I knew our baby girl would come early because 1) all of my mom’s kids came early, 2) some of my pre-pregnancy ailments were coming back like my horrible toothache, and 3) my spidey senses said so. On Sunday morning, the day before she was born, I woke up and told Chris that I was ready to have her be here (true story) but I couldn’t have predicted that she was ready too! That morning I had bloody show – I’ll leave it up to those who don’t know what that is to google it – and from all the books, it seems labor could start within 24 hours to a few days. But I didn’t think much of it.
Chris and I went out for breakfast along the water and then hung out the rest of the morning. In the afternoon, we headed to Golden Gate park for Outside Lands where we were helping out a friend sell pies. We got to hear Nate Ruess perform and walked around the concert a bit before going to our friends booth where we settled for the evening. I did get to sneak out and hear Sam Smith perform and I joined Chris to see Elton John. Looking back, I honestly didn’t feel like the day was super strenuous – especially not compared to a day of running a summer camp!
That night, a little after 2am I felt a weird abdominal cramp. I didn’t have any Braxton Hicks contractions during my pregnancy so I didn’t know what contractions would feel like. At first I shrugged it off but after it kept happening I woke Chris up and told him I may be having contractions. It was kind of freaky! The first thing we did was cover up all the clocks. It sounds silly but it was our attempt to not be ruled by the clock and focus on what was presently happening. I’m so glad because it truly made laboring a lot easier. I wasn’t looking at the time constantly and thinking about what would happen next. The contractions were irregular initially and varying in intensity. I found having Chris apply pressure on my lower back lessened the pain of each contraction so that’s what we did. At some point I decided to take a shower and told Chris to sleep so he can rest up. Who knew how long this would take? The shower was a god send. I stood in the water for a good amount of time- maybe an hour – and it felt awesome. (Droughts do not apply to pregnant ladies!) I attempted to then lay down and sleep but it was not happening. I read stories of women sleeping in between their contractions. Who the heck are these women??? Anyways, when the contractions were 4 minutes apart for over an hour we decided to go to the hospital.
|My last bump photo before going to the hospital.|
We got to the hospital around 9:30 am. They hooked me up to a fetal monitor and my contractions slowed down considerably. It was hella frustrating! (Yes, I use that word sometimes.) I was barely a centimeter dilated and was already thinking we would be sent home. The nurse suggested we take a walk and come back in an hour to see if I made any progress. It’s funny because as soon as I started moving around the contractions came back. I was holding on to the walls as we walked around the hospital each time a contraction came, surely freaking people out. We got back to triage at 11:30am and I was 4 centimeters dilated this time! This earned me an admission to labor and deliver – woo hoo! We didn’t get up to the room until 1pm and at that point I felt like my insides were turning inside out. I was 6/7 centimeters dilated by the time they drew some blood and hooked me up to a saline IV to help with my dehydration. It was hard to keep anything down. I was in pain at that point but not enough to ask for an epidural. Chris and I decided beforehand that if I wanted an epidural, it wouldn’t be enough to just say, “I want an epidural,” but I had to say our code word which was “Shasta.” (I stole this code word from a woman in our birthing class.) I never quite got to that point of using our code word.
Around 2:35pm, I asked to take a shower because I knew the water would help with the contractions. After about five minutes in the shower, a sudden urge came to push. The best way I can describe the feeling is like having this incredible, monumental, overwhelming pressure pushing down on your insides wanting to get out. You basically feel like you’re going to poop out a watermelon (sorry for the image) and you’re bursting at the seams to do it. The nurses came in right away and said I was ready to push BUT I couldn’t push until the doctor came. It’s probably the most single-handedly cruel thing you can say to a woman in labor. Chris felt really bad because he could see I was struggling. Every time a contraction came, I told the nurse that I need to push and she kept telling me that I had to wait and that I could breathe through the contraction. After about 15 minutes of this back and forth, my doctor finally came and my water broke! You know in movies, when the woman is screaming, “Get this baby out of me!” – that was me.
I’m not going to lie, the pushing part was the hardest part of labor for me. I was able to talk in between contractions still and make jokes though so the pain wasn’t completely insufferable. Pushing did take all of my concentration and focus. I was so exhausted and could barely hold my head up after about 10 minutes that I had to ask the nurse to help me hold my head up. I was getting a little discourage when another nurse told me to get really angry and push like I really wanted this baby out. It helped because in about five minutes, she was out! And Chris and I were so happy.
All the staff at the hospital were really amazing in helping us through everything. I truly couldn’t have done it without them! Here are some photos from her first two months: