Celebrating the wonderful ups and challenging downs of this journey called motherhood...
November 5 was my due date, and my birthday! I was 40 weeks pregnant and I was feeling a little bit bummed because baby was still pretty content in my tummy and was showing no signs of wanting to come out. I didn't even feel any contractions.
The day was uneventful (I had a birthday dinner scheduled for the next day so we didn't really do anything on that day itself). I ate spicy wings that night hoping it would induce me naturally. Then I went to bed.
At around 3 in the morning, I felt something wet in my pajamas so I went to the bathroom to check. I thought I just peed a little in my sleep, but I saw that my underwear was soaked. Uh-oh. I've read all about this during the course of my pregnancy, I was pretty sure my water broke. My heart started pounding, this is it. Baby's gonna make an appearance soon.
The amniotic fluid just kept gushing out so I had to wear maternity pads. I woke my husband up and told him what happened. He asked if I was feeling any contractions or any pain at all and I said no. So then we both decided to go back to sleep because there was really nothing much to do until the contractions started going. I decided to wait until 8 in the morning to call my midwife.
There was still a steady flow of amniotic fluid and I was anxiously waiting for the contractions to start. What's taking so long? My midwife gave me options, either I wait it out or get induced. I decided to wait it out, I was against induction from the start. Since I wanted to wait, she said I should take some antibiotics as a preventative measure since my water bag broke and baby was more vulnerable without that added protection. I said no, I didn't want to. I read somewhere that as long as you don't introduce anything in the vaginal canal, infection is not very likely.
So then we had to wait and wait, my midwife was worried about my blood pressure because it went up and she said that if it didn't go down I would have to go to the hospital and get induced because it's risky to wait any longer especially since my water bag broke already. I was so worried and stressed out, I talked to the baby in my belly and said "please baby come out already". I wanted the birth to be as natural as possible without any interventions.
We live in a small town and our hospital doesn't cater to high-risk cases so we had to drive for an hour to get to the nearest city hospital. Before we left, my midwife checked how much I've dilated and it turned out I was just 3 cm. I started getting contractions here and there but not regular, which means I'm not ready yet. My midwife advised us to get a head start though and drive to the hospital and so we did that.
During the drive, the contractions started getting regular (finally!) and more painful. It was around 5pm when we arrived at the hospital and I was at 6 cm already. Still, there's more to go so I braced myself for a long grueling night. And long and grueling it was because I ended up being in labor for 12 friggin' hours!
I didn't want any epidural because I wanted to experience for myself the pain of childbirth. I had this thought that if I survived the pain, I can survive anything. So I endured the pain. And boy was it painful. The contractions were just so painful and every time I had them I was holding on to the bed and just riding the wave until relief came during intervals. My husband was beside me the whole time. The contractions became so unbearable that I was gasping for air and felt my whole body shaking. The midwife kept saying, you can do it, breathe, breathe, breathe. That's the mantra of the night. I was in so much pain. What kept me going was having my husband coach me through it all. I was hanging on to his hand like my life depended on it and looked straight in his eyes every time the contractions came and he would breathe with me. He was exhausted too but he never left my side. The midwife said we made a good team. We will never forget that moment, it strengthened our bond even more as a couple.
At around midnight, I was checked again and finally I was at 10cm. The midwife told me to push. I tried different positions, laying down, squatting on the bed, squatting on the floor, every time I felt the contractions, I pushed with all my might, but baby won't come out yet. The midwife checked me again and felt that there was a flap on my cervix that prevented the baby from getting out. So she had to push it out of the way before we tried again. I could feel the contractions starting to space out and getting weaker by the minute. It was haaaard.
Then around 4am or so, Dr. McKinney came in and checked me. He said the flap was still in the way. The only thing we could do is wait for it to resolve on its own and the only way that would happen is if I stopped pushing and breathed through my contractions for about 30 minutes. So he gave me two options: 1) get an epidural so I don't feel the pain and then they were going to inject me with Pitocin because the contractions just weren't strong enough for me to push baby out or 2) have laughing gas administered to make the pain bearable so I could resist the urge to push and then they were going to inject me with Pitocin because the contractions just weren't strong enough for me to push baby out. I chose number 2.
The laughing gas was heaven sent. Honestly, it helped a lot. That gave me much needed relief, I was beyond exhausted and there was no way I can resist pushing in those 30 minutes! When the Pitocin kicked in, I felt more intense contractions which were very close together. When the doctor came in to check on me, the flap was gone and I was ready to push. I pushed like 5 times and then finally I saw the head come out. They had a mirror propped in front of me so I can see the whole thing unfold. Then I felt the doctor pull and out came the shoulder, and then the torso and the legs. And then I heard crying. The doctor announced "It's a boy!" We didn't know the gender before that very moment and it felt surreal. I have a baby boy!
My husband cut the umbilical cord and then baby boy was passed on to my chest. It was a very emotional moment for my husband and me that we cried. My baby was finally in my arms and as I looked at him, my first impression was that he looked like a sumo wrestler. Haha. He was 8.6 pounds, 20 inches long and with a thick set of hair. He cried so loud. I held him close and kissed him.
It's really true what they say, once you see your baby, every pain and suffering you endured in childbirth is totally worth it. Welcome to this crazy beautiful world, my dearest baby boy. You are so loved.