Hey everyone, at long last I am excited to share the story of the birth of our very first child. I'm sure this will be really hard to describe still because I'm still all teary and emotional! This is more amazing than I ever could have imagined it to be in my lifetime. I'm truly in love all over again.
Erick and I had a plan. We intended to stick to the plan. What I've learned? As soon as you make a plan- the most you can "plan" on is throwing that initial one right out the window. It meant more to have an open mind during labor, starting with the day she decided to come.
It was just like any normal Tuesday, I had my NST testing at 1:30. I went in for the 30 minute heart-rate/contraction check and had an ultrasound afterwards. The night before I had spent about 7 hours in my family's pool back home in Essex and I remember how peaceful and weightless I felt. Coming home was a long drive and I started to get some weird crampy feeling. I was grumpy all night, giving Erick the cold shoulder and pouting on the couch with a plate full of cookies. I felt off. At my appointment, the technician let me know that "crampy" feeling I had were contractions- and they were coming every two minutes! I couldn't believe it. Was this really happening? I had an ultrasound scheduled for afterwards so they went ahead to take a look at how baby was handling all the commotion in my belly.
Well the ultrasound gave me some unsettling and surprising news- there was barely any water surrounding the baby. What did this mean? My water had a slow leak, so I hadn't noticed it breaking, and I had been having contractions because of it. I was alone in the doctors office trying to digest the news as I waited to hear what I should do next. My lab tech came back in and said the doctor didn't even want to see me that I needed to be induced in the next hour.
I sat in the ultrasound room alone and cried. I cried because I was scared, I cried because there was no one there with me, I cried because I didn't know what to expect, I cried because I didn't have every last detail ready at home, and I cried because this went against my "all natural least amount of medicinal intervention" birth plan.
Next up was the phone call that every husband so anxiously awaits, "honey my water broke and I didn't know it.. blah blah blah... sob sob sob... tears... get home immediately...we're having a baby!" Erick was downtown Chicago and had taken the train to work, so he cabbed it back to the apartment. (Not a cheap ride, sorry babe!) I drove my teary mess of a self back home and distractedly tried to pack a hospital bag while I looked around at her unfinished nursery, clothes that needed to be washed, and my computer screen with google searches of "labor induction" and "survival rates at 37 weeks". I was so paranoid.
We finally made it to the hospital around four, and I got registered and sent to my room where I promptly sat my butt down and started up the paranoid googling on my phone as I waited for them to let me know what happened next. Google is like my saftey net, yet also a very dangerous tool. I wonder how pre-internet cell phone mothers ever made it through their labor and delivery.
I got all IV'd up (after many tries with my stupid skinny little veins) and was feeling alright. The doctors finally came to come see me and let me know what my new labor plan was. First thing to happen were monitors were placed on my belly to watch baby and to watch my contractions. All I remember during this time was how outrageously hungry I was and how grumpy it was making me. I had a bowl of Reese's Puffs at 10:30 in the morning and it was quickly approaching 8:00 at night. I was NOT a happy momma. We finally meet the doctor that would help to deliver our baby, Doctor Butler, after four hours of contracting and waiting while she lets us know what happens next. I was only dilated to two, so I had to have a catheter put inside my cervix... (FUN!)(Painful!) and all I could think about was the hard work I'd be doing without any food in my belly. I explained this very serious dilemma in my mind to my doctor, and to my surprise she let me have my last meal before she placed the catheter. Can anyone say PORTILLOS?!? Yes, my last "meal" was 2 hotdogs and a cake shake. Doctor Butler and I are BFFs.
At around midnight, they came in and checked out my progress and guess what? I had made it all the way to 5 cms. I was really proud of how well my body was adjusting, so I tweeted the good news to everyone. It was almost like a live stream of Sofie's birth. I hope she thinks this is so "old-school" someday. They decided to take the catheter out and start me on some heavier labor-inducing drugs, the infamous Pitocin. If you've never heard of Pitocin, which I'm sure many of you have not, it is the devil. I literally hated it. I would look up at my IV drip and see the phony Oxytocin flowing into my body giving me the most excruciating contractions and pain I've ever felt and in a sleepless gaze I'd talk to the stupid drip. I'd call it "diablo" in spanish. I hissed at it. I was starting to feel a little loopy.
We labored throughout the night, trying every natural method of breathing and panting and squeezing and back-rubbing to try and alleviate my medically-induced pain. (Which is much worse than what my body would have done naturally, mind you.) Most of the night was a blur, I didn't want to be talked to and I didn't want anyone there except for Erick. We came up with a pretty good routine, I would lay on my side and he would rub small circles on my back between contractions to help me relax until the next wave set in. Once I started getting a contraction he would pull my knees back and push really hard into my lower back with his hand applying counter-pressure to my contracting uterus. I've never known pain like this in my life, and can't imagine doing this without him by my side. Around 4AM I had to get on all fours on the bed, backless hospital gown and everything and hug Erick as the pain got worse. I didn't even care when the nurses would come in to check on my and my whole ass was hanging out. There is a point in childbirth where all your modesty just goes out the window and you do whatever you have to do as a woman to deal with the pain of birthing your own baby. There were magical moments, and this was one of them. We watched the sunrise; I felt really powerful. I felt in control of my body, almost trance like as I imagined all the colors of the rainbow to trick myself into not feeling the pain.
Around 8am, I was beginning to shake as my body was exhausted from labor. The pain was becoming unbearable. The doctors came in to again check my progress and thought I would for sure be at a 7 and transitioning due to my state. I couldn't talk and my contractions were getting longer, stronger, and literally knocking the wind out of me. When the doctors checked my cervix I was surprised and devastated to find I was still only at a 5. After all that work, nothing had happened. I felt helpless.
Doctor Butler was unpleased with the news and decided to crank my Pitocin drip way higher than it was before. I was already at the peak of my pain and literally thought I would die if it got any worse. I couldn't control my shaking and I couldn't breathe for 90 seconds as each wave of contraction would pummel my body. Now here's where I made a decision that I thought I would never make in my life. Me, dubbed the "nature loving free peace" type girl was considering getting an epidural. I didn't want it. I wanted to say I could manage without it. At this point, during your own childbirth, you have to make some decisions and I thought about my options. What was the safest and fastest way to get my baby into this world? What was best for her? I knew I couldn't realistically have the strength to bring my girl into this world if I put my body through anything else, so we called in the anesthesiologist.
My "labor" face wasn't as bad as I expected from this photo, and what really freaks me out is even at 10 centimeters, I STILL had to tweet about it and let everyone know it was game time! Once I got the epidural it had only taken an hour to get me to where I needed to be. I felt thankful, and was proud of myself. I felt, and still feel I made the right decision. Doctor Butler came in and told me to get ready because she could see our little girl's head and it was time to push. I was so excited! Erick, who had originally thought he would be nowhere "down there" near the action was told to grab one of my legs. Again, with our plan... haha. They helped me through the next three contractions talking about hotdogs while I was purple in the face from pushing. It didn't really even matter at that point, because I felt high with energy. I had a job to do.
Erick watched and coached the whole time as our little munchkin came closer and closer to the finish line. It was surreal for both of us. I broke a few blood vessels from pushing so hard! And the craziest, proudest moment of my life was when the doctor asked if I wanted to deliver my own baby. I literally with two hands and a push, grabbed my daughter and brought her into this world. I laid her on my chest and started to laugh. I couldn't believe it!
Exhausted, accomplished, and proud. Giving birth is one of the passages into womanhood or something. I was soaking it up. And meanwhile, they were soakin' our baby!
She got her first hairstyle, a mowhawk of course. Then, the hopspital staff dried her off and brought her to me so we could cuddle and she could eat for the very first time. It was a beautiful moment for the both of us, and still is.
We spent the next few hours bonding and getting cleaned up so we could head to the maternity ward, our home for the next night. This little girl has such the fan club already! We feel so blessed an lucky. We had so many visitors that first night-- co-workers, friends, family. It was party time up in our room.
Grammie De La Rosa
Grammie and Grampie Votta
The littlest Auntie
I loved how supported we felt by friends and family. It was so great to know that so many people cared about this tiny life we had just brought into the world. It still amazes me to think about how much everyone has done for us and supported Erick and I through this journey. It melts my heart.
Nothing melts my inside more than seeing my husband hold our child. The feeling doesn't go away once you go home, either. I don't think it ever will.
Thanks, Magali for the photos of Sofie and Papa.
Erick and I spent the next few quiet hours together as a family with our new baby girl. Those moments didn't last long enough. After all the craziness and sleepless few nights it was great to be in the arms of the man you love while we both took turns holding our tiny, entire world.
Finally, we woke up the next morning to be discharged. I was ready as ever to get out of that freakin' hospital. They were very nice to us during our stay, but my bottom felt like I had given birth to a rhinoceros and I needed to be out of that uncomfortable hospital bed.
We got Sofia dressed in one of her new pink gowns and hat and started to pack up our belongings. I really couldn't believe we got to take her home with us! This was it!
They wheeled me down in a wheel chair, but common who are we kidding? I could've climbed stairs that very day. For as much as we went through, I felt like a million bucks. Our little tiny family was packed up and ready to go!
I think that was the slowest car ride of my life, and I'm sure it was the slowest Erick has ever driven. I was sure people were going to start honking at us. It's funny how much your life changes, even down to the way you drive, in an instant.
Sofia handled the car ride home like a champ. She handles everything like a champ. That first night was a little rough, but so far, we're two days into sleeping for 3 hours at a time and only waking to eat. Mama and Papa are so proud, and we would endure a million "bad nights" because we get to be with our baby girl.
She really is so beautiful. I can't wait to show you more. The past few days we've enjoyed the brightness of the summer sun and the soft breeze on new skin. It all feels new, even I feel new. This is such a magical experience and I can't believe I get to be a mom. It's everything I could have hoped for except for, but better.
I love my husband. I love my daughter. I love my life.
Thank you for listening to our story.
And it's only just beginning...