24 hours of labor and all I got was this crying baby! Hehehe. I’m actually writing this blog post four weeks post-partum because it’s been impossible for me to focus long enough to write a decent post while I’ve been recovering from labor and adjusting to life with baby. So, let’s start with Week 40 – my baby’s due date was August 31 and I went into labor on exactly my due date! The whole week, I’d been trying to trigger labor – I drank some wine, took some baths, went for many walks, and had more sex with my husband in a week than I had the entire third trimester 😀 I was hoping to go into labor a little early because at that point the baby was fully baked and I was sick of being pregnant, but nothing happened until exactly when the doctors predicted it would. Here’s the play by play:
9AM Aug 31: Birth -34 hours
Woke up and went to pee and had a weird discharge that I suspect was my mucus plug. I wasn’t sure so I googled “what does a mucus plug look like” and immediately regretted my decision. It was slimy and stringy and clear/white – the texture was like the core of a papaya without the seeds. It was kind of gross! After it came out, I went for a long walk/waddle with my husband after but nothing happened.
2PM Aug 31: Birth -29 hours
Around 2pm when I sat down to pee, I felt a small gush of water leave my body that definitely wasn’t pee. My husband happened to be near the bathroom at the time and he was like, “What was that?” and I was like, “Well, it wasn’t pee, so I think my water broke!” I wasn’t sure though because it wasn’t a huge gush but I called my OB anyway and they told me to come into the office before 3pm because the office would be closing early for Labor Day Weekend.
3PM Aug 31: Birth -28 hours
Took an Uber to my OB’s office where they confirmed that my water broke (premature rupture of the membranes, which means it broke before labor started) and said I was 1-2cm dilated. They hooked me up to a machine that measures contractions and my OB said I was contracting every 7 minutes. It was weird though because I didn’t feel any contractions. I thought they were supposed to be painful but I felt literally nothing. I had this delusion that maybe I was one of those lucky women for whom birth is a breeze! FALSE.
Anyway, my OB said I had time to go home, shower, and eat a big meal before I had to go to the hospital at 8pm to induce labor. It felt weirdly chill to know that my water broke but casually hang out at home for several hours. I played some Fortnite while my husband did laundry, then we ate a big, unhealthy meal from Shake Shack. Thank god, too, because I had no idea they wouldn’t let me eat at the hospital and I ended up being in labor for 24 hours!
8PM Aug 31: Birth -23 hours
Took an Uber up to Mount Sinai on the Upper East Side – it was about a 20-30 minute drive from where we live down in Battery Park City. We checked in and waited a little while in the waiting room with another couple who had packed what looked like all their worldly belongings into several huge suitcases. Meanwhile, we’re sitting there with one duffel bag and one backpack. It really made me second guess if I brought enough stuff (turned out even though I thought I packed minimally, I brought a lot of stuff I never ended up using)!
Our nurse, Ethy, showed us to our labor and delivery room. She asked us a bunch of questions including, “What are you here for today?” which was kind of funny and kind of worrisome. Then around 930PM, we signed some paperwork and consent forms and someone came in to do another ultrasound. The anesthesiologist came in to explain the epidural and asked me if I wanted it now or later in the labor. At that point, I still wasn’t feeling any pain from my contractions and I wanted to keep it that way so I opted for the earlier epidural.
1030PM Aug 31: Birth -2030 hours
It took less than 15 minutes to get the epidural in place. It didn’t hurt but it was definitely uncomfortable. They make you sit up, hunch over, and hug a pillow to put the epidural in. I swear I could feel the needle grinding into place between my vertebrae! Once they had the epidural in, they gave me a blue button to mash at my discretion to give myself more drugs. Then a little while later, they inserted a catheter (which I could definitely feel btw) and started me on Pitocin to induce labor. At that point, it was just a waiting game for labor to get going and my cervix to dilate further. My husband and I watched American Ninja Warrior to pass the time (yes, there is a TV in the room to keep you entertained during labor)!
230AM Sep 1: Birth -1630 hours
At this point, I was starting to get really freaking hungry. But, the nurses said I could only have clear liquids so I drank apple juice, cranberry juice, and made my husband hunt down some jello. Suffice to say none of this was satisfying at all. My husband went for a food run and came back with some matzo ball soup. He ate the matzo ball and I drank the soup. Again, not satisfying. He also secretly ate a quesadilla outside my room and I didn’t find out til after! 😀 By 330AM, my contractions were coming every 2-4 minutes but the pain wasn’t bad yet. My husband and I got a little bit of sleep off and on throughout the night.
430AM Sep 1: Birth -1430 hours
A resident came in to check my dilation. I thought for sure it would be halfway done by now, but she said I was still only 2cm dilated even though my contractions were more regular! She called my doctor and my doctor told her to sweep my membranes. I had some reservations because I heard that sweeping the membranes puts you at risk of infection, but the resident told me that she had to because after 24 hours, they would have to give me a c-section if I didn’t progress. That pretty much put me in panic mode. Even though I had the epidural going, the sweeping was painful! I totally thought the epidural would make it so I wouldn’t feel any pain but that is not the case. I could feel everything happening in that sweep.
After they swept the sac away, more water gushed out and my contractions began to get stronger. They sat me in an upright position to let gravity help me dilate, and by 7AM the pain was enough that I had to start mashing my blue button to give myself more drugs.
10AM Sep 1: Birth -9 hours
My OB came in to do another dilation check and I was terrified I wouldn’t have progressed at all. Thankfully, I was 100% effaced and 4cm dilated. The pain was getting worse so they gave my epidural a top-off (the first of many) and it gave me such bad chills that I started shaking uncontrollably – I seriously thought I was OD-ing on fentanyl or whatever was in that epidural! And then I promptly puked (again, the first of many) and since all I had was liquids, it all came gushing out in a projectile stream like in a cartoon. So, basically, this was when my labor started to get really hairy – and I was still only halfway through!
Around 1130AM, the contraction pain got pretty severe. I told the nurse and it turned out that whatever system was controlling the epidural dosage wasn’t working and I wasn’t getting ANY of the drugs. They had to wait for an anesthesiologist to come fix it and it took FOREVER. Meanwhile, I was feeling EVERYTHING.
12PM Sep 1: Birth -7 hours
At this point, the baby’s heart rate was getting really high (like 190 bps) so they switched me to lay on my side and gave me oxygen. They also turned off the pitocin and gave me a bolus through the epidural (whatever that means). I was starting to develop a fever, too. It was miserable. I had the chills and had to be covered in layers and layers of blankets. I definitely knew something was wrong. The nurses took a blood and urine sample – when the nurse was trying to get a blood sample, she couldn’t find any veins. I looked over at my arm and it was bloated to like twice its size from all the IV fluids I had in my body! It was horrifying.
When they came back with my test results, the nurse told me I had preeclampsia. I was really scared at that point because I had no idea how dangerous it was for me or the baby. The nurse didn’t really do a good job of explaining to me or my husband. All I really had to go off of was the fetal monitor showing the baby’s heart rate spiking through the roof and I was totally freaking out. She went to get a more senior nurse who came over and explained more clearly and it really helped.
5PM Sep 1: Birth -2 hours
I didn’t reach 10cm dilation for another 5 hours. Leading up to the actual pushing part of labor, I’d puked 4 times by then – one time, I even puked up so much liquid that it filled my bucket to the brim, and I accidentally dipped my chin and mouth in as I inhaled between heaves and I managed to swallow a bunch of my own puke uggghhhhhhh. It was really awful. I also had to have 4 top-offs to my epidural before I started pushing – apparently the effects of the epidural really only last about an hour before you start feeling everything all over again!
By the time I could start pushing, I was already exhausted from almost 24 hours of labor. I pushed for 2 hours and made some progress, but the doctors had to bring in a vacuum and assist me the rest of the way (apparently this only happens in 4% of deliveries). When I was pushing, there were a dozen doctors and nurses in the room with me because of the vacuum assisted delivery – I honestly didn’t even really notice them, I was so focused on pushing. When the baby popped out, she literally popped out because she was being sucked by the vacuum on her head! She did one little cry and then was quiet so I was terrified that something was wrong, but she was fine. Because I had a fever during labor, they had to take the baby straight to the NICU after she was born. I didn’t get to have any skin to skin contact with her but my husband did get to cut her umbilical cord and I got to hold her for a while. That’s when she started crying a lot – as soon as I got to hold her haha. 😀 So, anyway, my baby was finally born at 713PM on Sep 1st, 2018 at 6lbs 5.2 oz!
The labor and delivery aftermath
The aftermath of delivery was not pretty for me. I had some tearing down there. Lots of bleeding. They gave me some medication for the bleeding that gave me the very unpleasant side effect of loosening my bowels. I stayed in the bed in the labor and delivery room to be monitored for two hours after the baby was delivered, during which time I shit myself with horrific diarrhea over a dozen times. The poor nurse had to change my bed pad each time and I was so mortified but she was sooooo kind about it (I brought her a bunch of Laduree macarons the next day to thank her but I still felt bad about it!). I was so excited I finally got to eat something after 24 hours without food – my husband made fun of me because he offered to get me anything I wanted and I asked him to bring me chicken mcnuggets from McDonald’s! 😀
We spent two nights at the hospital, as is standard in NYC. We shelled out $850 a night for the private room with Central Park View (wanna see a pic of this glamorous room?). I’m really glad we did it because my baby was in the NICU the whole time and it would have felt so shitty to have to share a room with another mother who had her baby by her side while I couldn’t. Also, I felt like I’d been hit by a bus and I couldn’t even imagine having to share a bathroom or even the same air with a stranger. I didn’t even recognize myself the first time I looked in the mirror because I was so bloated from all the IV fluids – it was horrific and traumatizing. Anyway, highly recommend splurging on a private room if you can – privacy is something that is always worth paying for, IMO. Especially in the vulnerable time right after you give birth!
Anyway, I’ll do a full review later of my stay at Mt. Sinai Upper East Side including what I should have packed and what I should have left at home in retrospect. Stay tuned!
I was discharged from the hospital in the morning but we had to leave the baby in the NICU for more monitoring. Thankfully everything turned out fine and she got to come home that same night! And now I have a FREAKING BABY (crazy)! Isn’t she cute? 😀
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