I don’t even know how to start this post. Isla is taking a nap (I know, I should be sleeping too! Lol!), so it seems like a good time to sit down & go over the evening I went into labor. Now, if the idea of birth gives you anxiety, click on the back button. I don’t plan on leaving anything out. So, just a warning, TMI coming right up. Pour yourself a cup of coffee, because this post is going to be lengthy.
On July 7th, I was 37 weeks pregnant & I went in to see my OB. She checked my cervix & I was 1 cm dilated. Ah! Oh happy day! I was one step closer to meeting baby girl! I spent the rest of the week, resting as much as I could. Well, on Saturday morning, I lost my mucus plug (don’t say I didn’t warn you!) I was so excited! I yelled from the bathroom, “Omg babe!! Guess what? My mucus plug came out!” … Ivan responded with, “What? That’s awesome!” I talked to a friend who mentioned, her baby came 6 days after losing hers. AH! Okay, let’s do this! I can wait 6 more days!
On July 13th, around 10:00 pm I started to feel, best described as light cramping. I started to time them, thinking they were the start of contractions, but they weren’t consistent enough. I tried not to think about it & got ready for bed. Throughout the night, I continued to feel light cramping.
On July 14th, at 6:00 am, I woke up Ivan and had him time what I thought were contractions. I mean, at this point, I knew this wasn’t a pain I had ever felt before throughout my pregnancy & they definitely felt different than Braxton Hicks. At one point, I got a really strong contraction & I mentioned to Ivan- “I think this is it! This is the day babe!” Ivan decided to take the morning off just in case, but by noon, they had tampered off. I was so disappointed. I seriously thought this was it! I told Ivan not to worry about me & to go into work. I had a doctor’s appointment with my OB & Ivan was a little worried about me driving myself to the hospital for my visit. I seriously felt okay though & I felt confident enough to drive myself. So, there I go at 4pm to my doctor’s appointment. My doctor came into the room & said, so when did your contractions start? I explained to her how I had been feeling & how excited I was. Well, when she checked me, she said, “Abi, you are still at 1cm. Your cervix is even softer than last time, but other then that, your cervix hasn’t changed since last week.” I was so disappointed. There was no way I had been feeling so crampy that entire week & especially that morning, for no change! I was 1cm the week before & 1cm again this week? Sigh. I asked my doctor, if my cervix hasn’t changed, then what’s up with the cramps? She said, “well, you probably are experiencing braxton hicks, believe me, when you get the contractions, you will know!” Ugh. So there I go, back to my car. Back to Sonic to eat my feelings with a vanilla ice cream cone. At that moment, I told myself, “you know what Abi, this isn’t about you. This is about Isla. She will come out when SHE is ready.” As miserable as I had been feeling, as crampy as I felt that entire morning, I finally realized that as much as I had wished for my cervix to have changed, it just wasn’t the right timing.
That evening, Ivan got home & I asked for him to take me to eat dinner at Hopdoddy. I had been craving Hopdoddy for weeks! It was a Thursday night mind you, so at first, Ivan had asked for us to go on Friday instead. After hearing my whine a little bit about my intense craving, I finally convinced him & there we go to Hopdoddy for a delicious meal! Seriously, so good! After we left Hopdoddy, we headed home. We laid in bed & talked for a good hour, hour and a half. I’ll never forget that conversation, because it seemed like we talked about so much in that short amount of time. Around 10:30pm, I got into my pajamas & laid down, I was trying to record Isla moving around in my belly, when all of a sudden I felt a trickle of water … “wait a minute … did I just pee on myself? I mean, really Abi, I know you have to pee, but seriously you can’t control your bladder??” Omg. It happened again!! I jumped out of bed, because no way am I about to get my bed dirty! Lol!
I walk over to the bathroom & yup, here comes more liquid, down my leg. OH MY GOD! Is this what I think it is?? I yell to Ivan, “OMG! MY WATER IS BREAKING!!” … Ivan: “WHAT!?!?” I was ridiculously excited. “Babe!!! My water is breaking! Omg. I’m so excited!! Ahhhh!!!” … Ivan opens the door to the bathroom, “Omg! Okay, let’s go!” … “What?” … “Come on babe! Let’s go, we gotta go! Get dressed!” … “What? Why!?” … “Babe! Your water JUST broke! We have a window! The baby can be here in like 10 mins. Get dressed!” … “But babe, I feel totally fine, shouldn’t I be getting contractions or something? I’m not even in pain!” … “GET DRESSED!!!” … Oh dang, he’s serious. Lol!! “Ok, ok, well let me take a quick shower first!”
After my 10 second shower, we got dressed & were running around the apartment like crazies. Thankfully, my hospital bag was packed & all we had to do was pack our chargers, last minute things, take the doggies out, etc.
Finally, on our way to the hospital! Ahhh! It didn’t seem real. Could this be it? We get to North Central Baptist & Ivan parks in front the ER, we make our way up to labor & delivery. I fill out some paper work & we are shown to our room. I ask the nurse, “So this is it?” … as I’m holding my hospital gown. “Well, yea! This is it! Go ahead & change!” Ivan & I were so excited/nervous. I kept thinking, am I dreaming? When will I wake up? Is this really it?
Our nurse Cindy was amazing! She was super attentive & funny. She immediately made me feel at ease. After two tests to make sure that the liquid spilling down my legs was in fact amniotic fluid & not urine (yes, she said that’s happened before!) Yup! Indeed, my water had broken & I was currently in labor. Next she checked my cervix at midnight, I WAS STILL AT 1 CENTIMETER! Omg. I was like, are you kidding me? She mentioned that if my body didn’t naturally progress, the next step would be to put me on pitocin. I had read about pitocin & I really, really didn’t want to be put on pitocin. I had hoped that my cervix would naturally progress. I mentioned to her my fears, I knew that pitocin makes your contractions come really fast & really hard. For some reason that really made me nervous. Cindy calmly explained that I had a 24 hour window. After your water breaks, they want the baby to be born within 24 hours. Because the baby is no longer being protected within the fluid, this can cause infection & bacteria that could enter the cervix. So after talking to the doctor, they decided they would give me 2 hours for my body to progress naturally. After the 2 hours, they would check me again. If I hadn’t progressed then they would go ahead & give me pitocin within 30 mins. increments. Not all at once, which is what I had read happens. When I mention this to Cindy, she tells me, “well you’re getting the epidural right!?” … I’m like, “well, I don’t know!” I mean, I didn’t have a birth plan. I wasn’t the type of person to write down step by step, exactly how I wanted my birth to be. I went in with a very open mind. I asked Cindy, if there would be a time during my labor when it would be too late to get the epidural. She said absolutely not. I could get the epidural whenever I wanted to. So we agreed that I would wait it out & see how I felt.
Once they started the pitocin at 2 am, about 30 minutes later, the contractions began. Slowly at first & then eventually they started coming in stronger. Ivan, of course, was amazing. He sat next to me, letting me know when the next one would begin & when it was about to end. I squeezed his hand, breathing & staring at the clock. I was literally watching the minute hand go by, minute by minute. I tried my best to just breathe through them, knowing that the next one was already on it’s way. Here comes another one, again, I’m staring at the clock, watching that minute hand go by & I’m saying out loud, “Hurry! Hurry! Hurry!”(as if that would really make the minute hand go by any quicker! Ha!!) In between contractions & about an hour later, I tell Ivan, “Babe! What am I doing!? Why have I not gotten the epidural yet? I mean, I’m going to get it anyway right!?” At this point, Ivan says, “Yea, if you are ready, let’s get it!” … I’m sure he needed one too at this point. Lol!
Our anesthesiologist entered the room, told us the risks & they started to prep me for the epidural. I had heard from friends that the doctor gives you a shot with a giant needle & for some reason, this really freaked me out. Probably more than the actual pushing a baby out part. They had Ivan stand in front of me & they brought the bed up higher, had my legs hanging off the edge, holding a pillow, back curled. He gave me a numbing shot (which did NOTHING!) and mentioned various times, how it was so important for me not to move. Well, what happens when your body feels pain & you are in fear, you naturally jerk your body! Well, I did that twice. After the second time, the doctor said, “I am about to enter the catheter into your spine, it is imperative for you not to move at this point!” … I’m not going to lie, I was so scared. I closed my eyes & repeated out loud, “I will not move, I will not move, I will not move.” I had to psych myself out with these repeated words. The pain of the catheter entering my spine is a pain I would not wish upon anyone, ever, ever, ever. Once that was in & he placed the medicine into the IV. Relief. The bandaged my back with this heavy duty tape & they had me lye down. Relief. Sweet, sweet relief. I closed my eyes & dozed off.
An hour passes by & I am 5 centimeters dilated. It’s 6 am. I’m having contractions, but I don’t feel them. I’m in total bliss. At 10 am, I was 8 centimeters. At this point, we call our families. (Called my family again, because they actually showed up at the hospital at 2 am! Since there wasn’t much progress, I told them to go home & that we would call them when their was progress. I think my family had a mix of nerves/excitement, because my mom said none of them got any sleep when they went back home!) My parents, my sisters & Ivan’s parents are in the room with me. My mom had brought Ivan breakfast, so he leaves to go & eat. Well, I’m sitting there & I start to feel a lot of discomfort. I’m like, what is going on? Now I’m really starting to feel the contractions again.
I had two major fears from the epidural. 1. That I would be so numb from the waist down that I wouldn’t feel anything at all & wouldn’t even feel or know if I was pushing or not. & 2. That the medicine would wear off eventually as I’m about to push her out. So when I’m feeling the contractions again, it’s really freaking me out. I stay focused though & I mention to my mom how I’m feeling. Now, the anesthesiologist mentioned that if I needed to, I could press the epidural button & more medicine would be placed into my IV. I was afraid of doing this though (see fear #1!). So I waited. Once Ivan came back into the room, I told him that we needed our families to leave the room, because now I’m really starting to feel pain & I didn’t want them to get nervous. So everyone leaves & it’s just me & Ivan again. I tell him, “Why the hell did I pay for an epidural if I’m feeling pain again!?” Lol. So, by this time, our awesome nurse Cindy had left & our day nurse Pat is no where to be found because she’s delivering a baby a few doors down! Another nurse comes in & we talk about why I’m feeling pain again & my options. She checks my cervix & my cervix is 10 centimeters!!! She mentions that they can send in the anesthesiologist & they can give me an extra boost. Basically a shot of medication that they enter into the IV. Omg, this freaks me out so bad. So I tell our nurse my fears. Again, fears #1 & #2 found above & after going through about 4 back to back contractions. I needed some type of reassurance, I looked at my nurse & I’m like, “I don’t know what to do”. She looks around & says quietly, “I would do it!” … Heck yea, let’s do it! That’s what I needed to hear!
By this time, it’s around 12:20 pm, I start getting really, really uncomfortable & I tell Ivan, “I feel like I need to push!” … I’m kinda squirming around. So, nurse Pat comes into our room & I tell her, “I feel like I need to start pushing right now” & she says to me, “well if you feel like you need to push, it’s probably because you are ready to push!” She checks me & says, “Yup! You’re ready, babies head is right in the birth canal, let’s get you ready!” Omg. Omg. Omg.
This is it.
They lean my bed down, prop my legs up. Ivan is on one side & a student nurse (who I have never seen in my life! Lol!) is on the other. Nurse Pat says, “We are going to do 3 sets of 10 second pushes. I want you to take a deep breath in & I want you to push as I count. Now, I want you to push like you are making the biggest poop of your life! Can you do that?” … I said, “Heck yea! I can do that!” … So here we go!
About 20 minutes of pushing & nurse Pat says, “okay … let’s go ahead & take a small break. I’m going to go and call Dr. Novak”. My doctor comes in about 5 minutes later, gets dressed, sits down & says “okay, Abi, let’s get ready to start pushing”. I do a set of pushes. Dr. Novak is like, “You are doing so great! Awesome!” One more big push, “Oh, oh! Oh my God, she’s here! She’s here!” Dr. Novak had literally just sat down & after 4 pushes in total, she was out. 12 hours of labor. 30 minutes of pushing & she was here!
Our sweet baby girl! Those sweet cries were everything!
She was immediately placed on my chest. I looked over at Ivan & I’ll never forget the look on his face. Pure happiness. The happiest I have ever seen him in my life. I immediately had a wave of emotion I have never felt in my entire life. The best feeling in the world is seeing this little person who has been growing inside of you. Finally, she was in my arms. It was so surreal. I cried & cried, tears of unexplainable joy!
It’s been my greatest joy to see my husband, become a father. He’s an amazing husband & now, will be an amazing daddy to our Isla.
Throughout my entire pregnancy I would tell Ivan, my family, my friends- it doesn’t seem real. When will it seem real? Everyone would tell me, when you see her, when they put her on your chest, it will be real. You guys, I see her, I feel her & it still doesn’t seem real. This little person is mine. A part of me & a part of Ivan. I go to sleep & wake up missing her. I’m constantly smelling her & I have under eye circles from the lack of sleep. This entire journey has been a learning process. Taken one day at a time. I’m taking it all in. I just can’t believe she’s mine.
You know what I love about birth stories? They are all different. Something that I have learned throughout my pregnancy & my labor … no labor or pregnancy is exactly alike. We are all different. No matter how much I read, how much advice I heard, my labor was MINE. My pregnancy was MINE. Many things took place during my labor & pregnancy that was the opposite that I had heard & read. No matter how you have labored, epidural, no epidural, c-section mamas, vbac, natural, medicated- your experience is just that- YOURS.
Thank you for reading our birth story & for being a part of our new journey as parents. I have LOVED reading all of your wonderful comments on our social media. I’m super thankful for the sweet words. They seriously make me so happy!