For as long as I can remember I’ve loved reading women’s birth stories. Not sure why because I was never sure I even wanted to give birth, I just found them so miraculous. Millions upon millions of women give birth, yet no one story is the same. I wanted to share mine with you all but mostly so I won’t forget any detail while it’s still fairly fresh in my mind.
My pregnancy was not bad. The first 20 weeks, if you’re following for a while, you may recall, I was extremely nauseous. Then, it was pretty much smooth sailing. I had some pelvic girdle pain for about 2-3 weeks in my second trimester and that’s it! I walked 2 miles a day up until the day I gave birth. BUT the one thing I never shared was the itchiness.
I had pretty bad itchiness my entire pregnancy. Friends, family and even my doctor since the first trimester wrote it off as hormones. As I got closer to my due date, there were days with no itchiness (mind you, itchiness with no rash, rhyme or reason) and days with unbearable itchiness.
At my 36 week appointment my OB checked me for cholestasis ( a liver disease caused by pregnancy hormones that causes itchiness). This test can be a false negative and isn’t so accurate but if it comes back positive, you’re induced IMMEDIATELY. My heart dropped when she told me and I was literally shaking.
Test was negative. Itchiness continued. At 38 weeks, baby and I were feeling great but the itchiness got worse. My OB called me and said…”I’m uncomfortable not inducing you so on 7/26/2020, a day before you’re 39 weeks (aka full term) we’re going to induce you”. I started crying. Happy tears, scared tears. It’s not how I envisioned my birth story but if it meant my baby would be 100% safe, I wanted to do it.
Hospital bag packed and all, Marat and I got ready to go to the hospital for our induction appointment. 6pm 7/26/2020.
We made it to Mount Sinai West (previously named St. Lukes Roosevelt and where my mother gave birth to me) and situated to our labor and delivery room by 6:30pm. It was empty. Pretty sure we were the only ones on the floor!
They checked my cervix and I was barely 1 cm which was not good news. I really did not want a c section but prepared myself mentally for it to happen. My mantra was “whatever it takes for my baby to arrive safely”. That got me through.
The induction plan was to start at 12am on 7/27 and to go as follows: foley tube, pitocin, then baby. Every nurse and OB who came in said the foley tube was the most painful thing and I should get an epidural. Who am I to argue with doctors and nurses? Got the epidural, best decision EVER. The anesthesiologist’s were amazing and I barely felt anything. I joked botox hurt more…and it really does. They found it funny 😉
Few hours of watching TV later, the foley tube was able to be pulled out. I was now 3 centimeters. The hours dragged but I wasn’t in any pain and didn’t mind being stuck in bed. Pitocin started, and slowly they kept increasing it.
It’s now 5am, we haven’t slept, pitocin is still getting slowly higher but I’m not dilating. It took everything in me, mentally, to not jump to the conclusion that baby and my body were not ready and a c section was going to happen. I stayed calm. It’s all in the big picture—anything to get my baby out safely.
12PM, I’m now 4 centimeters….6 more to go.
Now, 7/27 is a really special date for my family and I. My father passed away when I was 9 years old. His parents, my grandparents, were both born….7/27.
I thought to myself, there’s no way this baby will NOT be born on 7/27. It’s a sign from my 3 angels. She will come here on this day and safely. PERIOD!
3pm…I’m now without food or drinks for almost 24 hours. I asked for grape juice… and that’s when our story unfolds. I puked EVERYWHERE. Non stop nausea. Zofran barely helped. My nurses were so excited. I asked wtf is going on. Apparently, when you puke, that means your body is getting ready to give birth! OMG! IT’S HAPPENING FINALLY!
My body started convulsing, “the shakes” apparently also a sign baby is near.
7pm… my first pain. I pressed the epidural, nothing. I pressed it again, nothing. 8pm severe itchiness and severe pain. I beg the nurse to check me, she said there’s NO WAY I dilated enough to start pushing. I was just at 5 centimeters, stuck at this number for what seemed forever. Thank goodness one of my favorite movies, the Wedding Singer was on to distract me but…
10pm WORSE PAIN. Pleading for the doctor, crying for them to come. They checked me, in their mind unnecessarily…. 9 CENTIMETERS!!!!!!! It was time to push.
I was never more excited in my entire life. I felt like I was an athelete ready for a race I’ve been training my entire life for.
I kindly told the doctor, “Doc, please be honest with me. If I suck at pushing I need you to not cheer me on and be specific”. She looked at me like I was crazy. Marat knew I was ready to go.
3 hours until 7/28. No way. This baby is destined for 7/27.
My mom and sister on text and calling, waiting for the baby’s arrival.
30 minutes into pushing, I saw her head. I saw Marat’s expression as he saw his childs head. I took both of my legs, against the doctors wishes (not waiting until a contraction) and pushed as hard as I could.
23 hours of labor. 40ish minutes of pushing, she was out.
Screaming, red, beautiful, healthy. 19.5 inches long, 7.1 lbs 11:02pm 7/27/2020.
When they finally placed her on my chest (it seemed like forever, even though it was probably only a few minutes) my entire heart and soul exploded. My soul is fulfilled, heart full.
My birth didn’t go as planned. BUT my baby arrived safely. I had minimal tearing (she didn’t even call it level 1 tear). I stood up right after giving birth, went to the bathroom. It was painful, stressful, crazy, beautiful and overall the best experience of my life.
We are SO in love. I still can’t believe how lucky I am to be Leia Harper’s mother. Thank you to my angels for sending me the best gift in the world. Marat and I are forever grateful.