I can't believe my baby girl turned 2 this week! It seriously feels like yesterday that we brought her home from the hospital. In light of Madi's birthday, I thought it would be a good time to write down her birth story since back then I was on what ended up being a seriously long blogging break.
Pregnancy with Madison was -I'm assuming- about as easy as pregnancy gets. Don't get me wrong, I did have to deal with the swollen feet, crazy porn-star boobage, the serious hangrys if I didn't eat every couple of hours and a pretty bad period of migraines during the second trimester (my prescription migraine meds are off limits during pregnancy as is Excedrin which is the only other thing that really works for me so I was pretty much screwed in that area.) But just considering the fact that I never had to deal with morning sickness and I was still sleeping comfortably through the night at 9 months (and could even reach around my belly to paint my own toenails) makes me feel like I had it pretty good. Well, as good as you can have it while abstaining from wine for the better part of a year. That is no easy task.
I'd heard a ton of stories about first babies coming late so I was fully prepared to be welcoming Madi sometime in late March, but she had other plans and decided to make her appearance a week ahead of schedule. The evening of March 9th, Travis and I walked our usual 2 mile route (that's pretty much all the exercise I was up to during the human-growing process) and had a late dinner. As I was brushing my teeth around 10 o'clock, the first of the contractions hit. Right up until that point I had wondered how I would know for sure when I was in labor. Trust me when I say you will know. That feeling was unlike anything else I'd ever experienced. I pulled out the timer app on my phone and within an hour the contractions were coming about 5 min apart, even though my water hadn't broken. So of course I did what
only a total weirdo anyone in their right mind would do in the middle of the night prior to heading to the hospital for the most painful ordeal of their life: put on my waterproof eyeliner and mascara (the same stuff that held on through 2 Tough Mudders) and straightened my hair in between contractions.
When we got to the hospital I wasn't sure I'd be admitted so I left my hospital bag -including the birth plan my doctor had had me fill out- in the car. The OB on the floor leaned toward sending me home as I was only a couple centimeters dilated and the contractions -though intense and close together- weren't entirely regular. Lucky for me, L&D was having a slow night and the grumpy nurse that was on duty when we arrived was replaced thanks to shift change. I was given the option to stay and walk the halls for awhile to see if that would help things along. It did, and I'm glad we decided not to leave because things ended up progressing fairly quickly.
Before I knew it, the contractions were too strong to continue walking and I was soon doubled over the side of my hospital bed while the husband quickly fell asleep in the visitor's chair. Man, I love that guy to death, but I was shooting daggers at him from my eyeballs at that point. I couldn't stop picturing the various "supportive partner" positions (which seemed to include lots of back rubs) from the birthing class Kaiser required me to take, and that Trav had had to miss for work. In any event, none of the "supportive partner" positions included the partner drifting off to dreamland in the middle of my suffering. I considered kicking his chair and or yelling to wake him up and make him feel my pain, dammit! I settled on throwing a washrag at him which he of course didn't notice but made me feel just a tiny bit better.
Before the onset of labor I had been leaning toward team "unmedicated birth," but that was back when I still believed all the people who told me that the kidney stones I've had twice were way worse than labor pain. They lied. When the anesthesiologist came you better believe I took the epidural! I feel like, you know the pain is serious when you're down for having a needle jabbed in your spine, because that doesn't feel so great in itself. Anyhoo, once the pain meds kicked in I was basically floating on a cloud and then my hubby wasn't the only one able to get some much needed rest.
Finally, around 11:30 the next morning, I had dilated enough to push. The next few hours were really just an incredibly painful blur. My contractions never became regular, so the epidural was turned off to allow me to "really feel them" (exactly what I was trying to avoid haha) and know when to maximize the pushes. But no matter how hard I bore down, baby girl refused to turn and make her way out. At some point, pitocin was hung to try to strengthen the contractions (and it most certainly did) but she still wasn't budging. **I feel like I should give Travis an honorable mention here because he stayed right by my side, encouraging me, letting me practically break all the bones in his hand with my death grip and bringing me cold washcloths for my forehead.** Then the nurse informed me that some meconium had presented and baby's heart rate was dropping a bit and my heart sank. There was some ugly-crying. EMT school doesn't delve too deeply into childbirth complications, but I distinctly remembered learning the signs of fetal distress. They gathered a special team of people in case resuscitation was needed, and finally, finally after what felt like a years -but was actually about 3 really, really long hours- I gave my last push and out she came at 2:22 pm, all 7lbs 11ounces and 20 inches of her.
I know every mom bonds with her baby in different ways and at different times, but I fell in love with Madi early in my pregnancy, and I can't even begin to explain the depth of love I felt when they placed her on my chest for our first skin-to-skin. It's true what they say that having a kid is like having your heart walking around outside your body. She made everything worth it.
Child birth did a number on me though, and I came out looking -and feeling- like the loser in a prize fight. I tore pretty badly, lost a lot of blood, and here's a pro-tip I wish someone would have mentioned before everything started: don't "push with your face." I apparently did, and had 2 black eyes with ruptured blood vessels and a face so swollen I could barely open my eyes to show for it (doesn't lend itself to cute postpartum cuddling-with-the-new-baby pics, that's for sure!)
So that's our birth story, Madi's and mine. Happy Birthday baby girl!