Hi Everyone! I took a month long hiatus from blogging to get to know my little girl, Emiliana Isla, who joined our family on 10/10/2021. Now that I am back, I wanted to share about my labor and delivery experience. What I learned from giving birth is that things are not always going to go the way you planned. That being said, it is definitely important to have a plan or a vision for how you want your birth experience to be, I would also just be ready to be flexible and know that things can change, or You might change your mind during the process, and that is OK!
Emiliana’s due date was 10/6/2021, as that day came and went, I started doing all the possible “induction techniques” I had heard about/read about. I ate dates (and quickly found out I don’t like dates), I ate spicy food, went on daily walks, curb walked, and bounced on my physio ball constantly. Now it is impossible to know if any of these methods actually helped put me into labor, or if my baby girl made the decision that it was time. Regardless, it at least kept me busy for those last few days!
This is the last photo I took pregnant at 4o weeks and 3 days
I woke up on 10/9 with what felt like period cramping. Now, I want to say that as this is my first pregnancy, I had no idea what labor would feel like. All the doctors had told me, “You will know when you’re in labor.” And despite being 3 days past due, I still questioned it and thought they might be Braxton hicks, which I hadn’t experienced at all yet. The contractions started around 8 am, irregular short contractions lasting less than one minute. By 12 pm they were happening every 5-7 minutes, however always for less than one minute. As the day went on, they become more uncomfortable. Sabino and I ordered some pizza and salad for dinner and started watching the movie “Black Widow.” This will forever be ingrained in my brain and anytime that movie is on, I will think of my last night of pregnancy. The pain stated to get worse, so I decided to call my doctor's office to speak to whoever was on call. The doctor told me to come in if the pain became unbearable or if the contractions sped up (currently I was at 3-5 minutes, each one lasting less than 1 minute). I felt like she might not have fully thought I was in labor, because I was able to talk to her calmly and she said that because I was talking to her It didn’t sound like real labor. Oh well, I guess the rules just don’t apply to me.
At about 11:30 pm, we decided to drive to the hospital because the pain was getting worse. Now, my initial goal was an unmedicated labor. There was also a part of me that was in denial and still didn’t think I was actually in labor. I know, crazy! In retrospect, I wish I had stayed home a little longer and tried to labor at home. When I got to the hospital, I was told that I was 2 cm and that my water had already broken, so I was going to be admitted. I did not know that your water could break, and you could have no idea! Again, I am another exception to the rule. Now going in, I said my goal was to have an unmedicated birth with as few interventions as possible. Hospitals tend to want to throw every intervention in the book at you, so it wasn’t a huge surprise when the resident said that they wanted to give me Pitocin, Cervadil, and do a foley bulb. I politely declined all of these and said I wanted to try to continue laboring on my own. Now, I didn’t get the feeling that they liked me declining their plan, but one important thing to remember is that you are in charge and can make your own health decisions! This is where it's important to have done your own research beforehand so that you know what you want and what you don’t want.
I continued to labor, and the pain started getting extreme. I tried doing different moves on the peanut ball, I frequently changed my position, walked back and forth to the bathroom. The next time they checked my I was up to 4 cm, they seemed happy with the progress, so nobody bothered me about the interventions anymore, contractions were also happening about every 3 minutes. Now it was close to 6 am at this point, Sabino and I were both exhausted and although increasing my dilation, she was still pretty high up in my pelvis and I realized this had the potential to go on for a long time. This is when I decided to get the epidural. Now, I was never totally against having an epidural, my goal had been to first try unmedicated to see if I was able to do it. What pushed me to get it was the need to sleep and regain some energy so that I would be able to push. Now the epidural almost immediately took away all the pain from the contractions and left my lower body numb. Both Sabino and I were able to get some sleep and recover. I had a great nurse who helped put me in positions with the peanut ball within the bed, that she said would help speed up the process. Now within this time period, they said that I had a second bag of water, that with my permission, I agreed to let them break. This was apparently likely the reason baby girl was still so high up and after that, things progressed pretty quickly.
I started feeling an intense pressure, the need to push occurred. When these surges came, I pushed on my own. I didn’t call the nurse in yet, because again as this was my first pregnancy, I was unsure if this was real “pushing” or not. When she came to check on me, I told her about what I was feeling, and she got the doctor to check me and I was at 8 cm. Things just continued to feel more intense, and I would say from there it took me about 5 minutes or so to go to 10 cm and +1 station. Now in hospitals, they do not call your actual doctor in until the last minute. It had been only residents coming in to check on me. My nurse was an angel and said we could do some pushing together, prior to the doctor arriving to get the baby in a good position. I was all for that and we pushed together until my doctor came, and then from there it was about another 20 minutes of pushing, until Emiliana made her arrival on 10/10/2021 at 2:02 PM. The actual pushing for me was so painful! I now know what the “ring of fire” is. I felt it was hard to know when to push or if I was pushing hard enough, which is most likely why I ended up with a 2nd degree tear! The whole experience was so overwhelming, I didn’t get to do immediate skin to skin because they had to suction her, they said they were worried that she had swallowed meconium. Sabino held her while they stitched me up, which felt like an eternity, and was also very painful until they gave me a lidocaine shot. After they were done tending to me, I finally got to hold my baby girl skin to skin for about 30 minutes. Now this whole experience made me feel dazed and, in another world, a combination of exhaustion and elation and complete amazement that I was now holding the little girl that had been inside me for the past 9 months. In retrospect, I wish I had deferred them taking her after 30 minutes to go to the nursery for a bath/hep b vaccination. It is like I couldn’t even think straight, so if you are someone who wants to delay that type of care, I would recommend having it known prior to birth, because after giving birth it is impossible to think straight.
All in all, I can't say that my labor and delivery was what I had planned or dreamed it to be. In fact, for the first week or 2 home I felt a little traumatized from it. But what I am focused on now, is how much unconditional love I have for our tiny little addition.
1. How was your birth experience, did you feel totally satisfied with how it all happened?
2. Do you or did you have a birth plan?
3. Did you have a hospital birth, home birth, or birth center birth?
4. If you’re pregnant, do you have any fears about giving birth?