06 December 2012

Natalie's Birth Story

I think before every woman gives birth for the first time she has a scene played out in her head of how things will go.

I personally envisioned my water breaking dramatically in one big gush (in the aisle of a grocery store with some poor clerk left to clean up the mess, of course) and me frantically being whisked away to the hospital.

 Reality had other plans for me though.

I woke up early one morning, four days after my due date with the need to pee, which was obviously normal.

 Then I kept having to pee, again and again. So much so that I was powerless against the urge and I couldn't make it to the bathroom which is five feet from my bedroom door in time.

(If you've never been pregnant then just stop judging  If you have and you've never pissed yourself then kudos to you.)

Then after so many times of this happening over and over, the thought that it could be my water leaking occurred to me.

I wasn't sure though, so I did what everyone else does in uncertain medical situations and I Googled the crap out of the phrase "water leaking during pregnancy."

Maybe 45 minutes had passed, I decided I might be in the early stage of labor and laid back down, waiting to see what happened next.

My husband got up to use the bathroom, completely unaware of my labor possibility, and got violently ill with either food poisoning from dinner the night before or a stomach bug.

I knocked on the door and told him about my situation. He said he would pull himself together and drive me to the hospital. I made it a point that he need not rush, I really wasn't convinced I would have the baby anytime soon.

More time passed and I started having bad stomach cramps.

I decided I needed real medical advice, not from a computer, and I called the hospital.

The midwife I spoke to was super calm, probably because she wasn't the one about to push a 14 inch head through her vagina, and told me to eat breakfast, take a shower, relax and then come in for them to check things out.

I did none of the above.

The pain got so bad and my husband was still a complete wreck so I called my sister. She came to my rescue and drove me to the hospital.

We got there, went through all the annoying paperwork and I was given a room.

The doctor came in and told me that once I asked for it they would administer the epidural.

 I was relived to hear this but tried to wait as long as possible, just to be safe that it wouldn't wear off by the time I had to push.

That waiting game didn't last long and soon I was begging for it.

I remember while it was being administered I was shaking so bad, partially because I was a little nervous but also because I was strangely cold.

Then I got super nauseous and a nurse held a bag open for me to get sick into.

My sister was on the phone with Matt giving him updates and I think I talked to him for a little bit too.

I'm not sure what interval of time passed after that, it could have been 15 minutes it could have been an hour but the doctor checked to see how dilated I was and told me she could see the head.

I asked if it was time to push and sure enough it was.

Someone got my husband on the phone and I talked to him briefly. He said he'd try to make it as soon as possible. His mom was by his side trying to nurse him back to health to no avail.

I couldn't stress about it though, I had a job to do.

I was told when a contraction came along is when I would start pushing. I could feel the contractions, I just had no urge or instinct to push. I didn't really know how to. Basically I just sat up and held it for ten seconds as told. Thankfully there was a helpful team of nurses cheering me on coaching me on what to do.

20 minutes later, at 11:09 am my baby was being laid on my chest.

I still remember how warm her body felt on mine. It was beautiful. I held her and cried a little. My mom cut the cord.

 I talked to Matt again on the phone and he could hear her cry in the background as nurses cleaned her up and took her measurements.

He arrived as soon as he could, held her for a short amount of time before running off to the bathroom to get sick once again.

He hung around, not doing too much but trying to be involved and supportive while not puking.

I was exhausted, overwhelmed, overjoyed and felt like I was living in a dream.

The hospital took Natalie away to run some standard tests and moved me up to the maternity ward. Matt and his mom came with me.

I was told I'd get her back in an hour. I was anxious to see and hold her again but I welcomed the small break as a chance to finally rest for a bit.

This of course didn't happen because I was in a trance and busy talking about this new experience and all that had happened and how crazy everything was to my husband and mother in law. It was just so surreal.

Natalie was brought back to me and the nurse talked to me about how shift changes and medication and visitation and a bunch of other bullshit would work. She also told me that though they had a nursery in the hospital, they highly encouraged mothers and babies to be together at all times

I got the feeling I wasn't in a loving place because she then basically told my family to leave since visitation hours were over.

My mother in law promised to come see me when she could.

Once visitation began again a lot of people came to see me. Though being with my baby girl was incredible, it was also very lonely and I was so happy to see and talk to adults who weren't asshole nurses.

The night soon ended though and I was left in the room, still not having had a wink of sleep. My MIL was fortunately still around and I asked her if she would get me a snack.

A nurse came to check on me and I asked her about the nursery. She said the same thing the other nurse did: they could take Natalie but they really wanted mommy and baby to stay together.

I felt like I was being scolded for wanting to sleep. I felt like a terrible new mom for wanting someone else to take care of my baby on the first night because I was burnt out.

My mother in law returned with a giant Kit-Kat. It was close to 9:00 and I knew she was getting ready to say good-bye.

That's when I reached my breaking point and just started sobbing. She held me and I told her how tired I was and how shitty I felt asking for my new baby to go to the nursery.

 She was so helpful at consoling me and then she found a nurse and explained how I needed my rest. They came and took her, and despite feeling guilty about it I was so happy to get some rest.

My experience with the staff from there wasn't much of an improvement but I didn't care. The next day my husband was a little better and he was glued to our sides. I left that evening and have been fortunate enough to have so much help from so many other people.

Certain circumstances were definitely not ideal on the day I gave birth, but all things considered the most important part (delivering the baby) went so smoothly and I couldn't have asked for a healthier, happier, sweeter baby girl.


Day of birth

Two weeks

Two months
Four Months
Six Months
Eight Months

One year
*These aren't the best photo's of her, but this is the best I did with tracking her growth.

16 Thoughts :

Shannon December 6, 2012 at 8:25 AM  

There are a lot of your birth story I'm sorry you had to go through, but boy am I jealous of the 20 minutes of pushing. I pushed for just shy of three hours and it was physically the hardest three hours of my life.

But we have beautiful healthy girls and that is all that matters!

Stephanie December 6, 2012 at 8:39 AM  

Oh wow, I don't think I knew that your husband wasn't able to be there for the delivery. What crappy timing! I bet he felt horrible not being there, but better not to get anyone sick. I'm sorry the staff made you feel guilty; our staff actually encouraged us to use the nursery, and I'm sure we probably will again. You did a wonderful job and have a beautiful daughter to show for it!

Nessa December 6, 2012 at 8:44 AM  

I really like this post. I read your birth story the first time around but it was fun reading it again, and seeing all the photos of Natalie growing up.

Sean Marie December 6, 2012 at 9:20 AM  

Yeah, it was crazy! The timing of him getting sick could not have been worse.

That's awesome that your hospital encourage the nursery! My friend who recently gave birth at the same place I did said they told her they were actually getting rid of the nursery soon, so babies are going to HAVE to stay in the room with the moms. I think that's crazy. Every new mom needs a break after having a baby.

marie December 6, 2012 at 9:53 AM  

I am glad you posted this. I am always amazed when people have long detailed birth plans, sometimes (always in my case) you just have to roll with the punches.

The hospital I delivered my son at none of my friends went to because apparently it's old, you have to share rooms and it's not a good hospital. Well I didn't know that and I thought it was awesome. I am sure it had nothing to do with the hospital itself and everything to do with the fact that I had my precious baby in my arms!

Sorry about the crappy nurse, I had one of those myself.

Jennifer Winklmann December 6, 2012 at 10:11 AM  

I love reading birth stories, because it always takes me back to my own son's birth experience. I'm now expecting my 2nd baby and I'm so curious to see how this one is different from my first. Thank you for sharing your story. Beautiful.

Kelly December 6, 2012 at 10:25 AM  

So I loved reading this post. Probably because I love birth stories but this one is just so real. I can't believe your husband got so sick and wasn't able to be there! What insane timing!

Also, what bitch nurses. Seriously. That is mean. They are just being lazy asses by "recommending" the mother and baby stay together 24/7. No. The hospital where I delivered encouraged us to let the baby stay in the nursery so we could rest up (yes I made my husband stay with me...I'm sure he won't go for that next time!). And I just read that about getting rid of the nursery...I can't even believe that crap!

You did a great job! Natalie is absolutely beautiful! It is so amazing how much they change in one year....

Noel Bressler December 6, 2012 at 10:49 AM  

AWW! I cannot believe the one day, THE ONE DAY, you deliver your poor hubby has to be glued to a toilet! What horrible timing...you've inspired me, I think I'll share my birth story next month (oh my GOD next month???) when my baby turns one. You're right to be thankful about the one thing that truly matters...you're healthy little girl. I have to remind myself of that sometimes when I get down on myself thinking about how nothing stayed true to my initial intent! ah well, such is life

Megan December 6, 2012 at 11:43 AM  

I loved reading about this again. <3 So sorry your hubby was sick that day. But in the end it doesn't matter.

And those nurses?? UGH. There's a hospital around me that is the same way. There nursery is small but it's only there in case the mother is sick. The baby stays with you the whole time...EVEN WHEN YOU TAKE A SHOWER. Crazy. You just gave BIRTH. Give the mama the only break she's going to get for a while.

I'm going to have to go back and stalk your blog. Natalie looks so long! Loved seeing some baby photos of her again. She is absolutely beautiful!

Michelle O December 7, 2012 at 11:13 AM  

I loved this. Thanks for sharing this with everyone. You were so brave to do it without Matt there. He probably felt so bad! Im so nervous about what my story will be like. I've been watching "A Baby Story" on TLC and some look like they go really well and others look horrifying. I couldn't watch the C section one the other night. It was brutal. I love the photos of Natalie too. Happy Friday :)

Michelle O December 7, 2012 at 11:13 AM  

You have to tell me what hospital this is!

Sean Marie December 7, 2012 at 12:50 PM  

It was Alexandria. I just talked to someone today and she said she delivered at Fairfax and she said she felt like she was in a five star hotel. She said the nurses were so nice and helpful and told her she needed to rest and offered to take the baby. If we have any more kids I wanna go there!

Sean Marie December 7, 2012 at 12:55 PM  

Hope you were talking to me, or else I feel stupid giving you this long response.

the cheese thief December 7, 2012 at 1:24 PM  

So adorable. The nurses at my hospital weren't that nice either!

Michelle O December 8, 2012 at 11:26 PM  

Haha I was! We just found out that our practice only delivers in Reston. That's okay with us too. I've heard it's nice.

Shannon December 11, 2012 at 2:51 PM  

Thanks for the comment, it's always nice to meet another mom that lives in NOVA and how cool that our kids are only a few weeks apart in age! My son turns one on 12/30.

I also got the shakes really bad after my epidural, it was weird.

I'm sorry you had shitty nurses. I deliverd at Prince William Hospital in Manassas and all of the nurses in L&D, Postpartum and the NICU (where my son had to stay for a week) were great. The NICU nurses especially were like angels sent from above. We kept our son with us the first night before he went to the NICU and it was so hard. I definitely recommend the nursery especially after a C-section like I had.