“Before you were conceived I wanted you. Before you were born I loved you. Before you were here an hour I would die for you. This is the miracle of life.” -Maureen Hawkins
4:17AM – Water Breaks at home in Bed
5:33 AM – Head to L&D to check fluid and a NST (confirmed it was my waters & was having very mild contractions & went home)
1:00PM – Early labour contractions finally begin (just like AF)
6:32 PM – Contractions finally intensify and are 2-3 min apart & 1 min in length
7:33 PM – Doula arrives
8:07 PM – Leave for hospital
8:55 PM – Admitted to L&D (6-7cm dilated & 100% effaced)
10:30 PM – Receive 5mg Morphine
11:15 PM – Body started spontaneously pushing with every contraction
11:35PM – 10cm dilated & still spontaneously pushing
12:44 AM – E was born 3 weeks early measuring 20.1″ long and weighing 8 lbs 12.6 oz.
Your story begins, just as anyone else’s story, before the day of your arrival. It began on October 31st, 2009 when I found out your Dad & I were expecting a baby! So earlier in the month I just had a feeling that I was going to be pregnant. But then it seemed to go away and then it waivered. So we decided that we weren’t going to test until Tuesday, November 3rd. But Friday night/Saturday morning I kept waking up for no reason and I didn’t feel right (queasy) and had hot flashes. I was lying in bed thinking how I was going to tell your Dad and our families and at 8am I heard Dad get up with the dog and just knew I had to test.
So off I went.
Instantly the first line came up (which was the pregnant line) then the second line came up (the control line). I was shaking. I couldn’t believe it. I was so excited. I then began on how I was going to not tell Dad until I had a plan to surprise him. But then as I was coming out of the bathroom, he came in. I saw him standing there in his robe and became so overwhelmed. I reached out and said I needed a hug. He got really concerned and asked what was wrong. I just said I needed a hug. So as we were hugging on the top of the stairs I blurted out, “I’m pregnant!”
He began to cry and hug me. So we had a little cry and did a happy dance.
We are having a baby!
Based on last cycle and cycle length I was due on or around July 10th, 2010.
This marks the beginning of your story and what a story it is.
Everything was so new and exciting and we chronicled each step. I was exhausted and queasy early on and my blood work was perfect. But then on Wednesday, November 25th @ 7w4d you gave us the biggest scare of my life so far. I was at work and began to bleed uncontrollably. I burst into tears in the bathroom, called your Dad and ran to find my boss so I could leave. Off to the hospital we went. I was sure I had lost you but your Dad and Nannie were so positive and encouraging. There was no consoling me. The Dr. said he couldn’t tell anything and we won’t know what is happening until there is an ultrasound. The longest 2 days of my life passed until we got to see you. You were measuring right on target, your little heart was pounding away, and you were jumping around like a Mexican jumping bean. We were overjoyed. But the bleeding continued and we were diagnosed with a massive subchorionic hematoma/hemorrhage and we had 2 more early ultrasounds to monitor you and the SCH. It wasn’t until December 15th that we were finally given the ok from Doctors and radiologists that things had improved and you were going to stick. It was the best early Christmas present EVER!
After that monsterous scare, my pregnancy was perfect. Yes, I was diagnosed with gestational diabetes but that didn’t take anything away from the experience. It was just another hurdle, one that I was kind of expecting, and for some reason it didn’t phase me. I felt great. I was glowing. Everything was happening as it should. I was all belly and didn’t gain much weight (I think it was 24.9lbs total) and my energy stayed skyhigh. There was no real discomfort, exhaustion, heartburn, going to the bathroom all the time, no swelling, none of that good stuff they tell us about. Heck, I was still sleeping through the night until you were born. I loved being pregnant and watching you grow and dance around in my humungous belly! I know I was lucky and I figure I was given this luck with everything I went through early on trying to keep you. I did not take one single day of this experience for granted.
Now on with your actual birth day story.
I woke up at 4:17am to a weird sensation and I suspect that my waters have broken. But to be honest, I was hoping I just peed my pants. You must think I’m crazy to be hoping that I peed my pants but I didn’t feel ready at all. You had 3 more weeks of cooking to go! I had no other warning and I still had 1 week of work to go! So I get up, without waking your Dad because we were up until 1am that night cleaning the house, and go to the bathroom. I think that this is no way my waters and go back to bed but I know something is up because it doesn’t feel right. My spidey senses were tingling.
I lay in bed for almost an hour feeling slightly crampy but then I realize I’m starving so I go to the kitchen for a big glass of milk. As I’m on the stairs I feel more trickles/small gushes and go to the bathroom. Now I know for certain something is up and all the willing and hoping that this isn’t labour isn’t going to go away. So I walk into our bedroom to wake up your Dad, which is normally a pretty easy task but not today. He wouldn’t answer no matter how many times or how loud I said his name. He finally responds when I say “J, I think my water is broke.” Well, I’ve never seen your Dad fly out of bed like that before. He follows me to the bathroom to see what’s going on. I’m almost in tears because I don’t know what is happening or what to do. I’m still trying to convince myself I peed myself but know it’s more than that. Your Dad is sure its pee. But, finally after another gush I decide to call L&D and explain. Well they told me the procedure and they’d check it out. Test the fluid and do a non-stress test (NST).
So at 5:33AM we head out the door. I’m almost in tears and Dad is in shock. I’m sure we looked like quite the pair to anyone who may have seen us that morning. It is almost 6am when we arrive at the hospital and we get put straight in the assessment room (#50). They perform a swab and take a sample and hook me up to the machine to monitor your heart rate, movements, and if there are contractions. I was so stunned by all this and trying to take it in that I forgot to press the button each time I felt you move. Whoops! So another 10 minutes and this time I pressed the button religiously. You were moving up a storm. When the nurse came back to check on us, the button must not have been working because it didn’t count your movements but she took my word for it that you were moving lots. She confirmed what we already “knew”. My waters had broken (obvious since I leaked through a pad and double layer of pants while doing that quick NST) and the one thing that surprised me was that she confirmed I was indeed experiencing contractions. News to me. Those cramps I was having and just assumed to be BH were not false contractions like I had thought. Wow. This is really going to happen and within the next 24 hours. Wow.
We get back from the hospital around 7AM. I’m nervous and crying. Dad is over the moon excited! I felt so unprepared and not ready. This wasn’t supposed to be happening for at least 3 weeks. I figured I’d go late. We had so much to do. My bag wasn’t packed, nor was ANY laundry done. Luckily on Saturday I made a list of things to go in the bags and a call list and got your Dad to really clean the house. We got as far as the upper level with a good “gut cleaning.”
So I call our Doula, L, to let her know what was happening and to give her a heads up. She told me to expect your arrival probably sometime between 11pm-2am and to get as much rest as I can. After talking to L ,your Dad decided to go into work to get his well monitoring done and wrap up loose ends before your arrival. I don’t think many people would have done that and to be honest I wasn’t too impressed but at the same time, nothing was really happening and he had a cell phone and wasn’t that far away. So while he was working, I was at home trying to rest and nap and come to terms with everything. I was so hung up on not wanting to be done being pregnant yet. I loved my pregnant body and what I was experiencing. I felt you could have waited a few more weeks but you were ready now and soon the excitement took over from the shock.
Dad got home from well-monitoring in record time (~9AM) and took my last belly pics (week 37) and started laundry. My contractions were getting stronger but not bad at all. I had cramps that felt worse than this. I spent a lot of time on the phone talking to Carli, Mom, & Lisa and running to the bathroom. This whole “water breaking before labour thing” sucked! I couldn’t move without ruining another outfit. So off Dad went to W-mart to get some depends so I could at least move around. That’s right, I had to wear a “diaper!” Thanks for that. It was the beginning of the end of my modesty.
I was noticing stronger contractions but was really tired. So I went and crawled into bed and had a nap. Probably about a 3 hour nap. I woke up starving and in more pain so Dad started supper while timing my contractions. They ranged from 5-20 min apart and 30s-50s long. I’ve never seen him make hamburgers so fast because as each contraction came I needed to hold his hand. I had to. So I would give him warning when I felt one coming so he could wash his hands or come in from the BBQ and be with me. It was imperative that I have his hand when the contraction hit.
L called to check up on us around 5:30PM since it had been 9 hours since we had talked to her last. I didn’t want to bother her too much because we were managing fine and nothing had really happened or changed up until this point. The contractions were still the same, sporadic but stronger but still in the early phases. But just as Dad was hanging up I got another contraction, about 3 min after the last one lasting for about 1 min. L said if that continued to call her and she’d be right over. Well wouldn’t you know it that was just the beginning. They were coming in waves every 3 mins. I finally had enough and jumped into the tub, shirt and all. I got Dad to grab the binder L had given us the previous weekend during our prenatal course to see how much worse it was going to get. I knew it hadn’t peaked yet and I just wanted to kind of have an idea where I was in the process and where I needed to go (contraction length and frequency). I just needed to hear it and see it again, even though I knew.
Water was the only thing making me feel better. The more water and the warmer, the better. Your Dad sat beside the tub and timed and breathed and encouraged me through each one. He also fed me toast since I had taken my insulin just before this all picked up (I was planning on eating a hamburger just as everything went crazy) and needed to eat. It was the last thing I wanted to do. But I had to.
It was becoming unbearable and Dad called L. She came over what felt like immediately to me. But I guess it was about 20-30 minutes. My whole concept of time was gone.
She came straight to the bathroom and watched me. I know she was talking to Dad (and probably me) but I was so zoned out. I needed to have my ears under the water and focus on counting to get through. You would have to ask your Dad what was going on while I was in the tub. L then got my attention asked me what happens if I roll onto my left side so I did that and Ouch! It was a lot of pressure and pain in my back.
That’s when things really picked up. She knew I was far along and not much longer before there might not be an option for pain management. But, I did NOT want to get out of the tub. It intensified contractions (which were already stronger than most because my water had spontaneously broken, so I get to feel more more quickly I’m told) and it was hard because they were 3 min apart and last for a minute or longer. I eventually made it out of the bathroom and into our room to get dressed. I’m in a huge daze. But as soon as the contractions were over I was “me” for those brief moments again.
I eventually made it to the car. I guess it was 8-something at this point…almost 9 maybe. L told me this was probably going to be the worst part of it all. Driving in a car is unbearable and to sit facing the back seat and hugging the neck rest. It would be the most comfortable way in a terribly uncomfortable situation. So we are driving to the hospital and people were looking into my car like I had 3 heads but I did what I had to. It felt like eternity before reaching the hospital but seconds at the same time! I guess your Dad managed to get every single green light along the way, which by the way NEVER happens! I’m told it took us 6 minutes to get there. Record time.
Your Dad parked the car in the drop-off spot and ran to get me a wheelchair. While he was gone I heard 2 women stop by the car and start coming toward me saying, “someone should help this woman” just as Dad was coming out with the wheelchair. He was going to get L to run me in and he’d park but I wouldn’t let him leave my side. L said she’d do it. This is when I began to notice that I have almost become 2 people at once. One calm, rational person and a person I almost didn’t recognize. It was like multiple personality disorder I swear, except I was kind of aware that what I was saying and doing might not have been rational but one side of me thought it was perfectly normal. This other person began to take over more and more as the night went on.
Dad wheeled me upstairs and I remember people staring at me and moving out of the way like I had the plague or something. Dad wasn’t pushing me fast or anything, but it was like no one had seen a pregnant woman in labour before. I was taken immediately to the same assessment room I was in this morning (#50). That’s when L came back in and said she was unable to move our car. She couldn’t get it into gear, which used to be a big problem but it hasn’t acted up in a while. But of course, it reared its ugly head that day of all days. Let’s just say our gear shift has a few new cracks in it. hehe Now back to the actual labouring part of the story, this time the NST was terrible, it wasn’t exciting like this morning. I couldn’t lie still through the contractions and I was moving too much to get what they wanted and the nurse was getting frustrated with me I think. Eventually I found a position that would allow me to get the results they wanted so I could move. They checked me and I was already 6-7cm dilated, 100% effaced, and you were in the LOP position. Straight to the delivery room for me. Delivery room number 90.
I got my IV for insulin and then they gave me some morphine (5mg I’m told) and gravol. What a weird feeling. I was fully aware of the pain but able to basically zone out/sleep through the short breaks I had. I lost all concept of time. I needed water/ice chips just as each contraction began. It was my rhythm, my ritual. It was beginning to get so intense. I don’t remember much, unless reminded but I do remember L and your Dad trying to get me out of the bed or at least off my back. But I wouldn’t hear of it. I vaguely remember this moment and I did not want any part of moving. I’m sure it would have made me feel better and made things progress more quickly but I had found my spot and I wasn’t moving. This is one of those times where the “second me” came out and I knew I should move. Everything in my mind and body told me to move but this person who had taken over my body wouldn’t allow it. It’s such a weird feeling wanting and knowing what I should do but at the same time your mind is saying “uh, I don’t think so.”
I now realize how close I was getting because at this point they offered me gas. At that point I had no idea how close I must have been! The mask gave me something to focus on. I don’t know if it changed anything pain wise but it made me have deep cleansing breaths that is for sure. Then all of a sudden my body began to push and I had no control over it. It was one of the scariest things ever. Immense pressure and pain but you couldn’t stop it. I just shook.
All of a sudden I was removed from the monitor and let able to do whatever I wanted to cope and the room began to fill with people. It was time to bear down and get this baby out. Pushing is 1000x better than contractions. It gives you focus. An end is in sight. It gives almost instant gratification. My body was doing it spontaneously and directed. I was so scared. I didn’t think I could do it. But I had no choice in the matter. It had to be done and I knew I was able to do it. I had to put that fear out of my mind and focus on something else, anything else other than fear and pain. I had initially had problems knowing how to push, or where to push from. It was hard directing my breath and power where it had to go. For hours I was breathing deeply and working through, now everyone wants me to stop that and hold. Talk about hard.
Then even more people piled in the room and they got me to stop pushing. The woman in the other room was ready too and the Dr. went there first. So I just kept doing what I was doing, mostly spontaneously. By this time I’m told its about midnight. I will admit, the pushing scared me at times. It was so much pain and pressure that I couldn’t push through the pain sometimes. Everyone was so calm and reassuring and I felt like I was falling apart and becoming a raging mad woman.
The other woman delivered. The Dr. (Dr. G) was there now, waiting to catch my baby. I don’t even remember seeing him enter the room but there he was. It felt like forever I was pushing and they told me I’d soon have to stop pushing when they told me. Once the head is out I’d need a small break. I remember them asking a few times if I wanted to reach down and feel the top of your head and each time I refused. That crazy person came out again but I knew I had to focus and for some reason I thought this would throw my focus. I think I had an image, well not an image per se, in mind of what was happening and how much of you was showing and I would have felt so defeated had I reached down and it was less than I led myself to believe. I’m sure I was thinking a lot more was showing than it really was, so it was probably a good choice not to reach down knowing myself. I was also told that you were bald, like your Dad. I was happy to hear descriptions of what we could see of you, it was motivating.
Well I don’t know what happened next (well I technically do know) but I felt the most intense burning and I’m loudly saying “ow, ow, ow”, “I can’t do this. J I can’t do this. OW.” and then Dad told me to look down because it’s all over. You were out and within what felt like seconds, your Dad was cutting the cord and you were placed on my bare skin. I don’t remember them telling me to stop pushing so I assumed your head wasn’t out yet and could just imagine how bad it was going to be. Well I guess it was so bad because you came out with your arm above your head like Superman. You wanted to stretch and wave hello (arm one way, head the other). I have no idea how L managed to hold my legs through this because I know I was fighting this last moment. I wasn’t exactly pushing through, I was trying to run away. But she someone managed my powerful legs which is definitely not an easy task, especially when she’s been holding them the whole time I’m pushing. She only got Dad to take over once. I have no idea how she does it, especially if women have long labours. Luckily for her and I it was relatively quick for my first go at it.
But “the” moment, our first moments together were ones I will never forget. I just cried and kissed your Dad and cried some more. I was in complete awe. Totally in love. You were perfect. But you weren’t bald, you were blond. As your head and hair dried we were able to see that you had a full head of strawberry blond hair. Everyone instantly knew you were your father’s child. You looked just like Dad. You have his giant hands, his giant feet, your 2 toes are even webbed like his. Your fingers even bend back like his and you were blessed with his hitchhiker thumbs (or crazy thumbs as your special “Aunt” Meghan calls them). As soon as we saw you, we knew you were E. This is the name we had chosen (and not shared in case you didn’t “look like” your name). But it suited you perfectly.
As I was soaking in my first minutes of motherhood the doctors were suturing me up and working on removing my placenta. Normally a small push or cough coupled with uterine massage and pitocin is enough and it’s all over. Not my luck. I coughed and pushed and coughed some more and nothing was happening. That placenta that caused us so much heartache in November/December had to rear its ugly head one final time. All of a sudden I heard a little splat and the room went all weird and silent. Everyone had a look on their face. It was un-nerving. Eventually someone filled me in, only part of my placenta had come out and the umbilical cord pulled off what was remaining so a manual removal was the only option. That sounded scary and painful. They had to page an OB and we waited again for what felt like forever. Eventually he arrived and told me he had to perform a small surgery to remove it. Thank goodness! I guess this is the most humane way to do it and this definitely sounded like the better option. Everyone was so reassuring but I was so scared and began to well up. By this point you and Dad were gone to the NICU for observation and L was there holding my hand. Once it was decided surgery was the option she removed my toenail polish and helped me take off all my different earrings, rings, and contacts and held my hand through it all. I couldn’t have handled this alone, without her. I was finally ready and wheeled away. It was over before I knew it and I was back in our room (#110) waiting for you to make your appearance for your first feed from me.
So at 12:44AM you came into this world, changing it forever. You measured 7lbs 12.6oz and were 20.1” long. Your head circumference was 34cm. You were the perfect size (especially for being 3 weeks early).
E, I love you.
Here are a few pictures of my finest achievement as of yet.