Now that it’s been almost two weeks (!) since we first heard Imogen’s little gargly cries and we stopped getting any decent sleep, I wanted to record the process of her birth before my brain gets all crazy and I forget those beautiful little details. Luckily we have some photos to go along with the story – don’t worry, no blood or gross goopy stuff or anything.
Sunday, November 17th. I was 39 weeks to the day. It was a full moon. Leading up to this day I had a feeling that the full moon was gonna pull the little squirt right outta me, but as I was getting ready for bed that night at like 7pm (I was exxxxxhausted) I knew nothing was going to happen that night. I told Josh that I didn’t feel any different and so he left to go to a show.
It was almost right after he left, around 7:30pm. I had decided to watch X-Files in bed and make myself a PB&J. Clearly I had a classy night ahead of me. Just trying to keep up my enviable lifestyle! Anyway… I started feeling real contractions. It was only mildly alarming, so I decided to get up, move around, chug a ton of water, all things my midwives had suggested I do in case it’s false labor. The contractions began intensifying and I told Josh maybe to be on the alert.
11:30pm my water began to break. It wasn’t like the movies, it was not like a huge woosh or anything. Just a trickle here and there. I jumped in the shower and tried to calm down. It’s really quite an intense moment when you realize that after nine – ten months of waiting… tonight’s the night that you’re going to start trying to get this kid into the world. Intense pain is imminent. Knowing life will forever change past that point. It was a lot of things to suddenly process. Josh got home, and we began going down our lists of things for each of us to pack, running around like little chickens without heads. Pausing to give each other panicked excited smiles.
12:15am on Monday morning, we checked into the hospital. Because I was GBS+ I was admitted after they confirmed my water had broken, and started me on antibiotics. I was pretty excited about the giant jacuzzi tub… which I never got to use.
We stayed awake all through the night and the entire day of Monday. I couldn’t bear to be in the bed, so most of that time was spent walking, sitting on a birth ball, getting through contractions, drinking a lot of water, eating here and there, listening to her heartbeat on the monitors occasionally, and dealing with the pain getting much, much worse. As the pain became to intense to move or speak, I pretty much spent the rest of the day sitting on the birthing ball, leaning over the corner of the bed. Josh stayed by my side and offered back pressure when I needed it. Oh man. The lower back pain. Not easily forgotten.
*I will say a note on wardrobe: One of my midwives, Jocelyn, recommended that I wear one of those cheap miniskirts from H&M for labor – for accesibility, comfort, modesty, etc. And it was the best decision I made to follow through with that advice. It made everything that would have been difficult even with PJ shorts so much easier.
Later Monday evening they checked my dialation: 3 cm. It had been 24 hours since labor began and we were coming up on being almost 24 hours since my water had broken. I began to ask about ways to deal with the pain and so they gave me something wonderful through an IV drip so I could rest. I don’t even remember the line between being awake and being asleep, it was that instant. I was exhuasted. I couldn’t even stay awake as they were talking to me and I knew I was snoring… hah. Again they checked me and I was still not quite to 4cm. It was time to start talking about pitocin, so I could have this baby before infection set in. I opted for an epidural which I’m still praising the Lord about. My initial goal was to try a natural birth, but as I was running on empty after 30 hours of labor and only being at 3cm, the epidural was a wonderful tool to have.
Labor continued through the night. Because of the epidural both Josh and I got to rest here and there that night into Tuesday morning. I could feel contractions still, and the pressure and tightening, but it really just took the edge off, made the pain manageable, and allowed me to rest, which I desperately needed. We had a couple of scares as Imogen’s heartrate was dropping, but I’m so thankful for my midwives and nurses who never panicked or showed any sign of panic in their faces or voices. Everything felt so under control and I’m so grateful to them for that!
So, because my time lines are a little warbled from being so sleepy, I think it was shortly after 4am on Tuesday when my nurse came in to check me one more time. I heard the excitement in her voice even before she announced “Oh! 9.5!! I’m going to go get Lisa!” (my midwife on duty).
From then it felt like things moved very quickly.
The nurse began instructing me to try a “practice push” to see if I could feel how I was pushing (epidural still in effect!). Lisa came in. Josh by my side encouraging me. They kept instructing me to push. To be honest, I thought I was still practice pushing when Lisa was like, “feel her head!” I couldn’t believe this was the real thing – she was almost there. I heard the excitement in Josh’s voice. A couple of more pushes and it happened so fast – she was here. I heard little gargles and crying, Josh and Lisa had grabbed her and were lifting her up and set her on me. I think Josh and I lost it. It felt so unreal and so significant. We have a daughter.
Imogen was the teensiest little thing.
Born November 19th, 2013 at 4:53am. 6 pounds, 11 ounces. 19 inches long.
We were immediately in love.
We spent the next couple of days at the hospital and it seemed like forever. She had to fight off a little bit of jaundice before we could leave.
Imogen is two weeks old tomorrow! It’s been the hardest two weeks of our lives.. and that might be a huge understatement. But we’re trying to absorb the smallness of her, the little features, the new expressions, how she studies the world when she opens her eyes, the way she looks at us, how hilarious the sound of her little sharts are, how tiny her fingers are, and the smell – oh the perfect beautiful newborn smell. And she’s ours. And how amazing and strange it is to love someone so deeply that you only just met. Especially since they don’t let you sleep like, at all. 🙂