I have been asked a few times when I’d be sharing this part of the journey and trust me I’ve been wanting to! But naps have literally been non existent until this moment… I haven’t had more than 20 mins to myself in the last month, but baby girl is finally figuring out that sleep is nice and we are working on nap times in her bassinet today (instead of on my chest where they have been happening since birth) so here’ goes….
Sophia Frances Howard came fast and furious into the world on 11/21/19 at 2:03pm, weighing 7lbs 8oz and 21.5in long. But it wasn’t without a couple bumps in the road. Miss Sophia was brought into the world a week and a half early after induction.
I was 38 weeks pregnant when I had my, what I didn’t know would be my last, weekly doctors appointment at my OBGYN. For the second week in a row I was showing some high blood pressure and it being so late in the game and the fact that I had gestational diabetes, preeclampsia was a concern and having the ‘beetus put me at a higher risk. They sent me to Labor and Delivery to have a non stress test and some lab work. I was TERRIFIED and not prepared because I knew ANYTHING could happen. I thought to myself “holy shit I could have a baby TODAY.” And I wasn’t ready. But luckily, after an hour and half at the hospital, my BP stayed pretty consistently just under the concerning level and they sent me home. Soon after, however, one of my midwives called to say that my urine sample showed some protein, another sign of preeclampsia. She told me they would need a 24 hour urine sample.. meaning- I got to collect my pee in a bright orange jug and store it in my fridge next to the spinach until the next day. Also meaning, I had 24 hours to prepare myself mentally and physically for the fact that if this 24 hour sample shows too much protein, I would be induced and I would be having this baby.
SH-I-TT-ING my pants is an understatement. Needless to say, that whole 24 hour window was pretty much torture, mentally. At 38 weeks, I was done. I wanted this baby to come. But at the same time I was like “I’m going to have a fucking baby?!?!?! AHHHH! NOT READY!” We could go back, have another non stress test and they could send us home to wait for labor to happen naturally if all comes back okay… and the thought of going home was like WAIT NO IM DONE OKAY GET HER OUT! But also what if I stay and get induced and it takes forever or creates complications and we end up in the hospital for days and days?! My mind was a CLUSTERRR fuck of thoughts and emotions.
On 11/20/19, Mike and I packed up the car with our things, anticipating induction, and headed to the hospital. I walked in with my jug-o-pee and was brought to a room to start another NST. My anxiety was through the freakin’ roof and it only got worse the longer I had to sit and wait for the NST to be done and the results to come back. I was going out of my mind. I needed to know if we were having a baby or not. Finally one of the midwives came in and informed me that I did in fact have preeclampsia. My organs were essentially failing, my body was done growing this baby and we needed to get her out. She told us they would start induction with a Cook Catheter (also known as a Foley Catheter or Balloon Catheter) which goes into the vagina (not your urethra, which I thought it was at first and I was like omg no how does that work?! No thanks) and it helps to open up the cervix so labor can begin. Before they put this in, I was already 2cm dilated and 80% effaced, which was awesome news- things already started on their own! But I would have to keep the catheter in all night and we would start pitocin in the morning. The journey was just beginning.
7am on 11/21 came pretty quickly. We said goodbye to our AMAZING nurses from the day before (who we became friends with on Instagram and still talk to… they are just seriously awesome) and met the nurse that would inevitably be helping deliver my baby. I was still waking up, groggy from the morphine they gave me to help me sleep and they told us to order breakfast and asked if I wanted a shower. I agreed as I scrolled through my Facebook newsfeed, my disgusting morning ritual. My nurse came back in a few minutes later and asked if I had showered yet… umm no, I’m still half asleep. This bitch looked at me like how my own mother would when she’s annoyed with me and said “well you better hustle!” …….. ‘scuse me? You did NOT just tell my pregnant- about-to-have-a-baby-any-minute ass to hustle!! I was bullshit. She left the room and I shot daggers toward Mike and proclaimed “I HATE HER.” She was older and seemed a little too modest for THIS personality. It was not a good start. We did not vibe. I was so annoyed that this woman would potentially be helping me deliver my child. I wanted my other nurses back. I could be 100% myself with them and with this nurse, I felt like I had to be a good, quiet little girl… and if you know me, I am not that.
As I was trying to brush my hair after my shower and get myself together, she’s trying to get my blood pressure but then doesn’t communicate to me that she wants to start my pitocin. “Jeez you’re like a moving target!” She says to me, annoyed. Lady, IDFK what you’re trying to do you are not telling me! Once we get the pitocin started, Mike and I went to take a little walk around the nurses station. I was sportin’ a sweet blue johnnie and those sick mesh undies with a giant pad on my ass. We all know johnnies are open in the back but the way mine was tied it was like more on the side. Well, apparently a piece of my mesh covered booty was peeking out my johnnie and that was incredibly offensive to my nurse. She chased me down with another johnnie and made me put it on to cover myself. “Oh my god, YOUR ASS IS SHOWING! Put this on!” She whispered loudly through her teeth to me as she held it up over my backside. I laughed back and said “oh god I don’t care, I’m in labor. And if you knew me, I don’t embarrass easy.” She goes “well that’s what I’m here for, to give you some modesty.” Ok Susan…… we are NOT friends. Everything she said to me from then on annoyed the absolute shit out of me.. but I was not going to let this woman ruin this day for me. I was going to be myself, real and raw, no filter- just like what birthing a child IS, and she would just have to deal with that.
Shortly after they turned up the pitocin after our walk, I started to feel the contractions. They started to stop me in my tracks. It was like really crampy period cramps. I was a little tired so I got in bed to relax and just breathe through the crampiness. Not long after I got kind of comfortable, the contractions got worse and worse. I was starting to grunt a little when they hit their peak. My lovely nurse blurted out to me “what’s wrong? why are you grunting?” UM I’M HAVING CONTRACTIONS WOMAN?! Like wtf do you think?! Am I not supposed to make noise? Then my midwife comes in and checks my cervix- I was 6cm dilated! My nurse tells me I’m able to get the epidural if I want it now… well this is my first time doing this thing so I don’t know how much worse the contractions are going to get. I passed up on it, thinking I could get through more contractions if I had the breaks in between. HAHAHA…
Not more than a minute later, I start having back to back to back contractions. No breaks. Nausea inducing, cramping, writhing contractions took over me. I’ve never felt anything like it in my life. And this is where I say congratu- FREAKIN- lations to those who go through labor naturally… y’all are super freaks of nature. There is no way I could have gone through the rest of my labor without the magic of an epidural. And an epidural I had!
In walks Igor, straight from Russia, the 6′ 8″ anesthesiologist. His name wasn’t really Igor, but I need you to have the Russian accent in your head for this. My husband does the best impression.
“Okey, I explain to you everything I do. I put on glove. I hang up coat. I need you to sign paper.”
Guy, whatever. I can’t even breathe right now and you want me to sign something?!
When I tell you this man took FOREVER to get this epidural in my back, I mean it felt like a damn century. I had 4 or 5 back to back contractions in the time he took to get this needle in. Everyone in that room is lucky I couldn’t even speak what I wanted to scream in that moment. Stop changing your fucking gloves, Igor and gimme the fucking drugs!!! Even my nurse agreed that he took way too long to get it done. We started to bond after I spent the last 30 minutes or so scream- whispering ‘fuck’ into her chest and groaning guttural animal noises. She actually told me how much she loved working with me at the end of it all and she really became more of a mother figure during the process than my annoying ass nurse… it was a happy ending for all.
So then- peace. Peace at last. Tingling, numbing peace. Contractions began to just feel like my hamstrings tightening. Sweet freakin relief. My nurse put my legs up in the stirrups and had me start to push. And if you’re anything like me and you gotta know the real shit- yes fam, I pooped. It happened and I’m proud. I knew I’d be ‘a pooper’ and it helped me to know that I was pushing hard and pushing right… I got that baby out of me with those poop pushes, damn it! I’ll fly this ‘ I POOPED’ flag high and proud!
ANYWAY- After some time working on pushes, listening to a calming playlist on Spotify, switching positions and cervix checks, it was time for my midwife to break my water. Once she did that, the real show started.. this baby was coming and she was coming FAST. Next thing I knew, her head was about to come out, the number of humans in my room doubled and my midwife was getting suited up for delivery. A few good pushes later and there she was being held up in the air in front of us. We started the process at 8am and had her by 2pm. SURREAL.
And while I’m being transparent here, I will be honest and say that it wasn’t that “unconditional love at first sight” wave of incredible emotion everyone makes you think happens. I’m sure for some people it does but for me it was more like, “Holy shit I just pushed that human out of me. Holy shit that’s mine?! Holy shit I made a human.” I mean, we WERE still kind of strangers to each other. I had to get to know this little person. I was in a complete state of shock. And then I noticed she was rooting (looking for the boobs) while on my chest and we tried to breastfeed. It worked… she latched. All while my midwife was sewing up the lovely tears the babe gave me on the way out. I held her for almost an hour while she nursed. I started to feel that love set in. Love, excitement, amazement, confusion, apprehension, scared as shit, but mostly- peace. We did it. We made a healthy, beautiful baby girl and delivered her successfully into the world.
…..Now gimme a perc because my whole lower half HURTS.
Sophie is 2 months now and is already a personality- filled firecracker. It’s been a long 2 months, honestly. They say it flies by and while I can see the changes in her happening quite quickly, I am writing this to never forget how long these days have felt. I know that I only have a short amount of time left where she is this dependent on me and I’m trying to soak it up as much as I can, but I’d be lying if I said some days I didn’t wish she was a little bit older, a little more able. And while these days are boring AND exhausting- it’s all part of the journey, a part of the journey I know I’ll miss, and while I’m tired, I’m loving figuring out who this little human is and loving to love her unconditionally.
I can’t wait to see what the next 2 months bring.