I knew I was pregnant before I ever missed a period. I was a small girl and my stomach practically started showing before my pregnancy test showed me the positive sign! By the time I was three months, people were asking how much time I had left. In my seventh month, my husband was getting a lot of twin comments. People were wise enough to not say it to me directly!
Relatively speaking, it was a pretty uneventful pregnancy. For my entire first trimester, I was nauseous like you wouldn't believe, but not a lot of vomiting. In my second trimester, I had bad sciatica. Bad enough that I was in physical therapy once to twice a week, depending on how things felt. As I creeped into my third trimester, that all went away. That was actually my most enjoyable time! Hearing other people's pregnancy stories helped me keep things in perspective. Both of us were healthy, thank G-d. There was never anything to worry about. Discomfort is so minor an issue when you are talking about bringing a life into this world.
I did gain a ton of weight. Forty-five pounds, to be exact. I kept telling myself, 'I'm going to have to be working out anyway, I might as well enjoy my time and work a little harder afterward.' Horrible idea, by the way.
When it came time to talk about birthing classes, I decided I didn't really want to know what to expect in the delivery room. I'm a thinker. I tend to work myself into a tizzy about the unknown, usually making things much worse for myself. We have a family friend that's a midwife/doula. She sat down and explained the very basics, the terms I would need to understand, the stages my body would be going through. In our last meeting, she taught me some breathing techniques for dealing with the pain. I then relayed the info to my amazing husband, who would be standing at my side for this momentous occasion.
I packed my bag and began the waiting game.
At about 37 weeks, I was ready for my baby to be born. I guess having everything feel so real so early on made the pregnancy seem to last forever! As is our custom, we didn't buy anything before the baby would come around. I had an extremely detailed list of what I wanted bought at the first possible chance, down to what aisle in the store it could be found. My car seat and stroller were going to be ordered online. My mom was on stroller duty and my friend (armed with my credit card) was waiting to order the seat. All we needed was a little action down south.
38 weeks. 39 weeks. 40 weeks. Not a thing. At the checkup that day, we took an ultrasound. All we saw was this giant, squishy face. A whole lotta baby was brewing inside me. My doctor's response was, "Well, that needs to come out!" She told me to get a good night's sleep and come back in the morning to be induced. She didn't want to let me end up in an emergency C.
By raise of hand, I would like to know who ever sleeps after hearing that at an appointment?
So after a sleepless night, my husband and I nervously made our way to the hospital on a Tuesday morning.
There were a few people already in labor when I got in so I wasn't induced until about 7:45 that morning. Things moved slow. I'm talking molasses slow. Slower than molasses slow. NOTHING was happening. My little baby was just way too comfortable in my ginormous belly. I had HGTV playing in the room. I walked around a lot. And waited a lot. Kept watching that HGTV. My husband had time to run to Walmart and grab himself a book to read. A long one.
Around noon-time, we finally started getting some real contractions. The pitocin had obviously kicked in. In a painful way, as can be expected! At that point, the walking was to relieve the aches. I tried dipping in a jacuzzi tub, not helpful at all, actually made things a bit more uncomfortable. I obviously still had HGTV on.
The afternoon passed by way too slowly. The checks to see how far dilated I was were torturous.
My water actually broke naturally, while I was sitting on an exercise ball, around 10 that night.
Sometime in the middle of the night, I put in a request for some pain meds. Fun little fact I learned at that point. My hospital did not, in fact, offer epidurals, due to the lack of an on call anesthetic team. They offered what was called an intrathecal. This was a shot as opposed to a drip. Similar area of the back. According to what they were telling me, it could last up to 12 hours and would not be re-dosed during that time. Needless to say, I had about an hour and a half of in and out sleep. I had no idea if it was morning or night. My room had no windows. I was almost delirious with the pain. At one point, my bed's mechanics actually stopped working. I would find a comfortable spot for contractions and all of a sudden it was like it was depressurizing, it would slowly lower back down to flat. My husband and one of the nurses would literally hold it in place until it passed! This happened a few times.
By the way, remember I said there were people already in labor when I came in? Yeah, they were all cuddling with cute little babies already. As were the people who had come in DURING my labor.
Around 9:30 Wednesday morning, I felt ready to push. Wow. If I thought the contractions were painful without medicine, I was totally not prepared for what I was experiencing now! I didn't yell profanities. I didn't vow to never have sex again. I didn't spew words of hatred toward my husband. I did, however, end up with blisters on my palms from holding the bed rails so hard. I did push for almost four hours. I did feel like I was going to die. I'm pretty sure at one point I voiced that, however calmly I may have said it.
We finally had crowning. And then the little head disappeared. My baby was turtling (aka the turtle sign). My doctor realized what was happening and spoke to me calmly. "Your baby has shoulder dystocia. Mike* here (*can't remember his real name) is going to jump up on the table and punch your stomach a bit." I was sure she was kidding. After four hours of pushing, some huge guy was about to knock me around?? But no, she was not joking. Up he hopped! He pushed that little baby around a little and at 1:11 pm, out came my baby boy, weighing 8 pounds and 15 ounces.
(Later, after I did a little research, I found out that this was a serious thing. Thank G-d for a level-headed doctor that knew what to do and didn't throw me on an operating table!)They handed him to me as soon as they made sure everything was alright. My husband told me later that they needed him to keep me distracted while they did the stitches. Either way, it was beautiful. Holding that little bundle of gooey grossness and not caring.
As long and trying as my labor was, I have to say that I had the most amazing team of nurses looking after me. The one who checked me in (Connie) finished her first shift that Tuesday evening and called in the following morning to see how I was doing. As soon as she got back on shift, she came straight to my room to congratulate me and see our little guy. The nurses even sent a masseuse to my room!! I've asked other friends who delivered in that hospital, no masseuse came to them! Connie even called me Friday afternoon, once I was already home, to see how things were going.
My son just had his third birthday. He is an amazing kid, smart, insane amounts of energy. He challenges me every step of the way.
When I see my children (yes, I had another since then!) my heart skips a beat and yet feels complete.
Thanks Chani Meyer!