Real Birth: M’s Arrival

M’s Arrival

Mama: Rebecca S.

Stats: 7 lbs., 13 oz.

Type of Birth: Vaginal

Birth Location: Hospital

Primary Care: Obstetrician

In the morning, four days before my due date, I felt a slight PMS-like pain. It was mild and barely noticeable, but I had a strong feeling the baby was coming soon.

That whole day I was paying attention to my contractions but they weren’t uncomfortable or time-able until later that night; I could feel the contractions but the pain was so mild that I couldn’t feel distinct starting and ending points to time them.

From around 10-11 p.m., the contractions became intense, and I started timing them. To distract myself, I decided to put the finishing touch of the nursery — wall decal stickers. Yes, yes, I’m a procrastinator.

Around midnight or 1 a.m., I had to stop to breathe whenever contractions hit, and some of them were only five minutes apart. I managed to finish the wall decal, and started watching a movie while sitting on an exercise ball. I found the bouncing movement really helped alleviate the discomfort of contractions.

When my contractions were consistently five minutes apart, I called the hospital and they asked me to wait for the on-call OBGYN to call back.

But soon after I called, the contractions became three minutes apart and very uncomfortable, so I told my husband, who was playing StarCraft II (an online computer game) with his buddies, to grab the bag and go. He told his buddies that we were leaving to have a baby, and we left for the hospital. By the time the OBGYN called back to give us the go-ahead to come in, we were already halfway there.

We checked in and got situated around 2:30- 3 a.m., and my contractions were still three minutes apart, but I was only 3 cm dilated. The staff estimated that it would be at least another five to six hours before pushing because, on average, the dilation progresses 1 cm per hour.

They also told me I could have an epidural right now since my contractions were so close, but I chose to wait until the pain became unbearable.

I asked for an exercise ball, and sat on it while reading a book on my Kindle.

I was doing really well until all of the sudden my water broke, and within seconds, my contraction pain went from a five to a ten on a pain scale. There was enormous pressure on my lower back and I felt like all my intestines were going to shoot out from my rear. It threw me off guard and I started screaming. I wanted an epidural.

The anesthesiologist quickly came in. He told me not to move during the procedure which would take about ten minutes. I freaked out after hearing that. How was I supposed to stay absolutely still throughout contractions when they were just three minutes apart? I started crying and I guess that was how he got the impression that I had zero pain tolerance, and gave me an extremely high dosage even though I kept telling him to err on the lighter side.

The procedure turned out to be smooth. He just paused, leaving the needle in its place whenever my contractions were about to hit. My contractions were regular so it was easy to predict.

In hindsight I don’t understand why he made it sound like if I moved a bit he would’ve poked the wrong nerves or punctured my spine, and that he would continue pushing in the middle of a contraction.

After he was done and taped the needle, it was around 5 a.m., two hours after I checked in, and at that time I was dilated to 7-8 cm.

Everyone was amazed how fast I progressed and I thought I could push soon, but I fell asleep soon after. I woke up around 6-7 a.m. in a panic because I couldn’t feel anything, couldn’t even move my legs the slightest. I thought the epidural might have stalled my progress, and asked the nurse to turn the dose down. She kept advising me against it so I didn’t insist.

My contractions were still three minutes apart although I couldn’t feel any of it, not even the slightest pressure, which the nurse thought was strange.

Fast forward a bit, at around 7:30 a.m. the nurse announced that I could start pushing. She said it usually took about one to one and a half hours to push and “you’ll have yourselves a baby!”

You’d think after 9 1/2 months of pregnancy I wouldn’t be surprised by it, but my husband and I exchanged a look, and we both felt surreal about it as if we didn’t expect it at all; at the same time, we were both surprised that we were surprised. It was the oddest feeling.

At any rate, I started pushing even though I couldn’t feel anything thanks to the epidural. At first the nurse told me I was pushing correctly, but after half an hour there was no progress.

The doctor came in to examine me, and she said, “Whoa, your epidural is so strong that I can practically do a cesarean section on you right now. Why did they give you so much? You’re not pushing with the right muscles…”

I was beyond pissed at that point at the anesthesiologist. The doctor decided shut down the epidural completely, and even with the epidural off I still couldn’t feel anything for at least half an hour.

In the end, my total push time was about two hours, and for hours after the labor I still couldn’t feel much of my lower body— that’s how strong the epidural was.

But nothing mattered as soon as I saw him.

It is impossible to describe the feeling. It was beyond surreal to see a living, kicking, crying baby knowing it’s out of my body. It was probably more of a shock to me than to my husband because he got to witness the crowning and the whole pushing process.

To me, the baby literally materialized in front of me out of nowhere. I exclaimed, “WOW, he’s sooo small!” But the doctor told me he’s big, probably 8 pounds.

He measured 7 pounds and 13 oz., a pretty decent size for an Asian baby.

When they put this wet, gooey, squirming thing on my chest, I didn’t know what to do with it. I just stroked his little arms while he wailed and screamed, contesting why he was brought into this strange cold world.

I fell in love with him instantaneously, in spite of his Simpson-looking cone head. The bond was so immediate and strong it made my heart ache. I’ll never forget that moment.

So there you have it, my birth story. At that time I couldn’t get over how “horribly wrong” my epidural went. But after reading many other birth stories, I realized that I had a great, smooth and fast delivery.

The uncomfortable part of the labor started around midnight, it was only unbearable for a few minutes before the epidural, and the baby was out around 9 am. If the epidural hadn’t been so heavy, I probably would’ve had the baby an hour earlier, but all in all it was a short labor for a first-time-mom.

If you are a first-time-mom and are worried after all the horror stories your friends can’t stop telling you about, rest assured that many first time moms have quick and smooth labors. You just hear about the horror stories more often because that’s what people love to talk about.

Be prepared for the worst, but hope for the best.

I’m going to have my second birth in a few weeks, and this time I’m putting my foot down for a lighter to average dose of epidural, no matter what they tell me. Well, if I’m fortunate enough to escape a c-section that is. My husband and I didn’t cry when we first met our boy, but this time I’m fairly sure I will, knowing how much I’ll love this little fellow, and that it’ll (probably) be my last one.

2 Responses to Real Birth: M’s Arrival

  1. Pingback: Real Mama: Rebecca S. | Mama Say What?!

  2. Pingback: Isaac's Birth Story Mama Say What?! | Mama Say What?!

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