(a continuation of My Pregnancy Story)
April 25, 2014 – My original due date.
May 2, 2014 – My revised due date.
May 6, 2014 – I gave birth to a beautiful baby girl, Charlee.
Let’s pick up where we left off; after being in and out of the hospital three times for preterm labor, I finally had an induction date and was told to arrive at the hospital on May 5th at 7:30pm. That evening, I did my hair and makeup and painted my toes in preparation of what would be a very exhausting and stressful 24 hours. Prior to heading to the hospital, Justin and I enjoyed one last dinner out as just the two of us. We went to one of my favorite burger joints and then sprung for some fro-yo at Sweet Frog before we drove to the hospital for check-in. I had a million and one emotions going on (as I’m sure J did as well) throughout dinner, dessert and the short drive to the birthing center. I was beyond excited, terrified, happy, nervous, anxious….you name it, I felt it.
At check-in, I felt giddy and excited. I couldn’t believe that the day had finally come! While we were nervous about bringing our little girl into the world and unsure of what to expect in regards to the previous Skeletal Dysplasia conversation, we couldn’t wait to hold our beautiful baby.
We were taken to our room and began to get settled in when the nurses on duty came in to introduce themselves and get me hooked up to all of the monitors. They also explained what would be happening throughout the course of the evening and what to expect (although I’m not sure if things went exactly as expected). Justin was getting our belongings situated and attempting to get cozy on the pullout bed while the midwife was prepping me for the Foley Bulb Catheter. This is where things really began to kick off.
The first midwife on duty, Lucy, was a lovely, little woman who didn’t really talk much. She went on about her business and I had to ask what was going on to find out all of the details. She had me lay back on the table and began to insert the Foley Bulb (which would help ripen my cervix) when all of a sudden **POP**!! As she is saying things like, “Oh my!”, “Hmmm….”, “Well this is weird!” and “In my 35 years as a midwife, I’ve never had this happen”…..I became horribly nervous. Apparently the bulb catheter was filled too full and decided to explode inside me. Lovely, right? She thought that she had broken my water accidentally but we later found out that thankfully, that wasn’t the case. The second insertion went as planned and I was told to rest
Now we wait. I was told that there wasn’t much to do throughout the night except try to get some much needed rest prior to our baby girl’s grand entrance the following day. I was given two Ambien to help me sleep and the nurse said that she would monitor me throughout the night. That stupid Ambien gave me false hopes. Here I was thinking that I would pop those two magic pills and I would be off to dreamland in no time; I would then wake up feeling refreshed and ready to birth a baby. That, unfortunately, was not the case at all. I slept all of 20 minutes that night and kept my poor husband awake by jabbing my jaws about anything and everything; it turned me into a real chatty Kathy! I’m not sure how I could have slept much anyway, with the blood pressure cuff turning on every hour, squirming in bed trying to get cozy and getting up to pee 14 times. It was a very. long. night.
The following morning, my Pitocin and antibiotics (I failed the strep test) were administered at around 6:30am. At this point, we didn’t really know how things would progress. We were throwing around guesses as to what time I would give birth and boy were we wrong! My parents came to visit me and would be in and out throughout the day. There was something about having my parents around that made me quite emotional so I felt like I saw them in many, short bursts. If I was crying, my Mom cried; if my Mom was crying, I cried…it was like an emotional game of ping pong. As I was laying in the bed, I jumped to the realization that we only brought 0-3 month clothing and my baby would have to wear giant clothes on her tiny, pink body. My parents went shopping and later returned with about 10 size newborn outfits. They’re the best!
I began having slight contractions around 9:00am and they were quickly becoming stronger and longer. My sister had told me to order the epidural as soon as I felt I needed it because even then it would be too late. Turns out she was right. The anesthesiologist didn’t come in until a little after 11:00. This leads me into my next topic – the epidural. No one warned me about how terrifying this was going to be! Maybe I’m just a big chicken but when the guy with the needle comes in and says, “Only one other person is allowed in the room. Don’t touch her, don’t look at her, don’t talk to her.”, I immediately began to freak out and shake uncontrollably. As I was bent over on the elevated table prior to getting the epidural, I said something to the anesthesiologist along the lines of, “I’m freaking out, are you?”. With a chuckle, he replied, “Oh yeah, totally – hangover shakes. Crazy Cinco de Mayo party last night!”. While his joke took the edge off for a second, the mood intensified once again when he said it was “go time”.
All that stress, fear and drama with the epidural and of course the darn thing went in crooked! I was looking forward to napping, reading a magazine and chatting with family while preparing for giving birth – haha, NOPE! I felt every single pain and contraction on my left side while my right side was 100% numb; numb to the point that I couldn’t move my leg without assistance. I felt bad for the 100 lb nurse who had to manhandle my dead leg every time I was due for a check and I made sure to apologize several hundred times throughout. I was told to lay on my left side to help the epidural spread but unfortunately that didn’t help at all. The only thing laying on one side for hours and hours did was make my hips throb and my back ache.
My water broke around 1:00pm. So here’s the thing, I was naive in thinking that your water breaks in one big gush and then it’s done and over. Not the case at all, sadly. They say that you lose all modesty when you have a baby due to all of the up close and personal checks, the getting naked in front of everyone and oh, having a baby come out of your lady parts! Again, not the case at all. I was so embarrassed about the fluid leaking from my body that I started spouting off apologies again, to the point that I was starting to annoy myself.
1:00pm came and went. And then 2:00, 3:00, 4:00…..
Around 7:00pm, I was becoming panicky, worried and anxious. The nurses seemed sure that our baby would not come before midnight. Whenever they said things like this, I would become infuriated (I blame hormones). I was beyond ready to get that baby out and be on the road to recovery. Another thing no one told me about – the intense pressure. I heard everyone complain about the contractions but no one ever said anything about the undesirable pressure that is involved with child birth. I would take the worst contraction over that pressure any day! 7:00pm is also when the nausea and vomiting began. There’s nothing like half of your body being numb, dealing with contractions and pressure, not sleeping or eating for 24 hours and then having your loving husband hold a puke bucket for you; now that’s love.
Right before 9:00pm, I told the nurse that I couldn’t take the pressure anymore and I was ready to push. She seemed almost annoyed and lacked confidence that it was time. She told me, “If you think you’re ready but your body is not, all you’re going to do is wear yourself out and when it’s REALLY go-time, you won’t have the energy to push and you may need a c-section.” Bah-humbug.
I didn’t care one bit about what she said, I told her that I was ready. She simply said okay and left to collect the team. 5 nurses and my midwife returned to get things set up and help deliver my sweet baby girl. They situated me on the table and my midwife, Jessica, calmly said, “It’s time to have a baby! Begin to push.” As I began to push, the nurse who discouraged me from pushing earlier and my midwife were coaching me as Justin was counting and helping me breathe. Between screams and gasps, I was feeling motivated and felt like I was really making progress. I felt strong and was beyond excited. I also felt faint and HOT; like my body was on fire. I stripped off every piece of clothing I had on and
asked for demanded cold washcloths. In the midst of pushing, Jessica yells “Go get Dr. V!”, Justin is pushed out of the way, my head gets lowered and a nurse is on top of me, pushing on my abdomen. We didn’t know at the time what was going on. 32 seconds later, I feel intense relief and a bit of a “pop” and then a warm, wiggly babe was thrown on my chest. I hear someone say, “Check her arm!” and upon looking it was so purple that it looked black. It turns out Charlee was stuck for 32 seconds due to Shoulder Dystocia. Her right arm was limp and discolored and there were concerns of paralyzing nerve damage. Within 10 seconds of her being placed thrown on my chest, she used her right hand and tiny little fingers to grasp my thumb – what a relief. Words will never be able to describe that feeling.
Among all of the commotion, tears and turmoil, I looked at Justin and asked the question that I knew was on both of our minds, “Is she little? Are her arms and legs short?”. Justin simply replied, “She’s perfect.” That was the only answer I needed.
Charlee Marie was born on May 6, 2014 at 9:31pm, weighing 7lbs 13oz and measuring 20.5″ long. She had a beautiful head of thick brown hair and favored yours truly (this didn’t last, now at 5 months she is Justin’s “mini me”!).
5 months later, I still get emotional thinking about the series of events that Justin and I went through from the time we found out we were pregnant to the moment I held her in my arms. Worries of Skeletal Dysplasia and anxiety about labor and delivery are all behind us now. We are now parents to the most perfect little girl and our love for her is indescribable. It was a long, bumpy ride but I would do it all over again in a heartbeat.