As my FBF, I thought I'd share my son's birth story. Now over 16 months ago, still feels like yesterday. Especially now after having gone through it myself, I love hearing other's birth stories. The ultimate outcome is always the welcoming of a new life, but its amazing the variety of directions the event can take.
I was due on November 8th, a Friday. Come November 9th, no signs of anything beginning. I had my regular weekly Ob/Gyn appointment scheduled for that Monday, the 11th. Sunday afternoon my parent's came up to bring us our family heirloom bassinet that we were going to use in our room for Little Man (my Grandpa's older brother slept in in when he was born, the my grandpa, and my dad, and me and my sister and my niece. Its over 100 years old.) They stayed visiting through dinner time, when we went to BJs Restaurant for dinner. I remember I had two items from the small plates menu: a watermelon and feta salad, and buffalo chicken won tons. Dinner was uneventful.
After my parent's left that night, Hubby and I took our usual evening walk with the dog. Towards the end I started to notice the faintest cramping. So faint I felt like I was imagining it. Felt like pre-period cramps. I made comment to Hubby, but nothing else was happening, so we just went about our bedtime routine. We had learned in birth class that pre-labor can last for a long time, and since this was my first pregnancy I was expecting that. I had this vision of having at least half a day of pre-labor, with intermittent cramping and nothing else going on. I had bought mix to make cookies to take to the hospital with us for the nurses. (What? I know.) I had planned on taking a shower and doing my hair and going to the hospital with my day face on (some make up) so I would look as good as possible in the post birth photos (I was prepared to look pretty beaten, but I figured if I used waterproof mascara, any bit would be better than none. Yes, I laugh at myself now.)
I was able to sleep that night from about 9:30p until 1a, when I woke with increased cramping. Again, still feeling like period cramps, but growing in intensity. They made me have to go to the bathroom frequently. I was half asleep in my head while my body was changing, but I was awake enough to think I should start timing the cramps, bc they were definitely coming consistently. I didn't wake Hubby yet. From 1a until 5a, I was in bed trying to sleep between cramps and occasionally going to the bathroom. At 5a my husband woke to get ready for work, and I told him what was going on. We were not going to be those people who rushed to the hospital at the first sign of anything, so we discussed if he should go to work for even a bit that day. My 'cramps' were getting really bad, and were getting much closer together: 12 min, 9 min, 6 min, 5 min...and fairly quickly. I went from 7 min apart to 5 min apart in less than an hour. Our doctor had said to call her if my water broke, or if I was having contractions 4 minutes apart. I was getting close to that.
I tried to get in the shower. I got washed, but could barely get out. Hubby helped me dry, and I said for him to get me my comb so I could comb my wet hair at least, because my vision of looking put together when I showed up at the hospital were clearly not going to be reality. He got my comb for me then left me to go make me some oatmeal, since we knew they wouldn't let me eat once I got to the hospital. When he came back, I still hadn't been able to comb my hair. I think I did somehow, but I don't remember it now. I do remember that my look ended up being a headband and ponytail with wet hair. No make up. I totally didn't care.
Somehow I managed to put on a sports bra, sweat pants, sweatshirt and my sandals. Our bags were packed, and my husband went out to bring the car around. Contractions were so frequent and intense that by the time I recovered from one, the next one was starting. I couldn't really function physically, but I was really calm mentally. I was aware to remember to lock the dog up and make sure everything was ok to leave home for a couple days (my parents came to care for the dog while we were at the hospital.) Our apartment is on the second floor, and so there is one flight of stairs to walk down. I managed those and we got on the road. It was a Monday at now approximately 8:30a. In Los Angeles. On the 405 north. (If you're not from the LA area, Google Image Search 'Los Angeles 405 Traffic' and you will see what we normally deal with.) Fortunately, it was Labor Day, and freeway traffic was lighter than usual. We got to the hospital really very quickly. But it felt like a long ride.
The hospital was quiet when we checked in (we had preregistered - do that if you're expecting), and they got me into a room quickly. When they checked me out the nurses were shocked to tell me I was already 8 cm! Whoa! I had originally said I wanted to try to give birth without any interventions, but the contractions were so intense that I couldn't breathe or think, and it made me panic. I was so exhausted after each one that I didn't think I would have the strength to push when the time came, and I was scared the pain would be worse, and I didn't think I could handle it. Since I was already close to fully dilated, I wasn't worried than an epidural would interfere with my labor progression, so I got the blocker. Oh relief, it was amazing! I was completely numb, and able to relax so much I could take a nap.
I had tested positive for Strep B during my prenatal checkups, so I needed to get a couple doses of antibiotics in my system before delivering, which are usually given 4 hours apart, but my labor was progressing very quickly. I can't remember if I started to feel like I needed to push before or after the epidural, but either way we were able to hold off until I could get my second dose of antibiotics.
When it came time to push, I wasn't quite sure how I was going to do it, because I couldn't feel or move a thing from my waist down. I commented to that effect, and they said I would be able to, just to try. So my legs got pushed up to my chest for me and I just had to strain like I thought I should. I think it took about 30 minutes over all, but I only pushed about 4 times. After the 2nd or 3rd push, Little Man's heart rate started to drop and he just wasn't out quite far enough to be pulled out, so they had to use the suction to help him the last little bit. With that help he was out quick, and the suction didn't leave much of a bump at all on him.
And then everything was totally and completely real and surreal at the same time. There was now this new human being in the world, that was my son, I was a mom forever and ever now. 7 pound, 10 ounces, 21 inches. He was not a fat newborn, but rather long and lean (like his parents), and honestly looked a little alien-like. But he was amazing. We had skin to skin right away, and he took to nursing like a pro (such a blessing, since neither of us had done it before.) He was born at 1:06p, and by the time we were all cleaned up I was famished. I hadn't had anything to eat or really drink since the night before. I devoured the grossest hospital hamburger that has never tasted so good.
The epidural wore off after a couple hours, and I thankfully had little pain, despite a couple stitches. We stayed in the hospital for two days, and had so many visitors that I really didn't get any rest. But such is the life of parents of a newborn - you're just thrown right in. From nothing to everything just like that.
The outfit I had brought for him to wear home had seemed so tiny when I packed it, but was still gigantic on him. Dog was happy to see us when we got home, and after some thorough sniffing wasn't too phased by the new addition (but little did she know what was yet to come.) Hubby and I commented to each other that it felt strange that the hospital was just letting us leave with this tiny new human being, like they should give us instructions and dos and don'ts.
And thus our adventure in parenting began. Needless to say, I didn't keep my Ob/Gyn appointment that day.