Hey Baby!

LABOUR

Although, I had been shying away from extensive planning, I knew what I wanted my birthing process to be like and I had cautiously gone about putting little things in place. I didn’t want negative or nervous energy. I was nervous enough. I didn’t want bright lights or noise. I didn’t want the epidural until I was half way through the dilating process (5cm) and I didn’t want any extra drugs: oxytocin, etc.

We pulled down the blinds and put on my yoga playlist. I was calm and slowly becoming more and more excited because I would meet Liam soon! A midwife came and examined me, I was 1cm dilated and still not having strong contractions.

Let me say now that the WORST part of this process was the vaginal exams to measure how dilated I was. It hurt and put me in a bad mood for a good few minutes each time. Around 11am, my doctor decided (against my wishes) that I needed help getting my labour going, so they administered Propess, a hormone that was supposed to help ripen my cervix and get the contractions going. It was VERY uncomfortable and I said some not so nice things to my doctor since he said it wouldn’t hurt and it did!

About half an hour later, the mild contractions that I was taking like a champ, became some not so mild contractions and Guille was banned from speaking during them. I did my breathing, I walked around a bit, I had Guille massage my lower back and we joked in between contractions.

I was about 2 centimeters dilated at this point. Since things were still going slowly, they brought me some lunch. After eating I felt extremely nauseus and threw it all up! I was really tired since I hadn’t really slept much since my water broke. They gave me something similar to morphine to help me sleep since I didn’t want the epidural yet but I was exhausted. I might have dosed off for about half an hour.

I started to get frustrated because I was so tired but couldn’t sleep- and that’s a feeling that I really hate. Around 6pm or so, they examined me and I was about 3cm dilated. Talk about SLOW! We decided to tell my aunt that  I was in labour and she decided to tell the rest of my family. At first she didn’t believe me because she said I sounded so calm, but we sent her some pictures and she eventually believed me. I then decided to inform some close friends and family members and put my phone away because I didn’t want to be bothered or distracted.

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Labour

Around 7pm, I was about 4cm dilated, so they took me down to prep me for the epidural. I wanted to wait, mainly because I read somewhere that the epidural sometimes slows down the process and it was going slowly enough already. I was in pain, but nothing too unbearable, but they decided to take me down anyway. Guille wasn’t allowed to go with me so I told him to go have something to eat and come back in like an hour.

It took a  while for the anesthesiologist to administer the epidural because they can’t do it during a contraction and I started having contractions like crazy. The epidural didn’t hurt but it felt weird- I had a random cramp in the side of my left thigh for a little bit. Once it kicked it I was aware of my lower body but didn’t feel any pain. I think I expected to be totally numb or something. Around 830pm or so, they took me back up to my room, and I have to admit, that while I wasn’t in excruciating pain before, it was a nice relief to not be in any pain at all.

Around 9pm , a midwife came to examine me and her facial expression changed to one of shock and a little confusion. I immediately got worried and asked what was wrong- expecting the worst. She told us that I was completely dilated and that she was just surprised that I went from 4cm to 10cm so quickly! She said she was going to call down to the delivery room and they’d take me there.

I should mention now that this is when I got really scared for the first time since my water broke. I don’t know what you’ve experienced or been told but all the stuff you see on TV with women labouring and seemingly on the verge of death- was not my experience. The contractions weren’t a walk in the park but for me they were just like very painful period pains (and I’ve always had very painful periods). I think for me, it wasn’t that bad because I knew that at the end of it all, I would finally get to meet Liam. I would finally not worry about something going wrong in the pregnancy.

Anyway, I was nervous because, contractions weren’t anything too difficult. Being examined and hooked up to IVs etc.- been there; done that, but now they expected me to actually push this little human out of my body! I’d never done THAT before!

While waiting for them to come up and transfer me to the delivery room, I had an incredible urge to push. Which was weird enough, seeing as I had the epidural. I told the midwife and she said it was because the baby’s head was in the birth canal and I should practise pushing every time I felt the pressure and need to push. So Guille and I did that while waiting.

At 9:18pm, they took me to the delivery room. Guille wasn’t allowed to come in because he was wearing shorts and flip flops (it was almost the end of August). So a midwife took him to find him scrubs to put on. I had already started pushing and asked for a mirror when they said they could see the baby’s head! Guille got in at around 925pm. At this point, I said to the midwives and my doctor, that if Guille fainted or something, to ignore him and focus on my baby and me, he could always be revived later! AND I WAS DEAD SERIOUS! Thankfully (for him) he didn’t faint.

A few pushes later (2 or 3) and my doctor said to me, reach down with the next push and pull the baby out. I was like HUH?! But I did what I was told and at 9:37pm, pulled Liam into the world!

I was in awe! He just looked at me for a few seconds. My first words to him were ”Hi! Hello baby!”  When he eventually started to cry, I said ”Oh no! Don’t cry!”. The midwives told me that crying was good, so I said ”Ok, well cry!”.

I didn’t cry. I was just in absolute awe, that Liam was finally here and that I pulled him out!

At some point during the delivery, the doctor had to cut me to make room for Liam to come out. I will NEVER forget the sound of the cutting. Nor will I forget the healing process once the epidural wore off! Episiotomy is no joke!

All in all, it was an amazing experience. Not at all traumatic or similar to any of the birthing ‘horror stories’ I’ve heard from some women. That first night was great. We were just in awe, trying to figure out who he looked like, which features he got from each of us. We were (and still are) so in love with Liam.

Throughout the night, nurses checked on us every few hours. Taking my blood pressure and temperature, etc. I wasn’t allowed to drink anything for the first 2 or 3 hours after giving birth and that was rough because I was VERY thirsty!

I eventually was allowed some water and had half of a sandwich. I didn’t sleep much although Liam (and Guille) slept almost the entire night.

It’s been 6 and a half months. I have had some very trying moments but I wouldn’t trade my Liam for ANYTHING in the world. He is the best baby I could have every imagined/dreamed of/prayed for and I consider myself eternally blessed to be his mother. (It also helps that he is so stinkin’ cute!)

The Third Time Really MIGHT be the Charm!

In the last post, we left off with Guille and I heading to the hospital on the evening of January 11th. 2016. If you remember, we went to one hospital but they didn’t have emergency gynecological services and recommended we go to Hospital Nuevo Belén. These two hospitals are about 5 minutes away from each other but it felt like the longest drive of my life.

When we got there, after what seemed like the longest wait ever, they finally called me in. Dr. Cruz attended to me. He asked some routine questions, which I answered and I told him about my two previous miscarriages. He decided to do an ultrasound. I didn’t want to look at the screen because I expected to see a bit of the same- empty sac, irregular shape, blah blah blah. Wait a few days, rest, blah blah blah.

Instead, he calmly said:

”Pero tú no estas sangrando!” (But you’re not bleeding!)

I said ”Yes, I am or at least I was!”.

He told me again that I wasn’t and said, ”No! Allí está tu bebé! Y mira, esta luz chiquitita que esta como parpadeando- es su corazón!” (No! There’s your baby! And look, that little blinking light, is his heart!)

I must have blinked like someone sprayed somethig in my eyes! I couldn’t believe it! I couldn’t stop smiling! For the first time in 3 pregnancies, there was a baby AND a heartbeat! Dr. Cruz was funny and kind. He explained that it is normal to have a bit of spotting in the fifth week. He then congraulated us telling us that we’d just have to wait and see but he was sure that there was a 50% chance that the baby was going to be a boy or a girl. I thanked the doctor and we left happier than ever.

Four days later we went to my regular gynecologist and for the first time we heard the baby’s heart. I made my doctor play it over ad over. I asked him so many questions! Was the heart rate normal? Was it strong? Did everything look ok? He answered my questions as best as he could and laughed a little.

He scheduled me to come in every 2 weeks- since my pregnancy was considered ‘high risk’ due to the miscarriages that I had suffered not too long ago. I had to continue with progesterone tablets and he added low dose Aspirin to the mix- to prevent blood clots.

 

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Ultrasound- the day we first heard his heartbeat! 🙂

The 2 week wait always seemed like an eternity. Since it was still early and I couldn’t feel the baby move yet, I was always anxious and impatient just waiting for the appointment dates to roll around. After the 12 week scans and tests, my doctor then told me that I was no longer high risk and he would now only need to see me once a month.

While that was exciting news, it also made me nervous. I would now have to wait longer. There would be no extra monitoring or tests. Each time I went to the doctr, everything was fine. The baby, who we had by then found out was going to be a boy- MUCH to my delight- was healthy and progressing well. He was even measuring bigger than most babies measured.

I still couldn’t get all the way excited. Every day I was nervous about something. I didn’t go on the Internet to read much about pregnancy and babies because I know I’d just convince myself that something was wrong or diagnose my baby with some disorder or deformity.

Hearing his heartbeat and feeling his kicks assured me that he was still alive but those appointments were now few and far between. I was so paranoid that I decided that maybe I should buy a home heart monitor. I looked at applications that I could possibly download so I could hear his heart everyday. Everything was either too expensive or had bad reviews.

I checked to see if I was spotting SEVERAL times a day and the if the baby moved a bit more or less than usual, I was convinced I needed to run to the hospital. Guille was good about calming me down and trying to reassure me that everything was and would be fine.

You see, the truth is, no matter what the doctors said, how much physical and medical proof I had that the baby was fine. At the back of my head and in the pit of my stomach was that sadness over the two previous miscarriages.

I have a healthy, happy and handsome almost 6 month old baby. In many ways, I had what many would call, a great pregnancy- no morning sickness or any of the other common complaints (except the last month and a half or so), I didn’t gain a lot of weight either. At the same time, I didn’t enjoy being pregnant, like some women do because I was worried the entire time- worried and scared.

I didn’t share that was pregnant on social media until I was pretty far along. I didn’t want to publicise my pregnancy and then have to explain or answer any questions if something bad happened.

The main reason I eventually shared was to help myself get over some of the anxiety; to attempt to positively reassure myself that things were going well and they would continue that way. It didn’t take away the fear or anxiety though.

In many ways, I feel like suffering two miscarriages robbed me of enjoying what is supposed to be a very beautiful time- or at least I allowed it to rob me of the experience.

In my next post, I’ll share my labour and delivery story.

Please know that if you have experienced a miscarriage or had a still birth, you are not alone. It’s normal to be sad, depressed and angry. Seek professional help or at least talk to someone. I joined an online support group called Daily Strength. It didn’t take away the pain but it did help to know that I wasn’t alone.