Woohoo!! The Nugget has arrived! And as I suspected, Nugget is a GIRL! Naia Gabriela Beres was born at 8:20PM on March 10, 2016. Our healthy, happy baby girl weighed in at 8 lbs., 1 oz. and was 20 inches long.
So far things are going really well as a family of 3 humans and 2 fur babies! Instead of going into detail here, I’ll just pimp out my Instagram @stepbitestep and point you in that direction for updates and pics on how we are managing our new normal thus far.
The next couple posts, however, are going to be all about Naia’s birth story. I’m breaking it up into 2 posts because it’s gonna be kind of long, plus I’ll derive a little pleasure from leaving my 63 readers in the throes of agonizing suspense with a cliffhanger.
So for the record, this is Naia’s birth story and not mine. I went into the labor and delivery process having a few preferences, but my “birth plan” was to wing it and not have a birth plan.
Let’s start at the beginning. Prior to my due date March 10, I had zero signs of labor. Like, nada. I had been less than 1cm dilated for my 37, 38 and 39 week appointments, no contractions, not effaced at all and baby hadn’t dropped. Even my doc said I would likely go past my due date, and we set an induction date of 3/21 (41 weeks, 4 days). I was mentally prepping myself to be pregnant for an extra week and a half, and that I would likely be popping out a 10-pounder.
We took some maternity photos on the beach to pass the time in the week before Nugget’s due date.
Danon and I went to bed around 10PM March 9, and shortly after midnight I woke up having to pee. I went to the bathroom, finished peeing, and then all of a sudden I felt a little “pop” in my lower abdomen, and a little more “pee” came out. “Uhhhhh…did my water just break?” I thought to myself. I knew that amniotic fluid doesn’t have an odor, so (sorry, TMI warning), I wiped myself and sniffed the fluid. It still smelled like pee to me, so I went back to bed.
But about 10 minutes later I had to pee again (weird…). As I was walking to the bathroom, my water literally started pouring out of me. I ran to the bathroom, basically leaking like a fire hose all over the bedroom and bathroom and tried to process what was happening. I deduced that since my bladder had not been able to hold that much liquid since I was about 2 months pregnant, this was likely my water breaking. “Danon!”, I yelled from the bathroom, “I think my water just broke!”
Under doctor’s orders, I needed to go straight to the hospital if my water broke because I tested positive for Beta Strep B, plus I am allergic to penicillin; this meant I would need several rounds of antibiotics over the course of several hours prior to delivering Nugget. So after a quick shower, we grabbed our bags and were on our way to Orange Coast Memorial. I felt great at this point! We were both pretty calm given the impending events that were about to unfold, and I wasn’t having any contractions.
I was admitted immediately when we arrived (about 1AM) and the nurses confirmed that yes, my water had in fact, broken. I was started on my antibiotics and a pretty heavy dose of pitocin right away to speed labor along since I was not dilated at all, nor was I having any contractions.
The calm before the storm.
For the next 6 or so hours, I labored, walked around my room, called my parents and sister, chatted with Danon and the nurses, and just kinda hung out. It was about 7am when the contractions started getting pretty intense – they were about 5 minutes apart, loooooong (each contraction was about 2-2.5 minutes long), and every fifth one or so hurt like a mother, but I was doing my “yoga breathing” to work through the bad ones. Nugget was sunny-side-up, meaning she was head down, but facing upwards, which is not optimal for childbirth. (You want the baby facing downwards towards your butt, not the sky, when she comes out of the birth canal). A sunny-side-up baby also means you get to experience this glorious phenomenon called “back labor”, where the baby pushes against your tailbone during contractions and it vibrates pain throughout your whole body. The pain in my abdomen was actually quite manageable, but the pain in my back during a bad contraction…holy hell. I told my nurse that I would probably want an epidural in an hour or so.
About 10 minutes later I went to use the bathroom, and that’s when the contractions came with the thunder. I had about 5 or 6 agonizing ones in a row all one on top of the other while I was sitting on the toilet. I would like to take this opportunity to apologize to the laboring mother-to-be and her family who were in the room on the other side of our shared bathroom, as they were likely not too appreciative of me hollering, pounding on the bathroom wall and screaming “F%&K MEEEEE!” at the top of my lungs (true story). I stumbled out of the bathroom, told the nurse I changed my mind and I wanted the epidural “right f%$king now, please for the love of God, give it to me now”.
The anesthesiologist got there super quickly, and thank goodness because my life was one giant contraction at that point. I was yelling and crying in pain and Danon was being traumatized for the first of many times that night. The anesthesiologist stuck the needle in my back and wiggled it around a bit – and I screamed out in pain. It literally felt as if lightning bolts were being shot up and down my back. “OK”, he said. “Wrong spot”. Thankfully, he got it right on the second try, and the relief was almost instant.
And here’s where it was important that I was flexible with my “birth preferences”. I wanted to labor for as long as possible without an epidural, possibly even give birth without the help of pain meds. But that just wasn’t in the cards for me that night, and when it came time to make the meds v. no meds decision I said to myself, “Self…you are likely going to be in excruciating pain for at least the next 10 hours if you don’t get the epidural. And it’s only going to get worse as labor progresses. Plus you had a shitload of pitocin AND you are having back labor. Your contractions are on steriods. You want the birth of your first child to be a beautiful, empowering experience. It’s going to hurt, but your labor and delivery shouldn’t be ALL about the pain…which it will be if you go down this ‘unmedicated’ road. Bitch, don’t be a stubborn ass…get the epidural.”
After that, the nurse stuck a giant peanut-shaped balance ball in between my legs, had me lay on my side, and then rotate from one side to the other every hour or so. This could apparently help the baby to flip to the right position prior to her delivery. So I hung out here for a few hours, rotating back and forth. Danon slept a little; I tried, but honestly, I was way too excited to sleep. Nugget was going to be here in just a few hours!!!
Post-epidural. Life was goooooood, and I was too loopy and excited to get in any sleep. Little did I know that not at least trying to sleep would come back later to bite me in the ass.
But at about 9AM, the nurse came into our room and said, “OK guys, we have a little problem here. You’re OK, and baby is OK for now, but we need to start talking about the possibility of a c-section.”
Long story short, there was a whole bunch of stuff going on. My blood pressure was dropping to pretty low levels (about 90/40). Additionally, they could tell from the fetal heart rate that there was something going on with the baby’s umbilical cord. Every time I had a contraction, Nugget’s heart rate would drop below the “safe” level; this basically indicated that the cord was either wrapped around Nugget’s neck, or she was sitting on the cord in some way that when I had a contraction, it would compress the cord. At that point I was dilated about 5cm – and if she was not handling the contractions well at 5cm, she was not going to handle them well at 10cm, nor would she handle the pushing process well. A c-section was looking like the safest option for baby and I at that point.
Again…back to being flexible…a c-section was NOT how I wanted this to end. But at that point, I was faced with the possibility that if I continued down the vaginal birth road my baby’s life could be in danger…basically, this wasn’t about me and what I wanted anymore. I could deal with a c-section. What I wouldn’t be able to deal with is that if I decided to make it about me and the birth story that I wanted, then our baby could be irreversibly harmed. I listened to the nurse and accepted the fact that this might be how it goes…and truth be told, I was OK with it.
At that point, the nurses called my OB, and my OB told them that she really wanted me to deliver the baby vaginally, and to do the following: 1) give me a shot of ephedrine to get my blood pressure up 2) give me oxygen 3) flood my birth canal with saline, as I had lost a lot of amniotic fluid over the course of the past 9 hours. Plus it would create more of a “cushion” for nugget and the cord during the contractions 4) put an internal heart rate monitor on the top of nugget’s head 5) take me off the pitocin completely for a couple hours, and then start bringing the pitocin dosage back up very slowly over the course of a few hours to give me and baby a break from the intense contractions.
And so, that is what how we proceeded over roughly the next 8 or 9 hours. I was given the shot of ephedrine (which made my heart feel like it was about to bust out of my chest) and oxygen. A hose was shoved up my lady bits and saline was flushed into my birth canal and uterus; and as if that wasn’t enough fun going on “down there”, they also placed a fetal monitor on top of Nuggest’s head to better monitor her heart rate. I texted my girlfriends and told them between the catheter and all the tubes and wires coming out of me, my vagina basically had its own wifi signal. I was taken off pitocin completely – and after that everything slowed waaaaaay down.
Me, on my oxygen, with my giant peanut balance ball (and a whole bunch of other wires and tubes) between my legs. Thank god for that epidural or I can confirm this would NOT have been remotely comfortable.
OK kids, that’s all for now! I’m going to leave you with that little cliffhanger and post the dramatic conclusion of Naia’s birth (complete with the GoPro video from the camera Danon strapped to his head during the delivery!) later this week.
And just kidding about the GoPro video…or am I??