A very belated announcement
As you’ve probably guessed, a lot has happened since my last post. Namely, we had a baby girl! Our lives were forever blessed and enriched at 11:26pm on July 30th with the arrival of sweet little Madeleine Cecile. She is just over two months old now, which I guess marks the amount of time that it has taken me to get into the swing of things and get organized enough to pop on here to share the news. Of course, by now, most of you already knew all of this, but several of you have expressed that you were excited to read my next blog post. I’m guessing this is not for the news, but more for the story behind the news. So here it is:
If you have been following this blog, you know that I had a very anti-climactic due date. The day came and nothing happened. The nothing-happening-ness lasted for a full 7 days until I had to go in for an ultrasound to determine whether I would need to be induced. As it turned out, I was getting low on amniotic fluid, so the doctors determined that induction was necessary. Since I was already 3cm dilated, I was told that I would be induced that day, and that I would not be going home until I had my baby. Even though I had been waiting for this day to come for what felt like an eternity, the news that I would be having the baby that day came as a huge shock. I did not really leave my house that morning thinking that the next time I would come home would be with my daughter. Also, J was at work that morning, so I think that receiving this news all by myself compounded its emotional impact. In the next few hours, J arrived, we settled into our room, and we had some pre-induction lunch (taco wraps!). The nurses told me that the induction would start at about 3pm, and that people react differently to the petocin, but that if I was lucky, I would have the baby by the next morning, if not definitely by the afternoon the next day.
A note on labor and expectations: I should pause here to say that throughout my entire pregnancy, my hope was that I would not have to be induced. I had heard that the pain caused by induced contractions was much stronger and much more intense than natural contractions. This is partly because when the body goes into labor on its own, there is a natural progression in the pain, whereas when it is induced, the intensity of the pain increases much less gradually. I had also heard that because of this, women who are induced are much less likely to give birth without the epidural – something I had been hoping to try.
Anyhow, all this to say, that I really had to let go of any expectations I had had, and be open to whatever experience I was about to encounter. As I had been told many times, you can hope and plan for your perfect labor experience, but at the end of the day, you really do not know what is going to happen, and you have to be flexible. So flexible I was. I consciously let go of any hopes and expectations surrounding the experience, and decided to embrace whatever was about to happen – because really, what matters most was that I would soon (God willing), be meeting my baby!
The induction (a petocin drip) started at about 3pm, and the dose was gradually increased every half hour. J and I would go for walks in between. My doctor came in the room at 5pm only to see me chatting and laughing away with J and my dad – meaning, still no pain and no labor. It is at this point where he said to me “I am going to come back at 8pm, and if you are still laughing then, you won’t be after I break your waters”. Eep – ok. Sure enough, my doctor came back at 8:00, and I still had not experienced any pain. So, just as he had promised, he ‘broke my waters’, and almost immediately the contractions started – and boy were they intense. They were not joking when they said that it would not be gradual. My doctor said that he would be back at 11pm to assess my progress. At this point I was still 3cm.
I labored for a few hours with the help and support of J and my doula, and at around 10pm, the pain just became unbearable. I had been coached to breathe in between contractions, but at this point, the pain had become constant; I felt the same between contractions as I did during the contractions. It is at this point where I wanted to give up. I couldn’t bear it anymore – I asked for the epidural. I was exhausted and was foreseeing another 10 hours or so of this pain. Not to mention that I had been told that morning that my baby would weigh around 9lbs! Little did I know that I had just entered the ‘transition’ and most intense phase of labor that comes just prior to the pushing. The nurse then came in to tell me that the anesthetist was in surgery and that I would have to wait until he was finished to get the epidural. At this point, I honestly did not think I was going to be able to do it, and I wanted to give up and back out. But I couldn’t. There was no choice – had to keep going. THEN, at about 10:45pm, as if the baby knew I had reached my limit, I felt her coming. I remember yelling “SHE’S COMING” and having everyone gather around me shocked and excited that everything was happening so quickly. The nurses instructed me on how to push, and I have to say, I was terrified. I felt the same way that I felt that morning when they told me I wasn’t going home until the baby was born. Anyhow, it ended up being only about half an hour until I was holding little Madeleine in my arms, and felt more joy than I had ever felt in my entire life. The feeling of holding her on my chest after that whole experience, and after having carried her for all those months, was surreal and so miraculous. After all the little twists and turns, I had the most amazing and empowering birth experience, and little Madeleine had such a beautiful beginning to what I hope will be an even more beautiful life. J and I are still in awe of her and we are just loving staring at her and watching her grow. More stories coming soon!