I know this took forever, but I was having some serious writers block about the end her of birth story, and other issues about how much I should share. But since I can't possibly rewrite this for the 100th time, here is her story. It is as honest as possible, since that's what I enjoyed reading as I was preparing for Coral's birth. So basically, if you are a dude, you might want to click away.
Sept. 1, 2014 - I was having Braxton hicks contractions very regularly in my 40th week. Usually for 3-4 hours, every ten minutes during the evening and through the night. They started at 38 weeks, but I didn't realize it was brax until 39w4d. It finally dawned on me that the rock hard feeling on the right side of my stomach + back pain was a practice contraction - NOT my little baby curling up in a ball and sticking her butt up against my stomach.
Well in the wee hours of Labor Day morning, I kept stumbling to the bathroom mid-slumber as usual. I'd wake up with a rock hard stomach, want relief, then pee to make it stop (going to the bathroom relieves Braxton hicks). I was really out of it most of the night, but at around 5:30 a.m., I realized I felt different. I woke up a little more and thought wait a minute, this is pretty painful.
I didn't want to make a fuss about it, with the whole crazy cancelled induction thing happening the day before. I went and laid down to see if maybe I was right. After an hour, the contractions still felt painful, so I whipped out the contraction timer app. The contractions were all over the place, but after listening to my body I decided this is really it. I still didn't want to tell anyone, not even my husband, just in case it was another false alarm.
So. I took a shower, put a full face of make-up on. Straightened my hair, paid my credit card bill and send an email to my brother. Then finally around 9 a.m I woke Matt up. "Babe I think I'm having real contractions." Matthew was very aware of my 'practice' brax contractions.
He looked at me and fell right back asleep. Since I was still half in denial myself, I let him sleep. He finally got up 30 minutes later and registered what I said. "Are you writing them down?" "Yes, babe. I'm tracking it on an app." "Let's go walk" he said. "Nope, everything I read says to relax and rest." We had this conversation a few times until I snapped. "I'm not walking!"
Then I conked out. And I was out cold. Matt tried to come talk to me and I snapped at him to leave me alone.
I woke up at 2:30 p.m. with drool all over my face and thought, oh no they are gone! The contractions are gone!! I was so pissed at myself for falling asleep instead of walking the neighborhood. I prayed my body was just "taking a rest." I had been googling "what does labor feel like" all morning, and lots of articles said the body knows you need a break before the real deal. Then at 3:30 p.m. again. Bam. Another contraction. And this one felt more intense than the rest.
I went downstairs and told Matt they were back. This is really it I said! So I laid down some more and kept tracking on my app. Around 3:30 pm my contractions were about 7 minutes apart. Then by 4:00 the famed 5 minutes part. It was time to call the doc. I called and the nurse told me to get in a hot bath, drink 3 glasses of ice water. When my contractions get 3-4 minutes apart to call back. Matt was pissed and wanted me to lie. But I just followed instructions and climbed into the bath.
Meanwhile.. we had plans to eat BBQ with my in laws.
Funny right? We still hadn't told anyone I was in labor, and when they called us to finalize plans, Matt told them we couldn't make it because I was sitting in the bath tub having contractions. I think his mom was like "what?! Why aren't you heading to the hospital?!" They headed to our house in a frenzy with BBQ in tow.
So back in the bath tub....My contractions got down to 3-4 minutes apart, Matt fed me BBQ in the bathtub, (so romantic, I know) and I called the doc back. My contractions were getting really painful, to the point that I couldn't speak, and it was time to go.
I got dressed and we headed out. I checked into the hospital (in a wheel chair!) and took blurry iPhone pics like a loser. Everything that happened after this was like watching a movie. Our own movie. So incredibly surreal! We got into my room and I was 4-5 cm dilated. it was definitely time to have a baby. I called my family and told them it was the real deal. Head up to the hospital.
The shift changed, I met my new nurse Brandy and requested my epidural. In hindsight, I really wish I had waited, because the epi most definitely slowed my labor down. Otherwise getting the epidural was painless. I felt the cool sensation running down my back. Then Dr. Baird came in and broke my water. They do this with a stick. how weird. She told Nurse Brandy not to put me on pitocin, that she thought I'd progress on my own. (Ha. that was a joke).
Then I got superrrrr loopy. I had a blast saying hi to all my family members. We took lots of pics and I was so excited. It was a baby party!
|Being super hyper|
It was probably 10 p.m. at this point, family members started to file out and a very long waiting game began.
Around 12 a.m. my blood pressure shot up to 165, and Coral's heartbeat was baseline 175. I was running a borderline fever too. They told me I had an infection, and the nurse seemed really concerned. More concerned than she was letting on. She kept hurriedly walking in and out of the room saying "I'll be right back." I asked brandy if I needed to have a c-section and she kind of deflected. She left again. When Brandy came back, she told me the if Tylenol doesn't bring my fever down "be prepared for things to go in that direction." She wouldn't say the direction, but I knew what she meant. Be prepared for a c -section.
I shut down at this point. I stopped talking, except to ask what the heartbeat monitor read. I'm not sure why I was so anti c-section, but I told them her heartbeat was usually at 150-160, so why was 175 so scary? I look back at this in hindsight and feel guilty. What if Coral was in danger and I was being so stubborn? What if something bad could have happened? But then sometimes I'm proud of myself for not letting them push me in a c-section. There is nothing wrong with c -sections, I just believe they are over performed in modern medicine.
So.. After I took Tylenol everything stabilized around 1 a.m. The Doctor decided she was having prolonged accelerations after each contraction, and her heartbeat was fine.
As one problem resolved itself, another problem arose. The epidural was wearing off. Around 3 a.m. I pressed the button to get another dose and within 5 minutes was puking my brains out. There was officially nothing in my stomach, and I remember getting so tired after this. Things definitely took a turn for tough, and it wasn't a baby party anymore. Most of our family had left, Except my sister, mom, and none of us were getting any sleep. I had no clue how I going to continue, much less push. I was so discouraged at this point, I started thinking about asking for a c-section. Quite the 180 right?? I had been 7-8 cm for what seemed like 4 hours and was so over it. We all finally decided to get some sleep, and I slept 4 -5:30 a.m.
Before I knew it it was 7 a.m., which meant time for another shift change. I had to say good-bye to Brandy, meet a new nurse and my own Doctor would be able to deliver me. I wasn't 'complete' (10 cm dilated) until 7:45 a.m., and even then there was some kind of 'lip' left. The epidural was wearing off again, and I was in so much pain. It was all in my back. I did not want to hit the epi button again fearing that I would puke, but did anyway. My sister tried to play Britney Spears music to cheer me up, but I told her to turn it off. I started shivering a lot, which freaked me out but apparently meant my body was almost ready. I remember feeling like a lifeless person laying on a bed. At this point I really wanted her out. Really really wanted her out.
Then my doctor came in. They cranked up the pitocin, which should have happened a long time ago. "We're putting the car in drive. You're just sitting in neutral" she joked. I asked my mom and my sister to leave the room (which I regret, because I'm lacking in pictures) and I told Matt I don't think I can do this. I had never felt so depleted and lifeless. On one hand, laboring for forever, then ending up in c-section was exactly what I wanted to prevent going into this. But for a while there, I just wanted to ask if they could just take her from me. Just cut her out were the only words running through my mind.
So around 8 a.m., I asked if I could just start pushing, and apparently morphed into the crazy pregnant lady you see in the movies. The only way out this was to try, whether my cervix was ready or not. The nurse, whom I had already decided I hated, told me that was fine. She was really rough, had no tact and I could never really get a good read on her. I felt she flat out lied to me at times just to get me to push harder, and she seemed a little lazy on checking vitals ect. But I was a crazy woman in labor, so who knows?! "You can let the uterus do the work and labor down, or try pushing." I said let's push. After a few pushes, we decided to stop and let my uterus labor down. She laid me on my right side even though I told her that position hurt my back. She pretty much ignored my request to not lay on that side (scank). After 30 minutes I asked her to check if the head had come down more. She said not much, and I said let's just push. I was so pissed off and so tired of waiting.
So we started pushing every other contraction. I could hardly tell when I was contracting, so is feel for the ball on the right side of my stomach, in the same spot as my Braxton hicks. I despised this nurse, and everything about this situation. Matt was all cheer leader, go go go, you can do it, this is the most amazing thing I've ever seen honey! and the nurse was like, "oh that push wasn't good enough. The first push, that was good. The 2nd and 3rd, you lost it. Push like your pooping." I couldn't wait to get away from this devil woman nurse. I finally told Matt, I know you are trying to being positive, but please - SHUT UP. I wanted everyone to just shut up and leave me in peace with my struggle!
At some point Coral started crowning, and said nurse and Matt were getting super pumped. I was still mad as hell and convinced they were lying to me. I asked the nurse, "ARE YOU REALLY OPTIMISTIC ABOUT ME HAVING THIS BABY VAGINALLY?" I guess my instincts told me Coral was big, and I seriously doubted it would happen vaginally. "Yes girl! you think I'd be doing all this if I didn't think it was gonna happen?" So I reluctantly took her word for it, and we kept pushing every 3rd contraction. I was too tired to push every other contraction at this point, and would make up weird excuses to skip contractions. I think I was also scared/nervous.. like oh shizz this is happening. 10 months of waiting and preparations were culminating, and I was quietly freaking out in my head.
Then finally Tiffany announced she was calling the doctor. I was ready. "what, I'm ready? Are you sure?" "Yes I'm sure." Everything after this happened so fast and it took days of replaying it over in my head (and asking Matthew for details) to remember.
Suddenly 4 people barged in the room and Dr. Leeds introduced me to April, the delivery nurse. "April will catch the baby" she said. I remember being completely fixated on this woman. I've never been so focused on a complete stranger. She looked Hawaiaan to me, and had a stocky build. I pushed for my first contraction with my doctor, and immediately crazy devil nurse mentioned I was farther along than this when she called. I thought oh hell no, this aggressive, lying nurse called too early. I got so pissed, and on my second push I gave it all had. I made a c position and pushed so damn hard. Apparently that did the trick because everyone starting saying 'okay, okay, okay' and assuming their positions. Then my doctor told me she was cutting my episiotomy (2nd degree, it turns out).
We waited for a strong contraction, which felt like an ETERNITY, and gave it one more go. I pushed 5 times for 10 seconds each, then I heard a loud POP (probably her clavicle fracturing) and saw Coral in my doctor's hands! In one instant, I felt the biggest relief physically and I could finally focus on something besides discomfort.
I'll never forget how Coral looked. So squirmy already! Then I saw April carry Coral over to the baby station. I asked her why she wasn't crying yet. She told me she was ok, and not to worry as she used that blue suction tool to get fluid out of Coral. She used this tool so fast, and carried her like a chicken. After about 10 seconds I heard Coral cry and immediately started crying myself. She was ok. I was ok (debatable). April lifted her up and shouted "my, this is one sturdy baby!" I asked, how much does she weigh?? "oh we'll scream it out when we know!"
Then April started shouting "4070, 4070!" Everyone else started screaming too. "4070?" "4070!" April repeated back. I said what does that mean?? "Oh we measure them in grams." April said casually. "She's 9 lbs. 9 lbs even!" I'm not gonna lie, I felt proud as hell. I just delivered a 9 lb. baby. And my instincts was right, there was a big baby in there! Trust your instincts first time mamas! (You won't believe how strong they are immediately)
I could hardly focus on anything but Coral, but then my doctor was hollering at me to push one more time. I looked at her like she was crazy, and she said "your placenta. We have to deliver the placenta" So I pushed one more time and it all fell out, which again, felt amazing. Then they stitched me up, and brought Coral over to me. Matt snapped this picture of me, my favorite picture of our entire birth and hospital stay.
I wish I could say all those mushy things about meeting Coral for the first time but honestly I was in a daze. I could barely register what happened, and apparently I told a post partum nurse that she was overwhelming me later that day. It wasn't until a few hours later when my family pleaded with me to send Coral to the nursery and get some sleep that I realized how much I loved this girl. I cried that I didn't want her to leave me. I loved her too much and didn't want to let her go.
And the love and happiness just kept coming and coming as I arose from the fog in the next 36 hours. Those two days are the happiest of my life. I can say that with 100% certainty. :)
The rest of our time at the hospital was a complete circus, but I've never been so excited, so proud, so scared, so OUT of it, and so attached all at once. I felt like pregnancy warrior woman (which I'm sure all moms feel no matter how their babies arrive. you just added a human being to the world, birth certificate and everything). She's my greatest work ya know? My little precious Coral. Thanks for reading, if you actually made it down here. You must be some kind of blog-reading warrior if ya know what I mean! Over and out.
Ps. I barely have any pictures of family visitors because day 1 was such a blur. :/ but here are some of my favorites.