A full term pregnancy wasn’t something I had ever thought I would experience. I have struggled with infertility and my doctors told me that I would never have children for as long as I can remember. I had just accepted that as fact. Mike and I talked about it on our second date and as time went on we learned to be okay if it was always just us and Bruce Wayne. It was a Friday in May of 2015. I was picking Bruce up from daycare and was just feeling off. I stopped at the CVS next door and bought 4 pregnancy tests knowing it was overkill. I can’t explain but I just knew it would be positive and was already preparing to live through a miscarriage. I took all four, not believing it was real. Mike was at work at the time and as much as I wanted to tell him in a cute way I just asked him to call me on his lunch. When he called I simply asked, “did you want to have a baby?” He asked why and I said, “we’re gonna have a baby or at least try to!” We were very nervous throughout much of the first trimester and when we learned it would “stick” as Mike called it, we started to really look forward to our miracle baby.
We certainly had a rough third trimester. In the last six weeks of our pregnancy we were at labor and delivery 5 times for false alarms. This included Christmas Eve when I was convinced that my water broke- but actually I peed myself. By 38 weeks I had gained 7 lbs in swelling. I couldn’t wear shoes or use my hands without pain, I was ready to give birth. At my 39 week appointment my doctors agreed to talk about an induction. The issue was I hadn’t made any progress in three weeks and they were hesitant to induce me before my due date. I got many, what felt like, lectures from different doctors in the practice that inducing early could have a high chance of failure and increased risk of c-section. We had finally been scheduled for an induction a few days after our due date, but I was not happy with that. After speaking with my doctor, who I hadn’t seen in a few weeks, she agreed to bump up my induction with the thought that 4 days earlier probably wouldn’t make that much of a difference.
So we were set to go, we scheduled an induction at 6 pm on the 27th. Thanks to Sherrie and Matt who were able to watch our precious Bruce Wayne, we headed off to the hospital. I was in a great mood, our first nurse was so bubbly and fun – I loved her! However, what I did not love was what I will refer to as “hospital time.” Hospital time moves slower than all other time. It’s like swimming through molasses. Our next nurse, Janell, was also wonderful. She was able to get me water and juice. Side note: a word to the wise – if you can eat before you go to the hospital! Before we arrived, I had a taco salad and ice cream and was happy as a clam! By 8:30 we finally saw the doctor on call. This is the point where things got real. I was finally given the first dose of Cervadil, or what I kept calling, the magic pills. These are inserted and intended to dissolve over three hours. You’re allowed three doses prior to being given pitocin if there is no change. I was excited for the magic pills – convinced they would catapult me into labor. Mike on the other hand, was already bored.
I’m actually very thankful for being induced overnight. As much as I wanted to sleep and knew I needed to, it was nice to have some quiet moments with my husband when we could just talk about what we were nervous about, ponder if we’d be good parents, or just him making me laugh. That’s one of the memories I will cherish most from our time at the hospital.
Luckily I was able to get some sleep in hour long spurts through the contractions and the cramping. However, what I thought was painful then paled in comparison. The best part of my induction was that I was able to be up and moving. Prior to receiving my pitocin the nurses let me walk around and even shower! I really appreciated that as I knew I would be in bed most of the day.
Around 7:30 am the pitocin started flowing! Not long after my doctor came in and manually broke my water. That was a painful experience followed by a strange sensation. I never expected amniotic fluid to be cold! At that point I was convinced we would make progress quickly and I’d be seeing my baby soon – boy was I wrong! By noon we had only dilated a centimeter from where we were. I was now at 3 cm, but when you have to get to 10, it doesn’t feel like a victory. My nurses had told me that I could have my epidural between 4-6 cm, but I was having very painful contractions. This was when I was offered morphine. Lesson learned: don’t take the morphine. I was so nauseous and out of it and still in pain with every contraction. After giving me something for the nausea and since I was still not progressing much, I gave in to getting my epidural early.
The epidural, as strange as it sounds, was the part I was most scared about! I was terrified it would hurt and had heard what a big needle it was. When they said we have to send Mike out of the room I became even more terrified. Thank goodness we had the most amazing nurse to help me though. This is the time when I should say I loved our anesthesiologist. Seriously – that man was amazing. Getting the epidural didn’t hurt a bit! In fact it felt more like when you accidentally electrocute yourself with a low voltage- just a little shock! Once it was in- it was amazing. I couldn’t feel my contractions and was able to start dilating. In the span of three hours- from 3 pm to 5:30 pm, I had gone from 3 cm to 7 cm! The anesthesiologist continued to be my best friend. Twice I felt like I had a lot of pain localized to my left side- back and pelvic bone – so twice he not only topped me off, but he pushed through extra pain killers. It was great! I couldn’t feel contractions or even checks from the doctor. So at 8 pm when they told me we were ready to go and begin pushing in twenty minutes I was ecstatic.
This is when I could see Mike getting nervous and I was so happy that the end was near. I thought I was feeling cold and began shaking – turns out your body pumps full of adrenaline and that’s what I was feeling. The nurses at that point had asked if I had questions and in fact I had just one: how soon after she arrived could I eat? When they told me right away I immediately sent my mom to get an Italian mix sub before the deli closed. I really had missed having deli meat! My mom made it back in fifteen minutes frantically wondering if we’d starting pushing yet – and as soon as she was back we kicked it off.
Pushing is just what it sounds like. Let me tell you- this was the hardest part for me. The nurses told me to pull my legs back and hold my breath- which literally made me feel like my face was going to explode. In fact, I pushed for an hour and twenty minutes and during that time I burst a blood vessel in my eye! When I was pushing, Mike was amazing. He would hold my head during pushes and in between run a cold wash cloth on my face, give me water, put oxygen on me to keep me going, as well as being super encouraging. There came a point about ten minutes before she arrived that I was starting to fall apart. I even told my doctor that I didn’t believe her when she said we were close. Mike got me back together and on track – I could not have asked for a better partner through this process.
Prior to labor and preparing for what may happen, Mike and I had two things we were in agreement on. The first: give me the drugs. The second: whatever happens, stay near my head. But as we got closer Mike decided he would watch and he will tell you over and over again how amazing it was! He was able to see our little girl enter the world and as they put her on my chest. When I looked up he was crying. It was the most amazing moment.
There’s a lot of emotion in those first few moments of your child’s life. I was exhausted, overwhelmed from the whole process, elated it was over, excited to meet my daughter, in awe of what had just happened, in love with my husband who had become a father right before my eyes in seconds, concerned that my daughter was alright, curious about how big she was, and most of all unbelievably happy. I can’t even tell you what an amazing experience it is and while I don’t think I want to do it again anytime soon, it’s pretty unbelievable what the female body is capable of. You truly push yourself beyond limits you didn’t even know you had.
After Madeline arrived and we got to hold her and meet her I was given the clear – you better bet the first thing I did was eat that sub. It probably wasn’t even fifteen minutes later! Best tasting sub I ever had!
Madeline Grace- you truly are our miracle baby. It was a long 26 hour process but I would do it again in a heartbeat to get you. Mommy loves you more than you’ll ever know.