It is a rainy, cozy day so I figured it would be the perfect day to snuggle in bed with Jacob and write the story of his birth before I forget the details.
Two days before I went into labor which was a Friday, I was feeling a little different. The day before, on Thursday, I had my doctors appointment where they confirmed that I was 3 cm dilated. All that time I had felt my pregnancy “normal” until Friday. It is hard to explain how I felt but I was feeling a lot of pressure and I felt like a balloon ready to pop. I even put towels down in bed before going to sleep Friday night, I was sure it was going to happen that night. We went to bed and I woke up Saturday morning feeling great. We were very productive that day, we picked up around the house, ran errands, vacuumed, watered the plants, paid bills and did laundry. I figured maybe I just had an off day. Saturday night we met up with a group of friends and hung out with them for a while. On our way home we stopped at Trader Joe’s to do a late grocery shop and stock up on food. While I was pushing the cart around all I could think about was what if my water breaks here…We went home put away the groceries and went to bed. Really exciting Saturday night, I know…
Somewhere in one of my pregnancy books I had read that only 10-15% of pregnant women have their water break outside of the hospital, and among those 10-15% it is only a trickle or a small stream of water not a huge dramatic gush that Hollywood likes to portray in the movies. Well, about 30 minutes after we fell asleep which was 11:14 pm my water broke. And it was exactly like a balloon popping, it was not a trickle or a stream, it was like Niagara Falls, just like Hollywood likes to portray. It jolted me awake and I sprinted to the bathroom while yelling at Justin to wake up. He is a heavy sleeper and my shouts from the bathroom didn’t do much for him. After wrapping myself in towels I go back to the bed and start shaking Justin awake and he kept nodding his head and pulling the covers up over him trying to convince me to give him a few more minutes to sleep. Finally, it registered with him and he sat up wide eyed and I said “it’s time, my water broke, we have to go to the hospital.” We fumbled around getting dressed and grabbing a few things, Justin took the dog out really quick to relive himself and we were on our way to the hospital. We called our parents and texted our friends who were going to take care of our dog to let them know. We pulled into the parking structure of the hospital at 11:44 pm and made our way to triage. All this time I still have water gushing out of me. When we checked in I told the nurse that I needed to use the restroom since I was still leaking water, she told me to wait because they would need a urine sample. So we stood in the hallway in a huge puddle of amniotic fluid growing by the second. After a few minutes Justin said something to the nurse more urgently and she took us back to get me checked in. I was able to use the restroom and get myself cleaned up, they hooked me up to a monitor and checked me and determined that I was 5 cm dilated. It was then I really started to feel my contractions and they were coming fast and hard. They wheeled me into labor and delivery and got my IV hooked up and everything else ready to go. They asked me if I was planing on an epidural and I said yes, they suggested that I get it sooner than later since it was a busy night in labor and delivery with several emergency cesareans, they had to call a second anesthesiologist to help with the patient load and if I waited too long then they may get tied up and not be able to get to me in time. So I got the epidural and the anesthesiologist gave me a button to push if I needed more, I only pushed it once the entire time during my labor. Then my mom showed up and we were going to settle down and rest for a while until it was time to push. It was hard to rest since I had the shakes so bad which is a side effect from the epidural. Shortly after Justin’s parents showed up and while we were all visiting the nurses kept coming in and checking the monitor placement on my belly, I finally asked them if everything was okay and they said that they kept loosing the baby’s heartbeat because he was moving around so much. Because of all the activity the nurse decided to check me again and determined that I was 10 cm dilated. I had gone from 5 cm to 10 cm in an hour! It was time to start pushing…so much for a little bit of rest. Every time I felt a contraction coming on Justin and my mom would support my legs and count for me as I pushed. I was surprised at how much I could feel with the epidural, I always thought I would not be able to move my legs which was partly true, my right leg was completely numb and it kept falling off the bed, Justin had to keep putting it back up and hold it. That bothered me more than anything else, I hated the feeling of not being in control of a part of my body, I imagine it must be similar to what people feel when they loose a limb, the phantom limb sensation, ugh so frustrating! Otherwise I could still feel things and move around, which was good in my opinion, it helped to know when to push and I felt like I was in some kind of control, it just took the edge off.
I pushed and pushed and pushed…every time I pushed the nurse could see Jacob’s head, but he didn’t stay there he would go back up. So I kept pushing…I pushed for 4 hours. It was tiring, even Justin started sitting on the couch to rest in-between contractions, in fact, one time he dozed off and missed a round of my pushing, it’s okay, I forgive him 🙂 Every time I pushed the amniotic fluid kept coming, the nurse even moved out of the way a few times to avoid getting wet! She kept marveling at how much fluid I had. During the 4 hours my doctor came in twice to check on me and both times she said I am going to do a C-Section then I’ll be back to check on you, I remember thinking there’s no way this is going to last that long, this baby is coming before she’ll be done with the C-Section.
At one point the nurse asked me if I wanted a mirror and I said no, I had my eyes closed as I was pushing and I didn’t think a mirror was going to make any difference. During the 4 hours, I had 3 different nurses take over and finally the 3rd one said to me, do you mind if we try something different, my way? I said yes! I’ll try anything different, so we changed positions and that finally got the ball rolling. She also gently encouraged me to try the mirror, so I said sure, I was up for trying anything. Especially since I heard one of the nurses discreetly mention the possibility of a C-Section in passing, she didn’t actually say it but I knew what she was getting at since I had been pushing for so long they thought I might be too tired to continue. I remember saying “I am going to do this!” to be sure to let them know that I was not giving up and a C-Section was not an option. I have to say that using the mirror did help, it showed me that all the work I was doing was making progress and gave me renewed strength.
Finally Jacob was in the birth canal, my doctor showed up and it only took a few more pushes to get him out. Another thing that really sticks out in my mind was while I was pushing I was focusing on Justin’s voice while he was counting for me and it was so encouraging hearing the difference in his tone when it got closer and closer and hearing his excitement when Jacob arrived. Then everything was such a blur, they flipped him on top of me and one thing I remember was he picked up his head and turned to look at the other side of the room, I was amazed at how strong he already was. They left him on me while they checked him out and toweled him off. Justin cut the umbilical cord and Jacob immediately latched on and started eating. After about an hour they took him to the warmer to do some more tests, weigh him and then gave him right back to me, I loved that the hospital policy is as much skin to skin, mother and child time as possible. Justin’s parents came back and we all marveled at our precious boy. We stayed in labor and delivery for about 3 hours while we visited, had breakfast, took pictures, sent out texts, facebook notifications and made phone calls to the masses.
By the way if you are like me with straight hair that does not hold curl and longs for that little bit of body and volume to your hairstyle, I finally found out how to get it! 4 hours of labor works wonders for your hairstyle!
Then they took us up to our room. The nurse and my mom gave Jacob a bath, we got settled in and decided it was time to finally rest. My mom went home to our house and cleaned up the hurricane mess we left the night before and took a nap, while we rested at the hospital. That afternoon, my best childhood friend Stacey showed up to visit, later that evening my mom came back with my dad to visit. After dinner we decided to try and get some sleep. Justin attempted to get comfortable on the couch and I was reluctant to give up Jacob to the bassinet, but I knew it wasn’t safe for him to sleep in my arms.
After the nurse helped get him swaddled up we positioned the bassinet in between us and slept (sort of). Jacob actually slept great, it is hard to sleep when you have nurses coming in every few hours to check Jacob’s temperature and my blood pressure and re-swaddle Jacob after I fed him, etc…The next day the nurses told me I had the option of going home that day or staying one more night. We decided to go home, we knew we would be much more comfortable at home with less interruptions from nurses, food delivery, technicians, etc…If we didn’t have my mom there to help, we probably would have stayed one more night, but grandma came to the rescue! There were a number of things that needed to get done before we could go home, so it all started with a visit from the pediatrician. Then we had the discharge class, that taught us the basics on how to care for your baby and what to expect after leaving the hospital. Jacob needed another heel prick blood draw since there was a risk for him being jaundiced because my blood type is O- and he is O+ (like his daddy). My OB came to check on me, I had a visit from a lactation specialist to get a few tips, and Jacob had his hearing test. I have to admit I was a bit anxious for this test, when the technician came in and started doing the test I was silently praying and trying to hold in my tears. Just like the perfect little guy he is he passed with flying colors! Amen!
And during all this we had a visit from the Hardy family. It was a fast paced, busy day! Then it was finally time to go home. Jacob did great in the car and slept pretty much the entire time. It felt so good to be in the comforts of home.
I have to say that in all my experiences from previous surgeries to labor and delivery at Sharp Mary Birch, I absolutely love this hospital! The nurses are so wonderful, everything is clean, the staff is very friendly and you can always find someone to help you or answer your questions. All these things help to make the whole process a pleasant one. Here’s a picture Justin snapped while going out to the car to get our overnight bags, Jacob was born on a rainy day. I love rainy days!!