Week 39 : a game of waiting

Due Date: Friday, November 23, 2018 - Black Friday, fitting for someone like me who loves to shop.

Wednesday, November 14th– My mom comes into town to help out with our final weeks of preparation. I had become increasingly anxious, uncomfortable, overwhelmed, excited, and was in power nesting mode as we moved closer to our impending due date. Who knew so many emotions (many of them conflicting) were possible inside a human all at once. I had read all the books and took all the classes, but, the books and classes tell you the logistics.

Truth Bomb #1: That’s like trying to understand a journey by looking at a map. What I know now, is the only way out is through and in this case, it meant physically birthing our child.

Thursday, November 15th– My mom and I spent the day running around like crazy people trying to check off everything on my never-ending list of “Things I must get done before Baby St Peter arrives.” We were finally relaxing after having dinner when I said to my mom, “I have period like cramps, is that normal? They’re coming and going and are pretty strong… maybe it’s from all the running around today?”

Mom: “Honey, those are contractions”
Me: “Really, nobody really ever told me what they would feel like..."

AND cue the flood of emotions: excitement, giggles, fear, and every other emotion possibly known to women came over me at that moment. We timed them out and when they got stronger and stronger we decided to call Brian and let him know we should probably head to the hospital.

Truth Bomb #2: Can you really have everything done and prepared? Don’t kill yourself trying to accomplish this task in a single day. You will just end up being sore, cranky, exhausted, hungry – and those are unpleasant feelings for anyone, let alone a 39-week pregnant woman. Another thing, you should really listen to the advice in the classes that say conserve as much energy as possible the last couple weeks, because um... contractions are EXHAUSTING.

Friday, November 16th–Only 1.5cm dilated. HOW? My contractions were so close together and so strong. So, the hospital sent us back home. No baby. They were fully expecting to see us back in a few short hours because the rate my contractions were going. You guessed it, labored at home some more, bounced around on my birthing ball, walked up and down the steps as many times as humanly possible, took a bunch of baths, anything I could think of doing to speed along this process. Around 4pm we headed back in fully ready to hear I was 5cm dilated. HA! Baby St Peter had other plans… still only 1.5cm.

Truth Bomb #3: Nobody, told me how painful cervical checks were. HOLY SH*T! Seriously, I think those were more painful than some of my early contractions.
Truth Bomb #4: It is EXTREMELY hard to labor, labor, and labor some more and NOT show any signs of progress. Up until this point, I think the hardest battle was the mental and physical battle I was going through. Physically, my body was showing signs of readiness, right? My body was contracting. My body was trying to birth this baby. Mentally, I was so prepared. Mentally, I was ready. But, there was really nothing else I could do, but wait and surrender to the process. I truly had to surrender to God’s will, God’s plan, my sweet stubborn little baby, and trust that this process will happen in the time it was supposed to.

I had spent 39 weeks preparing for this very moment. Logical Brain: It NEVER happens like the movies, water breaking, running to the hospital just in time to pop out your tiny human. Wishful Brain: Well, maybe for me, it will.
Saturday, November 17th– All contractions stopped. What. The. Actual. F*ck?! How? Frustrated doesn’t even begin to describe how I was feeling. So what else was there to do? Nest, nest, and more nesting. That’s right, we moved the nursery into a new room. I mean what else is a 39-week hormonal, frustrated, emotional, and anxious woman to do?

Sunday, November 18th– Back in the saddle. Contractions started at 5am, were strong, consistent, and lasted all day! Everyone kept telling me to relax, the only way my body was going to progress was if I was relaxed. The day continued, we played games to “get my mind off of laboring” … do I even have to elaborate on that?! After about my 5thbath, my mucus plug came out and I had my bloody show! WOOHOO, FINALLY some progress! Convinced tonight was the night I went to bed ready to be woken up by my water breaking.

Partner Tip: Don’t ever tell a pregnant woman who is on her 3rdday of contractions to “relax” … seriously that word must have been created by a man.

Monday, November 19th– I woke up at 5am and just started sobbing. What was happening?! What was wrong with my body?! All I could do was be angry for a couple hours and hell if anyone told me I should be anything else. Exhausted, disheartened and pissed off I agreed to run some errands with my parents to “get out of the house and again, get my mind off things…”
We got back home, unloaded, and I was exhausted and still pissed. After dinner, Brian and I got ready for bed. We crawled into bed and at about 9:30pm I was woken up … “Bri, I think my water broke… either that or I just peed myself…” Like any good fact checking husband would do, he came around to my side of the bed shined his phone light at my hooha and said, “yep, it definitely did… and woah, it’s still coming.” And it just kept coming out! I started laughing which only made it come out more! Thank goodness about a week before we had put pee pads under the sheets on my side of the bed, just for this very event. I jumped in the shower, we got our bags in the car, and just as I was ready to walk out the door… WOOSH - another gush of water comes shooting out of me and soaks through everything. I wrapped a towel around me like a diaper and got in the car.

Truth Bomb #5: You. Will. Leak. Until. You. Birth. Your. Child … yep, didn’t know that one! So that shower I took before I left, did nothing.

We walked into the hospital. No Contractions. But this time, we were admitted straight to a room. This time, we were not leaving without a baby. Oh my gosh, that was so exciting and so terrifying.

They checked my cervix again, still just as painful as the first time, and I had NO CHANGE! Seriously, how was that possible?! I had labored since Thursday, it is now Monday night and I was still 1.5cm. They told me they would give me until 5am to see if my body would progress and if it didn’t then I would have to start Pitocin. My mom had the same sort of deal with me, no dilation, Pitocin, and a baby determined to come on their own timing and rhythm. So, the hours passed, we walked a little, 5am came, I was excited about the check this time, I knew we had to have made some progress… NOPE! Still 1.5cm… Sweet Jesus!

Tuesday, November 20th– about 5:30am they started me on Pitocin. I remember asking my nurses, how will I know when it is time for an epidural? Their response, “When you think you cannot do it anymore and you’re ready to throw in the towel, then it’s time.” Cool, so thanks for the specifics and the encouragement right before starting this. The nurses came in about every 30 minutes and turned up the Pitocin another level or two. A couple hours passed and I believe I had gotten to a level 8 or 10 (whatever number) of Pitocin … I had never been in that much pain in my life. The contractions were SO strong and SO close together I was having trouble breathing and catching my breath. I was getting really light headed and nauseous. Before I could even ask the nurse to start the epidural process, she had already turned off the Pitocin and called the anesthesiologist. Around 10am the epidural was administered.
Truth Bomb #6: You will be rotated like a rotisserie chicken after you get your epidural.

After about 45 minutes, the epidural kicked in I was able to rest. Brian and I actually fell asleep for about an hour and a half! Around 11:30am, I woke up and I told Brian, “Oh my gosh, I feel like I have to push… Babe, I have to push now.” He asked me not to push and went to go get our nurse. Amanda quickly came in the room, checked me (which by the way, does not hurt at all after an epidural) and said, “Yep, you have no cervix… it’s time.”

At that moment, panic, fear, excitement, nervous laughter, uncontrollable smiling, tears, and everything in between came rushing over me. Brian came to my bedside, kissed my forehead and said, “Babe, this is it.” I remember telling him, “I am going to do my best” and he said, “Babe, you’re going to do great.”

Legs in stirrups, our doctor told me to push 3 times with each contraction and hold each push for 10 seconds. Around the 5thpush or so, our doctor asked if I wanted to feel the head. I did and it gave me the motivation to keep going. It was so amazing to feel our sweet baby’s head. Brian was watching the whole thing, he kept encouraging me and telling me how amazing I was doing.

7th contraction – first push was the same, second push, “Ok, Stop, don’t push…” and with that Brian exclaimed, “It’s a boy!!” We didn’t know what we were having and it was our wish that Brian was the one who would tell me the sex of our baby. Not more than 3 seconds later, Vincent Charles St Peter was placed on my chest. Our sweet little babe that I have been trying to bring into the world for the past five and a half days. He was perfect. A pure sense of joy and love rushed over me. Brian and I spent that first hour just the three of us. He went out to the waiting room and told my family that it was a boy, but then came back in and we just hung out. The three of us. I did skin to skin with Vincent while the doctors were still trying to remove my placenta because it did not deliver. They ended up keeping the epidural going while they manually removed my placenta. Once I was somewhat put back together and patched up, my parents and sister came in the room to meet sweet little Vincent. It is a moment I will never forget. One that I will proudly share with anyone. One that made me so proud to be a woman, proud to call myself a mother, and so proud of what my body did and went through.

To my husband: Brian, I couldn’t have made it through those five and a half days without you. YOU were and continue to be my rock. You encouraged me when I didn’t think I could keep going. You literally held me up when I was so physically exhausted from laboring and couldn’t stand anymore. You hugged me when I just needed to be held. You wiped my tears when I couldn’t do anything but cry out of frustrations for what my body was doing and how I was laboring. You rubbed my hairy legs and told me it was all going to be ok. You were and ARE a Rockstar! You stepped forward in a way I have never seen you step forward before and watching you become a father in those first few minutes you held our son was the most beautiful and most rewarding thing I had ever seen. I have never felt so close to you as I had in those five and a half days and in those moments in the hospital. Thank you. Thank you for everything you did to help me through the birth of our son.

Godspeed, Mama!

Elizabeth St Peter