Baby Sophie graced us with her presence on December 5th, 2016. In my short time as a new mommy, I’ve thought of about a million topics I’d love to blog about … but really, who has time for anything with a newborn around? I figured my birthing story would be a good place to start.
Let me begin by saying that Sophie is the most amazing thing to ever happen to me. I never imagined I could love anything or anyone this much. I now understand why people are so obsessed with their kids because I am completely head over heels for mine. And this is the point where I get back on track before I start getting all emotional and weepy.
So, despite my unequivocal love for my little one, childbirth is not something I’m looking forward to ever doing again. I know everyone says, “You’ll forget what it was like and you’ll start having kids again,” but I don’t think I can ever forget the most horrific 24 hours of my life.
Throughout the last few weeks of my third trimester, I began having a few Braxton Hicks contractions. Not knowing that these weren’t even close to what real contractions would feel like, I thought, “I can totally do a natural birth.” Just to be clear, I never planned on being an all-natural, no-drugs, earth-mama type or anything … but props to those that are. I’m simply deathly afraid of needles, so I was all over the idea of omitting even just one. Plus, the thought of a tube through my back and a catheter up my hoohah STILL gives me the shivers. Anyhow, like many women before me, these ideas all went out the window by the time the real thing happened.
The night before I gave birth, at around 7:30 PM, I felt what I assumed was another Braxton Hicks contraction. I had never timed contractions before but something told me to do so this time around. About 45 minutes later, I got another one. Half an hour later, I felt a third. Then 25 minutes later, a fourth. I have never had this many in a single day before, so I had a feeling that this was the real deal. Cue panic mode.
*** TMI coming up!!! You’ve officially been warned!!!
After the fourth contraction, I went to the bathroom and noticed a bit of bloody discharge which was either my “bloody show” or mucous plug (still not quite sure I understand the difference). I would say that pretty much immediately after that, my contractions were suddenly beginning to come every 7-10 minutes. Not only that, they were beginning to feel extremely painful. Just before midnight, when the pain became crippling (I was literally on my hands and knees) and contractions were fluctuating between 4 and 8 minutes apart, I asked James to take me to the hospital. I decided 5 hours of contractions at home was quite enough. Unsurprisingly, I was already talking epidurals because Lord knows I’m no superhero.
When we got to the hospital, I basically started panicking. The minute I was put into the wheelchair (they don’t allow you to walk—believe me, I tried), I was absolutely terrified of what was to come. When we got to the room, I asked the nurse to give me a minute with James before we started anything. As soon as she left the room, I hugged him and began crying hysterically. Did anyone else get this way? I was so scared of what was to come! I finally relaxed, and the nurse came back in to get me situated.
We discovered I was 4cm dilated. In my head, I thought, “Whew! Almost halfway there.” I asked her to please delay the IV as long as possible—again, irrational fear of needles. This ended up being not very long because shortly after, we called for the epidural (you have to have fluids running through an IV prior to getting the epidural). I couldn’t take it anymore. I honestly don’t know how anyone does the natural route. You all deserve a medal.
Let’s talk about the epidural for a minute. Like most people suggest, it wasn’t as bad as I imagined. Then again, it could just be that I forgot already, lol. Don’t get me wrong, it freaking hurt, but I was absolutely no help to the anesthesiologist because I was a nervous wreck and couldn’t stay still. If I’m being honest with myself, it was done in the blink of an eye and the relief was almost instantaneous. Get the damn epidural, lol!
After that, it was all pretty much a waiting game. The problem was that once I was given the epidural, all progress seemed to stop. HOURS after being given the shot, I was so excited for my OB to come in and see how far along I was only to discover that I had only opened up 1cm. I was distraught. After a couple more checks, my OB decided to go ahead and break my water, thinking it would move things along. Spoiler alert: it didn’t.
Little Sophie did NOT want to come down. Every couple of hours, my OB would check and tell me that she wasn’t descending into my birth canal. To make matters worse, her head was in an awkward, leaned-back position that was going to make it difficult to deliver her safely with my too-small pelvis. As my epidural began to wear off, we decided to start pushing just to see if we could get ANYTHING to happen. I never tried so hard for anything in my life, but I got nowhere. Once the pain became unbearable again (worse than before, I might add), they “freshened up” my epidural and gave me a break. When we tried another round of pushing with no success and the second bag of anesthesia beginning to wear off, my OB basically gave me a choice … sort of. She said I could keep trying, but it would be futile (baby was not descending at all and was not in the best position for delivery), or we could take the safe route and get the C-section. The dreaded C word. It’s the one thing that I was 100% unprepared for, thinking it would never happen to me. Needless to say, we ended up getting the C-section.
Here I thought I couldn’t be any more terrified than I already was. Despite the amazing doctors and nurses, everything felt like it was going in slow motion and all a part of some great nightmare. I cried I don’t know how many times in the short amount of time it took them to get me prepped. I didn’t feel any pain (good ol’ medicine), but I felt the pressure of everything that was being done. I kept turning to James and telling him over and over, “I’m scared. I’m scared.” I was not only afraid that something would go wrong, but that somehow the anesthesia would wear off and I would suddenly feel everything that they were doing. Luckily, everything went just fine as far as the surgery goes.
When they showed me Sophie for the first time, it was absolute magic. I only saw her for a couple of minutes, but I couldn’t look away at the beautiful 8 lb. human James and I created. She was amazing, and worth every ounce of suffering that led up to that moment.
I know this was a bit long, but I wanted to share my experience. I always loved reading other birthing stories, thinking it would prepare me for my own, but it’s so true … every story is different. Just as others have inspired me, I hope to inspire someone else. Childbirth is the worst and best experience that you’ll probably ever go through. It’s the hardest thing I’ve ever done, but Sophie is the greatest reward I’ve ever won. ❤