This is my messy, train-of-thought recollection of my daughter’s birth, copied from my journal.
“Either I just peed in my pants, or my water broke!”
Friday night, twenty-two days before my due date, we went to dinner with friends that are also expecting a baby. We got home from dinner and relaxed on the couch watching television. I was feeling particularly uncomfortable and headed to bed around midnight. We planned to wake up early to go downtown and take maternity pictures. I woke up to go to the bathroom around 1:15am with a strong sense of urgency. A few minutes after I got back into bed, I felt a small gush.
I woke my husband and told him I had either just peed in my pants or my water broke. Half asleep, he confidently claimed, “your water didn’t break.” I went back to the bathroom, sat on the toilet again, and felt a lot of pee again. That seemed strange. I looked in the toilet and it was cloudy. Then I felt my shorts and they were all wet. I stood up and liquid just trickled down my leg. I called my husband in and sat down on the bathmat, just in shock! At 1:30am, I called my OB. She said I could come to the hospital now, but I said I would rather stay at home as long as possible. She told me I needed to be there by 7am. We called our families and my parents got scheduled on the first flight out. I asked my husband to clean up our place because I didn’t want it to be a disaster when we got back with a baby, and I was going to try to sleep since I knew I needed energy. First I needed to get on my computer to wrap up some work. Then I tried to go to sleep. What was I thinking? I was about to have a baby, sleep was impossible! Not only was there amniotic fluid slowly dripping out of me, but my mind was racing. I was anxious about everything that had to get done. I worried about the baby coming three weeks early and I was so disappointed because I still wasn’t having contractions and I knew that meant I’d be induced. My husband came in and napped for about two hours. We set the alarm for 6am, showered, grabbed our hospital bags, ate, took one last belly picture and headed to the hospital a little after 7am. Still I wasn’t having contractions. The walk out of our place was exciting because we knew we’d be returning with a baby!
We arrived at Labor & Delivery. The nurses’ station was filled with nurses because their shift had just begun. They took us to room #7. Our nurse got me all settled and they started monitoring the baby. At 8:50 they started the Pitocin. Since I was hooked up to the IB, they wanted to constantly monitor the baby as well. This limited my movement. I could unhook the baby monitor to go to the bathroom but I had to wheel the thing holding all the IV fluid. And I couldn’t stay in there too long because they couldn’t monitor the baby. So when I was having contractions it was annoying because I either wanted to take a hot shower (not possible with the IV) or sit on the toilet (less pressure on the pelvis). Since they were hell bent on monitoring this baby every second for some reason, I tried doing squats in the labor and delivery room. During one of the contractions, there was a light knock on the door. Since nurses were constantly knocking, I was in the habit of always saying, “come in”. This time it was my parents. With huge grins on their faces and suitcases in their hands, they joyfully walked in the room. I, in my hospital gown, leaking amniotic fluid and at the peak of a contraction, yelled, “GEEEEET OOOOUUT!”
A piece of advice to all: Never go into a laboring woman’s room without her clear understanding and permission.
Soon, our nurse came back in and said the squats messed up the monitoring. She asked me to just lay in bed. Even bending my knees in bed would cause them to come to my bed and readjust to get the baby’s heartbeat.
So, that’s when I gave in and finally decided to get the epidural. It was 1:00pm. I cried when I made this decision. I was scared and had hoped not to get it. But since I wasn’t able to move around and deal with the pain, and was supposed to just lay in bed, I gave in. The nurse, my OB, and the anesthesiologist were all very comforting and helpful. I got a contraction just as he was sticking the needle in my back, so I dug my nails into my husband hand as I tried not to move. Once the epidural kicked in, everything was wonderful and I happily invited my parents back into my room. From that point on, it was a peaceful environment. A handful of times the baby’s heart rate decreased and I needed to keep the oxygen mask on. Our nurse helped keep the vibe very calm. I asked my mom if she wanted to be in the room when the baby was born. I gave her some ground rules (stay up by my head and no running commentary) and she agreed. My parents then went to the waiting room while we relaxed. At 4:15pm I was 10 cm, and 100% effaced, but my doctor wanted to wait until I had a very strong urge to push. She said it should feel like I’m about to have the biggest bowel movement of my life and I cannot wait. I told her it felt like I had to poop a little. She assured me that was just the baby, and that the urge wasn’t strong enough. The anesthesiologist came in around 5:45pm to lower the epidural. Fifteen minutes later I knew I had to push.
Our nurse called my doctor in and I texted my mom. My first push was at 6:22pm. Immediately after, the doctor put on her face shield and set up the sheet under me to catch the baby if necessary. The second contraction, they saw the top of the head but I had to take a break as I was throwing up in a bucket. The third contraction my husband started crying a little because he saw a full head of hair. The fourth push, at 6:37pm, our baby came out! I was looking down from pushing and my doctor said, “Mom, look up! It’s a girl!”.
I looked up and saw her greyish little body and said, “I knew you were a girl!”. They immediately laid her on my chest and the doctor said, “she’s still connected to you.”. They continued to wipe her down and my husband cut the umbilical cord.
The moment she was put on my chest was the single most incredible moment of my life.
We looked at each other and she held my finger and we stayed like that for a long time. At one point someone asked how much she weighed and I heard another voice say, “well… if mom would let go of her we could weigh her!” 🙂