Though we had our alarms set for 4am Monday morning (we needed to leave the house by 5:15am), Ryan and I both awoke long before our the alarms sounded, despite only getting a couple hours of sleep on his part--about 20 minutes on my part. Today was the day.
It was still dark out and the dogs had yet to make a peep as Ryan and I both laid in bed for a minute and tried to take in the fact that we were about to have a child. How surreal that feeling was. As we laid there talking, saying how much sleep we hadn't gotten, we both began to laugh as we realized that may have been our last chance at sleep for quite awhile. With more excitement and nerves running through my body with every minute that passed, we both agreed we better get up and get ready for the day.
We both showered, I did my hair and makeup, Ryan did his thing, and we loaded up the car with everything we had sat by the door the night previous. I took one last look in our hallway mirror as we were leaving the house and realized that was the last time I would see myself pregnant with Milania--I was happy that the weight would be leaving but sad that I would no longer feel those little kicks that kept me company for the last several months.
Ryan and I hopped in the car and off we went...it takes about 40 minutes to get to the hospital from our house but it was the quickest 40 minutes of my life. Before I could blink, we were walking into the Emergency Entrance at the hospital, hand-in-hand, looking for a receptionist to check us in.
We made it through the double doors and after speaking with the nurses, were taken to our room which happened to be the one we were shown during our tour a few weeks ago.
Laying on the bed was my gown I was to change into and the IV machine I would be hooked up to. Beside the bed and IV's were the monitors that monitor baby's heartbeat, my blood pressure, and my contractions. As soon as the nurse left and I got changed into my gown, she immediately came back in and hooked me up to the monitors before inserting the pump/port (?) into my arm--no IV's at this point.
We started monitoring my contractions and everyone was surprised..I was actually contracting..a lot. My contractions were just 4 minutes apart and fairly strong..the best part? I had no idea I was contracting.
My doctor came in shortly after, sometime around 6:30-7 and was also surprised by my contractions. He checked my cervix and then told the nurses to hold on a little bit on the Pitocin to see if my body did anything on it's own.
Fast forward an hour--nothing had progressed. My doctor came back in before he started his day and told the nurses to start the IV's and Pitocin--he only wanted it augmented though which basically put me at a regular level, not an induction level. They hooked them up to the port already in my wrist and so it began. As the Pitocin was being pumped into me, the nurse began with all her paperwork she had to do. She asked 1 million questions, and had Ryan and I sign 1 million more papers. It was nice to keep me occupied though, otherwise I may have still been a nervous wreck at this point.
During all of this, my mom and Tammy also showed up.
The next several hours (through the morning and early afternoon) nothing much really happened. I was still contracting and they were getting stronger and I was definitely able to feel them more (they were 2 minutes apart), but they weren't unbearable by any means and my cervix wasn't dilating anymore--I was still at a 3. We spent this time chatting with my nurse, mom, and Tammy, and also walking around the hospital and bouncing on the birthing ball trying to get the little missy moving! Since her heart rate seemed to be stable, I was able to be unhooked from the monitors quite a bit which was nice as I didn't feel bed ridden as I had expected.
Shortly before my doctor came back in that afternoon, I was given a small dose of Fentanyl to help ease the pain a little bit and see if I could sleep. I had never gotten this before and I assure you, I will NOT get it again. It was the strangest thing--the tv on the wall ahead of me looked like it was rocking on a ship, I kid you not. Though I hated the feeling it gave me (and she only gave me 1/4th of the dose!) it did help me take a little catnap shortly before seeing my Dr. again around 5.
Within the next 10 minutes, things really started to get more painful and the pressure felt MUCH more intense; that "quick and painless" water break certainly took a sharp turn! I finally felt like I was actually in labor. The bouncing ball and walking the halls were no more...all I wanted to do was lay in bed and wish away each contraction. The party had really started and there was no turning back now.
Over the next two hours, I tried my hardest to keep breathing through contractions and avoid an epidural. I wasn't totally against having one and even thought I would probably get one eventually, but I wanted to wait it out as long as I could as I knew it was known to slow labor down and that was the LAST thing I wanted.
Ryan sat beside my bed stroking my hair and holding my hand as I laid there breathing in and out, in and out, as long as I could. My body was shaking uncontrollably at this point as well. My nurse kept asking if I wanted any more pain medication and I refused, and she offered an epidural several times, but again I refused. Then finally it hit me, I looked over at Ryan and tears just started streaming down my face...I was in pain and really thought I should probably get one at this point. My nurse then said if I trusted my husband, to let him decide what I should do--without even hesitating he said he thought I needed the epidural.
Within the next 30 minutes I was back laying down in my bed with an epidural working--thank you Jesus! I text my cousins at this point and told them I wasn't sure why I was trying to be a tough guy for so long..the epidural made everything seem so much more enjoyable and I was so thankful I had gotten it. I even told the anesthesiologist I was trying to tough it out and he said something I'll probably never forget...he said "no one gets a gold star for not getting an epidural, you all get the baby in the end".
The rest of the night seemed to progress pretty quickly. My dilation went from a 4 to an 8 in about 2 hours and at about 10pm when the nurse realized I was at an 8 she decided to call my Dr. At this point I could tell the pain/pressure kept getting much much more intense, but I started asking not to be checked yet because I could barely catch my breath in between contractions and the last thing I wanted was to be checked again. I would tell my nurse where it was hurting and she told me she thought I was probably at a 10 but it was hard to assume. Finally I let her check me around 10:30-11 and she lit up and said "oh yeah you're definitely ready!" She asked me if I was ready to push. All the sudden I got a nervous feeling and started tearing up again saying no. Yes, I was definitely terrified of what was about to happen, but I honestly didn't feel ready to push at that point either. I think part of her knew I was scared and the other part believed me I didn't have the urge to push and she told me I could labor down for awhile.
|My nurse rolled in the baby warmer as I labored down|
|And there it was..just waiting for a baby...|
A little before 12 my Dr. came in to check on me and began to get ready--I was about to have a baby! As he got on all his clothing and they prepared my bed for delivery (they kind of break away the bottom half and raise it), I laid there shaking uncontrollably and also throwing up. And though it might not sound pleasant, I was over the moon excited to finally meet this little baby inside me and didn't care what was happening to my body other than I was finally ready to push.
Ryan stood to my left, my nurse to the right, and my doctor in front of me. Before we got started he looked right at me and explained exactly what I needed to do..he said when I felt a contraction coming, I needed to inhale a huge breath, hold it through 10 as I pushed, release it, and inhale right away and push for another 10 seconds then release again, as many times as the contractions lasted. I thought I got it and said "ok."
So we sat there....
I even asked my Dr. if it was possible my contractions had stopped (the answer was no)...
finally a contraction came.
I didn't inhale, I didn't exhale, and I certainly didn't count to 10..basically I did nothing he had said. My doctor and I both kind of started laughing as he said "lets try this again" and explained it all one more time. I apologized for not knowing what the heck I was doing and assured him I would have it right next time ;)
We waited a few more minutes on the next contraction to come; this time I was ready. As Ryan held my left leg, my nurse the right, I pushed through my contraction and this time I got it right. After it left I breathed a sigh of relief...relief as in a) it wasn't as bad as I had pictured and b) I could actually do this!
The next 45 minutes was the same thing, over and over again. I would have several minutes in between each contraction (they weren't at regular intervals what-so-ever) and during those breaks I would feel totally normal and could carry on a "normal" conversation. Then a contraction would hit and I would do what I needed and "push through the pain" as my Dr. kept saying, then it was back to relaxing before the next one.
Then, the only semi-scary thing that happened all day happened. Miss Milania's heart beat slowly started dropping. I could no longer see the monitors as they were facing my doctor as this point but I could tell by the sounds that it was dropping and I could tell by the look on his face and where his eyes were glancing that he had also noticed it and was concerned. He instantly told my nurse to get my oxygen. I'm not even sure where it came from but she had an oxygen mask strapped on my face before I could even think. I asked if everything was ok and he assured me she was fine and that she was doing better with the oxygen on..which she was. Almost instantly her heart rate seemed to return to normal.
So we kept doing what we were doing..Ryan and the nurse holding my legs, counting to 10 as I pushed through each contraction. I remember looking over at my mom for reassurance that I was doing ok and that I was actually making progress. I kept asking "can you see her?!" and towards the end she would smile and say "a little bit". I also kept telling Ryan and my Dr. "I swear, I'm trying as hard as I can, I'm really trying" because I felt like it was just taking SO long and maybe I wasn't doing something right. My Dr. was so sweet though and would laugh half of the time and the other half he would say I'm totally on schedule and not taking any longer than average so just to enjoy the moment.
A couple contractions later I could feel the pressure getting more intense and my Dr. assured me she was making her way down. Then, the nurse spoke into a mic on her shirt and said "Cindy, we're ready for you" (the nurse who takes care of the baby right away) and an overwhelming feeling came over my body..my baby was almost here and everyone was ready for her arrival.
As I looked over at her warmer, filled with a diaper, cap, and blanket, I knew it would just be a matter of minutes before my whole life would change and that warmer would have MY baby in it. That Pamper would be on my baby's bottom, that hat would be on my baby's head, and that blanket would be wrapped around my baby's body..it was such a surreal feeling.
Finally, as Ryan held my leg with one arm and my hand with another, I looked up at him and he said "Just one more push Aud!" and that was all I needed to hear...
The very next sound I heard wasn't my baby's cry, but it was the sound of the doctor suctioning stuff out of her throat (she came out sunny side up) and her gurgling trying to get out a cry...her head was out. I pushed as hard as I could to get her all the way out and within an instant she was laying on my stomach/chest just screaming away.
Tears streamed down my face as I reached down and held her hand and stroked her purple little arm. All I could tell her was how long I've waited to meet her and how much I loved her.
All those kicks that had kept me company for the last 10 months? It was her. All those blurry and distorted ultrasound images of the baby inside me? It was her. All those hiccups that had made me laugh for the last several months? It was her. The baby I had dreamed of and prayed for? It was her...
And she was absolutely perfect.
I am blessed beyond words.