To say the least, my pregnancy with Daphne was not an easy one. I guess the fact that I had severe morning sickness through the entire 40 weeks didn’t help. Nor did my decision to spend three months running around Italy and Greece without my husband. Food was the hardest issue the whole time. I often had a desire for a particular food, which was then no longer desirable once it was in front of me. The month of July was especially hard on my husband and I. I remember that we spent well over $600 on food that month trying to figure out what I could eat. This dilemma continued for the duration of the pregnancy. There weren’t many days that I didn’t spend time in front of the toilet losing my lunch…or breakfast.
Needless to say, as the months rolled on and we actually made it to February (March 4th was her due date), we started to get anxious. Right after Valentines Day, I got the idea in my head that I really wanted to have the baby, and I was starting to get anxious. By the end of February, I was convinced that she was never going to come out, and that I was going to be one of those women that would have to be induced at 3 weeks past the due date. We tried everything we could to get labor started naturally—everything except castor oil (yuck).
On February 28th, Jared and I were talking a little nap together, and I got up and decided that it was time for me to make the baby come. I took our little Pug named Flaff and decided to go for a walk. I wasn’t planning on the walk being really long, so I didn’t put socks on in my shoes. Nor did I have protective rain gear because the rain was really only mist, and I wasn’t going that far anyway. I ended up walking about 5 miles. My feet were bleeding so much that my shoes had turned red, and I was soaked through. My trusty dog was tired, and had the look in his eye that he gets when he thinks he has walked too far and wants to be carried the rest of the way. When I was still 3 miles away from home, one of my friends drove by and saw me. She scolded me for being so pregnant and walking in the rain and gave my wet dog and I a lift home.
I spent the rest of the night telling my husband that it was absolutely hopeless to get the baby out and the “walking” method to start labor didn’t work well. We went to bed, and I woke up at 12 AM with mild contractions that were exactly 5 minutes apart and that lasted for 60 seconds each. This is the classic time to head into the hospital, but I was not convinced that I needed to call the midwife just yet. I called her the next morning, and we spent the day going back on forth with her telling me to relax and to call her when the contractions got stronger. They stopped at a few points and then turned on again, but they never really seemed to develop into anything. We went through this for two days. I was intent on having her on the 3rd of March, and ironically, I woke up on the 3rd with intense contractions. They continued through the day, and I was convinced that “this was it,” but it never really turned into labor. I again went to bed discouraged, and I woke up at 1am with intense contractions that were 5 minutes apart and that lasted 60-90 seconds. I called my midwife and she told me to go into the birthing center at 4am.
I woke Jared up and convinced him to help me clean the house while I took a shower. Then, we headed down to the birthing center. Jared was swerving through the streets trying to miss all the potholes. I was just happy that the cops weren’t out or we would have had one of those “my wife is in labor” scenes.
When we got to the birth center, they took a look at me and told me that I was still only 1 cm dilated. They gave me the option to go home or to stay, so we decided to stay. Jared and I climbed into bed and worked through each contraction. They became even stronger, and at 8am, we asked them to check again. I was about 3cm, which was quite a bit of progress. We decided to jump into the birth pool so I could relax in the warm water between the contractions. Jared trustily sat by my side the whole time getting me everything that I requested. By about 11am, I was checked again and I was 6cm. That was excellent progress. I was convinced that she would be born by dinner.
However, things took a turn for the worse. The contractions got to be much, much stronger, and when they checked me again at 1pm, I was still only 6cm dilated. At 3pm, I still hadn’t made any progress, and I was clamoring to go to the hospital where I could get some pain medication. We decided to stay, and I made slow progress until about 10pm when I was again checked and told that I was at 9cm. We decided to try to break the water and see if that would make any change. I was terrified to try it because it was possible that the contractions would change into pushing contractions rather than dilating contractions, and I wasn’t ready for that.
Shortly after my water broke, the contractions did change. They felt different, but I didn’t feel the urge to push. My midwife suggested that I give it a try in a different position, so we gave it a try. I sat backwards on the toilet holding onto bars on either side of me with Jared slamming his knees into my back with each contraction. It hurt like hell, and it didn’t feel right, so after an hour—I gave up. We decided it was time to try to head to the hospital and get some additional help from some pain medication because I was exhausted as it was, and the baby wouldn’t make it out safely at the rate we were going.
Of course, they wanted me to come by ambulance, so we called the ambulance and waited for them to come. The fire truck came first, and tried to ask me questions while I screamed about how much pain I was in. When the ambulance finally did come, I pushed the man aside and sat in the back. I refused to be put on the stretcher. They went to the hospital and dropped me off. They went the speed limit with no sirens or lights and gave me a full liter of liquid in an IV on my way.
When we got there, we were wheeled into a room, and things moved fast. They tried to check me before giving me any medication and it hurt a lot. I screamed and they got the anesthesiologist to come in and start an epidural. I’m the natural-birth kind of girl, so I was feeling very discouraged about this, but I knew it was the only way to get my baby girl out of me safely.
It turns out that I was not 10 cm anymore, but that I had gone down to 8cm, so it was necessary to use drugs to jump-start my labor and get me to dilate before I would be able to push her out. This took from about 1am until about 5am. Eventually, we started talking about me starting to push, and I got into it. It took a lot of describing exactly what to do for me to get the hang of it. I was doing it wrong before, and I hadn’t been fully, fully dilated. When I got the hang of it, it started to make a lot of sense.
I pushed and pushed and pushed. They told me that I was making progress, but I didn’t feel it. I started to get extremely tired. It was to the point that I would fall asleep between contractions and wake up when they started again. At the 4-hour mark, they told me that they would let me push for a little longer, but that if there was no progress that we would need to discuss other options. At that point, we decided that it was best to go ahead and help the process along with a c-section. After we made the decision, my little girl went into distress, and it really scared me. They wheeled me out of the delivery room and into the OR quickly.
The anesthesiologist was very nice, and he took good care of me. The team moved fast, and they had me cut open before my husband was at my side. Before I was convinced that they had cut me open I heard them talk about being ready to get her out, and I heard her cry only seconds later. They cleaned her off and brought her over and put her cheek to cheek with me before giving her to Jared. It was beautiful to see him walking around the room with her, even though I was so nauseated and reality was so far away.
They finished sewing me up, and we went to a recovery room where Jared, Daphne and I got to know each other. She started nursing right away, and wouldn’t quit, which I was glad to see.
Eventually, we went to a room where we would spend the rest of the recovery. This is where the birth story ends. The story in the hospital was a whole new adventure. It started with the epidural breaking right after the surgery and progressed to me being given so much pain medication that I was sent into a heavy drug trip. It was an experience I will never forget, but my husband was by my side the entire time watching over me and keeping me safe. Then there was the fact that I was holding on to our amazing little bundle that I wouldn’t let go of.
This is not the birth story that I was expecting to write at all. I was looking forward to a natural water birth that would go smoothly and easily, and I have to admit that I am still processing all of the things that happened. Jared tells me every day how brave and amazing I was while I contemplate being a wimp. At this point, I don’t know that it matters anymore. The only thing that matters is that we have our amazing little daughter with us now and that we are starting off our life as a family.