It’s been over four months since our little girl made her debut, but I had never sat down to write the birth story until now. I think it’s because I feel like I still haven’t fully recovered from the experience. I’m still struggling with things to this day. But I know some people really like reading these kinds of things so here we go!
Since I was scheduled for an induction, the morning of October 20 started quietly though we were full of nervous energy. Since we didn’t know if I’d be allowed to eat once I arrived at the hospital, Nick made us a pretty hearty breakfast, and we sat at the kitchen table, knowing it would be the last time we did so with just the two of us. We finished up, loaded our bags into the car, kissed the pets goodbye, and were off to the hospital.
I have to say, it’s weird arriving for an induction because it’s almost like a doctor’s appointment. I was met at the door by a nurse named Meg who led us back to our room and showed us where the food/drink stations were. I was so nervous about everything at this point; emotions were at an all time high.
After a little bit of trouble getting my IV in, the nurse told me that there were two options for induction, and that the midwife may want to do a Cook’s catheter. Instead of a pill or other form of induction to ripen the cervix, this is a natural method where (get ready) they insert this weird thing into your cervix and it both ripens and dilates you. I was nervous, to say the least, so when they asked me if I wanted some pain medication, I was all in. Looking back, I’m not sure this was the right call because whatever they gave me feel super nauseous and I felt like I was hanging from the ceiling. The whole process was a blur and there were screams, I’m not gonna lie. Honestly, this was the most painful part of the entire experience. Even Nick said there was way more blood than he expected there to be. But, once it was over and my nausea passed, my family came back to the room, and we just hung out all day.
It was a Saturday, so we laid around switching between college football games and Hocus Pocus on the tv. The process of dilating with the Cook’s catheter would take a while, possibly up to 12 hours, so in the meantime I was able to walk around and eat like normal. Throughout the day, I was ripening and dilating, but the catheter never fell out on its own, which it sometimes does. Instead, they removed it about 9 p.m. and I was 5 cm dilated.
The nurses told me that it was likely things would be slow going until the pitocin kicked in, so it was possible that I wouldn’t dilate anymore for a while. It was bedtime, so I told Nick and my mom to try to get some sleep because we weren’t sure when things would get exciting. I tried to sleep myself, but the contractions were getting stronger and kept me awake. They weren’t awful, but uncomfortable. About 1 a.m. they started veering into painful territory (about a 7 on the pain scale) so I told the nurse I wanted to go ahead and get my epidural before things got worse. This was huge for me. Honestly, the epidural was the thing I was most scared about. Trying to stay still while in pain and having a needle put into your spine was terrifying, but I tried to keep it together.
Since spouses/family members can’t touch you when you’re having the epidural, the nurse let me squeeze her and talked me through it all while Nick encouraged me from across the room. I didn’t even cry, which is honestly a miracle. It hurt, but I knew it would be worth it. I was able to breathe through it.
After the epidural was in, I was finally able to get some sleep. Contractions were steady and I was checked for dilation every 4 hours. Between 9 p.m. and 6 a.m. I stayed at 5 cm. It felt like it would go on forever. Then, when I was checked at 9 a.m., I was 6 cm – yay! I knew things were moving along and we would have a baby that day.
I wanted the room to stay chill and laid back, not serious. So, of course, we turned on the Panthers game. It’s what we did every Sunday and it felt like just the perfect thing to take my mind off of everything. Right before the game started, the midwife on duty came by to check me and lo and behold – I was 9 cm! More people came into the room as we prepared to push. Honestly I couldn’t believe it was time already. Lisa, the midwife, was a season pass holder for the Panthers, so we were all cheering between pushes as the Panthers played the Eagles. The whole experience was hilarious – I wish I could have taken a picture or video!
I was surprised by the fact that for me, pushing wasn’t nearly as difficult as it seemed in the movies or on TV. It wasn’t this huge moment of screaming or pain like I had never experienced. It was just a lot of pushing and pressure. Thanks, epidural!
After three hours of pushing, I felt exhausted, and I could tell that everyone was getting a little worried. We could see the baby, but she just wasn’t budging. The midwife decided it was time to bring in the doctor to decide what the next step would be. We decided to use the vacuum to assist with pulling the baby out. Typically, this wouldn’t be a problem. Unfortunately we didn’t realize that Maggie’s shoulder was caught on my pelvic bone. I felt dizzy, unsure of what was going on. I really think I blacked out at this point. I remember a nurse jumping up on to my stomach to force the baby out. Then, all of a sudden, she was out. I could feel the umbilical cord coming out of me, which was a very weird sensation. Maggie was stunned from the trauma of birth, and wasn’t crying. Nick and I were really scared, but after a couple of minutes sitting on the station, she was awake but badly bruised. At this point I held Maggie but I don’t remember a thing. I think I may have been in shock.
The doctor informed me that I suffered a tear and they would need to do some stitching. I expected this to be the case. What I didn’t expect was being able to feel the stitching happening. I cried and told the doctor to stop. I ended up having to go into the OR to be stitched up. I remember having a panic attack on the table because I was scared and upset that I wasn’t holding my baby. The staff did an amazing job holding my hand and talking to me throughout the entire process.
Finally, they rolled me back into the room and I was able to hold Maggie and really look at her for the first time. I was so happy to finally have my little girl with us. Almost three hours after our daughter was born, our family came back to meet her. I was still a little out of it from the anesthesia but having my entire family together was amazing. Though our parents knew her name, we were finally able to share with our sisters we had chosen Margaret Olivia – “Maggie.”
Maggie passed all of her post-delivery tests with flying colors. Her bilirubin levels were elevated, but not enough to keep her in the hospital for longer.
Little did we know we would be returning to the same room less than 24 hours later.
I’m not usually one for cliffhangers but this is getting a little long. Stay tuned for part two!