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My Labor and Delivery Story | Connecticut Fashion and Lifestyle Blog











<br /> My Labor and Delivery Story | Connecticut Fashion and Lifestyle Blog | Covering the Bases<br />


















I want to start this post by saying a few things before we dive in. First and foremost, mom and baby are doing great. We are happy, healthy, and enjoying our new life together. 

Soon-to-be-moms are so often hit with the worst stories and ‘advice’ when it comes to L&D. How horrible/terrible/painful it is, how your body will never be the same, how this is the worst part of pregnancy… etc etc. Even with my complications, I felt like it wasn’t as bad as everyone made it out to be. And if I could just share that with my past self from a few weeks ago, I would feel a lot better. So I’m hoping that this post can help ease the stress and anxiety for anyone reading this.



I remember in the days leading up to my induction I was calling all my friends asking them to recount their delivery day in detail. I wanted no stone left unturned. I was scouring the internet for a step-by-step process of what was going to happen. I was following up with my doctor every week asking for her to take me through it again. I wanted to know as much as I could so I could prepare myself for what was to come. I find that with my anxiety, the more I know and am “prepared” for, the less stress I have.

Because of that, I decided to document the day in a way that would have been helpful for me as an expectant mother. I kept my Notes app open during my labor process and marked the time, the feeling, the details, everything … so I not only would be able to recount the day for myself in the future (because you forget everything!) but for my friends who are also pregnant. And now, I guess, for the world too. So beware this post is long and very detailed!

And we should all be aware of this, but I want to state that everyone’s experience is different. Me sharing my story doesn’t discount anyone else’s, just like everyone else’s story doesn’t discount mine. We are all unique in our own ways and our labor and delivery (and postpartum) stories are no exception. There is no one-size-fits-all story or guide to birth. So while I had a great labor and a difficult delivery and postpartum, it doesn’t mean the same will apply to you.

Labor:


We got to the hospital for our induction at 8pm. It took about 15 minutes to get checked in and the whole labor floor was pretty quiet. I had no idea what to expect, so when we walked into the room, I was kind of blown away. The room was so nice! It was spacious and had a great view of the city. It just seemed like a really welcoming and happy place to have a baby.

Around 8:30pm we got all set up in our room, met our nurse Eunice, had all my blood/vitals pulled, and got hooked up to the machine to start our induction process. When I first sat down to chat with Eunice, I mentioned to her that I was nervous (rightly so), since it was my first time giving birth. I had no idea what to expect. I asked her to basically walk me through every single thing she was doing, talk me through the process, and give me time to ask questions. 

I think this was a really important step to communicate with the nurses and doctors that I really wanted them to walk me through everything. I wanted to know exactly what we were doing for each step, what to expect, how long it would take, what it would feel like … everything. Not in any controlling way but more so that I could be more relaxed knowing what to expect. This was something I learned I needed with my Pelvic Floor PT. I liked that she walked me through everything, and I found that in our appointments I was always much more relaxed than at the doctor’s office.

You really should be advocating for yourself during this time. It’s all about you, what you need and what is best for you and your body. And I believe that the staff at the hospital is there to do the same. They’re here for you and to make your experience the best it can be. I also think talking to them beforehand made the nurses and doctors more compassionate with me. I think it can be easy to make it part of their routine, since they’ve done this 100+ times, to forget that this is your first time and that it can be scary with all the unknown. 

Between 9-10pm I met the different doctors and residents that would be on the overnight shift with me. Everyone was nicer than the last, and around 10pm Dr. Arditi (who was the resident working my shift and a lovely human being) came in to do a cervical check. I had just gone to my OB the day before so I knew I was at least 1cm dilated and 50% effaced, and that if all was the same (which it was) they would start me with a foley balloon (which we did). 

After talking at length to anyone I knew that had a baby within the past five years, I had an idea about the induction process. Both my sisters and a handful of my friends were induced, and everyone I spoke to told me about the discomfort that came with the foley balloon. I don’t know if it was because I was already a little dilated or if Dr. Arditi is just a wonderful/smart/calming presence who knew how to get me in the correct position to insert it, but it actually didn’t hurt at all, which I was pretty surprised about. After the foley balloon was in, she also placed some kind of dissolving pill in my cervix, to help move the process along. I can’t remember the name of it.

Almost immediately I started feeling cramps; like strong period cramps. Which, after nine months of not having them, really brought back the bad memories of my period lol. Up until this point, my Braxton Hicks were much more of a tightening in my upper belly versus cramping down below. So this was new and it hurt. The bulk of the pain lasted for about 20 minutes (like the doctor mentioned) and around 10:45pm the period pains were turning into contractions.  

These were painful but not unbearable. They would start slow, climb, peak, and go back down. They lasted for about 20 seconds each time and just felt like your worst period cramp. Which was uncomfortable, but knowing it would soon pass helped me get through it. It stayed this way for a bit and around 11:15pm they became more intense and routine. 

Now the contractions were every 3-4 minutes and lasted about 60-90 seconds and they hurt. During a contraction, I couldn’t talk, didn’t want to be talked to, felt really tense, and couldn’t seem to get that relaxed feeling — especially in my legs — between contractions. By this point, everyone was just telling me to try and get some sleep and I kept thinking “how the hell would I do that feeling like this?!”

For the next hour I laid in bed, lights off, mom on the monitor watching my contractions telling me when they’ve peaked, and Andrew trying to sleep on the couch. I wasn’t trying to be a hero by any means ‘fighting’ through the pain, but I knew I didn’t want to get an epidural too quickly. My OB and I had talked about it a lot over the past few months and we agreed to try and hold off for as long as I could so I could take advantage of being mobile. But during this hour all I could think about was “have I labored for long enough?”

The 3-4 minutes in between contractions were my everything. Because in between, you really got a chance to breathe and relax (somewhat) and it was just long enough to forget how painful each contraction was. It was like during the breaks I kept saying to myself “I can totally do this” and then a contraction would come and I would scream to myself “get the anesthesiologist in here NOW”.

Around 12:15am I just wanted to get comfortable. I was starting to feel a little nauseous from the pain, my legs and arms were shaking, and I was really getting sleepy. I felt a strong urge to use the bathroom but was unsure if it was the pain in the area or if I really needed to go. I thought I might as well take advantage of being able to move while I can. It was a successful trip (the last one for a few weeks lol) and it turns out contractions on the toilet were a lot more comfortable than laying down!

After my successful bathroom break, I thought “hey, being up and walking around feels good” and tried to pace back and forth in our room. I did this for maybe 10 minutes before asking for the anesthesiologist to come in “just to talk” about my options and see if it was a good time to get the epidural. 

I continued to labor and somehow was able to fall into a light sleep between contractions, until around 1am when the anesthesiologist team came in. I asked a lot of questions about the epidural and the process (it was my next fear to overcome) and if it was the right time. They were not only really calming and helpful, but they were extremely supportive of anything I wanted to do. They were here to help me make a decision but didn’t push me one way or another. We agreed that if I were to get any sleep tonight, it would be helpful to start the process now.

Mom had to leave the room but Andrew was able to stay and they placed him in front of me while they got set up behind me. I think in total, it took maybe 40 minutes from prep to being done and if I could sum it up quickly I would say it’s overall not that painful. I feel like people really hype it up as being this super painful procedure but if anything, the numbing shots hurt the most. Even that was nothing more than a wrong blood pull/strong pinch feeling.

I think it maybe took a few tries (I know we started over at least once) to get it in the proper placement — which I blame my crooked back on — but I let them know when I felt any pain so we could get it in the right place. Just like with my nurse and doctor, I talked to the anesthesiologist team for a while before starting the procedure. I wanted to know what to expect, what I should/shouldn’t be feeling, what the process was, etc.

So during the procedure, I was talking with them and speaking up for what felt right and what didn’t. When it didn’t feel right, it just kind of felt like a quick nerve pinch that lasted no more than a second. But after the trial and error, when they finally got it in the right spot, I could feel nothing. So don’t be afraid to say something!

Some things I didn’t know about the epidural beforehand: 

  1. It stays in the whole time like a catheter. I thought it was just a shot.
  2. It doesn’t actually numb your entire lower half, but instead just below your belly button and above your thighs. Having a numb butt is really weird.
  3. You can administer more medicine to help with the pain as needed. You get this handy little button that you’re allowed to press once every 10 minutes. There are failsafes in place so you can’t get too much medicine/harm yourself but just enough to help. And then every 45 minutes it administers on its own.

But let me tell you, A+++++++ for the epidural. Almost right away my contractions turned into “tell me when it’s over” to “is that a contraction?” I would pay all the money for an epidural if I had to, and I now believe that I am its new spokesperson. Almost right away I could feel it working and my body felt totally normal with my mid area just feeling “asleep.” My contractions returned to the Braxton Hicks feeling of stomach pressure/tightness without any pain. 

Now it’s time to get some sleep! I think I maybe got 30 minutes (if that) before Dr. Arditi came back to check on me. It was about 2:30am and was time to see if I was any more dilated than before. The point of the foley balloon was to get me to 4cm, in which case it would come out with no pressure/resistance. Which it did (yay!) and now it was time to start the Pitocin, which would be administered through my IV and go up in dose every 15 minutes to help me continue to dilate. The hope was to stay on this schedule and see if my water breaks naturally or if we’ll help it move along in the morning when the baby is a little further down.

I think I officially started Pitocin around 4am after they came to catheter me (which felt like nothing and was really cool and strange). I didn’t have a permanent catheter so they would come to do this every couple of hours. About every 15 minutes Eunice would come to check in on me and the baby to see how we were doing on Pitocin and see if we can continue to go up (if all is good) or pull back (if I or the baby was showing any signs of distress). The goal now is to get to 6cm dilated with contractions every 3-4 minutes. 

Over the next few hours, just as I’m falling asleep, it seems like someone is coming in the room to either check-in or me or turn me over. By 6:30am Dr. Arditi came in to check on me one last time before her shift was up at 7am. I was still at 4cm dilated but the baby was further down so we broke my water. It was barely anything at all (nothing like the gush from the movies!) and we kept up with the Pitocin. 

My cramps were coming back after my water broke and around 6:50am they were getting pretty strong. Not stronger than an every-10-minute push of epidural but I was on it like clockwork. I was also superrrr itchy! At 7am, we said a very sad goodbye to Dr. Arditi and our nurse Eunice. They truly made the whole experience so wonderful.

Around 7:30 my world was rocked by a new, abrasive, and (kind of) mean new nurse. She came in our room like a bat out of hell and it was truly such a shock to all of us. Since COVID numbers are down, we were able to have some more relaxed rules. Andrew and mom were able to leave the room whenever they wanted, I was the only one who was tested (the day before), and we just wore our masks when people came in. But at 7am in the morning, we were all fast asleep in our room… alone… and this nurse comes in and turns on all the lights, tells Andrew he needs to move/get up from his space in the room, yells at us for not wearing a mask, and is starting to sit me up in my bed. It was just all so much so quickly that my head was spinning. 

The best way to describe our new nurse is a stereotypical older New York woman. When I tried to talk to her letting her know that I still wanted to sleep, that I didn’t want to sit up, that they just did a check on me, etc etc she said “I’ve been doing this for a long time, I know how to have babies” and I was just like whoa. She wasn’t even listening to me. I then tried to talk to her the same way I did with my doctor and nurse before, letting her know that I’m new, I need talking through, slow steps, lots of communication and she just kept cutting me off. To say it was a bad fit would be an understatement and I got a little worried.

She stayed in our room for the next hour so it was hard to talk to mom or Andrew about how I didn’t think this was a good fit but finally she stepped out and we were all in agreement that something needed to change. This is where I start to clam up — who could I possibly talk to about this? What do I say? And it’s at this moment when having a good advocacy team with you is needed. Mom went to the nurse station and let them know that we needed someone new. 

Closer to 8am, we met the OB and residency staff that were working the day shift. The doctor was very nice and seemed truly wonderful but she wasn’t my OB. The whole plan for the induction was to be with my OB for delivery but the week prior she mentioned that her schedule was moved around and while she’d be in the hospital doing a c-section in the morning, she was set to do admin work the rest of the day. We never got a clear answer to whether or not she would be there to help me deliver, but I was trying my best to keep my hopes up.

So when I met the nurse and the doctor on the dayside, I communicated to both that I’d like to see Dr. Aubey (my OB). I told them she was in the hospital and asked for her to at least stop by so I could check in with her (and hopefully convince her to stay with me). After all, I stayed with the OB group for Dr. Aubey. I just loved her so much (and I’m so glad I did).

Around 9am Dr. Aubey came into the room(!!!!) and it was like a breath of fresh air I was so happy to see her. She was someone I knew, I could trust, and someone who was looking out for me. We talked to her about the nurse and asked for someone new and within the next 15 minutes, we welcome the most wonderful nurse, Esther, into our lives. 

Since my water broke, my cramps had continued to get stronger and by the time Esther came in, I was in quite a bit of pain. She mentioned that they had lowered my Pitocin around 6/7am because our numbers weren’t great but mentioned I shouldn’t be in *as much* pain as I am. She cathetered me and it was like a night and day difference for my pain. I guess there was just too much pressure!

She also convinced me it was time to sit up and let gravity start helping. With every contraction, I could feel more fluid come out, and since I’m sitting for the first time since my epidural I’m realizing how painfully numb my butt is. I’ve never had a numb butt before so it was quite a trip sitting/shifting around.

Soon after (probably around 10am) Dr. Aubey came back in to check on me and see how dilated I was. Her face lit up, and when I tell you I was shocked, I was shocked. I was at 10cm! How that happened, I have no idea 7am = 4cm / 10am = 10cm. So it was go time! Dr. Aubey stepped out to get things ready and Esther and I talked through our next steps.

It was finally feeling real and I got really anxious. I had waited nine months for this moment and it was finally here! Was I ready? What was it going to be like? How would I know what to do? So many questions, so little time. Again, I was so thankful to have Esther by my side because she was so calm, so nice, really insightful, and talked me through everything 10 times over.

With the epidural, I could still feel everything from the belly button up and everything from the thighs down, so I was able to feel when contractions would come. I’d like to think I was really in tune with when they were coming because I would feel one start to climb, tell Esther, she’d check the monitor and see the same, and then it was time to push. For every contraction, I would push 3 times for 10 seconds each. I’d breathe in, hold my breath and push for 10 (while Esther counted), had my chin to my chest, pulling the back of my thighs then repeat. 

We started officially pushing at 10:40am and I have to say, the whole process was very intimate. Esther holding my left leg, Andrew my right, Dr. Aubey in front of me, and my mom by my shoulder. It was like I had all the people on “my team” there and they were each cheering me through. I felt really loved and cared for in the moment and the whole laboring process was really wonderful for me.

I think the strangest part of the whole labor/pushing process that I didn’t really account for is the fact that I was so numb. Which — I know — sounds so dumb. But I had practiced pushing with my PT and I knew what it should feel like and how to engage the right places. But during the actual pushing, I couldn’t feel anything! Which again, is the point. But I just wasn’t prepared for that. So I did my best. Some pushes were better than others and some were just me going red in the face.

Again, shout out to the epidural because I was in no pain. My contractions were still a tightening of my stomach (like my BH) and at most I would feel a mild cramp as it was coming on. Between contractions, we had about 2-3 minutes to relax. I was talking to everyone, making jokes, I don’t even think I broke a sweat. It was all incredibly easy and enjoyable. I remember wondering why it was made out to be such a horrible experience and why I was ever scared.

Delivery:


Fast forward through an hour of pushing, at 11:52am I started my set of three pushes like normal, and Dr. Aubey stopped me, seemed to readjust, and told me to resume. The next thing I know, our baby came out in one swift and quick push. It all happened so unbelievably quick that we were all in a little bit of shock. Usually, the baby comes out in stages — part of the head, the full head, the shoulders, the rest, etc. But he came out, fluid sac and all, in one push.

I was in shock because I just had a baby. It was the quickest blink-of-an-eye moment that started with Andrew giving me the “you got this” look, and the next thing I know I see our baby, then feel him completely come out, and I say (in a delirious haze) “omg what is that? omg, it’s a baby!” I start to tear up, I lock eyes with Andrew, and then time starts to move really slowly.

For the sake of our baby’s privacy, I’m going to omit a few things from his side and just stick with my story. But we’ll just say that the baby coming out that quickly caused complications for us both. I think my sister put it best when she said that my body knew he had to come out right then and there and it’s why he came out all at once. 

I personally was in shock and not focusing on myself at all. I vaguely remember Dr. Aubey birthing my placenta and seeing it when it came out (very cool, very weird), and then she got to work stitching me up. Again, I am in zero pain — which, thank god for that — and honestly thought that the baby coming out in one push just meant I was a super mom, an A+ pusher, and that I didn’t tear at all. But that was just simply not the case.

I asked Dr. Aubey if I tore at all (thinking I didn’t) and she quietly mentioned I had a second-degree tear and an internal one. So I just laid back, not really focusing on myself but on the baby, and just waited. Around 12:10pm our baby was brought back to lay on my chest and all I was focused on was him. There was quite a bit of blood down below from what I could see and at this point, Dr. Aubey had called in the chief resident for an extra set of hands. I could feel pressure and some pulling but still, I had little to no pain (or idea of what was going on).

Dr. Aubey had mentioned that I had an internal tear that she couldn’t see the end of to stitch up and it’s why she was taking her time. I basically told her I was in no rush (again, cracking jokes not really understanding what was going on because… ya girl was in shock) and that I’m down to do whatever she needed. She mentioned going to the OR to get better lighting and I thought “that makes total sense”.

Around 12:45pm she officially called it and in the blink of an eye, 20 people were in the room getting me prepped for surgery. I had people pulling me every which way, loading me up with medications, and the next thing I knew I was being wheeled out of the room. It wasn’t really until I locked eyes with Esther in the hallway did I start to really get scared. I was being taken away from Andrew and our baby and what had just been a wonderful, peaceful experience not only an hour ago, has turned into something so much bigger. 

And it’s strange writing this story because at the time I really thought we were just going to another room to get better light. It wasn’t until the next day or so that mom mentioned my “surgery” and I was like “I didn’t have surgery”. I really — at the moment in time — had no idea how bad things got. I lost a lot of blood and my internal tear was deep.

Once I was in the OR I realized that I was completely numb from the waist down. I couldn’t move or lift my legs and everyone was moving a mile a minute. All I could do was cry and shake. I couldn’t stop shaking. They transferred me over to the OR bed and put me in what I like to call an 1800s torture position. The bed was tilted down so my head was below and my legs were in the air. My legs were in hanging stirrups and I’m pretty sure my hips were at eye level. The thought of it all (now) is pretty funny because it couldn’t have been a pretty sight to see.

I could feel some pressure/movement but for the most part, I was pretty drugged up and numb. I could feel myself dozing off and I just kept wiggling my toes (the only thing I could feel from my waist down) to stay awake because I was worried that if I fell asleep I wouldn’t wake up. And I needed to wake up for our baby. I was also worried about our baby and if something were to happen, would they tell the mother who is on the operating table? So I tearfully cried out for Esther every so often for an update on Andrew and the baby. When I didn’t hear back for a while I started to freak out again but at some point, I did get word that everyone was ok and that Andrew was feeding him.

I don’t know how long I had been on the table at this point, but I was starting to regain feeling in my right leg, and at this point, I had been spread eagle since delivery and my hips were on fire. I think I lost it with about two minutes left in the procedure just crying out to let my legs down. Dr. Aubey came from behind the curtain and gave me a “we’re not giving up now” pep talk.

Once we were done, the doctors were debating whether or not to send me to the ICU but at this point, I just begged them to send me back to our baby and our room. Dr. Aubey agreed that I probably didn’t need to go to the ICU, but I needed to be carefully monitored, and let me go back with Esther. 

I got back to our room around 2:40pm and was reunited with our baby, Andrew, and my mom. After all I had been through, I was feeling weirdly OK (probably still in shock and on a ton of medicine) and I got to finally get those baby snuggles in. Soon after we called our families and walked them through what happened. 

It wasn’t really until I was talking to my sister (who was crying and on the verge of booking a flight to New York) that I realized something more than I was processing had just happened. There were a lot of tears shed when recounting the past few hours with our families but the end was always positive: mom and baby were happy and healthy.

Dr. Aubey came in shortly after our calls and walked us through what happened. It seems as the baby came out, his shoulder tore the inside wall of my vagina horizontally, and since the tear was so deep and so far back it was nearly impossible to see or repair without the proper lighting, angle, and set of extra hands. But thankfully she was able to get it done in the OR and said I’d be all set to move to postpartum within the next few hours.

She mentioned I lost a lot of blood throughout the process and told me signs to be on the lookout for (to make sure I didn’t need a blood transfusion — which I did and received the next day). Then Esther came in and punched down my belly and helped contract my uterus (this was painful but we were making light of it) and started me on some postpartum care (ice packs, pads… the works). And before I knew it, we were being taken downstairs into our new room.

The love and appreciation I have for both Dr. Aubey and Esther is unmatched. I could not imagine this process without them and I’ll be forever grateful for them both. I know they deliver babies all the time but they saved our lives that day and it means a lot to me and my family. I remember being wheeled off saying goodbye to Esther and feeling immense sadness. I think in a haze I yelled out “I’ll never forget you” and I meant it. She was such an important part of the biggest moment in my life and it’s weird that I’ll likely never see her again. 

I also realize that it’s totally a privilege to get your OB for your delivery and even more so for me to get Dr. Aubey on a day when she wasn’t on call. I seriously am so thankful for her every day because I couldn’t have imagined doing this with anyone else. When it comes to your OB, you chose them for a reason and you spend nine months building a relationship, the last thing you want is for someone you don’t know to come in and deliver your baby. But it happens so often! I told her how grateful I was to have her there and how I could never explain what happened during delivery to her after the fact. 

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And that’s where my labor and delivery story ends. The original plan was to include my postpartum in this post — to just get it all in one post — but this novel is already long enough so we’ll save that for later this week.






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