(Part 1 is here)
If you had asked me even a day ago, “Candy, where would you want to have your water break?” I would’ve never said “My friend’s house!” Just imagining the shock and the embarrassment of someone having to deal with your amniotic fluid was too much to even fathom. Little did I know, it was the best thing that could’ve happened.
My friend T had recently given birth 3 months earlier and sprung into doula mode. I asked for a pad, she handed me Depends. After spending a whole minute trying to decipher the front v. the back the Depends, I came out of the bathroom and handed me her phone with Tim on the line. He had left the party early to shoot a family session and was just on his way back to his car when his phone rings. The conversation on my end went something like this: “hii. umm, my water broke. yeah, i’m okay. yeah we should go to the hospital. i’m sorryyy.” We had just talked about today how we really really needed baby to stay in for 2 more weeks because his work was seriously nuts. I know it’s not my fault in any way shape or form that my water broke, but the water did come out of me. And I was really sorry for the timing!
T graciously left the party she was hosting and her baby to come home with me to pack my hospital bag (which was honestly on my to do list for the weekend). I grabbed TWO laptops (my work AND personal), chargers, a kindle, my phone, a change of clothes, toiletries, glasses, fuzzy socks, more Depends, slippers, nursing bras, HR forms, 2 going home outfits for W, a beanie for him and a swaddle blanket. We threw the uninstalled carseat into the backseat figuring I’d be in labor for a little bit of time for Tim to figure out how to install the thing. We make it to the hospital about an hour after my water breaks and head into the observation room. I immediately recognize the nurse because he gave me a shot 6 weeks ago to accelerate baby’s respiratory system development. He was so memorable because when he gave me the shot, he counted down (which I hate) and then said OUCH when he was giving me the shot. I was really confused because I thought he had hurt himself. No, he was just saying OUCH for me (?). Anyway, I tried to cut him some slack since he was a Cal Bear. Nurse OUCH attached some monitors on me to monitor baby’s heart rate + contractions while he did a pH test to see if my water really did break. The attending OB came into get a sample of my water to look under the microscope just to be extra sure. Meanwhile WES’ heart rate was thumping right along and my uterus decides to have stage fright and not contract. The microscope slide comes back positive. She said it was without doubt my water as it had crystalized the whole slide. The good news about your water breaking so dramatically is that it really speeds up the whole L&D process whether you are contracting or not. Since I was so comfortable and smiley, the doctors wanted to start me on Pitocin to get things moving.
6:00-7:45 We settle into our gorgeous L&D room. Ernest was with us and Tim’s parents swing by and bring over dinner for the boys. I even get dinner!
8:00-9:00pm – I say goodnight to my in-laws and my brother. My brother proceeds to spend the next 5 hours setting up the nursery with the help of awesome friends. Around this time I discover how awesome the ice chips at Kaiser are and can’t stop popping them in my mouth. IV is hooked up to me. I start receiving penicillin and pitocin. Nurse OUCH messed up putting the IV in my arm and had to put it in my hand instead. (At this point, this was the most painful part of my entire day)
9:00-9:30pm – I stop smiling. I start to feel the contractions. It’s such a weird pain to put into words. For me it was this dull yet intense pain that would start in my back and radiate to the front. I lay on my side and try to breathe deeply through each contraction. I don’t really make a sound so Tim continues to code on his laptop 7 feet away.
9:30-10:15pm – The contractions are getting closer and closer together. I believe at this point they were somewhere between 2 to 2.5 minutes apart. The nurse suggested that I stand up so he could apply compression pressure on my hips. This helped a lot. We did this for awhile. Each contraction was getting exponentially stronger. I asked the nurse how long did he think I was going to be in labor for… he said… “since this is your first…hmm maybe 11 hours.” Oh dear God.
People asked me if I hated Tim in that moment or said any expletive to him. I actually had no such feelings toward Tim. I did think “#%^! Eve” at least 3 times. (Let’s put blame where it really belongs right?)
10:15pm – Tim tells me while he’s helping me the bathroom, “Candy, remember you said there’s no point in putting off the epidural if you would get it anyway….” I love this man. We come out of the bathroom and tell the nurse, “We’d like one epidural please!”
10:15-10:40pm- We labor for a little longer and the anesthesiologist comes in and works her magic. Instant relief. They check my cervix for the first time that day. I was at 8 cm.
10:40-12:00 – I feel so good I’m playing on my phone again. There’s a change in nurses and I meet Nurse Kim who is going to coach me through my delivery. She asked me what I did and I told her I was a high school Biology teacher. She told me how much she loved her science teachers. She told me about one of her teachers who gave the best reason why they should care about school: “We (teachers) tell you that you have to do well in school so that you can go to college and have a future and make a decent living for yourselves… but I’ll tell you the real reason why you should do well in school. Have you guys ever met someone that was dumber than you? Do you remember how you felt talking to them? Remember how annoyed you felt and how you just wanted them to stop? This is why you try hard at school because you don’t want to be THAT DUMB PERSON.” It was pretty much the best sales pitch for doing school that I’ve ever heard.
12:00-2:00am – I force myself to sleep at midnight because I remembered that I still had to push this baby out. At 2:00am my nurse comes in with the OB resident. They check my cervix and I am at 10 cm station +3. Wait WHAT. What is this station business!! I had never heard of this on Baby Story! They quickly give me a 15 second explanation that amounted to basically woman your baby’s head is RIGHT there and it’s time to push.
2:00-2:15 – Nurse Kim preps me for pushing. She wants me to push for 10 seconds take a deep breath and go right back to it. She tells me for some people it feels like a bowel movement and reminds me to not worry about having a bowel movement. I start worrying about having a bowel movement.
2:15-3:02 – Pushing time! Since I wasn’t feeling the pain of the contractions and only the pressure, I felt like I had ample energy to push. every 2-3 minutes I would push, push and push. Nurse K kept telling me that I’m a natural at this and that my pushing is really good. This made me feel pretty awesome and it made me want to impress her more with my pushing skills. I told Tim the day after that pushing a baby kinda feels like this exercise we do at crossfit:
This is called the hollow rock. You crunch down on your abs making sure that there is no space between the floor and your back and then you rock back and forth like a bowl. It’s fun for about 2 seconds. It’s the most intense ab exercise I know of. Pushing a baby is like doing Tabata Hollow Rocks. Tabata describes the interval you would do – 20 seconds of rocking, 10 seconds of rest. And you would do this for 4 minutes for a total of 8 rounds. Now obviously it took me more than 4 minutes to do this “workout” but I did get to rest a lot more than 10 seconds in between each round.
I pushed and rested for about 40 minutes. I am encouraged by the fact that the whole team (baby nurse, ob and l&d nurse) was there for the last 20 minutes since that must’ve meant I was getting close. I scared my doctor a little bit because whenever I would push, they could not tell baby’s heart rate apart from mine. His would drop and mine would rise. They put in a little monitor on baby’s head to get a more accurate reading and we resume pushing. Not long after, my doctor had to do a little episiotomy and baby WES came out with the next push. He came out face down and quickly spun himself around to check out the world. This is us moments after.
And a couple hours later, our first family portrait as three.