My entire pregnancy I had read story after story about the horrible effects of Pitocin. It speeds up labor by making your uterus contract. Some people have negative reactions to it and have to get emergency cesareans. It could even be harmful to the baby. It wouldn’t be like the labor I had been experiencing. It wasn’t going to slowly progress so that I could tolerate one pain level to prepare myself for the next step up. No, this would make it much harder. The contractions would be strong and they would be really close together. In reference to labor, Pitocin was my devil. It was unforgiving, cruel, manipulative, and hard-working. Stephen knew my feelings about this drug. He’d heard me talk about it several times and how much I was against using it. More than anything, he knew I was afraid of it. I was more afraid of Pitocin than labor. It made me cringe more than the word “tear”. Yes, I’m serious. Why did I read so much in preparation for this day? If I’d stayed naive maybe I wouldn’t care so much. I wouldn’t have known what I was possibly getting into. We had to make a decision. Were we going to wait and see if my body would kick back into gear? Or was it better to let the hospital, staff, and medicine get things going the way they needed to be? More than anything I knew that we would be okay. Whatever happened, all I cared about was our little girl safely making her way into the world. We had family and friends praying for us, and I knew the Lord would protect our little girl no matter what method we decided to take. It was decision time.
After talking it over and voicing all my thoughts, Stephen and I decided. We made two decisions. I was going to get the epidural and then start the Pitocin. We needed to get labor started again. I had to let go of my pride and do something I wasn’t expecting. It wasn’t easy, but at the same time it was. I was tired, I was hungry, and I was afraid. I didn’t understand how labor had stalled. I was sitting at the same spot where I was over 10 hours ago. I didn’t know that labor could stop like this. At this point I was worried about going backwards. I wasn’t going to blame myself, or be disappointed in how things had changed. Instead I blamed the bed. I blamed the IV. I blamed my body for not doing something that was supposed to be so natural.
We called the nurse in and told her our decision. While she went and got things ready for us Stephen sat with me and held my hand. He told me jokes to lighten the mood. He always knows how to make me laugh and what I need to relax.
Before you are allowed to get an epidural you have to watch an informative video. We had decided to watch it earlier on my nurses suggestion. To get the epidural you have to see the video, and the busier the night got the longer it would take before we could watch the video, and the longer we would have to wait if we changed our minds. So we watched it just in case, and turns out that was a good move since I had changed my mind.
During my pregnancy I wasn’t completely against getting an epidural, but I wanted to try to do this thing myself, all natural. I knew it was something I could be proud of. I’d had several friends that had done it, and I had a lot of momentum and drive built up over the past 9+ months.
The video was a hospital classic. The dad in it had some h-o-t 1980′s shorts on. You know the kind. They were blue and the length was mid-thigh, showing a lot of man leg. I don’t know why those ever went out of style, they should definitely make a comeback! The woman in it talked about the pro’s and con’s of the procedure and you got to see her get the epidural, and for some reason it continued and showed her give birth. Stephen was lucky enough to have gotten a phone call to miss that part. It made it all look simple enough. No pain, and the end result was a healthy baby in it’s mother’s arms. We had watched the video around 4:00 am. It was now just before 6.
Soon after the anesthesiologist came by. I remember thinking she was really tall. She was very to the point and professional. She then went on to explain what she would be doing and had me sign some forms. I had to sit up and put my back to her. Stephen sat on the nearby couch watching. She started cleaning my back with some blue stuff and I suddenly got really cold really fast. I wasn’t under any covers, and my gown was completely open in the back. It felt like the room had dropped 30 degrees in a matter of seconds. I started to shake and my teeth were chattering. I don’t know if it was nerves, or just part of my bodies response to labor, but I was really uncomfortable. My nurse was standing in front of me holding my hands. Then anesthesiologist gave me a little numbing shot that I didn’t even feel. Soon after she started to push the needle in for the epidural and my body jumped. She got furious. She yelled that I needed to stay absolutely still and I apologized because it was completely involuntary. The nurse then pressed down on my shoulders to keep me from moving. The pain that followed was horrible. I could feel every centimeter and inch of the needle going in. I held back a scream as she finished and then applied a ton of tape to my back. From that point on she had horrible bed-side manner. She was obviously just as startled at me jumping as I was, only she was mad at me for doing it. She rushed off to fill out some paperwork and Stephen helped me lay back down and try to get comfortable. She returned to ask how my legs felt. My toes were tingly, but that was about it. She said it would take about 15 minutes for it to take effect, and left. I was glad she was gone. Her very presence made me uncomfortable.
I sat there trying to notice a difference in my body. The tingly affect had moved up my legs a little, but I could still wiggle my toes and move my legs. So far the worst pain I had encountered wasn’t from labor, but from an IV and the epidural. Both of which I wasn’t expecting to hurt at all. That video lied. The lady in it didn’t blink twice during her epidural. I obviously had a bad anesthesiologist because of all the people I’d talked to about receiving an epidural, no one ever said it hurt, and mine was horrible.
At around 6:30am I was hooked up to the Pitocin. I laid back and waited for things to take their course. A few hours passed and I was happy that I couldn’t feel a thing. According to the monitor my contractions were occurring ever 90-120 seconds. I didn’t want to imagine the strength they were at between such close intervals. The nurse came back shortly after to introduce me to the new nurse. We had been there her entire shift, from 7-7, and it was time for her to clock out. I was really bummed about this news because I really liked our nurse. Her name was Emily and now I was meeting someone named Leslie.
Shortly after the shift change Leslie came to check our progress. It was around 8am and I was at 6cm. That is 1 cm in under 2 hours. The first encouraging news I’d heard in over 12 hours! Over the next 3-4 hours the nurse came back in to check how things were going and to continually bring me more ice chips. I was starving and she was trying to help. A sweet gesture that was very appreciated. Plus, it saved Stephen trips to the nurses station.
When Leslie came back in I asked her a question that had been on my mind most the night. Since we checked in at 7:00pm on Saturday, that meant we would have to have the baby by 7:00 pm Sunday, right?! Somewhere during my pregnancy I had read that you weren’t allowed to go more than 24 hours once in labor and checked into the hospital, so I figured we were more than 1/2 way. There was a light at the end of this forever-long tunnel. Then my nurse answered something I wasn’t expecting. It wasn’t that you have 24 hours from checking into the hospital. No, you have 24 hours once your water has broken. I was floored. No, I was stunned. I think I was in pure shock from this information. That meant I could be here for another 24 hours. Another entire day without sleep, without being able to eat any food. If I felt as horrible as I did now, how exhausted and miserable would I be this time tomorrow? How did I not know this information? What stupid book or article had I read that made me SO incredibly misinformed?
By 11am I was at 7cm and had been sitting there for a few hours. At this point my legs were completely numb. They felt like giant logs and I couldn’t will them to move for my life. The doctor came in soon after to check my water because they weren’t sure if it had broken on it’s own or not. When she checked Sarah was still surrounded by her safe, water cushioned home. In order to move things along the Doctor wanted to pop my water. By this point I was fine with it. I had hoped my water would break on it’s own, like in the movies. Turns out fewer than 15% of women’s water actually breaks on it’s own.
The Doctor came in and pulled out this long crochet looking needle. A few seconds later I felt a weird release of pressure as she popped my water and the fluid drained out. It was a weird sensation. No longer than 5 minutes after the doctor finished I felt a weird feeling in my right side. It was like a tight pain, or a pinch in my hip. I told the nurse and she said I was probably feeling the babies head against my hip bone, and that it was common. Not even 10 minutes later I called the nurse in because the pain had gotten stronger. The pinching sensation was really hurting, which was weird since I was completely numb before. The tightening continued to grow until it was probably a 9 out of 10 on the ‘holy smokes this isn’t cool’ scale. It turns out the epidural had worn off on my right side. The nurse pushed some more pain meds through, but it didn’t help. I went from feeling absolutely nothing to feeling full-on contractions. Not just any contractions, but “I’m dilated 8cm” pain. The further dilated you are the tougher and longer the contractions become. She then went to call the anesthesiologist to come and fix the problem. A few minutes later she returned saying the anesthesiologist was stuck in surgery and couldn’t come. Stuck in surgery?! Does the hospital only have 1 anesthesiologist for the entire hospital?! All I knew was that the pain was growing worse and more frequent.
Stephen was sitting next to me and I’d squeeze his hand and he’d count down for me while watching the contractions on a monitor. He was my rock. He reminded me to breathe when I would start to hold my breath, and squeeze his hand as hard as I needed too. I was sure that this was worst than natural labor. I was bed-bound and unable to even switch sides I was lying on because 1/2 of my body was numb while the other half wasn’t.
At around 1:00 Leslie returned and told me she had something she could give me to help numb the pain. I don’t remember anything about the name of the drug, just that she said people called it the “drunk drug” because it felt like you were drunk while on it. When she put it into my IV it burned all the way up my arm. Not even 2 minutes later I felt really strange. I had my eyes closed and it felt like the room was spinning. She told me it would be best to keep my eyes closed so I wouldn’t get sick. Out of curiosity I opened my eyes and could literally see the room spinning in circles. I felt like my eyes were rolling around in my head, but they weren’t. I explained to Stephen that this is what it would feel like if you were both drunk and high. My words got a little slurred and I felt light and giggly. It was the strangest combination of feelings I had ever felt.
At about 1:10 Leslie checked me and responded with “looks like you are ready to go”. I didn’t understand her at first and asked what she meant. She said it was time to start pushing and went to get the Doctor. I was thrilled. It took less than 2 hours since they popped my water to go from 8 to 10cm. It was finally time to meet our little girl!
The doctor came in and they had to move me into position. Stephen and my mom were on my right, both smiling with excitement. When I asked them what I was supposed to do Leslie said that I needed to push like I was going to the bathroom. I could not have fathomed how weird and awkward it would be to try and push when I couldn’t feel anything below my waist. Just before go time the Doctor told me that pushing could last a while so to prepare myself. I asked what she meant and she said that it was common for first time moms to take up to 3 hours of pushing when on an epidural. I was crushed. 3 hours?!? I didn’t think I could last 30 minutes, much more 3 ridiculously long hours. I had been in labor for over 22 hours at this point, and been awake and without food for over 40… I said a quick prayer asking for strength. When the next contraction came they said when I pushed I would need to lift my chin towards my chest. There were two handlebars for me to grip to pull myself forward as much as I could. The contraction came quick and it was weird and it was hard! The doctor said “PUSH!” and I would take a quick deep breath and push as hard as I could, to the count of 10. As soon as I stopped they said to go again. I took another quick breath, pulled myself forward and pushed. After the second time during the first contraction I was ready to take a break to breath, but they said to go again. I actually said “Really?” to the nurse and she said ‘YES, PUSH!’, so I pushed. The doctor told my mom to grab my right leg and hold it for me. I was sure nothing was happening. I couldn’t tell if I was pushing, or just giving myself a headache from holding my breath so long and hard. We did the same thing again on the 2nd contraction and I was counting to 10 in my head, Leslie chimed in with her count and while I was up to 6 she started at 2 because she was multi-tasking. I didn’t realize I could get angry at someone so quickly. How dare her not pay full-attention to the counting, I was about ready to pass out and she was making this last longer.
During all of this Stephen was right next to me encouraging me and telling me I was doing a great job. His voice kept me calm and gave me strength at the same time. On the 3rd contraction Leslie put a breathing mask on my face. During the 2nd 10-count push something amazing happened. The Doctor said “Here’s the head. We have a head full of hair!” I remember being totally shocked that our baby had hair. I was sure we were going to have a bald baby. The next contraction came and I pushed again. This time I was sure nothing happened because I was waiting to hear a baby scream and it was completely silent except for Leslie counting and me groaning as I bared down.
On the 4th contraction I was pushing as hard as I knew how and somewhere between the 1st and 3rd “Go” the Doctor announced ‘Here she is!’ and I realized that Sarah was actually here. I couldn’t hear anything and immediately asked “What’s wrong?” because I didn’t hear her screaming or breathing. The Doctor replied with “Nothing, she’s perfect” and then called Stephen over to cut the umbilical cord. They then laid her down in my lap and after 9 months of waiting, and a lifetime of prayer, I got to see our baby girl. It was an amazing and emotional experience. My eyes teared up and I began to cry while I watched our little girl squirm around. I felt my heart melt at that moment.
They took her away to clean her up and check to make sure everything was okay and healthy. Stephen was holding my hand and I told him to go with her. I didn’t want her to be without someone that loved her for even a second. I could see my mom taking pictures while the Doctor and Leslie took care of me. They then wheeled her off to the nursery and it was then that everything started to sink in. It all happened so fast. From the moment Leslie said I was 10cm and it was time to go, to Sarah taking her first breath of air, was all in less than 30 minutes! I was so thankful because I didn’t think I could have gone any longer than that.
After a while I was sitting back up in bed and Stephen came back with Sarah in tow. It was such a beautiful moment to get to watch him carry her over. I’ve never seen him smile so big as when we was looking at her and then looking at me.
I was about to get to hold someone that was going to change my life forever. Make our family of 2, to a family of 3. Everything was changing forever. Everything was about to become so much more special and meaningful.
I had planned this moment for the longest time…imagining what I would say. I was fighting to stay lucid as my dizziness and shaking increased with each heartbeat. I was shaking from the med’s wearing off and I was too scared to hold her…I didn’t want to accidentally drop her. Leslie told me to bite my tongue and it should make the shaking stop. She was right. I bit down on my tongue and Stephen handed me our daughter.
It was an amazing and beautiful moment that I will never forget. Here she was, finally in my arms. I remember thinking she was so tiny and fragile… I wondered if I could hold her too tight because she looked like a little doll. Her eyes were open and she was just staring at me.
How could something so perfect and beautiful belong to us? What had we done to deserve such a thing?
I looked into those big blue eyes…”Hello Sarah, I’m your mommy.” “I love you so much baby girl. Happy Birthday.”
The time was just before 9. We gathered up our things to head to our new room. The nurse read my mind and gave me a second gown to wear backwards so I wouldn’t moon everyone in the hallway. They asked if I needed a wheelchair, but to help labor progress I decided to walk to the new location, which was interesting while having contractions. We made our way to the room and I was surprised at the size, it was a lot bigger than I was expecting.
When we got in the room I crawled into the gadget-filled bed while Stephen scoped out all the machines. Soon after our labor & delivery nurse came in and introduced herself. She was sweet and made me feel relaxed, which was calming for me. I can’t imagine having a nurse that you weren’t comfortable with while checking in to deliver a baby. You are completely exposed, emotionally, psychologically, and not to mention physically… comfort is key for this night to go well. After we went over a few things I met my first uncomfortable event of the night.
While you are pregnant they do a thing called a Group B Strep test. If you test positive you have to receive antibiotics during labor to make sure it isn’t passed on to the baby during delivery. I ended up testing positive which meant I had to get an IV started as soon as we checked in. Needles aren’t a real big deal to me, so I wasn’t really concerned. A nurse came in to give me the IV and I don’t know if it was because of the cold room or what, but for some reason she could not locate a good vein, which was very unusual for me because I have always had an easy time with giving blood because of my bright blue veins. Somehow the nurse thought it was a good idea to put the IV in the side of my wrists. Ya, not the top, but the side. It was the worst needle-insert I have ever received. I could literally feel her scrape the needle against bone in my left wrist. She then taped the needle down so it wouldn’t wiggle around, and all that did was make it so each time I moved my hand I felt the needle go deeper or slide out just a tad. Not a good start to what should have been the ‘easiest’ pain of the night.
I was now hooked up to some fluids and the nurse continued to then hook me up to a fetal monitor, which is strapped to your midsection to monitor both the fetal heartbeat and contractions. After she left we decided it was time to call our parents and let them know we were at the hospital. Since we obviously weren’t wrong about the contractions, and were now checked-in for the long haul it seemed like a good decision. We told them to take their time since it was probably going to be a while and the waiting room would probably get pretty boring. Not 30 minutes later my parents arrived.
The contractions were coming every 3-4 minutes and were painful, but tolerable. I’m not a very verbal person when it comes to pain, so my method was to close my eyes, squeeze the bed rail, and try to remember to breathe. My dad didn’t like seeing me in pain, so I think it worked well that I wasn’t a moaner or screamer. A little while later Stephen’s parents got to the hospital and found the room. Everyone was chatting, hanging out, and every few minutes I would tone everything out to push past the pain. Around 11 the nurse came in to check my progress. Our parents made their way to the waiting room and we found out I was still sitting at 5cm. I was disappointed. It had been over 3 hours and I hadn’t progressed. I was sure I would have this baby in a few short hours because of how fast I went from 4 to 5 cm when we first arrived. Our nurse went to let the Dr. know where we were at and Stephen could see my disappointment. Or I assumed he could, if he hadn’t I let him know pretty quick. How long was this going to take? I know it was our first baby, and I’ve heard horror story upon horror story of first-time labors lasting for 24+ hours, but I’d also heard stories from friends that had their babies within a few hours. I wanted to be one of those stories.
It was now past midnight, I was hooked up to the IV, had my arm strapped in for an hourly heart rate check and a finger-attachment to monitor my pulse. I had never been hooked up to so many different cords in my life. When I had to get up to go to the bathroom it was a team effort. Stephen had to come unplug the IV-stand from the wall. We had to remove the heart rate band on my arm, and wrap all the cords on the stand to take them with us. We soon figured out we were the lucky people in the hospital to get the ghetto-stand, it wheeled around worst than those carts that people ditch in aisles at walmart. The wheels wouldn’t turn the same direction, it was ridiculously heavy, and the base was so big I couldn’t move it on my own. I hated it. I wanted to be able to get up and walk the halls. I wanted to progress labor, not stop it. Sitting in bed was the worst thing to do for the pain, as well as trying to progress. When we were at home I was able to walk around and do squats and it felt so good during the contractions, especially the ones in my lower back! When we wheeled me back towards the bed I chose to try and sit on a stool. It had wheels so it wasn’t easy, but it felt one hundred times better than sitting in that big bed. There was also a rocking chair, but I knew if I sat in that I wouldn’t be able to get out of it without a team to help lift me. I stood up and rocked back and forth. Movement was key. Everything I had read in preparation for this day said to keep moving. Squat on an exercise ball, walk the hallways, do some lunges, these were all things I was dying to do, but couldn’t because of the 50lb stand with cords strapped to my body. I hadn’t prepared for this. I didn’t consider the idea that I would practically be bed-bound. This was not part of my plan.
Over the next few hours the nurse came to check on me and encouraged me to get some rest. I tried. I tried laying in several different positions, counting sheep, praying, nothing worked. It was now Sunday. It was dark and raining outside, our families were in the waiting room, and our baby was sitting at the same point as she had been at 9 pm the night before. Turns out our baby would be born on Sunday, March 6th. I was pleased that it was the weekend instead of the middle of the week. I was hoping we’d have the baby so that it wouldn’t interfere with Stephen’s work week. At least one thing was going the way I’d hoped. Stephen was getting some rest on the bench in the room. I was jealous he was able to fall asleep, I was exhausted, but just couldn’t seem to pass out. I laid there and just listened to our babies heartbeat come from the machine. The nurse had to return every 20 minutes to adjust the strap on my stomach because Sarah kept moving around and they would lose the signal. I know it was a pain for her, but I thought it was a little funny. She had been a squirmer from the start, no reason to stop now.
The hours pressed on, I continued to not get any sleep, and by this time I wasn’t only exhausted but getting uncomfortably hungry. When you check into the hospital for delivery you aren’t allowed food or water, just ice chips. I hadn’t eaten since breakfast on Saturday and the ice chips weren’t helping my growling stomach. Our nurse came in to check on me and asked if I’d gotten any rest. I told her that I hadn’t and also that my contractions weren’t as strong as I thought they had been. Because Sarah kept moving the monitor on my stomach they couldn’t keep a good watch on my contractions strength and time. I was still at the same 5cm I had been since the night before, and the nurse asked us what our thoughts were about progressing labor with Pitocin. My entire pregnancy I was 100% against the idea. Women had had babies for 1000′s of years without medical inducement, and I wanted to prove that I could do the same. It’s funny what happens 10 hours after checking into a hospital, and what 14 hours since starting labor will do to your brain. Was I willing to change my plans just because I was exhausted? I wasn’t sure what to think.
This past Friday night we had an exciting event planned. Well, event may be a bit of an exaggeration, but we did have some fun activities scheduled. Our friends Brandon and Nicole were coming over to visit.
Before Sarah arrived it was pretty common for us to hangout with the McKenzies a couple times per week. We would swap visits between one another’s homes, and Nicole and I would trade off on cooking dinner. To be honest, Nicole has done the majority of cooking since we became pregnant (I lost my will to cook, along with my appetite for a lot of the pregnancy). We like to test recipes on each other, and I have to say we have yet to find one we don’t love. Plus, who doesn’t love a night of dinner and games?! Usually whoever cooked dinner the other would bring dessert. It was a great system. After dinner we do a few things. First, we choose between the game of the night, which is one of two things: 1) Play a card game called Euchre, or 2) Play a board game called Catan. Both are always fun. Then we put on a pot of coffee and enjoy some delicious dessert. It’s a night of drinking coffee, playing a game and making memories.
Side note: Nicole is actually the last person I hung out with before I went into labor. She came over on a Friday night (while the guys were having a bachelor party) and we baked cookies and watched a movie. It was a nice “last Friday” pre-baby.
I was very excited to hear that we were finally getting to hangout again. They came to visit us in the hospital, and I think Nicole was dying for some more Sarah & Nicole bonding time Plus, they were bringing dinner over!! Nicole brought her delicious pulled pork and we threw together some quick sides. For dessert we had an AMAZING recipe that Stephen had me get from my Aunt Diane. It’s an Oreo-topped dessert that involves cool whip, chocolate pudding, oreos, & cream cheese. Yes, it is deeelicious! Once again, one couple brought dinner, the other provided dessert. Real quick, a shout out to my mom for coming over and actually making the dessert for me while I took a quick nap (you’re the best, thanks mom!) After a delicious dinner we played some cards, ate dessert, and just enjoyed some time with friends. A nice and relaxing Friday night
Here are some pictures from our first double-date since Sarah came into the world.
Nicole with Sarah
Brandon & Nicole w/ Sarah
Nicole & I
After Brandon and Nicole left our night slowed down while Stephen played with Sarah on the couch trying to get her nice and sleepy so we could hopefully get some rest. He is so sweet with her, it makes me fall more in love with him each time I watch them together. A father’s love for his daughter is pretty amazing to witness. She is one lucky little girl
When I posted the Nursery Reveal for you I told you I would show you the process of some of the projects. With the surprise of our little girl arriving a week early it has taken me a while to get some of these “transformations” ready for your viewing.
The first before-after project I’m going to share with you is the wall shelf that I gave a nice update. Here’s a little reminder of what it looks like in the nursery.
Since the picture I have re-arranged some of the things on the shelf, but it looks close to the same as the picture. Instead of the pink birdie handing I switched it out for Sarah’s 1st swimsuit (which is absolutely Adorable)! And the turtle on the shelf got moved to the floor as the door stopper. Moving on…
This is what the shelf looked like for the past 20 years, hanging in my brother’s bedroom.
A nice lovely dose of pine wood
I considered painting it a few different colors to add some POP to the nursery, but decided having all white furniture and then 1 piece with color would probably throw off the balance.
Thankfully I had some white paint that my mom let me have from when they painted their kitchen cabinets. Actually, I don’t even know why I was considering a different color when I had free paint on hand?!?!
the during process
One afternoon when my energy level was at a nice high I grabbed a sheet, the shelf, my sander and some paint. I sanded the shelf down with some 120 grit sandpaper, just to remove some of the glossy veneer. After some sanding I wiped it down and started applying coats of paint. Mid-painting I considered leaving the piece like this:
Giving it a bit of a shabby-chic look. Then I decided to just go the whole way and made it freshly white, with no lines or wood grain showing through.
Thankfully we had some crazy awesome weather in February this year, so the sun dried the paint in record timing. I think it took me 2 hours to do the entire project, dry time included.
There ya have it, a simple DIY project completed in no time at all.
Total cost of this project: $0.00
We already had the dirty sheet to paint on, the brush and roller I used, the shelf was a hand-me-down, and the paint was from a used bucket.
The next 2 1/2 hours crawled by. The pain wasn’t really worse, but it wasn’t better either. Maybe I pinched a nerve with all the house projects I’d accomplished during the week. That would make sense. I did discover that the pain would let up when I sat down, not in a chair though, on the toilet. Just plopping down (with my clothes on of course) and sitting there took the pressure off. It didn’t work on the couch, or in the desk chair, just the toilet. Weird.
Stephen was on the computer researching labor identifiers while I rotated between walking around and sitting down. It was close to 6:00 now. Things weren’t feeling any better. I brought up the big question. “Do you think I’m having back labor?” Stephen quickly looked up the symptoms and asked me questions about where the pain was, then we would time how long it lasted and the length of the breaks in between.
How did people know what to look for before the internet? I had read several books, talked to all my friends with experience, but none of it prepared me for this strange feeling. We decided that if we went to the hospital and this was in fact false labor, or something stupid like gas or a pulled muscle, we would keep it quiet. I didn’t want the world to know that we rushed to the hospital because I had a gas bubble and was too dumb to recognize the pain. Plus, this way Stephen could drop me off at my mom and dads and head to the Bachelor Party and me be just a few minutes down the road, rather than 45 minutes across town.
It was time to decide what we were gonna do. The pain hadn’t subsided and it was raining cats and dogs outside. Either way I wasn’t staying home alone. If I started to feel better we would drop me off at my parents so I was in town and near Stephen in case things started up again. The guys were meeting at 7:00, that gives us 1 hour to go to the hospital to get checked out. That way Stephen could make it to the party in time when we found out I was just having back pain from all the extra weight I was carrying around.
We already had our hospital bag packed, along with the diaper bag and car seat. Stephen ran to and from the car, loading it up in the rain. Before we left I remembered to grab my pillow, just in case. We got on the road and avoided the highway, taking the city roads because of the weather. It made our trip longer, but was well worth the peace of mind. We arrived at the hospital and Stephen dropped me off at the entrance and went to park. I found a bench and sat down to wait. While I sat there waiting for him I was watching the rain pour down and drip off the overhang. It would be pretty funny if we were in labor. The bad weather reminded me of our wedding day. The day before it had been sunny and gorgeous, but we celebrated our union running to the car in freezing wind and rain. A lot like the weather at this moment.
While standing there time seemed to slow down. My brain started to process all the possibilities of what might be happening. Could we really be having our baby tonight? Would I finally get to hold her in my arms and see what she looks like? I’d dreamt of this day for years. I then saw Stephen walking towards me and we headed into the hospital. We stopped at the desk and asked the man where we go to check for labor. Apparently there is a place called ‘Triage’ and he directed us there. We walked to the elevators and pushed the button to the 2nd floor. While heading up Stephen stopped and gave me a kiss. I think we both had our hopes up, we were both ready to welcome our little girl into to the world and into our family. The doors opened and we headed down the empty hallway. When we opened the door there were 4 nurses at the front. I felt silly, suddenly unaware of what to say. They asked me how they could help and this is what I came up with: “Umm, I think I might be in labor, but I’m not sure?” Yes, you could actually hear the question mark in my voice. The nurses smiled at me and gave me a clipboard with a form to fill out. I quickly filled it out and we were taken to a room where they gave me a gown. I headed to the bathroom to change and empty my always-full bladder. I made my walk back to the room with my hands holding the opened-back outfit closed so I didn’t moon anyone on the way. When I got back Stephen was waiting for me and smiling.
The nurse came in and hooked me up to some monitors. After asking what felt like a million questions she did a check to see if I was in labor. We were excited to hear that I was 4 cm dilated, which is 2 more than I was at my appointment on Thursday. Could this really be it? Were we here for the long haul? The nurse left and said she’d be back in a while to check me again. We sat there not sure if we should be excited or nervous. I didn’t want to get ahead of myself, I know some women that have sat at under 5 cm for weeks waiting to actually go into labor.
The nurse came back after about 45 minutes and discovered I had progressed to 5 cm! Stephen and I were both shocked and excited. I had increased 1 cm in under an hour. Our baby could be here in the matter of a few short hours! This was it. We were going to meet our daughter. Over 9 months of waiting and dreaming were finally here.
The nurse came back to let us know that my doctor, whom I love, was not on call that night. My heart sunk. I had such a great connection with my doctor. After we moved I searched and searched for a doctor I felt safe with and trusted. I know that the Lord led me to my doctor because it was by accident that I found her. She also happend to be the same doctor that many of my friends had with their pregnancies and births. I had been looking forward to sharing this experience with her. She answered all my crazy questions throughout those 9 months. I shared my birth plan with her and she was 100% behind my wants. She made me feel comfortable and relaxed, I trusted her. After all those months of relationship building I just found out that my life and my babies life were in the hands of a stranger… I wasn’t sure how to feel.
I looked at Stephen and he could tell what I was thinking. The next question from the nurse really threw me for a loop. The doctor on call wanted to know if I was ready to go on Pitocin to speed up the process. I lost my breath for a moment, I felt like I had just swallowed my tongue. I haven’t even met this doctor and she’s ready to pump me full of drugs to rush this process. This was not my plan. This was the complete opposite of my plan. I looked at Stephen for reassurance and answered with a firm, and possibly a bit aggressive, “No!”
The nurse left to talk to the doctor and I just stared at Stephen. He didn’t have to say anything, he could tell what I was thinking. He held my hand and let me process everything that was going on. I felt so lucky to have such a caring husband and partner. He reads me so well and knows that sometimes all I need is for him to be by my side for comfort, to let me think and digest all the information that was thrown at us.
The nurse came back and said it was time to move us to a labor & delivery room. We packed up our things and were ready to make the transition. This was it, we were here for the long haul. Wether it was my dream delivery plan or not, we were finally going to meet our baby girl.
I’m a little sad to say that this is the close to my “What I’ve Learned” series. Thanks for hanging in there and reading over the past 40′ish weeks of the pregnancy.
The last two weeks of pregnancy felt as long the previous 8 1/2 months. How 2 weeks could feel that long I’ll never understand.
I was lucky enough not to get swollen during the last few weeks. However, I was told that I looked like I’d be in labor any day with a follow up of how I had “pregnancy face”. Helpful Tip: don’t tell that to a pregnant woman. K? Ok, good!!
When they finally brought Sarah to me I was shaking bad from the medications and was too nervous to hold her. My nurse told me if you bite your tongue you won’t shake. It worked & I FINALLY got to hold my baby. Delivery nurses are amazing!
Having a lot of visitors at the hospital was great, but I had no idea just how tired I’d be. Plus, trying to coordinate and work around a feeding schedule was really difficult. I looked forward to and loved any and all private moments I got with our girl.
I gained a total of 40 pounds over the pregnancy. When we left the hospital I had lost around 15 pounds. That was encouraging news.
While ‘on her way out’ the Doctor announced “we’ve got a head full of hair”! I’ve never been so excited about a baby having hair as I was at that moment. I was extra excited because I so want Sarah to have her daddy’s dark thick locks.
I have an awesome new-mom trick… I can fall asleep within 15 seconds. Sometimes I blink & it turns into a “mini nap”.
When you check into the hospital be sure to check your IV-Stand and make sure it rolls smoothly. Otherwise you may get stuck with the one I got and when you try to roll/push it you know you got one like the ghetto cart people leave in the aisle at Walmart.
I didn’t want to send Sarah to the nursery, even at night, because I wanted to stare at her and watch her sleep. Do yourself a favor and let them take her, even if just for a few hours, otherwise you won’t get any sleep then, or for the next 2+ weeks.
Eat on your way to the hospital, even if you are in heavy intense labor. Otherwise you are stuck with ice chips from the moment you check-in until the baby arrives. By the time I got to eat it had been over 32 hours since my last meal.
I have gotten a major case of ‘pregnancy brain’. It took me over a week from Sarah’s birth to check my phone voicemail, and I don’t think I remember a single one of them. Trying to keep track of feeding times, wet diapers, when I last ate, and what day it is, is next to impossible.
I wish I had enjoyed the leisureliness of a simple shower the past few months. Now I’m lucky if I can grab a shower in 2-3 days time, and when I do I am rushing and listening to see if I hear Sarah getting upset. And bubble baths… I can only dream of the day that that will happen again.
Because I was sure we were going to have a chunker of a baby I packed normal 0-6 month outfits for the hospital. Be sure you pack a premie outfit, just in case. Nothing I had packed fit Sarah, and still only about 4 outfits do.
Last, a shout out to my amazing husband. He has been my rock throughout all of this and he continues to amaze me with his compassion and love for me, and now for Sarah as well. I’ve never seen a man look so handsome as when I watch Stephen with our daughter. God is good friends, and my patient and comedic husband still continues to surprise me with his endless love and growing heart. I have never been happier.
This is what new moms do: Stay home and stare at our new additions doing absolutely nothing…
After two weeks of doctor visits and showing no change on the hopeful arrival of baby Ringl I was convinced that we were going to hit the due date, pass it, and then have to be induced on the last possible day allowed. I was incredibly scared and nervous at the idea of being induced. To induce labor they use a drug called Pitocin. I have read many horror stories about it, as well as had conversations with friends about having gone through a Pitocin-induced delivery. Pitocin is used to start and increase uterine contractions. It isn’t a gradual drug, like with natural labor you gradually get increasing contractions as you dilate. Not so with inducement, it is an all-at-once, major pain filled, contractions are brought on every 60-90 seconds for as long as it takes, kind of delivery. For someone that wanted to have a natural childbirth Pitocin is not your friend.
We had an appointment on March 3rd and I was the same as the week before. Sitting at 2cm dilated, which can last for weeks, I was discouraged that we hadn’t made any advancement. I discovered that the end of pregnancy is a lot like the beginning. Time seems to stop. The last two weeks seriously felt like 6 months. It was like I was living that scene in tv shows and movies when a kid watches the clock in class and it slows down to where you can literally hear each tick-tock crawl by. We were ready. I was ready. We wanted to meet our little girl and finally hold her in our arms.
The next day, Friday the 4th, our friend Shaw had come into town for a bachelor party weekend in his honor. My mom and sister in law, Kelley, had come over to keep me company. We went on a walk. They were joking with me that I was walking crazy fast trying to get this baby out. While that was partially true, I also informed them that when you have 40 extra pounds of weight on your body the lbs and momentum just push you forward. We went on two solid power walks. I was willing to try anything to get this baby moving. I was already adding hot sauce to everything I ate, and had now added walking to my regiment. That night my friend Nicole came over while the guys had the party at her and her husbands house. We baked some cookies and watched a movie. It was a nice relaxing night. I woke up Saturday morning and decided to make us pancakes. I don’t remember the last time we had them, and Stephen loves ‘em, so I decided I should do so while we still had a weekend to ourselves. Later that morning we decided to take a nap. A great Saturday activity in my book. When I woke up I had a backache, which wasn’t surprising since sleeping comfortably while pregnant was way in the past. I decided to take a hot shower because heat helps with back pain. A while after my shower my back was still hurting. I knew I must have really over-done it on those walks yesterday.
It was now 3:30. My back was hurting. Hurting worse than before my shower. Worse than “I over did it on my walk yesterday”. This was a completely new pain to me. Could I be in labor? No, of course not. Our precious baby had decided she was going to stay inside her warm cocoon as long as physically possible. Would I even know if I were in labor? I sure thought so, but I hadn’t had any braxton-hicks during my entire pregnancy. Maybe that’s what this is. Yes, of course, I’m experiencing fake-labor pains. Those were the thoughts I had within a 1-minute span. You can’t leave pregnant women alone with their thoughts, we are a crazy breed of people.
It was 3:32, it was time to wake Stephen up. I was leaning over the end of the bed, trying to relieve the pressure, when Stephen woke up. We decided I should walk around to see if the pain subsided. I was hopeful, but it didn’t work. I got on the computer and google’d “how do I know if I’m in labor?” Yes, I typed the question mark too, Stephen made fun of me for that. I took a few “how to know” quizzes and they weren’t helpful. Since I was just having pain in my back it seemed I was experiencing false labor. We decided to wait it out until 6:00. If the pain didn’t go away we would go to the hospital just to get checked out. Stephen had plans at 7 to meet up with the guys, and the hospital was on the way if this kept up.