Finally we get to the good stuff! After making it through Part 1: The Diagnosis and Decision (where we found out we had Cholestasis and were being induced at 38 weeks) and Part 2: The Induction (where we had a 2-day long induction with a few complications) it’s finally time for Miss Anissa Marie to make her debut!
So, when we left off with Part 2, the doctor had come in to check me around 7:30 p.m. on Thursday, April 18. After being in the hospital for 31 hours at this point, and being in active labor for about 12 hours, I was more than relieved to hear that I was finally 10 cms dilated and she could see the baby crowning. I can’t even tell you the rush of emotions I felt at this point- somewhere between “Holy Sh**, this is about to happen!” to “Oh God, it’s time to push!? How do I do that?!” What’s amazing to me was how fast it all happened- it felt like we went from hanging out and waiting to pushing within a matter of seconds. I don’t know what I was expecting- some grand display to show it was time to start? They didn’t even have to prep the room or anything- just positioned my bed way up high on the midwife’s level, scooted me towards the edge of the bed and put my legs in position. I stayed in the normal labor position because I had had an epidural, and it was completely fine! I’ve heard that it can slow labor, but I had a very fast experience with pushing, so it worked for me!
While the midwife was getting ready and putting on a robe, the nurse had me do a practice push, which felt like nothing. I was trying to imagine just going to the bathroom, but all I could feel was my face tensing up. It’s a pretty crazy feeling. When the midwife returned, she asked if I was ready. Since I wasn’t really feeling the contractions too bad, she said they’d watch on the monitor and tell me when to push.
…And just like that, it was time.
I had been running a fever, so the midwife told me I had 30 minutes to push before we started having to think about other options (i.e. c-section) as delivering with a fever could be dangerous. I asked her if she thought that was possible, and she said yes, especially since the baby was already crowning. So I pushed. They asked Mr. R if he wanted to watch, which I was initially sooo against, but in the moment I didn’t mind. So he did. And you know what? I watched, too! Say what?! Yep, they set up a mirror, and let me tell you, it was the best motivation! I could see how far I was getting and it really helped me to keep pushing. With each contraction, I pushed three times, holding as long as I could. Surprisingly (or not, since I had an epidural), it didn’t hurt at all. My face hurt more than anything, and I thought my eyes were going to pop out before the baby! After 8 contractions and 29 minutes, Anissa’s head popped out, with her cord around her neck. The midwife turned away to grab a tool or something, and I felt the urge to push- so I did. Just like that, the baby shot out – like, literally SHOT out like a fish jumping out of water – and plopped on to the edge of the bed, just in time for the midwife to catch her. It was hilarious – like something out of a funny movie. Anissa Marie made her grand entrance at 8:45 p.m. Fortunately, they got her cord off her neck very quickly. Unfortunately, it somehow got sheared and sprayed blood EVERYWHERE (sorry for the graphics!) I’m talking the midwife and nurses were checking each others’ eyes for blood, and everyone was covered. It was a hot mess of a situation!
When the baby popped out, she didn’t immediately cry. They put her on my chest and she gave a whimper – like a tiny kitten or something. But they let me hold her, and she was the most beautiful little bloody alien I’d ever laid eyes 0n. KIDDING. I kissed her and just stared at her and knew she was perfect. They let us have a few minutes of skin to skin time, but then they wanted to get her crying, so they took her to the corner of the room, where there was a heat lamp and bed. She was born with a fever, and they said she was having trouble keeping her temperature in check, so we would have to either have her on skin to skin or double swaddled till she could get it under control. Then they slapped her poor feet again and again until she cried more, which she finally did!
After about an hour of delivering the placenta, stitching me up, getting her weighed, cleaned, etc etc, we realized we hadn’t told our families ANYTHING yet! Not even a simple “she’s here!” text. So we sent a picture, and as soon as the scene was clear, we started inviting family in to meet her- since everyone had been sitting in the waiting room for hours… waiting! We cycled in and out family, and everyone got a chance to meet her.
Then, it was time to move from the delivery room to the postpartum room. They took the baby up ahead of me, and Mr. R and all our family followed her to the nursery for her first check-up. Meanwhile, they made me the biggest diaper contraption and moved me to a wheelchair. My mom stayed with me and fought for some food for me- I hadn’t eaten anything but chicken broth all day and was starving! I got a chicken salad sandwich and was rolled up to my room, where I had about 10 minutes of quiet time to scarf down a sandwich and some juice before I was thrown into the role of Mama forever- no looking back!
The rest of the night was a blur, or maybe I’ve just forgotten it since then as we entered into our first of many sleepless nights. Throughout our hospital stay, we were awoken every hour or so for feedings, nurse visits, vital checks, taking the baby for shots, yada yada yada. I can’t brag on the Northside nurses enough- they were all so helpful and sweet, helping me breastfeed, checking on us constandlt and bringing us anything we needed.
The standard hospital stay for an uneventful, vaginal delivery is 48 hours, so we were set to check out on Easter, April 20 at 8:45 p.m. I was sad we’d be missing out on Easter with the family, but knew we’d have lots of visitors and was excited to spend our first holiday together!
On Easter morning, we were told the baby had a slight case of jaundice, so she had to stay in a Bili Bed for the day and get blood tests throughout the day to check her levels- we had to stay one extra day, but thankfully, her levels declined after that and they let us stay together in our room for free even though I was technically discharged- it was definitely a nice perk!
And finally, to end our birth story, here are some pictures from throughout the day of her birth- Good Friday, April 18, 2014.