Joe and I celebrated 8 years together yesterday. EIGHT. We didn't do anything special, just wished each other a happy anniversary multiple times throughout the day and smooched a bunch but it feels pretty momentous. Eight years ago at that fateful No Pants Party we became a couple. I'm so grateful to have found him. He's my best friend, my husband, the father to our pups and now son. I love that man so much.
Holy shit I have a son! AHHHH! I gave birth on 2/5/14 after waiting FOREVER for this stubborn little boy to make his debut. He finally joined the world and we could not be more in love with him.
The birth story, oof, get ready...
Monday (2/3/14) I woke up at 8AM and went to the bathroom and when I wiped it had the pink snotty look. I called my mom to verify it was my mucus plug, she said it sounded like it, then I started having some contractions so we both got excited. I hung up with her and jumped in the shower and then went to my OB appointment at 10. I told them about losing my plug and the contractions, when the OB came in she wanted to check me. I was at 80% effaced and 1cm dilated. So we did the fetal heart monitoring and checked my fluids on ultrasound and little boy looked good. She said to go home and labor there as she thought he might come that night or Tuesday morning. So Joe and I got really excited and went home. I called work to let them know I was in labor and called my team to let them know I would miss the show that night. I called my doula, my pal Jenn, who is a registered nurse. She was on a 12 hour shift in the ICU at UCLA so when she was done she'd come over. I called my pal Kathy (who I've known since first grade) and she was going to drive up from San Diego that evening to be here. I labored at home all day and that evening. Everyone rolled up after dinner time. We all stayed up pretty much all night, they all crashed around 3:30am-8am. I slept in maybe 10-15 minute intervals from 3-6am waking up with every contraction.
Tuesday I kept laboring and the OB called around 12pm to ask how everything was going. She was worried since I didn't come into the hospital that night. I said I was great just laboring and she told me to go to the hospital and get checked just in case. They could always send me home. So I ate some ramen and Joe did a load of dishes and we all headed into Cedars Sinai. I got checked into Labor & Delivery and we waited about an hour or so for the midwife to come check me out. By then I was dilated 5.5cm and at 100% effaced and baby was at negative 2 station. So they decided to keep me there. I labored in the hospital for awhile. Things were going well, contractions were getting longer and stronger and closer together.
At 4:58am on Wednesday my water broke, I felt a gush of liquid and it was clear. Later the liquid turned a bit brownish so they said it was a plus one meconium and we needed to watch it to make sure it didn't get worse. That also meant that a pediatric team would need to be there at delivery to check baby boy to make sure he didn't aspirate any of the meconium. The contractions then got unbearably strong. I got 3 shots of fentanyl (1 every hour) they took the edge off the contractions but that was all I could get so then the pain came back and I felt nauseous from it and the nurse said I turned green. Joe convinced me to just get the epidural even though I hadn't wanted to before. The pain just felt so localized to where I had my spine surgery, it felt unbearable. They hooked me up at 7:52am to the epidural and that was sweet relief. Then labor slowed. Contractions were every 5-7 minutes from the every 1-2 they were before. I stalled at 8cm dilated, still 100% and baby was at 0 station. The doctor really recommended the pitocin even though I didn't want to as she had waited until 1:30pm and I was just stuck. She said she would give me 2 more hours to try to make something happen by shifting positions in bed. At 3:30pm I was still stuck so we did the pitocin and did loads more shifting. They up-ed the pitocin VERY slowly since I didn't want it and baby boy's heart rate stayed steady and he was a champ. I started to get a little fever so they were watching me and then decided to put me on antibiotics just to be safe for little man for delivery.
By 7pm I had finally hit 10cm (which no one could believe, even me) and I was fully dilated and baby was down to a +1 to +2 station-it was amazing news. So the OB gave the go ahead that I could push and try to get baby further down. We started pushing at 7:52pm. For about an hour or so it was just to get him to a +3 station. Then we really started pushing to get him to the pubic bone. He kept getting in and going back. They let me watch in a mirror when you could actually see he head start to poke through a bit. It was CRAZY. And my labia was so swollen and purple and totally unrecognizable. I'm glad I looked but so weird!
Then the doctor was called and came in, she really couldn't believe how well I was doing. I was in stirrups with my doula pushing on one leg and Kathy pushing on the other leg. I was holding and pulling on handlebars. Joe was giving me water in between each push. I pushed more, they put me on oxygen in between pushes to help with baby and my fever spiked to 101 due to pushing and hard contractions. Baby was in my pelvic bone then and we were working so hard to get him through. Those last 30-45 minutes of pushing were awful, the plastic smell of the oxygen, then extreme pressure in my undercarriage, feeling like I couldn't breathe and being told to slow down my breathing, then the horrible pressure to push only to work so hard and not get him through. It was tough. I got to the point where I was just wishing for an episiotomy to get him through. Then I was pushing and he started to come and it felt like I was being torn open and burned with a blow torch at the same time. They kept saying push to 10, now give me 5, now 3, and out from somewhere deep inside came the most primal scream I've ever made or heard. It just burst out and he came out too. I guess my OB had grabbed his head and twisted him and helped pull his body out while I was pushing it. Then it was the relief of the burning stopping and the feel of a huge gush of blood and they put him on my tummy.
The cord was short so they had Joe cut it right away. The drugs had TOTALLY stopped working for me at that point. Once he was cut they put him on my chest and were wiping him and I was crying and saying "that's my baby, that's my precious baby". Pediatrics said he looked a little blue so they took him to the warmer. The doctor was pushing my placenta down with "massage" on my belly (which really feels like they're reaming on you). She delivered my placenta which apparently was HUGE and had the entire caul intact which I guess never really happens. They packaged that up for my doula to take and turn into capsules for me.
Then whilst my OB began to use 4 shots of lidocaine to numb my vag (redheads are notorious for high anesthesia tolerance) to sew me up the peds team announced my boy was 11lbs. 15oz. and the whole room erupted with "WHOA!" and "Oh my god" and "Damn" and "TWELVE POUNDS!", then they read off his length of 23" and Joe cut the excess cord off and they suctioned his mouth and nose just in case. They put him back on my chest while I was being stitched up and ow-ing because it still wasn't all the way numb. The OB and nurse told me that I tore completely normally for a first time mom and that they were shocked it wasn't more as I'm a redhead and he was so huge.
I held our boy and Joe came over and I asked Joe if he looked like our Finnigan and Joe said yes. We both cried a little and smooched him and each other. It just felt so complete right then. After that we thanked everyone so much, the girls hugged me, I thanked the nurses and the OB. I just felt so overcome with gratitude for our little man, for a healthy baby, for a great though painful delivery, and for everyone who supported us. The room slowly began to clear out. They wrapped up the stitching and gave me a catheter when I couldn't pee in a bed pan to empty my very full bladder. The nurse helped pad me up and put on the mesh undies. They had me breastfeed Finn. They transferred me to a roller bed since I couldn't walk to get to a wheelchair. Then they wheeled us off to the mama wing and everyone congratulated us on the way.
All the nurses on the newborn wing were so sweet and Joe went to the nursery for Finn's first bath (he pooped FOUR times during his bath), he passed all his screeners, got his vitamin k and eye drops, was dressed and swaddled, ate some more, and then we all passed out. All the nurses agreed he was the biggest baby they had ever seen delivered vaginally (a.k.a. I'm crazy) so they all called him big guy and me wonder woman and everyone agreed he was the cutest baby. Loads of jokes about him being toddler sized over the next couple days. Pediatrician said he was doing great (our first appointment was Monday-all looks great!) and my OB came back the next day and checked me and said I was swollen but that it all looked great. So we got all cleared to leave Friday once the pediatrician checked the circumcision my OB did Thursday night.
All in all it was a crazy, painful, horrible, miraculous, amazing process and I wouldn't do anything differently. I'm glad I went sans drugs as long as I could, I'm glad I got them when I really needed them, I'm glad the pitocin went really slow and worked, and I am so glad I delivered him myself. I know I can do anything now. And my heart is so full. I cannot even express how grateful I feel and how in bliss I am. It really is a hormone high. I just love that little guy and Joe and our friends and our pups and our nurses so much. It's ridiculous.
We've been home a full week now and I just cannot get enough of this baby boy. He's perfect. Every breath, cry, snuggle, smile, poop, coo, everything just seems so right. I love being his mama already. He is the love and light of my life. His puppy brothers love him something awful and cannot stop giving him little licks and sniffs all the time. Joe is so smitten with "his baby". We all just love this Lil' Dude so much. After 60 hours of labor, 3 hours of pushing, all 11 lbs. 15 oz. and 23" of him is all ours and we cannot get enough. He's our precious boy, Finnigan.