Friday, September 21, 2012

when your water breaks at pf changs: a birth story

warning:  i'm going to talk about some girly / bodily things in this post.  if you don't want to know, you probably don't want to read.  also, this may be the longest post of all time.  from any person.  ever.

i'll start at the beginning.   well, the beginning of the end of pregnancy.  at day 1 of week 38 i started thinking 'i could have a baby today' each day.  and each night i went to bed disappointed.  no baby.  not even a single sign of a baby on the way.  not one contraction, not even a braxton hicks contraction.  everyone you see looks at you like you're going to explode at any moment - and you feel like it might be true.  by the time emmie's due date [july 23rd] rolled around (two weeks later) i already felt like she was late.  i was setting myself up for failure.  three days after her due date i was just living it up.  i had no plans because i was planning on having a baby.  i went to the pool the morning of the 26th with my friend rachel & parker.  it was warm and sunny, the perfect pool day to play, get some color & get my mind off the fact that the babe was still cooking.  after a shower & getting cleaned up i was able run over to jenna's and help tie invitations for her upcoming wedding.  i was so glad to see a few friends and be able to help even a small bit.

when i came home from jenna's i was starving.  i talked benny into taking me out to dinner with a pf changs gift card.  i was going to get spicy chicken in hopes of coaxing out the little bean.  they say spicy food speed things up [who knows if that's true].  before we left the house i had an inkling that my water was leaking - but i wasn't sure.  i had had a 'scare' before that was very similar and that time it turned out to be nothing so i thought this could just be a repeat.  we thought we'd check again after dinner & see if it seemed like legit water breakage.  still no contractions at this point.

the server talked to us about the baby and brought us a free spicy appetizer to help in the effort.  ben & i talked and visited.  before our food came out i felt like more was going on 'down there'.  i went to check things out and felt like this was the real deal.  i came out and told ben that we should speed things up.  we ate pretty quickly, i checked again and we for sure needed to leave.  they boxed up our dessert & got our check together.  i stood the whole time because i was scared if i sat in the booth something terribly embarrassing might happen on the back of my dress - if you catch my drift.  i was getting so nervous and excited.  i knew we were going to the hospital that night, and likely having a baby.  before we left i had the hostess snap a pic, today is a big day!  our last supper if you will.
about 30 feet outside the happened.  in the parking lot of pf changs, my water broke.  everywhere.  it was disgusting.  maybe one of the grossest things that's ever happened to me.  getting in the car was just almost too much.  i stood in the parking lot making ehhh noises and saying "oh no! oh no!"  benny turned on the hazard lights and drove me home to get cleaned up and gather our hospital bags.  ben was in 'go' mode.  really, really ready to go.  i knew we had plenty of time, so i wasn't in a rush to get into a hospital bed but was still very anxious/nervous/excited.  i hoped i wouldn't forget something important.  we were on our way.  completely surreal.  we were going to have a baby within 24 hours. 

ben called our parents and told them what was happening.  i'm not sure what their reactions were but they all ended up at the hospital within the next few hours so they must have been excited.  :)  we checked in around 7 pm with bags and bags that we toted through the parking garage.  it was drizzling just a little, gearing up for a big storm that was on its way.  they say that storms bring babies.  that happened to us.
we registered [again], answered a few questions, got into a gown [sick] and settled in.  we still had no contractions and i was praying they would come on their own.  i really really did not want to be induced.  to be honest, i was kind of terrified of being induced.  i was 2 or 3 cm dilated when we were admitted. they told me we were safe to walk the floor before getting strapped into monitors and all.  i was thankful for that.  i hate being strapped in with the monitors!  we wandered around the halls, went to see the nursery [there weren't any babies...lame].  we talked together, texted a few friends and attempted not to be too disruptive and loud as we giggled and meandered.  visiting hours had passed and we knew our whole fam damily were on the way.  we were ready for the fun to begin.
i wish i was better at chronicling things while we were in the hospital.  i had good intentions but when i got in there, it all got a little scrambled [if i were to do it over i would have had a journal out and designated ben to be our little document-er].  at some point, i think around 11pm the contractions started on their own.  hallelujah!  who would think you could be so excited to bring on the pain.  when they started they were 3-5 minutes apart from the start. yes!  they felt like really bad period cramps to me.  some were worse than others, kind of like a roller coaster.  i didn't want to cry and i was actually a little pleasantly surprised that they weren't as terrible as i expected.  

my lexington family showed up first for a visit.  they live right down the street [treat!!]  it was so good to see them & their excitement for little emmie to come on.  visitors really helped to pass the time.  next momma karen arrived.  so thankful to have a nurse as a momma.  i loved being able to ask her some questions and bounce some ideas off her for our 'birthing plan'.  i think around 1 or 2 in the morning, they checked me again and i was about 5 or 6 cm.  contractions were still steady.

poppa tony was flying in from work in the middle of the night so once he arrived, they traveled down to lexington as well.  emmie was just waiting for him to get back to town i'm sure!  around 1 or 2 we got a brief visit & well wishes for the babe on the way.  then uncle chris and morgan came too.  our nurse was probably thinking...what in the world is up with all these middle of the night visitors!?

i knew i wanted an epidural.  i was surprised to hear that you get to pick when you actually get it administered.  that's a tough decision for a first time momma!  i didn't want to get it too early and slow down my contractions, i didn't want to get it too late and just endure pain for no reason.  my contractions were still strong but i wasn't transitioning yet and knew i could take some more pain- if needed.  at 3:30am i got the epidural.  we thought it would be good to get some sleep for the big day tomorrow.  i was so scared of what that be like.  scared of the needle, the pain, what if i flinch, all of it.  and they make the husband leave the room so i couldn't even have him comfort me.  but much to my surprise it was nothing!  i literally didn't feel a thing.  not even the lidocane.  i was so excited!  then everything goes numb.  that part is bizarre.  its like your bottom half is a sleep, but in like hibernation asleep.  they would ask me to move my leg and you can but its almost like you're surprised that it can respond.  from that point on they would have to tell me if i still contracting.  i couldn't feel a thing.  ben and i turned on some universe show and drifted off to sleep.

at 6 in the morning they said they would check me again and see if i was dilated further.  we were still hoping things were progressing on their own so i wouldn't have to get pitocin [at least for a while anyway].  i think at that time i was around 8 cm and the doctor on call said she'd wait for my mid-wife to get in so she could make the call about the rest of my labor / delivery.  i was so excited that i was going to get to have my midwife present for my care and i fully trusted her to do what was best for me and the baby.  i had been praying about that for the past 8 months.   prayer answered!

i think our family started showing up at the hospital around that time.  i knew that wasn't a great idea.  i had an inkling that this little bean wouldn't be here for quite some time.  i took naps, i drifted in and out of sleep for the entire morning.  i remember talking a little bit to nurses, ben and our visiting family but its a little blurry.  our family made friends with strangers in the waiting room and watched with envy as each family got to go meet their little one before they could.  
there was about a 20-30 minute period in there where i felt completely crazy.  i was so uncomfortable, hot and nauseous.  the nurse said i was probably in the transitioning stage of labor.  the only way to describe it is that i felt crazy.  real real crazy.  i wanted to get up out of the bed and walk around, have a fan blow on me and sit in an ice bath.  none of those things are options.  i think i fell asleep again soon after that.

the next time i'm checked we're at 10 cm.  i still think its hilarious that you're body can be doing so much work, you wake up from a nap and ta da!  you're set to go.  at around noon they check my temperature and i have a slight fever.  dang it!  i'm worried that they may rush a c-section because it can mean infection which would be awful for the little one.  i'm worried that they will take her away as soon as she's born so i don't get her sick. it's just not what i wanted - but i know it's ok.  sometime around 11 or noon the nurse has me start to push.  we're so excited.  i tell myself, "we're going to have this baby by 2pm."  that's my goal and there's a clock at the end of the bed.  we text our friends and family thinking - it's time!  i push for about 30 minutes and the nurse calls my midwife.  she then responds that i should stop pushing and save my energy for when emmie is further down on her own.  "let my body do the work" she says.  i'm all fine and happy with that except for the fever deal and the fact that they don't normally let you go more that 24 hours after your waterbreaks and we only had about 6 hours left.  how long would it take for her to move down?

so we wait some more.  i start to feel some pain so they redose my epidural, that helps a lot.  i'm back to feeling nothing again from the waist down.  we're just anxious, excited and ready to meet this little babe.  pushing wasn't bad that first little chunk of time.  i'm thinking "i can do this! this is better than what i expected."  mainly because i couldn't feel anything i suppose.  we waited for em to move from a stage two to at least a three or four before i would start pushing again.

around 3 or so, i'm pretty sure our family was hating our guts and our friends all thought we'd had the babe already.  waiting is a terrible game.  good things are worth the wait though, right emmie c.?  the pushing began again.  for the first hour it wasn't so bad, i couldn't feel much and although i don't exercise [ever] i had some stamina.  the second hour, hour and a half weren't really that way.  the epidural wasn't full strength anymore and they weren't going to redose it so that i could feel when to push.  treat!  from the start of pushing the nurse had ben come and see the baby's head and told us that she had hair.  i thought, ew and then i thought, wow!  she's already so far down.  little did i know that just because you can see her head doesn't mean she's close to coming out.  lesson learned.  she was turned a little coming out, i was scared.  they used words like forceps and i got really scared.  i might have cried, i'm not sure.  ben was such a great encourager.  with no sleep, tired & anxious he spurred me on the whole time.  my body was getting tired, and things down there were hurting pretty badly.  emmie kept moving her head back and forth [i think she was trying to find the way out].  they kept assuring me "that was a great push," "she's so close!" but after i heard that a few times i started thinking, they're probably lying.  if she was so close why is she not out already?  i do remember telling ben, "just get this baby out of me!" near the end.

and then it happened.  she did finally come out.  they weren't lying.  all that pushing and there she was.  emmie, you were covered in goo, poo & had a little cone head.  you looked like a little african american / asian baby.  they laid you on my stomach while poppa cut your umbilical cord.  i responded to this beautiful moment with "i don't know what to do with her."  haha, i'm sorry baby.  you didn't really have a "beautiful moment" right then.  i think we were both in a little bit of shock and my legs were still in stirrups with the dr. messing with my lady parts.  it was just a lot to take in, and blood and goo just freak me out a little.  even if they are on my teeny little daughter.  teeny might not be the best word.  when they took you over to weigh you and clean you off the dr. said, "oh she's big!"  she was right, you were 8 pounds and 2 ounces of precious baby.  we had a few minutes with you before they took you to the nursery.  your poppa got to hold you for most of that.  they were stitching me up [which was probably my least favorite part] and i was just uncomfortable.  here you and your daddy are.  you're perfect!

you were in nursery getting checked out while we switched rooms.  your poppa and i were happy to find that we'd be able to share a queen sized tempurpedic bed together for the next few days.  woot woot!  we were exhausted.  we waited what seemed like forever for them to bring you up to our room.  i could hardly stand it.  when they finally brought you in, that was my beautiful moment with you.  we were absolutely in love.  you were all swollen, our tiny little sumo.  you were so sweet and precious.  i tried to nurse you and didn't know how, i tried to swaddle you but i didn't know how.  you were a little mystery.  your poppa was so helpful.  he took such great care of you and i.  he changed every one of your diapers and brought you back and forth out of your bassinet.  he cuddled, and snuggled and kissed your tiny little nose.
we had you sleep in the nursery at night and just have you brought up to eat.  nearly all our friends recommended that we do this because once you're home from the hospital, there's no break.  they didn't bring you at the times i thought you should come up because they were trying to let me rest.  i was a little too anxious to rest.  i just wanted to take good care of you and pretty much around the clock someone is coming in to ask questions or check something.  but when they brought you - ah, even when you cried you were adorable.

they discharged us on sunday.  admitted thursday, had you friday, left the hospital sunday afternoon.  i couldn't believe it was time to take you home but i was so excited to get settled in with you [and only mildly terrified by the fact that we had no idea what to do].  this was your first ride in a carseat / car.  you're already so much bigger than this!
little one, the 10 months we had you in my belly were amazing, full of anticipation, a great adventure - but those days pale in comparison to the awe, joy and excitement that we have over our new adventure with you here.  we're so blessed that God brought you into this world, safe and healthy and that such good care was taken for the both of us.  i'm so thankful that your poppa is who he is.  he loved you so well right from the start.  i know that he will care for you, fight for you, sing songs for you.  we can't wait to watch you grow.  you're the sweetest bean.d


  1. Awww Jen -- this was great 'morning coffee reading.' :) I love hearing the birth stories from the mama's perspective, and just how radically different every woman's experience is. Yet there are a few key things that are always the same. Love it, SIL - thanks for sharing.

  2. Thank you for sharing your story! And so happy for you and Ben!


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