Our little princess surprised us totally out of the blue 8 days early! Her birth was everything I ever wanted it to be and I couldn’t be happier. I’ll be telling my story with lots of detail so if you are turned off by that, you’ve been forewarned. Here is how the day went…
I woke up around 4:00 a.m. to go to the bathroom, as was the norm during my pregnancy. I went back to bed and instead of falling asleep like I normally did, I was suddenly wide awake and didn’t see sleep anywhere in my near future. I eventually fell back into a light sleep only to be awoken by what I would describe as menstrual cramps around 5:00 a.m. I got up again to go to the bathroom and noticed, even in the dim light of my Scentsy, that there was some light bleeding on the toilet paper. Well this looks like something could happen soon! Trying not to get too excited, I went back to lay down since there was really nothing else to do.
Of course I definitely couldn’t sleep at this point, so I grabbed my phone and started searching the internet. My mom and I were supposed to go to mass and get manicures but as I laid in bed and listened to my body, I had a feeling those plans were not going to happen. By about 6:00, the cramps (which were actually contractions) were picking up in intensity so I decided I’d take a nice leisurely shower. Because we were having a birth photographer, I had big plans to do my hair and makeup in early labor so that I would look and feel good. Those plans were thrown out the window when I finished my shower and ended up on the bathroom floor, on my hands and knees, yelling for my husband to come time my contractions. As I sat there on my hands and knees on our bathroom floor, Aron actually said “What do you think is going on?” to which I replied (trying not to be too snappy) “Umm, our baby is coming, that’s what’s going on!”
When we timed the contractions, they were lasting anywhere from 1-2 minutes and were anywhere from 2-4 minutes apart. Things felt pretty intense at this point so I called my mom to let her know what was going on. My husband called my OB to fill him in and see when we should go to the hospital. I was starting to doubt my ability to have a totally natural labor at this point so I was a bit worried. Knowing I wanted to labor at home as long as possible, I couldn’t believe it when my doctor said “Now would probably be a good time to head into the hospital.”
Aron ran around the house grabbing last minute things as I bounced around on our exercise ball and worked on breathing through contractions. It was getting harder to talk and focus and I was so worried we’d get to triage and I would only be dilated a few centimeters. This was intense! Would I really be able to birth like I wanted to? I know I prepared for it, but I had no idea where I was in the journey. We finally hopped in the car about an hour after calling my OB and headed to the hospital. Luckily we live about 8 minutes away, so I knew we didn’t have to be in the car too long.
We had to go through the ER first and it was crazy trying to sit there and answer questions and sign a few papers. I even preregistered! Someone from labor and delivery finally came down to take us upstairs and we headed to triage. They wanted me to give a urine sample…really?! I just couldn’t go! I turned on the water, tried some squats…no such luck. The nurse finally said it was okay and I got up on the table to be checked. It took a few minutes as I worked through the contractions but I made it up there. She asked me a ton of questions!! I thought I’d just be there all day answering questions. Why didn’t they ask this stuff on the preregistration forms?! That sure would save some time.
The OB resident finally came in and said she was going to do a cervical check and assess my progress. That was totally uncomfortable. It was the first one I had since I opted out at all my prenatal appointments. She looked at me, looked at the nurse and said “She’s a 7, let’s get her into a room now.” 7 centimeters?! I couldn’t believe it! Now my confidence totally surged again. I could do this! I was so close to the end already! They asked if I wanted the room with the tub which was music to my ears since they told us on the tour they only had showers in every room. My dream had been to have a water birth or at least labor in the water so I was even more excited at this point.
I walked down the hall to the room with Aron, my mom and our birth photographer in tow. I couldn’t believe this was all happening so fast. I was nervous and excited and feeling pretty good. I leaned on the bed and kept up with my breathing while they filled the tub, which seemed to take forever. I was so excited to get in that water! All of a sudden, I felt that wonderful transition nausea hit me. I told my mom and she rushed around trying to find something but my body had other ideas and the floor got it. After that, I felt more relaxed and the tub was almost full. The nurse helped me get in and it was heaven!
I labored in the tub for about an hour or hour and a half. I’m not sure how long because I truly had no sense of time. My mother-in-law showed up by this point so everyone who would be present for the birth was there. Well, except for my wonderful OB who was rushing to get to the hospital. Laboring in the tub was so relaxing and wonderful. I enjoyed that last bit of time with my daughter inside me while I prepared to bring her into the world. The nurses and Aron took turns bringing me water and I sipped away and occasionally made small talk. Mostly though, I was in my own little world and didn’t care at all what was going on around me.
Not too long later, I felt all that pressure that precedes pushing. I’ve heard some people say they didn’t know when it was time to push but there was no doubt in my mind! It was a lot of pressure and I told my nurses I felt like I had to push. One them came over and checked me again and I was at 10 centimeters. I was almost at the end of this journey and ready to meet our baby girl!!
They called the OB resident and told me Dr. Cavallo was pulling into the parking lot. When he got into the room, he still couldn’t believe how fast I had progressed. I love the fact that he let me push in the position I felt was comfortable, as opposed to just the traditional laying down with legs up in the stirrups. I did a few good pushes kneeling on the bed and Dr. C asked if he could break my water as he had a feeling I would deliver her any moment. Although I wanted no interventions, at this point I didn’t see a big problem with it and figured I would save everyone a trip to Sea World by letting him break it for me instead of while I was pushing One of the things that helped me not have any tearing (thank God!) was Dr. Cavallo using lots of oil and doing perineal massage as I was pushing. By helping the tissues stretch out while I was pushing, I avoided natural tearing as well as an episiotomy.
I eventually did end up pushing on my back and even though I thought I would hate it, I got some good pushing done in that position. Everyone in the room was cheering me on and telling me they could see her head. After just a few more pushes, I looked down and saw my daughter’s beautiful face. It was the most amazing sight!! Before I knew it, her whole body was out and they were placing her on my chest. The emotions I felt at that moment were indescribable. It was so surreal that she was actually here. Aron and I shared a kiss and he told me how proud he was of me. It was so fantastic to have our little family.
After some time bonding together and enjoying the moment, Dr. Cavallo helped me prepare to deliver the placenta. It was very easy compared to delivering a baby! It was a great, healthy looking placenta but I was bleeding a little more than Dr. Cavallo wanted to see. He pushed on my uterus to try to get things clotting and that was definitely not enjoyable! Talk about tender. I finally had to get a shot of something to stop the bleeding and within a few minutes, all looked well. We called our doula to come pick up the placenta for my encapsulation and enjoyed settling in as a family. One of the things I really love about the hospital we delivered in was that they don’t worry about doing all the exams right away. The most important thing is for mom, dad and baby to bond and everything else can wait. She wasn’t weighed and measured until she was well over an hour old. She was 6 pounds, 9 ounces and 19.5 inches long…and absolutely perfect!
It was amazing how good I felt after the birth. Natural birth is such an amazing high! I was able to get right up, walk around and go to the bathroom. I also felt such a great sense of accomplishment for bringing our daughter in to the world exactly the way I wanted. I had so many people doubt me and tell me that there was no way I’d deliver naturally and that I’d be begging for the epidural. I can now say (trying not to be too smug, of course) that I was able to deliver naturally and I will do it for any and all children I have. It’s all about preparing yourself mentally and knowing what is important to you.
Our little Nora is two weeks old today and I can’t believe how fast the time is going. It’s wonderful to see her grow and change every day. She is such a little princess and we couldn’t be happier. I feel so blessed to have her here with us and for the doctors and nurses who helped make her birth such a wonderful experience for me. I also couldn’t have done any of it without the unending support from Aron, who was my rock through everything and always supported and believed in me. I could not love my husband and my daughter any more!
Here I am with Nora on what would have been my due date or exactly 40 weeks pregnant. She was already 8 days old.