[This is a very detailed post, as in I tried to cover exactly how my time in the hospital went. If you are a soon-to-be-mom, I hope this helps answer some questions and ease some fears on labor and delivery! Oh and today also happens to be Baby G’s 5 month anniversary of being on this planet :D]
If I were to sum up my labor and delivery experience into one word it would be this… relaxed. The Birthing Center was so comfortable, the nurses were UH-mazing and everyone involved made it a great experience. To be honest I would rather go through Labor & Delivery again than pregnancy. I truly believe the Lord blessed me with a smooth delivery after such a tough pregnancy. It is different for everyone and it could be completely different with my next baby; this is just the way this one happened to go!
My Last Month
At 36 weeks we moved to weekly appointments. Up until then Baby G had been growing just fine and there was no reason to think there would be any complications. She measured small my entire pregnancy so we were planning on a tiny baby. We discussed with my doctor the possibility of being induced in case I went past my due date of January 9th, because she didn’t want me to go past the one week mark. We scheduled an induction at 3:00 AM on January 12th, which was a Thursday and worked out for family coming to be there for her birth and Nick’s work schedule. At first, I was not thrilled about the idea of being induced; I prayed she would come on her own, but after talking to family, friends and reading online, I felt better about it. I was also excited that my doctor would be the one delivering her and not an on-call doctor!
January 9th rolled around and I kept waiting for something to happen! I had another doctor’s appointment on January 11th and my doctor planned to strip my membranes. We decided against it with the hope that maybe she would come out on her own. I was still 2 cm dilated as I had been for the past 4 weeks and hadn’t had any contractions, but was 100% effaced so I took that as a good sign that she was ready.
The Big Day
My parents and brother came in town and stayed the night at our house so they could be there for her birth. I didn’t sleep at all that night before; in fact, I spent most of the night crying because of all the emotions I was feeling! 1:00 AM rolled around and I called to make sure there was a room for us per my doctor. Once we were confirmed, Nick and I got ready and we left for the hospital! My last meal for that day was a PB&J sandwich (my doctor said to eat something I wouldn’t mind throwing up later 🙁 yuck!) which I ate on the way.
We pulled into the parking lot of the Birth Center and it was still dark and so quiet. Before we even went inside we prayed for the day and Baby G’s arrival. We asked for a smooth delivery and healthy baby, and for comfort knowing God was in control. We grabbed our thirty hospital bags (okay, it was only 3 but it sure seemed like a lot) and walked in, anxious to begin the long day/days ahead of us!
Check-In & Early Labor
We had to enter through the ER because it was before open hours and they got me checked in. We filled out all the necessary paperwork and they brought a wheelchair to take me back to a room in the Birthing Center. Let me just tell you, the rooms were AMAZING! They were like little hotel suites! They were large with a seating area and curtain divider for privacy, a nice bathroom, comfy chairs, and a TV. Down the hall was a fully stocked snack station for after.
We were greeted by a nurse who got me ready with the IV, monitor for the baby and a blood pressure cuff. She administered the IV, but because I was dehydrated she had to do it again in my right hand. The blood pressure cuff was on my left arm, which was the one that the IV didn’t work in. Every time it would check my BP (every 15 minutes) it would cause that hand to throb, which was very uncomfortable!
The whole time we were chatting I couldn’t shake the feeling that I knew her from somewhere. Somehow we got on the subject of where we went to church and when we told her she said, “Oh my gosh, that’s where we go too!” Mystery solved! She said she thought she remembered seeing me because Nick and I always sat in the front, plus I had a huge pregnant belly so it would’ve been hard to miss me! Immediately I remembered the prayer we said in the car and had an unexplainable peace fill me and my fears wiped away.
She then started the Pitocin, which basically every so often she would up the number as long as I was dilating and the contractions were coming. I don’t know what I expected when the Pitocin went in, maybe a huge contraction or the baby would just come on right out (I wish!) but I didn’t feel anything for a while. It was cool to see the contractions on the monitor next to me, and once I knew what they were and felt them, I realized I had had some during the last part of my pregnancy… they never felt painful so I didn’t think that was what was happening!
Around 8:00 AM my doctor came in to check on me and break my water. That was probably the most painful part of the day! It was such a weird feeling; it was like I was peeing on myself but had no control over it! Every time I would stand up it poured out and I kept apologizing to the nurse haha!
The rest of the morning went by kind of slow; we tried to sleep some but it was hard with all the things attached to me, so we watched TV, talked some and then visited with family once they got there. I had to pee every two seconds, which was a 30-minute ordeal by the time I unhooked everything and carried it all to the bathroom with Nick’s help! 🙂
The Dreaded Epidural
I had always planned on having an epidural but struggled with knowing when would be the right time to get it. I was afraid to get it too early because I didn’t know if it would slow down my labor. I kept asking and telling Nick over and over again the hour before,
“Should I go ahead and get it?”
“I think I feel okay.”
“I don’t want to get it too early.”
“Hmm, that one kind of hurt.”
“Should I get it now?”
Eventually, the contractions started getting more and more painful to the point where it was hard to speak during them! 11:00 AM rolled around and I decided I was ready and I asked the new nurse if she would let the anesthesiologist know. He came in a little bit later and Nick was asked to leave the room. [Apparently, they had lots of experiences with the men passing out during it and some even had to go to the ER themselves because they would hit their heads when they fell!] This was the part that I was most nervous for and it didn’t help that I didn’t have Nick there with me. However, I still had a peace and knew that once it was over I would feel much better. The anesthesiologist explained everything to me as he was doing it; I can’t remember everything exactly but I will try to recall as much as I can:
- First, he had me sit on the edge of the bed with my feet touching the floor and head curled to my chest.
- Next, he cleaned and sanitized what felt like my entire back and rear.
- He then gave me a shot to help numb the area which burned, kind of similar to a tetanus shot.
- Then he asked me to remain very still as he was ready to insert the needle (which didn’t necessarily hurt, it was more like a big poke and then pressure) with the small catheter that would allow the epidural medicine to flow through. Right as soon as he was putting the needle in I had a HUGE contraction. The nurse looked and saw it was happening and helped me breathe through it. I managed to stay very still and then he was done. The medicine felt very chilly going in all the way up and down my back.
- Lastly, he taped up my entire back, from the bottom all the way up to my shoulder blades to keep it in place. The top came out up over my shoulder so he could administer more medicine if needed.
Before he left he said don’t hesitate to let him know if something felt wrong or I needed anything. After about 15 minutes I knew the epidural was working because my legs were starting to get tingly, and soon after I couldn’t move them. The nurse waited until I was numb to put the urine catheter in (thank the Lord!) and then placed a giant exercise ball between my legs to help the baby move down more. She would come in to check me every so often after that.
I Think I Feel Something…
A few hours after my epidural, and many popsicles later, I noticed I was starting to get some feeling on my left side. I could feel the contractions and move my foot around. He came back in and gave me another boost of the medicine to see if that would help! He then told me to let him know after a while if it didn’t work because if not he would have to adjust the catheter in my back.
At about 4:30 PM the nurse checked me and told me I was at 6 cm! She also said she could tell the baby had hair which I thought was awesome. I texted mom to have her come back there (everyone else was napping) and told her the exciting news! She left the room, and Nick was napping, but I had to wake him up because I still had feeling in my left side and it was very painful. Mom had just texted me and said my Dad and brother wanted to come see me, but I told her I would let her know when the anesthesiologist left. He came back in one last time and pulled out the back catheter 2 cm (thank goodness he did because little did I know she would be here soon!) and said if that didn’t work he would have to re-administer the epidural. After that I noticed a big difference and my left side finally started to numb.
About an hour or so later I started to feel some pressure “down there” and thought maybe my catheter was coming out. I didn’t know if I should tell the nurse because I felt like I had called her in so much and knew there were other people she had to take care of! Finally, I pressed the button and told her what I was feeling and she came in immediately to check. However, the absolute last thing I was expecting her to say was, “Um yeah, you are at 10 cm and ready to push like now!” We were in shock! I was just at 6 cm a little over an hour ago and was not expecting to have the baby right then.
Everything after that was a blur. My doctor came in along with the nurse and was explaining what all I needed to do. I told her she would have to remind me when the time came haha. I asked the nurse about how long do people normally push and she said it could be up to 2 hours since this was my first child. Pushing was exhausting and difficult because I couldn’t feel what I was doing due to the epidural. I started pushing around 6:10 PM and lo and behold Baby G Jones was born at 6:24 PM, at 7 lbs 9 oz and 20 inches long.
When she came out the doctor said, “Wow, she is really pretty, and I don’t say that about a lot of babies!” [They referred to her as the “unicorn baby” for the rest of the time, because of how beautiful she looked when she came out 😀] Baby G immediately started crying, and after Nick cut the umbilical cord they laid her on my chest. I was bawling my eyes out and I couldn’t believe how quick everything had happened. She peed on me which I thought was hilarious, and then grabbed Nick’s finger. I couldn’t believe I had just birthed this child! Seeing Nick’s face was something I’ll never forget; I’d never seen his face light up that way before! After the realization of having a baby hit me, I looked around the room and saw at least 6 or 7 people in there! I remember asking my doctor “how bad the damage was” and she said it was pretty normal with just a few stitches.
After they got me and Baby G cleaned up I got to breastfeed her for the first time! It was pretty amazing. I asked Nick to check his phone and he and I both had SO many messages that we didn’t get to because of how quickly everything happened! About 30 minutes after she was born, Nick went and told everyone who was in the waiting room. They came back to see her about 2 hours later after we had some time as a new little family together.
Read the final part of the story, Part 4: Recovery & Post Baby, next week!