Back on June 9, 2015, my world changed forever.
It seemed like any other normal day…I went to my nanny gig and worked through the motions. Halfway through it dawned on me that my period was 3 days late. Odd…yes. I double checked my ovulation app a couple times just to make sure the math was correct, and then I couldn’t let it go. The thought of pregnancy consumed me until the end of the day and was the only thing on my mind (besides keeping Nugget alive, ha ha). I decided to pick up a pregnancy test on my way home.
My nerves were on fire and I could hardly wait for Josh to get home (he’d kill me if I took the test without him). As soon as he walked through the door I practically pounced on him with the test. My husband knows so much about me that he had noticed I was “late” as well. “Are we really gonna do this?,” I asked. He nodded and we headed to the bathroom.
Pee on a stick coming right up! And then the longest 3 minutes of my life…
I can’t remember what we did in those 3 minutes, but I do remember taking Josh’s hand before looking at the test.
Okay Meg, deep breath.
Turn the test over.
I look over at Josh, “HOLY SHIT!”
Before I start this birth story, you must know the “PLAN” that Josh and I had. We were being take care of at a freestanding birth center, Blossom. We have awesome midwives, all natural care, and were looking forward to a water birth. I wanted no interventions, no c-section, no hospital. Just Josh, Alicia (best friend/doula), a midwife, and my baby coming into this world.
Fast forward to Wednesday, February 17, 2016, 3:45 AM
I’m currently 40 weeks, 2 days, and feeling like maybe, just maybe, this baby is going to stay inside forever.
As I stir in my bed the urge to pee hits. No surprise there, I’m pregnant, right? As I go to stand I notice the barely there trickle of “pee” happening. Well…that’s weird. I take a couple of steps and the trickle keeps going, seemingly against my will. After I finally end up on the toilet more liquid comes out and cramps start. Holy moley, I’d forgotten how annoying menstrual cramps feel. I paddle over to the bed and shake Josh awake. “I think my water just broke.” Immediately he’s awake and alert. “Are you sure?!”
4:00 AM: page Blossom
Amy calls me back in less than 5 minutes and I update her on what’s going on. She tells me to go get some more rest and to come in around 8:00 to check on my amniotic fluid. Who in their right mind is going to be able to relax?! I might be having this baby!
4:55 AM: call Alicia
“I think my water broke!”
I get a barely there mumble in response, I’ve obviously woken her up.
The urge to take care of me kicks in and Josh makes me some eggs. They taste like fish, gross. Hey, didn’t Alicia say something about my taste buds being odd during labor?
It dawns on me at some point that I should take a shower. By this point Reeney (my MIL) has woken up and is wondering what the fuss is. As Josh gives her an update she is grinning from ear to ear. Somehow I’m able to take a short nap before we get dressed, load up the car with our birth center bags, and head out the door.
8:00 AM: Arrive at Blossom
After we go over again what it felt like when I woke up, Amy explains that we are going to test my fluid to make sure that I’ve actually ruptured and that it is amniotic. Swab test administered, but my test strip wasn’t changing color, and the fluid wasn’t “ferning” under the microscope. To top it all off, my blood pressure is abnormally high. I need to lay down and relax and we’ll do both tests again. The 2nd time around my test strip changes color, but still isn’t “ferning.” And my blood pressure is better. We are banished (not really, just sent lol) to the spare room to lay down and take a nap, hopefully my BP will get better. Josh and I are at the BC for 5 hours, napping on and off and my BP is not getting any lower. And now I’m starting to stress out. Amy talks to us about being transferred to the hospital to have them maintain my BP and possibly start a drug called Cervidel. It’s supposed to be help soften my cervix since I was barely even 2 CM dilated and not even 50% effaced. At this point there is still a possibility that we could be sent home and maybe come back.
CUE SOB SESSION #1
Going to the hospital is exactly what I DIDN’T want. Why is my body doing this? This WASN’T the plan.
2:45 PM: Arrive at hospital
Josh and Kelly (Birth Assistant from Blossom) are parking the car and I’m left to check in by myself. I’m pretty quiet while I sit there and watch the L&D desk lady enter my information into the system. How can she be so calm? Doesn’t she realize that my world is turning upside down right now? I’m given some bracelets with patient id #’s on them and she explains that my baby will have her own own too. Hey there chickadee, I’m not planning on staying here! At this point I am in still stubbornly adamant that everything is just one big misunderstanding.
We are continually texted Alicia and letting her know what’s going on. Josh has our labor tree and has also been keeping the moms up to date.
They wheel me down for an ultrasound to guess baby’s weight. 7.5 lbs, I guess we’ll see!
Our nurse has been in to talk to us about Cervidel. Nichelle (midwife/doctor) has told us that we can wait until Thursday at 3:45 in the morning if that makes me more comfortable. I jump at the chance to stay as natural as possible, which means I have work to do to get this labor jump started! I get started on my natural stimulation techniques that help kickstart some mild contractions. The contractions stop as soon as I stop stimulating though, so I know we aren’t really geared up yet. Alicia stops by to check on us and bring us some things we forgot at the house. Her little, Titus, is not feeling well and not sleeping so she leaves late at night and tells us she’ll be back when we want her tomorrow. I was shocked that she was leaving. Doesn’t she get that this baby is coming? What if she misses the birth? (I was probably also connecting my birth with Alicia’s presence. Like it wasn’t possible for Little Lady to arrive until A was there)
Eventually Josh and I realize this baby isn’t arriving any time soon, so we get ready to slumber. Poor Josh was on the futon type chair. Must have been so uncomfortable, but he was a trooper.
THURSDAY, 8:00ish AM:
Baby and I have been monitored all night long and I am impatiently waiting for Nichelle to come to the hospital and check on us in person. FINALLY she walks through the door with that serious smile of hers (she always means positive business). She asks how Cervidel is going.
Confused by my confusion, we discover that she thought I had agreed to get the Cervidel at 3:45, which was the 24 hour mark from my water breaking. Now we are 5 hours past and I’m holding the tears back as she explains that I need this intervention since my body isn’t progressing. “But I was having contractions during stimulation last night!” Nope, not enough. My dream of an all-natural birth is starting to slip through my fingers.
This drug lasts for 12 hours, so might as well get comfortable. I’m discovering quickly that the hospital food they bring you in the room is gross and bland. Josh is going to have so much fun going back and forth from the cafeteria! On the plus side, baby’s heartbeat is awesome and my BP has gone down.
Dawns on us that this hospital isn’t going to be giving us the option for release. My positive mood is far from grasp but Josh reminds me that we can still make this OUR birth space, just like it would have been at Blossom. He hangs up all the outfits that we brought to choose from for her “going home” outfit. Alicia brings us some photos from our house that represent motherhood and fatherhood. During one of our birth classes Josh did a pastel chalk drawing of a labyrinth. Besides being the place we were married, labyrinths also help symbolize a birth journey. Josh hangs it up high for me to see, funnily covering the crucifix that is in our room (catholic hospital). Later when some doctors and nurses come in I cheerily say, “We covered Jesus!” I can still picture the “deer in the headlights” look on the obviously religious nurses’ face.
Sitting down in bed is not doing a damn thing. Earlier Josh had taken me for a walk and we discovered that it helped ramp up my contractions. This is the exact moment that my best friend became my nemisis (Love you A!). “Come on Meggie, let’s go for another walk!” My Brain: “Jesu Christo, can’t you just let me relax? I thought I was supposed to rest up for the serious part!” While it irritated me to no end, my doula knew that walking around was the only thing continually causing contractions. So we started a steady routine of walking, coming back for BP checks, eat, maybe a shower, go back out. Now, these contractions weren’t the annoyed menstual type I had felt on Wednesday, these were starting to get serious and stop me in my tracks. I found myself grasping for Josh’s hands, neck, anything that would steady me. My husband was my birth rock and instinctively knew what I needed.
(This is when things start to muddle together for me, my brain lost track of time and day, I was lost in my labor)
At some point we are talked to about Pitocin by our nurse. The Cervidel did not do much and I’m still only 4 CM dilated and 90% effaced. My face gets hot and I try to hold back the tears another time. I’m at almost 48 hours since water breaking, why isn’t this working? I have lost count of the number of times someone has been in our room to tell us that every minute I go past my water breaking is more and more dangerous with a serious risk of infection. I don’t just take the hospital’s word for it, I want Nichelle on the phone. I need my midwife to help guide me, isn’t that what they are supposed to be for? I’m hoping her story will be different but she tells me that this labor still isn’t progressing. Disheartened is how I feel. How dare anyone tell me that things aren’t happening?! I am in pain! Discussion about how Pitocin will leave me hooked up to an IV, we won’t be able to keep walking around, which is what was helping contractions in the first place.
Now I’m hooked up (Gawsh, asking someone if I can go pee is so much fun!) and Alicia needs to go back home again. Contractions are steady and it’s my job to try and rest. Every bathroom break turns into a production. Josh now has to accompany me since the contractions are taking over so hard that sitting down to potty has become tiresome.
Alicia isn’t able to come back right away and the Pitocin is definitely doing it’s job! Trying to be determined and positive since I know it’s one of the interventions that leads to C-Section. Nope, nope, and even more nope! Not happening to me! The contractions are even more overwhelming and Josh needs help. Nichelle sends over another Birth Assistant, Frances. At first she awkwardly stands in the corner. My Brain: “Great, like labor isn’t annoying enough right now, there’s a weird quiet lady just staring at me.” A huge contraction wracks my body and I cry out, Frances leaps up on my bed, through the air, and lands her tiny fist at the base of my spin. HOLY MOTHER OF GAWWWWWD! The counter-pressure was amazing and exactly what my body needed. Frances quickly became my new favorite person and she/Josh took turns putting pressure on my back and hips.
I’m not eating anymore, there is no appetite. Contractions aren’t going away and I’m barely getting a break in-between. Frustrated and tired, I’m sobbing all my feelings out at Josh.
“WHY CAN’T YOU DO THIS FOR ME?! TAKE IT AWAY, PLEASE, I’M BEGGING YOU.”
In the back of my mind I’m remembering birth class and how Alicia told us this moment would come, where I’d feel helpless and want to do anything to make it all go away, and I definitely felt all that. Josh tells me, attempting a casual nature, that there’s been talk of offering me an epidural. Me, the girl who talked for 40 weeks and 4 days about how natural this birth was going to be, cried another time and told my husband that I felt like dying and if they offered the epidural to me I’d take it.
The Pitocin has been in my system for quite some time and the doctor on duty comes to check on my cervix’s progress. Alicia and Josh are whispering to each other and think I’m not noticing. Guys, I am in such a state of stress and paranoia, how could I not notice?! They agree that they won’t tell me how far I’ve progressed. The doctor slips and tells me anyway. SIX FRIGGIN CENTIMETERS. Seriously, effin’ SERIOUSLY?! I have been working so hard for so many hours and and I’ve only dilated an extra TWO?!?! Now, I’m just plain distraught. I am not able to calm down while I hysterically tell Josh and Alicia that my body isn’t doing what it’s supposed to. What am I doing wrong?!
Alicia: “Have you been visualizing a big, soft bagel?”
My friend, “wife”, neighbor, support…if you mention this bagel one more effin’ time I am going to find a bagel and shove it down your throat.
Josh can sense the annoyance and the helpless feeling, he’s starting to understand that I just can’t visualize things like that. I need to touch and feel. He tells the nurse to find a printout of the CM dilation chart so I can have it close to my face. She does him one better and finds a plastic chart and he tapes baby’s hospital ultrasound to the 10 and tells me I need to get there to meet her. He wants to meet our daughter and I can get us there. With every strain and cry, my eyes lock on her profile and I remain strong for my baby.
I am in transition. Sounds zen, right? WRONG. I am pretty sure that the whole floor is tired of hearing my deep, guttural, labor groans. At some point I scream, “TRANSITION SUCKS.” Alicia just chuckles and tells me I’m right. Damnit, of course I’m right!
At some point only Alicia is doing the counter pressure and my paranoid brain realizes Josh’s isn’t in the room. Where the eff did he go? He exits the bathroom and I tell him he isn’t allowed to go anywhere without asking me first.
I’m desperately telling anyone who will listen that all I want to do is sleep for 15 minutes and rest.
Also cannot quench my thirst no matter how much I drink. My lips are so chapped and I’m sucking down water like there’s no tomorrow.
The new doctor on duty comes to check my cervix again. HALLELUJAH IT’S A 10!!!
But I don’t care, I still want the epidural. I’m ready to feel some relief. At this point I’m done wondering if I’m failing anyone’s expectations or disappointing them. Now it’s all about MY comfort, what I NEED to get through the rest of this labor. Jess (nurse) comes to hook me up to some fluid that I have to do for 20-30 minutes before I can have the epidural. I spend the next 45 minutes racked in pain and stalking the clock every.single.minute. Jess is trying to squeeze the fluid out of the bag so that I can be done sooner. Little Lady is getting lower and lower and closer and closer, I’m feeling that overwhelming urge to push (or poop, what a strange feeling!).
2 strange men enter my room. How odd that I realize that Josh is the only male who has been in my room for 3 days…
They’ve come to release me from my prison! Things are moved about the room and I’m in position. I’m worried about the contraction strength when they tell me I won’t be able to move while the needle is going in. What if the sensation is too strong and I mess it up? Soon enough it’s over and it’ll be about 15 minutes before it really takes effect.
Right about then they tell me that Nichelle is coming around 12:30 to wait for the baby. Where the heck has she been? At this point I was feeling abandoned by the Birth Center. While I thought Nichelle was going to be at the hospital every step of the way, she was actually resting for the late night birth she knew I was going to have. Anyway, I’m impatiently waiting for her to get there and noticing that not as much pain was going away. I could feel everyone as they touched my legs and poked me. “Can you feel that?” Yep, I could. That urge to push kept on coming strong and I felt betrayed by every single person who had ever talked about how awesome epidurals were. I sure hadn’t wanted/planned to have one, but now that I did have it I sure as well wanted it to function the way I thought it would! Alicia’s tell me to just push a tiny bit to help remedy that feeling. I know that I can’t do it a tiny bit or else she’s going to come right out and I’m going to have split myself right up the middle.
Jess comes back in to let me know that the doctor on duty is going to come in before Nichelle and do some “practice pushing” with me. PRACTICE?! I don’t need practice, I NEED THIS BABY OUT OF MY BODY, NOWWWWWWWWWWW.
1:05AM: WARNING, GRAPHIC IMAGES
Nichelle strolls through the door with some labor attendants.
“Let’s have this baby.”
Everyone is moving deliberately and quickly. I can barely focus while someone tries to show me how to grasp my legs for the pushing.
Alicia and Josh and are on either side of me helping me hold my legs up.
“Come on Meg, FIRST PUSH! STRONG!”
I bear down, finally able to push with all my might. Twice.
The ring of fire is no joke, it’s an actual thing. It’s burning my body.
“Stop stop stop stop, you’re doing great!”
I’m gasping for breath and looking up at Josh.
I will never forget the exuberant look on his face as he gazes down at me.
“Meg, she’s got hair! I can see her hair!”
Her head is out, you can see her head? Oh my god, oh my god, there’s really a baby in there.
“Okay Meg, you’re going to do one more big push.”
All of my concentration is on this one thing. I’m pushing with every fiber of my being that has ever existed.
“Come on, just a little more, harder!”
I feel her slide out of my body.
And then the world freezes. I’m vaguely aware of everyone else in the world, but yet it’s silent. It’s like I’m waiting to be born.
“(mumbles and talking)……..BABY!”
A small, wet, caterwauling package lands on my chest.
I AM FEELING EVERY EMOTION.
“Oh my god, you’re here, you’re really here.”
I look up at Josh, needing to see him too, and he’s crying and so happy.
“Shall we say it out loud now? Hello, Sadie Rose, we’ve waited so long to meet you.”
Almost immediately Alicia is helping hold Sadie up to my chest for breastfeeding. She latches on immediately, what an odd sensation!
While Josh helps her navigate the baby and my body, Nichelle is teaching a resident how to do stitches since I tore a tiny bit. Adrenaline is pumping through my body and every single one of my nerves has been activated. I want to talk, and laugh, and cry and gaze at my baby. I hold her tiny butt in the palm of my hand and marvel at how tiny she is.
Then the room is a flurry of motion again. Someone is going out to grab food and they want to measure Sadie.
8 pounds, 5.6 oz, 21 inches long, 34 cm head
Well, I guess that ultrasound was wrong, ha ha!
Apparently I tried to eat pizza. And then passed out.
For the next couple hours it was all I could do to try and hold my eyes open.
While I recuperated (read: slept) hours after, Josh started his lifelong duty of being the most important man in Sadie’s life, and watched over her every second.
I don’t remember much about this happening…
A couple hours after birth and after my epidural had time to wear off, the nurses came in to see if I would be able to walk to the bathroom to go pee. I, being as stubborn as I usually am with my grin-and-bear-it self, cheerily decided to give it a go. Barely able to move I somehow got my legs over the edge of the hospital bed and put my arms around Josh’s neck so he could help me up. With Jess’ instruction we slowly lifted and I stood in place for a couple seconds…
…the next thing I know someone is calling my name several times. I blink and open my eyes very confused to have Josh and Jess staring at me. It dawns on me that I was having a dream beforehand. As I become more aware of my surroundings I see that I am sitting on the floor. How the heck did I get down here? Apparently I passed out! Sooo…no moving to the regular postpartum wing of the hospital. We had to stay in our birth suite til late morning.
When we finally got to our postpartum room we continued to rest, nurse, and just stare at our tiny human being.
“Holy crap. I made that! Literally, I grew her.”
After waiting and worrying for 3 whole days, our moms come to visit and steal (I mean, hold) little Sadie.
We save her very first bath earthside for their viewing enjoyment.
Let’s not forget our first official portrait as a family of 3 ♥
The sun set on February 21st, and we drove home to start our new life as PARENTS.
And yet, the very beginning.