**Now before you read any further, please advise that this birth story isn’t the prettiest or most positive. With the coming birth of baby #2 and teaching of hypno-birthing, I have learned how impactful stories like this can be on your mindset. So if you are currently pregnant, I’d recommend waiting till after your birth to read. **
It’s so strange writing this post because it is one I’ve often thought about during my pregnancy. I always day dreamed about how my labor would go and how my first introduction to my daughter would be. Well, let me tell you that labor was DEFINITELY not how I ever imagined it to be and if you were to ask my husband, he would say it was an experience he would like to forget.
Thursday December 21st at 1:30 AM, I was woken up by a terrible sensation that made me feel like I might poop my pants (sorry TMI). However, when I went to the bathroom nothing happened. So I shrugged it off as just a yucky tummy and went back to bed. Come 5:30am, I woke up to Keven getting ready for work and again felt that same sensation. Since I’m not shy, I told my husband how I was feeling but since I AGAIN couldn’t go to the bathroom, I just chalked it up to my belly being weird and went back to sleep. Later that same morning, the feeling persisted on and off except that I eventually did end up using the restroom. Now that I finally was able to get some relief from the feeling I had, I thought nothing of it and decided to take a shower. It was while I was drying off that I was then was hit with a sensation I had never experienced. It was a contraction. I knew it in my gut but since this is my first pregnancy and I have had experienced pretty strong Braxton hicks leading up to that point, I figured I’d wait it out and time them before telling Keven and getting excited.
It was 1pm when I decided to hit my Contraction Timer App and from there on out, the same sensation started to hit every 4-5 minutes and lasted for about a minute. Remembering what my doctor had told me about the 5-1-1 rule (contractions 5 minutes apart, 1 minute long, lasting 1 hour) I waited until 2pm to officially call it labor. I gave my husband a call, who was at work at the time, and told him about the sensation and told him that it might be wise to head home. Of course, I prefaced that statement to him as “this is probably not the real thing,” just in case I was wrong. Sure enough, the contractions continued to persist and get strong enough where eventually I had to stop what I was doing, not talk and breath through it. This was definitely it.
Once we arrived at the hospital around 4pm, we were checked in and brought to a labor/delivery room. I was told to get in a gown and after chatting with a nurse, my doctor finally arrived to check me. I was 3cm dilated and 80% effaced. At first, I thought she was going to send me home but considering I had only been 1 cm 2 days prior and contractions were continuing and were about 3 minutes apart now, my doctor admitted me and let us know this would be the real thing. I started to cry. I was so overwhelmed with joy but at the same time I was also very scared. However, after a quick prayer and some positive thoughts, I settled myself down and was ready to meet my daughter.
While I didn’t have a birth plan per say, one thing I did want to try and do was go as long as possible without an epidural. Call me crazy but I wanted to see how long I could mentally and physically withstand before crying uncle. With that said, labor persisted to get stronger but was still tolerable. I ordered 6 Italian ices to hold me over throughout the duration of labor and then walked up and down the hall ways with Keven in hopes it would help speed things up. Eventually around 7:30 pm, I hit that wall where the pain got intolerable. My body started to shake, my fingers began to tingle, I started to feel nauseous and I couldn’t help but cry with every contraction. It was time to wave the white flag so I called the nurse and 30 minutes later, the epidural was placed.
Now while I’d like to say the epidural was as miraculous as I’ve heard it to be, this was not the case for me. In the beginning, for the first 4 hours after being placed, it was glorious relief. However, once they broke my water and the contractions really started to pick up, I realized how the epidural was only effecting my left side and that the relief was slowing leaving my right. Able to wiggle my toes and feel the most uncomfortable pressure you can imagine, I called for the nurse and told her
what was happening. It was about 2am when she called for the anesthesiologist and had her administer something they referred to as a “top off.” They explained it would only last for no more than 2 hours but that it would completely numb my lower body, taking away the pain and hopefully allowing me to sleep. Now this, as opposed to the epidural) was a miracle drug and did exactly what it was meant to. However, it unfortunately didn’t get me to sleep. I was way too anxious and excited so I instead laid awake watching Christmas movies while Keven got some rest.
Another 2 hours later, the same pressure returned so I called the nurse to let her know. She proceeded to check me. I was only 6cm and fully effaced. I was getting closer but since I still had a bit to go and since I was again overcome with pain and pressure (it literally felt like a bowling ball was about to come out of my butt), the nurse called again to have another “top off” administered. The anesthesiologist came and gave me the wonderful drug to help, which bought me another 1.5-2 hours. This time I closed my eyes and really tried to get myself to sleep. I wasn’t successful but at least laying with my eyes closed did provide some rest.
2 hours later, the second round of “top-off” began to fade. I began to breath heavily with each contraction and had a very strong urge to push. I called for the nurse to tell her and sure enough after checking me, I was 10 cm and ready to meet my girl. This was unfortunately when things got to be not so fun. With the “top off” gone and my epidural pretty much worn off, I felt every. single. thing, down below. However, despite the pain, I was ready and determined to get her out. The doctor came swiftly, my husband grabbed my right leg to hold it back and the nurse grabbed my left. With every contraction, I was instructed to bear down like I have to poop and push for a count of 10. (My husband says this is the part of the labor that plays in his head. He says he can hear the nurse count “and 1…2…3…4….”).
NOW, I’d love to be able to tell you that everything went smoothly but this just wasn’t the case. With 3-5 strong pushes, I felt what I have often heard be called “the ring of fire” as my baby’s head came out. It was unlike anything I ever experience but I knew I needed to get through it and push myself passed it. Once her head came out, their was immediate relief and I was determined, more than ever, to get her out completely.
I pushed no more than 2 more times before I saw a bunch of people emerge in the room. The nurse and doctor hoisted my legs back and up and began to talk faster and more serious as they began to push heavily down on my stomach. I don’t necessarily remember a lot of details expect that I know I yelled “get her out” as Keven held an oxygen mask on my face. The baby’s shoulders were stuck. With my babe not budging, the doctor called for a Code Blue (which explained why there was all the sudden a million people in the room) and was forced to give me an episiotomy on top of the natural tearing that already had occurred. She instructed me to push one more time and I surely did with ALL MY MIGHT. In under 10 pushes and 10 minutes, from start to finish, she was out! (I ACCREDITED THIS TO HAVING A FIT PREGNANCY).
While I had planned to do skin to skin with my baby once she was born, this unfortunately couldn’t happen due to the stress of the situation. It took Cassidy a minute or two to finally cry out (scariest moment of my life) and be assessed. While she at first seemed okay, the pediatricians in the room noticed that Cassidy had a bit of labored breathing and wasn’t raising her left arm (the shoulder that got caught on my pelvis). Afraid that she may have overstressed herself and possibly broken her clavicle, they made the decision to bring her down to the NICU for further evaluation.
With Keven gone to make sure Cassidy was okay, I finished up getting stitches and was informed by the doctor that in the future I would probably have only C-Sections in the future. I remember shaking my head, not really caring what she was saying, as I was waiting to hear an update on my girl. After about 30 minutes, Keven came back to let me know everything was okay BUT that they’d be keeping her for observation. However, he also told me to not worry because doctors were saying that I was probably in worse shape than our baby girl was. That helped ease my mind a tad because even after everything, I didn’t feel too bad initially. Thankfully our girl didn’t have any fractures but she did have an apnea scare which meant shed have to stay in the NICU for at least 48 hours to be observed closely and also receive precautionary antibiotics.
Now this is where I will be honest and say that I was really disappointed in how things turned out. I had such a clear vision in my head of what I expected to happen and obviously none of this was apart of that. I wanted my baby to be with me and in my room. I wanted to take those photos of her in a sweet little hospital bassinet and to be holding her when my family came to visit. I didn’t want her first pictures to be her all hooked up with wires and and an IV. I didn’t want her away from me and for my family to be meeting her in yellow scrubs. I wanted what I had always seen others posting online of their babies.
This was my first lesson into motherhood: expect the unexpected. After some time to process it all, I came to an understanding and an acceptance of how everything played out during my labor process. I don’t speak much about religion on my blog but I definitely have a closer relationship now with God after all of this. I know He was with me during it all . Do I wish things had gone easier for me and that my baby didn’t have such a rough entry into this world? Of course I do! But at the end of the day, both her and I ended up being just fine and she was able to come home with us the same day I was discharged and has been thriving ever since.
Miss Cassidy Rose has truly stolen our hearts and despite how everything went in labor, I will truthfully say that I would absolutely do it all over again. She is hands down one of the best things (other than marrying her daddy) that I have ever done. Welcome to the world my little peanut. I can’t wait to show you so many wondrous things.