Spark’s Birth Story Part 2: How I Got the Birth That Healed My Heart

At the end of Part 1, I had just gotten to the hospital and walked past the NICU to Labor and Delivery Room #4. I changed into a gown and laid down to get hooked up to the monitors. At 1:30 a.m., the nurse checked me and I was 4cm dilated and 100% effaced. Progress! B excitedly crossed out the numbers on the little countdown board. The nurse also checked to see if my water was broken. She really didn’t think it was, but did a test for amniotic fluid and sure enough, it had. Apparently, baby was so low that it created a seal in my pelvis and didn’t let anymore fluid out.

The doctor came in to talk to me about my high blood pressure. It was running about 130/93ish and they were concerned about pre-eclampsia. I wasn’t feeling any other symptoms of pre-e and I was sure that it was just high bp, but she ran labs anyway. They took some blood and checked my numbers. She also talked to me about an epidural. She said that epidurals can often lower blood pressure and it would make them a little more comfortable to have me already tapped so that if I needed a c-section it could be done quickly. I knew that I wanted an epi, but wanted to progress a bit further since epidurals can sometimes cause things to slow down. She said “oh honey, your contractions are every 3 minutes, nothing is going to slow down your labor.” I decided to hold out a bit longer.

Labs came back completely normal and about an hour later at 3:30, I got 3 contractions within about 3 minutes and They. Were. Doozies. I hit the call button and said “Uncle!” My nurse came in giggling a bit and within 10 minutes the anesthesiologist was in my room prepping me. By this point they were about 90 seconds apart and very painful. My teeth started chattering and I got the shakes. The nurse had me sit with my legs over the side of the bed and raised it quite a bit. B was sitting on a chair next to the bed and my feet were on his knees. I was so happy to have him there for support and to be a part of the experience. The anesthesiologist came in with a bunch of disclaimers and explanations and needed me to sign something…in the middle of a contraction. I literally could not move my arm to sign the freakin’ paper. Finally, I reached over and scribbled something on the paper so that he could start his work.

Getting the epidural really wasn’t that painful…but the 20 minutes waiting for it to kick in were terrible. I can say that those 20 minutes made me feel VERY happy with my decision to get one. I laid on my side after they hooked up the epidural meds and there was finally a huge gush of water. After that the contractions really kicked up and the anesthesiologist pushed a bit more medicine to take care of them. At almost exactly 20 minutes (4:10 a.m.) they tapered off and I could finally relax. I was dilated to 6 cm at that point. B had fun watching the size of my contractions on the monitor and there were some HUGE ones that I could even feel through the epidural. They were about 90 seconds to 2 minutes apart.

Loving Life after My Epidural

At 5:15 I started really feeling contractions again and my nurse joked with me that all I needed to do was tell her so she could push more meds. She checked my cervix and in just a little over an hour I had gone from 6 cm to 9.5 cm! S%!t got real. I turned to my nurse and said…”wait, we never took a birthing class. What do I need to know?!?” She was awesome. She explained that with each contraction I would push three times with a big breath in between. We joked about how I should just start by acting like I needed to poop. I reminded her that it was her job to not tell me if I actually did. Yeah. I said it.

At about 6:30 am I was fully dilated and ready to push. B held one leg and the nurse held the other. I would hook my elbows around my thighs and push with everything I had. I could feel the contractions coming and definitely had some sensation to push even with the epidural. The nurse was amazing and helped coach me on my form. Yes, there is a form to pushing and the nurses joked that my body was just made to push a baby out.

Smiling and Celebrating After My First Push

Spark’s head was a tight fit and apparently my girly parts were a bit swollen from baby’s head being so low for several weeks. After about 20 minutes of pushing, the doctor came in and we were really ready to rock and roll. Spark’s head was crowning and everyone kept talking about how much hair baby had. B surprised me and looked and thought it was pretty cool — although he may be scarred for life. I continued to push for another half hour and at 7:26 a.m. I had a beautiful, cone-headed, chubby baby girl on my chest. ON MY CHEST! I knew the first thing I wanted to say to my baby…”We did it!”

We did it.

She stayed there for a good 30 minutes as B cut the cord (go B!) and the doctor took care of my girly parts. Apparently, because I was swollen I did have some tears inside that needed a few stitches. It took forever for her to finish up and finally I got to sit up and nurse. Spark just wanted to lick and nuzzle and that was a-okay with me. They finally took her to clean her up and weigh her. 8 lbs 12 oz! Holy Crap! In fact, she was considered “large for her gestational age” and every time the nurses said that I giggled with delight.

Big Girl!
Angry Baby.
All Cleaned Up
Daddy Got Some Snuggles, Too.

I got to hold and snuggle baby until my epidural wore off and I could get cleaned up. We headed down to the Mom-Baby unit and I actually got to have a baby in the room with me! B headed home to take care of Sprocket and Spark and I spent the rest of the day bonding.

I think the part of my delivery that I liked the most was that I got to be myself and keep my sense of humor. With Sprocket, the drugs made me woozy and irritable. With this delivery I was able to joke and chat with the nurses and B and it felt really good.

Before I was discharged, my regular OB was on call and came racing into my room to give me a high five and big hug. She was so genuinely happy for me, and that is when it truly hit me. A fairy tale labor and delivery like mine just doesn’t often happen after a previous traumatic pre-eclamptic c-section. Even my doctor was ecstatic for me.

She Wasn’t a Huge Fan of the Car Seat
B, ruining pictures with sarcastic looks since 2006.

I am still completely overwhelmed by how well everything went. Seven hours of labor total, a healthy chubby baby, no magnesium sulfate, relatively quick recovery, 36 hour hospital stay, and an experience that healed my heart. I love Sprocket’s story, because it is part of our history — but this experience was everything that Sprocket’s story wasn’t, which was exactly what I wanted it to be.

Stay Tuned For…”Putting the Run Back in See Teacher Run” and “Clinging to the Pride: Fake It Till You Make It.”

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