LABOR & DELIVERY
J’s arrival: …the pull
I woke up at 9:00 a.m. (yes, isn’t life before kids a blissful place of its own!?) with a start. I felt a certain feeling in my lower abdomen that I have only been able to describe as a “pull“. This was two days before the due date. I got up and went to seek Aaron out who was in our den, working (he worked exclusively from home). “Today’s the day,” I told him. Then turning toward my mom who was in the kitchen, I said the same thing in Konkani, my mother-tongue, who then repeated the same to my dad who was by the balcony looking out at the snow.
The contractions started around 2:00 p.m. Slowly. Almost painless, just not the most comfortable feeling. Then they started gradually building up. Still not a problem. I was going about my day which was basically just hanging out in the big La-z-boy and playing Jigsaw Puzzle on my IPad app. Ate a normal lunch too. At 4:00 p.m., Aaron came and sat next to me while still working at his laptop. I would squeeze his hand every time I felt a strong contraction because by this time, they had started becoming rather painful for the time that they lasted. In between the contractions, I was my usual normal person – something that freaked my mother out. One minute I was squirming my face in pain or breathing really hard and the next minute, I was like “hey mom…what’s for dinner?” – not literally but you get the point. I was also answering and writing work emails and grading students’ papers.
By 7:00 p.m., I was at the point where I could barely take it anymore. The contractions were coming fast and there wasn’t much relief time between them. At 7:30 p.m., I told Aaron to call the doctor’s page line and told my parents to get ready – it was winter time, getting ready took time. The doctor on call called back in 20 minutes – perhaps the longest 20 minutes of my life!! After checking off a list of questions, she said, “C’mon over to the hospital. Let’s take a look” – best sounding words ever!!
We left for the hospital right away at 7:50 p.m. and I was checked into triage by 8:00 p.m. exact. I was 4 cm dilated only but given how much pain I was in and the doctor’s consent, I was prepped for the epidural and administered one within an hour. After this, I relaxed, Aaron relaxed and so did my parents. I was in a better place. Getting the epidural was the best decision I ever made. I progressed well. The midwife kept a check on me and it was finally time to push.
Amidst watching the monitor for when I was contracting, the delivery nurse instructed me to push. Due to the epidural, I only very weakly felt my contraction and it was completely painless. I pushed as instructed, easing into the push in 10 counts that the doctor counted and almost exactly in an hour’s time, Baby J made his entry into this world.
E’s arrival: …and out she POPped!
The OB-GYN had given me a certain due date based on my LMP. My new OB in SJ, based on my ultrasound, gave me a different due date that was three days early Baby E missed the SJ doc’s due date. I was still in good spirits even though walking was getting a little laborious toward the end. The day before the second due date, all of us, including Aaron’s parents went to the Happy Hollow Zoo and Park and had a great time. We had Thai for lunch and proceeded home for a leisurely afternoon. I went to bed as usual around 10:30 p.m.
In the middle of the night around 2:00 a.m. or so, I thought I felt a sudden contraction but it was more of a weird feeling in the lower abdomen so even though I was somewhat excited, I didn’t let it affect me much. I couldn’t really sleep much after that because I was too anxious to know if that night was the night (or morning). Then, I guess I did fall asleep because I dreamed that my friend H and her family had visited us and we were all seated in a living room that was technically ours but did not look anything like it in the dream. H’s baby girl, M, looked at my belly and said something to which I feel like I replied, “No honey, that is a contraction” and I suddenly felt a “pop!” It was 3:30 a.m. I was wide awake and my water had just broken!!!! WTWWWW!!! I had only heard and seen on TV about women’s water breaking. Had no idea what it meant in reality. Now I knew or well…at least I thought I knew because this did not happen the last time. The midwife at my Chicago hospital had to manually “break” it.
I immediately and excitedly called over to Aaron and said, “Honey, I think my water just broke” Haha…such a filmy line!! I had always wondered how that might sound coming out of my mouth and it sounded beautiful. The surrealism of that moment is so precious and so embedded in my memory. Aaron jumped out of bed wide awake and stood for a momentary second not knowing what was happening but immediately regained his wakefulness and asked, “When?”. “Just now”. “Okay. What can I do?” “Get me a towel, please”. We were very, very excited!! I had no pain as such that was unbearable. I was able to breathe and talk. I had read that people have contractions before their water breaks. I guess I missed mine because I was asleep. Not sure but I was fine except walking while dripping/leaking was a little awkward. I only had mild contractions that were a little painful but more uncomfortable.
We drove straight to the hospital’s ER as had been told to if we arrived at certain times of the night/morning. As soon as the night security saw us pull up, she brought me a wheelchair and wheeled me in with Aaron following closely. We checked in at the hospital around 4:00 a.m. A male nurse wheeled me into L&D after we completed the preliminary procedures at check-in.
The nurse on duty in my room confirmed that there had been a rupture as in the water had broken. After that and other checks, I asked for an epidural. I was not in a lot of pain but I did not want to get to that point only for them to tell me “sorry, too late for the epi” since it takes some time to take effect. I got administered the epidural within 30 minutes of being there and the wait began. Like with Baby J, I was at 4 cms but progressed really well. Against my better judgment, they gave me Picotin but the quantity was really, really small so I accepted it after confirming multiple times that it would not have any adverse effect on the baby or me or future breastmilk. At 8:30 a.m., the delivery nurse said that I was completely dilated and if I wanted to push, she could deliver the baby. I said “WHAT! No, thanks.” The doctor, who still wasn’t there, also did not want the baby to come THAT early (if everything was a go, why shouldn’t the baby be born already!?) or maybe he was enjoying a leisurely Sunday breakfast with his family. For whatever reason, he simply told the nurses to reduce my Picotin and wait another hour. Why? Whatever.
I was Skype chatting with my parents at 9:30 a.m. when the doctor came into the room and got prepped. I hung up with my parents after his arrival and Baby E was born literally five minutes later. How I wished I had asked them to stay on the line!! They were in the hospital room with my mom to my side when Baby J was born (dad was sitting toward the side with his view of the birth blocked :)) This would have been similar to that but in a virtual sense. With Baby E, I only needed three pushes and the doc even stopped me midway through my third. These were gentle pushes too and out she popped! This time, Aaron got to cut the baby’s chord. Baby J had the chord around him so the doc had to immediately cut it with no time for Aaron to get in there. Since Aaron was a little ambivalent about whether or not he should cut it the first time, the decision was somehow made for him. With Baby E, he got his chance.
With both births, I had second degree tears. Thankfully (and one of my sincerest thank yous ever!) no hemorrhoids with the second one and a much, much quicker recovery compared to the first one. Read all about my Post-Partum Recovery Kit blog post here and if you are really stoked read my post: “I love my baby but I hate motherhood”