The Day I Became “Mama” {My First Birth Story}

As we’re preparing to celebrate the birthday of my biggest baby, I realized, I’ve never written down her birth story.

I’ve made a tradition of writing them down on their first birthday as reflection, but with E that just didn’t happen.

So… without further ado, I will share with you the experience that changed my life and forever shaped my world (in more ways than one…)

With an estimated due date of 1/1/10 I waddled into my OB’s office at 41 weeks pregnant ready to fight for my right to wait out my pregnancy until baby was good and ready. I would not agree to being induced without medical necessity. I was told that as long as her NST checked out clear, that I could wait until 42 weeks and need to re-evaluate. {VICTORY!}

During my pregnancy with her I read all the books, took the natural birthing class, never sipped an ounce of caffeine, avoided cold lunch meat… I did ALL THE RIGHT THINGS. I was bound and determined to have this baby without pain medication and come hell or high water, I was NOT going to let anyone tell me otherwise. I was prepared. I was ready. Or so I thought…

On Sunday, Jan 10th, my husband and I (SUPER PREGNANT) got out of bed and walked 3 miles from our house to his dad’s house. We sat and rested a bit before getting up and walking another mile from their house a restaurant for lunch with family. This baby WAS coming out. I was NOT going to be induced. We enjoyed a nice lunch. Well everyone else did. I wasn’t feeling like eating. I just felt… bleh. Then after lunch I considered the 4 mile walk home and said a fat “NOPE.” and we hitched a ride from Evan’s grandparents. We got home around 2pm and I laid down for a nap, cause… walking.

At 3pm I had a strong contraction deep in my lower belly and lower back. It was unlike anything I’d ever felt. I stayed in bed where I was and 5 minutes later, another one. Then another. And another. No warm up. Just fast hitting contractions. I got up and went down stairs and sat on my ball to see if anything would change. They slowed down a bit to about 8-9 minutes apart and stayed that way for 3 hours. At 7pm they were closer again and all in my lower back. We decided to call the doctor. She asked us to come in to be monitored.

*Contractions were coming about 4-5 minutes apart and lasting a minute or so.
*I was only 2cm dilated (at best).

We got up, wandered the hallways, climbed up and down stairs and at 9:30 checked again with no change but still consistent contractions

I was given 2 Ambien tablets and sent home with instructions to take one, fall asleep, and if I wake up to take the other.

It was 10:15 when we left the hospital and I was tired and frustrated. We hadn’t eaten dinner so we stopped at the only place open… Taco Bell. {bad. bad. bad. bad. BAD. idea!}

Went home. Popped the pill and laid down. I woke up at 12:30 so I took the second pill (like I was advised) and went back to bed.

Then at 3am I woke up *but I was so drugged I couldn’t articulate anything* with immense back pain and nausea. My poor husband was terrified because I couldn’t really tell him what was going on due to the sleep medication and so he literally stuck me in the tub and ran the shower on me to wake me up. Once I was more coherent, we decided it was time to go back to the hospital.

When we got there I was monitored again. Contractions still 4-5 minutes apart, still lasting a minute, STILL 2CM. What. In. The. World?!

Then I started vomiting. So much so that i was given an IV and fluids because I was getting dehydrated. While I wasn’t dilating “quickly” I was admitted due to the vomiting.

Monday morning at 7:30 my [very pregnant] doctor came into my room and told me she was going to be heading home as her call shift was ending. She then told me that Dr. Cobb would be there to deliver my baby. I was horrified! I had purposely chosen a female doctor and was devastated to hear that I would be having a male doctor delivering my baby. I cried. I was so afraid. It was terrible. She reassured me that he was going to take great care of us.

I labored all day with contractions no less than 4 minutes apart and ALL in my back. At one point, my dad was applying pressure to my lower back and I kept telling him to press harder and harder. He finally said “I can’t I’m going to hurt you!” but there wasn’t enough counter pressure in all the land to help me feel better. We had a small army of people in the labor room and I’m SO VERY glad we did. everyone was taking shifts and being amazing to help me labor and keep me comfortable. At about 9:30 Monday night I started having contractions that were triple peaking. Lasting almost 2 minutes a piece and only about 2.5-3 minutes apart. Which if you know labor patterns… that’s not suuuuuuper normal. I started passing out between contractions and was incredibly fatigued. I hadn’t really eaten since breakfast time on Sunday morning and was on an IV drip all day.

The doctor came in and expressed concern for my well being. He said that baby looked great on the monitors but my contractions were getting stronger than typical and he encouraged that I consider an epidural to get rest in an effort to avoid an “emergency cesarean”. I cried. I felt defeated. I felt as though I’d failed. I asked that he check me again before I agree to the epidural.

To all of our amazement, I was complete!! 10cm!! I felt a HUGE rush of energy and was so excited. Baby’s head was still pretty high so he broke my water to drop her head down. Water broke, checked again to see if I should start pushing and he said “hmmm… You’re more like 8cm.” We can’t start pushing yet. I cried. Then asked for an epidural. Anesthesia was right outside so that was great. It was about 11:30pm at this point and he came in, got everything done and then… it didn’t work. I wasn’t numb. I was still feeling all the same things. I just had a giant needle stuck in my back FOR NOTHING! But then… I was complete. Blurgh! So we started pushing. My hopes for a palindrome birthday (01-11-10) were gone.

First just little pushes to try and figure it out. Then we got to working hard. After almost 2 hours of pushing the doctor noticed that my fluid was looking dark. Meconium. So he gave me a pep talk.
“It’s almost 2 am. We’ve been at this a long time. I don’t want to go to a c-section. I know you don’t want a c-section. Your baby need to come out. So let’s get this baby out.” I could sense the urgency in his voice and knew that I had a very serious job to do and I needed to do it NOW. I pushed and pushed and pushed and at 2:14 on TUESDAY Jan 12, 2010 our beautiful girl came flying into the world.

The following moments were a complete blur. She was given to me for about 10 seconds and then whisked away. I didn’t know what was happening. I just kept hearing “Come on baby. Give us a little noise.” I couldn’t see her. I could only hear little gurgles and squeaks from where she was laying. I had a significant amount of tearing that required repair and I didn’t really know what was going one anywhere. I have a pretty faded memory of it all. The next thing I knew my husband and my baby were gone and I was having a lot of stitches placed in a place I didn’t really think stitches could go. Then our pediatrician walked in. That was a bad sign. Peds don’t come to births unless there’s a problem. She told me that Eden was having a really hard time breathing and that they were going to request to transport her to another hospital with a NICU. I was so exhausted I truthfully had no idea what was happening. I just kept saying “Okay. Is she okay?” and I never really got an answer, I just knew that my husband was with her. Then I was told that the nearest NICU was full and no beds were available. The next option was to transport her to a hospital 2.5 hours away. But first they would let her “try to improve”. We prayed.

She improved just enough that they allowed her to stay but she was still only breathing 83% oxygen. We normally breath at about 22% and she couldn’t breath with less than %83.
Once I was more aware of what was happening I understood. She has aspirated meconium. She had a bowel movement in utero and it had gotten into her airway and essentially sealed her lungs shut. That developed into a pneumonia and she wasn’t handling it well at all. We couldn’t touch anything but her hands and feet due to over stimulation. She would stop breathing and de-sat everytime.
She was amazing and beautiful and so so sweet and I wanted to just hold her. But I couldn’t. It was more than 48 hours before we could even hold her, then we had to hold her while holding an O2 mask over her little face. I was pumping every hour and a half or so and she was being tube fed colostrum. I was so nervous that she wouldn’t be able to nurse.

After 72 hours, she was allowed to come to room in with me. She was still on an IV and Pulse/Ox monitor but she was stable and NURSING! Nursing A LOT!!! It was wild! Nothing ever could have prepared me for the feeling of satisfaction that seeing a milk mustache on your baby for the first time provides. It was amazing. We were in the hospital for a week following her birth. It was the most terrifying experience of my life to that point.

All our preparation. All our planning. All our expectations were just blasted away by the unpredictability of labor. I felt like I had failed every part of my labor and delivery. That my body was broken. I was to blame for the problems. But I’ve now come to learn that there’s truly no right or wrong way to have a baby. There’s no failure. This is just part of our story.

The day Eden was born, was the day I became a mama and the day I realized the grandeur of this journey we had begun. I would never be the same. Physically, Emotionally, Mentally…
It changed my world in the craziest most wonderful way possible.

So on this eve of her 7th birthday, I just sit here in amazement at the wonderful gift we’ve been given. She is still a feisty, unpredictable girl. She is still amazing and beautiful and so so sweet. She is the baby that made me a mama and I can’t imagine life any. other. way.

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