Now that I’ve settled into motherhood a little bit, I want to share some of the details of the day that changed me forever. My original due date was September 1st 2020, but at some point in July my blood pressure started to rise and I started to retain a lot of water. I also noticed that my belly wasn’t getting very big compared to what other pregnant woman looked like and it started to concern me. I still didn’t think I looked pregnant, even though all of my ultrasounds showed a healthy baby. I went in for my 34 week check-up and when my midwife measured my belly, she noticed that the baby was measuring a little small for that week and coupled with my blood pressure issue she wanted me to get some testing done. So, the following week I got additional testing done and the ultrasound still showed a healthy baby, just a small baby. That news made feel some relief. But then, out of no where the nurse said “Due to your blood pressure staying high, we are going to induce you at 37 weeks”. I quickly did the math and that was in a week and a half. I wasn’t prepared for that and my partner couldn’t be in the room with me to hear that information (because of covid) so I started hysterically crying out of fear. I got really scared all of a sudden. I felt like I did something wrong. I didn’t want to be induced. I wanted to have my baby naturally, and if I was induced early I knew I was going to have to accept that it may turn into a C section instead of vaginal birth. Sometimes babies just aren’t ready to come out at 37 weeks. I did my best to remain flexible and it really helped get me through the next week and a half.
I was scheduled to be induced on August 13th, so Allison and I spent the week before that prepping for last minute things. When the day arrived, we went to the hospital around Noon and went through the check-in process, got into a room used for “induction” and awaited the next steps. We met our nurses, got my IV, and had my last meal before being on a “clear liquids” diet for the remainder of the induction process. The first step of the induction was to put a cervical ripening tablet on my cervix. This was called “Misoprostal”, and typically they try this step up to 5 times before trying something else. This medicine was supposed to start my contractions and help me start dialating. They gave me my first dose, and we waited, but nothing happened. A few hours later, I had my second dose. We waited but nothing happened. Then, they gave me my third dose. It was about 2am and the contractions started to be super intense. Allison had fallen asleep and I was trying to sleep but I woke up to the intense pain of contractions that were 1 minute apart. I called in my nurse because the pain was getting unmanageable. I didn’t know what to do. The last time they checked, I still hadn’t dilated so there was little that could be done except maybe take motrin or something stronger for pain management. Before they administered any pain medicine, they wanted to check for dilation again. A midwife came and I was 3 cm dialated!!! I went from 0 to 3 really fast so they were able to transfer me to a Labor and Delivery room.
We got situated in our new room and then I scheduled my epidural. I knew I wanted an epidural ever since I was pregnant so there was no internal dilemma going on in my mind. I wanted to be as calm and comfortable as possible leading up to delivery. So Allison and I spent that entire day in a daze, listening to the playlists we made, and getting so excited to meet our little one. Every so often, a nurse and a midwife came in to check my progress. Once I had the epidural, all the progress tests felt extremely comfortable. You start to get used to so many different people checking you and seeing you in a very vulnerable position. The midwife suggested we insert a foley balloon through my cervix to speed up the dilation. I felt great from the epidural so I was like “ok..sure..sounds fantastic “. They put it in and I felt nothing..so that was cool. Every 30 minutes afterwards, I had a nurse change my positioning in the bed using a peanut ball. Its like a yoga ball in the shape of a peanut. Keeping your hips open allows the baby to move down through your body. Changing positons frequently ensures the baby has plenty of opportunities to wiggle down. Because I had the epidural, I couldn’t get out of bed, so using this peanut ball was crucial for me. My dilation continued to progress and I started to feel intense pressure. When I got to 10 cm dilated, it was go time, and the pressure was intense. This is when I started to get a little nervous. The epidural had felt great all day, but it didn’t seem to be helping with the pressure I felt.
My nurse was describing to me how i should be pushing, but I couldn’t stop thinking about the pressure, however I wanted to help our baby come out so I tried my best to do what was instructed of me. I had dreamed about this moment for most of my life and here I was, within 2 hours of meeting our baby. In this moment my mind was so scattered, yet so focused. I knew I had an important job to do, but at the same time there seemed to be a huge hurdle in front of me. Allison was rooting for me. She was looking at me as if she had never seen something so amazing in her entire life. She was so eager to meet this baby too and I could tell she felt so much emotion for me in that moment. She wanted to do everything to help me get through this. The midwife came in and I started to push. Nothing anyone could’ve said could’ve prepared me for this experience. It is both traumatic and euphoric. I saw complete lightness and then complete darkness. I kept hearing everyone rooting for me, but I couldn’t connect with them. They all seemed far away from me. I was in this bubble of “mind over matter” doing everything I could to listen to instruction and not give up. Trust me, I almost gave up…but then what? Then my baby would still not be here. I wanted to meet our baby so badly. I hadn’t eaten in over 24 hours but I had just enough energy to do what I needed to do.
Suddenly, Allison said “I can see the head”. The idea of that was crazy to me. I was already delirious and now I was shocked. I kept at it and then at 12:23am on August 15th little Dakota Quinn was born. They placed her right on top of me, her cord still attached to me. In our birth plan, we requested to wait at least 90 seconds to cut her umbilical cord. There are many benefits associated with delaying the cord clamping so we opted for this. The midwives let Allison cut the cord, symbolizing the end of my pregnancy. 9 months earlier, Allison is the one who pushed the syringe at the fertility center, symbolizing the beginning of the pregnancy. My beautiful wife started and ended this amazing chapter of my life. It was a beautiful moment to realize that and life felt so sweet and surreal.
Once Dakota was in my arms, she was breastfeeding within 3 minutes. I was in complete amazement and shock. I don’t remember even speaking for a while. I just stared at her..wondering how she already knew what to do. I’ve had some difficulty with breastfeeding since then, due to my own milk supply, but I’ll save that story for another day.
The next few days were a whirlwind between only wanting to stare at our baby, but needing to feed her a lot due to her low birth weight, and we just not getting enough sleep. Also, due to her low birth weight, she developed a mild case of jaundice so she had to stay one night in the NICU for some “finishing touches”.
The first month has been difficult, but it has gone by fast. I can probably count on 2 hands how many solid hours of sleep I’ve had. I always thought “all newborns do is sleep”, but what no one tells you is that they also make so many noises in their sleep and you get so nervous that something bad is happening to them, that you never seem to sleep. Plus, their feeding schedule is every few hours, so plan to be up awake for a long time all the time. If you dont sleep, it’s hard to produce milk, and for someone who is super anxious like me..anytime I hear the slightest noise from Dakota I jump up to make sure she is still breathing. Having a good partner and supportive family has helped me get through this challenging month. So that’s it for now. I definitely want to follow up with a breastfeeding post and also a post about Post Partum hormones. Keep an eye out for these in the upcoming weeks. If anyone has any questions, feel free to find me on instagram @spinachandbacon and send me a DM. ❤