Malachi’s Birth Story
On May 25th, two days before my EDD, I was getting ready to go on my morning walk. I had been walking a lot during pregnancy, usually two miles a day. I really enjoyed my walks, and I wasn’t even waddling much. In fact, everyone was sure my baby would come long after my EDD passed because I felt so great and he hadn’t dropped. I actually felt like he was wedging himself up into my ribs higher every day. The night before, my mother-in-law said she thought it would be at least another two weeks and I agreed with her. I’d had some uncomfortable contractions a few weeks before, but they had stopped and had never been timeable.
9:30am. So I put my walking clothes on and headed to the bathroom because, as any pregnant woman knows, you better make sure you pee before you head out the door for anywhere. Especially on a walk where a bathroom is not close by. So I’m sitting there doing my thing and I felt a funny ‘pop’ in my stomach. The best I can explain it is that it felt like a balloon had popped inside me. I thought, “I wonder if that was my water breaking?” but I couldn’t tell if any fluid was leaking because, well, I was going to the bathroom. So I finished, washed my hands, and walked out of the bathroom to grab my water bottle and I started leaking fluid. In a split second I went from thinking, “Eew, I’m peeing myself!” to “I think my water did break!” My stomach instantly got butterflies and I started shaking because I was so excited. I decided to go to the bathroom and clean up and see what happened, but there was no cleaning up because I just kept leaking all over. Not a lot, but enough that I knew this was it. So I called my husband to tell him. No answer. No answer? What?! He always answers! Finally after fifteen minutes he called me back and said I should call the doctor. So I did and they had me check that the fluid was clear (it was) and didn’t smell bad (it didn’t) and then suggested I come in to be checked. But no contractions.
10:00am. My husband called me and said he was ‘speeding’ home from work. I said, “I’m not even having contractions! There is no need to speed!” Meanwhile, I was running around like a chicken with its head cut off because we hadn’t packed our hospital bags. I had made a packing list just the day before, but I hadn’t worried about actually packing because I was sure I had at least another week to go. So I packed up and we headed to the hospital, which was only ten minutes away.
11:00am. I had wanted to shower before we left, but Andrew said there was ‘no time to wait!’ Still no contractions though. We arrived at the doctor’s office (which is conveniently attached to the hospital) and they asked us to sit in the waiting room for the nurse practitioner, because my OB was out of town.
11:30. Now I’m getting mild cramping every 15-20 minutes, but nothing worse than during a period. After signing in and sitting there for 30 minutes, I began to feel a lot of pressure down there. I told me husband, “I have to get to a bathroom now, but I think if I move, I’m gonna gush all over!” I ran to the bathroom and as soon as I closed the door it did indeed gush all over the floor, my clothes, and shoes. Haha, I actually remember laughing and thinking, “How am I supposed to clean this up when every time I move more comes out?!” But I dried myself off as well as I could and, when I felt it was safe to move without another gushing of fluid, eventually came out of the bathroom. They gave me three huge puppy pee pads to sit on, and by the time the nurse came in I had soaked through them. She said, “Ok, now I’m just going to swab the fluid a bit to make sure your water broke… Ok, it sure did break!” Since I had been planning to go the natural route, I had every intention of staying home as long as possible to avoid intervention. And I knew they ‘give’ you 24 hours once your water breaks before they start pushing meds to speed things up. And at this point, I wasn’t in any pain or discomfort. So I said that I wanted to labor at home and when would be a good time to come back? And then I was given the “You’re not going home because it’s hospital policy” speech. So we walked over to the delivery level of the hospital and then we waited again. We had to wait to be checked in, and then we had to wait for a room, and I was getting impatient. I mean, I am a pretty darn patient person, but I just wanted to lie down and relax like I’d been practicing for weeks!
1:00pm. By the time we were in our room and getting settled I was having pretty constant cramping, but still no contractions. I found that laying on my side was the best position for me to really relax, and so I immediately hunkered down and tried to rest, knowing that I might have a long, hard workout ahead of me. I didn’t even change out of my wet clothes because I knew I just needed to be still and calm down. I was getting pretty excited and I could feel the adrenaline surging.
1:30pm. The absolute worst part of the entire hospital stay was trying to get my Hep lock in and then getting antibiotics for Group B strep. It took five tries, four blown veins, and two different nurses to get my Hep lock in and man I hate needles! Oh my stars, that was such a painful experience! Bleh. I don’t even like thinking about that. And then the antibiotics. Yuck. I had seen the nurse practitioner the week they normally test for Group B. I wasn’t tested, but I hadn’t been worried about it because I knew that test could be very finicky. But again, they played the “it’s hospital policy” card and told me that since I hadn’t been tested I had to have the antibiotics just in case. And boy was that uncomfortable! I could feel the antibiotics going into my arm and it stung, burned, and tingled, and was cold. All at the same time. And I had that for 30 minutes at least twice that I recall. And the best part? The day I was released my test came back negative! So I had to go through all that for nothing.
Afternoon. Besides the annoying antibiotics, I mostly dozed off and on throughout the afternoon and early evening. My contractions started around 2:00 and steadily grew in intensity. I found that it really was hard work to relax through the contractions and I had to actually focus on breathing. I am one of those people who like to tense up and hold my breath during pain, so doing the opposite was a rather hard task. At some point I begged the nurse to bring me something to eat. I hadn’t had anything to eat since the night before and I was starving! She brought me some Jello. Yum.
Evening. A pretty nasty spring storm was rolling through the area and there were tornado warnings and sirens going off around the hospital. I was sleeping again and I didn’t even hear the sirens until the nurse and Andrew came over to the bed and said we had to move to a safer room, one without windows. Now, normally, when tornado sirens are going off, I get a little freaked out and my adrenaline starts pumping. This time though, I was just focused on walking down the hall to the safe room (an OR). I know I read a lot about moving around in labor to help your pain/discomfort, but honestly, I slept though lots of the pain and I never wanted to move because I knew it would disrupt my breathing/relaxing concentration. Walking down the hall was a bit more challenging than I had thought it would be! As we were coming to the OR, another lady was being wheeled in and Brandi, our nurse, said, “This room’s ours!” and the other nurse asked, “Natural?” and Brandi answered yes, so they wheeled the other lady out. I wondered why I was getting priority and not being made to wait in the hall with all the other moms in labor, but I didn’t care much because I just wanted to get back in bed and relax. As the night went on there were different warnings that came and expired, and through it all I was getting more and more uncomfortable. I’m not sure about the time, although I do remember there was a clock directly in my line of view and I did look at it a lot and wonder sometimes that it was moving so quickly, and other times that it wasn’t moving at all! At one point I must have gone through transition, because I remember freaking out that I was about to have a baby and thinking that I was far too young! What had I been thinking?! I wasn’t ready to have a baby! Things would never be the same with a baby and I wasn’t ready for them to change. I don’t think I said any of this out loud, but I was definitely screaming it in my head! Eventually, I had them check me as the contractions were pretty intense, and they said I was ‘about’ a nine! Whew! Ok. So I had gone from 3cm to 9cm in about 7.5 hours. That really made me feel good because at that point I just knew I wouldn’t be having a long labor and the end was near! Over the next hour or so I was in a lot of pain, and I had them check me frequently, because I kept telling them I wanted to push, and then they would check and say not yet, but you’re doing great and you’re so close! Man, I was getting so mad at everyone! You can only tell me ‘soon’ and ‘almost time’ so many times before I start to feel like you’re just messing with me!
Pushing. Finally it was time to push and just like everyone says, pushing felt so good! It seemed to relieve and add (good) pressure at the same time. And I could feel my baby moving out. It was so insane. After a while it seemed to me that we weren’t making much progress, and that it was taking an awful long time, and then Dr. Box asked me if I wanted to feel his head. So I reached down and felt his head and I can’t even describe what I felt! The rush of emotions at touching his little head almost made me faint. And it made me determined to get him out so I could finally hold him! After touching him it only took two more pushes to get him out!
10:10pm. My baby was born and the doctor held him down low for a minute or two while we waited to clamp the cord. And then she placed him on my chest and it was the most awesome thing I’ve ever experienced. I felt like laughing and crying at the same time. I felt like cuddling him and running out into the hall and yelling, “Look what I have! Isn’t he just the cutest baby EVER?!” The pain? Completely gone. So. Weird. I was so high on hormones that I actually thought to myself that I could do that everyday, it wasn’t so bad! Heck, I even thought about making a joke that I felt like I could run a marathon, but I didn’t because my husband was looking like a ghost. And poor thing, he worked so hard to help keep me relaxed, and he had only had one meal all day, so he was tired and emotional too! Poor little Malachi had a lot of fluid in his lungs so they took him for a few minutes to try and help him cough it up, but other than that he was in Andrew’s or my arms once he was born.
Parenthood. After I was stitched up (I had 3rd degree tears) they wheeled me out to the hall (we had to stay there because there were still tornado sirens going off) and we just couldn’t stop starting at our baby! He was (and still is!) just precious. Eventually the storm passed and we made it back to our room and my parents arrived soon after that. Around 1:30am I felt really, really tired suddenly, and asked my sister to hold Malachi. I leaned my head back and closed my eyes for s second. The next thing I knew there were two nurses in the room and everyone was yelling my name! Apparently I had blacked out, but not before my eyes rolled back in my head and I made some weird noise that sounded like I was choking. Apparently my blood sugar was super low because I had only had a jello to eat in the last 24 hours, and I threw that up during transition, so basically I’d had some ice chips in the last day and that was it. And I’d just given labor and lost lots of fluid, and sweated a bunch, and basically had the hardest workout of my life. So yes, I needed some food. After a bowl of Cheerios, I felt much better. Eventually Malachi had his first bath, although I told them not to use soap because I loved the baby smell he came with! I didn’t want that washed away!
Eventually Malachi had his first bath, although I told them not to use soap because I loved the baby smell he came with! I didn’t want that washed away! We had a a pretty good hospital stay and all the staff was very friendly and supportive of our choices but I couldn’t wait to leave the hospital! I was not one of those moms who was scared to take their baby out, I was excited! I was done with nurses coming in and out at all times of the day and I was ready to flex my new mommy muscles!