By the time we had left for the hospital it was 2am. Eventhough the hospital was only 7 minutes away it seemed like an eternity. We parked in the emergency parking lot and right as I stepped out of the car a contraction hit. I am sure that everyone in the hospital could hear me yelling! We got in the elevator and made it all the way to the 6th floor when another contraction hit. Unfortunately for the nurses, I was not in a “perky” state of mind, and when I discovered there was no one sitting at the welcome desk, I lost it. Contractions at this point were ever 2 minutes. I remember yelling “Where the hell is everybody!? I’m having a baby” and banging on every door I could find. Good thing I was in labor, or I may have been escorted out of the hospital. Thankfully, someone ran out of the back room and immediately took us back. When we got to the room, I remember them asking me all these questions while trying to get an IV in me (right after I got out of the shower at home I threw up, so I was really dehydrated.) Once they had me laying down, they checked me and I was 7cm dilated! I was thrilled with the progress and only prayed it would continue. About an hour later with an IV in me, I asked if I could get in the tub- 1) Water helped calm me down 2) I wanted to try for a water birth. They told me I could get in for a few minutes, but that the doctor on call wouldn’t do water birth. At this point I was so frustrated that not only was I out a midwife but I was out a water birth as well, but I had to give it up and know that this girl was coming no matter what.
I had been in the tub for about 2 hours when they asked me to get out to check my progress. I remember looking at Alex and saying, “I feel so good, I just want to stay in here,” but I was also anxious to know how I had progressed. When I got out, I was still only 7cm but the contractions were stronger than ever. At this point, I had been having contractions every 2 minutes for 4 hours with no progress. I was exhausted and discouraged and knew I had to make a decision. Up to this point they had offered me all kinds of drugs to help the pain but I was so determined to fight through it. But now was a different story, I was tired and mentally I was gone. I remembered what I had told myself earlier in the week, “the goal is to go un-medicated as long as possible but I promise not to feel guilty if I need pain relief,” and at this point my ideal birth story was out the window anyway…10 minutes later I asked for the epidural…BEST DECISION EVER!
The epidural allowed me to enjoy the rest of the process. I could facetime with my sisters, pray with Alex and sleep while I waited for the moment I would meet my daughter. I am so thankful for the epidural because I continued to stay at 7cm for several more hours and baby girl was sunny side up. They gave me one dose of Pitocin to try and get things moving and by the time it was noon it was finally time to push…and 45 minutes later, baby girl was here!
The moment they placed her on my chest, I wailed. I had dreamed of this exact moment for years and had been anxiously waiting for this girl to make her presence for 41 weeks. The overwhelming joy and relief and the immediate unconditional love I felt for her is something I will never forget.
I ended up with a two-degree tear and inner lacerations which made stitching me up quite the ordeal, so yet again I was very thankful for the epidural! Once we were moved up to recovery I remember them telling me a few “milestones” both me and baby girl needed to meet before we could be sent home. Mine was to pee 3 times (no big deal) and her was to have several dirty diapers. Miss little overachiever, met her milestones within hours, but I was a different story. I would try to go pee and nothing would happen. I could tell I was incredibly swollen but I didn’t think that peeing would be such a hard goal. Over the next 48 hours I would be straight catheter 4 times and given a fully catheter twice. I wouldn’t wish this on anyone! Having to be poked and prodded multiple times in an area that had been ripped open and stitched back up and now being able to feel everything, was almost as painful as labor, no joke! By day 2 in the hospital, I still couldn’t pee so they sent me home with a fully catheter- the kind you get to carry around with you…awesome.
The next week was the hardest week of my life. Trying to care for a precious new baby when you can’t even care for yourself can put a major road block in your way mentally. Every time Millie would cry I would cry. I was frustrated that this stupid bag of urine had to be carried with me everywhere. All I wanted was to give my baby the attention she needed but I felt gross and incapable of taking care of her. I remember praying a lot those first few days. Praying that God would allow me to pee (sounds silly I know, but I will never take it for granted again), praying that God would allow me to experience joy and not self-pitty and praying that Millie would know I love her even though her mama was having a rough go. By the end of the week, I had an appointment with the doctor to take my catheter out. The plan was to give me the afternoon to pee and if not I would go back in for another fully catheter. I can happily say that that afternoon I peed on my own, thank you Jesus! But was then diagnosed with an infection and would be on antibiotics for the next 2 weeks.
My birth story may not have panned out exactly how I hoped. Yes, I wanted an un-medicated water-birth with a midwife, but that’s not how it was supposed to go for me. Instead I ended up with the complete opposite, but I am so thankful for it! Millie arrived into this world either way as a happy, healthy baby, and that is all that matters. Even though I endured unfortunate complications after the birth, I am thankful for the story I was given. I hope this can encourage other women to have an open mind about their birth plan and give them freedom to make decisions that make their labor and delivery the most enjoyable experience for them!
Abby is a first time Mom, and an amazing team member of Baja Baby. She lives in Colorado with her husband Alex, their beautiful new baby girl Amelia Grace and Maple the dog. If you would like to try Baja Baby products for free, just click on this link!
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