Friday, November 9th
10:45am: “I wouldn’t be surprised if I see you this weekend!” my doctor told me during my 39 week checkup. We had been joking about wanting labor to happen that weekend because she was on call through Sunday and it would just be convenient for everyone, including my parents who were waiting for notice to make the drive from St. Louis. I was giddy and practically skipped out of the office and headed back into work to handle a few last things and pack my stuff up to be gone for the next 11 weeks.
2:00pm: I stopped at Whole Foods for some snacks and talked with my favorite cashier who has been so excited for me since she first noticed my belly. “Are you effaced?!” she asked and I told her, practically a stranger, the exact status of my cervix and she said “Girl! Go home and start walking.”
5:00pm: I took a bath and did some last minute baby chores and gave my parents the go-ahead to come out. I was on high alert for any sign of progress. Contractions started but were irregular; I had no clue what they meant or how they would pick up.
9:30pm: Dan and I went to sleep and were both awake a few hours later, only to stay awake anxiously pretty much the rest of the night.
Saturday, November 10th
8:00am: I started timing contractions. The goal is to get to 1-minute long contractions that are 5 minutes apart for 1 hour.
9:00am: We went out for coffee thinking we’d probably be going to the hospital later that day. Contractions were starting to become more regular, but not too intense yet.
2:00pm: My contractions got to the point that they were about 45 seconds to 1 minute long and 5-6 minutes apart for an hour and I told Dan I thought it would be soon. I took a shower and laid down before getting ready to go and… contractions pretty much completely stopped. I was demoralized and also just exhausted from not sleeping the night before and working myself up all day.
6:30pm: My parents arrived, we had pizza, and contractions started picking up again.
8:30pm: Contractions were becoming fairly regular and I thought we’d still be going to the hospital that night. Dan encouraged me to try to get some sleep and I almost didn’t change into pajamas because I thought we’d be leaving soon. But I got into bed and… contractions died down again. We both ended up getting a great night of sleep.
Sunday, November 11th
6:00am: I woke up feeling anxious but tried to convince myself things would happen when they were supposed to. If it wasn’t this weekend, that would be okay.
6:15am: I stood up to go to the bathroom only to realize that water was running down my leg. I told Dan and he said he would get out of bed in a little bit; “Yeah, it’s time now.” I told him before I got into the shower.
7:00am: We poured coffee to go, said goodbye to my parents, and headed out in the snow to go have a baby. I wasn’t having regular contractions so I wasn’t too uncomfortable or in pain which was much different than how I expected the drive to go. It was all so surreal.
7:41am: We walked into the Rose Babies floor and said to the security lady, “Uh, hi we’re here to have a baby.” Carrie, my favorite nurse of the whole stay, got us set up in a triage room where she confirmed that my water did break and they’d be admitting me. I still wasn’t in much discomfort and Carrie had us get situated until a L&D room and nurse were ready for us. We ate pancakes and tator tots and just kinda joked around with her and each other. Carrie told us things were starting to get busy on the floor and that snow brings babies. I told Dan “We’re definitely having a baby today! 11/11 is such a cool birthday!”
11:00am: We got moved into a L&D room with our nurse, Kelsi. I got hooked up so they could monitor my contractions which were picking up but still not regular.
11:30am: After talking with my doctor, I was started on Pitocin to get things moving. I didn’t have any real “birth plans” but I was hoping that I wouldn’t need Pitocin because I had read that it makes contractions more intense. But since the clock starts ticking once your water breaks, I trusted that it would be for the best to not increase risk of infection from a too-long labor.
2:00pm: Contractions had picked up and I got into the tub for some relief, still hooked up to the IV and being monitored. It felt as good as I hoped it would and I started feeling confident that I could handle this and that I was making progress.
3:30pm: I was hit with crazy intense contractions, one after another. I leaned on Dan, on the bed; nothing helped. Kelsi came in to do a cervical check and I had only dilated 1 centimeter after over 4 hours on Pitocin and these excruciating contractions. She told me that my doctor wanted to up the Pitocin and I said there’s no way we could do that until I got an epidural.
5:30pm: When I didn’t think I could take it any longer, the anesthesiologist arrived to administer the epidural. I thought this process would take a few minutes – he’d stick a needle in and we’d be good. They had me sit on the side of the bed, with Dan in front of me and the doctor behind me, and curl up into a ball while he taped up my back. As he was doing this, I’d have to work through each contraction, trying to be still. Finally, Kelsi said “We’re about to do what’s called a time-out. What’s your full name and date of birth? What are we about to do?” I grunted out responses and then he finally stuck the needle in. I wasn’t afraid of this but I was very wary of the numb feeling that an epidural would cause. After it was placed, the doctor stayed in the room for about 30 minutes monitoring me with each contraction to see how my pain level was decreasing. I could still feel quite a bit on the left side of my back and told him I thought it was okay, because I was afraid of getting too much of the drug, but he and Kelsi both encouraged me to get to the point of comfort now because it would only get worse as contractions went on.
7:00pm: Eventually, after some re-dosing, I was completely numb. Being able to see on the screen that the excruciating contractions I had felt earlier were still happening even though I couldn’t feel them was unreal.
8:00pm: We just waited. I couldn’t get out of bed and I wasn’t in pain, so I laid around texting people, watching TV, and listening to music. Just a normal Sunday night, eh?
9:00pm: I came to accept that we probably wouldn’t have a baby on 11/11. I willed my body to work faster.
9:30pm: Caitlin, a godsend of a nurse, did a cervical check and manually broke my water more. After that, I vomited and got the shakes and Caitlin told me that was a sign that things were really happening.
10:00pm: Caitlin was the second nurse of the day to tell us she definitely thought we were having a girl. Apparently, boys’ heart rate jumps around more during labor and girls’ heart rate stays more steady. In all the hours of labor, fetal heart rate was never a concern.
10:45pm: I got checked again and I had dilated 3 centimeters in the past hour and fifteen minutes and was to 9. Things were happening fast now and after being fairly bored for the past few hours, I was really excited for the action. Dan encouraged me to try to sleep for a little bit, but there was no way. I called our doula, Julie, in and told her the status and asked for her to join us to get ready for pushing.
11:15pm: Julie walked me and Dan through the pushing process. I need to push through my butt. Push with contractions. Count to ten. We practiced. She warned us that it could take anywhere from 20 minutes to 4 hours.
Monday, November 12th
12:00am: I vomited again. I told the nurse, Traci, and Julie that I felt weird. Traci checked me and I was ready.
12:35am: Dan was by my head, Julie was on one side and Traci on the other. It was time to start pushing. I didn’t know what I was doing. I just tried to listen to what Julie said and she told me I was doing a good job. I pushed as she counted to 10, took a quick break, and pushed for 10 more. It was exhausting and I had just started.
1:00am: My doctor arrived and I was already so tired of pushing and couldn’t tell if anything was even happening. I just wanted someone to tell me that it would only be ‘X more minutes.’ Everyone kept saying that I was doing good and to push through my butt and “don’t push in your face.” Each time, they told me to curl up into a crunch position, which Dan helped me do by supporting my back. The only word I said the entire time was ‘leg’ when I was ready to push and needed someone to hold me up.
1:10am: Another nurse arrived. With every new person in the room, I knew it meant we were getting closer. I pushed with all my energy. In between each one, they put an oxygen mask on me while I rested before the next push. I switched to doing counts of 8 three times with each contraction.
1:15am: I kept thinking to myself, ‘this is terrible.’ I’d look up at Dan and wanted to tell him that I was okay but I just didn’t have the energy to talk so I hoped he could tell from my eyes.
1:37am: There was a moment of calm and I heard my playlist and it was the song that I walked down the aisle to. I kept pushing.
1:39am: The head was out. And then the body. I was so, so tired. Dan said “It’s a boy!” and I couldn’t believe it.
After he was out, they immediately placed him on my body and everything was a frenzy. They patted him down over and over until he started crying. My doctor and Traci were still busy working on getting me cleaned up. I looked up at Dan and finally said his name: Max.
For the next two hours, nurses were in and out working on both me and Max but the three of us got some alone time too before we were finally moved into a recovery room down the hall to start getting used to life as a new family. The birth was everything I could have hoped for: healthy baby and healthy me. I feel incredibly fortunate to have had the experience we did and for the care we received.
From the beginning, Max has been so sweet and I feel like I was given exactly the baby I needed. We joked that he is such a good boy because he let us get a good night of sleep before we left for the hospital. We talk about how chill he is – during labor with his steady heart rate and now. Over the past two weeks of him being here, I’ve fallen more in love with him every day. We are so, so lucky. ❤