We knew I was being induced on July 18th, so Grace’s entrance into the world wasn’t too dramatic or unexpected (the reason for induction was because she was measuring large and they just thought it to be best). The night before induction, we had dinner with my parents at one of our favorite restaurants in the area, Lucky 32. We talked about how much the following day would change our lives, we had an awesome meal, and we headed home to finish packing up loose ends and attempted to get to bed early.
Surprisingly, we both slept fairly well, though it did sort of feel like Christmas Eve when you are five years old. We woke up, got ready, had a quick breakfast, and snapped this last picture of just the two of us before heading out the door:
We had an early arrival time of 6:30am at the hospital, but everything was pretty seamless once we checked in. We did all of the hospital paperwork, and were soon our way to the delivery room.
Shortly after 8am, the nurse came in to start my IV. I’ve never had a problem with getting an IV before, but this nurse took THREE times to get it in. Soon after the IV was started, they got me started on Pitocin. Having Pitocin was not something I was interested in during my entire pregnancy, but when you’re being induced, there’s not much you can do about it.
The doctor came in around 8:45am to check me and to my shock, I was already dilated to 4cm. She broke my water, which was one of the strangest sensations, ever, and we all felt really optimistic that between already being almost halfway dilated, my water being broken and the pitocin, my labor would progress quickly.
From 9am – 11:30am, contractions increased, but it was manageable. My parents came by to visit before things got too rough, and just before lunch, I started to have extreme back labor, and couldn’t even focus on anything other than the contractions. It finally got to be too much and I asked my parents to go have lunch so I could be with my pain. The nurses warned us very early on that if I chose to go with an epidural, I’d have to have a full bag of fluids and that would take an hour. They basically told me to speak up sooner than later or I’d regret waiting.
Around 11:50am, I looked at Chris and said I wanted to start the fluids and get the epidural around 1pm. The back labor was completely excruciating and something I never want to experience ever again. The best way to describe it is that it felt like my back was going to split wide open with every single contraction – it was the most awful thing, ever. We called the nurses, they hooked up the fluids, and the contractions started coming closer and closer together. I think I had just under two minutes between each, but the pain was so intense that I felt like I had no break at all. The only relief I got was when Chris pushed hard on my lower back during each contraction, but it was still unreal. Around 12:30pm, the pain hit a fever pitch and I couldn’t see straight or talk thru them. (Since that moment, we’ve referred to all pain as “12:30 pain.”) Chris did an awesome job in those last thirty minutes, pushing on my back, talking me through each contraction, and counting down the minutes.
A few minutes before noon, the nurse came in and had me sit up to get prepared for the epidural and things went really quickly from there. The hospital did SUCH a good job of not making me wait, and literally, as soon as I sat up, I heard a booming voice enter the room and say “Did I hear someone in room 11 wants an epidural?!”
The whole epidural thing was basically a piece of cake after the back labor I was experiencing. Chris sat in front of me and held my hands throughout the whole thing which helped a lot. They gave me a local anesthetic to numb the area which was the most painful part. I did feel a big pinch at another point and I yelped, but otherwise, it was uneventful. While I was pregnant, I was afraid of a lot of the side effects of the epidural (headache, lingering numbness, etc), but ultimately, it was fine and totally worth it.
I was at 5/6 cm when I got the epidural, and I felt so much better once the pain subsided. Seriously, I wouldn’t wish back labor on my own worst enemy. We spent the afternoon napping, talking, watching tv and just relaxing. It was really just one big waiting game.
The afternoon flew by, and around 5pm, I was at 7cm. I knew that the transition period of labor was the shortest part of labor, and I was hoping that I’d progress from 7cm to 10cm quickly. But, when they checked me again around 7pm, I was only at 8cm, which was kind of a bummer. The doctor came back around 9pm, and I was hopeful that I was fully dilated and close to being ready to push, but, I was still at 8cm.
The doctor took a seat and had a pretty real conversation with us and said that we’d likely need to prepare for the possibility of a csection if I didn’t progress by the next time she checked me. We talked at length about why a csection would need to happen, and I won’t lie, it kind of sucked. It sucked to labor all day long only to end up possibly having to have a csection. But, we obviously wanted whatever was best for Grace, so we agreed we’d give it two more hours before making a decision.
The doctor came back around 11:30pm, and I was still at 8cm. ”Failure to progress,” my doctor said as I promptly threw up when she said a csection was in order. We signed consent forms, my parents came back to wish us good luck, and we prepped for surgery.
I don’t remember much other than feeling really relaxed going into the operating room. Chris was with me the whole time (with the exception of having to put on his scrubs), and the nurses were fantastic. I was a little freaked out about being awake during surgery, but the anesthesiologist were awesome in making sure I felt nothing before the procedure started. They kept telling me I’d feel a tremendous amount of pressure, but I never really did. It was never uncomfortable or scary, which I think made a world of difference. The worst part for me was the shaking that was a side effect of the medicine. I shook and shook and shook some more, but if that’s my biggest complaint, I think I had it pretty easy.
Chris and I talked the whole time, and after what felt like FOREVER, on July 19th, at 2:28am, we finally heard a wail come from the other side of the curtain. I’ll never forget looking at Chris, and us both getting wide-eyed and teary, knowing she was here. They called out her weight as 10 pounds, 2 ounces, and I exclaimed out loud “holy shit.” It all made sense why I failed to progress – she was too big and my hips were too narrow. Chris was able to see her off to the side once they took her to the warmer to clean her up and do her APGAR, and shortly after, he went over to meet her for the very first time.
This begins the hardest part of the whole process for me.
Chris was only a few feet away from me, but it felt like miles. Grace was calm and quiet, and I couldn’t see her, which was awful. I totally expected to be able to see her immediately after birth, and that didn’t happen. I remember asking to nobody in particular if she was okay, and I remember asking to see her over and over again. Finally, Chris came over with her, and he was able to introduce me to our daughter. I’ve asked Chris multiple times since that day how long it was between birth and me seeing her, and he says it was only about 5 minutes while they cleaned her up, but to me, it felt like an eternity.
I won’t lie. Having to wait to see her, and being strapped down to the table and not being able to touch her was impossibly hard. So much harder than I ever expected, and it’s something I’m still trying to be okay with. I’m so grateful that the csection was a positive experience, but that moment was so hard because all I wanted to do was hold her, and I couldn’t. But, she was healthy and okay, and that’s the most important thing.
While they sewed me up, Chris and Grace left the room to go to recovery, and about 40 minutes later, I was finally rolled in to join them. By that time, it was almost 5am, and we’d been at it for almost 24 hours, but we were all together, and we were a family. Oh, and I also got to hold her. :)
Immediately after the surgery was finished, they gave me some kind of medication that I had a pretty nasty reaction to, so the following six hours after the above photo was taken was spent throwing up every 15 minutes. Thankfully just after lunch that day, the reaction subsided and I started to feel like a human being again.
We spent that first day just in awe of our little girl. She is so perfect and so adorable, and everything we’ve ever wanted.
All in all, we spent four days in the hospital, including that first day laboring. We were supposed to be there an extra day, but we were doing so well that when we asked to leave early, we were allowed. And, I am proud to say that I did the entire recovery without any narcotics, just Tylenol and Motrin. It wasn’t easy at all, but definitely easier than reacting horribly and throwing up constantly from heavy medication (‘m the lucky one who reacts to all narcotics in a negative way). There was definitely a lot of pain and a lot of tears, but, I made it.
So that’s the birth story of Grace. We are so happy she’s here in our lives, and the past few weeks have been nothing short of amazing. It feels surreal to be writing this after everything we went through trying to get pregnant, and we just feel incredibly lucky and blessed to have this precious little girl in our lives.