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On July 27, Matt and I ate lunch at a BBQ place, and later had dinner at Buffalo Wild Wings with his parents and friend Eric, who was visiting us that night. Matt and I shared hot wings & onion rings. I guess all of that spicy food must have done something!
After that, we went to Dairy Queen for dessert! I had a chocolate ice cream cone dipped in cherry shell.
I mention that, because we were eating there, and at one point a piece of the cherry shell broke off and landed on my leg. I bent over to pick it up, and when I did, I felt a GUSH of wetness come out of me. I was sure my water had broken! If it had been just Matt and me, I would have said something, but there was no way I was going to tell Matt I had either just peed my pants, had an excessive amount of discharge, or my water broke in the earshot of his friend. Too mortifying!
We left shortly after that, and when we got home I went to the bathroom and found that whatever it was had soaked all the way through my jean shorts. I looked up different things on the Internet about your water breaking, and most websites said to lay down for awhile, stand back up, and see if anything else leaks. I did that, and only a tiny bit of something came out.
Matt asked me if I had started losing my mucus plug yet. I said no, but even if I had, it didnít mean I was in labor. Right after this, I went to the bathroom and my mucus plug came out! Then I started having bloody show. I noticed some slight cramping in my abdomen, too. I figured it was time to call the doctor.
I called the after hours service and the on-call doctor called me back. It wasnít my doctor, but I had met her at a few of my appointments. She said I should go get checked out just to be sure. So we drove to Labor & Delivery and checked in. They told me it was not my water breaking, it was probably excessive cervical mucus, that I was only 2 cm dilated and 70% effaced. Then they said it could be days or a couple of WEEKS before I delivered. I was so disappointed! I was sure that it was time. I was also kind of embarrassed because I had posted on Facebook that I was going to the hospital, and we had texted a few of our friends, and then had to go back and tell everyone it was a false alarm.
They kept me for an hour to observe, and there was no change. I was sent home at 11:30. I went to bed at midnight. I woke up with some cramps at 1:30 or so, but I just thought they were from the exam at the hospital, so I went back to bed. I kept waking up with cramps, but they werenít really too bad, and it also seemed like one constant cramp rather than coming and going, so I kept going back to sleep. Around 2:30, I noticed that the cramps would come and go, so I thought I should start timing them. I had a contraction counting app on my iPhone so I started it up. It was telling me my contractions, if thatís what these were, were lasting a minute (or longer), and 4-6 minutes apart!
HOWEVER, I still really didnít think they were contractions. I thought I was just cramping. Or that the app on my iPhone was wrong. I didnít want to call the doctor again, 3 hours after I was sent home (and told first timers think theyíre in labor all of the time but arenít really). Matt woke up and asked if I was okay. I told him I was in pain but I would be fine.
I got into the shower and turned it on really hot and aimed it at my back. It helped a little, but I quickly realized the cramps were still happening and they HURT. I got out of the shower and at some point found myself on all fours crawling on the bed trying to relieve the pain and pressure. It didnít work. Being on my left side didnít help, right side was even worse, and being on my back hurt, too. I caved in and called the after hours number again, and we threw our hospital stuff BACK in the car, and headed out. The doctor returned my call. It was the same doctor from earlier, who told the nurses to send me home. She told me a lot of first time moms mistake other symptoms for labor, blah blah blah. Then she asked if I was already on my way in, and I said yes. I could tell she was kind of annoyed, so I asked if I should turn around and go home then. Matt started to exit to go back home when he heard me say that. She said no, go ahead and come in since I was already on my way, so Matt got back into the correct lane again.
I started to feel REALLY stupid again, like I was completely crazy and was mistaking normal cramps for contractions. At this point I started shaking uncontrollably from the pain, and I also felt like I was going to throw up.
Matt was listening to me breath through the pain and asked if I was having another contraction. When I told him yes, he told me it was less than 3 minutes from the last!
We got to the hospital after what seemed like forever (15 minutes) and Matt dropped me off at the ER while he parked the car. I went in, still feeling stupid that I was maybe in false labor. They wheeled me up to L&D and there I was met by the same nurse from earlier. She said something else about me maybe being in false labor. I was starting to feel stupid again.
They put me into a room and told me to get in a gown. I started changing, still shaking uncontrollably. I got into the gown, then they told me they were putting me in a different room. I still am not sure why. The one they put me into was way smaller (a few staff members complained to me later about how it was the smallest delivery room and they all hated it!). So I had to walk half naked (I hadnít tied the gown, I was just holding it shut), shaking, down the hall to another room. I think they put me in the small room assuming this was false labor.
I was asked all about my health history, even though I already pre-registered and answered it. I was annoyed. FINALLY they checked me, and I was 7 cm dilated, with a bulging bag of waters. The nurse immediately called the doctor. She came back and told me the doctor said, ďYouíve got to be kidding me!Ē Obviously still thinking I was not having a baby that night.
A bunch of people came in to help at that point. My contractions were insane, one on top of the other. I felt extremely nauseated. I had planned on trying to go without an epidural, but at that point I didnít care about trying to be a hero, and begged for some drugs. They checked me again (an hour after the first time) and told me I was 8-9 centimeters Ė and couldnít get the epidural! I completely panicked. I started bawling my eyes out.
The original nurse was in an out, and another nurse came in to help her. I loved this nurse, she was so nice and supportive and really helped me make it through the contractions. My doctor wasnít there, and at some point a random doctor from the hospital showed up Ė which to me meant they thought I was about to push at any minute. I was still so upset about not having the epidural. The random doctor told me to stop closing my eyes during contractions, to find a focus point and keep my eyes open and focused on it. I chose a piece of lint on my nurseís pants. It later fell off and caused me some devastation because I had nothing to focus on.
They told me to tell them if I felt any pressure, like I needed to have a bowel movement. At some point during a contraction, I felt this pressure and yelled at them that I felt like I needed to crap. Matt later told me that I did, indeed, crap Ė right into a nurseís hand. She caught it and wrapped it up in something and I was none the wiser.
At some time during this, I knew I was going to throw up. Someone handed Matt a bin and he came and held it out for me and I vomited into it during my next contraction. Then no one took it from him so he had no idea where to put it, and ended up sitting it on a counter somewhere.
The on call doctor from my practice finally arrived and checked me. She checked and said I was only 8 centimeters so if they worked quickly I could have an epidural. YAY! I could not have been happier at that moment.
They called someone to come take my blood so I could get the epi. He showed up and asked where my hospital bracelet was, and said he would not take my blood or anything until I had one. A nurse told him the computer was broken and they couldnít print any out. So he waited.
I wanted to kill him. I wanted to take his little empty vials and shove them up his butt. I knew if he didnít do whatever he needed to do, I would miss my chance for an epidural, and I NEEDED it. I had started shaking uncontrollably again. I knew I would throw up again soon. Someone eventually talked him into taking my blood, so he took it and the anesthesiologist arrived. She proceeded to ask me ONE MILLION questions about my medical history Ė questions I already answered when I arrived! AND WHEN I HAD PREREGISTERED. The typical, ďDo you have asthma? Does anyone in your family have diabetes?Ē I was screaming my answers at her, I felt bad but I couldnít help it. I was so frustrated.
She asked if I could hold still during a contraction so she could give it to me. Hell. No. They hurt too bad. So she waited, and finally I got my epi. It was AMAZING. After a couple of minutes, I could only feel a slight pressure in my back, and after five minutes, I felt nothing.
They broke my bag of water and it was filled with meconium (the baby's poop). At this point, the epi stalled my labor and I stopped progressing for a couple of hours. Things calmed down, almost everyone left, and I got a short nap. Then a new nurse came in to check and said I was dilated to 9 with a small lip, so we did some practice pushes. A medical student came in to watch. It was kind of awkward at first, but after awhile you donít mind who is staring at you.
I did two things I didnít think I would Ė I let them put a mirror down so I could watch myself push (not really a pretty sight) and it was awesome, and also really helpful since I couldnít really feel what was going on. The second thing I did was reach down and touch the head Ė I didnít think I would want to, but it was really great. The baby had LOTS of dark hair, and the part of the scalp we could see was all green from the meconium. The nurse called the baby Shrek.
Matt was SO awesome. He stood right by my side and helped me count through my pushes, told me I was doing a good job, encouraged me. I love him so much. Even after watching me poop, bleed, vomit, he still loved me and was the best coach I could have asked for. The nurse said I was an awesome pusher, and I thought she was just being nice, but after what seemed like just a few practice runs (three sets of pushes, count to ten each time), the baby made it ďaround the cornerĒ as the nurse put it, and she called the doctor. Tons of people rushed in, I pushed twice and the baby was out!
My husband said ďItís a girl!Ē and got to cut her cord. We had waited until that moment to find out the gender!
I was so excited! I had thought I was having a boy, but really didnít care if I had a boy or a girl. But when I heard from my husband that it was a girl I realized that I was relieved it was a girl. We had already decided if we had a girl we would call her Avery Mae.
I have a small tear on either side of my urethra (so, two tears), but the doctor said they werenít serious enough for stitches. One of my biggest fears was tearing during labor, but when youíre in the moment and so excited to get your new baby into the world, it really is the last thing on your mind. I did have that awesome epidural, though, so I might not be saying that otherwise.
Because of the meconium, they took her to the other side of the room and I didnít get to hold her. The hospital normally has a policy that you get to hold the baby immediately, and then everyone leaves the room and you and your significant other get an hour alone with the baby, and you get to breastfeed for 30 minutes. I didnít get to do that and was really sad about it.
They took her to the NICU. There they discovered she was breathing WAY too fast. A normal baby breathes 30-60 times a minute, she was breathing in the 80s. They didnít know if it was from meconium aspiration (breathing in the poop), or if it was something called TTNB which causes excess fluid on the lungs, or if it was from an infection Ė which they doubted, because I was GBS negative. They did some x-Rays, decided that it was probably not meconium related, so it was TTNB. TTNB is usually found in C-section babies because they donít get the fluid pushed out of their lungs when they go through the birth canal. They never really explained why Avery had it.
They told us she would stay in the NICU until her breathing stabilized. This could take hours or days. I wasnít allowed to breastfeed her because they were worried that the stress of sucking while trying to feed would make her breathing worse. They had to put a feeding tube in her nose. They tried to give her an IV in both feet and hands, but couldnít, so I had to consent for them to put it in her belly button.
After a couple of hours, I was wheeled to a recovery room. The nurse made Matt leave and take our stuff out to the waiting room until they got me settled in the recovery room. So, I left alone in my room for a LONG time. I just sat there and started to cry eventually because I had just given birth, didnít have my daughter, my husband wasnít with me, and I felt all alone and sad.
I was so upset. I felt like I hadnít even given birth. It was a weird feeling. I felt disconnected and sad. I also felt bad for her, coming into this world which is probably scary enough, and being whisked away and poked and prodded and put on monitors and left alone. I didnít realize how serious her situation was at this time either, so I was still assuming sheíd be coming right back to us after they checked for meconium.
We didnít get to see her until that evening. Seeing her was awesome!! I thought she was SO beautiful. Despite all the NICU stuff - they had her in this giant oxygen mask that covered her head Ė she looked like an astronaut, so we called her our little space man. She had all sorts of tubes and wires. It was really upsetting seeing her like that. Despite her space man helmet and wires, she was the most beautiful baby.
They brought me a breast pump so I could get my milk going and they put anything I pumped into her feeding tube along with some formula.
The next day, they let us hold her for a little while. I also got to try breastfeeding later that night because her breathing rate was in the 70s. She was having a hard time for a few minutes, so the nurse came over to help me, and moved Averyís blanket that she was swaddled in, and Avery IMMEDIATELY flipped her body and latched RIGHT on. It was hilarious. The nurse said, ďWoah, that NEVER happens.Ē We didnít even have to guide my nipple into her mouth or anything.
I didnít get to nurse again for around 24 hours because her breathing went back up into the 80s. Finally I was able to start nursing again and we havenít stopped since. I was pumping in between nursing and building up my supply, so they were able to exclusively give her my milk in the feeding tube and no more formula.
I delivered her at 9:08 on Thursday, and we were finally able to come home Monday afternoon. I know a lot of people have spent longer times in the NICU over way more serious issues, but it was horrible to me. I hated not being able to spend time with my daughter and bond with her, and have to go knock on the NICU door every time I wanted to see her, and then only get to see her for 15 minutes at a time.
She really is so beautiful and Iím beyond glad to be home with her and get to know her!! I want to invite over everyone I know to come see her to show her off, but I donít like anyone else holding her but Matt and myself. Iím selfish.
Aside from her health issues, I had SUCH an easy labor. It was a beautiful experience, despite the poop and meconium and blood haha. I am so in love with my daughter!! She is so funny. She has a million different faces and sometimes it's hard to just let her sleep and not wake her up so she'll interact with me haha.
Thank you for sharing your story with us, Paula! Hooray for already being 7 cms dilated when arriving at the hospital- (same here!) It must have been so amazing to find out she was a girl at the birth. I'm glad she is okay and bfing is going well! Congrats on your beautiful baby.
Mama to Jackson (23 months)
Fiance to Matthew
Sounds like you had quite the labor and delivery! I hated to read that the doctor and nurses didn't believe you were in labor and sent you home ... then had an attitude when you came back! Ugh! I know there's a lot of false labor and all ... but sometimes I wish they would just trust *our* instincts.
Glad you got your epidural (they're heavenly!) ... I know it made things a lot easier for me.
Sorry your little girl got whisked away from you and you didn't get that immediate bonding, but it sounds like you're all doing great now!!
Good luck and congratulations again!
Thank you so much to Typical Vampire for my awesome siggie!!