(Warning: it's very long, just like my labor!)
The week of my due date had arrived, and I had woken up Monday morning, a bit alarmed. When I looked in the mirror, it appeared that my 'dropped' belly had risen. It looked as though my baby was trying to climb back up and never leave. Over the next few days, my baby bump remained high, and with zero labor signs, I prepared myself for a late term birth. Then, Thursday rolled around, and I woke up to my very first contractions, starting at 7:45am. These contractions were about every 10 minutes, lasting for 30 seconds. My mother and I were taking care of my six month old niece, and went about our day. We took an afternoon walk to get lunch and browse a few shops, and it became increasingly difficult to walk through my contractions. When we got home, I lost my mucous plug (bloody show), and I got so excited that my labor was going to take place that day, so I took a shower to get ready to go to the hospital. I wanted to wait as long as possible before heading to the hospital, because I always heard stories of pregnant women being sent home because they were not really in labor. It was 5:15 pm, I wrapped myself in my towel and laid down for five minutes to work through my contractions, when suddenly, it felt as though a huge water balloon popped inside of me. My water had broken, and it gushed! I was so shocked I jumped up, grabbed my things, and my parents and I were off to the hospital within ten minutes. My water kept gushing on the car ride, and through check in at the hospital, as if I had a bunch of mini water balloons popping, one after another. I guess that's why I looked like I was carrying twins, haha. Apparently, everyone was giving birth that day, and the delivery rooms were all filled, so I was placed in another room. I was hooked up to an IV with antibiotics, since I was Strep B positive, and the antibiotics kept the baby from catching it.
Quickly after, my baby's father, Bobby arrived, and I had never seen him more terrified when he saw the pain I was in. I had entertained the idea of foregoing any pain medications, because my mother had 5 all natural labors, and my sister had 4 all natural labors. Once my water had broken, my contractions had intensified, and I was begging for the epidural. That didn't arrive until 10pm, when I was moved into a delivery room, and after an hour and a half of no relief, the anesthesiologist added some more and told me I would now be able to sleep for a few hours until I was fully dilated. I was dilated to 4 centimeters and fully effaced at this point, and tried to doze off. As hard as I tried, I still could not sleep through my contractions, and the most painful ones caused me to vomit. Bobby was so helpful and helped me puke into a bucket and cleaned up after me each time, which was a lot! He and my mother stayed up all night, watching after me.
By 8am (my due date!), I was fully dilated and started pushing, and pushing, and pushing. I had the most intense back labor, most likely due to the position of my baby who was sunnyside up. This was by far, the worst pain I have ever experienced in my life, and the contractions came one after another with just seconds in between. My nurse, Jackie was awesome! She had me get into every position imaginable, even playing tug of war. The pain was unreal, and the epidural offered no relief. In fact, the only thing the epidural managed to do was to completely numb my left leg. My mom rubbed lotion on my legs and she and Bobby took turns holding my legs up through each push. After hours of constant pushing, I felt delirious, struggling to keep my eyes open. Then, my younger sister walked into the room and I thought I was dreaming. I was so surprised and happy she was there, and was even more amazed at how well she kept her cool through the gory scene of my labor. She and my mother were such great coaches, both holding my legs up and encouraging me with their words.
After 8 hours of straight pushing, my doctor determined that my baby's head could not get past my pelvis, and the only safe way to deliver him was via c-section. This revelation made me feel incredibly emotional. I had always envisioned getting to experience a natural vaginal birth, and any other way made me feel like a failure. I felt defeated, but everyone kept assuring me that I did all I could. I mean, I pushed my brains out and gave it my all with every single push. I accepted that this is the path in which I was meant to meet my son, and smiled through the tears as I was wheeled into the OR. Bobby joined me and comforted me through the surgery. My doctor was amazing throughout the entire process. He lowered the drape so that I could see my baby as soon as he was out of me. As soon as surgery began, my doctor saw that my baby's head was stuck in my pelvis, so my nurse actually had to go from underneath and push his head out. Within seconds, my doctor raised my crying son in the air, and I got my first look at my precious baby. My OR nurse was a huge advocate of skin to skin (thank God) and as soon as he was born, she placed him in my arms and I was able to breastfeed him, which was amazing! Holding Zane in my arms felt surreal; I was overwhelmed with love and felt so blessed to be able to have this baby in my life, almost unworthy of such a blessing. I'm so thankful that my doctor was able to deliver my baby, that my family and Bobby all got to be there with me, and that I was able to give birth to a healthy boy. This tiny human being fills my life with happiness and a love that I never knew existed. It's been a month since I gave birth to Zane, and I could not feel more blessed to be his mother.
My small tokens of advice for mamas to be:
Keep towels in your car, in case your water breaks on the way to the hospital.
Set up a playlist so you have your favorite music to listen to during labor. I wanted calm and relaxing music, so I played Frank Sinatra and Bob Marley
Get an enema before you go into delivery!! (lol) There is nothing more embarrassing and humbling than pooping in front of everyone you love, although you truly won't care during labor, and neither will your loved ones!
Be open-minded when it comes to how your baby will be brought into this world. It may not be the route you had envisioned, but the most important thing is safely delivering a healthy baby! When I look in the mirror, my c-section scar reminds me of the best day of my life. I LOVE my badge of honor!