This is something I’ve been meaning to write for mmm… well… 5 years now I suppose since little man just turned 5 last month.
Misael and I got married in August 2012. I was on birth control for about a month and decided it wasn’t for me. I wasn’t very health conscious at the time, but I had read enough that I knew I didn’t want to be on it. We hadn’t really made a plan on where to go from there, but we both wanted kids and I really wanted them sooner rather than later.
The next month I was feeling super off and sick all the time. After a few weeks I went to the clinic and they diagnosed me with Lyme’s Disease. I did a months worth of antibiotics, went back for my check up with my doctor and got a flu shot. (The last vaccine I’ll ever have)
They told me I was fine but I was still having symptoms of Lyme’s. It was late November at this point.
About the same time my period was supposed to come, I went to the gym and tried to run on the treadmill. I hadn’t been to the gym in years, but I was running 2-4 miles a few times a week since the summer. So, I went to the gym and was literally dying trying to run at all. I remember thinking to myself “I’m either dying or I’m pregnant”.
We picked up a pregnancy test on the way home and I took it first thing in the morning. They say they are more accurate early on if you take them in the morning. I still remember Misael’s half asleep face when I told him it was positive. “Really?? Oh my goodness, no way!”
I had never been to an OBGYN before and didn’t really know what I was supposed to do next. I found one that was in my health care group and called them for an appointment.
I was feeling good, a little nauseas, exhausted and peeing a ton.
I went to my first appointment at about 5 weeks pregnant. They confirmed I was pregnant. Went over routine questions and that was about it for the first appointment. I still remember the one question they asked that I thought was so rude… “Is this a planned pregnancy?”. I suppose its just a routine question, but I found it so irritating. And I kinda feel like that was the entire tone of this pregnancy from the OBGYN. Just routine. Just a pregnancy. Just a baby.
But its not. A baby and a pregnancy is such a gift. Such an honor. Every baby is special and unique, along with the mother that is carrying that precious baby. Whether its 5 weeks old or 42 weeks old. Its no different. Its still the same perfect little baby, that has such a purpose in this world.
I was 23 when I got pregnant. I was still relatively young to be a mom, I was very uniformed about my body and was just beginning my journey to health and nutrition, moving away from the standard American diet.
I continued to have OBGYN appointments every 4 weeks, then 2 weeks then every week. They all felt routine. I didn’t feel special. I didn’t even feel like I was remembered from week to week. The practice I was in had 4 OBGYN’s and 2 Midwives. I definitely connected better with the midwives, but I still didn’t feel special, or even like they really truly cared about me. They would ask me the exact same questions every week and wouldn’t remember my answers from the week before.
My pregnancy was very textbook. Nauseas, tired and hungry. Nope, scratch that, starving. After the first trimester I was constantly hungry. Yes, so hungry that I gained 70lbs! I’m 5’11” and I was 170lbs when I got pregnant and around 240lbs when I delivered him. I still have about 10lbs to lose, 5 years later. Mhm, don’t believe them when they say you are eating for 2.
In the last few weeks leading up to his birth I started getting stretch marks. I think around week 37. Those last few weeks go from being “okay I’m big, but its manageable” to “I have absolutely nothing to wear and I am ginormous” gaining 1-3lbs every week. That last month is brutal. Even driving was too much.
I went into pre-labor around 7pm when I was 39.5 weeks pregnant. We went to the movies and I could not sit still. I had to get up to go to the bathroom a few times and I was just so uncomfortable I could no longer sit in the theater. Good thing it was pretty empty and we sat in the back row. I wasn’t having any contractions I was just indescribably uncomfortable.
We went to bed that night trying to decide on a name for baby boy, but nothing sounded right.
I woke up the next morning around 9:30, got out of bed and was annoyed cause I had peed myself. I went to the bathroom, got cleaned up, and my mom came to check on me. As I was talking to her I started peeing myself again, which we both quickly realized that actually my water had broken.
I called my OBGYN and talked to a nurse. She said since I wasn’t having any contractions I should come in around 2pm. Misael was at work so I called and told him to come home at lunch time.
I took a shower, finished packing up my hospital bag, and headed to my mom’s house. She made me scrambled eggs and toast. As I was eating I started getting a few contractions. Painful enough that I needed to focus on them, but still very inconsistent.
When Misael got home we grabbed my hospital bag and headed to the OBGYN office, which is only about 5 minutes from our house and the hospital is only about 10 minutes. I remember sitting in the waiting room for at least 10 minutes with all the other women there just for routine visits. I was having contractions more regularly now, and they were starting to get painful, and just sitting in the chair trying to act like I wasn’t in pain was pretty awkward.
We were eventually called back to be checked to see if I was indeed in labor. I met with the nurse first, she hooked me up to a machine to monitor contractions. Then we waited again for the doctor to come in. She confirmed I was in labor and told us to head over to the hospital.
We got to the hospital and I immediately just felt so uncomfortable. I’m a very shy, quiet person, I don’t like attention to be on me. The nurse brought me to my room and gave me my gown. I got dressed in it, got “settled” for a little while and she came back to ask me like 1000 questions. My mom was there at that point too which was nice.
After she left I just remember thinking “okay, what do I do now?”. I asked for a birthing ball and walked the halls a little bit but I was just felt so out of my element. It was just me and my husband and my mom. The doctor wasn’t there. The nurses checked in every once in a while.
I didn’t go to any birthing classes. I just knew that I wanted a natural birth and kinda thought that it wouldn’t be very painful because my mom did it so I could do it. I had watched a lot of videos on breastfeeding and felt prepared for that, and even though I thought I was prepared for labor and delivery because I thought of myself as tough. I was not.
With no real understanding of what labor is like, I wasn’t mentally prepared for how painful it is when your mind is not in control.
When we first got to the hospital and I was experiencing mild contractions I remember telling my mom “I wish dad was here so he could tell me stories and distract me”. When he got to the hospital around 6:30pm, my mom told him that, and he tried to tell me some stories and I couldn’t even concentrate on what he was saying.
My contractions had been getting stronger, but I wasn’t progressing quick enough for the doctor. I believe I was at 5 or 6cm at 6:30pm. She wanted to put me on pitocin because she was afraid an infection would set in since we were nearing the 12 hour point, where in a hospital setting, they like to have the baby out by 12 hours from when your water breaks.
Because I had no real knowledge of labor and delivery and how it all works especially in the hospital, we went with what the doctor said. In hindsight, I probably would have said no to the pitocin and I wouldn’t have been just laying in bed. I do feel like progressing 5cm over the course of a few hours was quite a bit of progress, but its all so different when dealing with hospitals and doctors.
Oh boy, let me tell you, when that pitocin kicked in my contractions went from 9 to 25 on a 1-10 scale. I was screaming like I was dying and kinda thought that I truly was. Once the contraction was over I was basically asleep, and then another one would start and I’d be screaming all over again, just wishing they would stop. I had a new doctor now because the other one’s shift was over and as I was coming off a contraction I remember her saying to me “You know you don’t have to be tough, you can have some pain medication.” as she laughed.
The worst pain of my life, and I was being made fun of.
I’m super thankful that my friend was there to take photos because she is also a labor and delivery nurse. 9:30 came around and I was in so much pain and I remember her asking me “do you feel like you need to push?”. I didn’t even realize what my body was doing, but she recognized it and she went and got a nurse, because yeah there was no doctor or nurse in my room with me.
The doctor came in and and checked me which I remember being the most bizarre feeling. She confirmed that I was at 10cm and ready to push. I was so out of it that I honestly don’t remember a whole ton of what happened next because I was just so focused on contractions and pushing. So again, thankful for my friend being there because she filled us in on what happened, no, the doctors did not tell me that my baby almost died.
As I started pushing, his heart rate started dropping, drastically. More and more people filled the room, getting ready for an emergency c-section.
The doctor gave me an episiotomy and within three pushes he was out. I am very thankful for the doctors skill and that she allowed me to push. While I was pushing I had no idea that he was in danger. It was only afterwards that I found out, and again, not from the doctor.
I didn’t get to hold him right away, they had to check him out and make sure he was okay. My husband held him first and then I got to. I don’t remember having an overwhelming feeling of love right away, I think I worried too much of what other people thought of me. That feeling of always being in control of my emotions and not letting anyone see what I’m really feeling. Glad my kids are doing a pretty good job of teaching me emotions are good and okay!
Anyways, I remember holding him that night, after everyone left and it was just me and Misael. Holding him and crying. Wondering how on earth anyone had more than one child when it feels like that, all the emotions of almost losing him starting to sink in. Feeling like I had been hit by a train and thinking that I would protect him always from everything that I can.
The next week was hard recovering. My entire body was swollen. My chest was sore, everything was healing. None of my clothes fit. I didn’t feel like myself at all. I remember wondering why no one told me it would be like this. That it would be so hard and so painful. I knew birth didn’t always go as planned, but I didn’t expect it to be that hard. I couldn’t even sit down.
But it was all so worth it, the next few days and weeks and months were some of my favorite in my entire life. Bonding with my new little baby. Loving on him. Changing his diapers and nursing him around the clock. I think that because my labor and birth were so difficult it just made me love him all the more, and made our bond even more special.
I’m so thankful for my little Finley who made me a mama. My sweet, kind hearted, hard working now 5 year old.
Also – I dropped my phone in a toilet when he was 5 weeks old and lost all of his baby pictures except for a few from family, the ones I took on my big camera and the ones we had done professionally. 😦