Here is Madeline's Birth Story, written an entire year later 🤪
I cannot believe I now have a one year old! I would say "where has the time gone?" but I know the time was filled with changing diapers, happy tears, exhausted tears, frustrated tears, giggles, and so much learning (both her and I).
Like most first time mothers, I read A LOT on delivery. Read about the bad experiences, the home births, the unmediated and medicated. I tried to learn all of the terms that would be used by my Labor and Deliver Nurse (written as L&D nurse from here on out) and tried to calm my nerves about this very nerve-racking process.
It is completely normal to feel absolutely terrified about giving birth and somehow even more terrified of the first week with a newborn. I was definitely scared more about my first week postpartum, which turned out to be for good reason. I really don't like when people go through a hard experience and say "Oh, it'll be all right. Nothing to worry about."
It was hard. It was raw and grueling. But yes, it was also somehow the most amazing experience ever. Doesn't mean it wasn't hard, it just means it was worth it. Please keep this in mind. You are stronger than you ever thought possible 💕
Ok, now to Madeline
On my due date (June 17th), I went to my OB appointment to check for dilation and I had protein in my urine. Not enough to induce right away, but enough that my doctor wanted to include the next night. At 8pm on June 18th, I was going to be admitted and induced and would hopefully have a baby within 24 hours!
At the appointment on the 17th, the OB stripped my membranes after I agreed to it (wasn't as painful as I had heard it would be), and then I went about my normal waddling day 🤪 This was about 10am. The rest of the day was very normal, just last minute cleaning and calling our parents to change their flights for tomorrow.
Around 1am, I woke up feeling like I had to go to the bathroom REALLY BAD. (if this is TMI for you, you may want to skip this one, because it gets worse 😂). I tried to go and nothing. Went back to bed. I'm not entirely sure how much later I felt the same urge to go, went to the bathroom, again nothing. This time I stayed in the bathroom and then about 10 minutes later it happened again, and again.
Uh oh - back labor
Back labor for me felt like I had a strong urge to go to the bathroom that would then quickly turn into a strong and dull lower back pain. This continued between 7-8 minutes and I started timing them around 2am. We stayed home for another 2 hours while most of the time I labored on my hands and knees as that felt the best for the intense back pain I felt.
Having Cody press very hard on my tailbone also helped SO MUCH.
Around 4:30am-ish we left for the hospital and let me tell you, the contractions in the car with nowhere to move were the wooorssstt.
At the hospital
We were quickly admitted and set up in a room. I did blood work and urine test and found more protein in urine and wayyy elevated blood pressure. Mild pre-eclampsia. Fun.
I was only barely 2 cm dilated (which is very discouraging when you've been in pain for hours) so they recommended walking around the halls and letting my body do it's thing. I don't think I'll ever forget walking around a dark and quiet hallway around 5 or 6 am and leaning over the handrails to try to breathe through a contraction. All of my contractions stayed in my back and would be almost unbearable for 10 seconds. The other 50 seconds were painful but I could breathe/talk.
Around 7am, at shift change, we did more blood work and protein was even more elevated. They wanted to induce ASAP and get me started on Pitocin which meant an IV, which meant no more walking and strapped to the bed. I didn't like that idea, but I wanted what was best for me and Madeline.
I asked that when I started Pitocin that I would also have the epidural administered. I had to give consent to the epidural several times, which surprised me, but luckily they were able to get me started on Pitocin 2 hours later and then epidural about 30 minutes after that. Sitting in the bed and not able to move for contractions was HARD. I couldn't get in a good and comfortable position when the contractions would come although Cody and my L&D nurse were trying their best.
I was VERY NERVOUS about getting the epidural. My contractions were getting so painful that I couldn't imagine sitting still through several. I was 4 cm dilated at the time and it was around 9:30am. I trembled the entire time it was getting inserted because I was so scared. Thankfully, they allowed Cody to stay in the room and that helped calm me so much. He was an absolute champ through all of my contractions.
I had really bad itching after the epidural was inserted (it's perfectly normal), and it went away after 30 minutes. It was the first relief I had gotten from contractions which was great and the L&D nurse told me to try to rest and let the Pitocin do it's job. I kept the epidural at the lowest possible dose the entire time, feeling a little of my contractions around the hour mark.
An hour and a half later, my L&D nurse walked in the room and said that my monitor was showing really close together contractions and that she thought I may had been moving along a lot quicker than anticipated. Remember, I was at 4 cm just an hour and a half ago. She checked me and said YEP, IT'S TIME TO PUSH.
I had a little freak out. What?! Now?! I thought I had more time?! My water hadn't broken yet. I was super surprised.
We did a few practice pushes and my water burst. It was the weirdest feeling ever. L&D nurses are absolute angels. So incredibly grateful. I bumped up epidural a tad.
They transformed the room from normal hospital room to spotlight, stirrups, and baby station within 15 minutes. It's all very overwhelming, but the staff does a great job at helping you feel in control and guiding you.
Pushing and Delivery
I pushed with my L&D nurse for 30 minutes. It was so encouraging when she would yell that she could feel Madeline, she could SEE Madeline, Cody could SEE MADELINE'S HEAD. So motivating.
The doctor came in and I pushed for 10 ish minutes. And nothing. I was so bummed, so tired, so uncomfortable. We all thought that I was so close, but I must have lost steam or something. Doctor left and I cried. I wanted this extreme discomfort to be gone.
Pushed for another 5 minutes with L&D nurse, started crowning (most uncomfortable feeling EVER), doctor came in and I was giving everything I had. He recommended pushing my epidural all that I could since I was still feeling a good bit, and I did.
I used every muscle in my body and focused on bearing down like no other. Our doctor was amazing at not rushing the process (which I didn't like at the time), which helped my body to stretch as necessary with minimal tearing. It was remarkable to feel your body contracting and pushing as you are doing nothing.
The female body, man. It's amazing.
Madeline had the nuchal cord wrapped around her neck 3 times, something that we were told earlier in the pregnancy, but that they thought she had untangled herself from. She was a long and lanky little thing. The first thing I said when I saw her was "she's so small. she's small, right? right? she's small?" She was 5 pounds 1 ounce, but had a strong cry and could rotate her head to the other side when she was immediately placed on my chest. I was so relieved that I let out all of the tears that I had been holding in for the past 12 hours. I couldn't believe she was here.
Although she was tiny, she never needed to go in the nursery or needed supplementing and I am incredibly grateful. She was able to nurse 45 minutes after being born which is the oddest sensation for a first time mother, but also just so amazing that your body can transform in literally minutes.
Delivering the placenta was easy for me. My body did most of the work contracting on it's own and after it was delivered, I surprised the doctor by wanting to see it. It was so much bigger than I had imagined! Another moment where I was in awe of my body.
We moved to a recovery room and I started feeling super light headed, seeing spots occasionally. My blood pressure was even higher than when I was admitted and I started on blood pressure medication.
I was extremely swollen downstairs after delivering. Something I should have assumed, but again, super surprised by 😂 The ice packs were heaven. I had a hard time going pee for the first time after giving birth. I want to say it took me 4 hours and I needed to get a catheter twice to release my urine. (I know these are gross and not exciting birth story moments, but I want you to be aware of what might happen AFTER birth)
Madeline had to get heel pricks every time she ate for the first 12 hours for her glucose levels since she was so small. It was literally almost every hour and that made me sad. She also had mild jaundice and I cried when I first saw her wrapped in her suntanning suit/goggles. I was also overwhelmed with having both sets of parents in the hospital room at the time the nurse was teaching Cody and I how to use the machine. I'm sure this didn't help my blood pressure at all.
We stayed 2 nights in the hospital due to Madeline's size and my blood pressure. I was thankful for the extra night but so uncomfortable in the bed. I would be EXTREMELY sore from my neck to my knees for a full week after giving birth. If I missed a 800 mg ibuprofen, I was in SO MUCH PAIN. It's a workout like no other!
First night home
Our first night home was the most exhausting night EVER, but also led up to the funniest moment of the week. We were up literally the entire night, feeding every 45ish minutes and having horrible swaddle skills. My mom and Cody's parents had arrived the day before, but my dad had arrived late that night. Around 4 am, we heard someone walking around downstairs and we decided we would give Madeline to whoever it was so that we could sleep for 30 minutes until her next feeding. We were desperate. We come downstairs, probably looking like zombies, and just handed Madeline off to my dad, who is seeing her for the first time ever. We make a Lion King like exchange, and then just go to bed. hahaha it was so bizarre but my dad loved it.
We had our family with us for a week and then our moms stayed for the whole month. It was so nice to be able to spend time with our family and have extra help around the house!
And that's it on her birth story. If you are pregnant and have any questions about my experience or want to talk through your fears, I'm here! I love talking about this stuff and feel passionate about it!
Thanks for reading, I know it was long. Love y'all!