July 11, 2019
Welcome back for Part 2 friends! In case you missed Part 1 of our sweet daughters birth story, you can catch up here! If you’re all caught up and want to hear about my experience with labor, delivery, and all the details about our little princess, keep on reading! 🙂
For about as long as I can remember, I had marveled at the fact that thousands of woman push out babies everyday…It just seemed so impossible to me that our bodies are made to do that, and when I really thought about it, it terrified me and I’m talking one of my biggest fears kind of terrified me. It’s one of the reasons why I was never sure if I wanted kids or not. I have a very low pain tolerance so when I would hear woman describe labor and delivery as one of the hardest and most painful things they have ever done, I would say a big no thank you to that and keep it moving. In my head, I never gave myself enough credit, I just always thought there was no way I would be able to survive childbirth…but I have a perfect little peanut currently sleeping soundly next to me as I type this that would prove otherwise.
I went in for my 40 week +1 day appointment where I was hooked up to some monitors so they could check to make sure everything was going okay. They were monitoring the baby’s heartbeat and checking to see if I was having contractions. Afterwards, when the doctor was reviewing the results with me, I was surprised to hear that I was in fact having contractions and that I was already 2cm dilated (side note: I definitely was NOT prepared for the pain and discomfort that goes along with checking dilation. Um OUCH. But I digress…) I left the appointment feeling surprisingly calm. Honestly I think I was just in denial that I could go into labor at any moment…just some more of that good ‘ol adult maturity I mentioned having in part 1 😉
Grace’s due date (the 15th), came and went…as did the 16th…and the 17th…I left work that Friday and told my coworkers I might see them Monday with the way things were looking. I didn’t feel any different so in my mind, I would keep working and save up my maternity leave for as long as possible. Why not right? So the 18th came and went…as did the 19th…and then Monday came around. I changed my mind and made the decision to start my maternity leave that day (the 20th) since I woke up exhausted, had already worked past my due date, and because my next follow up appointment was scheduled for the following day anyway. I remember my doctor telling me she would be surprised if I made it to that appointment but if I did then we would talk about being induced. As it was looking come Monday morning, I was making the appointment…until around 3pm when I felt my first strong and painful contraction. It felt like a period cramp/just ate bad food cramp haha! I started timing them to see how far apart they were. They would vary from being 13 minutes apart, then 8 minutes apart then 3 minutes apart, back up to 8, back down to 3…so I called Miguel who was out on a job at the time to let him know and he came home immediately, showered, got ready, then sat with me, helping me time the contractions. Mentally, I was just trying to get myself through each contraction as they came. It was getting really painful so around 8:00pm, (after Miguel had been trying for at least half an hour to convince my stubborn self we should go to the hospital), we called the doctor who suggested we go in to at least be checked, so we loaded up the car, called our parents to let them know, and off we went.
When we arrived, I was hooked up to the monitors and after about 20 minutes or so of them watching my contractions, we were told we wouldn’t be going home and were put into a labor and delivery room. At this point, my contractions were beyond painful. Some made me double over in pain, others brought on waves of nausea, and some I was able to breathe through with the help of Miguel, my mom, and our amazing nurse Nicole…I had gotten to the point where the nurses and our doctor told me I might start to feel the urge to push when the contractions would come on and to go ahead and do so. They were right, I did start feeling the urge to push but I was so nervous, I couldn’t bring myself to actually push. It’s a very odd feeling because there is so much pressure and I was convinced pushing = pooping and I was not about to voluntarily do that in front of everyone staring at me every time a contraction came on!
By 11:00pm, I had been in active labor for about 8 hours. It was around this time that my doctor told me if I was going to get an epidural, now was the last chance I had to make that decision. I can just remember laying in the hospital bed while our doctor and nurses stared at me waiting for my yes or no. I was surprised with myself to say the least because I was very clear with our doctor beforehand that I wanted all the pain meds I could get, so when I felt myself hesitating, I realized I was just as afraid of getting an epidural as I was of pushing out a child. I always had my hesitations with an epidural but I truly thought when the time came, those hesitations would disappear, but I was very wrong. I asked our doctor if the pain I had been experiencing would get any worse and she told me no, and that I was and had been experiencing full on labor…so with that, I decided against the pain meds and went on with it au naturel. I figured I had made it this far so maybe I could actually do this. When my doctor checked me one last time and said “we’re ready to have this baby”, I felt a wave of paralyzing fear wash over me. This was it, the moment I had been afraid of my entire adult life, and I was about to do it without any medication. I felt thrown in, like I had no choice but to just get through it somehow and make it happen. Saying I was scared is an understatement…
As my contractions continued, my doctor and nurses kept trying to encourage me to push when I felt one coming on, but it took awhile for me to actually push…guys, I was THAT scared. I don’t know what I was thinking, maybe if I didn’t push they would just have to cut me open and take her out of me…I remember telling the nurses and my doctor just that.”Just cut me open, please.” After a few pushes I also remember telling them that I was done to which my doctor hilariously responded with, “what are you going to do, go have her out in the parking lot?” So I continued pushing…I pushed for an hour and 45 minutes…no pain meds…just straight up pain, fear, and the most determination I have ever felt in my entire life. It was honestly the hardest thing I’ve ever done, but when I pushed for the last time and saw my daughter for the very first time, I felt this level of pride I had never felt before. I was so incredibly proud of myself. I remember being astounded when I saw her, the only thing I could say was “I did it” over and over and over again. I couldn’t believe it. I had survived the one thing I had spent so much time being afraid of. I actually did it.
The nurses quickly cleaned her up and immediately placed her on my chest. I remember thinking how weird it was feeling her warm body against me and knowing she was mine, that I just gave birth to her, that this was MY daughter. It was amazing. I held her for a while until the nurses had to take her and do all of her measurements and make sure she was breathing okay, etc. She was born at 12:48am Tuesday morning, 8lbs. 9oz, 21 inches long. She was ours and she was perfect. Shortly after we were all cleaned up, our family was able to come in and meet her for the first time. My eyelids were the heaviest they had ever been and I had what the nurses called the “post baby shakes”, I wasn’t cold but I was shaking like I was freezing. Apparently it’s the hormone levels in your body plummeting so quickly now that there’s no longer a baby in there. The body is an amazing thing!
So that’s it! That’s our sweet little Grace’s birth story! If you read through Part 1 & 2, thank you so much for being on this journey with me! When our due date kept getting closer and closer on the calendar, I found myself drawn to other birth stories and was encouraged to write my own when the time came. It’s crazy to think that it’s now written and complete! I’m still so proud of myself for conquering my biggest fear, and getting the most precious baby girl out of it. She makes it all worth it, but I will say this, those that tell you that you forget all the pain once your baby is placed on your chest for the first time are a bunch of liars. I still remember all of the pain so, sorry Grace but you won’t be getting a sibling anytime soon 😉