Every birth story is different. Every birth story is important. Every birth story should be told – told not to everyone you meet, or to every pregnant woman you encounter, but told to and heard by people who want to hear.
This is my birth story. Laughter, tears, joy, and love all wrapped into the story of my son being welcomed into this world.
And Then There Were Three…
Overall, I had a normal and healthy pregnancy. I did deal with a minor case of PUPPP accompanied by two outbreaks of poison ivy. Talk about itchy.
36 Weeks and 5 Days – 1 Week Before Baby P was Born – Routine Appointment with OBGYN
I experienced some hard contractions the morning before the appointment. I was thankful that I had an appointment scheduled for that day so I could get some reassurance that the contractions were productive and not just Braxton-Hicks.
The doctor checked me and I was dilated to 3 cm. She said that he could come that day or a few weeks from then. Man, did this give me hope that I would have a baby within a couple of days.
That did not happen. What did happen was a week of waiting for more contractions and expecting to go into labor at any moment.
Other than some more painful contractions in the two days following the appointment, I did not have contractions as strong as that day for about a week.
37 Weeks and 5 Days – The Friday Baby P Was Born
8:45 AM – Ultrasound Appointment
At 37 weeks and 5 days, my doctor wanted me to have another ultrasound to get an estimate on the size of our baby. I am a petite, a few inches taller than five foot, woman. The baby seemed to be on the larger side throughout the whole pregnancy, usually measuring at least a week ahead of his gestational age. The ultrasound measured him at 8 lbs and 4 ounces.
9:30 AM – Appointment with OBGYN to Review Ultrasound
The doctor checked my cervix first thing. I was at a 4! While she was checking, she said, “I’m going to sweep your membranes; you’re going to feel a little pressure.”
At that time, I had no idea what “sweeping the membranes” meant. I did feel pressure, pressure that hurt. When she was done, I wanted to clarify what she just did to me.
“So what did you just do?”
She explained that the uterus and the amniotic sac are connected by a layer of proteins. During labor, this layer breaks up as the uterus contracts. The proteins are released into the blood stream as they break apart and they act like a hormone to tell the body to continue labor. What she did was break the layer between the uterus and the amniotic sac at the start of the cervix to naturally induce labor. She said that in second and third time moms, this usually starts labor within a day or two. With first time moms, the chances are lower and sometimes do nothing.
Okay, cool. I was pretty excited.
10:30 AM – Leaving the Doctor Office
I had a decision to make: do I return to work or just take the whole day off? I was not feeling great and could have really used a nap. However, there were some things at work I could finish up and I got news that the day had been unusually busy for a Friday.
I went to work.
Between 1 and 2 PM, my body started to ache some, I had finished everything I needed to get done, and I was just checking and rechecking my email inbox. I ended up asking my boss if I could leave early. My replacement had been trained to the best of my ability that week and she was good with covering for me for the rest of the work day.
2 PM – An Afternoon Off
What does a pregnant lady do when she leaves work a few hours early? She takes a nap, of course!
I drove home and immediately got in bed to rest.
I wake up to my phone ringing – it is my mom.
She wanted to see how the appointment went that morning and see how I was doing. I caught her up and told her about the short work day. My bladder suddenly urged me to relieve it so I got out of bed and waddled my way to the restroom.
A few steps from the bed and I was wet. I rushed to the toilet and knew for sure that my water had just broke!
Throughout the pregnancy, I disliked when women would tell me, “You’ll know…You’ll know when you are in labor. You’ll know when your water breaks.” But seriously… you WILL know. Especially when/if your water breaks, or gushes like mine did.
My mom appreciated that she was on the phone with me when such an eventful thing happened. I gave her the go ahead to pack up and drive the 3 hour drive to where we live.
I hung up and called my husband to tell him to get off work and meet me at the hospital!
I called my sister-in-law, who conveniently lives around the block, and asked if she could take me to the hospital. She came promptly!
That morning, I put the hospital bags in my car just in case I had to leave work and go straight to the hospital. All we had to do when my sister-in-law arrived was open the back of my car and transfer the bags!
If my sister-in-law was not with me, I would have had no idea where to go at the hospital to check-in. Thankfully she had had a child at the same hospital just about 7 months before! We went straight to triage where they checked how far dilated I was and made sure my water had indeed broken.
My sister-in-law stayed with me and my brother ended up showing up. They stayed with me until my husband arrived.
4 PM to 8 PM
Labor. It really is weird how you forget what the pain felt like.
Contractions got worse and worse. I did not want an epidural so I was feeling them as they were. There was always three waves in each contraction, the last one being very painful. In between contractions was amazing – no pain and I was able to close my eyes to rest. However, those moments got shorter and shorter, less than a minute I assume towards the end.
Props to my husband for sticking by my side and helping me through the pain. He had his hand squeezed multiple times, got me ice when I needed it, dealt with my non-verbal cues to stop patting my hand when it got annoying, encouraged me when I started to wonder if I wanted medicine and ask the nurses questions about what medicine would do this late in the journey, and prayed for me. He was wonderful support and I could not have made it without him.
At some point, I began to get nauseous and threw up. The baby’s heart rate drop. The fetal monitor sounds became much louder from then on. The nurses watched how the heart rate was affected with everything I did.
They had me change positions, stuck an IV in me for fluids, and started talking about a c-section.
Note: The one thing I was afraid of going into labor was the chance of having a c-section. I thought during pregnancy, “As long as I don’t have to have a c-section, I got this.” These are moments that the Lord shows me He is in control and that He is my only help, not myself or anyone or anything else.
I responded to what my body felt like during the whole labor. At this point, I felt like pushing. “I feel like pushing, is that okay now?” The nurses and doctor got in position.
I pushed a few times before the fetal heart rate began to decrease again. This is when they wheeled me out of the labor room into the OR.
Not Sure Exactly What Time Because It Was Somewhat of a Blur – The Operating Room
I kept my eyes closed most of the time from here on out. I remember opening them once and seeing my husband in scrubs next to the nurses.
Once we got to the OR, baby’s heart rate was up again. I was asked if I wanted to continue pushing to try to see if he would come out without any other complications.
So I pushed for a while longer, praying each time that this push would be the one, waiting to feel the release of pressure escape from me.
That didn’t happen.
I found out the next day that baby’s head was crowning when I was told his heart rate dropped again and warned that I was about to be knocked out.
Something immediately covered my nose and mouth, and a few seconds later, I was out.
Within a couple of minutes, Baby P breathed his first breath of air. 7 pounds, 15 ounces, 21 inches long.
The rest of the night is still a blur. Except the moment that I’ve never felt so helpless.
I woke up and Baby P was put on my chest. My husband was next to me. We had a moment.
Then my family members took turns coming in the recovery room to see me and the baby. My mom, my dad, my brother, my grandma, my father-in-law. If I forgot anyone, I apologize – I was quite out of it!
We were wheeled to the regular room and some family was in there. They said their goodbyes to let us rest. I had Baby P in my arms, attempting to get him to latch. My husband sat at the foot of the bed.
Then Baby P went limp. No muscle contractions or any breath. Turning blue.
I frantically yelled for the nurses while Abe opened the door and got the nurses attentions. The nurses grabbed him from my arms, attempted to resuscitate him in the room in the little crib on wheels, then rushed him out of the room, leaving my husband and I by ourselves, in tears.
It felt like my heart had been yanked from my chest, my stomach dropped. This is the moment that is crystal clear. I will never forget my feelings in those moments.
We cried to God. Lord, please save our baby, let him be okay, oh God, please keep him alive. Abe hugged me close.
A contentious nurse opened the door a few minutes later with the news that Baby P was now breathing and was set up in the nursery with oxygen and an IV.
I wasn’t able to see my baby until the next day. Thankfully, my husband could. I was glad Baby P could be comforted by his daddy.
That whole ordeal zapped me of the little energy I had left after labor and surgery, so I fell asleep. My boy was okay and under a watchful eye.
During the first day in the hospital, we slept, I got out of bed (which was a big accomplishment – and painful – after that surgery) to use the restroom and to get in a wheelchair to visit our baby, I held my baby with multiple wires and tubes attached to snuggle and try to breastfeed him, and I learned how to use a breast pump. My parents came to see their first grandchild, one at a time in the nursery.
We found out that the pediatrician on call believed that Baby P lost some blood during delivery because his hemoglobin levels, and therefore his iron – the oxygen carrier in blood – levels, were low. The doctor wanted to monitor him to make sure the blood level was going to increase and that he was able to drink a good amount of liquid on his own. Once those two things, blood levels and drinking amount, increased, he could be released to our room with us.
That happened around 4 AM the following day.
We were so relieved to have him in the room with us.
Family visited, we cared for our son and tracked every feeding and diaper status, we slept – as best we could, and we enjoyed the moments as a family.
We stayed a couple of days longer than normal so Baby P could be monitored more, but we were able to take him home three days after he was born.
What a wonderful homecoming.
I could go on and on with even more details but I will leave you with that. Thank you for listening to my story.
Now I am a mother, going on 7 weeks, and learning more about motherhood every day.