A lot of people have asked me about labor and the whole birth process so I’m going to tell my story here on the blog. It was such a whirlwind of a weekend so I’m going to break everything down.
Friday December 19th
On Friday morning my husband and I went in for my routine doctor’s visit. Once you hit 36 weeks pregnant they have you come in weekly so they can check your cervix and see how dilated and effaced you are. We went in Friday morning for our 39 week checkup and didn’t really think anything of it. Our appointments are early in the morning because the doctor is far from us so I didn’t even bother to shower.
We got to the doctor and he wanted to run an NST (non-stress test) to monitor the baby’s heart rate and make sure everything was okay. He strapped me to a machine where they measure the baby’s heart rate and then he gave me a Nintendo-like controller that I was supposed to hit every time I felt the baby move. What he wanted to see was the baby’s heart rate accelerate with every movement. Well, Baby Awesome’s heart rate did not do that so the test was what they called “inconclusive.” Based on this, the doctor said we have two options:
1) We go get a detailed ultrasound to see what’s going on.
2) We go to the hospital and deliver the baby.
Um, say what? I just thought this was a routine exam! Our hospital bags were at home half packed and we weren’t even remotely prepared for me to start going into labor. This was crazy.
We ended up deciding to go to the hospital and let them do some more monitoring of the baby’s heart rate. A room wasn’t ready for us so we ended up walking around the nearby mall for 90 minutes or so before we went over there. My husband and I were nervous and kind of in shock over how fast things had changed. Our number one priority was to make sure the baby was healthy and safe.
We got to the hospital and they put me on a monitor. The results were better than what the doctor saw at his office, but still not great. The doctor was worried about the baby being able to handle the stress of being in labor. Frankly, I was too. After being monitored for several hours we had to make a game-time decision: stay at the hospital and get induced or go home for a day and see if labor started naturally on its own (I was already having contractions 2-4 minutes apart). Either way, the doctor wanted to deliver the baby over the weekend so we opted to go home and wait for labor to start on its own and allow us to get some rest.
Saturday, December 20th
We woke up and decided to enjoy a nice brunch at the beach since it might be our last outing with just the two of us (plus Kona). After that we ran errands and I basically went into crazy nesting mode trying to get all the loose ends tied up and ready for baby. I took a long shower, got my car detailed, went and got a mani / pedi, and organized stuff around the house. We ended up going back to the hospital at 10pm for a scheduled induction. We dropped Kona off with our family and snapped this last photo of me pregnant:
When we got to the hospital we got checked in and I was having moderate contractions 2-4 minutes apart. The doctor originally wanted to induce me but because I was already having contractions he was able to augment the labor with pitocin. I was not all that happy about having to get pitocin but my first priority was to deliver a healthy baby so if that was what needed to happen, then that is what I was going to do. So here is a time table from this point forward.
Sunday, December 21st
1am- Started Pitocin drip. I was having moderate contractions but wasn’t really feeling anything intense.
5am – My water broke. I wasn’t expecting this since only less than 15% of all women have their water break on its own. It felt like a wet gush like I peed myself or something. When I told the nurse, she was super excited for me and said it means the labor is progressing and contractions will start to get more intense now.
5:30am – I went for a walk around the hospital floor to help move the labor along and bounced on a birthing ball. It felt nice to move around.
6am-9am- I don’t remember much about this time period other than my husband was asleep on the hospital couch in a sleeping bag and all the nurses kept coming in and saying how smart he was for bringing a sleeping bag. Note to expecting dads: bring a sleeping bag to the hospital! I also remember having to go to the bathroom A LOT during this time period and it helped me get through the contractions.
9am-9:30am: The contractions became so intense it was unbearable. Take your worst period cramp ever and times it by 1000 and that’s what it felt like. I was crying in pain and began cursing every time another contraction would come. When the doctor came to check me I was in so much pain he couldn’t even see how dilated I was. It was bad. This was the point where I just couldn’t bear the pain anymore. My birth plan was always to go as long as I could naturally and I felt like I was at the end of my rope. I wanted to enjoy the rest of my labor and not be in so much pain. I decided to get the epidural and the anesthesiologist was called in.
9:45am- I received the epidural. It didn’t hurt at all in comparison to the contractions I was feeling. Within 10 minutes the epidural started working. I felt SO much better and was actually about to get some sleep.
10am- I begin to feel very relaxed on the epidural and take a nap.
12pm- I wake up and the doctor checks me. I am 6cm dilated.
1pm- I am awake and relaxed and we turn on the TV and watch Sunday football. I could feel the contractions happening but I couldn’t feel the pain associated with them. It was a nice relief. At this point I did start to get really cold and felt very nauseated. I was told this meant I was moving into the transition phase of my labor.
1:30pm- The doctor checks me again and I am at 9.5cm. He tells me to get ready to push soon. I tell him I want a power nap.
2pm- I take a power nap.The doctor is annoyed but lets me.
2:20pm- The doctor wakes me up and says its time to start pushing. I start pushing while the Colts vs Cowboys game plays in the background.
2:20-2:39pm- I push for 19 minutes and Baby Awesome is born 6 contractions later! My doctor said the athlete in me really came out during our pushing session. Woo hoo!
Overall Thoughts on Labor
What started as a hectic and scary experience ended up being a very smooth labor and delivery. I have heard so many horror stories from people’s labor and I just didn’t know what to expect. I am so glad I stuck to my plan of having an open mind and labor naturally as long as I could. At first I was disappointed in myself for not being able to stick with natural labor until the end, but the difference in how much more enjoyable the whole experience was after I had the epidural made me very happy with my decision. If any pregnant moms to be out there are contemplating what to do, my advice would be to keep an open mind about your birthing plan. You can write as much as you want down on a piece of paper but it can all go south in a second. Having an open mind and trusting that your doctor has your best interest and the baby’s health in mind is key. I have a ton of respect for moms who give birth naturally but that was just not in the cards for me and that’s okay. I have a healthy, happy Awesome Baby and that’s all that matters!
Life At Home
The first couple weeks at home have gone by so fast! I can’t even believe it. Over the holidays it was nice to be at home and just spend time with our little bundle of joy. She is such a good baby. She sleeps well and doesn’t really cry unless we change her diaper. There have been a handful of baby items that have been key for us during our first few weeks at home and I will post about them another time. We are just soaking it all in and enjoying life with our little angel.
How is Kona Doing?
Kona has been very curious about her new little sister. When we first brought her home she sniffed her very intensely and that was about it. She’s very sensitive when the baby cries and looks up at us like “Are you going to help her?” The first week we were home Kona also got very sick. At first we thought it might be doggie depression but then we realized she must have ate something bad. We were so worried about her but are happy to report that she’s doing much better now and is recovering nicely. She is so good with her baby sister and we are thankful for that!
Motherhood is awesome! I love it. I have a checkup with my doctor at the 6 week post-partum mark and that will be when I get the green light to exercise again. I was only able to do light exercise throughout my pregnancy and can’t wait to get back into Fit & Awesome shape. I am for sure going to be documenting my journey here on the blog, so be prepared! I’ve also got several great guest posts lined up while I am adjusting to our new life with Baby Awesome. Get Excited.
What about you? Do you have a crazy labor story? What was your birth plan like? Post in the comments and let me know!