Instead of typing out a full paged story, I decided to log a list of events and times throughout my labor so that expectant mamas can have a better idea of what goes down and when!
3:55 AM hospital check in; birth certificate questions // I had a scheduled induction, and we were told to eat a big meal before we checked into the hospital. I wasn’t allowed to eat any food during labor (with the exception of ice chips and popsicles) so our OB told us to go to Waffle House before we came, and that’s exactly what we did! We both got the all-star breakfast at 2:30 AM and chatted with the waitress about the exciting events that were about to take place. Tyler and I chose to exchange love notes in the hospital parking lot before we checked in. We talked about memories we’d made leading up to this moment and the ones we were looking forward to making. Most importantly, we promised each other that we’d always put one another first, before anyone else – including our kids. When we checked in, we signed a few papers and they began filling out information for his birth certificate. I brought the night shift nurses cupcakes as a “thank you” and I really think it went a long way. They were a big hit!
4:08 AM pee in cup, change in hospital gown // After we brought our luggage into the room, they asked me to change into my hospital gown and pee in a cup in the bathroom.
4:10-5:00 AM sign papers; 3 blood tubes, IV // Once I was changed and in bed, they went through a stack of papers, explaining the purpose of each one. The nurse took 3 tubes of blood which I was told was in case of an emergency. If I was to need a quick blood transfusion, they would already have all the information needed to get me the correct blood type, etc. I was also given an IV at this time. About 30 minutes into my IV, I had already used up the entire bag! Apparently I was very dehydrated so they gave me another IV bag.
5:15 AM checked cervix // One of my nurses came in to check my cervix. I was still 2 cm dilated (which was the same as the week before at my OB appointment) and I hadn’t made much progress as far as dilation goes, so they decided to start me on Pitocin.
5:30 AM pitocin //They started me on pitocin, and I began having very light contractions.
5:42 AM nap // The nurses told me to nap as much as possible because I would need my energy for later. I am so glad I did, because I had no idea at the time that my labor would last for 10 hours!
7:30 AM yoga pose on all fours // Surprisingly, my nurses encouraged movement during labor. They had me do certain yoga poses to get my labor progressing, ex: position my body on all fours in the bed and arch my back for 45 minutes.
8:15 AM break water // I see my OB doctor for the first time this morning. She uses a sharp tool with a hook on the end to break my water. This was super uncomfortable for me because her entire hand was in my vagina as well as the tool she was using. Supposedly, my amniotic sac was very thick, and it took a few pokes to get my water to break. The nurses commented that my amniotic fluid looked very clear and “beautiful”, whatever that means, ha! Truthfully, having my water broken was the most uncomfortable part for me. I would say it was even more uncomfortable than labor.
8:50 AM peanut ball left side // The nurse gave me a peanut shaped ball and asked me to lay on my side with my leg over it. This helped thin out my cervix.
9:45 AM rotate peanut ball to right side and change gown // My amniotic sac completely soaked my hospital gown so they had me change it. I swapped sides with the peanut ball to thin out the other side of my cervix. The nurses mentioned that I had a lot of fluid in my amniotic sac, more than average, which meant it would leak out of me for the next 3 hours. It felt like I was peeing on myself the entire time! During this process, I began to have the shakes really bad. I couldn’t sit still. I read that labor shakes are related to hormone shifts, adrenaline response and temperature. My mom put a warm blanket over me and that seemed to help.
10:20 AM sitting on medicine ball // I actually enjoyed sitting on a medicine ball, so if you have a chance to do it – do it! I was 5 cm dilated and really feeling strong contractions at this point. Humming through the contractions as well as bouncing on the ball and leaning on the bed helped me get through those contractions until the CRNA (nurse anesthetist) was available.
11 to 11:15 AM epidural // For my entire life, I’ve been led to believe that an epidural is painful. Maybe that was back in our parents time, but now they’ve perfected the whole system! The epidural is not a shot, but a catheter that is inserted into your back. I barely felt any pain other than the numbing needle which is so tiny! The whole process took about 30 minutes, and the nurse was great about walking me through what he was doing and when. At some hospitals, they ask husbands to leave the room during this process, but they let Tyler stay and simply asked him to sit opposite of my back. When the epidural juice kicked in, it felt like a warming sensation running down my legs. I’ve heard stories of it not being strong enough or women who could still move one legs. Not me – my legs were completely dead; so dead that I couldn’t even roll over in bed. I had to have help.
11:40 AM catheter // Because the epidural numbs everything down below, the nurses will insert a catheter after, which you cannot feel at all. I was given another cervix check at this time, and the nurse said she could feel a head full of hair! Also, can we talk about how swollen your feet will get? Like absolutely ginormous. Don’t bring any tight fitted slippers or shoes to wear or they wont fit!
2:15 PM checked cervix // Between the hours of 11 AM and 2 PM, everything was a blur. I can’t recall much, not because of the drugs but because there was a lot going on! We had family in the room at this time, and I was constantly being checked by nurses. At 2:15, the nurse told me I was 10 cm dilated. It was almost time to push!
2:20-4:19 PM birth // During this time, nurses poured into the room bringing a table of supplies, pulling out the stirrups and turning on the table warmer where baby would get his first shots. I don’t recall being super nervous but more in a “let’s do this” mode. I’ve learned that adrenaline plays a very significant role in the labor process! Surprisingly, throughout the whole day, I felt more determination than I did nerves.
When it was time to push, I had nurses on both sides of my legs holding them onto the stirrups. I’m not exaggerating when I say that I couldn’t feel my legs to even hold them up! In the room, my mom and grandmother had a front row seat (haha) my husband was on my left and my mother-in-law was behind him. All in all, there were about 10 people in my room including family, nurses and my OB. It felt like a packed house but I didn’t care. I was ready to meet my babe!
With every contraction, I was told to push 3 times. I read that you want to push like you’re having the biggest bowel movement of your life. The only problem is you can’t feel anything below your belly button. It’s like someone numbing your arm and asking you to give them a high five. It’s a lot more difficult than I thought it would be. At first, I thought I was pushing, but the baby wasn’t making much progress. My OB was telling me to find that low spot in my vagina and not to push with my face (later I would discover broken blood vessels on my chest and face from pushing). I finally found my “low spot” and continued pushing with every contraction and in sets of 3’s. I probably pushed 20 times over the course of an hour. In my opinion, the first push is the easiest because you can work up a big breath and find the strength. But to turn right back around and push the second and third time and hold each push for 10 seconds was very difficult for me. I felt breathless, and in my head I grew frustrated and prayed during the entire process. At one point, they asked me if I wanted to watch with a mirror. I said YES, and it was the best yes I’ve ever made. I would encourage every mom to do this! It’s not a scary process like you would imagine. It’s absolutely miraculous and mind blowing.
On a Tuesday afternoon at 4:19 PM, my baby was born weighing 7 pounds, 14 ounces and 20.5 inches long. I don’t remember much after this. I was so smitten with meeting him for the first time that I didn’t even notice the “afterbirth” or getting stitches. I was told I had a natural tear and it was a 2 with 10 being the most severe. They let him lay on my chest for 15 minutes before they ran some tests on him next to my bedside.
It was a perfect day. I am grateful to my Lord for a healthy, happy baby.