I thought I’d take a little TBT trip down memory lane, and do an update each week to catch us up to “today”.
SO, where better to begin than with everyone’s all-time favorite suspense thriller… duh duh nuuuu nuhh … the delivery room.
Sadly, mine was not a total Academy Award winner, although there were certainly “scenes” that deserved an honorable mention and/or a nom.
* Side note, if you want the cliff notes version, I know you’re out there, scroll down to my top 10 “lessons learned” list below *
For those of you still with me, THANK YOU, and here we go! You may have heard this before, but the last month of pregnancy literally feels like a full calendar year. You simply cannot wrap your head around how slowly time does not tick by.
Then, enter into the last two weeks, where you assume at any moment you probably will have a complete water breaking fiasco, so don’t schedule a thing, and in turn, sit bouncing on a “birth ball” at home all day, eating “labor inducing” salads (yes, they’re a real yet not entirely effective thing) and unpack and re-pack your delivery bag at least a dozen times to make sure you’re well equipped to have the option of looking like a non-sweaty, put together, “I just popped out a person”, cover of Pregnancy Magazine model on the big day. HA HA.
Anyways, at THIS point I was told that my baby was running big, no surprise there if you’ve ever seen Jordan or me, and we may need to look into inducing or scheduling a C-section to protect her collar bones and my … well you know.
A week before “D-day” our 3D ultrasound-ist said we were nearing the 10-lb mark, ode to joy, so my OB promptly scheduled a 1AM induction on my due date.
Tick tick tick, the clock finally started working again. It was midnight on induction morning (if you call 12AM morning – Zzz) and we were loading up the car (who am I kidding, the car had been loaded for a week but I was loaded up into the car now as well), dropped our bunny (French bulldog) off at a puppy hotel, drove-through In N Out (what I later discovered was a very poor decision), and then headed in through a rare L.A. traffic free moment to the hospital.
This was by far the most obscure “check in” I’ve ever experienced. Don’t get me wrong, the staff could not have been nicer, more efficient or more accommodating. But it is truly odd to casually stroll into a hospital with pj’s and suitcases and have your husband check you both into your “city view” room. Not only that, but then to also know that you’re only hours away from potentially being put into more pain than you want to imagine AND that when you check OUT the following day you will have another human in your arms.
The next two hours were a blur of, monitoring, poking, prodding, IVs of Pitocin, an attempted epidural and balloon to help me dilate (sorry for that visual!). I thought we were smooth-ish sailing. They said they’d check on us in a couple of HOURS and recommended we “get some rest.” I’ve never been one to “rest” with three IVs in my arm but did appreciate the offer. My husband asked for a “daddy-dural” but was quickly, and hilariously, denied.
Three hours later, the sun was rising and our wake-up rooster was the couple just a thin wall away pushing out their baby (clearly epidural-less), which is when I realized maybe my feel-good IV wasn’t working as well as it should. Or, for that matter, at all. We kept trying to “up” the relief but to no avail. I wish I had known to ASK about epidural placement or had the wherewithal to check and see if, by chance, it wasn’t placed properly … but I didn’t.
The hours that followed were filled with steady, movie worthy contractions, each one only getting stronger and more and more horrifically, well, horrific. Think of a bus hitting you in the chest every three minutes, attempting to recover from it, and then having it happen all over again. This is not an exaggeration. Would labor breathing have helped? Likely. But I was so sure that my epidural would be a cure-all I didn’t think I’d need it. Poor planning.
The pain escalated to a clear “10!!!” – here is where I quickly regretted my double hamburger and milkshake pregame. I had to be put on oxygen, and only THEN did someone say, “wait, lets check her epidural.” A quick test clarified that only my left thigh was actually being numbed. And, better yet, I was 9cm dilated, you birth at 10, and we had about a nano-second to reposition it or the delivery would also be fully-felt.
After previously hearing the couple next door, I fought hard for the first option.
Luckily, we beat the deadline (hallelujah) and as soon as those beautiful drugs kicked in I was, bar none, the absolute happiest human in the whole hospital. Not only was I feeling high as a kite, loving life, singing with Whitney, Mariah and Elton but I was also now very ready to meet my little girl.
We had been at the hospital for 10 hours, but miraculously pushing itself only took 30 MINUTES. I crunched (my stomach and husband’s poor knuckles!), maybe 15 times and before I knew it was being handed an incredible stranger.
BTW this is the most surreal and overwhelming thing you will likely ever encounter. A human that you made, who you have been carrying around in you for ten months AND who was still in there 30 seconds ago, is now grabbing for you and taking in every single piece and ounce of you and their surroundings.
All I could do was cry and pray, count to make sure there were ten fingers and toes, and ask myself what on earth really just happened?!
One second she was attached to me, and the next was being passed around by doctors and nurses, and before I could blink, family and friends.
They say it, and it couldn’t be more true, nothing can actually prepare you for this fish-out-of-water, WTF period of time BUT if you ever find yourself ready to birth another human, I hope this little list of “I wish I’d knowns” helps! Ps. Welcome back cliff note-ers!
- Have your house stocked up for the apocalypse before you leave for the hospital. TP, paper towels, bathroom essentials, coffee pods, dog food, La Croix, non-perishables, whatever you need and use on the day to day. No one wants to trek to Target with a newborn!
- Do NOT pack items you care about or think look fashionably forward for the hospital. I made this mistake. You’ll want BAGGY, comfortable, SWEATS and oversized T’s. Exceptions are your favorite toiletries which WILL make you happy and feel more “at home” and I highly recommend bringing your own birth gown too. Mine was bright n’ cheery and made my day that much better.
- Packing a “distraction bag” for your husband is KEY. He will be equally overwhelmed, if not more, and beyond antsy as he wont have much that he can help with or actually DO for 99.9% of the labor. Gameboys, snacks, whatever he likes. Get it.
- Have your car seat CHECKED and installed BEFORE you are DUE. This shouldn’t be a stressor day (or even week) of. Same goes for baby laundry. Have all of his/her clothes and blankets washed ahead of time!
- En route to the hospital, make SURE you have something to EAT because you can’t from the moment you arrive until the baby is OUT. That being said, I would recommend pasta, or a bagel. Something carb-y but not overly flavorful. Just remember, you may have to relive said flavors once you are in labor, gross I know, but it’s a real situation.
- If you have a pet, have someone in your family drop off your newborn’s birth beanie and swaddle that they’ve been wearing at the hospital with your puppy the day before they meet. That way, your pooch can cuddle up with the pieces and is that much more familiar with your baby and his/her smell.
- Have a lactation specialist lined up to visit with you the day you get back from the hospital. Lots of people think they’ll just “wait and see” how it goes but I PROMISE you breastfeeding = a lot easier said than done.
- Ask your hospital team for as many freebees as you can get, and pack an extra empty bag to bring them home! Pads, mesh undies, diapers, wipes, booger bulbs, whatever you’ve been using there I guarantee they have much much more of it stocked up in a closet nearby.
- Pace out family and friend visits. The first week home with baby you will be EXHAUSTED and inundated with LOVE but everyone doesn’t have to meet him or her at once. Be selfish and schedule out times and days so that you aren’t playing “host”, can have a moment for yourself (or attempt to), and don’t have baby bombarded by so many germs.
- Remember to THANK YOUR MOM. You will have a WHOLE NEW appreciation for what she went through to put you on this planet! Plus, if you butter her up she’ll likely cook you a meal, or twenty, when your return home with your new little bundle.
I hope I didn’t scare you off too much with this one, and don’t worry, it’s all up from here! We’ll venture into month one – what fun – next week!