I know this isn’t really home related, but I figured I’m always interested in the so-called birth story, so maybe you’d be too. And if you’re not, you can just scroll through the cute baby pictures, k?
I woke up on Monday the 21st at 5am with what I was certain was a contraction. Up until this point (one day shy of 41 weeks), I hadn’t felt any contractions. I had a feeling this was the beginning of labor, but I had no clue how long it would take (I REALLY had no clue how long it would take, but more about that later), so I didn’t tell anyone. In fact, that morning I sat down to write the post about our painted bookcase, because I knew it might be a while before I could write a post. At that point, I was only having about 2 contractions an hour.
Mike and I relaxed for the day and I tried to stock up on sleep as everyone says to, but it is nearly impossible to sleep when you’re being hit with contractions. As soon as I would doze off for a half hour, I would wake up with a contraction. This went on all day long. We headed to the mall to walk around for a few hours to keep things moving. Then finally around 11pm, the contractions started getting closer and closer. Just in time for bed, excellent.
Funny side story, the hospital I was delivering at, University Medical Center at Princeton, was opening a much anticipated new hospital on the 22nd at 7am. At 4am, my contractions were about 5 minutes apart. I was told that if I went into labor before 7am, I would go to the old hospital, after I would go to the new one. Mike and I were laughing at our funny luck that in the middle of the night, we had no clue what hospital we would go to. We didn’t even tour the new hospital because, well, I assumed I would be in the old one.
So I went all night with contractions between 5-7 minutes apart. I was told to go to the hospital around 4 minutes apart or when I could no longer take the pain. So I waited and waited. Then 7am passed and we knew we’d be delivering in the new hospital. Then I waited. Then I had a regular appointment at 10am that I never thought I would make it to. Now we were at 29 hours since that first contraction and one night without sleep. I trucked into my scheduled appointment and told them I thought I was in labor.
They hooked me up to the fetal monitor as scheduled, since I was 41 weeks and they wanted to make sure everything was okay with the baby. The monitor showed my contractions were still about 7 minutes apart. Then when the midwife checked me, her reaction shocked me. I was 5 cm dilated.
We took a childbirth class with one of the midwives in our practice and my goal was well, to go to the hospital as late as possible. I did not want to hang out there and I knew I’d be uncomfortable. So the midwife was seriously impressed by my accomplishment and told me to go back home and wait as long as I could. She said that they would admit me to the hospital now, but if I didn’t want any unnecessary medical interventions, I should continue to labor at home for as long as I could. She told me I’d be having a baby that night and if I went home for a little longer, I could get to the hospital at 8 cm and have a quick and easy delivery. Of course, that was my goal all along.
Mike and I grabbed breakfast and still told no one. I knew at about 30 hours into this already, it could be much longer (very very smart of me to assume this….) Then I went back home.
For SEVEN hours.
Problem was, my contractions still weren’t very close. I didn’t know what to do because I was drained. I hadn’t slept, couldn’t sleep, couldn’t eat and I knew I had a long road ahead of me. We tried to walk around the neighborhood and my legs felt like they weighed 100 lbs, so around 5:30, I called the midwife and she told me to head to the hospital. So we gathered our things, kissed the cats goodbye and headed out. Oh, and we finally told our families we were going to the hospital.
I get to the brand spanking new hospital that has only been open for a few hours and I’m immediately swarmed with people. It was actually a little overwhelming. I thought when you were in labor, no one really took you seriously. I was in a room within 2 minutes of arriving. I guess calling ahead and being at 5 cm 7 hours before helped…
So we’re there, we’re going to have a baby, I’ve been in labor for like 36 somewhat hours, and the moment of truth comes. The midwife checks me and I’m at…. 5 cm. All day long nothing had happened. It was really, really upsetting. At this point, the midwife (who happened to be the one who taught our childbirth class), told me she wanted to break my water. I looked at her like she had 5 heads for a minute because this went against everything she herself taught me. I guess she caught on to my confusion and she continued on, telling me that it had already been a very long time and that I had a very long way to go and I was already tired. She went on to tell me that sometimes these things happen and it’s nothing I did wrong or anything, that sometimes you just have to give up control. I think if anyone else, even another one of the midwives told me this, I would have fought it, but I trusted her opinion. So my water was broken probably within 20 minutes of getting to the hospital.
Then things calmed down a bit. The team of nurses left my room, I was able to get out of bed and walk around a bit. Mike and I walked the hallways and I stocked up on some juice. I really had no appetite, but the midwife gave me some graham crackers and told me I had to eat if I planned on pushing this baby out. So I drank mass amounts of juice and walked and walked. I have no idea how much time passed at this point (there was wisely no clock in the room). When the midwife came to check me again, I was at…. 6 cm.
I was seriously having the slowest labor ever. She then told me that she thought I needed pitocin, another no no from childbirth class. I knew it would make my contractions stronger and harder and I was trying to wait on the epidural for as long as I could. I wanted to be able to walk and move to have gravity on my side and keep the baby working it’s way out. She said she didn’t think I needed a lot of pitocin, so I should try it and then see if I wanted the epidural. So that’s what I did.
I also remembered from my childbirth class that even when you ask for an epidural, it usually takes a while for the anesthesiologist to come administer it. So as I was tired and frustrated and the contractions started to kick in, I asked for the epidural. I knew I could continue to take the pain, but I figured I’d already had so many interventions that I might as well be pain free.
The epidural sucked, as expected, and made me throw up immediately. This was one reason why I was trying to avoid it because a) I don’t do well with medicines and b) I hate being sick and not having control of my body. It was really worse than the pain in the beginning with all of the wires and monitors I had to be on (plus not being allowed to drink water), but once it kicked in, it was nice to relax. The midwife turned off the lights in our room and told me to sleep for a few hours. Mike and I started to watch Crazy Stupid Love and it was something like 2 or 3 am at this point.
Just as I started to doze off, I was hit with a ridiculous amount of pressure, pain and uncontrollable shaking. I then started throwing up again. I didn’t know what it was, but I called the nurse. After a few minutes, she called the anesthesiologist back and he gave me some sort of a booster pain medicine. Then my body relaxed once again and I tried to sleep. Around 6am (49 hours after that first contraction) I was at 10cm, but the baby was still sitting pretty high so the midwife told me to wait it out until I felt I was ready to push.
I was just getting the urge to push when I was hit with the uncontrollable pain, shaking and vomiting again. This time I called the nurse immediately and she called the anesthesiologist, who gave me 2 more of those booster pain meds. He was shocked that the first round didn’t work because he said that it should have made me pretty numb. My left leg was completely dead and my right side was feeling contractions. The 2 boosters didn’t work at all and I continued to shake and throw up for what felt like forever. I was pretty scared at this point because the shaking and pain were overriding that urge to push I was feeling. I knew I couldn’t push feeling like that, since I couldn’t even stop throwing up long enough to focus. I also thought that if it came down to me needing a c-section, they would probably have to knock me out since I had feeling on my right side. I really had no clue how they were going to get my baby out.
Then the anesthesiologist told me they’d have to re-do my epidural, at hours past 10cm. So they restarted the process and I couldn’t even stop throwing up long enough for them to do it. I just had to stay as still as possible.
Finally the second epidural worked. Around 9ish, the urge to push came back. At this point I was excited and determined to get this baby out. He was still sitting very high, so the midwife didn’t want me pushing just yet because she said I’d end up pushing for a very long time. But I wanted to push, I was begging to push. So she told me that I could do just a few practice pushes to see if I could get the baby down on my own. She said she’d give me 15 minutes and with each contraction, to just push a little, but not too hard. She left the room and I pushed whenever I felt like I had to. When she came back, the baby had dropped. I wasn’t messing around.
It was now time to officially start pushing and I pushed and pushed. The first hour went so fast that I had no clue it had been an hour until I overheard someone say it. With every push, I seriously thought the baby was coming out. My nicely blow dried hair turned into a sopping wet mop of sweat and I couldn’t stop chugging water. Mike kept putting a cold towel on my head because it felt like it was a million degrees in the delivery room.
Once the little monster started coming out, we learned that he was posterior, or face up. It took a little extra effort to get him out, but after about 2 hours of pushing and 56 total hours of labor, Easton Max was born at 12:05pm on May 23rd.
When he came out, he didn’t cry. He was quickly rushed away and Mike didn’t get to cut his cord. He was born 17 hours after my water was broken and had apparently swallowed some stuff in that time. The midwife assured me that he was fine and was just a little startled. Within a few minutes, he was crying and regaining his color.
I heard some nurses say that he was big, but since I hadn’t had an ultrasound since 20 weeks, I had no clue how big he was. Turns out he was 8 1/2 lbs!
As soon as he was born, Mike and I could not believe how cute he was. Even as he looked at us while the nurses worked at him on the warmer, he had the cutest little expressions.
10 12 days since Easton was born (this took a few days to finish). While we’re tired and we’ve had our moments (mostly over breastfeeding issues, not Easton issues), we are seriously in love with the little guy. My recovery was rough for a few days since I was so sore and swollen that I couldn’t get up and down the stairs, but after about a week I started to feel much better. Pushing out an 8 & 1/2 pound baby made me feel like I pulled every single muscle in my body, including my arms and neck. But he was totally worth it and I still can’t believe that this little face came from me.
The cats love Easton too and we are so impressed by their responses.
They don’t even flinch when he cries and the three of them still follow us around the house and want to be near ALL of us. It’s like they think Easton has always been a part of our family, which is a huge relief.
At his first pediatrician’s appointment, Easton surpassed his birth weight in less than a week. This was a huge relief to this breastfeeding mom and we got the go ahead to let him go 4 hours between feedings at night. It’s been pretty nice to sleep 3 hours at a time at night, so I finally feel like I’m getting back into my groove with feeling better and getting some sleep. Hopefully this means I can squeeze in some nursery posts during the week, though it may take me all day to write just one 🙂
Welcome to the world, my little baby E.