When Oliver finally decided to make his appearance, he really took his time. It definitely wasn’t some quick “all of a sudden our baby is here” type situation. I want to share all about this for two reasons. I believe it’s helpful for people to read different stories to help prepare for what they may be in for. But I also want to share it because even though Oliver is only 8 months old, I feel like I’m starting to forget details about his grand entrance. Even writing it I had to check with Mauricio to see if I had the timeline right. I didn’t want lots of people in the delivery room with me so Mauricio was the only one who was there the whole time. My mom and Mauricio’s mom did come in and see me throughout the day, but when it came time to deliver it was well known that it was to just be Mauricio and I in the room.
As I shared in my pregnancy post, I was pretty over being pregnant by the time my due date rolled around. I wanted Oliver to come in March so badly, I had even said he would come on the 20th, boy was I wrong. I looked up things online to induce labor naturally and I think I tried all of them except spicy food, which I don’t like and I didn’t see any point in making myself more uncomfortable than I already was. The main thing did to try and encourage him to come was walk. I walked as much as I could bear each day, and it was rough!
I was due on the 31st of March, which was a Saturday. The Friday before that I had a doctors appointment and I was hoping to have some good news and possibly have my membranes stripped to get things going a little bit. Unfortunately, I wasn’t even dilated 1 cm so there was no real hope of me going into labor on my due date. To top it off, my doctor who was willing to come in whenever I went into labor, was going to be out of town from the 2nd through the 6th. That meant that I would be getting whichever doctor was on call, instead of the doctor that I’d really come to like and be comfortable with over the last 6 months. Luckily for me, the doctor that was to be on call the next week was a doctor that would have been my second choice.
Saturday came and went, and I still wasn’t feeling any contractions or showing any signs of going into labor. So Sunday we went walking. We went to the park near our house and fed the ducks, Mauricio took me to the frisbee golf course and we walked all the way to hole 2 before I couldn’t go anymore. I took a break at home and then we went down to the park in town and walked the pathway there, where I made it about a quarter mile before begging to go back. I was hurting and so so tired from walking. So when we came home I settled in to the couch and watched 11.22.63, the show we’d been binging lately. I honestly don’t remember what we ate for dinner/if we ate dinner, or what happens in the final episodes of the show because I was too busy being crazy uncomfortable. I would sit down for a few minutes and have to move, then walk around for a while and get tired. I tried laying on the floor, which was a horrible decision because I was comfortable for about 3 seconds and it took both of us to get me back up. This all lasted for about 4 hours. I felt like I was having contractions, but not having had a baby before I wasn’t sure. They weren’t necessarily painful, it was more of a very uncomfortable feeling every few minutes. I kept track of them, and around 1 in the morning I decided they were coming often enough that we should at least go down to the hospital and see if I was in labor. I didn’t want to be the person that went to the hospital to find out I wasn’t even having real contractions, but I also didn’t want to be the person that didn’t think they were in labor and all of a sudden had their baby in the kitchen. I decided of the two, I’d rather be sent back home than not get to the hospital in time. So away we went.
Once they got me checked in to the hospital a nurse came and took me to the labor and delivery room to check me. I think it was was about 2 in the morning when they told me I was dilated to 3 cm and having decent contractions, so I didn’t feel stupid for coming down. They gave me the option of going home or staying. They told me if I went home I’d probably be back in a few hours, but I could labor a bit at home. One deciding factor for me was I had tested positive for Group B Strep, so I was going to need antibiotics before my baby was born to protect him. When they tested for this a few weeks earlier and I tested positive, I was assured about 20 times that it was totally normal and common. Being told that so many times made me start to wonder if it really was totally normal. Don’t worry, it is totally normal. Group B Strep is basically a normal flora that is sometimes present and sometimes isn’t. It’s not harmful to mom at all, but it can be deadly to a newborn baby that’s born naturally. So if you’re one of the about 20% of women who test positive, you’ll have to have some antibiotics before you give birth to protect your baby. Also, just because you test positive on one pregnancy doesn’t mean you’ll test positive if you have another baby, or even a few months later. It’s just something that sometimes is there and sometimes isn’t. Our bodies are kind of crazy with all the “normal” things growing in us without us even knowing. Anyways, since I would have to have those antibiotics and I didn’t really feel like wandering back out to the car to go home and be uncomfortable, I opted to just stay at the hospital.
I honestly don’t remember if I got any sleep once we decided on staying, I sort of think I got a few hours in on Monday morning. The day shift crew showed up and around 10 AM I was told that I was officially in labor and dilated to 6 cm. I was so happy something was finally happening and with the realization that I was going to meet my baby that day! The OB nurse was the one that gave the birthing class so I was very comfortable and happy that she was the one that would be there for my delivery. The doctor on call came and saw me and said that we were just going to let things keep on going naturally and see what happened. So Mauricio and I went walking again. This time I got to wear two awesome hospital gowns and wander around the hospital. Since Mauricio works at the hospital, I’ve wandered around it a bit, but never as slow as that day. I think we walked around for about 30 minutes and went down about 2 hallways. Relief came when the anesthesiologist saw us and asked if I was there to have a baby and if I would like to fill out the paperwork for an epidural now, instead of later when I might really be wanting it, and much less pleasant. So I waddled back to my room while he went and got the forms for me to sign. I was very open to having an epidural, and figured I would get one at some point. I wasn’t really interested in feeling EVERYTHING that goes on while giving birth, and even though so far I was able to walk around and stand through contractions, I was knew they were going to get a lot worse.
My OB nurse came and check on me several times throughout the day, and things were progressing, but very slowly. Around 4 PM they decided to start me on pitocin and give me an epidural to get things going faster. I was all for anything that would speed things up! Getting the epidural wasn’t too bad, I opted to not look at the things he brought in or think too much about what exactly he was doing. I just focused on keeping my back arched and moving as little as possible while he did what he did. I’d heard horror stories of epidurals and I didn’t want to mess anything up. Everything went fine and they started the pitocin to get contractions going stronger. The sensation of an epidural is really weird. Being able to see your legs but not move them is kind of bizarre. Also it doesn’t make it so you can’t feel anything, it just numbs all the feeling from the waist down. So if someone touched my leg, I couldn’t feel it but if they pressed on my leg, I could still feel the pressure from that. And I could still feel that contractions were happening, but they weren’t painful. It’s kind of hard to describe what they felt like, maybe a slight squeezing? Anyway, I could still tell I was having contractions but I was much more comfortable and able to just relax in bed a bit.
I was so happy I was going to finally meet my baby soon! Unfortunately at 6, the OB nurses change shifts and the night nurse came in. Let’s just say she wasn’t my first choice for someone to help me have my baby.
Things were still moving very slowly, every time they’d check me they would try and encouragingly tell me how close he was by showing me how far it was to reach his head by the length of their finger. I swear he was a fingertip away for about 5 hours. Every now and then they would have me try and push, which didn’t really seem to do much. The not so favorite nurse told me at one point “If you hadn’t gotten an epidural you’d probably be able to feel the contractions and push a lot better”. Yeah, not exactly helpful. But they assured me things were progressing, and I could see my contractions were stronger from the monitor but I didn’t feel like anything was happening. Around 1030 Monday night, my parents and sister who had driven down earlier in the day decided they were going to go home and get some sleep since things weren’t exactly racing along. While Mauricio was out talking to them and getting a snack, all hell broke loose for me. They gave me a button to push periodically to keep the epidural going, and told me to not to forget about it or the medicine would wear off. I assure you, I did not forget about it, I was pushing that button regularly. But all of a sudden, it wore off and I could feel everything! Going from being able to stand through a contraction, to a slight squeezing sensation, to feeling full blown pitocin induced contractions was awful! I think if I had felt the gradual build up I would have handled it better, but the rate I was going that may have taken a full week. By the time Mauricio got back to the room I was writhing and screaming with each contraction. Eventually nurse-my-way-is-the-best-way came in and told me “now that you can feel the contractions better you could try pushing”. It took all I had in me to not kick her in the face, instead I growled “no”. Thankfully my doctor came in and gave me my real options. I was so tired and feeling so defeated, I had reached the point where I looked to Mauricio with tears in my eyes saying I can’t do this, it’s too much. I was so tired from being up for so long and the anticipation and stress of labor had finally beat me down. My doctor told me I basically had 2 options at this point, we can call the anesthesiologist back to set another epidural if I have the energy to push, or we can go towards a c-section since I’d been laboring so long. I wasn’t keen on a c-section unless it was necessary, so I assured them that if I could get another epidural I had the energy to push. So our wonderful anesthesiologist came back in the middle of the night to reset my epidural, and this time I was less than the perfect patient. It was so hard to sit up and arch my back the way he needed me to and while I was trying my best to stay still, it was the most uncomfortable I think I’ve ever been. But he was amazing and calming and kept telling me that I was going to get my baby soon and he was doing everything he could do to help me. Seriously I can’t praise him enough, he calmed me down so much, although the drugs probably helped too.
Once he did his magic and the new epidural kicked in it was time to push. By this time it was about 1 in the morning, Tuesday morning. So it’s been a full 24 hours since we came in to the hospital and 14 hours of active labor so far and we’re finally ready to push for real. We joked about it with our doctor, but babies really do have a thing about coming in the middle of the night. I pushed for about an hour and our doctor was amazing. He kept the calm vibe from the anesthesiologist going and made me feel like I was doing a good job, something the OB nurse had me feeling the opposite about. Towards the end he did have to use a vacuum to get Oliver out. He used it 2 times and if you’re ever in the situation, I wouldn’t recommend letting them use it many more times. Oliver had a hematoma from the vacuum and it took a few months to go down, his head basically had to grow in to it. It wasn’t harmful to him, but if a vacuum is used too much it can be bad for baby.
At 1:59 AM our baby boy finally made his way into the real world. I have never had such an amazing feeling as when they laid him on me. We did immediate skin to skin and it was the most euphoric feeling I’ve ever experienced. Mauricio cut the umbilical cord after delayed cord clamping, where they wait about a minute before they clamp it to keep the nutrients flowing to baby. So much happens the first bit of a babies life. Oliver literally cried his entire first hour, but I don’t blame him. He was wiped down, had stuff suctioned out of his mouth and nose, temperature and oxygen levels taken ect ect ect. There is really so much going on, but all I can really remember is staring at him in amazement because through all that he was still laying with me. Meanwhile after the cord clamping, the placenta was delivered. They asked me if I wanted to see it and I grouchily said no, I was way to interested in my new baby to look at my throw away organ. Mauricio did go look at it, he said it was actually pretty amazing and that it reminded him of the tree of life. I sort of wish I had taken a minute to look at it, I mean it is a pretty amazing thing in itself, but in the moment I was too entranced to notice anything other than my little human.
I had third degree tearing from delivery, so the doctor was busy stitching me up for about an hour after giving birth. But he was also listening to Olivers cries to make sure that he was breathing right. He had some gunk in his mouth and nose that had to be suctioned out, and once doctor was done with me he looked Oliver over and made sure his airways were totally clean. Then after about an hour of skin to skin with me, they took Oliver to weigh and measure him. 9 lbs 7 oz! I was shocked! I knew I was growing a big baby, and I knew he would be over 8 pounds, but I did not expect him to be that big! No wonder it was such a long labor, right? They got Oliver diapered and wrapped up, and Mauricio held him. They tried to get Oliver to eat a bit and then since the room calmed down some, we started falling asleep. Everyone slowly cleared out of the room except for the night nurse on duty, not the OB know everything nurse-a different nurse who I guess didn’t have anything better to do than chit chat with 2 exhausted new parents. I don’t remember a word that woman said, I just remember thinking “I’ve been awake for 2 solid days and just gave birth, get out!” but I didn’t say anything, I was too tired to say a word. So I fell asleep with my new little human next to me and I think that was the best few hours of sleep I’d had in about 3 months.
Of course it didn’t last long, Mauricio had called our parents to tell them the news so they were going to be coming in in the morning. And of course nurses were coming and checking on us and early in the morning they came to draw our blood. I’ll go on more about what all happens in the hospital in my postpartum post.
For now, pictures of our not so tiny newborn baby. We didn’t take any pictures in the hospital before Oliver was born, but we of course got some once he arrived.