With a relatively conventional pregnancy (except for an extra rough first trimester), I was hoping to have a textbook labor and delivery experience. What I had, however, was one for the books.
March 10, Monday – 36 weeks and 4 days
I felt contractions that were a little more intense than Braxton Hicks that I’ve been feeling more than 5 times a day. I started recording the times I had contractions. How exciting!
Later that night, I felt hourly contractions that lasted the next day, but remembering the 5-1-1 rule, I waited it out – at work. I felt like waiting at home would be a waste of my leave hours. It’s funny how everyone but me and Nino was freaking out.
My ever-loving co-workers constantly had their eye on me, especially when my contractions grew closer to 10 minutes apart. My in-laws panicked when they learned I was having contractions yet we had no plans of going to the hospital. That’s because we didn’t want to be sent back home. So we waited some more.
March 12, Wednesday – 36 weeks and 6 days
I saw my doctor that morning, because my contractions were still going consistently at 10 minutes apart. I’m in fact in early labor, already 90% effaced (my cervix has thinned out) and barely 1 cm dilated.
She put me on leave already because my contractions have been regular and I have started dilating very slowly, saying we may have the baby within the next 24 to 48 hours. OR NOT. The contractions stayed at 8-10 minutes apart for 10 more days. That took “SLOWLY dilating” to a whole new level.
March 20, Maundy Thursday – 38 weeks, prenatal checkup
My prenatal checkup revealed nothing new, except I’m a little over 1cm dilated. My contractions were apparently not strong enough to dilate the cervix. It was so frustrating – I’ve been in early labor for almost two weeks! It seemed dilation and effacement measurements weren’t indicative of anything, even with constant contractions.
I started to prepare myself for this to continue up to my due date (2 more weeks). The eviction notice I sent my baby won’t really work - he has the final say, and there was nothing we could do about it.
That night, however, I felt extra pain during my contractions. I told Nino it felt different, that maybe that was IT. But I decided to try and sleep through it.
March 21, Good Friday
7:30 AM: I woke up realizing I successfully slept through my contractions and that they were now 5 minutes apart. Time to go to the hospital? Maybe not, because I was told that active labor contractions are too painful to sleep through, so I ignored it. Nino decided to go to work.
9:30 AM: LOTS of blood in the bathroom. It could well have been my mucus plug, but even losing that may not mean I’m delivering soon. Anyhow, I thought it better to be seen at the hospital. Nino immediately drove back from work to bring me to the hospital while I calmly completed some last-minute packing, just in case we weren’t going back home that day.
10:30 AM: I was admitted! I was 3cm dilated already. It seems the pelvic exam from the day before induced labor. My nurse told me that I can ask for an epidural anytime I wish. At that point, the pain was still bearable, so I decided to wait.
12:30 PM: 4 cm. Not much progress in 2 hours, so we agreed to artificially break the bag of waters and have Pitocin (contraction-inducing drug) administered a couple hours after.
4:30 PM: 9 cm. I dilated 5 cms in 2 hours. No wonder the pain was already that intense – I was in transition labor and I didn’t even know it, so I asked for an epidural. Surprisingly, I remained very calm even before I was given drugs -- no screaming at Nino or spraining of his hands. Thanks to our Lamaze class and my high threshold for labor pain.
5:00-ish: My nurse, Nino and I started “practice” pushing – I pushed constantly while my nurse counted to 10. It was meant to bring the baby low enough to crown before they called the doctor (who, unfortunately, was not the OB-GYN I was seeing my entire pregnancy). After a couple practice pushes, I started to bleed more. Each push made blood squirt out, making my nurse a bit worried.
The doctor and another nurse came to check if the placenta was intact. It turned out to be ok, saying the bleeding could’ve been coming from a tear INSIDE. It got me a little worried, but I was determined to get this over with.
After a few more pushes, a lot of blood and a whole lot of hard work, the baby was crowning. This was it! I was going to see my baby!
5:38 PM: One last humongous push and Milo was finally out. I was surprised when they said he was out, because I only did one push, when I was expecting to push for the head first, then push for the shoulder next. I guess I pushed hard enough to let him slip right through!
They wiped my blood of my baby and handed him to me for our initial meet-and-greet. The baby nurse took him to the warmer to do his first vital checks with Nino watching while the doctor stitched me up (I apparently needed an episiotomy). As soon as he was semi-clean, they bundled him up and Nino got to hold him and show him to me.
We tried nursing during that first hour, and he latched right away. Thank God! After a few minutes of nursing, they took him to the nursery for his first bath.
At that point, I was seeing double, literally. My nurse told me to rest and eat a little of my dinner, so I did. I managed to take a few naps and eat most of my dinner, but I was still woozy. I apparently lost a lot of blood – I was on “borderline,” said my nurse. My full bladder wasn’t helping the bleeding, so I was asked to pee – no such luck. They had to place a catheter in me to get my pee out, a full bag of 1200cc.
10:00 PM: I was still in the LDR/Recovery room, under observation. I was jealous of my husband who got to see the baby longer and be with him in the nursery. I only saw a couple of videos Nino took, but I guess that was better than nothing.
11:30 PM: I was finally sent to my room to meet my Milo, 6 hours after delivery. The wait was worth it. I finally have my baby!