While I was pregnant, especially at the end, I was obsessed with reading everyone’s birth stories. I think I was scared, excited, and just wanted to get as much information about the unknown. I know everyone has a different birth story and experience. I am happy to say mine was probably as wonderful as child-birth could go. From all my pregnancy updates, I really had a great journey. I would say I was just uncomfortable for the last two weeks. I did have terrible swelling starting 30 weeks on and the worst acid reflux what felt like the entire time (which a friend recommended I check out this blog post by Refluxgate to manage) but I really cannot complain. I had no morning sickness, no food cravings, and besides the fatigue, I functioned very well. In the last two weeks my entire body felt so swollen and I just knew the end was coming. It did make me a little sad because I loved being pregnant and didn’t want the experience to end just yet. I worked up till the Friday before I went into labor. I had planned for two weeks of my PTO to use before his due date. Well……I got one day of use. Man makes plans and God laughs at them.
That Sunday before Mark and I went to Bartaco to try out their newest taco. We took some pictures in front of the Christmas tree in Hyde Park. I looked at them after the fact and thought to myself….wow I definitely looked like I was swollen and verrrrrry pregnant. The entire time through dinner I just didn’t feel comfortable. I thought he was kicking me but looking back, I’m pretty sure I was having Braxton Hicks contractions. The next day I went in for my weekly OB appointment. The previous week I was told I was already effaced and starting to dilate. I opted at this appointment not to be checked. I figured whatever it was, it was going to be, and let’s be honest…..it’s super uncomfortable. That was on a Monday and I went home to relax. Nothing exciting went on that day except looking back I did feel a nagging type of pain on my right side where my leg meets the bottom of my abdomen. That was about it.
Looking back now, random tidbits. I have a white rug that is at the side of my bed. I moved it into the nursery because I was using it to shoot pictures with. That night I could not sleep for the life of me. The last two weeks I was having more difficulties sleeping. My entire pregnancy I slept great so I could tell the end was near. I could tell Mark couldn’t sleep well either, we were both tossing and turning. I was also very uncomfortably hot. I kept on putting the air down with no help. Around 4 in the morning I got up to go to the bathroom. When I stood up (on my regular carpeted floor, not that white rug thank goodness) my water broke. Like in the movies. Mark was in the bathroom and I yelled to him…..”ummmmmmmm hey you done yet?” He immediately came out and asked what was going on. “Well my water broke, we are having the baby today“. Luckily our bags were packed. It was so odd though, I didn’t feel anything for a little while. I expected immediate contractions but didn’t. I called my OB and waited for the service to call us back. When they did and told me which Doctor was on call, of course it was one that I had never met before. I quickly googled her and saw she was a fellow Gator…..I immediately knew I was going to like her. Cheesy but true. We both showered and finalized what we needed. Thank goodness the weekend before we had put together our pack and play, installed the car seat and all the last-minute details.
The ride to the hospital was very calm. We called our families and let them know what was going on. We listened to Counting Crows live music and were at the hospital 10 minutes later. I was starting to have contractions then. By the time we checked in and brought back to triage, the contractions were in full force. My “birth plan” was to try to go natural. Well…..that was before I had the worst back labor. I tried to read everything about natural pain techniques but once those back contractions kicked in and they were right after another, I was asking how soon I could get an epidural. After I was officially deemed in labor by the triage nurse we were walked back to the labor room by a very unfriendly nurse. It was 10 minutes to 7am at this time now, change of shift which our nurse was VERY willing to tell me. “I’ll be with you for the next 10 minutes then I’m out“. Thank goodness because I was so close to asking for someone else. I had the worst vibe from her. I used to work in labor and delivery, you have to be a certain personality type in my opinion. I mean you’re in pain, vulnerable, scared, etc. She was working at a glacial pace getting my IV in. To the point the anaesthesia team asked if they could help with any of the process.
If you are worried about an epidural….don’t be. It is such a quick process and at that time you’ll do anything to have that pain go away. Naturally I had back labor and the second they tried to get access I had a terrible contraction, I still remember the Anaesthesiologist telling me to sit still and push out my back towards him. I don’t think I’ve ever gripped Mark’s hand so hard. Luckily right before that happened, change of shift occured and my new nurse came in. She was super bubbly, friendly, and instantly made me feel calm. After I got my epidural, I was checked and was 3 cm dilated and 90% effaced. I immediately felt comfort from the epidural. It was an excellent one. I was able to move my legs completely, felt the pressure of contractions coming but the sheer pain was gone. I met my OB doctor at this time. She was beyond adorable and I let her know I did my research and knew she was a Gator so we’d be okay. She let me know she was a triple Gator, undergrad, med school, and residency. She was also younger than me. Totally crazy! She had to run to the OR but would be back.
Mark and I settled in. We put on Arthur Christmas which is adorable by the way. When the movie was over my nurse came and checked me. Granted this movie was maybe 90 minutes? I was already 9 cm and almost completely effaced. She had me get my leg up over one of those birthing balls for 20 minutes and when my OB came and checked me, I was ready to start pushing.
I honestly had the best team that I could have asked for. My OB stayed and labored with me the whole time. My nurse taught Mark how to do all the counting and he counted me through every contraction. From my talkative husband we all learned that all four of us had gone to UF. In between pushes we were talking about all the bars we used to go to, what clubs were called what now, sorority functions etc. It was so lighthearted. I will say the reflux that haunted me my seemingly pregnancy came back in full force when I was trying to push. I was trying not to throw up on everyone around me with each push, it was definitely not making the process easy. I pushed for almost two hours with my OB and nurse. Right at the end my OB told me that his heart rate was dropping and she explained all my options including a vacuum assist or even a section. It was like little man heard her and his heart rate popped right back up. My OB was talking about her favorite attending would always use football analogies about being on the goal line and it was 4th down. I needed one more push to get that touchdown. I know it sounds kinda cheesy but at the time I seriously focused on football and pushing to the end. A few more pushes and he was out. His cord was wrapped around him and that what was causing his decels right at the end. I am so fortunate he was strong enough to rally because I did not want a section. My nurse had actually joked with my OB that it had been the cleanest delivery she had ever been in. Well, right when he came out he pooped on my poor OB. Also, right at the end for my final pushes a few more OB nurses came in and helped with encouragement. I felt like I had the best team taking care of myself and little man.
I can honestly say I felt like I had the best case scenario delivery. I have been in a ton of deliveries where the OB’s just come at the end. I felt so privileged that my OB labored with me the entire time. I learned after the fact that day there was 50 deliveries at my hospital. I had zero clue about that. I had one on one care with my nurse and OB the entire time. Especially for a first time mom, that is so huge! Patrick was cleaned up and immediately put on my chest for skin to skin contact. My hospital was really big on that. I had thought in my head he was going to be 6 lbs 9 oz and that is exactly what he was. His Apgars were perfect and he got to stay with me the entire time.
I feel so absolutely blessed to have had such a safe and healthy delivery and child. I still look at him every day and cannot believe that he is mine. I let him sleep on my chest probably a little longer than I should but I am soaking in all the newborn cuddles, smells, and feeling the weight of his tiny body against mine. I never really understood the amount of love that my heart could be filled with until now looking at my son. Thank you all for your love and support. This is going to be the best chapter of my life I know it.