As my belly (and my boobs) got larger, things stayed pretty much the same for me. I had some pain in my hips and feet but nothing major. Sleeping was definitely a pain the ass sometimes. I love to sleep on my belly and that's a pregnancy no-no (along with not eating raw fish, drinking alcohol and tons of other things I love). I also dealt with some constipation throughout my pregnancy, but nothing too severe (yet).
Hadley finally arrived 11 days after her due date. I know most people feel super uncomfortable by their third trimester but I really didn't feel that large (although the pictures clearly show otherwise). I felt good but was just so anxious for her to be here! And how did I deal with that? I nested and baked like a crazy person. If any of you don't believe in the whole nesting phenomenon I can assure you it is definitely legit.
Since our stubborn little gal didn't want to come out I had to be induced. Josh and I wanted her to come on her own but the doc's started worrying about my fluid and her oxygen levels so we had to go with it. One tip: going with the flow is definitely helpful during pregnancy, labor, parenthood and really life in general.
We we're scheduled to be induced at 8pm on Wednesday, May 29th but I started having contractions the night before. Ahhhhh, contractions. The evil monster of delivery. Okay, so I thought about this long and hard while I was sitting on my couch at 5am on the 29th trying to distract myself from the pain. Lucky for me, my contractions we're an hour apart so I had to just wait it out and I could not sleep through them.
Okay, so this what a contraction felt like to me. Remember when people used to give "Indian rug burns" to you in 5th grade? Okay, pretend someone is reaching into your lower back and grabbing the center most part of your body (I'm talking like DEEEEEP in there), doing the Indian rug burn and dragging you up a hill at the same time. YEAH. Fun shit aye?!
As my contractions got closer and closer together we decided to go to the hospital early to make sure the baby wasn't born in our family room. When I got all set up in the room they checked me and I was dilated 0.5 centimeters. HALF OF A CENTIMETER. I was so bummed. I thought I was at least 5 by then (10 is push time). Ha ha ha, sick joke self! I remember thinking... does it get worse than this?! It does... I won't lie to you.
At this point my water still hadn't broken and all we could really do is wait. They gave me medicine to "soften my cervix" (I warned you about the TMI) and try to move things along. This made the contractions more frequent and things began to get really painful. Before this I was able to move around which helped me deal with the pain. Once I was in the hospital they we're monitoring me and the baby pretty closely so I was stuck in the bed for the majority of the time.
In our hospital room they had a monitor that shows stats for every woman in the Labor and Delivery wing. I could see these huge spikes on graphs of women who we're much farther along than me and even pushing their babies out. I felt like such a wimp because my spikes we're more like soft, rolling hills.
I started to get upset when I was looking at all the other ladies and their out of control contractions while I was suffering with my little bumps. It went on like this for a few hours and by 11pm that night I cracked. I started sobbing. My contractions we're radiating in my thighs at this point. Josh was pale and distraught watching me suffer. The nurse came in and Josh asked her about the graphs. She told us, "Oh the black lines don't determine how strong a contraction is. They just show us that you're having one."
ARE YOU KIDDING ME?! WHY DIDN'T ANYONE TELL ME THIS WHEN I GOT HERE? GIVE ME THE DRUGS!!!!!!!
At midnight, I got the epidural. PRAISE THE ANESTHESIA GODS, it was amazing. Sweet relief. It really wasn't that scary either. You feel one small shot in your back that numbs you and then they do the big doozy after that. Once they administered the medicine it literally took two seconds for me to feel pain-free. It was insane. I was so loopy with happiness I couldn't stop giggling/crying with joy. I remember thinking at the time, and still to this day, how the hell did people do this before drugs were invented?! And how do people refuse them now?! You natural women impress the shit out of me.
After that, I slept. And slept. And slept.
Things started moving along on their own (which is great because sometimes an epidural can really slow down your body's progress). My water ended up breaking before I even got my epidural but it was hard to tell. I know that sounds strange but your water breaking doesn't always feel like a big gush of liquid, although for some people it does. I was slowly but surely approaching the 10cm mark and we we're getting excited!
So, for some people it can take almost 3 hours from the time they start pushing until the time that baby plops out. The nurse told me that an hour was impressive so of course I told her I'd beat that (competitive much?). This part was actually really enjoyable since I had the epidural. I got to soak it all in. You push every time a contraction comes (you can feel the pressure building in your body) and then you rest until the next one, which can be up to 2 minutes sometimes. It was so much more of a laid back experience than what I was expecting. The movies are so misleading!
Okay, so I know some of you are thinking it so I'm just going to go there... TMI at it's ultimate... what about the poop? Spoiler alert: everyone poops when they push a baby out. It's going to happen and you should just deal with it now. I know it sounds mortifying... I mean who wants their lover (or strangers) to see that?! No one. But this is the miracle of life people and shit, literally, happens. The upside? The nurses are so great about making it no big deal. They clean you up quickly and the show goes on.
Now that we got that out of the way... onto the baby! Once the head started to crown the nurses paged the doctor. I continued pushing and it got to the point where I couldn't stop. I could feel a heavy amount of pressure which felt really uncomfortable but it wasn't painful. You can feel the head come out, then another big push for the shoulders and that whole baby comes flying out! It's an incredible feeling physically and emotionally. Holy f&!#, I did it! You have to push one more time to get the placenta out and then you are officially done (at least with bearing the child). And if your curious, it took me exactly one hour to push her out. BOOM SUCKAS.
They put our girl on my belly and I was so overwhelmed I could barely think. I remember my first words being, "Oh my god look at her head!" She had a serious cone head. It makes me laugh when I think about it now but I remember being concerned. It goes away within an hour. She was slimey and screaming but she was finally with us and we were so happy.
Did you think this novel was over yet? I told you this was long.
So I just suffered 24 hours of labor and pushing and crying and sweating and rejoicing and there is still more?! You've gotta be kidding me. Am I scaring/scarring anyone yet? I swear it's all worth it.
After spending two days in the hospital (standard for most) we headed home with our baby and life was pretty great. Josh stayed home for a week which was such a blessing, and we had so much fun enjoying our baby and that precious time together as a new family of three.
I breastfed, which is a whole other post in itself. I had lots of ups and downs with it. More on that another day.
Growing and carrying a tiny human is a huge change for your body. But the one thing no one seemed to talk about is the changes you go through as your body recovers. Of course, the baby comes and everyone forgets all about you!!!! What the hell man?!
Postpartum depression is usually the biggest focus in reading material, however there isn't much on anything else. Hormones are definitely a huge part of the recovery process. I remember crying a lot in the first month after Hadley was born. Most of it came from being so freaking exhausted and is completely normal. I found being able to talk to Josh and be open with him about how I was feeling and what I needed from him to be the most helpful. I also tried not to bottle up my feelings. If I was frustrated... I punched a pillow. I kid you not. It helped. I mean I'm glad no one saw me do it... but it helped.
I also remember feeling a lot of guilt about 3 months after Hadley was born. I would look back on the last couple of months and remember all those times I was so frustrated with Hadley. Why is she still crying, I don't understand?!!! I thought I was such a terrible mom. I mean who can get mad at a little, innocent baby?! This, again, is normal. It's a little creature that can't talk and the only form of communication it has is crying. If that doesn't lead to frustration I don't know what does.
For others, postpartum depression can get much more serious. Being aware of what it is and how it can affect you is so important. Always talk to your doctor if you have any doubts!
One perk of pregnancy is the amazing hair you can get. Your hair doesn't shed as much when you're pregnant (anyone with an afro like myself knows about excessive hair shedding) and the prenatal vitamins also aid in hair growth and health. The downside? Your hair falls out after your little nugget leaves your womb. Now don't freak out, I'm not talking you're going to go bald. But you'll notice a difference. Then your hair will start to grow back in like you're a four year old who cut her own bangs.
Being severely constipated is one of the worst things in the world. And in my world, getting anal fissures IS the worst thing in the world. Don't look it up, it's too scary. Basically, what it is is a deep cut in your butt. And it makes for the most painful bathroom experience of your life. Like screaming and crying bad. And then you end up at the butt doctor. And no one wants to be there.
Something like this can persist for a long time if you're not on top of it and surgery may be needed if it doesn't heal on its own. Mine took about 3 months to heal 95%. To this day I still feel some pain but it is light years better than it was. I kid you not, this was the most painful part of my entire experience. Going to the bathroom was harder than pushing Hadley out of my vagina. Dead serious.
So how do you avoid something like this?! Stool softeners and fiber supplements. The doctors gave me stool softeners (Colace) when I came home from the hospital but I found that they didn't work for me. Fiber supplements have become a way of life now. And if you are experiencing constipation... they should for you too. Of course, always consult your doctor before trying anything but I found that Miralax worked the best for me. I've also tried some tea that works pretty great as well. Drinking a fiber drink everyday can get really annoying but I'm telling you it is way better than having a stranger stick a camera up your butt. Believe me.
And on that note... we can end the novel.
Having a baby is one of the most incredible experiences of a lifetime. I mean if you think about it... the fact that we can create a little human, grow it in our bodies, push it out, survive and then get to snuggle it for years and years is pretty damn cool. Probably the coolest thing we humans can do.
I hope this
Feel free to leave comments, questions and your own personal experiences below!
If it helps... I'd do it again in a heartbeat.
Here's to the next baby to grace my uterus! Cheers!