These past three weeks have been nothing short of amazing, incredible and quite humbling. It is so incredibly hard to believe that just three weeks ago I was saying a short prayer for baby girl still growing in my belly. Now I pray over her while she is resting in my arms rocking her to sleep.
Caroline’s early arrival came as quite a shock to me as I was sure she was going to wait until after her due date to be born. Looking back, there were a few signs of an early delivery. I had been quite exhausted since the beginning of February. My workouts had gotten extremely uncomfortable that week and the breaks I needed to take had increased exponentially during class. I had also lost my mucus plug Tuesday of that week.
I wanted to share her labor and delivery story this for myself as well as you the readers. There is nothing to truly prepare you for labor or the joy of becoming a parent. Please don't let my story scare you, it was worth every second.
Thursday night I came home from work pure exhausted. I had gotten up early to go to the gym, then had to do an observation at local pre-school and finish up some reports. It was a great day at work which was topped off by a beautiful baby shower hosted by my co-workers. Once I got home around 6, I had an early dinner and decided to head to bed early.
I woke up Friday morning around 4am. It was typical for me to wake up 3-4 times a night to go to the restroom. When I sat up to go to the bathroom, I felt a gush of fluid. It was quite a shock. I knew immediately that my water had broke. There was no mistaking the difference between that and going to the restroom. I quickly pulled the sheets off my side of the bed and went to change clothes. I started to notice some contractions but could not distinguish a pattern. I groggily called the nurse hotline to see what to do next. The doctor on call recommended that I monitor my contractions and hang out at the house for a few hours before coming into the hospital. By that time it was 4:45, I finished up some work and sent a few emails to cover meetings for the day. Then I hopped in the shower and decided to get ready. I finally woke up Joe around 5:30 and told him everything that had happened. I could tell immediately that he was quite shocked and very nervous. We did not have any hospital bags packed yet. We managed to grab the essentials and thankfully live close to the hospital. By the time we packed everything up, my contractions started getting uncomfortable and I could not stand still for long. I was timing them on my phone but still could not distinguish a pattern. We got everything ready and headed to the hospital around 6:30.
I was still feeling okay when we got to the hospital. My contractions were uncomfortable but not unbearable. We were admitted quickly and taken to a delivery room. It all still felt quite surreal. The nurse had me sit in the bed to get checked and put on the monitors for Caroline’s heart rate. My contractions sitting in the bed were 100% worse than standing. When the nurse checked around 7:30, I was already 5 cm dilated. I immediately requested an epidural. I knew we had to wait for fluids and blood work to be completed before it was administered. This is where things got tough. The nurses had difficulty getting blood which is typical for me. The first test vial did not get enough blood to measure my platelets so they had to run lab work twice. While I waited, my contractions became increasingly uncomfortable. The pain took my breath away with each contraction. They were still intermittent but had drastically increased in pain. The best relief I felt was sitting on the medicine ball and having Joe press on my lower back/ hips during contractions. While I waited for the epidural, the nurse offered Demerol to help take the edge off which I happily accepted. The effects were immediate and I felt immediately drowsy and nauseous. I could still feel contractions but they were much more tolerable. The relief lasted about 30 minutes before my contractions were back in full force. Thankfully, we finally got enough blood drawn and anesthesiologist administered the epidural shortly afterwards around 10:30. I thought that I would be scared or worried during the epidural process but the pain was so overwhelming that I never gave it a second thought. The worse part was sitting still for so long while they prepped and administered the epidural. The doctor immediately administered a bolus of pain meds and after 2-3 minutes I felt relief. After the epidural, the nurse checked my cervix and I was dilated 10 centimeters! I was in so much pain for a reason! The doctor let baby progress down on her own for about 30 minutes. I began pushing around 11 and Caroline was born at 12pm. That hour of pushing of the most pain I ever experienced. I never received the epidural medications so delivery was far more painful than the contractions. I remember feeling what I can only describe as a combination of frantic and overwhelmed. I am thankful for the nurses, doctor and Joe who helped calm me down and refocus for those final few pushes.
It was all worth it hearing Caroline’s first cry. They immediately placed her on my chest and Joe was able to cut the cord. The first hour was absolutely perfect. Little girl rested on my chest while her dad sat beside us talking to her.