One of the single biggest stressors, when you are about to become a first-time mom, is thinking about how the whole birthing experience will go down. There comes a turning point in your pregnancy when you realize "whoa, this baby has to come out of me". This can be followed by a bit of fear and anxiety about what this process will look like. And thoughts about how much it will hurt!
Will I be at work? Will I be far from the hospital? Will it happen on its own or will I need to be induced? Will my water break? How will I know when contractions have started? What do contractions feel like? Will I get to the hospital in time for an epidural? Will I need a C-Section? I know that I had all of these questions and more.
Our nursery was ready, and so were we!
At 37.5 weeks, I noticed fluid running down my legs. I was sure it was amniotic fluid. I called the triage nurse and she suggested I go to the hospital and have things checked out. They have a super simple test that they do to determine if you are leaking amniotic fluid or not. After the test, it was concluded that it was just pee. Oh goody! I had been suspecting that I was peeing my pants while pregnant for a while now, and now I had confirmation.
My extreme swelling began at week 34
Due to my oh-so-glorious edema-ridden state, my doctor agreed to schedule me for an induction at 39 weeks. It was a huge relief to kind of sort of have an idea when this baby would be coming. I was also very excited to be getting out of this contract a whole week early! I wanted to meet my baby and wrap up this whole late 3rd-trimester stage of pregnancy!
About four days shy of my induction date, I woke up and started to feel what I thought were contractions. I downloaded an app on my phone and started to time things. I was working from home on this day, which put me at ease because at least I was close to the hospital. The contractions started to come more frequent. Since I haven't gone through this before, I was not 100% sure that these were even contractions. But my friends who have babies all assured me that they were.
By about 5 pm on that Thursday, the contractions were about 8 minutes apart. They were sort of painful, taking my breath away at times (but nothing compared to the pain that was in my near future!) I had to pee (surprise surprise), and right before I was about to sit down, I felt like I had to stand in the bath tub. It just felt like something was going to happen. I was not wearing pants at that moment (because who does after week 38?!), and seconds after standing in the tub there was a giant splat.
A warm viscous liquid was everywhere. THIS had to be it. My water broke! I remember thinking that I was crazy to have thought the week prior that my water may have broken. For me, at this moment, there was no mistaking the breaking of the waters. I figured now was as good of a time as ever to take a shower. I gave my husband a quick call to let him know it was go-time. Then I did my best to clean up.
No one really tells you that your water breaking can be some what of a continuous process. With every move I made, more and more fluid was coming out. How much could possibly be in there?! I leaked all the way to the hospital. And by leaked, I mean gushed. Thankfully, I remembered to bring a towel in the car to sit on. RIP car towel, you will be missed!
Once we got to the hospital, we were checked in. We called our family, who happened to just be sitting down for dinner in the city. They were then going to be on their way to a Cubs game. They asked if they should drop everything and come to the hospital, but we told them not to since we knew it could be a while before we had a baby.
By now, it was about 7 pm at night. The following day was going to be my Dad's birthday. It was so fun to know that there was a good chance that my son and his Grandpa would share a birthday. The doc that was on call at that time told me that they would for sure share the same birthday. How exciting! This was all happening 11 days prior to my official due date (and 4 days prior to my induction date).
I tried to fend off the epidural for as long as possible. The contractions, for whatever reason, greatly slowed by midnight. They gave me pitocin to speed things up. I took a two-hour nap, and then woke up at about 4 am in the extreme pain. Trembling, convulsing, that "am I gonna die?" pain. I ordered an epidural immediately but was so concerned about how a doctor would even be able to give me one in this messy and horrifying state.
The doctor came in and gave me that epidural so fast, I didn't even know what hit me. I was amazed by his speed and precision. And talk about instant relief. INSTANT! Who does this without an epidural?!!? How do they survive?!
Then we waited. And waited. And waited. It seemed like an eternity until I reached 10 cm. We thought it would be around noon time when our son made his arrival, but at that point, I was only 6 cm. During the wait, the hubs and I texted friends, snap chatted, and watched some tv. At 5 pm, I was cleared to push.
I have friends that say they felt no pain throughout pushing. This was NOT the case for me. They turned that epidural wayyyyyyy down so that I can feel and control everything a little better. OUCH. Not as major of an ouch as my 4 am wake up before my epidural, but I really felt a lot of the birth. Ring of fire, anyone?
I was waving the white flag early on. I was for sure that I was going to end up in a C-Section. This was far more difficult than I ever imagined. I stayed strong throughout my pregnancy with the Tracy Anderson Project, and I felt more prepared than ever to push. But this was no cake walk. I was on oxygen the entire time. At one point, I grabbed my husband, looked him in the eye, and told him that he was not being a good coach. That I need more encouragement if I ever wanted to get this baby out. At that point, he did a 180.
#nofilter (at least I hope you didn't think this was edited, hahaha!)
After 2.5 hours of really hard work, our son was delivered. The pain was instantly gone - no more ring of fire (which is a term that I had never even heard until it was happening!). I held him right away for just a few seconds, but then he was carried off to the cleaning station. I was slightly concerned because I didn't hear much of a cry, but then all of a sudden, we heard it. It was the best moment of my life. My husband was teary eyed, and I couldn't wait to hold our little peanut again.
Our son with his Dad!
We called our family in (who have been patiently waiting since 9 AM!!!!) to meet little Theo. We actually did not have a name for him yet, it wasn't until the next day that we firmed up on Theo. It was so amazing to see everyone and to have them meet the our little boy.
After they left, it was a little after 9 pm. This is where things start to get dark and fuzzy. As I was being wheeled from the delivery side of the hospital to recovery, it felt as if the pain meds wore off instantaneously. All of a sudden I was in the most pain I have ever been in. More pain than the pre-epidural, and more than the ring of fire. It felt as if my bottom half had exploded.
I screamed, I cried, but seemingly, the nurses didn't care. One nurse commented that I didn't tear, and that I should not have been in this type of pain. Theo was not even able to stay in our room with us that night. If I ever thought a person could die from pain, I thought that this could be it. I begged for meds. They brought me Motrin. I was appalled. I should have thrown it back at them. Was I not in a hospital?! Surely they had something stronger than Motrin!
After convincing them to fork over the good stuff, I was able to catch a few hours of sleep. I had to sleep with three pillows in between my legs. For whatever reason, my legs would not go together. Something was wrong. But no one checked until the morning.
Once the morning nurse came for a visit, I was in much better spirits because the pain meds were working. I had Theo with me, and my recovery was in full motion. She checked my birth wounds, and that's when she saw it. A giant, grapefruit size hematoma. Yep, my butt had exploded, and no one knew (well, except for me) until the morning. It must have happened while pushing. She called in two doctors, who both agreed that the grapefruit could be hanging around for anywhere between 6 weeks and 6 months.
This did not sit well with me. I felt as if this giant hematoma was going to rob me of my first time motherhood experience with my son. As much as I tried to not let it ruin my experience, it was debilitating. I could not sit for months. To this day, I still have a fibrous mass from this monster. Ohhhhh the things we go through for our sweet babies! The good news is is that my doc has had one other patient with it, and she did not have a repeat experience with Baby #2! So my hopes are high for a non-reoccurrence.
We spent two night in the hospital, and then we were sent home on our way. While we were there, the hospital photography company came around to take photos. I did not think I would actually purcahse these photos, but once I saw them, I forked over my AMEX so fast. I could not let these pictures get away from me!
My favorite hospital pic of all time
We could not get enough of our new son. He was so special to us, and the following days were filled with visits from family, friends, and a showing of love for baby Theo. Giving birth is only the start of it. There is so much that happens in those first few weeks (and months and years!). If you are interested in hearing even more about bringing a newborn home (and the possible challenges and wonderful moments that you can expect), follow this link here!