I finally did it. I recreated the timeline of my birth story, collecting information from several different places. Reminiscing the birth of Adam was so very important to me now, that I am pregnant with our second (and last) child.
My birth story begins with a long TTC journey. Eighteen months of trying. Eighteen months of hopes, disappointments, tears, and heartaches. Eighteen months of countless doctor appointments, tests, fertility drugs and treatments, ovulation test strips and negative pregnancy tests. After that eighteen months we finally decided to go ahead and try IUI. I felt incapable of conceiving on my own. I was broken. I needed doctors to artificially inseminate me, like a cow. Or so I thought. During my rest month before my IUI, I didn’t give TTC much thought. Just continued with my prenatal vitamins and excitedly looked forward to the next cycle. It promised magic. It never began.
On January 26, 2012 the impossible happened. A miracle... I was not expecting it. Like every month before, I decided I would pee on the stick, just so I could jump start my next cycle. I was anxious to begin the IUI treatment. It was an unfailing method that worked every single time. Whenever I took a pregnancy test, it would come back negative and within a couple of hours my period would start. So as I was watching to test, and the second line started to form very faintly, I began breathing faster and faster, while staring at the test with utter disbelief. Something was wrong with it. Was it broken? There has never been two lines before. My rapid breathing quickly turned into hyperventilating, tears of joy running down my face. Could it be? Was I imagining it? And as quickly as the excitement set in, so did the fear. Would everything be okay? What were my risks of miscarriage? An e-mail to my doctor was sent right away. “I think I just got a positive home pregnancy test. I can hardly believe it and I'm kind of in shock! I'm going to go to the lab first thing in the morning to get a test done there. Can I get a blood test too? If really positive, how can we ensure it will stick? It would be the worst thing if I had gotten pregnant and then later miscarried. I am so excited!”. My due date was estimated to be October first, 2012.
My pregnancy was not the most difficult one. I struggled with severe vomiting in the first trimester and half of the second. I lost twenty pounds before I started gaining any weight back. I was at risk of premature labor.
On the evening of September 12, my Braxton Hicks contractions became significantly uncomfortable. I struggled to fall asleep. When I woke up in the morning, they were still there, but only about seven minutes apart. I went to work. Contractions continued throughout the day, but didn’t bother me. Only when I slowed down throughout my busy day did I really notice them. Two days later the contractions became stronger, more noticeable. I called Labor and Delivery, they had me come in for evaluation. It was September 14, 2012. I was contracting Regularly, every two to three minutes, dilated to a whole one centimeter. After a few hours of observation, the doctors decided that I need to labor at home and predicted I’d be having this baby by the end of that weekend. I was allowed to go home and sleep in my own bed. The doctors wouldn’t stop the labor at that point, since I was considered full term.
September 16, 2012. Sunday. Officially diagnosed with prolonged latent labor. Steady contractions happening every two to three minutes with very little to none cervical changes. Oh what joy.
September 20, 2012. Thursday. I begin experiencing more and more discomfort. Still no changes to the cervix. Still contracting on regular basis.
September 21, 2012. Friday. I signed off from my work computer for the last time in sixteen weeks. Doctors didn’t want me going in to work anymore. I could deliver any day now. Still contracting steadily every two to three minutes.
September 27, 2012. Thursday. Doctor appointment brings me to tears. While I continue to have the contractions, cervix has only dilated half a centimeter more. I feel like I am never going to see the delivery day, while I continue being thankful for extra utero time for my little man.
September 30, 2012. Sunday. I venture out on a hike with friends. This baby is sure going to come out now, right? Nope...
October 1, 2012. Monday. It’s officially my due date. At this point I am ready to do anything to get this labor going, the contractions are not letting up.
October 2, 2012. Tuesday. Bitter sweet doctor appointment. My little man is engaged in the birth canal, steady heartbeat, passed NST with flying colors. No progress with cervix, membrane sweep done, induction scheduled for October 15. I pray I don’t go that long, I am ready for those contractions to finally become more productive...
|October 6, 2012. Feeling like I couldn't possibly get any bigger.|
October 13, 2012. Saturday. Visiting a haunted corn maze. I was hoping that maybe I could manage to scare that baby out of me. No such luck. I am exhausted at this point. Sleep has been continually disrupted by the constant contractions, yet I am so used to them now, they don’t even hurt anymore. They just feel uncomfortable. I am so so so so ready to get a move on.
October 15, 2012. Monday.
The day is finally here. I cannot wait to finally meet my little man. I am anxious to start the induction process. I am in disbelief that I still need to be induced after nearly five weeks of steady contractions. We leave home ten after midnight and head for the hospital.
checked into the hospital, getting to tour my very own private birthing room. One last bump picture taken. My husband and I are left to hang out on our own while the doctor gets around to seeing us
|The very last bump picture.|
My cervix is checked and I find that I am dilated to a whole three centimeters. I ask if we still need to induce, or if I could wait, since there is some progress at last. Doctor still suggests Pitocin, because my contractions, though still regular, continue to be a bit unproductive (it took almost five weeks to get me to progress two centimeters after all). The Pitocin drip begins.
At some point now I doze off for a short while. Not much more for me to do, is there? I go in and out of sleep.
I feel very awake. The contractions increase in intensity, but still bearable. No cervical progress. Doctor ups the Pitocin. The next few hours is a blur of contractions, cat naps, hallway walks.
Four centimeters dilated. Continuing walking up and down the hallway. I feel pain. Pain I’ve never felt before. But I can still walk. Something feels weird between my legs and as I am walking the hallways, holding on to my husband for support while pushing the IV stand with another hand, I stop, look down. There is a snail trail of gross, bloody cervical mucous hanging down to about my knees. Must be the longest mucous plug the world has ever seen. I briefly consider having the nurse measure it, could be a Guinness record. Instead I ask if I could labor in water for a bit. Pitocin is starting to really cause some serious pain.
I get into the birthing pool. Contractions have picked up in intensity, and I feel like all the birthing classes I took are not even remotely close to truly describing the pain of labor. I am feeling angry. Why does it have to hurt so much and why is my husband not doubled over in pain. I want to kick him in the balls, just so I am not the only person suffering. Misery loves company. What a true cliché. I realize, however, that having him in pain isn’t going to be any help to me. Men can’t handle pain... The water feels good. My contractions last 90 seconds, and begin in 120 second intervals. I cry silently as I breathe through them. Time is going by incredibly slow.
I can’t stand the water any longer. I feel sticky from it. I want to drown myself. The pain is more than I can handle. I wish I was a screamer. I sure could use a good yell right now. I get out of the water and get checked. Still four centimeters. Anger and defeat run through me again. I want to walk back to my room.
In my room I try the birthing ball, the matt, the rope. The pain in my back is insane. I cry with every contraction. I can no longer breathe through them. 30 seconds between contractions is not enough time for me to catch a breath. I thought I had a high pain tolerance. I beg the midwife to check my cervix again as I hope it’s time to push. She won’t budge. I curse silently. I beg for drugs. Best ones they have. Something that will knock me out for days. General anesthesia would be perfect. Medically induced coma? Yes, please! Husband dares to remind me I told him that he was not to allow me to get epidural no matter what I said. How dare he bring something like this up? Clearly I was in no state to make such decision then. I want my drugs. And I want them now.
The anesthesiologist finally hooks me up to the epidural drip. The instant it is in I begin to regret it. I wanted as natural labor as possible, and here I am. The relief from pain is the most amazing thing, however, and my regrets quickly dissolve. The midwife checks my cervix. I am seven centimeter dilated. No longer it hurt so bad. My vagina almost doubled in size in less than 90 minutes. I have no desire to think no more. I drift off to sleep.
I wake up, feeling in much better spirits. I can still feel my contractions, but the intensity is comparable to the ones of my prolonged latent labor phase. I don’t bother pushing the epidural button again. Midwife comes in to check my progress. I made it to nine centimeters and at 5:22pm the doctor breaks my waters. I drift off to sleep again.
I wake up again. I am uncomfortable. A little bit after 8pm the nurse came in to ask how I was feeling. I was lost for words trying to explain the very uncomfortable and slightly painful (despite the epidural) pressure "down there". She looked under the cover to check on how I was doing and there was the head! The time to push was announced and I got cold feet right then. Broke down in tears, saying I wasn't ready. It didn't matter, though, because at that point my little man was finally ready and with just three pushes he came out, on October 15th, 2012. 8:21pm. We named him Adam Grady.
|Welcome to the world, little man.|
Now, I asked my mom many times about the feelings a woman experiences when she sees and hears her child for the first time. She was never able to explain. Neither am I. The feeling is not comparable to anything else. One thing is certain though. That very moment I understood exactly what my mom couldn't explain. He was the only "thing" in the whole entire world that mattered that moment. He aspirated some of the amniotic fluid on his way out and was quickly whisked away from me to have his airways cleared. I couldn't get my eyes off of him the entire time (during which, apparently, I delivered my placenta, got cleaned up and stitched up). I kept praying to God that Adam would be okay and start breathing normally and not have to be taken away from me. My prayers have been answered and he finally coughed and started breathing right. I realized I was crying. My 8 pounds 9 ounces of love. 21 inches of his perfect little body. He was placed on my chest again. I have never felt love this strong. I counted all his finger and toes. He seemed to be looking deep into my eyes. His tiny warm body against mine. His little heart beating against my chest. At that moment I understood why I have been brought into this world. It was for him. I was his just like he was mine. I caressed his teeny arms while he suckled, and I felt complete. There was nothing, absolutely nothing that could make me happier, and the memories of that day will never fade. My little miracle boy is here.
|The moments I realized what love at first sight really means.|
I really would like to acknowledge the amazing support I received from Michael during the whole process. Holding my hand through walks of the hallways, rubbing my back through the most intense contractions, cutting the umbilical cord, and not being ashamed of shedding a tear (or two) when our son was born. Thank you, Michael, for being my rock.
If you'd like to learn more about the Mars family, hop on over to Anna's blog.