Updated: Jun 8, 2020
Here is the birth story of our first baby, our little girl.
I never imagined that I would be writing a blog about my childbirth experience and here I am. How life changes in such beautiful ways! This is not a cup of tea topic for everyone, but my best friend encouraged me to do it (because she loves reading these stories - LOL).
Coronavirus – COVID-19
First at all, having a baby during a nationwide pandemic COVID-19 is something I was not prepared for. I couldn’t have been. No one was. It crept up on us moving into the end of my third trimester. The virus continues to leave a level of unknown in the world, that certainly adds stress to something so critical as labor & delivery.
I experienced a lot of mixed emotions when my ob-gyn's office told me that my husband wouldn't be allowed anymore to come to my appointments (I was 37 weeks pregnant). We had a little tradition every appointment, we would go to the appointments and then eat my favorite breakfast plate; French Toast at IHOP. After having brought me to every appointment since my very first one (to find out we were having a baby – and on my birthday August 27), at 37 weeks this was going to be the first appointment that he wasn’t going to be able to do that (not even allowed to drive me, because I would have just been in contact with him).
At the same time, a part of me was relieved to know doctors were taking extreme measures to avoid contact and any risk. There are many parents worried and exploring options for birthing. Luckily, in the state of Virginia husbands have not been banned in the delivery room as of yet. They have security at the door waiting with hand sanitizer, mask, and an electric thermometer to take your temperature. Only mothers and one other person allowed in the hospital, no guests. You may not leave the hospital in-and-out, so once you are in you are staying there. The hospital is also trying to move patients in and out of the hospital quickly due to the virus, so if you don’t need to be there, they are gladly helping you with your discharge.
It all began around 3:00 am on April 15, 2020. I was 39 weeks pregnant, when I started to feel constant strong contractions (every 7-10 min for 30-60 seconds). Before this time, I didn’t even know what a Braxton Hicks contractions felt like (my doctor confirmed that I did in fact have them – they just never felt super uncomfortable). By April 16th, I was having contractions every 6 min for 45-60 seconds. So what ended up being my last scheduled OB appointment was on April 17th at 9:45am (the day before due date April 18, 2020). By Friday, April 17, 2020, I was starting to have contractions every 3-5 min for 60-90 seconds.
When I went to my OB appointment Friday morning, the doc told me that if I was continuing to have contractions, her guess was that I was going to be in labor that night (I was already at 4cm dilated).
Time to go to the hospital
After some heavy consistent contractions Friday night, I was unsure whether to go to the hospital at that exact moment or to wait a bit longer (my water had not broke). My husband calmly (calming me down for sure) told me he was going to shower and then he was taking me to the hospital. That made my decision pretty easy, thankfully we had been packed to go the whole week. We were off to the hospital around 11:00 pm on April 17th. We got to the hospital, they checked me in, and got me to triage to determine how far along I was. They put a monitor on my stomach to check on the baby’s heartbeat, and did a cervical exam to check my progress (still 4cm dilated).
After 6+ hours of having breathtaking painful contractions (every 1-3 min for 60-90 seconds) and water breaking in the delivery room, I was still at 4.5cm dilated (only .5 more). I was exhausted because the contractions were getting stronger every single time. I entered the hospital that night determined that I wanted to have a natural birth with no epidural, but I was really being tested.
Doctor recommended me to use pitocin to accelerate the process since my water had been broke for 6 hours and the amount of blood lost. Of course, with pitocin the contractions became way stronger, and that pain on top of those wasted hours that I had already endured. I held the pain for about 2 hours longer after the petocin, until I just asked for the epidural. I maintained my calm and controlled my breathing during the whole process.
Around 11:00 am, from nowhere the room was suddenly full of nurses and the doctor. The heart rate of the baby had slowed down very significantly. They put on me the respiratory oxygen mask. Baby’s heart rate was still irregular and at this point she was not in position anymore. The doc has the “talk” of things that could go wrong. Told me the possibility of doing a C-Section at the moment or to continue waiting (while increasing the pitocin doses).
I told the doctor I wanted to do C-Section (which was not in my childbirth plan) because the only thoughts in my head were, I’ve been waiting so long to meet my baby girl - I did not want any changes to this situation to lead to something else. I did not care about the marks/scars or recovery – all of these are superficial. Questioning myself – is it worth the risk? It is worth it to wait? To be honest, my mind went straight to thinking about the worst possible scenarios at that moment. At the end, it does not matter how my baby comes into this world, I just wanted to see my baby.
The Doc gave me some time to discuss with my husband, whom I told repeatedly my childbirth plan and my desire for him to keep me on track, especially in moments to take a decision. Our discussed childbirth plan included delivery method, medicines, emergency and even tough decisions like - if something happens which life he should save. I feel like these types of conversations are taboo in our society, but things happen and it is part of having a strong meaningful relationship with your spouse.
My husband and I decided to wait an hour (thanks to him). In the meantime, he went to grab a quick bite downstairs. It was Saturday 4:00 pm and he hadn’t eaten anything since Friday due to the craziness at the hospital since we got in Friday night. I was starving as well but you know pregnant women waiting for delivery cannot eat (rolling eyes).
At 4:34 pm, I texted him “Come upstairs, baby is there and around 9cm”- I couldn’t believe it, he couldn’t believe it.
Around 6:08 pm I had reached 10cm and started up my pushing towards the finish line. Coached by my husband – nurse said he was the only father she’s ever seen that actually did the breaths with mom LOL, he did every single breath/push with me until the end. After some good hard and efficient pushes during each contraction (three pushes per contraction to be exact), and relaxing breaks in between, our baby was out with roughly 50 minutes of pushing. I was feeling every single contraction as it came to me, and the head of my baby coming out. I really had a great experience with the epidural, its placement, and just the right about of effectiveness as a whole (for those wondering about the pain balance).
Connecting with my baby
She latched on to me right away, my husband cut the umbilical chord, and time stood still for just that moment. My husband standing by my side, my newly born daughter laying on my chest, and both of us looking down to her in awe (meanwhile the doctors still working on me – getting me cleaned up). What a special moment with tears filling my eyes.
Almost instantly, the entire labor experience felt like no big deal. Our little girl was there with us!!! I would go through the same or even harder process for her, just to feel that exact JOY I felt that day and continue to feel with her. It is a love and emotion where there really is no comparison. I was never someone who obsessed over ‘getting older and having kids’, but I must say I did love being pregnant. I was truly happy. The moment to see up close and personal that little human being that you created inside of you – IT IS a WOW moment.
I am forever grateful to my husband, my OB Doc, and the staff at INOVA Fairfax. This specific birth mission involved only these people. In this time of crisis we got in, got it done, and made it home safely with our beautiful and healthy baby girl. God is good.
Thank you for reading my story!
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