If you missed the first part of Aurora's birth story you can go ahead and read it HERE. I apologize for how long this post is going to be. But this is really more for me to look back on one day, so I don't want to miss any details!
We arrived at the hospital around 7:30 the morning of September 29th. At that point, I was still walking around fine and could talk through my contractions. I just had to stop every time I had one in order to breathe through it and squeeze Trev's hand.
We were taken to a delivery room and a nurse came in to ask a bunch of questions, get me hooked up to the monitors, and check my cervix. The monitors confirmed that I was, of course, having contractions, but I was only 2cm dilated. And since I was still doing relatively okay and wasn't in a ton of pain, they didn't officially admit me right then and there. Instead, the nurse said I should hang out for an hour and then they'd check me again to see how quickly things were moving along. If everything progressed then I'd be admitted and if not I'd go back home.
And that was basically my worst fear.
Okay, definitely not the worst, but I reallyyy didn't want to be sent home. I was just so excited at that point for everything to finally be happening and I was terrified that things would get worse too quickly at home and we'd have to rush back to the hospital.
So we hung out for a bit in the room and then I got out of the bed and decided to keep walking around, hoping to heck that gravity would help nudge the little lady along.
We met my mom in the lobby and all headed to the cafeteria to check it out and get some breakfast to kill a little time. We said hi to one of the managers there that we know from home and he told us that we lucked out because it was BBQ day. We assumed that meant that it was just a normal thing they do every Thursday in the cafeteria but ended up realizing that, no, it was a once a year thing. They throw a big BBQ as an appreciation day for the staff and they all get to eat for free, so it's basically everyone's favorite day at the hospital. Like, staff even come in if it's their day off to get the free barbecue because it's that good haha. So Trevor was super pumped and thanked me for choosing BBQ day to deliver our kid.
I try Trev, I try.
All I ended up eating was a small handful of grapes before I finally started to shed a couple tears while holding onto my mom because things were really starting to hurt. I decided I didn't really feel like crying in the middle of a bunch of hospital staff getting their morning coffees so we walked (really slowly) back to the room.
I climbed back into bed and slowly started to feel like I wanted to die with each passing minute. Those contractions are NO joke but they didn't feel at all like I thought they would. Everything I read and everyone I talked to told me they just felt like the worst period cramps of your life. Cramps on steroids basically. And while they did feel like that, my pain was more in the form of pressure. Terrible, horrible, no good, "what the flying eff" pressure.
And it wasn't coming from where you think, aka where babies come out of, but instead I felt it all in my butt. HUH?!
The only way I could explain it to anyone was that it felt like every single organ in my body was about to blow out of me. Cute, I know. Sorry for the visual but I feel like future momma's out there should be aware of this since I wasn't.
By that point, there was definitely no more talking through contractions, or walking around, or pleasant faces. I was for sure in pain. The nurse came back in and said "Well this looks quite different from when you first arrived, I think it's time to check you again." And then she told me I was 5cm and that I was being admitted because we were having a baby today. Hallelujah! Happy smiles!
Except for no because "holy eff this hurts".
I was soooo uncomfortable sitting in the bed because of the pressure. It felt like I was just adding even more pressure to the mix by sitting on my butt, so the nurse suggested I try bouncing on a ball. That was even worse. So then she told me to try getting in the tub, something I never thought I'd do. It just seemed so "hippy dippy" to me. But at that point, I would've been up for sitting in a pot of boiling water on the stove if I knew it would help, so I climbed right in.
Guys, let me just tell you what a lifesaver that damn tub was.
I'm so glad our labor and delivery unit was just completely renovated and those huge jacuzzi tubs were added... because I sat there in a squatting position in the warm water for almost an hour while Trevor held a cold washcloth on my neck and rubbed my back. The buoyancy definitely helped a lot. But after an hour my legs started to get tired from squatting and I really was still in so much pain.
I just couldn't imagine going through contractions for another "who knows how many more hours". If I knew for certain that I would have to endure it for another hour or two and then I'd be ready to push, I probably could've done it. But there's obviously absolutely no way of knowing and the uncertainty of whether she'd come in an hour or if I'd be having contractions every three minutes for another eight hours straight was just too much to even fathom.
My nurse came in and got my IV set up while I was still sitting in the tub and Trev had to leave the room because he's super scared of needles. Then I slowly made my way back to the bed so that I could actually get the epidural placed. I was sure he would have to leave again for this part but he squatted down on the ground in front of me while I was slouched over sitting on the edge of the bed so he could face me. That way he couldn't see the needle at all since it was behind me going into my back.
I've read a lot of birth stories where people have said that epidurals hurt but I thought this was the easiest part of the whole day. I didn't feel a thing. The damn catheter hurt more for gosh sake.
Within a few minutes of me getting it the whole world changed. Those drugs are pure magical bliss sent straight from Hogwarts, let me tell you.
You go from agonizing "I want to curl up in a ball and die" pain to "Wait there's really a baby forcing itself out of my vagina right now?" calmness. You don't feel a damn thing.
The only problem is that they tend to slow things down a bit. I got the epidural at 11:00am but didn't progress enough to start pushing until around 7:00pm. And you can't do anything other than sit in bed since you're attached to drugs and a catheter. Oh, and you also can't eat anything either. So while Trev got an awesome barbecue, I was stuck with a measly red popsicle. Womp.
I'm really not sure what the heck we even did for those eight hours. I napped once, we watched a little TV, talked with our moms who were waiting with us, panicked over Trevor's dad being stuck in Pennsylvania and possibly not making it back in time for the birth, discussed baby names since we STILL hadn't decided on one, and got checked by the nurses a billion times.
Oh and we also kept joking around about naming her Misty Cayenne.
Misty was one of the random names Trevor suggested months before after seeing Misty May-Trainor in a magazine. I told him he was nuts because it sounded like a stripper's name (sorry to any Misty's out there reading this) and vetoed it immediately. It was raining all day, though, so he started joking around about how it would be perfect because the weather was so misty out. And then after he went to the barbecue lunch, the manager in the cafeteria said we should name her Cayenne in honor of it being BBQ day. So Misty Cayenne became the running joke of the day since she didn't have an actual name. Kind of like the Subway commercial where they name the baby Terry in honor of it being sweet onion chicken teriyaki day. Lord help us.
And I digress...
After seven hours of hanging out in bed I was still only at 9cm so they decided to start a really low dose of Pitocin to get things moving along.
The nurse told me that I would know when it was time to push because I'd start to feel the pressure again. Actually she told me that I'd feel like I needed to go #2. And that I could push this special button to have more of the epidural medicine if I needed it to help with the pain. But I couldn't feel any pressure at all (I told you those drugs were magical) and I was so worried that I wouldn't know when it was go-time because I couldn't feel it, so I didn't push that button even once. Which was probably the worst mistake I made all day because holy mother of all hell does the pushing part of giving birth SUCK.
That pressure that I despised so much from earlier in the day finally came back though and it was ten times worse that it was before. There's no way to describe it other than feeling like you're going to poop out a baby. And I was completely and utterly TERRIFIED of pooping on the table. So much so that I wasn't pushing correctly in the beginning because I didn't want to push anything other than a baby out. But that's bad because baby won't actually come out unless you push like you're trying to go to the bathroom.
Catch, meet the number twenty two.
So I kicked Trevor out of the room for five minutes so that I could practice pushing with my nurse alone. And that way I could make sure everything inside of me wouldn't come plowing out while attempting to push correctly haha. Jesus, what a peach I am. But it seriously felt like that was going to happen! Once I realized that it wouldn't he came back in and we started for real.
I laid on my side in the beginning because it felt better and that way I could face Trev who was squatting down next to the bed beside me. He had one leg, the nurse had the other, and the doctor was you know where. We didn't go to a birthing class, nor did I really read anything about the actual pushing part of delivery so I was clueless as to how it all worked. My only real birth plan was to not have one. I wanted to go with the flow and kind of just throw myself into it and react to whatever the doctors and nurses told me to do.
So I really had no idea that you only pushed during each contraction. See? Clueless. But I learned pretty quickly and my doctor said I was pushing great. Between each and every contraction Trevor would put the straw to my water cup in my mouth so that I could take a couple sips. Man does your mouth get dry from all the breathing. This went on for about an hour before they finallyyy got a glimpse of her head poking out. Apparently you could tell she had a ton of hair right from the very start!
At this point I was also extremely exhausted. Using every ounce of strength your body has to push for a minute straight, every three minutes, for an hour is a lot.
I remember breaking down crying and telling Trev that I couldn't do it because I was just. so. freaking. tired. It wasn't so much the pain at that point, it was the exhaustion. I felt like I had run seventeen marathons in a row after having not slept for a week straight.
And not knowing how much longer it was going to take was the worst part. With each push she kept popping out more, though, and Trevor would get so excited with each one and be like "Oh my God babe, there she is! Keep going, I can see her head! Keep going, do a big one right here, oh my God she's right there!!!" That alone was pretty much the only reason I didn't give up after an hour and a half. Because every time he would get excited I knew that things were actually happening down there and in turn knew that she was almost out. I was almost about to see her!
Finally, after what felt like ten days of pushing, she crowned.
That, my friends, was just about the worst pain imaginable. I feel like you basically just black out at that point. It was the biggest whirlwind because after she crowned there was no more waiting for the next contraction to push anymore, I just had to keep pushing consistently without stopping to do anything other than take a quick breath.
And you also realize that she's actually about to be completely out any minute and you're going the meet your daughter for the first time. And you also want to chuck something across the room because you feel like your body is tearing in two. And you scream "Why does it feel like your finger is up my butt hole?!" at your doctor and she replies "Because it is." And then you start crying because A) You have a finger in your butt and have no idea why and B) Because you look over at your boyfriend and think "This is it. This is the moment we've been waiting nine months for. The moment I've wanted my whole life for. We're about to meet our baby."
And just like that, after almost two hours of pushing, the doctor told me to stop and she placed my little lady on my chest at 9:05pm.
I stared down at her and then at Trev and we both just sobbed. There are absolutely NO words that could ever describe the feeling of meeting your child for the first time, so I'm not going to even attempt it. It's pure heaven. The most overwhelming rush of happiness and love imaginable. I wish I could relive it every single day for the rest of my life.
It was like an out of body experience because I really have never experienced any other emotion in my 27 years that can even pale in comparison.
But then, just like that, it was over and the nurses quickly scooped her up and whisked her over to the other side of the room to check her out. Trevor grabbed my hand and we waited patiently for them to bring her back to us.
But that didn't happen.
The nurse told us that she was having trouble breathing fully because she had so much fluid stuck in her lungs. We could hear them trying to suck it out of her and the machine constantly beeping telling them that something was wrong. We could see them purposely trying to agitate her so that she would scream in order for her to help cough out the junk.
Our doctor reassured us that she was fine and that she just needed a little help, but I (of course) started to freak out. Trev was great and told me that everything would be okay and tried to calm me down. But then they told us that they had to take her out of our room and down to the NICU so that the neonatal doctor could check her out. And that was when we both kind of lost it.
Trev says it was the scariest moment of his life and he hated it. I'd have to agree.
She got wheeled out into the hallway where all of our family was waiting, so they got to see her quickly in passing on her way to the NICU. Then we had them all come into the room while we waited for her to be brought back. I thank all the stars in the sky that it only took 10-20 minutes before that happened and they told us everything was fine and that we could have our golden hour for skin to skin. I can't imagine what parents with children who are actually sick or have problems go through. It's unimaginable.
And boy did those first horrible 40 minutes of her life make me feel so unbelievably lucky and grateful once it was all over.
Lucky to have had a breeze of a pregnancy, lucky to have had a smooth transition into labor, lucky to have had a pleasant experience with delivery, lucky to have Trevor who was seriously nothing short of Superman the entire day, and lucky to have a happy and healthy baby girl.
I finally became a mother on that rainy Thursday evening and I was forever changed right then and there. It's just as cliche as they all say too because there really is no love like it. Your heart just picks itself up and decides to live outside of your body in the form of the tiniest, sweetest, most precious little squish bug imaginable and you know, without a doubt, that you were made to be a momma.
I have a billion and a half more things to blog about but I really need to end this monstrosity of a post before I start needing chapters over here.
We love you so much, Aurora Laine Sherman!