I made all of the preparations necessary: Monday was my last official day of work, I made my manicure and pedicure appointment for Tuesday, and lunch plans for Wednesday. I filled my last two “free days” with errands and appointments and figured I would finish getting ready for the baby. When I saw the doctor at 5 pm on Monday evening, he told me I was not dilated and gave me all of the instructions for my 12:30 pm induction that Thursday.
Little did I know that at 4am the next morning I would wake up feeling funny. I thought my water had broke, but my pajamas were only a bit wet, not soaked, and there was no “gush.” I changed, figured it was nothing and tried to go back to bed. An hour later I woke up again feeling like more fluids had come out of me, but again no big gush. At this time, I couldn’t go back to sleep. Before I knew it, I felt like I was having some cramping—it almost felt like I was starting my period. I began to pay attention to the slight cramps and realized they were about 9-13 minutes a part. For nine months I was concerned about not knowing when it was “time.” All I will say is that there is no mistaking when the time comes. The labor contractions feel VERY different than Braxton-Hicks; when it is time to start paying attention, you will know.
My husband got up around 5:45 to get ready to go downtown for his 7am dentist appointment. Just before 6am I told him he shouldn’t go. While he was insisting to me that he could go downtown and come home after if I needed him to, I felt a huge gush—my water broke! (Thankfully at this point I was sitting on a pillow so it didn’t get all over my bed.) I ran into the bathroom and it ran down my leg and didn’t stop.
I WAS OFFICIALLY IN LABOR!
The first thing I did was call my doctor. I was laughing so hard through my tears of joy that the receptionist started laughing too. Within a few minutes my doctor called me back, told me to shower, get my stuff together, and most important, make sure I ate something. (Don’t forget, once you get to the hospital, you can’t eat—so it’s imperative that you eat something before you go to the hospital as it may be awhile until you can eat again.) I got dressed, grabbed my last few things, kissed our dog and headed to the hospital. Since I wasn’t having regular contractions yet, we stopped at NYC Bagel to get my breakfast and grabbed Starbucks. It was a bit surreal standing in line ordering my half-caf mocha knowing that I was in labor. Thinking about it makes me laugh at how ridiculous the Starbucks scenario actually was.
We got to the hospital just after 7am. Everyone in triage was incredibly helpful and calm, which in turn made us feel calm too. Ironically, when my water broke I was doing something on the computer for Bump Club, so I took out my laptop while we were waiting so I could finish. Before I knew it, they were calling my name. We were led back into a private room where I changed into a gown and they started to ask me a whole plethora of questions about my medical history, my water breaking, etc. The room was very comfortable and private with a big screen TV—so we watched the Today Show. After they ran a test to confirm my water actually did break, I was admitted. They started an IV line for later and Kat my triage nurse (who was awesome) gave me the advice to try to wait a bit for my epidural since I barely was contracting at all at this point.
Within about 45 minutes I was wheeled up through the private elevators we all saw on the Prentice Hospital tour and taken into my labor and delivery room. It was here that my husband and I relaxed for most of the day. The first thing they did was give me drugs in my IV line to get my contractions going. A short time after, I started to have more regular contractions. They could not check to see how dilated I was since my water had broken. Due to the risk of infection they like to limit the internal exams they do if this is the case.
The contractions were manageable, I breathed through them and felt alright. Mainly I was just hungry. The doctor allowed me to have some apple juice, and a little later a Popsicle. At around 1pm my contractions started to become more regular and were airing on the side of painful. By the time my parents arrived from Michigan at 2pm, I was incredibly uncomfortable. My nurse, Nikki, told me that I had to wait until my contractions were closer together and more regular before I could get an epidural. When I couldn’t take it anymore I simply said, “Nikki, this pain is not in the plan. I don’t want to get into different positions to help me through it, I can’t walk around anymore, GIVE ME THE DRUGS.” Within three minutes, she came back and said ok and the anesthesiologist came in to start the epidural at 3pm.
Many people have asked if the spinal hurt. I will say that whoever did my epidural deserves a HUGE prize. At this point, the contractions were so bad that I barely even felt the spinal. Once I had the epidural in my system it was like having two delicious glasses of wine. An aura of calm fell over me and I felt amazing. I couldn’t feel my lower half, but I also didn’t feel any contractions either. At one point I asked if I was even having any. Being that I am a huge baby with pain, the epidural change my entire day. Once I had it and felt better, I spent the next few hours on my computer, talking on the phone, and napping. My only complaint was that I was starving.
I am VERY fortunate in that my own doctor was on call at the hospital that week—probably one of very few things that made me happy to deliver after my due date. At 6:30 pm she came in. I was SO excited to see her and even more so that she was going to be delivering my daughter. My doctor asked me when she came in how dilated I was; since no one checked me, I didn’t know. The nurses and the previous doctor told me all day that it was going to be awhile. I was pushing to have the baby arrive after midnight so that I could have an extra day in the hospital (you get two nights for a vaginal birth; 3 nights for a c-section at Prentice). Everyone was in near shock when my doctor checked me and announced, “You are fully dilated; 10 cm PLUS one. It’s time to start pushing.”
Since I was comfortable and unable to feel anything, my doctor did her rounds and let the contractions continue to push the baby down. She came back around 8:30 and announced that it was go-time. Both my doctor and labor nurse, Mary-Kate, told me how to push and what they wanted me to do. My husband and the med student, also named Daniel, were going to help by holding my legs and counting. With the four of them in place I started the process of pushing. My epidural was still in full effect and I barely was able to feel anything. I was convinced that the pushing was not doing anything. The medical professionals all informed me otherwise.
I realize now how lucky I was with my delivery experience. Everyone will have a different and unique labor and delivery in and of itself. My best advice is simply to listen to your doctor and the labor and delivery nurse. They will coach you through everything and make sure that you are doing it right. My doctor spent a lot of time in the room helping out; she was incredibly attentive and I felt completely taken care of. The environment was relaxed, quiet and when it was time to push they told me to push. The TV was on in the background with no sound. After the commercials of food I was drooling for, and seeing “The Situation” get voted off of ‘Dancing with the Stars,’ the baby was almost out. I pushed in total for about an hour and a half. Right before the “last push,” my doctor gave some final instructions, everyone got suited up and I gave my final push.
Our baby girl was here.
Due to the color of my water when it broke, the doctors informed me beforehand that my baby likely had swallowed some meconium. My doctor and labor nurse, Mary Kate (who was AMAZING), told me exactly what was going to happen when she came out. They prepared me by informing me that a team of pediatricians were going to take her immediately and suck the meconium out. Right before my final push, the number of people in the room increased from about four to forty. When she came out, she was pretty limp and not crying. Apparently this is a normal situation, however as the new mom, it was a bit scary. Immediately they took her to the giraffe warming station and within about 3-5 minutes (which seemed like an hour), I heard my baby cry for the first time.
During this time my doctor was amazing and made sure that I was being informed of what was going on; she was continually telling me that everything was normal and my baby was ok. At the same time, my doctor and Daniel, the med student, started to deliver my placenta. For me, this was more painful than delivering my daughter. Apparently my placenta was high up and it took about 20-30 minutes of the two of them pushing on my stomach to get it out. My doctor later told me that my placenta was one of the hardest she had ever delivered.
Since I had Gestational Diabetes, our baby had to eat right away. I was being stitched up for awhile and couldn’t nurse her right away, so my husband fed her a bottle. Once she was cleaned up and fed, and I was all fixed up, it was time for me to see our little girl. We still hadn’t announced her name as I wanted to tell her before telling anyone else.
When they FINALLY set her on my chest, I was able to say hi to my beautiful 6 lb, 9 oz daughter, Jordyn Claire. The feeling at the time simply can’t be described. I tear up thinking about what I felt at that moment, with her lying on my chest looking up at me. It was hard to believe even then that I carried her around for nine months, and there she was lying on my chest staring at me.
It is in that moment that nothing else matters. You forget about the baby being early or late. You forget about any morning sickness or body aches and pains from pregnancy. You forget about any pain you felt during the labor and delivery. In the end, when you are looking at that that little person staring back at you, you realize that everything you went through to get there was more than worth it.
Stay tuned as I plan to share more information about my experience including tips for the hospital, what to bring and more. I know a lot of you have asked, and I promise that I plan on sharing! As always, if you have any questions or suggestions, please feel free to shoot me an email: email@example.com