LC’s birth story began when I went in to see the Dr. at 36 weeks. She told me she would be surprised if baby didn’t arrive in the next two weeks. I went home and made sure my hospital bag was packed, since that was something I could actually do, and plan for. When I went back for my 37 week appointment, there was no progression, so I went home disappointed. Just about everything felt like a big task. Being only a little over five foot tall, with a very short torso, I was extremely uncomfortable all the time.
On Sunday night, December 13th (at 38 weeks and 1 day), my contractions were getting stronger, but since I had Braxton Hicks all the time, I didn’t think it was actually the start of labor. We opened up the app and started monitoring how close together the contractions were. And once the app told me it was time to go to the hospital I called the OBGYN office to speak to the on call Dr and ask if I should go in. He asked me a few questions, and I decided it wasn’t time yet, so I stayed home. The hard part was not having anything to compare what I was feeling to. That was my biggest struggle the entire pregnancy. We put everything we wanted to take to the hospital by the door, and went to bed.
38 weeks and 2 day pregnant
The next morning I had my weekly appointment to see my doctor, and since I felt like I was leaking a little (which could just be pregnancy discharge), she decided to do a test to see if my water had broken. I was 38 weeks and two days. Since the test takes about 20 minutes for results she told me to go home. And then as we were ten minutes into the drive home I got the call to go straight to the hospital. My water was broken! Thank God we had actually packed the car with all our hospital stuff, so we were ready to go!
We checked in into the hospital, and they tested me for COVID. The test was awful, as I had expected. The nurse took us to our delivery room, and I felt thankful we had a private room, much bigger than I had imagined. The nurse put a painful IV (for Pitocin) on my hand (gosh I hate needles), and added two straps to my belly, to monitor my contractions, and the baby’s heartbeat.
I had read everywhere to bring lots of activities to the hospital, so I was prepared with my laptop (Netflix and Disney+) and a new coloring book I had picked up at Target. Although I ended up not really watching much, or coloring, I’m glad I had those items just in case.
Waiting to push…
And then the waiting and checking game began. Although my water had “ruptured” it was not completely, so a Dr came in to break the sac with a tool that looks like a crochet hook. Unfortunately for me, it was extremely painful to have that done. And at that point, my contractions became probably ten times more painful too. I’ll add that I’ve asked many people about needing to have their water broken by a Dr, and they all said they didn’t think it was painful, so I’m still not sure why mine was.
I went in with a really open mind about all things “birth.” I had a birth “philosophy” (and not really a plan) with the “in an ideal world scenario” these would be my choices, but I had complete trust in my Dr, and wanted to have an open mind in case things didn’t go as expected. Getting an Epidural was something I went in knowing I had nothing against getting it, and as soon as the Dr broke my water I told the nurse to call the anesthesiologist. My braxton hicks and contractions to that point had been NOTHING in comparison to what they were now.
Getting the Epidural
Luckily the anesthesiologist was in the building and it only took him about 10 minutes to come see me. Sitting on the bed, he had me lean forward and be really still while he numbed my back (with tiny needle pricks). Then he put the epidural in. Although I’m terrified of needles, I have to say it was really not that bad. I still had some feeling of my legs after that, but the pain was pretty much gone.
I got really cold, and had chills that made my whole body shake. Sleeping was not easy, even though I felt exhausted. Every time the nurse checked my cervix, I felt hope that it would be time to push. A few hours went by before we were good to go. My sweet husband was the best through the entire process. He seemed to anticipate all my needs and wants and was incredible. I feel like those hours brought us even closer as husband and wife.
The nurse called my Dr when I was at a 9 (cervix dilation), at about 2:30 am. 12 hours into our hospital stay. I had read so many articles about how doctors and nurses tell women to push like they are pooping, and how that causes vaginal tears, so I was determined to use different techniques I read about. Unfortunately those techniques did not work well for me, and the dr kept telling me to push hard. I remember asking her a couple of times, after pushing, “did I tear yet?” I ended up pushing for an hour and a half, in complete exhaustion, and baby girl came out.
Things didn’t go as planned
As soon as she was born the Dr called out “NICU” and within seconds, a whole team came in and took her across the room. She wasn’t crying, and I didn’t know what was going on. I kept asking what was happening, with no answer. I later found out her umbilical cord was wrapped around her little neck, so RJ wasn’t able to cut her umbilical cord like we had hoped, and they weren’t able to put her in my chest for skin to skin right away. It was TERRIFYING. From across the room, I just talked to her. I kept saying “mommy is right here, you’re ok” and I couldn’t stop crying. I faintly remember hearing RJ pray. And then she cried, and they brought her to me. There’s nothing that will ever compare to those moments. She was safely in my arms.
Because she was born after midnight, we were able to stay at the hospital an extra day. I was so thankful for the hospital stay. The nurses were amazing, and so helpful. We had breakfast, lunch and dinner delivered to our room every day (we did pack lots of snacks too), and I had help with breastfeeding, as well as a bathroom stacked with postpartum supplies all available to me.
Although I brought my camera, I actually barely took any pictures while at the hospital. To be honest I felt completely drained and struggled with breastfeeding from day 1.
Two days later we packed our room, had a nurse help us put L in her car seat, and off we went. And yes, I forgot a “going home” outfit, and had to leave in my night shirt, flip-flops, and socks! Oh well…