothing compared to what they would get to. So, as planned, I decided to opt for an epidural.
Epidurals are God’s gift to womankind. Again, I am not someone who likes hospitals or anything needle related, but after the contractions, that shot is NOTHING. It literally numbed everything. It was the craziest feeling watching my contractions on the monitor and not feeling a darn thing. The nurse even said, “yup, you’re having a good one right now” and I was just like, “really?”. I road that high for about an hour or two until I realized that the numbness started to wear off in one of my legs. Turns out I got a one sided epidural, so I ended up feeling EVERYTHING on one side of my body, and literally NOTHING on the other. To say it was awful is an understatement. To this day I never understood why they didn’t just redo the epidural, but it was something I just went with in the moment.
By this time I was progressing nicely. I was just about fully dilated, and they started prepping the room for my daughter’s birth. I remember feeling so relieved that it was about to be over. It was about 2:30pm at this point.
But then 3:30 came, and 4:30, and then all of the sudden things started taking a turn for the worse. Even though I was fully dilated, my daughter did not want to drop down. Then her heart rate started to dip. At this point my epidural had completely worn off on both sides, and the pain was inane. They placed a lead on my daughter’s head to watch her heart rate more closely, and I was put on bedrest for fear of the cord coming out before my daughter. I was overwhelmed with emotions at this point. I wanted to be done with the whole process. I was in pain, hungry, thirsty, and exhausted. But nothing overtook the worry I had for my daughter. I hated that the nurses would always tell you that everything was okay, when clearly something wasn’t. I felt like I was in a never ending bad dream.
They told me to start pushing to see how far she would come down. I pushed for three hours.
Then my oxygen started to dip, so the nurse came in and put an oxygen mask on me and then I just completely lost it. I started hyperventilating crying (which probably didn’t help with the oxygen levels). I just wanted things to go better. Why was all of this happening?
At this point I demanded to see my doctor because I wanted answers. The pain was so terrible that I was begging for a C section at this point (something that completely terrified me before hand). My doctor came in and said I had to push for three more hours before we would consider other options.
“THREE MORE HOURS?!”, I thought to myself. This lady had to be kidding me! I remember very clearly God coming to me and giving me strength in that moment. She told me I could rest for a while, or I could start pushing again now. I told her I wanted to push. I wanted to be done. So I mustered up all the strength I had left, and my daughter was born roughly three hours later on Thursday at 12:47am.
The birth of my daughter was by far the hardest thing I have ever done in my life. But it has also been the most rewarding. I learned a lot about myself that day. I learned that I can handle way more than I thought I EVER could. I learned that I had an inner strength that would get me through tough times. I learned that God had my back always and to trust in people more than I do. I learned that there is truly no love than the love you have for your children. And that my friends, makes it entirely worth it.