*warning* do not read if you are not interested in detailed birth stories!
After our family vacation I knew we only had a couple weeks left before our newest addition arrived. Luckily we had almost everything done and necessities bought already. The last two weeks were mostly spent in stocking up on grocery essentials so we wouldn’t have to worry about most grocery shopping for the first couple weeks at least. I had wanted to do a few more last minute family activities, but the truth was that I was TIRED. I didn’t have the energy to do much of anything. Plus the last preparations that needed to be done were a lot of baby laundry, so I was kind of tied to the house doing that. I also did some stock-up cooking, but mostly of cookies and quick breads, not meals like you usually hear of 🙂 I knew that Naren would be able to make some simple meals after the baby was born, but he wouldn’t be baking cookies or breads, so it was better for me to stock up on those!
I guess the real birth story begins around Friday Sept 14th when my braxton hicks contractions intensified and I started getting them all day long. I had contractions anywhere from 5-20 minutes apart all day long. They were a bit uncomfortable, but not painful. At night they were mild enough that I could still sleep (in between the numerous bathroom trips of course). This continued for several days, with the contractions getting stronger (but still very bearable) each day. They were usually about 5-20 minutes apart still. On Sunday, Sept. 16th we went out to dinner with a bunch of friends, me still having contractions. It was a nice last meal out and Svara had fun too!
On Monday we didn’t do much, just got some more last minute things done around the house. Tuesday morning was our regular doctor’s appointment. So on Tuesday morning we woke up early and headed to the doctor. The contractions were still getting more uncomfortable, but were still bearable. Usually we have to wait around for a few hours at the hospital for our turn (bad system, don’t ask) but we somehow lucked out that morning and we were waiting for less than an hour. The doctor checked me and all looked well with the baby. I told her I had been having mild contractions for a few days and she checked to see if I was dilated. I would have been happy to be 2cm by that point and I was pleasantly surprised to hear that I was already 4cm! She said that by their standards I was already in active labor and should be admitted. I hesitated, however, since my contractions were still not regular and not very painful. I asked if I could just spend the day walking around and see if things progress later. She agreed but asked us to come in around 8:30pm to get checked again and to monitor the baby for awhile. Things were starting up!
Honestly I had hoped that we could then spend part of the day browsing the mall and perhaps having our last meal out as a family. However, that didn’t happen. Naren called his parents and they came to the house. It was the start to a frenzied day of cleaning. I, of course, was exempt from the cleaning, but it still was not very relaxing to me knowing that so much activity was going on in the house. Naren felt obliged to help his parents do a lot of the cleaning (most of the cleaning was honestly probably not necessary, but they are very thorough cleaners) so I was on my own in our bedroom most of the time. Svara came in occasionally, and Naren came in for awhile when I called him. I was okay for the most part, but felt a bit left out and lonely as well. The contractions were getting stronger and closer together. Nothing too painful, but I definitely had to start gently breathing through them. In the evening we got a simple meal prepared, ate, and got Svara ready for bed. After getting her tucked in Naren and I headed to the hospital.
When we got there they put is in a monitoring room and I got strapped up. At this point the contractions were still getting stronger, but I was just quietly breathing through them. I was very glad that so far I didn’t have any pain in my back. After the monitor had been on for about 20 minutes (it was about 9pm now) the nurse came in to check me. She said I was 5cm. I was still trying to decide whether we would stay or try to go back home for the night. I didn’t want to be at the hospital for too long and I didn’t truly believe that it was time yet. After the nurse checked me, however, things started picking up. The contractions were coming closer together and I started having some back pain. Darn! After another 20 minutes I asked Naren to go get the nurse and get the monitors off of me, I was very uncomfortable laying on the bed. The nurse came in at that moment by chance and started unhooking me. She looked at the read-out and said that the contractions were 2-3 minutes apart and I’d have to be admitted. Okay, then! I was starting to believe this might be it!
They moved me to a delivery room and I had to change into the lovely hospital robe. They told me to also take off my underwear and bra, but I was feeling contrary so I didn’t yet. It was around 9:45pm now. The contractions continued to get stronger. For the first hour or so I still didn’t need Naren too much. He was on facebook. I was using my ipad occasionally between contractions just to get my mind off of things. When I needed Naren I’d tell him and he’d come over to the bed. I tried standing, I tried sitting, I tried going on my hands and knees, but there was no actual position that was more comfortable. The back pain was now greater than the pain in my belly. This was one of the slightly more comfortable positions I found, at least for awhile anyway:
It is also the only photo of me while in labor, and I didn’t even want this one taken at the time. The nurses came in with some paperwork and asked me a bunch of questions, which I found very annoying! They also said someone would be in to administer the enema – uh, no thank you!! The nurse looked a bit dumbfounded that I turned down the enema.
Around 10:45 the nurse came back to monitor me again and check me. It was very uncomfortable having to lay there with the monitors on and I needed Naren there holding my hand through the contractions. Luckily it wasn’t for very long and when she checked me (painful!) I was 6cm. Now the fun begins! The contractions really picked up in intensity and pain. I had mostly been able to breathe through them until this point, but now it was just too painful and I started praying, yelling, groaning, etc. I used the bathroom twice. Thank goodness they had bar supports by the toilet so I could grip something when those contractions hit! Nothing like trying to use the bathroom and having four contractions while you’re in there. NOT fun! It was getting so painful that I began to get scared that I couldn’t do it. I had wanted to try to have a natural birth for many reasons, but I had also said that if the labor was going to last too long that it would be okay if I got an epidural. The problem is, you never know how long a labor is going to last! When I heard I was 6cm I figured I could be there all night. Apparently the nurses had other opinions. I was afraid of feeling this pain for the next 8 hours. I told Naren that I am NOT a superwoman and I wanted an epidural. He told the nurses, but they said it was too late. They said it would take too long for the anesthesiologist to get there and it was too late. I was NOT happy to hear that! I should have been happy to hear that it wouldn’t be long, but somehow I didn’t believe it. I should have remembered what I told Naren the week before – that when it came time that I said I couldn’t handle it anymore then I was probably in transition. I don’t think he remembered that either.
I was now laying on the bed and could not bear to move. I was just surviving each contraction which was getting more and more painful. I think Naren’s hand might have gotten a hole from my fingernails gouging him (he said not, but I know I was pressing pretty hard!). I was pretty much crying/screaming/praying through the contractions now, not in control at all anymore. Naren was reminding me to breathe and I was trying, but it was too hard. The doctor came just before midnight and checked and I was at 9 1/2 cm. I should have been happy at that news, but I was beyond anything except pain at that moment. The nurse told me to roll over onto my left side, that it would speed things up. She said it would be more painful but would make it go faster. I heard “go faster” and I was all up for that, so I rolled over with hers and Naren’s help. I tried using the gas for pain relief (I had tried twice in the last hour as well) but I just didn’t like it so I pushed it away. In just a few minutes I started feeling like my body was pushing and I involuntarily started yelling in a different way, hard to describe. It’s a very strange sensation feeling like this huge thing is being pushed from your body and you have NO control over it. My body completely took over and I seriously had no control over the pushing. They rolled me onto my back and told me to push. Each time I felt my body pushing I did all I could to push harder. I just wanted it over. However, at the same time I was screaming things like “NO!” “I’m going to die!” and “STOP!” I couldn’t help it, I just screamed what I had to scream, even while I was pushing as hard as I could. Thank God it didn’t take long. I don’t know exactly how long I was pushing, but Talisa was born at 12:48am, so it was probably only around 10-20 minutes. There was not much of a break, if any, between contractions. At one point they said “there she is, she’s coming!” and I said “No she’s not! I don’t want her to come out!!” As if I could help it? it was just my only way of saying that I wanted the pain to stop.
And then she was out.
And the pain stopped.
They put her on top of me while they suctioned out her nose. The first thing I noticed was that she had hair, lots of hair! dark hair! She was also all bloody (because I had been given an episiotomy… sigh…). She was born on Sept. 19th and weighed 3.33kg (7 pounds 4.5 ounces).
They wiped her a bit and gave her back to me. I held her, looked into her eyes, and spoke to her while the placenta was being delivered. I was afraid this would be painful as well, but I hardly felt a thing. I continued holding her while they sewed up the episiotomy. That was kind of painful at times, but not too bad. I couldn’t stop exclaiming over her head of long hair! And how I had done it, I had given birth! (yes, I gave birth to Svara 5 years ago, but when you have pitocin, an epidural, and can’t feel a thing when pushing it doesn’t quite feel like the same thing!) They cut the cord and took her away to wipe her down better.
Now she was wiped down and ready to try to nurse! I was a bit apprehensive of this part since Svara had taken quite awhile to learn how to latch properly. But Talisa latched on straight away and nursed for half an hour! They then took her to the nursery to get cleaned up further and to get warmed up. They said they will keep her for 4 hours to get all warmed up 😦
We had asked for a single room, but they were all taken so for that first night we had to be in a double room. It was about 3am when Naren left and I was left by myself in the room. I was on a high from all the hormones (completely opposite from my absolute fatigue after Svara’s birth) and couldn’t sleep a wink. Luckily I had my ipad with me, so I was using that. The nurses said I wasn’t allowed out of bed for 6 hours, so I had to use a bedpan twice, NOT fun! If I had been in a single room and Naren had been with me I would have just had him help me to the bathroom, but since he couldn’t be there I just abided by whatever they said. At least they were quick in responding when I pressed the bell for help! When they brought Talisa to me I had just started falling asleep, but I perked up again! I nursed her and again she latched on just fine. Throughout the night I nursed her several times. When she was sleeping I had them take her back to the nursery. Again, if Naren had been there I would have kept her in the room, but he wasn’t so I figured I better get what rest I could. They would write down on a chart how long she nursed and what time so they knew when to bring her back to me for the next feeding. I finally got a couple hours of sleep later in the morning.
Then Naren came with Svara and his parents. Svara was beyond thrilled with her new sister!
The doctor came and checked me that morning and said everything looked good. She wanted me to stay until the next day because I had a history of hemorrhaging with Svara’s birth and she wanted to make sure it didn’t happen again.
Everyone left back to the house, leaving me to catch a bit of a nap. Naren and Svara came back at the same time I was being moved to a single room. It was nice being in a room with a little more space and more privacy, not having to worry about being too noisy. Unfortunately the wifi connection was really poor in that room, so it was a trade-off. Oh well! I was starting to feel more sleepy now, so at least I had been in the room with good internet at the time that I was not sleepy and needed it for diversion!
Naren and Svara stayed until evening. We also had a few visitors who wanted to see the baby. One friend was kind enough to take our first family photo:
Then Naren and Svara left and I was again on my own. Again I had Talisa brought to the nursery between feedings so that I could get some sleep. Naren and Svara came back in the morning to take me home, though it took until after lunch time for all the paperwork to be done. I was ready to go!
Finally we got home in the late afternoon and we settled into our room. And so began our life of a family of four!