Christopher Joseph's Birth Story Part 1
On Friday, April 22 - we decided that the next day we were going to take Natalie to the Bronx Zoo for the day. We were so excited to take her and figured it would be our last outing with just one child. We wanted to make it a special day for Natalie, before her world was rocked with the arrival of a little sibling.
Saturday morning I got out of bed around 7:30 am to get Natalie, change her into her clothes, and bring her into bed with us for a little snuggle session. I put Natalie on the potty to pee, then lifted her up to put her on the changing table so I could dress her for the day. I've been told that there is no way that action is what caused my water to break, but it was at that moment that I felt something drip down my legs. It wasn't a LOT. Not like what you envision it to mean when your water breaks - I usually envision a pool of water all over the floor. This just trickled down, and I didn't feel anything out of the ordinary. I thought "No way....that's not what I think it is." I continued changing Natalie, while very calming calling out to Chris who was still sleeping in our bedroom. I asked him to "Please come here," he came to the bathroom and I said "I think my water just broke..."
Chris is a spring into action kind of guy, and even though I think internally he was freaking out a bit, he remained calm with me and immediately sprung into action. He called his mom to come over and get Natalie so we could get ready to go to the hospital.
I wasn't feeling any contractions, any pressure, or anything out of the ordinary other than the fact that my water broke, so I was in total denial that I was actually in labor. My Mother-in-Law called her friend who is a maternity nurse who said "If her water broke, she must deliver the baby in the next 24 hours." But even then, I thought "My water only HALF broke...that can't be all of it, the hospital will probably send me home."
I called my parents and told them that my water broke, we were going to the hospital, but not to leave yet until we knew for sure what was going on. Well about 20 minutes after I got off the phone with them another gush of water came out, and that's when I texted my parents "More water, I think this is really happening."
This time was SO DIFFERENT from last time because I wasn't in any pain. I was able to shower, do my hair, slap on a little makeup, pack my hospital bag (which was only half-way, haphazardly packed), and eat breakfast. It was a perfectly wonderful morning! While I did that Chris set up the pack 'n play, installed the car seat bases into the cars, packed his hospital bag - LOL clearly we were a bit behind on getting things ready!!
It was also nice that I got to say "good-bye" to Natalie. I tried not to make it too emotional or grandiose for her sake. She was holding onto me pretty tightly and asking me to "sit down" so I'd stay with her. I held her tight - the last time she would be my only baby.
With a folded towel on the seat, we loaded into the car, snapped a picture and headed off to the hospital.
We arrived to the hospital around 9:30 am. Chris dropped me off in front of the hospital while he went to the park. Walking into the hospital, I was having deja vu to my last labor with Natalie: I had a contraction as I got out of the car and had to stop and get through it right outside the doors. A kind valet man came over and asked me if I wanted a wheelchair, but the contraction was ending and I just wanted to get inside. This time, I leisurely walked in like I was just there for a visit. I walked into admitting (last time this was where I threw up into a woman's trash can). They asked what I was there for.
Me: "Hi, um, my water broke...I guess I'm in labor?"
Woman: "How far along are you."
Me: "37 1/2 weeks."
She pulls up my paperwork and takes me to the back where I sign a bajillion papers to start the process of admitting me to the hospital. (Again, even as I'm signing these I was thinking "Hm...I wonder if I'll have to go through all of this again when I come back to really deliver the baby." When I say I was in denial. I. Was. In. Denial.)
Man: "How are you guys today?"
Us: "Fine...I guess, looks like we're gonna have a baby!"
Man: "Wait, really? You're in labor now?
Me: "Well I guess...my water broke this morning."
Man: "Oh my gosh! Do you want a wheelchair? We can take you upstairs in a wheelchair!"
Me: "No, really, I'm fine...I don't feel anything."
I was set up in a triage room where I would be swabbed to check if the water that I was feeling was in fact my water breaking. (They literally swab it and put it on a test strip. If it turns a certain color, it's your "waters"). This whole process took quite a while. I had to switch beds because one of the machines wasn't working, and because I was so calm and not feeling anything I think there was just no real sense of urgency on anyone's part.
|Chillin' in triage|
After the test confirmed that my water had broken, I was wheeled over to the delivery room where I would spend the rest of the day. Other than the fact that I went waaayyyy longer without an epidural and had 3 hours of very very intense and quick contractions - other than that - this whole delivery process was a million times better than it was last time with Natalie. At first, I felt like the room I was put in was too small, but I ended up loving it because everything felt closer, more intimate (though, can this process really GET more intimate?) and less crazed this time around. Last time, I felt like there were a million people in my room and looking back on it I keep wondering "Why WERE there so many people in my delivery room??" I think there were like 3 baby nurses, my doctor, a med student, my nurse, some other nurses (?) and people kept popping their heads into the room and coming and going. This time around it was me, my nurse, my doctor, a resident, and Chris. It was sooooo much better and less stressful to have less people there. Our nurse even said to me afterward "as far as deliveries go...this was one of the easiest ones I've seen!"
Also, I was able to do skin to skin immediately and they kept him on me for at LEAST two hours before they even took him to clean him up or anything! I was shocked, literally shocked by how long they let me just hold him after he was born. Christopher just layed there, calm as can be for two whole hours just taking in this new world around him. It was in a word: Amazing. Last time, Natalie was pale from the umbilical chord being wrapped around her neck, so they immediately cleaned her up, let me hold her swaddled for about 5 minutes, and then took her to the NICU where I wouldn't see her again for the next 6 hours!
But I digress...
Once they got me started on the pitocin my contractions started coming on fast and strong with barely any rest in-between. I finally asked for the epidural at 2:50 pm. The nurse said I would get it very quickly once I requested it - but it took a whole hour! I waited way too long to request it. I think I kept waiting for someone to say to me "This is typically when someone would get an epidural. I didn't want to cave too early, but I definitely didn't. I was measuring at 3 cm. and my doctor said to go ahead with the epi. I got it at 4:00 and by 5:30ish I was at 10 cm and they told me it was time to start pushing!
The epidural was still extremely strong by the time I had to start pushing (even though my contractions were very, very painful again). I couldn't really feel my legs and I didn't feel like I was pushing at all, but they asured me that I was. I pushed for 12 minutes and out he came where the doctor anounced "It's a boy!"
I just threw my hands in the air and went "Really?? Of course it's a boy!" Meaning - Of course I was wrong about the gender - AGAIN!!
Like I said before, Christopher laid on my chest for at least 2 hours after he was born. Back with more tomorrow on what happened next!