Faith's Birth Story
I can't believe it's taken me a year to finally put down Faith's birth story, but better late than never right? It's pretty detailed because I tried to enter all the times and notes in Evernote specifically for the purpose of putting down her birth story. Just fair warning, this is a pretty lengthy post and some parts of this may be TMI so read on at your own risk!
So it's October 1st, 2 days past my original due date of September 29. I had been walking as much as my body felt comfortable doing, so that I could be more dilated and hopefully encourage Faith to make an appearance. I had been meeting with my doctor every week since week 38, and my last appointment a few days before my due date, she explained that if Faith was not out yet, that she could induce me on October 6th, a week after my original due date. I don't know why but I was terrified of being induced. Frankly, I was terrified of giving birth, but if given the option, I wanted to give my body the chance to get her out on its own. I went to bed around 10pm, and fell asleep pretty quickly. I was fortunate to not have had any problems sleeping while I was pregnant, and slept a blissful 8 hours not waking up to go pee at all for the last 9/10 months.
Around 2:12pm, I woke up because I thought I had pee'd.. or leaked fluid of some sort. At this point we had been careful about the fact that my water might break in the middle of the night so we had put water resistant sheets over the mattress. I got up to pee, and thought maybe I'd see the infamous mucous plug I'd read about to signal that my water either broke or would be breaking soon, but it was clear. So I went back to bed feeling no different otherwise, and 10 minutes later, the same thing happened again. I tried to pee and not much came out. I have no idea whats going on, and since this was my first time I had no idea what to expect.. so I went back to bed again. I tried to time it, and sure enough after around 10 minutes again, I felt some liquid leaking out. I went back to pee, and nothing came out. I stayed in the bathroom so I wouldn't wake up my sleeping husband in case it was a false alarm and he still had to get up for work. I googled symptoms of water breaking, and some people mentioned the leaking, but when I felt it happening, I wasn't really feeling any contractions. After about an hour, 3:27am now, I decided to follow the protocol I had learned if I thought I was in labor: call the hospital, let them know my water broke.
It was much easier than I expected. I just said that I was 40 weeks and that I thought my water broke, and all they said was "okay come on over". My heart was beating a million times a minute and I was so nervous to wake up Irwin because I wasn't entirely sure that I was in labor! But I woke him up and told him my water broke, and all he said in his groggy state was "Forreal??" He got up and we slowly got dressed and brought our packed hospital bags down to the car. It was kind of funny as I was going through the motions.. just thinking we looked like we were just getting ready to go on a road trip or something. There was no frantic running around the house trying to find last minute stuff. I had laid everything out by our bedroom door so all Irwin had to do was grab them all and bring them downstairs. We grabbed the snacks (I chose), and we were in the car within a matter of 15 minutes.
On the way to the hospital, it was still so dark, and we were just sitting quietly as Irwin drove, trying to process what I hoped was really happening. I was scared shitless but also extremely excited that I'd get to hold our baby soon. I called my parents and text my brother that we're on our way to the hospital, and that my parents need to drive up from LA like NOW. We get to the hospital at and follow protocol once again, amazed that even though I was in labor (though not active labor), I remembered what I had to do. I thought I'd be in extreme pain and just forget and be yelling at someone to get me in to the delivery room.. but no. It was all extremely calm and peaceful. I got checked into triage at 4:23am where I changed into the hospital gown so that they could check on the baby and see if I was indeed in labor. As I sat on the table and the nurse hooked up the fetal monitor, a ton of water just came out and I literally thought I was going to flood the triage room. I panicked and told the nurse and she just smiled and she said that it was the contractions pushing the fluid out.
I think I was only 2cm dilated when I was in triage, and my contractions were not very close yet, so the nurse said I could technically go home and come back once they became stronger, or she could just check me in. So I asked to be checked in because I didn't want to risk coming back and not having a room and being told to go to another hospital or something. So we got checked into a room at 5:30am where I tried to get some rest, but was just too antsy. At 5:45am, my nurse, Tory, gave me a saline lock, which made my wrist uncomfortable for the duration of my stay, and was sore even a few days after the delivery. They checked Faith's vitals at 6:30am, and by 8:45am a mid-wife and a new nurse checked again to see how far I had progressed. Irwin helped me walk around the maternity ward a few times to hopefully get me further dilated, and I wished I had brought my exercise ball with me to help me bounce the baby out! But by noon, they checked me again and I was not fully effaced nor fully dilated.
At this point the contractions were getting a bit stronger, but not so bad that I couldn't talk through them. The nurse let me know that my I had the option of taking Pitocin which could help speed up my labor but I was still deathly afraid of taking anything that would speed it up, so I told them I'd wait a few more hours to see if anything else would happen. I walked around, I ate, but then eventually the contractions were getting so strong that I couldn't walk or talk through them anymore. By 4:50pm I was given a half dose of misoprostol to hopefully thin out my cervix and get the contractions more frequent. I was hooked up to a monitor for an hour and couldn't eat anything. Eventually, the contractions did get more frequent and painful, to the point where I almost fell during one of my walks, but Irwin caught me. I took some Fentanyl to help keep the edge off the contractions and let me sleep because I was starting to feel exhausted. I tried to sleep but I couldn't because I could still feel the contractions, though it did dull the pain a little bit. That only lasted about an hour and the contractions came back into full swing.
One other thing I need to mention- this whole time, I am not believing that these are REAL contractions because it's my first time and I'd heard that they are supposed to be stabbing pains.. but mine were not. They didn't hurt so much as they were just uncomfortable. It was more like a black hole was in my stomach just tightening down and trying to suck my entire body into it (great analogy amiright?) But that's the best way I could describe it. So in my mind, I was not in active labor yet cuz I didn't feel true pain.. until the nurses started commenting about how brave and strong I was for holding on this long without requesting an epidural. At around 4 or 5 in the afternoon, one of the mid-wives came in to check and see how far dilated I was, and found out that I was 4.5 cm dilated and I was in active labor, which meant I could get the epidural and the Pitocin if I wanted. Let me just say, out of the whole birthing experience, this was when I felt the most pain. I've never felt pain like that before. She was reaching what I felt was my soul, WHILE I was having a contraction, and that was not fun. I started crying a bit after she and the nurse left and told Irwin I wasn't sure if I could do this. I was so close to just begging for a C-section because I didn't know where I'd find the energy to actually push this baby out.
Finally, around 11pm, when I couldn't take the contractions anymore, I was like GIVE ME THE EPIDURAL, GIVE ME THE PITOCIN. The anesthesiologist didn't arrive for another hour, which is around the time my parents also arrived. After the epidural was administered, and the Pitocin was given through my IV, I was able to lie down and finally relax. I found out later on that they had given me only 2 low doses of Pitocin since I was already in active labor, but it was enough to speed up the dilation. My body was trembling from the constant pull of the contractions, and my mom just kept trying to rub my body to help my muscles relax because they'd been tightening and relaxing for the better part of 8 hours. Around 1am, they left and let me rest, and I slept for 3 hours. I was awoken at 5:30am and the midwife checked on me and said I was fully dilated and ready to push by 6am!
I don't know what it was, but I think that rest is what I needed. When I woke up and I heard that, I was no longer afraid. I was ready to push and do whatever I needed to do! The epidural pretty much left my left leg dead, so Irwin had to hold up that leg while the other nurse held the other. There were no stirrups like I thought there would be, and I was just told to push. Waiting all those 9 months, I was wondering if I'd know how to if I had the epidural, but I could still feel my stomach muscles contract when I tried to push. I also have to mention that my mid-wife was AMAZING. She massaged the muscles as I was pushing which I feel helped to prevent any tearing, which I luckily did not have. She said I had a tiny second degree tear caused by a burst blood vessel but it as a tiny stitch that even my OB didn't see in my check up afterwards.
I was reassured that I was pushing well, and after 2 hours, at 8:33am on October 2nd, over 24 hours from the time my water broke. Faith made her way into the world.
I remember not knowing that Faith was out, I was expecting them to tell me to push and all of a sudden I see Faith completely out and being held by amazing mid-wife. She didn't cry immediately, but after a few heartbeats she did.. and boy did she have some lungs on her. We did immediate skin to skin, and I forgot to ask them, but part of my birth plan was to wait to clamp the umbilical cord for as long as possible. I looked down at her on my chest, seeing her eyes wide open. Irwin had to cut the cord twice because it did not cut the whole way through the first time, and I THINK I started laughing because he was so worried he was hurting me. Afterward I called out to Irwin who had stepped back to let the nurses do their thing, and I said to talk to her. The moment he spoke to her, she looked up at him as if she recognized his voice. He had been talking to her everyday in my belly for my entire pregnancy. I just felt like my heart was going to burst! I kinda started crying after seeing her out but then I didn't want to cry on her as she was put on my chest, but oh my goodness the feeling of love that was just swelling in me was crazy. I also thought (and this was a result of still being numb from the epidural), "I could do this again! That wasn't so bad!" Once the epidural wore off though, that was a different story.
I remember reading somewhere a LONG time ago, that when babies are born and you do skin to skin, they start to crawl towards the mother's breast. At the time, that made no sense to me, but when Faith was on my chest, that's what she did, and fortunately, after praying 9 months that she would latch ok, she latched on fine! I was so relieved! And then she surprisingly stayed awake for another 4 hours, just looking at us, and observing everything around her.. it was a bit surreal. Even the nurses were surprised to see how wide awake she was.
Eventually I was moved into the recovery room, and that's when the epidural started wearing off.. and the pain began. Going to the bathroom was tough- my left leg was still pretty dead from the epidural and took the longest to wear off, so I needed help using the restroom. Every time I'd use the restroom it was like leaving it looking like the American Psycho bathroom. They weren't kidding about the blood!
My nurse was just amazing, and really all of the nurses and mid-wives that took care of me that day were perfect 11's. I had made 6 thank you goodie bags for my nurses, filled with snacks, candy, gum, and hand sanitizer beforehand, and wished I had made a few more. But I was happy to give it to them and just wished they knew I could give them more for being so wonderful and caring. The first nurse I had, Tori, who was there when I first checked into the room, unfortunately got off her shift just before the final hour when Faith came out. But she called me shortly after the birth to ask the baby's name because we said we weren't telling anyone until she was finally out. It was just a sweet gesture and I was so touched that she cared enough to call even after she was off!
We had a few visitors, my parents and other relatives who surprised us. Irwin's sister graciously bought us sushi which is something I'd been waiting 9 months to eat! After one more night in the hospital, we were released a half a day early. I was a bit terrified to not have the help of the nurses, but also felt so exhausted and wanted to be in familiar territory. I'm so grateful that my pregnancy and delivery were relatively uncomplicated, and so grateful that Faith was healthy and there were no complications. We said our goodbyes, and I didn't understand before why new mother's had to be wheel-chaired to their car, but I understood then. They also had to check our car to make sure we had a carseat before they could discharge us. Once everything was good to go, I finally felt the sun after being cooped up for 2 days, and we were ready to begin our journey into parenthood.