I want to document the events of March 25, 2013, so I can remember later on. I feel far enough removed from it now to do this without getting emotional ;)
Note: Times and other details may not be completely accurate. I’m just going off of what I remember from the day. As the day progressed I was becoming less and less aware of anything besides having a baby.
Woke up to alarms. IT’S THE BIG DAY!! As some of you may know, after a series of events an induction was scheduled on this day. I really did not want to be induced but I felt a peace about going ahead and scheduling it. I prayed and prayed and prayed that I would go into labor naturally before Monday, but trusted God with the timing. And, really, on Monday, none of that really mattered. I was just eager to meet our little guy.
All night I had been feeling crampy contractions which was not out of the norm for me. From 37 weeks on I had gotten into patterns of regular contractions a few times each week. So I decided to ignore them unless they demanded my attention. I was able to sleep through the contractions so I didn’t pay them too much mind.
I got up, went to my chair, and spent some time processing with the Lord what was about to unfold. I could not stop smiling! I was nervous, excited, scared, confident…….so many emotions. I casually kept watch on the contractions and saw that they were about 4 1/2 minutes apart. I also noticed that they felt different…more pressure on my pelvis than usual.
Pain level: 3
Joey and I pack up our stuff and go to Scott and White!! We registered at the front desk of the L&D unit then got admitted into a room. I put on the “lovely” little gown they give you and got in the bed. I was still feeling contractions, but still very giddy as well. My wonderful two nurses (the first round of them), Dawn and Kacey, came in to greet us and talk us through what was going to happen. We informed them that I was having normal contractions and asked if they could monitor me for a while and hold off on giving the Pitocin. They agreed. Yay!
Pain level: 4
A doctor came in to check my progress. I was 3.5cm dilated. This was good news because it meant that I had progressed a little. They wanted to monitor my progress a little longer.
8:00 AM ??
Pain level: 5
The contractions were requiring a little more of my attention. At this point I don’t think that I quite yet needed Joey’s assistance…but my memory of the early morning is fuzzy. It all went by pretty quickly. All I know is that I was still smiling between contractions and felt pretty in control of the situation.
The doctor came in again and they broke my water. Wow, what an experience! I had always heard people talk about your water breaking as a “gush of fluid”. What they do not say is that the fluid keeps on gushing for hours and hours. It was ridiculous! I was sure that the amount of fluid coming out of me was out of the ordinary. It was like I just could not stop peeing. I kept apologizing to the nurses because they had to clean up after me constantly. But they assured me that it was normal. My nurses rocked!
When the doctor broke my water, they noticed that it was yellow, which meant that Arden had passed his first stool (called meconium) in the womb. They told me that after he was born I was not going to get him right away but that the NICU was going to have to take him to the other side of the room and check all his airways and get all the gunk out of him. It was a little sad to hear this, but at least I was prepared for it.
Doctor checks me, I was 4cm.
From the time of my water breaking to about 12:00 PM
Pain level: rose to a 7
Lots of fluid, everywhere. The water breaking made my contractions stronger. I began to feel REALLY uncomfortable just lying on my back in the bed. One of the nurses even commented that I looked uncomfortable. I asked if I could PLEASE get off this bed and onto a birthing ball or something. After waiting just a little while longer to let more fluid come out, they let me off the bed. WHEW! It felt so good to get out of that position :).
So then I moved to the birthing ball (which still had to have some big pads and a towel on it to catch all the fluid coming out of me. So weird). I sat on it while leaning on the side of the bed. At this point, the contractions were getting to the point where it was hard to talk or think through them. Had I labored more at home, somewhere during this time frame is when I would have wanted to come to the hospital. We began to experiment with what positions were best to labor in and how Joey could help me. What worked the best was Joey putting as much pressure as he possibly could onto my low back and hips. This worked pretty much during all of labor. During each contraction I just breathed deeply. In through the nose, out through the mouth. It helped me to make low noises as I breathed out — it gave me something to focus on.
The nurses had told me that my doctor, Dr. Furman, was going to come in to check on me sometime around lunchtime. The closer it got to 12, the stronger the contractions got. I started feeling less in control of the situation. Not as much smiling and talking in between contractions. I was slipping into the phase where I was just hanging on, riding each wave as it came. I remember thinking that if when Dr. Furman checked me I was only at a 5 or 6 that I would strongly consider an epidural. I couldn’t bear the thought of having labored for 3 or 4 hours since being at 4cm and only being a centimeter or two more dilated.
Dr. Furman comes in to check on me. At this point, the contractions are coming stronger and stronger, probably consistently about 3 minutes apart. She checks me and tells me that I am about 5 cm dilated. I felt pretty discouraged. But she assured me that at this point I should be dilating about a centimeter an hour (which, actually, was pretty much exactly what happened).
Once she left, the nurses checked on me. They could see that I was barely holding on. I felt like I had no break in between contractions. I was shaking and having trouble relaxing even with my focused breathing. My nurse Kacey sat down and talked me through pain control options. She, of course, mentioned an epidural, which we had originally said that we didn’t want to do. If that had been the only option, I would have taken it. But then she mentioned Fentanyl. Oh, my lovely friend Fentanyl. She described the effect it would have on me (basically, relaxing me and taking the edge off) and I said YES PLEASE without consulting with Joey ;). After the nurse left Joey asked me if I was sure. I said YES — I think that I knew that that was what I needed to help me remain relaxed enough to last as long as labor ended up lasting.
12:00 PM – 4:30 PM
Pain level: rose to 9
So Kacey came in and started me on a low dose that was going to last about 20-25 minutes. After about 30 seconds, I felt completely relaxed for the first time since the morning. It was AMAZING!! Seriously, just what I needed to get through the day.
Side-note: at this point, my nurse Kacey said that I was progressing well and she predicted that I’d have this baby mid-afternoon. That lifted my spirits at the time ;)
Just as Dr. Furman said, I progressed 4cm in 4 hours. During this time, I survived from hourly dosage to dosage of Fentanyl (each dose lasted about 30-40min). I spent my time on the bed. I was seriously pretty out of it. Those 4 hours were a blur…I basically slept in between contractions (which was amazing…). As each contraction came, I would quietly say “Joey…” and he would rush to my side and put pressure on my back and hips. I could definitely still feel the contractions, but just as she said, the meds took the edge off. But by the end of the hour I would feel that the medicine was losing its effect. I would press the call button and request my next dosage RIGHT as soon as I knew I could have one. I was obsessed with the stuff and the relief it brought!
Joey was amazing in this time. He encouraged me and was by my side during almost every single contraction. There were a few that I had to do by myself (like if he had to go to the bathroom or something) and they were much harder to do alone.
The contractions began to gather with amazing amounts of pressure I never knew my body could produce. Pressure that made me feel like my hips and back were about to split open. It was all I could do to just breathe in deep and moan out. I remember a way that I was able to get through the contractions was to count down from 20 once I felt like they were at their peak. Usually by the time I got to 0 it was over.
By the end of those four or so hours, I was feeling completely out of control of it all and was praying to God that I had progressed a good amount and that it was almost time to push.
Pain level: definitely a 10.
A doctor came back in to check me at this point. She said I was at 9cm (BEST news I had heard all day!!!!) with just a little bit of cervix left. She thought I could try pushing at that point and see if he could get past it. We tried….to no avail :/. That was very discouraging.
Enter my new nurses, Samantha and Kristina. They were wonderful as well! I really was blessed with amazing nurses. Sam and I actually have mutual friends so that was fun. She was able to keep Mel updated on my progress.
The next couple hours were devoted to getting him in better position for pushing. Besides the pushing this was by far the hardest part, because I had felt so close to the end but needed to endure all these contractions ahead of me without knowing I was pushing him out.
What they had me do was to get in different positions. They would tell me to get in one position then stay there for 3 or so contractions, then I would switch into another position. At this point the contractions had to be 2-2.5minutes apart. They had me laying on the bed, standing up and putting one leg on a stool, and even on the toilet, haha. Oh, and by the way, Fentanyl and any other type of pain medication/epidural were out of the picture. I was flying solo at this point (though I can guarantee you that if those options were possible I would have taken it).
The nurses kept commenting on how strong I was, how great of a job I was doing….but really, I felt like I was just holding on for dear life. There came a point where I realized that there was no other way to do this. The contractions were going to come closer and closer together whether I liked it or not, and I was not really going to get a break. It was game time and my main objective was just staying afloat. I kept saying to Joey, “I can’t do this” and “How much longer?” He was still amazingly supportive and the one pretty much keeping me sane. He kept telling me that I was amazing and that I could do it.
7:30 PM – PUSHING STAGE
Enter my new nurse, Jamie. She’s the one who stuck out to me the most because she was there by my side for the remainder of my labor. She was amaaaaazing! I have so much more respect for nurses after this whole experience.
Dr. Furman came back in and checked me and determined it was time for me to push. It was really exciting as they got the room transformed – brought in all the extra gear, changed the bed, etc. I was SURE that this baby was coming by 8. I was encouraged and excited to finish it off.
Then…8:00 came along. 8:30. 9:00. These two and a half hours were the hardest two and a half hours of my life. I was exhausted, panting for breath, not getting a break, shaking….soooo discouraged. I pushed about 3-5 times with each contraction and got any rest I could in between them. I would take a deeeep breath then hold it and push as hard as I could. Joey held my left leg back and Jamie held my right leg back. Pushing itself was actually kind of satisfying because I could push against the pain, providing some sort of counter-pressure. What was not satisfying was feeling like I was never making any progress. He must have been in the exact same spot for at least an hour somewhere in there. They kept telling me I was doing amazing and that they could see some of his head, he has lots of dark hair. I kept asking if it was almost over. All my doctor could tell me was I was making progress. I ate ice every once in a while (the only thing I had eaten since the morning)–though food and water were far far from my mind.
By the time 9:30 came around, I had stopped looking at the clock. I was so discouraged and was not really in my right mind. I thought that this literally would never end. All I wanted was a break from the contractions to regain strength, but they kept coming. By this time they were right on top of each other, maybe just 20 seconds break in between them. My mind was racing, thinking of ways this baby could come out besides me doing all this pushing. Epidural….not possible. C-section….not possible. Surely they could just stick their hands in and pull him out? Haha, those were actual thoughts of mine. I didn’t even really have energy to cry but I felt like bursting into tears. The worst part was that I couldn’t quit, I had to keep going. Looking back, it makes me feel like I can get through anything if I was able to get through the mental and physical battle of those two and a half hours.
Probably around 9:45 I asked my doctor, “Is there any other way?” To my surprise, she said there was — and she raced off to get the vacuum. I don’t know exactly what it was or how it helped, all I know was that she put something on his head. (Joey just informed me that it was like a suction cup she put on his head and she pulled on it somehow.)
Before I knew it, he was crowning!!! The events of the next 15 minutes were a blur. I just remember feeling so stretched. It was burning and stinging. I asked my doctor why it was stinging, she said, “That’s what they call the ‘ring of fire'”. Haha, ring of fire indeed!! BUT I could look up at the reflective glass on the ceiling and see his head! Then, all of a sudden, his head had popped out. I cannot express how much joy I had in that moment. There were more nurses in the room at this point (remember the NICU nurses that had to come and take him?) and they were cheering me on. I felt this huge rush of adrenaline. I guess it was just one more push and he was out!
The events that followed were DEFINITELY a blur. After that final push, I collapsed back into the bed, looked at Joey, and said, “It’s over!” He was tearing up and put his face to mine. The relief and joy I felt in that moment was amazing, the BEST feeling in the world. One of the first things the doctor and nurses said was that he had a big head — they were definitely surprised at his size!
One of the nurses said, “Born at 10:04 PM” and they took him over to the other side of the room to do their thing. I remember when I finally heard him cry. Oh, such a sweet, sweet sound. I was on this amazing high that lasted throughout the rest of the night. Dr. Furman went to work stitching me up (I had a 2nd-degree tear…but really, at that point, I didn’t care. haha.) — they asked me if I wanted pain meds for that (more Fentanyl!!) and I was like, YES! Haha, I was done with pain. I asked Dr. Furman if subsequent babies were easier. She said yes. :)
Joey got to go see the baby while they were cleaning Arden up. He took a picture and sent out a text to the family. I looked to see if I could catch a glimpse of the baby. I could see his little pudgy arms and his coned head of hair. They said that he had a dimple on his left cheek :). They kept saying how cute he was. They weighed him, a healthy 8lbs. 11oz. 20.75 in. Oh, my goodness, I was SO ready to meet my baby! At that point though, I decided to let Dr. Furman finish stitching me up completely before I held him so I could just focus on him.
Then the moment came. Man, I wish I remember more about this moment…but I was a tad doped up on Fentanyl ;) plus was feeling all these emotions and all this adrenaline. But I do remember thinking that he was perfect. I was amazed at how beautiful he was. I thought he looked like Joey. It was such a holy moment for us…so perfect and lovely. So right.
Another thought that crossed my mind was, I still remember the pain… ;) haha. Despite what women say about forgetting about the pain once you have the baby. Complete relief? Yes. Forgetting what I had just gone through in the past 17 hours? Not a chance.
Of course. :):)
At this point I got to nurse him. I don’t remember much about that experience. I mean, I remember having to try a few times but it seemed easy enough to me. Joey and I just stared at him and reveled in the fact that I was done with labor, I was not pregnant anymore, etc.
Nurse Jamie came in to bathe him once I was done nursing. I began to shake uncontrollably. It was really weird. Jamie told me it was because my body just had a baby in it but does not anymore so all my hormones are going crazy. Fair ’nuff.
The family comes in!!! (And Mel :). Oh, what joy! It was so much fun to watch everyone hold the baby and to get to tell my story. To hear about the emotional journey they all went on waiting in the waiting room all day (seriously, what champs!). I cannot tell you how encouraging it was to me knowing that they were out there waiting all day. Towards the end of it all I was sure that they would have all left and just come in the morning to meet the baby. I think I may have asked Joey if they were still out there and he said yes. That was so encouraging to me :).
(Oh, one more unpleasant thing I had to endure after labor was my nurse pushing on my uterus to help it shrink back. Future moms…..just prepare yourself and make sure your husband is right next to you so you can squeeze his hand. I was surprised at how much it hurt. NO fun :(, AND she had to do it like 3 times. She said she hates having to do it but it was protocol.)
After all that, Jamie and Joey helped me get to the bathroom. It felt soo weird to stand up. Getting up from the toilet I almost fainted. I had to sit down and regain myself for a good 10 minutes. Then they wheeled me and baby with all our stuff to the post-partum wing where we were to stay. I got to press a button that played music throughout the whole hospital that lets everyone know a baby has been born :). I loved how late it was at night…at this point it was past midnight. Everything was so quiet and serene. Just us and the baby.
That night we didn’t sleep til 3 AM. Joey changed Arden’s first diaper (gross, black, sticky stuff!). We experimented with swaddling. I fed him again. It was pure bliss. Our first quiet night as a new family <3
Okay, I think that’s where I will stop. I’ll spare you all the details of recovery ;).
I thank the Lord for that day. It made me stronger and probably in some ways prepared me for motherhood. I really do feel like I can do anything now. It was such a privilege bringing Arden into the world. As for future kids…… pretty sure after that, I can wait a while;). Haha. But we will see.
Love you all! If you have made it to the end, thanks for reading this!