Well hello there family, friends and random strangers on the internet! Thanks for stopping by to hear the dramatic conclusion to Naia’s birth story! I know you have all been on the edge of your seats in anticipation these past few days – I kinda left it like Ryan Seacrest does on American Idol, huh? Well, buckle up for the rest of the ride – here we go!
Part 1 of Naia’s birth story is here, so I’ll spare you a detailed recap. But when we left off, I was feeling no pain (thank God for epidurals), but we had to take a few steps back and slow down my labor to deal with my low blood pressure and Nugget’s slowing heart rate during contractions.
So at about 9AM on March 10, my pitocin was cut off, I was given oxygen, Nugget was given an internal heart rate monitor on her noggin, and my birth canal was being flooded with saline. I had a giant peanut shaped balance ball between my legs, and I was rotating from one side to the other every hour to try and turn Nugget facing downward and not sunny side up.
Over the course of the next 8-9 hours, my pitocin dose was brought back up very, very gradually. Every time my nurse, Veronica, came in and increased the dosage, her, Danon and I would wait with baited breath and watch the monitors to see how Nugget’s heart was handling the contractions that were gradually increasing in intensity as my labor continued to progress and I dilated more and more.
At about 6PM, my OB arrived to check in and see how things were going with me and the babe. Nugget was handling the contractions like a champ – her heart rate was staying in the safe zone with only a couple mild dips, and my labor was progressing nicely. My contractions were about 2-3 minutes apart at that point, and when the nurse and my OB checked me, they said I was dilated to about 8.5 cm.
At that point, my OB guessed that I would deliver at about 10PM (in about 4 hours), so she was going to head home for a bit and come back around then. We said our goodbyes, and the nurse left to give Danon and I some time to rest before baby came.
About an hour later, I started to get really, really uncomfortable, and started to feel a TON of pressure during my contractions. I gave myself a couple more hits of the epidural, which helped for a bit. But then, shortly thereafter, I just felt this enormous pressure on my butt during the contractions. I had heard from a girlfriend that this was a sign that your body is ready to push, so I had Danon get Veronica to check on me.
Veronica came in right away, checked my dilation, and said “Yup! You’re at 10 centimeters! Time to push!” She called my OB to let her know baby was on the way, and then explained to me how to push (3 pushes of 10 seconds each starting at the point I would feel the contraction starting to build), and then she grabbed one leg and Danon grabbed the other.
I stared at her in disbelief and said…”Wait…you mean now? Like this is happening now?!”. She confirmed that yes, these were not fake pushes. OK…here we go!
I pushed for about 45-60 minutes, and truth be told, it wasn’t too bad! I basically thought of it as interval training – work really hard for 30 seconds, rest for 90 seconds. Repeat. Easy peasy – and it didn’t hurt at that point. It was just a lot of pressure. Baby still hadn’t dropped very much prior to me starting to push, so I basically spent that hour moving Nugget through my birth canal. All of a sudden, on one mighty push, I actually felt the head moving through my birth canal. I looked up at Veronica and said, “Holy shit…that’s her head, huh?”
And that’s when things got crazy in my room. My OB and about 5 other women came into the room. Stirrups were set up at the foot of my bed, and a cleaning station and weighing station were also set up. Danon was pushed to the foot of my bed where he basically had a front row seat to the Miracle of Life Show. It was go time – this was the point of no return. I could not take a Mulligan. Nugget was going to be with us very very shortly.
And so I pushed like crazy for the next 20 minutes. And I’m not gonna lie – that shit hurt like hell. And I was not the zen-like, yoga-breathing, granola-mommy I had pictured myself to be in our childbirth classes. I was the screaming, yelling, cussing, scare-the-other-laboring-mothers-in-adjoining-rooms banshee mommy. At one point, I was bawling my eyes out and my doc told me to reach down and feel my baby’s head. I reached down and felt a full head of hair! (At that point, Danon said for a brief moment I calmed down).
And then baby started to crown. This was pain like I had never felt before. I screamed out “I can’t do this anymore!”, and literally every woman in the room turned to me and yelled “Yes you can!”. Danon was trying not to pass out. When Nugget’s head was about halfway out, my contraction ended, and I was stuck in limbo. My doc said we would need to wait for the next contraction, but I was in so much pain I said no way in hell am I waiting for 2 minutes to pass and kept on pushing. I tore, my doc snipped me, and then she stuck her hand in me to help baby out as I gave one last push – and at 8:20PM on March 10 (her actual due date!) Nugget was OUT!
Well hello there, Naia. Nice to finally meet you!
The nurses placed Naia right on my chest, and Danon leaned into me and said “It’s a girl!” and my heart nearly exploded with happiness, love and relief! It truly is an indescribable feeling to meet, see and hold the little baby that’s been living inside of you for the past 9 months, and having the gender be a surprise really was an extra level of amazing for both of us.
After about 15 minutes of snuggling with my little girl, the nurses took her for her weighing, washing, and all the other things they do with the newly birthed.
At that point my OB and the nurses got to work on me. As my OB was stitching me up, I told her I could feel the needle and she looked at me kind of in shock. Apparently, as I came to find out after I had popped an 8-pounder out of my now shredded vagina (AKA “Franken-gina”, as we now refer to her), some women have an issue with the epidural where everything that is supposed to be numbed gets numbed (abdomen, back, legs, butt), except for their vagina. I was one of those wonderful exceptions, which explained why I felt so much pain during the actual delivery, and I felt myself tear and being snipped and stitched. However, at the point at which I was pushing Naia out, they could have taken a sledgehammer to my pelvis and I think I would have been OK with it in the name of “Get this baby the eff out of me NOW!”
Oh! And for those of you wondering, Naia did turn at some point during labor, and she came out facing downward – so the peanut balance ball thingy worked its magic!
After I was all stitched up and cleaned up, Naia was placed on my chest again for skin to skin time and to nurse. I was absolutely astounded and almost cried tears of joy when she latched right on and nursed for about an hour. She was a pro, and I was 100% completely and utterly in love with our new little one!
And how was Danon doing at this point? Well, as I said earlier, he basically had a front row seat to the birth and saw everything (despite receiving advice from his friends to “stay north” during the delivery). With a slightly traumatized/dazed look on his face after Naia was out and everyone was cleaning up, he said “I’ve just…I’ve never seen a vagina stretch like that”, to which my OB, without missing a beat said “Yea, it’s a really flexible organ.” I’m happy to report he has since (somewhat) recovered and no longer wakes up screaming in the middle of the night anymore.
We have managed to capture the exact moment when Naia wrapped her daddy around her little finger.
And that’s it my friends! We were wheeled into our recovery room, spend the next 2 nights at the hospital, and we were released early in the morning on March 12 with a clean bill of health! And then we began life as a family of 3 humans and 2 furry kids.
Before I sign off, I just want to give a huuuuge shout out to my labor and delivery nurses (AKA Saint Annette, Saint Veronica and Saint Nicole) at Orange Coast Memorial Hospital, and my OB/GYN. I’ll write more on this in another post, but during labor and delivery, mine and Naia’s nurses were everything. They truly did everything to take care of us, ensure a safe delivery, and make sure Danon and I were as comfortable and as well-informed as possible throughout the whole process. And many other OB’s would have just said “screw it, give her the c-section, I have dinner plans”, but my OB stuck with us and improvised in a delicate situation, and the outcome was perfect. I couldn’t be happier with the whole experience.
Thanks again everyone for stopping by, and for reading our little story. I’ve gotta sign off and change a poopy diaper now.