By now, I feel like I’ve told this story about a thousand times. However, I promised a birth story, so you’re going to get one! I should preface this post by saying that I am going to get into some potentially TMI territory, but what’s the point of sharing a birth story if I don’t talk about the good, the bad, and the gross, right?
About three weeks before my due date, I started developing PUPPS rash. My pregnancy had been pretty chill/easy, but this rash is no joke. It itches more at night, and the only real cure is giving birth. Perfect. For a few weeks, I spent my days icing my belly and trying my hardest not to scratch my belly and make the rash worse.
At first, my doctor wasn’t too concerned about it, but by the time I reached my due date, the rash had spread to my legs, so my doctor decided that inducing my labour was the best course of action, given that my baby was already fully cooked. My doctor examined me, and I was already about 1cm dilated, which was good, apparently. We scheduled for the next day.
The following morning, after a pretty sleepless night (I was excited/nervous!) Kane and I took one last “family of 3” selfie with Pablo, got in the car, and drove to the hospital.
For the first hour and a half, we were mostly just waiting. I’ve been to the maternity ward at my hospital before, so it was kind of strange to be there and note the difference in atmosphere due to COVID-19. The halls were empty. There was no one in the waiting room. The usual happy, buzzing vibe was replaced with a whole lot of silence.
Later, they got me prepped for an IV and examined me again. At this point I was almost 3cm dilated—another good sign. The doctor explained that they would be bringing me to my room, where they would break my water and give me oxytocin to really get my labour going. I should note that at this point, I wasn’t really feeling anything, except the itch from PUPPS rash, and the general discomfort of being as huge as I was.
Okay, so let’s discuss my water being broken.
As it was explained to me, once my water was broken, it might feel like I was peeing myself. The nurse also said that I would continue to leak said water until I gave birth. When they first broke my water, I definitely felt a “gush” of some kind, but it didn’t feel like pee. I did have a few SERIOUS leaks, the first of which caught me completely off guard, and was actually really funny. The weird thing about having your water break, is when it does decide to gush out of your body, there is nothing to clench to make it stop, like you would if you were holding a pee. You just have to let it happen to you. Fortunately, my bed was lined with many an absorbent sheet or pad, and there were wonderful nurses who came in to change them, ’cause that shit was non-stop.
Now for the less funny bit: contractions. As far as I’m concerned, contractions are best described as the worst period cramps you’ve ever experienced, multiplied by 1000. They are unrelenting, to the point that I found myself negotiating with the nurse to see if there was any way they could dial down my meds to lessen the severity of my contractions. Of course, that wasn’t going to happen.
Something I didn’t know about contractions (but most people might—I don’t know) is that when they say you’re having contractions “every 2-3 minutes,” what they mean is 2-3 minutes from the start of one contraction to another. That was a shitty thing to learn the hard way. I laboured for about 4 hours, unable to talk, or even open my eyes.
While I think I could have held on a little longer without an epidural, it occurred to me between mouthfuls of ice chips, that there was no logical reason to delay getting an epidural. I wasn’t participating in some sort of contest, and I sure as hell wasn’t going to receive any sort of prize for waiting longer, so I tapped out and asked for the epidural.
Getting the epidural didn’t hurt at all, but it felt like it took forever, because I was having to sit through contractions the whole time. It’s not really easy to sit still through that sort of pain.
By the way, for anyone who has never experienced this before: EPIDURALS ARE AMAZING.
Other moms had told me before, but I didn’t understand just how great they were until mine finally kicked in. Suddenly, labour was near relaxing, and I was able to lay down, speak, and hang out with Kane again. I also had a catheter in at this point, so I didn’t really have a choice but to hang out in my hospital bed.
At this point, not a whole lot happens. I spent a lot of the next few hours very concerned about potentially tearing or pooping during child birth (apparently, I had nothing to worry about, at least where poops and tears were concerned). The nurses made me change positions a bunch, ’cause it seemed that the baby was very particular about what side I slept on. It also looked like I was making good progress, in terms of my dilation, but by around midnight, 12 hours after my water was broken, I still hadn’t reached 10cm. I thought that they’d give me some more time, but instead, they made the decision to do a c-section to get him out.
Maybe it was hearing I’d have to undergo the one procedure I am most terrified of, or maybe it was all of the medication, but immediately after hearing I was about to have a c-section, I puked.
I was wheeled into an operating room just after midnight, and prepped for surgery. I still felt a little sick, but there was no time to take a break. I was surrounded by doctors, nurses, anesthesiologists, and I had to be told Kane had entered the room, ’cause I was completely unaware. The only thing I could focus on was how much I was shaking. Apparently this is totally normal, but it still freaked me out, and I couldn’t control it. I tried to keep my mind off of what was happening to me south of the curtain they put in front of me, but at some point, I got the sense that it had started, based on how my body was being moved on the operating table.
Maybe it was all of the medication, or maybe it was the sudden realization that we now had a whole ass baby to raise and care for, but just as the baby arrived and Kane was called over to meet him for the first time, I puked again—and a lot. I puked lying down, mid-surgery, and all over my own hair, face, and life. I did get to catch a glimpse of Kane and the baby before that happened, though, which was nice. At this point, I got pumped up with Gravol, which made me drowsy as heck, so there are no immediate post-op photos of me with our new baby, ’cause it was all a fucking mess.
The rest of the story, I already wrote about HERE, so you can read that too, if you want.
All in all, labour and giving birth was a surreal experience. Kane was an amazing partner, and managed to be so chill for all of it. Having to tackle our first night alone was pretty stressful, and I would be lying if I said I didn’t shed a few tears, but we got through it just fine. It also made being reunited with Kane the following afternoon all the more wonderful.
Now here we are: a family of FOUR!