I took my maternity leave two weeks earlier than expected after running into some complications over the last few weeks of my pregnancy (you can read all about them here.) There had been so much going on between working, getting the nursery ready, and dealing with the stress of the unknown, so I really just wanted to get into the right headspace and prepare for our newest arrival. Not to mention, wanting to spend as much one-on-one time as possible with Ayda before her whole world was turned upside down.
The first day of my maternity leave, I was 37 weeks and 3 days along. I took her to the mall, we had a lunch date, and went to a doctor’s appointment. I hadn’t had a day with just her and I in the longest time! I was so eager to plan our next day together, so I looked up local Mommy and Me classes that we could attend. Our library happened to be having “Toddler Circle Time” the following day, so I figured we would do that and a grocery trip.
The next day rolled in and we headed to the library for the class. We arrived around 10am and there was a woman with two little children in the elevator with us. The kids were arguing with each other, and she looked at Ayda, then at me and my belly, and said in a joking manner, “This is going to be you in a few months, huh!?” I laughed and said, “Not a few months! Any day now!” She could not believe I was full-term.
We went upstairs and I was down on the ground playing with Ayda, waiting for the class to start. For whatever reason, I just could not get comfortable on the floor. (I mean I did a have a big ol belly and decided to try to squeeze into some non-maternity leggings that day!) I was feeling achy and crampy and like I just needed to hold my stomach up.
I shook it off and we went into the class. Ayda had a blast dancing around, laughing, and singing with all of the other kids- it was the cutest thing and I was so excited that I found something for us to do for the next few weeks until the baby arrived. The class ended and we headed out for the grocery store. On our way, as I was driving, I distinctly remember feeling two very strong contractions- they were so low and deep, it was unlike anything I had felt prior. I didn’t think much of it, because I had been feeling strange all day, it was 110+ degrees outside, and I just figured I was dehydrated and needed to drink some water (which was the case the 4 previous times I thought I was in labor.)
We got the store and I remember feeling one more really strong one. I texted Adrian while he was at work saying “I’m having pretty consistent and strong contractions. Not going to make a big deal out of it until I can’t handle it anymore, but I just wanted to let you know.” I proceeded with shopping and with every single aisle I walked down they got progressively worse. At one point I had to stop, hold onto the cart, and bend over to get through a contraction.
Even at this point, I still thought it was in my head and that I just needed to get through my shopping trip and continue with my day. 35 minutes, an entire cart full of groceries, and contractions that were now about 3 minutes apart later, I was finally done shopping and headed home. I texted Adrian telling him that they were still happening, but that I was just going to go home, get Ayda down for a nap, drink some water, and relax. At this point it was around 1:00pm and they were still pretty manageable. We got home, I brought Ayda into the house, placed my keys and my phone on the kitchen counter, and went outside to go grab the bags of groceries out of the car. Ayda ran over to the door that I just went out of and slammed it and then I heard the deadbolt lock.
She locked me out of the house.
While she was inside.
With my keys and my phone inside.
While I was contracting every 2-3 minutes.
After about 10 minutes of being locked out there, I somehow manage to coerce her from the window to come back over to the door and try to open it. When she realized it was locked, she completely panicked as she had no idea how to unlock it. I obviously couldn’t let her know that I was completely panicking too!
After about 15 minutes, I was able to walk her through how to unlock it. At this point I was now having to hold onto the counter and moan through my contractions. Still, I just felt as if I need to drink some water. Adrian was texting me in the meantime, asking if he should come home and I kept telling him “Not yet, I don’t want to go in until I’m sure.”
Clearly I was in denial.
I got all the groceries inside and put away, made Ayda lunch, made myself a sandwich, and tried to force myself to eat it. I couldn’t even take a bite and swallow it without contracting in between. I cut our lunch short and had Ayda go lay down for a nap so that I could rest and focus. I laid down with her to put her to sleep, and for the life of me I could not keep quiet or sit still during my contractions. I kept moaning, and groaning, and had to do breathing exercises in order to get through them.
My mother-in-law happened to FaceTime me randomly at that time. Immediately when I answered the phone, I had yet another contraction and she could tell how painful they were. She hung up with me and called Adrian to come home. Within 30 minutes, he was home and we were ready to head to the hospital around 3:00PM.
I was so all over the place mentally because there were so many things that I still needed to do to prepare and just did not want to believe that it was really happening! We had previously been to L&D 3 times, thinking it was time. Each time, my mom drove over an hour to pick up Ayda, one of those times being 1:00AM, and every time I was only 2cm dilated, and having light contractions, but was not progressing so they would send me home.
I didn’t want the same thing to happen again, so I decided to wait to call my mom until I was actually admitted to the hospital and knew for a fact that I was not going to go home. We arrived around 4pm, and the moment of truth was there for them to check how dilated I was.
Two F-ing Centimeters.
Tears. So many tears. I was in so much pain.
They had me walk around for an hour to see if it would get things going. I walked for about 20 minutes by myself, while Adrian was chasing Ayda (who was overly tired because I never got her to nap) up and down the halls. I couldn’t walk more than 3-5 steps without hunkering down and holding onto the wall with each contraction.
I waddled my way back to triage before my hour was up and laid down in the bed and begged the nurse to just send me home with some pain meds or something to take this pain away. I mean, what was the point of being there if I was only 2cm and in SO MUCH PAIN? They wouldn’t admit me until I was at least 3cm.
She told me she was going to have the doctor come in one more time to check me before sending me home, and that she would see what she could do about giving me something for the pain. I was feeling so discouraged and upset because I just knew what he was going to tell me. I knew I was going to have to go back home and deal with the contractions and continue to wait (although these ones were significantly worse than any I felt before.)
30 minutes later, around 6pm, the doctor came in to check me.
Six F-ing Centimeters.
FROM 2 TO 6 CENTIMETERS IN AN HOUR.
Tears. So many tears. I was so relieved.
I just remember feeling a complete 360 with my pain tolerance and emotions. Suddenly, the contractions didn’t hurt as bad because mentally, I knew that they were working! We excitedly called my mom and told her to head out to the hospital in Los Angeles. At this point, it was 6:30PM on a Wednesday evening, so traffic was absolutely not on our side (not that it ever is in LA.)
They told us that there were no available rooms at that time and that it should be ready in about 30 minutes, and that we just needed to wait in triage until then. Two hours and a billion contractions later, my mom finally arrived and a room finally became available. Looking back now, everything from that point on just became a blur.
It was 8:30PM and they asked me if I wanted an epidural. Since I hadn’t been checked in two hours, I asked them to have the doctor check my cervix so that I could make my decision. I figured that if I was 8-9cm, then I could just do it on my own, because I was already basically done, but if I was still a 6, then I wanted the epidural. It took about 30 minutes for the doctor to come in and check and when he did, I was still only 6cm. I decided right then that I needed the epidural because who knew how long it would be at that rate, plus my water hadn’t even broken yet.
They called the anesthesiologist and we waited. And waited. And waited. And waited. I just remember chaos. I had never felt a pain quite like that before. I couldn’t even catch my breath in between contractions.
At this point it was 9:30PM and the anesthesiologist finally came in with my epidural. She gave it to me, said it would take about 15 minutes to kick it, and finally, all was right in the world.
I could breathe. I could rest. I could think... For about 10 minutes, that is.
At 10:00PM I just remember feeling an immense amount of pressure. I was yelling at Adrian to go and get the nurse because I felt like I needed to push. He ran out of the room to find my nurse and of course, she was on break, so another nurse came in to help. She checked me and I was fully dilated and my water bag was bulging out because it still had not broken on its own. She told me that we can either wait or the doctor could rupture it and I could begin pushing. Obviously I chose option number 2.
The doctor came in about 5 minutes later and broke my water. That was when he realized that the baby had pooped inside of me (most likely from the stress of everything progressing so quickly), and would not allow me to push until NICU doctors arrived, just incase she ingested any and needed to go in for observations.
10 minutes later the room was filled with 6 doctors and 5 nurses, all standing by. They gave me the go-ahead to start pushing at 10:15pm. 4 hard pushes and 8 long minutes later, I had a 6.4oz, perfectly healthy little angel on my chest.
I couldn’t believe what had just happened. Compared to my 36 hour labor with Ayda, I didn’t even have time to process what was happening this time around. I was just at the library and the grocery store that same day! I just was joking with the woman in the elevator about how my baby was coming any day now! Now, just a few hours later, I had a brand new little baby on my chest!
I guess things really happen on their own timing, right? To be honest, I was a little traumatized by the whole experience, just because of how fast everything happened. Immediately after I had her I just kept saying “OMG I’m never doing that again!”
But now, 6 months and a whole lot of love later, I can’t help but think what my birth story will be like with the next one! ;)
*Disclaimer: NO, I’M NOT PREGNANT*