A birth story. Hello again.

Well, my daughter is 15 weeks old, so it’s about time I crawled out of my maternity leave cave and put my birth story on paper. Or, uh, screen. I have been back to work for two weeks now and I am surviving. It’s even a little bit nice to get out of the house on a regular basis.

I have a lot of thoughts on being a new mom but that’s not what this post is about.  Having a baby is crazy. Let’s talk about that.

At 36 weeks, my doctor put me on bed rest because my amniotic fluid was low at a 7. While it wasn’t dangerously low (Between 7 and 25 is normal), it was low enough to take precautions because I was at risk for preeclampsia and a few other things according to a previous test they had done. So for a couple of days, I was off work, I had to cancel some appointments (goodbye, last pre-baby haircut), and I wasn’t supposed to venture out of the house much. Just me and my water bottle hanging on my couch. After 3 days, I was about to lose my mind. I was still doing work and also watching some Netflix (hey, Jane the Virgin!), but sitting around was mind-numbing. I also painted our front door (while sitting and drinking water) because I literally couldn’t sit around anymore. I am sure painting is not on the list of approved bed rest activities, but honestly at that point, I wasn’t too worried about it.

The Wednesday of that week, the babe had not been moving as much as normal, so we went in to Labor and Delivery, per my doctor’s instructions. The baby was fine, but we saw that my fluid was still low. It was higher, at a 9, but not as high as I had hoped. I kept chugging water. I kept not really moving.

At my 37 week appointment, August 1, I was sure that sitting and hydrating had done it’s job and I would be off to work. So, I went to the appointment freshly showered and in a dress. I went in for the ultrasound and the tech, Debbie, was ready to go. She told me that she could see on the screen that I was having contractions. Which I thought were just Braxton-Hicks but were actual contractions. She is usually a chatty Kathy so I was concerned when she suddenly stopped talking. I knew the baby was okay – she had assured me – and as always, I could see her dancing on the screen. But Debbie said she needed to talk to my doctor about something and left the room. My husband and my mom were both in the room with me and we kind of all just awkwardly looked at each other. I said, “that doesn’t seem good.” And everyone agreed. Then I proceeded to read the screen of the ultrasound that was left up. I was getting good at that since I had so many at the end of my pregnancy. Some quick math told me that my fluid had not corrected at all while on bed rest, but instead had dropped.

We were ushered into a room with my doctor to discuss the ultrasound results. She said my fluid was only at a 2 (crazy low…a 7 is low). And then she said we had a couple of options. One – go to the hospital and check my fluid again with their fancy machine to be sure the number was correct. Two – have a baby tomorrow.

I looked at my husband. I looked at my mom. Then I said “I guess we are having a baby tomorrow.” It honestly seemed silly to me to recheck the fluid. Debbie had checked it several times. And I knew it had just been going down since I was in Labor and Delivery. So, without much consideration, I decided it was go-time. On the outside, I was confident and ready. On the inside, I was just yelling “SHITTTTT OMG WTF FRICK.” One comfort was that my OB was on call the next day, so she would be delivering my baby. I felt really good about that.

I called my dad. I called my brother. I made arrangements to take our dogs to my mom’s house. I called my boss to let her know I would see her in November. I went home and I nervously tried to finish three weeks worth of work in my kitchen while I ate a bagel. I finished packing my bag. And off we went to the hospital.

They gave me Cervadil first to get me started around 5:30 that evening. My mom and step dad brought me Chick Fil-A. What a last meal! And then I just hung out and watched Blue Bloods. My poor husband slept in a recliner, kind of. In the morning, August 2, they started me on Pitocin around 9:30. Then I waited. The labor wasn’t terrible but it wasn’t enjoyable at all. I progressed pretty consistently at about 1 cm. per hour, which felt like forever. Then my contractions really kicked in and that was miserable. I waited until I was about 6 cm. to get the epidural and not a damn moment too soon. Not sure why I was trying to be a hero. I had chills for hours, from the epidural. I don’t handle medicine really well sometimes. That part was hard. I was so cold and I was shivering. I was covered in warm blankets but nothing helped. The epidural also only took on the right half of my body at first. They had me lay on my side and eventually, I was numb. It was blissful.

I had some visitors. My mom was there the whole time. My step dad came up. My brother and my sister-in-law came up. My dad came up. The day is mostly a blur. Once I got the epidural, I was pretty happy. I tried the peanut ball and switched positions several times. My doctor was in a delivery and I heard a lot of yelling outside my room, so I wasn’t in a hurry to get going as it seemed like everyone was busy. At 8 pm, my nurse came in and said it was time to push. Just a side note, I had the most wonderful nurses. They were amazing and sweet and answered all of my questions. I was very lucky.

My OB came in and we started the pushing. While I couldn’t really feel it, at that point I was so exhausted that pushing sounded terrible. It wasn’t painful but it was tiring. My labor team, as my mom and husband like to call themselves, were instructed to stand behind my head and behave. They did not. Thank god they were there because they were short-staffed and we only had the one nurse in my room. My husband was on my right leg and my mom on the left because I wasn’t able to hold them up. I pushed for an hour and a half. The labor was actually hilarious because my mom and husband were teasing me and acting as if they were doing all of the work. At one point, I was puking into a bowl and my mom asked my husband, over me puking, if he was feeling okay. Story of my life…

After 35 hours of being in active labor, our daughter Winnie Jean was born. 6 lbs 5 oz of squishy little love. She came out screaming with a head of hair. It was the longest day but meeting her was worth it. I held her immediately and I was pretty much in love, despite being too tired for any emotions. I couldn’t believe I had done it and it was amazing.

winnie

Also amazing was having a turkey sandwich about an hour later. I missed deli meat.

Too much information.

Because the first few months of being pregnant were full of feeling terrible, misery and worry, I didn’t do anything. I barely even thought about the fact that at the end of the pregnancy part, there was a human child joining our household. I was strictly surviving. We bought a crib and a changing table and some curtains for the nursery, but that was the extent of our planning.

Now I am in planning mode. I like to plan. My friends and husband are sometimes annoyed by this, but I do not like to be spontaneous. I am not really going to do something on a whim. I mean, I can do that. But when it comes to events, for example, trying to get ten people into a restaurant for someone’s birthday or anything that requires the coordinating of more than 2 people’s schedules, I like to have a game plan. I have now entered the planning portion of this pregnancy. Not necessarily even planning for the baby. Right now, I am mentally preparing for the birth. Planning my mental game plan for something that cannot be planned.

Planning for me starts with information. And right now, I am on information overload. I am gathering as much information as is humanly possible and sufficiently freaking myself out. I have signed up for several classes and a tour at my hospital. I have read a few books. I have read a little too much online. I have asked other people about their own birth experiences and grilled my doctor. And I have been binge-listening to this podcast, the Longest Shortest Time. (Highly recommended). Basically, I have soooo much information that I am ready for almost anything.

This is a huge mistake.

When you have a lot of information, you can also give your mind permission to wander all over the place. While I like to be prepared, preparing for a birth just seems pointless. But I know I can’t stroll into the hospital with any contractions and not know what to expect. So with a lot of research under my belt (no pun intended, I cannot wear belts right now). I know what to expect. A little too much.

I feel confident that I know every possible way to have a birth – in a hospital, in a tub full of water, etc. From epidural to hypnosis, I know how to anticipate dealing with the pain of contractions and delivery. And more graphically, I now know the things that can happen to you during a vaginal birth, including an episiotomy which I definitely do NOT want and very much recommend you do not Google. I also know almost everything that can happen during a C-section, including horrifying details of the surgery. I know about anesthesia, the general layout and what may or may not happen if everything is routine. I also, unfortunately, know all about what can go wrong.

So, I have about 4 months max before this kid gets here and basically, right now, I am ready for anything. And 100% completely horrified.