During my pregnancy I avoided reading blog posts like these like the plague! With my anxiety already at a 10, I didn’t need any added triggers to increase my fear of labor. Up until the final month, labor and delivery scared the absolute shit out of me. It was total fear of the unknown and knowing that regardless of what I would hope to happen, no one knows how your child will end up coming into the world. There is NOTHING you can do to mentally prepare you for what you may experience. Up until Friday night at 8:55pm, I am so thankful I couldn’t prepare because I would have turned around and run the other way…
I woke up Thursday early morning with the need to pee. Just like every other night, I was peeing every hour on the hour. I went to the restroom and noticed that I was damp (sorry, can’t think of a better word. Mommy-brain). I didn’t think much of it because, HELLOOOO pregnancy causes the weirdest shit to happen. I decided to keep an eye on it and go back to bed. The strangest part about this was that I then proceeded to dream about being induced and delivering Shay. This will make sense later on…
As the day went on, the same situation kept happening. I decided to use the restroom and see if maybe I was leaking amniotic fluid. I took my time, didn’t notice a leak, and figured I would call my husband, Ivan, and get his opinion on if I should call Labor & Delivery or just continue to watch it.
As I headed into the living room to grab my phone, I felt like I had peed my pants, which was alarming seeing on how A. I’m a grown ass woman and B. I just went pee. I immediately called Ivan and told him what happened and to start making his way home from work. I proceeded to call Labor & Delivery and knew they would have me come in right away to test me to see if my water was leaking or broken. About an hour later we arrived at the hospital and I was put into a triage room to wait to be tested.
After about 30 minutes, I was tested twice by a midwife and both times came back negative. Apart of me wasn’t surprised, I mean 37 weeks is still pretty early, and another part of me was super disappointed. I was so ready to meet my daughter! The midwife decided she wanted to test me one last time so she asked that I stay and wait and see if another leak happened as this would now be 24 hours of a potential amniotic fluid leak which could be dangerous for Shay. Ivan and I waited about 2 hours to see her again and when she came in to test me, it came back positive. She looked at Ivan and I and said “Get comfy, you’re not leaving until you have this baby.”
We were in absolute shock, yet we deep down knew this was how this scenario would play out. They suggested Ivan go and grab us some yummy food as it would be my last meal until babe arrives which could be days as I wasn’t dilated AT ALL. Ivan came back with a pizza, we watched White Christmas, and then they hooked me up to a Pitocin drip. They stated that they wanted to go very conservatively in terms of how fast they would increase the Pitocin in hopes that my body would naturally progress on its own with little medical intervention. It was now 10:00pm and my nurse suggested I consider getting my epidural soon as it takes awhile and it’s better to get it before the discomfort begins as it can take about an hour to feel its benefits. I figured with being induced, it could cause discomfort quickly so I may as well follow her suggestion.
Anesthesiologist #1 came into the room and kicked Ivan out which caused my anxiety to immediately kick into overdrive. He got all set up and began getting me hooked up to what I was looking forward to the most. The great, the myth, the legend, PAIN MANAGEMENT. After hitting tons of nerves, causing my right leg to take some major shocks, and me almost passing out, it was complete and I was happy that this decision was going to help me handle whatever came next. (Lies.)
Friday Early Morning (around 2am):
Since my water had been leaking for about 24 hours now, the hospital staff was very insistent on reminding me how I was in potential risk for contracting an infection. They needed to check my fever every hour and limit all dilation checks to a minimum. I agreed to all of this and made sure I got my order of ice chips in. I forced Ivan to sleep and tried to as well, but having a nurse come in consistently to check on me didn’t help. At this point the epidural was in full effect and I couldn’t feel my legs. Cool! I got a total of 2 hours of sleep thanks to hot flashes and the shakes and wanted to get a better understanding of what the day would hold. When I next saw the midwife I asked what the plan was in terms of how they wanted to see things progress. I felt like I wasn’t getting any real clear answer from any one and it was frustrating me. The nurses and midwives kept driving home how serious it was that I didn’t get an infection, yet the Pitocin was still sitting pretty at a 4 and I had only dilated 1cm in 6 hours. The nurse then took it down to a 2 and left. I was so confused. “Are we inducing or not people?!” Another 6 hours pass and I dilated another .5cm. Wow. 1.5cm in 12 hours? This was going to be a long road ahead of me and the ice chips weren’t exactly gourmet.
By the time late afternoon rolled around I saw another midwife. At this point I have been at the hospital for 24 hours give or take and my water had been leaking for who knows how long, but too long. The midwife proceeded to check me and came to the miraculous understanding that my water never broke… It was a leak… No shit Sherlock! She immediately broke my water and left. An hour later I was at 4cm and the pain was really increasing and the epidural was really wearing off… Enter Anesthesiologist #2!
I should really name her, but I won’t, so let’s call her Becky with the Bad Hair, or “BBH”. BBH came in and upped my pain dosage to the max they could give me and decided I needed a scolding. She felt heavily inclined to let me know that if I couldn’t handle the pain at 4cm dilated, there was no way I would be able to handle 10cm, so that was super encouraging and made me feel super empowered to head onwards towards pushing out a small human! She told me that manually topping off the meds wouldn’t do anything for me and I should definitely not use the button since I would be creating false expectations as nothing can help with the pain of pushing a child out of your lady bit. Gotta love a great pep talk.
I decided to try and sleep as it seemed as though it could be possible that I would have my girl, Shay, within the next 24 hours, but I was starting to feel the onset of a fever which is what we were trying to avoid. When the nurse came in again to check me, the energy completely shifted. My body was definitely reacting to my water now being fully broken and it was time to get me into a new room for labor and delivery. I was still at 4cm but the pain was becoming so excruciatingly painful. My husband, the saint that he is, never left my side once and was having to give me multiple talks in between me hysterically crying about how I can handle this and how he and I are going to get through whatever happens together. I remember him telling me to look him in the eyes and focus on him but I honestly couldn’t even move my head. I was in shear agony and the contractions were only picking up in strength and occurrence which encouraged the nurses to get an oxygen mask on me immediately. In addition to, they were covering me in cold towels to make sure I wasn’t causing Shay to go into distress…Enter Anesthesiologist #3!
A3 came in and saw how badly I was suffering… or maybe she heard? I was cussing at everything and had NO shame in my game. A3 proceeded to tell me she could give me another bolus injection in addition to my continuous epidural drip and it would target the pain faster. I agreed to her administering the injection and she proceeded to ask why I haven’t been manually topping off my epidural meds…Let me repeat. She asked “Why haven’t you used the button to top off your meds? It’s only been used 6 times since having the epidural placed in your spine.” At this point I saw red. ARE YOU KIDDING ME?! I was told to not utilize the button! When I explained the directions I was given from Becky with the fucking bad hair, she looked at Ivan and said “You need to hit this button every 5 minutes until we max out, she needs to get caught up to where the pain management should be at this stage.” So, A3 is slowly administering the infusion, Ivan is pumping the button, and I’m 5 seconds away from demanding a C-section. My favorite part at this point was the nurses excitedly saying “Oh! Here comes a contraction, can you feel that?!” OBVIOUSLY, WOMAN!
The midwife comes back in for our final check and she starts saying, “Well you could start pushing now if you want.” Keep in mind I have an oxygen mask on and I am trying to ask questions but no one can hear me and I am so confused because last I heard (2 hours ago) I was at 4cm. I looked at her like she was nuts. She repeated her statement and gave no direction or clarity on what I’m supposed to do next. All I see are the stirrups coming out and someone telling me to push like I’m pooping. How the hell am I supposed to accomplish that when no ounce of pain medication is touching this drastic leap in pain and increased contractions? And now during these horrifying contractions, I’m supposed to encourage a 6-8 lb baby to keep pushing down and coming out?! Sweet baby Jesus take the wheel! The hardest part about the contractions was that they targeted my entire body. My old dance injuries in my hamstrings, sciatica nerve, lower and upper back, and hips were all targeted in addition to what I assume usually takes place.
There was no real direction given to me on when to push, how long to push for, how to do it, if I’m doing it correctly, which makes sense because my entire 32 hours was just a shit show of no communication and lack of support. After taking matters into my own hands and yelling at the nurses and midwives on when I would push and trying to remember for how long I push for from the movies I’ve seen, about 10 minutes later my beautiful daughter, Shay Amia, was born at 8:55pm December 14, 2018. She weighed in at 5 lbs 8 oz and 18″ long.
The amount of emotion I felt was just insane. She came out with her cord wrapped loosely around her neck twice and I couldn’t even process what I was seeing. I couldn’t process that this tiny little being was just in my belly. I couldn’t fathom that this gorgeous angel girl was the same one that would have hiccups all day long, kick my ribs like she was trying to prove something, and would respond to Ivan’s voice. As she was placed on me for skin-to-skin, Ivan looked at her and said what he would always say to her, “Shay! Where’s my beautiful baby girl?!” As he said this she turned her head to find his eyes and locked eyes with him for a few minutes and in that instant I knew that everything that just happened over the course of 32 hours was exactly how it was supposed to be, because here is this incredible gift and she is already teaching me things about myself I never knew, like how strong I am if I just surrender to life and have faith that what takes place is meant to.
Road to Recovery
Because of how quickly I progressed and how fast delivery was, I ended up with 2nd degree tearing and a good amount of stitches. Why don’t I know how many stitches I have? Because yet again, no one would answer my question or explain what they were doing to my body, and that was the real issue I had with my entire experience. I felt like an experiment. Any time I tried to ask a question no one would answer me. It was always deflection. I just wanted to know what was going on and I couldn’t even get an answer on whether or not my fever was increasing.
It took about two days for me to be able to walk on my own for the most part, but this was in between dealing with “elephant leg” on my right side. I was given Motrin for the pain which is hilarious, so I demanded Norco, but was then chided and told that “No first time moms need Norco after delivery. It is equivalent to icing yourself so I should try that instead.” Girl, bye.
Between the pain, lack of communication, feeling like no one knew what to do and how to proceed forward, and the unrelenting nagging about feeding choices for Shay, this story is one for the books. While pregnant I knew my life would change instantly the moment she arrived, but never did I think I would feel such purpose and fulfillment so early on. She is absolute perfection and I can’t be any more thankful that my 32 hours of labor ended so beautifully. I am so thankful for my experience and journey because it taught me so many valuable lessons. The main being, I am the product of my thoughts and that sentiment alone is enough to change me into someone Shay will look up to and be proud of.
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