21 February 2018

BIRTH STORY: Welcome to the World, Everly

She's FINALLY here! My firstborn, Everly was born on February 3rd 2018 on pregnancy week 41. Here is my birth story, I hope you enjoy it and find it useful. 

There's nothing like the arrival of a new baby to change your world overnight. I experienced a healthy pregnancy, but it was nonetheless a long and laborious journey. We had been anticipating her arrival since January 19th since we kept hearing how she was going to be a big baby (she was already 8 lbs at 36 weeks). When I reached full term at week 38, the Nurse Practitioner performed a cervical check to see if I’m dilating which is a fairly standard procedure at that point. 

Usual questions:
How are you feeling? Anxious. Tired. 
Baby move regularly? All the time. She loves to roll around. 
Any contractions? I have "menstrual-like" cramps, but I wouldn't say they're true contractions. 

My weekly meetings with the Nurse Practitioner always had the same outcome: no dilation. At week 40, I asked for an induction, which was scheduled for February 3rd - 41 weeks on the dot. (Going over 41 weeks isn’t recommended because it poses increased risks for the baby.) I knew the risks of getting induced. Any mom who has been pregnant can tell you that the last week of pregnancy literally feels like a year. I loved being pregnant and feeling her tiny kicks inside me but after 10 months, I was over it. 40 weeks is more than enough time to be pregnant and I was beyond exhausted and simply ready to be meet my daughter.

During the early morning of Friday, February 2nd, I noticed a slightly bloody discharge while urinating. Since I had my weekly doctor's visit the day before I thought nothing of it. When I went again in the morning, more discharge was noted as well as the loss of my mucus plug. I called the Nurse Practitioner and was informed to go to the hospital. Luckily my husband decided to take the day off from work; he wanted to stay home before I was to get induced the next day.

At 11:30 am, I was attached to the fetal monitor. The triage nurse came in and did a cervical check (1.5 cm dilated) and my water broke. Yay! We moved into the Labor & Delivery room at 5:23 pm (the hospital was busy that day, apparently) just as the sun was setting over Catalina Island. Zac and I decided to wander the halls to help with the dilation and contractions. 

Contractions started getting worse by 1 am and by 2 am I was pleading for the epidural. They say labor pains feel like period cramps but I think this is misleading. For me, early labor pains feel like period cramps and active labor pains feel like something else altogether. It’s this intense painful pressure deep inside your abdomen that is sometimes accompanied by backache and pelvic pain. I used to think I have pretty good pain management UNTIL I experienced labor. Labor pains are on another level type of pain, not the kind you experience in your daily life like breaking a bone, getting a tattoo or taking a hard fall. It hurts like hell (and back).

Another important thing to note about epidurals is that you can’t get it when you are too far along and you have to be able to sit still while the anesthesiologist administers the needle. In other words, if you’re already in so much pain that you can’t sit still, it may be too late to get the epidural. So timing is crucial, and be sure you know this before you say no to the epidural and decide to wait it out.

By 6:00 pm (about 31 hours after checking-in) I was fully dilated and ready to push. At 8:53 pm, I heard her first cry and Everly was born weighing 9 lbs 2 oz at 20.5 inches tall. 

It feels like heaven, ultimate euphoria, this giant fireball of love that seems to hold all the love in the universe. It’s the most intense, humbling and gratifying feeling in the world. She was finally here in my arms after 10 long months of waiting and enduring and it was all worth it. Every episode of nausea, every pain, every backache, every sleepless night was worth this moment. This child, this beautiful new life that Buddha entrusted me with was already perfect in my eyes. And I was her mother.

I really enjoyed the hour of skin-to-skin to promote immediate bonding with baby. The nurses and doctor left the room and allowed our family to enjoy the magical hour without any distraction. I just kept looking at my husband with happy tears in my eyes repeating, “We created this little cutie pie.” My husband too, was overwhelmed with emotion. It was truly a blessed and wonderful moment that if I think back to it, tears still well up in my eyes.

After the hour, I was transferred to the recovery room where I would to stay for 24-48 hours. Once I gave birth I was famished and beyond tired. I felt like all energy and strength has been sucked out of me. I somehow managed to breastfeed every 2-3 hours through the night while half asleep but hubby had to do all the diaper changing until we got home.

I still can’t believe how tired I felt after giving birth. It’s called labor for a reason, the hardest work I’ve ever done in my lifetime.

So here she is, my firstborn, Everly. She is doing well at home and everyone is adjusting well to the change. The whole family is utterly in love with our little bug and we can’t wait to see what kind of adventures and stories await us.