“If I am thinking correctly,” said Pooh, “a new baby is probably, undoubtedly, the grandest gift that could ever be.”
With seeing so many cute-as-a-button posts of newborns on my feed lately I thought I would share my birth story. I remember the long days before my delivery I had fun reading these, trying to mentally prepare myself for the moment we would welcome our little guy into the world. One thing I learned – every birth is different.
So here goes… My contractions started at midnight on the morning of Tuesday February 21st. Now they were mild, but I was sure they were the real deal because they were pretty consistently 6 minutes apart. I waited in bed for a while timing the minutes in between each contraction with a handy dandy app. I didn’t want to wake my husband, Ben, until I felt like I needed to. Around 4 in the morning the contractions became about 5 min apart. I was getting a little anxious here because we live about an hour away from the hospital and I was led to believe at four minutes you were supposed to head to the hospital. I called Labor and Delivery and was informed that is was at two minutes I was supposed to go. Two minutes! I was so disappointed and in shock thinking that surly if I waited that long I would end up one of those people who give birth in the car on the way down. But I stayed calm and continued to monitor.
At about 5 AM I woke Ben and let him know I had been counting contractions and that he could sleep some more while I went out to the living room to watch TV. He promptly got up instead and put on the third movie of Twilight. (We had just got all the movies the day before and had watched the first two.)
At 7 AM I had Ben call my mom to tell her I was in labor. Apparently, I was too excited/nervous to call myself. She came over to our house (my parents live down the street) and asked how I was doing. When I told her my contractions were about 4 minutes apart she asked why I was still home! With her labors, the longest was about 4 hours. If only I had inherited THAT awesome gene!
I really didn’t want to head to the hospital and be turned away so we decided to wait a little, finish the movie and casually get everything together. That didn’t happen. I didn’t wait for the movie to end because let’s face it, I am not patient.
My mom followed suit about a half an hour after us and planned to meet us there. I was examined around 9 AM and was so disappointed to learn I was only 1 cm dilated. I had been having contractions for 9 hours, what was up?! I informed the Dr. that I was planning on having a natural birth and was told that I would not be admitted at only 1 cm dilation. I left super irritated and very aware the contractions were getting more and more painful.
Not wanting to go all the way home we stopped by Wal-Mart picked up a work-out ball and a massage stick (which did NOT work well I have to say) and went to my in-law’s house to labor for the next 7 hours. We walked, I tried bouncing on the ball, I tried to eat a spicy burrito (I had no appetite though), and Ben was trying to be as supportive as he could. All my labor pain would build and radiate into my back, I finally got to the point where I couldn’t even look anyone in the eye during a contraction so I decided I was going to be admitted no matter what, so off to the hospital once again.
Upon checking in at 4PM I was at only at 2 cm, but could be admitted. Wanting to go through with a natural birth I was told to walk the halls for an hour. An HOUR?! I took to scooting down the halls, hanging onto the wall and Ben.
This is when I remember Ben saying, “After this I will take you for one of those huge margaritas, Tori.” And me thinking, “I am never getting pregnant again!”
My mom found us in the halls, offered a few words of support and went into our delivery room to wait. I don’t know if it was the thought of trying to basically crawl down the halls for an hour or the pain that pushed me to ask for the Epidural, but something did and I was set up soon after the request was made. The Epidural was not something I wanted. I was scared for a myriad of reasons including the effect on baby and the possibility of being paralyzed. I still to this day feel a little ashamed of myself that I opted for it, but at the same time also am so thankful that I live during a time where this is available.
Moving on, I don’t remember the exact time line but my Dad and sister came to visit, and I was focusing on trying to rest but found that I couldn’t. I was not progressing in dilation so I had my water broken and was given Pitocin. With the Epidural, you are supposed to change your side laying position every couple hours or so, but in my case, baby’s heart rate would drop when I was on my left side. So for the duration of my labor I was laying on my right side. This caused my right side to feel like a brick and contractions to happen on the left. The birth was still not progressing and even seemed to go backwards when I went from 6 back down to 4 cm. Why?! I was taken off the Pitocin and soon felt as if I were becoming more dilated but only got to around 5 cm.
This is when my birth experience took an unexpected turn. I had not been able to sleep since I began feeling contractions so I was exhausted. I think it had to be late morning of the 23rd, around 5 nurses rushed in. They checked the monitors and told me it looked like I would need to be getting a C-section. They thought baby was a little crooked and not able to fully descend down the birth cannel. What?! This was NOT on my birth plan. I honestly didn’t really pay attention at the birthing class during the whole cesarean section. I was devastated, tired and scared for baby and myself. Luckily we weren’t at the point of emergency but it seemed inevitable. I cried with my mom, made the decision with Ben, signed the papers and we got ready for surgery. This included my Epidural having to be redone (yikes!) and getting wheeled into the surgery room. This was a surreal moment for me. I had such a different idea of how my labor would go and it seemed that all I wanted or hoped for was thrown out the window. I was so tired I felt like I was just an onlooker – not the one that was going to have major surgery in just a few moments. With me staying on my right side the whole labor, my left side wasn’t numb anymore. I was freaking out thinking I would be able to feel everything during the surgery. But thankfully we had an awesome Anesthesiologist and surgeon. They would crack jokes and even asked us what song we wanted to have playing for our sons birth day (which was of course a song by the Turnpike Troubadours – one of our favorite bands).
Music started and the team got to work. Not to scare anyone and I don’t know about everyone else but the process of extracting our little human from my abdomen was a little more painful than just the slight “tugging” feeling they kept telling me I would feel. I could describe it as what it would feel like if someone was trying to pry your muscle open – which was what they were doing. Did this happen to any of you? Thankfully this only lasted about 5 minutes.
Benjamin Garbani Mellott came into the world at 3:17PM February 23rd, 2017 weighing 7.13 lbs and 20.5 in long. Ben was so amazing during the birth. He actually watched the whole thing when I thought for sure he would have fainted! Thank you to the Anesthesiologist who told him he “didn’t want to miss this moment” and urged him to peek over the curtain. (I wish I could have watched because I think anything surgical is super interesting. I wonder if anyone has done this… I even asked to see the placenta after and the nurses looked at me like I was crazy. Maybe just a little.) Benny was placed on my chest and I looked down for the first time at the little miracle God gave us.
All-in-all my birth story consisted of 36 hours of labor, an unplanned Epidural, an unplanned C-section a couple of exhausted new parents and one beautiful baby boy.
A heartfelt thank you goes out to the amazing midwives, nurses and operating team that helped us every step of the way. It takes a special soul to be such a caring professional that helps families go through the most stressful but greatest moment of their life.
Going through labor has given me a new outlook on how amazing we women are. I mean, of course I’ve always known this but really – I Am Women Hear Me Roar! After this experience I wanted to go around giving every mama a high-five. So here’s that virtual high-five! You are A-M-A-Z-I-N-G! And those who have gone through a unmedicated birth, you are warriors! Lastly, to all you mamas – whether you have had a natural delivery, cesarean, medicated/non-medicated or have adopted to bring your little one into your life, I applaud all you. And remember you’ve got this!
Thank you so much for reading our story! Benny is now much bigger over at Benny Boy Monthly.
I hope to be posting about my post-pardum experience in the hospital soon, so check back!