Saint Patrick’s Day 2020 my daughter entered the world. I’m gearing up to share all things pregnancy, postpartum and newborn related, and want to start here with her birth story.
March 16th, I was at home relaxing, watching Love is Blind and slowly riding our exercise bike for about 20 minutes. Early afternoon, I was in significant pain with my lower back and Braxton Hicks contractions. Tylenol didn’t help, so I did what I could on the exercise ball to alleviate the pain and walked with painstaking effort up and down the driveway. Regular contractions 5-6 minutes apart began at 6 PM. I timed them while continuing to stretch and make dinner. Ruben and I ate together and the contractions continued throughout the evening. We headed to the hospital around 10:30 PM, where I was monitored for 2 hours before being declared in active labor and admitted.
Upon admission, I was moved into a labor and delivery room, where they continued to track my contractions and monitor vitals for myself and baby. Contractions were fairly long and grew more intense into the early morning hours. I asked for an epidural around 4:30 AM because I didn’t think I would be able to hold still while it was administered if I waited any longer. The anesthesiologist was kind and humorous, warning me that the needle would sting like Texas fire ants when it was inserted. Once the epidural was in, the nurses had me lay on my back at first, and then began position changes every half hour or so. My movement was limited due to the epidural, so they flipped me around to each side, on my side with a peanut ball between my knees, propped up, flat, and even on my hands and knees. Multiple nurses and doctors were in and out regularly to monitor progress. My OB throughout the third trimester since moving to Waco arrived around 8 AM for the remainder of my labor and delivery, which was an immense blessing.
Labor continued to progress somewhat slowly (I was dilated around 3 CM when I arrived the evening before) for the rest of the morning. My OB broke my water around mid-morning and discovered an infection in my amniotic fluid, meaning both myself and the baby would need antibiotics.
The epidural numbed the pain of the contractions, but I could still sense when transition arrived. I shook uncontrollably all over my body for what seemed like forever.
My OB came in with the nurse when it was time to push and they both gave me specific instructions on how to breathe and what muscles to engage in order to push. It is difficult to engage muscles that you can’t feel! This was highly frustrating to me as I expected to just know what to do and how to push, and wasn’t able to properly follow their instructions. We tried pushing a handful of times, and then the doctor and nurses left for a half hour. More doctors and nurses came in, and despite my exhaustion, I could sense something wasn’t right. My doctor explained that the baby would not move into the correct position to be delivered, and that they were unable to stabilize her vitals. She compassionately reminded me that she knew I didn’t want a cesarean, but that at this point it was what was best for the safety of the baby. This was disappointing after making it this far into labor, and I cried, asking the nurse if I had done something wrong. She encouraged me that I had done a great job with everything that had happened and explained that at times, baby just won’t cooperate. They promised that Ruben would be brought back to the operating room once I was ready, and wheeled me off to meet our baby.
The operating room was all white with bright lights that shone down as the doctors, anesthesiologist and nurse prepared me for surgery. I was moved onto a table with my arms outstretched and naked from the abdomen down. More numbing medicine was given, and the doctors began poking and prodding, asking what I felt. They began to operate when it seemed I was numb enough. Ruben still wasn’t in the room, and I felt strange and uncomfortable sensations multiplying where they were operating. I asked where he was and began yelling in discomfort and fear. A lady in a white mask held my hand and told me to breathe.
The next moment I recall, I woke up in a warm room with the nurse on one side of me and Ruben on the other, disoriented and unsure if the baby was still in me. I was seeing three of everything. Ruben held up a piece of paper that read “Della Jo- 12:10 PM- 7 lbs 2 oz -18.5 inches”, but my eyes couldn’t focus to read it. I stayed in recovery for 2 hours and was then moved to a room in the women and newborns wing.
The hospital required 8 hours of bed rest after surgery, so I stayed in my room, resting and waiting to meet my baby. Shortly after 8 PM, I was wheeled over to the nursery, where she was being given antibiotics via IV and oxygen due to the complications during labor. She was the only baby in the room, and I started to cry before I even saw her tiny face. In that moment, every month of growing discomfort throughout pregnancy and each minute of the labor and cesarean was worth it. Somehow this tiny, perfect creature had been inside me this whole time, just waiting to make her appearance.
Welcome, sweet baby girl. You are so loved.