I figured I owed the blogosphere my birth story since I basically scoured the internet for anybody and everybody's birth story while I was pregnant. So here it goes.
I became a mother on a cold Tuesday morning in Boston. The story starts the Thursday before. Well, the story starts years and years before, but this story, the birth story, starts the Thursday before.
I had been having Braxton Hicks contractions for months and months now but that Thursday they were different. They were more uncomfortable (I couldn't sit in my desk chair to finish my sewing project- so annoying) and didn't go away when I changed positions. I didn't think they were labor contractions because I expected drama and pain! These were not dramatic or too painful- mostly just annoying- but I started timing them anyway. They were pretty consistently 10 minutes apart throughout the day and by the time Steve got home they were 5 minutes apart. I was having to concentrate through them but like I said before- I was not in extreme pain. I knew that I was already pretty dilated so I figured I'd be safe and just call the nurse on call at my doctor's office. She told me that I should just try and get some sleep- if they weren't so painful I couldn't talk through them. I had kind of expected that response, but I figured better safe than sorry. I had an irrational fear of not making it to the hospital in time to get my antibiotics (for the group B strep)... mama instincts kicking in already! So after a few more hours of discomfort they went away and I was able to go to sleep.
Fast forward to Monday.
I have a doctor's appt at 10:00 am. I go in, I dilated another 1/2 inch. I'm now at a 4. My doctor tells me again that he thinks I'll have this baby in the next couple of days. I give him an obligatory laugh but don't really believe him because he's been telling me that for three weeks now and I'm absolutely convinced that I'll be the first pregnant person to never give birth. I digress. When he goes to hear the baby's heart beat he can't differentiate between mine and hers so he sends me to get a non-stress test for her. Everything is fine with the little lady but during the test I have a huge contraction. The doctor's eyes go really wide and he's like "Did you feel that??" to which I reply "only kinda". He thinks I'm crazy and tells me again that this will be "my week". I still don't believe him, but at least now I know that the contractions I felt on Thursday were real contractions and not just indigestion. When I go home I keep feeling the contractions consistently. They are slightly more intense than before but still not screaming-lady-in-labor painful. Steve is calling me from work every hour to check on me, I keep informing him that I'm not having the baby today and he doesn't need to come home early. Luckily he had better intuition than me and did come home around 6 (early for him). He rubbed my back through the contractions, made me an egg white sandwich for dinner and cleaned up the house- because by this point I was only wearing underwear and a t-shirt, very uncomfortable, and there was no way I was getting those dishes done. I love that man.
Just before 10:00pm we decided we should call the nurse again. My contractions were 2-3 minutes apart at this point and very uncomfortable. The nurse told us to head to the hospital- so Steve ran around and collected all the things we hadn't packed yet (pillows, camera, etc), I put on some decent clothes and we headed out the door. It felt pretty serene driving to the hospital. I told Steve to wait to text our families because I still didn't think this was the real thing.
Here's the last picture I took of myself in all my pregnant glory
(earlier that day- before the pants came off)
We got to the hospital and were admitted at 10:30 ish. The doctor checked me, I was dilated to a 5 and the nurses hooked me up to my antibiotic drip. I swear that IV was the worst part of labor! Just kidding, kind of. The doctor told us there was no way they'd let me go home dilated to a 5 so that's when the reality started to set in- we were having a baby! I still had some doubts but Steve text our moms and we settled in for a long night.
During the whole pregnancy I hadn't had a clear "birth plan". I didn't want to decide if I should go all-natural or not because I didn't know what to expect from labor and I thought it would be better to just see how it went. I figured for my second I would maybe be more opinionated. As I laid in that hospital bed and breathed through another contraction I told Steve I wanted to have this baby without any pain medication. I knew my body could handle it. It was kind of crazy but I just knew in that moment that's what I wanted to do.
We finally got into a labor and delivery room and met our nurse. We seriously got so lucky- she was awesome. I seriously wished I had a gift to give her after the birth, she was that good. After another couple of hours at 3:00 am the doctor came in again and checked me. I hadn't dilated any more and my contractions were staying at the same level of intensity, so she asked me if I'd like to have my water broken. We decided it was the best option and so she did it. By the way, "breaking the water" is not painful at all. They bring out that huge hook and your eyes go all Roger Dangerfield on you and then it's nothing. I barely even felt it! Anyway, that's when the real labor pains started!
It's funny how your body reacts to labor, you hear all kinds of different stories. I just got really quiet and focused. Steve was such a champ, he let me squeeze his hand until I'm sure he felt like it would fall of and scratched my back in between. I think I might have even tried to bite him once. Sorry honey. Anything I asked him to do- he was all over it. Pretty soon after my water broke I felt like I needed to push, that was probably the hardest part of labor. I felt so out of control of my body. As hard as I tried I felt like I couldn't stop. The nurse kept telling me I wasn't ready to push but then she checked me and I was at a full +1. Baby time! The nurse kept paging the doctor but she didn't come, I'm assuming she didn't believe it was already time! So at 5:00am we started pushing- me, Steve and the nurse. I didn't expect Steve to be able to be such a big part of the labor but I couldn't have done it without him. He was the perfect support. He and the nurse helped push up my legs through the contractions and I pushed with all I had! When she started to crown the nurse asked if I wanted to get a mirror down there to see her. I refused at first (ew gross- nobody wants to see that) but the doctor came in soon thereafter and convinced me to do it for motivational purposes. I was completely shocked- the little baby I was producing had a full head of long black hair!!! What the?
Then at 5:32 am our perfect, beautiful Clara Rose was born.
I don't remember if she was crying or not. I just remember thinking she was so perfect. I couldn't believe it. They wiped her off and placed her on my belly and Steve and I just got to soak her in for a few minutes. Then the nurse took her to clean her off and take her stats. The doctor was convinced we'd had a 9 pound baby with all her rolls, she couldn't believe it when she only weighed in at 7 lbs 8 oz! That's my girl! Steve got to help with the baby while they stitched me up and delivered the placenta. She scored a 9.9 on her apgar test- a perfectly healthy baby! She was 19 inches long with black hair, blue eyes and the most kissable pouty lips. She was all ours and as I watched Steve cradle her at the window of our hospital room I thought my heart would just burst with gratitude.
Now the days have just kind of blurred together the past few weeks but I'm still in awe of this sweet little angel. We fall in love with her more and more every day.
and if you read that whole thing my hat's off to you! That's some sort of accomplishment.