Before I even start, I would like to say a few things.
A few months ago, I could not have sat down and typed this out. A few months ago, I was so upset about Lily’s birth that I would yell and cry. I’ve become so much more educated now that I became angry that Lily’s birth went the way it did.
However, before and during Lily’s birth, I was fine. I was happy. Lily’s birth went exactly as I had thought it would.
I can write this story now because I have moved past my negative feelings. I’m going to try to keep this as positive as possible. I’m sure a negative version of it will come out sooner or later.
And this will be graphic(if you’re a sissy) so BEWARE 🙂
It all started at about 1:30AM on Saturday, October 2nd, 2010. This was my ‘due date’. I was alone, in my bedroom, with the dog. Matt was in Basis Training, so he was in Missouri. I had went to bed at a regular time, feeling totally normal and happy. I was happy throughout the entire pregnancy for her- I felt great. I was never uncomfortable! But I digress.
I woke up because I thought I had peed my pants. Or my water had broken. Either way, I felt WET. Gross. So I got out of bed and stood up. As I did that, I felt something slimy roll down my leg. Literally. It scared the shit out of me. What the hell was that?! I had to walk over to my light to turn it on, only to freak out for a second because that wet feeling I had…was blood. Everywhere. My shorts and underwear were soaked. My bed was soaked. My blanket was soaked. Imagine how freaked out I was!! No one has ever sad, hey, you might bleed when you’re in labor. I had never read anything about that. I had read about your ‘bloody show’ and your ‘mucus plug’. Sure. But I assumed those were one-time things. Not for me. I bled heavily for six weeks. Boo.
And that weird thing that rolled down my leg? A GIANT SCARY BLOOD CLOT. I thought it was my mucus plug because I had never in my life seen a blood clot. Especially one that was the size of a chicken cutlet. I mean, imagine a golf bowl flattened sort of. It was huge. Dark purpley. Yeah.
So I grabbed some baby wipes and stripped, cleaning myself up, and threw my thought-to-be-mucus-plug in the trash. I didn’t realize that it wasn’t my mucus plug until months after having Lily. I didn’t exactly describe it to anyone. I just said that I lost my mucus plug. Hm. Someone might have freaked out a little.
I got dressed and went downstairs. I was shaking! I was more nervous about waking my mother up than of actually giving birth. She was asleep on the couch. I tapped her, saying “Are you ready to have a baby?” I got a groggy “what?” and told her what had happened in a quick way. I told her that I wasn’t having any contractions and I wasn’t in pain, and to go back to sleep.
Then I got back into my bed. (I obviously changed the sheets and blankets and such.) I tried to fall back to sleep but couldn’t. Twenty minutes after I laid down, I felt my first real contraction. I say ‘real’ because I had been having light Braxton Hicks contractions for months. It just felt like a weak cramp, similar to menstrual cramps. I had seriously painful cramps, so this was nothing. I tried to sleep. Before I knew it, I was waking up every 15 minutes until 4:30AM. Nothing intense, just uncomfortable. I went downstairs and got myself something to eat. I sat in the kitchen, alone, until about 5:30AM when my mother got up. She usually is up at this time. My step-father came down and we told him today was baby day! Yay! He went back to sleep. My mother and I chatted and picked at our breakfast until 7:00AM, when I finally felt it was okay to call Matt’s mother, Janet. I didn’t want to wake her, but I also knew she had wanted to be there for everything. So I called, and she said she would get ready and be over. She got to our house at about 8:30AM.
And we all just hung out. Bored. I was having contractions, yes, but they weren’t that bad. Just achey. I was so nervous. By 10:30AM they got a little closer- about 6 to 7 minutes apart. I know for others this is about the time to start heading for the hospital, especially if it’s a half an hour drive. But I felt fine, so I assumed we had a ton of time and I wasn’t too concerned. I called my doctor’s office, who had an answering service talk to me. The woman got my information and said she would have a nurse call me back. 30 minutes later I got a call from a nurse, saying to keep timing them and to head to the hospital soon. She seemed like she wasn’t too interested in me. What if I was having the baby right then?! I think she should have called me back much sooner.
At noon my MIL and mom asked if I wanted to go walk around the mall. I didn’t want to walk. Walking was uncomfortable. I felt like the baby would come out when she was ready, walking or not. I was in no rush. I didn’t really understand theirs. I wanted to sit and rest, but I could tell they were bored and I like shopping, so off we went. By the time we got to the mall(only a ten minute drive!) I was having contractions 4 to 5 minutes apart, and they were stronger, but still tolerable. I really think that my installing the car seat into my MIL’s car was what changed them. I was determined to do it by myself(as I was with everything else the entire time I was pregnant) so I lugged it out. Imagine a lady in labor sitting onto of a car seat inside of car trying to reach over and tighten a seat belt. It took the breath out of me. I’m proud though, so…anyway.
We walked into the first store and started browsing through the baby section. I genuinely wanted to be interested but I couldn’t focus. I liked a lot of the outfits I saw and there were great deals! I promised myself I’d go back and get them. My MIL and mom weren’t as interested and started walking to a different area of the store, and when they looked back and noticed I was missing, they came running. I was fine. I was just hanging onto a rack, breathing through a particularly heavy contraction. That’s what they felt like then- heavy. No sharp pains or anything. Just achey heaviness. I did NOT want to walk anymore. I did NOT want to be standing. It’s funny how I just decided that. I told them that we should go to the food court and get lunch. I really had another agenda! I wanted to sit my pregnant butt down and rest. I will repeat this over and over: I was not in any rush for Lily to be born. Walking and standing made me so much more uncomfortable and I was sort of annoyed. Why would I do something I didn’t want to? My water hadn’t broken, so there was no time limit. Hm.
We got to the food court and I told them I was not in any mood to eat. I wasn’t hungry. They went and got their food and sat next to me. I wasn’t telling them how close my contractions were because I honestly did not care. I didn’t want any pressure from them! I just wanted to relax. My sisters showed up- neither of them are blood relatives, but they might as well be, since they’ve both known me since I was like six. I hadn’t even called them! My sister, Sheila, was going to be at the birth because she was going to film it. I had filmed hers and Matt asked her to be our designated film-er. Amanda came because she loves me and was probably dying of excitement- hi Amanda!
I don’t know if she knows this, but her sweet husband, Sam, came to me a few days before and asked me if I had ‘invited’ Amanda to the birth. I had made it clear to everyone that I wanted NO ONE there. I guess I was embarrassed about the thought of sticking my vagina in the air. And what if I didn’t know what I was doing? What if I cried? I hate being seen in a vulnerable state. I think that is my biggest flaw, really. Anyway, Sam asked. I think he was worried that I wouldn’t let her be there, and that it would have disappointed her. In reality, we are close friends and I always wanted her there, but I never outright said it. He wanted clarification, for her sake. I told him to be sure to tell her to come when it was time, and sure enough, there she was. I could write a whole post on how much I love both of them 😉
Side note- I didn’t want anyone there. I didn’t even want to give birth. So. I ended up allowing my mom there, because it would have broken her heart if I hadn’t. I invited Matt’s mother, because she never actually saw a birth. She gave birth four times, but never attended one! I invited my step-mother, Vicky, because she deserved to share that moment with me. Matt invited Sheila. My brother’s girlfriend, Sam, was training to be an RN at the time and politely asked if she could be there. I gladly told her she could. So sweet.
Back to the story- So as my MIL and mom are eating, and Amanda and Sheila are chatting, I’m contracting. Every. Three. Minutes. Contractions I could talk through, but I didn’t want to. I started breathing deeper and getting lightheaded, like I couldn’t focus. I didn’t say anything to anyone, but of course Amanda noticed and looks at me like I’m crazy. Hey, pregnant lady, it’s probably time to go to the hospital if you’re having contractions 3 minutes apart, and you’re sitting down. She didn’t say that to me, but her eyes did! So mid-conversation, I interrupt my mom and say,”I think it’s time we start heading for the hospital.” They ask me if I’m okay, how far apart my contractions are, etc. Being a stupid Libra and always trying to please others, I tell them I’m fine, but I’d like to leave soon, and that they should finish their lunches. At this point, out of nowhere, I’m starving! I eat the rest of my mom’s chinese and we head to the car. I’m thankful that lunch never came back up.
From the mall to the hospital is usually a 25 minute drive. Back roads, not really any traffic. So I expected that if things got back, my MIL could step on it and we’d be fine. Well. Things were fine. My contractions slowed to 6 minutes apart, and weren’t too strong. Fortunately, because my poor MIL was so nervous that she got us lost and we got to the hospital in 50 minutes. Oh well! I didn’t have a baby in her back seat, so we we’re fine.
As we were pulling into the hospital, the song “She’s Everything” by Brad Paisley comes on the radio. My MIL starts telling me that when Matt first met me, he used to play this song all the time because it reminded him of me. How sweet is that? I didn’t know that until then, and I don’t think I ever even told Matt she told me. Looooove!
We park and we all start to get out. I take forever because 1) I always like to gather myself before I leave a car. People always think that’s weird, especially my husband, because they just get right out. I like to hang out. And 2) I was taking a break. I wasn’t necessarily looking forward to giving birth. All I knew about birth was that it sucked. Really. At that point, I had only heard negative things about birth. Pain, IV’s, beepy machines that are uncomfortable, strange doctors, needles, cold rooms, random nurses…I could go on and on. So I was hesitant, to say the least.
I eventually lugged myself into the hospital. (I really only sat there for a minute. My mom was saying “c’mon Jennnn” the whole time.) We went into the emergency room entrance. Now that I look back, I probably could have just sat down and been admitted right there. They would have wheeled me upstairs. I didn’t even think about that then! I wasn’t that uncomfortable. I walked around half of the bottom floor and found and elevator. We got to the ‘birthing center’ within the hospital- it shouldn’t be called that because it’s not a real one!- and I think I really surprised the nurses. I walked right up the main desk and they asked me what I needed. Oh, I’m in labor. I need to be admitted. I don’t think they believed me! I mean, how many women walk right up to the desk like that when they are in labor? And even out of those women, how many do it without panting, crying, screaming, etc?
I waited around for them to get themselves together and get me a room. No one else was having a baby then, I guess, so I got the biggest room. Thankfully. Can you imagine a ton of people squished into a tiny room? I ended up having 12 people there when Lily was born.
Everyone eventually showed up after awhile. I felt fine. My contractions slowed to 8 minutes apart or so, and they hadn’t gotten any stronger. To my mom’s surprise, I was 3 1/2 to 4 centimeters dilated. I’m not sure why she was surprised. Maybe she didn’t want to me get sent home if I wasn’t dilated enough? Maybe she couldn’t tell I was that far along because I was acting fine. I mean, at this point, I was only uncomfortable. I had far worse menstrual cramps before. I had some in high school that literally would send me to my knees. I’ve cried! I was not crying in labor.
My mom recommended we go walk the hall. We did for like 5 minutes. I just didn’t want to. I felt no urge to be walking!! I did not want to walk. I ended up sitting on a birthing ball at the table in my room. Some nurse brought me lunch and I remember it being delicious. It was a turkey sandwich! Mmmm! I think I had a little carton of milk too. And a banana? I don’t remember. I ate it all. I’ll say it again- I felt fine.
My dad showed up with my step-mother. He assumed he would be sitting in a nearby waiting room, but I told him to come in and hang out. We sat and chatted. He brought me cookies. Amanda, Sheila, and Sam went to get some lunch. Amanda brought me back one of those Starbuck’s Frappucino things. That was my first one. I remember not really liking it then, but now I am addicted. By this time I was fully outfitted in a hospital gown and my pink robe, along with my slippers. My dad got a kick out of the whole thing- I was lounging around in labor.
The stupid nurse asked me to lay down so they could monitor me. Everything was fine, but she blurted out a ‘woah’ when she saw my contraction on the monitor. Evidently it was a 9- whatever that means. The highest number I reached was 12, so go from there. She told me I must have a high pain tolerance. Eh. I have never thought that, but multiple people have told me that over the years, so maybe. They checked me again and I was 5 centimeters. I asked her to call my doctor. She recommended some Stadol because my legs started shaking. I shake when I’m nervous. My whole body does. I did not need Stadol, but I figured, why not? I was planning on being medicated anyway. I was afraid if I said no, then I would miss my chance and have to have the baby without any medication, which terrified me. I got the Stadol and got in the jacuzzi tub.
It was wonderful! I was high as hell. The water felt great. Right before the Stadol was administered I started getting back pain, and that was totally gone. The jets in the tub were awesome. I remember looking out of the tub at everyone peeking their heads in, laughing at me. Not only was I the strangest pregnant lady ever, I was high! Everyone expected me to be miserable and in pain. I was happy and polite!
The Stadol made my mind wander. My dad was standing in the bathroom door, jingling his keys in his pocket, and I asked, “Is Tyson here?” Everyone laughed. It sounded like his collar was jingling. And I missed him!! I also zoned out for awhile, thinking about the bird I saw on the roof outside of the window. It was a seagull! Why on earth a seagull was miles from any lake, I don’t know. But for a second I thought it was walking around my room. I don’t even know why! I asked my dad if there was a bird in the room, and he laughed. It was a pleasant experience.
After I got out, there was more monitoring. Lily was fine. I was fine. My cervix dilated to 5 1/2 to 6 centimeters. I was disappointed. I wish they had never even told me. I hung out for a while longer- I had no sense of time then. I was in ‘laborland’ as some women call it. I was zoned out. Maybe it was the Stadol too…I don’t really remember this phase. It ended up being three hours of waiting. I could feel the contractions but they were mild(Stadol was wearing off). My grandparents showed up. My dad had called them and they thought I had already had her! They walked in to see me with a big belly and no baby in my arms! Hah. Surprise.
Sometime in here, a quick scare happened. Lily’s heart rate decelerated. It went from 120ish to 50ish. They made me roll to my side, then to my other, then to my back again. It ended up just being a weird monitor position. Scary.
They checked me again and I was 7 1/2 centimeters. My legs started shaking again. The nurse said that it was now-or-never time for the epidural. I decided beforehand that I wanted it, so I agreed. The anesthesiologist came in and kicked everyone out but my mom. They told me I could leave over on her. I had a spinal block months earlier for a surgery removing a cyst, so I wasn’t nervous about this. The woman I leaned on before, though, was a wide, plus size woman. I had a lot to lean on and she held me tight. My mom is a tiny woman! And she was nervous. I guess when I leaned over on her, she put her hands too far onto my shoulders and touched the guys “sterile zone” which made him FREAK OUT. He was bitching at her and she didn’t even know what she did! He literally yelled for another nurse and told my mom to move over. This was the only time I cried in labor. I was mad at him, sad for her, nervous about this giant needle going into my back, and I was in transition. Hello. I asked him to wait until I said so, so he wouldn’t jab me mid-contraction. The asshole didn’t wait. So I cried, hugging this random nurse and holding as still as possible.
Everyone came back in. More time passed. I went numb. I could only see my contractions on the monitor. I told me grandparents to stay. They checked me at 9:30PM and told me I was ready to push- wait, WHAT? Push?! I don’t want to push!! I then told everyone in the room that I was mad at each and every one of them. I did not want to do this and I was not happy. At all. I had never even thought about pushing before. I was scared. The men(my father and grandfather) stepped in the hall. The nurse came in and started moving things. Everyone stood up and surrounded the bed.
Summary of who was in the room-
- My mom
- My MIL
- Sam, my brother’s girlfriend
- My step-mother, Vicky
- My grandmother
- A random nurse
- Another random nurse who stepped in and out the whole time
- A RANDOM DOCTOR WHO WAS NOT MINE.
Yep, you heard that right. They never even called my doctor. He was pissed. I really liked this lady, though. And I wasn’t in much of a position to me fighting it right then. Or at least, I was scared to death and wasn’t about to be confident and throw a fit.
Time to push! The nurse instructed Sam to hold my leg because she was right by it, and she held the other. The doctor waited for a contraction and told me to push. I obviously had no idea what I was doing. She made me put my hand right above my butt and bear down. I’m not going to get into right now, but how on earth did she expect me to birth Lily like a volcano! Why on earth would she want me to aim my vagina UP? Hm.
After a few pushes, the doctor left, then returned with the anesthesiologist who literally threatened to lower the dosage on my epidural so I could feel the contractions better. I told him NO. I became determined at the point. I didn’t know it then, but he turned it off. The rest of my labor was medicated, but the affects was fading. That was fine. I never was in terrible pain while birthing her.
I kept my eyes closed for most of this time. Every time I opened them, I’d realize that I had 9 people staring at my vagina. So, yeah. Sam held my leg. Sheila videotaped. Amanda helped prop up my head with my pillow, and whispered some encouraging words into my ear. My mom, my MIL, my grandmother, and my step mother stood by and watched. They chatted in between contractions. They joked. They waited. I concentrated.
An hour later, Lily was born. I never felt that ‘ring of fire’ but I sure felt all the pressure. My doctor used a ton of Astroglide(seriously) and warm compresses to help my body stretch naturally. She was wonderful. I never needed a episiotomy. I had a tiny tear- one stitch! Lily’s head came out and she pursed her lips- you can see it on the video. Poor girl. The doctor asked me if I wanted to reach down to feel her head. I replied with a quick “no!” I was focusing, dammit! I just want her out!! Her body came seconds later, thanks to me 🙂 I got to pull her out as soon as her shoulders passed. I put her on my chest. Everyone cried! I was EXHAUSTED.
I wiped Lily off and sort of whimpered. I was too tired to cry. I wanted to rest. The nurse gave us a few minutes while I doctor stitched me. Then she was whisked away for things I didn’t know about then- vitamin K drops, weighing and measuring, a bath, and suction. They shoved tubes down her throat! They could have just patted her a little. I’ll talk about that another time.
By now the epidural had worn off almost completely, and the doctor was pressing above my pubic bone to get my uterus to start contracting so I’d clot. This was the most pain I was in, ever. I was crying, moaning, begging her to stop. I felt like she was shoving on me! Amanda later told me that she was barely pushing down. My dad told me that he was really upset when he heard me crying. He said that he wasn’t sure if I was decent, so he didn’t want to come in and upset me, but he hated hearing me me crying like that. Poor guy. He’s so sweet.
Lily was 6 pounds, 8.8 ounces, and 20 1/2 inches long. She was passed around and kissed by everyone. I got some water and basked in my glory. I did it! It was done and over with. I felt relieved. Everyone stayed for maybe 45 minutes, then left. It was 11:30PM before my room was empty. I’m thankful I had so many loving family members there to surround me.
I’m thankful everything went well. I’m thankful there were only minor complications. I’m thankful I have her!
The rest is history. We moved into a post partum room around 1:30AM. These details I’ll save for another post. I called the American Red Cross that next morning and got to talk to Matt. I told him all the news!
After all that, I got this…