I can’t believe that two weeks have gone by since Gracie was born! It all seems like such a blur of feedings, diaper changes and broken sleeps
|I could kiss this face all day long|
|Going to the pedi for our first weight check!|
Before I forget the rest of the details of her birth (thanks to baby brain, which is much worse than pregnancy brain LOL), here we go!!
20 minutes later, I woke up to an even stronger contraction. A) how was I AWAKE? and B) how much worse could these damn things get???
I called the nurse, and she came in and was in as much shock as I was that I was awake and in so much pain. She said she would call my midwife and get her back to the hospital asap. My idea of asap and theirs was clearly different, since it took over a half hour. My contractions were strong and very close together, and at one point I looked at Keith and said “we are NEVER doing this again”.
Karen came in around 1:45am and examined me. She told me I was 3cm and 100% effaced. She thought this was good news, I of course did not.
She pulled her stool over next to me and very gently explained that it was time to move on to Plan B. My body wanted to give birth, which is why the morphine didn’t work. But I couldn’t do it on my own. My body needed a little bit of help, and I still needed rest. I started crying because I knew what she was about to suggest.
I had spent my entire pregnancy prepping for a natural childbirth. I read every book under the sun, practiced breathing and visualization techniques, and hired a birth doula. I wanted a water birth, a drug-free birthing experience. I could feel that slipping away as she kept talking.
My midwives are very open and flexible. They only offer drug-free births at the birth center, so when she suggested augmenting my labor, I knew it was because it was what I really needed. One time when I had a cold, I called her and asked what I could take and she told me to take a hot shower, drink tea and take a nap. For her to be suggesting an epidural and pitocin, was because I needed it.
I was upset for maybe a minute. I had never made a “birth plan”. I had prepared myself that whatever happened would happen and I didn’t have any control over it and I needed to be okay with however things played out.
Keith and I agreed to an epidural (which would for sure help with the pain and let me sleep) and a pitocin drip so that my body would continue working and dilating while I rested. He told me he was proud of me for laboring on my own for so long, and reminded me that in a few hours Gracie would be in my arms. I had to focus on the end goal — meeting my sweet baby girl. I was SO ready.
It took a couple of hours to get the epi in and my IV set up and the pitocin going. I drifted in and out of consciousness, so the details of this time are very fuzzy. I do remember listening to the anesthesiologist and thinking how full of himself he seemed and how annoying he was. I clearly kept my mouth shut since he was in control at this point with a large needle! They gave me a “walking epidural” which is a dumb name since I couldn’t get out of bed, but I could feel and move my legs. I could feel a contraction coming on, but I only felt pressure in my abdomen not pain.
At 4:45, we FINALLY fell asleep. The sleep was wonderful. I was hoping for several hours of uninterrupted sleep. Wrong again.
I woke up at 6am, feeling lots and lots of pressure. They told me I would feel this when I was close to delivering, so I called the nurse. She was doubtful that I had progressed so much in such a short amount of time given how my early labor had progressed, and since Karen was delivering another baby, she examined me instead. Her jaw practically fell open … she couldn’t believe how much progress I had made. I was a full 7cm dilated, and with a contraction I stretched to a 10. There was no denying that this baby was coming and soon!
I woke Keith up and started freaking out … we needed to call Katie, we needed to get Gracie’s bag from the car, I was thirsty and needed ice chips, and he needed to get coffee! I believe I even yelled “it’s go time! we are having this baby!” My poor husband was in such a sleepy daze, but he pulled himself together and did what I asked
By 7am, Katie had arrived and we were still waiting for the midwife to come in. Katie asked me what outfits I had packed for Gracie, so I went to pull myself up to show her the little clothes I had packed. And just at that moment, my water broke. Both Keith and Katie just stood there (haha) completely clueless as what to do! I laugh now, but at the time I was like “umm a little help here? a towel maybe??”
We called the nurse and Debbie, the new midwife who came on at 7, came running in. I was on such a high and so excited to get things going. By now, (it was 7:45) I was a full 10cm and ready to push!
Then Debbie told me there was meconium in my waters, and I lost it again. I couldn’t stop crying. I had come to terms with the labor that I had been handed, but meconium meant we couldn’t do immediate skin-to-skin and we couldn’t do delayed cord clamping. I felt like everything I had wanted was just being taken from me. Debbie called in the special care team, and two doctors came in to whisk her away as soon as she was born, and get her suctioned before handing her to me. I didn’t have time to react after that. There was nothing we could do and this baby was coming.
I started pushing at 8am, and Debbie told me that while most first time moms with epidurals push for three hours (god help me), mine was going to be much, much faster.
She was right! At 8:57, in one long push, Gracie was born.
Hearing her cry was the most amazing sound in the whole world, and I instantly burst into tears. Debbie did a two second exam, said she didn’t see any meconium and immediately placed her on my stomach. We didn’t need the special care doctors after all!
Meeting my daughter for the first time was the most amazing and indescribable feeling. I didn’t think it was possible to feel such an intense flooding of emotions at one time. Joy, relief, exhaustion, and most of all – love. I already loved this little girl with such a fierceness I had never felt before.