My daughter, Margaux (pronounced Margo), was born one chilly morning in December 2019. Below are the details leading up to her birth. Just a warning, the following is a very detailed account of that special day. If you want to get straight to the main part of the story, scroll down to “When Things Get Interesting.”
Leading up to Labor
The day before my daughter was born, I went to a holiday party for group exercise instructors at Gold’s Gym. Since I’m one of the lead group exercise instructors, it was my job to help with setting up for our afternoon of fun. I felt pretty normal for the most part that day but I decided that I would go ahead and find a sub for my last two classes that week before I planned to go on maternity leave.
Fast forward to later that night, everything still felt pretty normal as I watched the Miss Universe pageant (congrats Miss South Africa!). Since I had been having trouble sleeping, I stayed up and watched Real Housewives of Atlanta. I finally went to bed and I couldn’t sleep because I thought I was having Braxton-Hicks contractions but I had several. I tried repositioning myself and going to the bathroom but I was still getting them so I decided to take a shower. That’s when I thought that something might be up.
Labor Has Started
I went to wake my husband up at 1:30 in the morning to let him know that I believe I was having contractions that weren’t Braxton-Hicks. My first thought was that I wanted to finish doing some laundry so I asked him to go downstairs to help me. (I’m having contractions and the first thing I think about is doing laundry??? Don’t judge me!) It was becoming a little more challenging to stand and fold clothes so I decided to go and get in the shower again. Since this was my first pregnancy, labor can typically take longer. The recommendation is 5-1-1 (wait until contractions are 5 minutes apart, last for 1 minute, for 1 hour) and to labor at home for as long as possible because if you don’t, you will probably be sent home from the hospital. By the time I got out of the shower, I was in quite a bit of pain and my contractions kept getting closer and closer together and more intense. Since the hospital I wanted to deliver at was 50 minutes away, I felt like it was time that we go ahead and go even though my contractions had been going on for an hour but they didn’t follow the 5-1-1 rule. Thankfully, my bag was already packed. However, my husband’s daughter, Mariya, was with us and she had school in the morning. Also, my husband didn’t have his bag packed (ladies, make sure you pack a bag for your partner or that they have a bag packed a month before your due date). Needless to say, the contractions were getting stronger and I had to go whether or not anybody else was ready.
Time to Leave for the Hospital
At 2:50 am, we left for the hospital. It felt like my husband wasn’t driving fast enough. Any other time, I would be telling him to slow down but, on the day that I went into labor, he decided he wanted to drive the speed limit.
The contractions continued to get stronger and I knew I wanted an epidural when we got to the hospital. Before then, I had not decided whether or not I wanted pain medication but those contractions were something else. All I could do was moan to get through them. I didn’t want to scare Mariya because she was in the car with us but I couldn’t help it. As my husband drove, I called my insurance to let them know that we were on our way to the hospital. The lady I was talking to was only trying to do her job but I was getting quite irritated. She was trying to instruct me to wait since my contractions hadn’t yet hit the typical 5-1-1 pattern. My body was telling me to get to the hospital so I stood my ground and insisted that we continue. After nearly 40 minutes on the phone, the doctor was finally notified at the hospital to expect us.
When Things Get Interesting
We passed by my second-choice hospital and my husband kept asking if I wanted to go there instead but I was determined to make it to my first choice. We finally arrived at the hospital and all I could do was run, literally. I don’t think I even closed the car door. Thankfully, my mother-in-law was right behind us and was able to get Mariya. The security person and my husband were trying to get a wheelchair and I just told them, “that’s too slow, it’s faster if I run.” I was so serious and the security person said, “Ma’am, please sit in the wheelchair.” I took a few more steps and met them close to the elevator so we could go up to Labor and Delivery (L&D).
We arrived in L&D and I felt like the entire floor could probably hear me but I didn’t care. I was sure they were trying to ask me basic information such as my name and I probably told them it was epidural because that was the only thing that I could think of.
People came rushing to me, I assume they were nurses and wheeled me into the L&D room. It looked like a scene from a movie but the pain I felt was very real. I undressed and changed into the hospital gown in record time. They measured me and I was 7-8 cm dilated! The first thing I said, “Can I still get an epidural.” I was relieved when they told me I could. I had a few forms that I needed to read and sign. The contractions were so strong that it was difficult to even sign the paper let alone read what it said. I honestly just wanted to sign and have everything over with. Who knows, I probably could have been signing my soul away.
Can you guess what word I used most before I delivered Margaux? I figured if I would use this word in several different sentences, then it would happen. “Where’s the epidural? Is the epidural coming? An epidural would be nice right now. Is the anesthesiologist going to come and give me an epidural?”
During my 100 ways to use the word “epidural” in a sentence game, all of a sudden, I screamed, “I gotta poop!” I was told to wait so that they could check me but my body wouldn’t allow me to wait. I actually didn’t need to poop but that is the best way that I could explain what I was feeling. They checked me and I was fully dilated. I asked if that meant I wasn’t going to be able to get an epidural and I was told that we are going to have to have this baby right now. I thought I would try my hand one more time and I asked if there was any other form of pain medication, but I was told that it would make the baby too sleepy.
I got the urge to push again and that was when my water actually broke (my dreams of being part of the 1 in 80,000 who had an en caul birth were gone). The third time I had the urge to push, my baby literally just flew out. My husband said it caused him to almost pass out as it normally takes several pushes for the baby to ease his or her way out but not my baby.
2.5 hours of labor, 20 minutes after arriving at the hospital and two minutes of pushing, Margaux was born at 4:06 am. She weighed 7 lbs 9 oz and was 21 inches long. What a whirlwind of a night! Average labor for a first time mom is 6-12 hours and pushing takes 1-2 hours to put the craziness of the night into perspective. After 39 weeks and 4 days, my first-born child was finally here. The frequent bathroom visits, limited lung capacity, inability to eat and drink some of my favorite foods and beverages, the worst pain I had ever felt in my life, was worth it to meet this little life that had just entered the world.
Did you have any similarities in your birth story? Or was it completely different. Please feel free to share in the comments below.