One year ago today, the most perfect human being came into this world. We’re so incredibly in love with you, Isabella Vita.
Ahh the beauty of birth - yeah, right - there’s literally nothing more painful or terrifying than birth. It’s the unknown that makes it terrifying and when you’re sort of a control freak, that can be a bit overwhelming (but of course, once it’s all over, it truly is beautiful).
“When is she going to come out? Will there be complications? Am I going to lose too much blood? Will she come out naturally or will I have to go in for an emergency c-section? What if I pass away and never get to see my baby? What if she decides she wants to stay in there forever?!’ Ha, JK about the last one. But seriously.
So, up until the moment when my contractions started, all of these ‘what ifs’ popped into my head and I felt my anxiety slowly creep back in.
Bella’s due date was December 7, 2017 and I had another doctors appointment that day for another check up to make sure everything was “fine” and to see if I had dilated any further.
Doctors love to use the word FINE and it was my biggest pet peeve throughout this entire pregnancy. What does that even mean?! When you’re growing a human inside you, hearing “good” “great” or “excellent” is much more reassuring than “fine.”
I hadn’t dilated any further since my last appointment, so at this point I became frustrated. I was the most chill pregnant person and extremely (creepily) nice, and my anxiety had disappeared the second I took a look at the positive pregnancy test. I became frustrated, because I was ginormous, I was having the worst sciatica pains, and I sounded like a f*cking sea lion every time I moved, so I was just done and ready to get her out. *Youtube sea lion sounds* that was me.
So I’m just expecting she should already be here since they told me that was her due date, right?! Wish it were that easy. The next day, on the 8th, was just another day. I had scheduled a blow out and to get my nails done the following day just to pass some time since I already had my hospital bag ready to go and also so I could look somewhat decent for the arrival of my daughter - because like, she’ll totally remember that day. -
Night time came around and I was starving like you wouldn’t believe - what else is new? - and I was really craving something spicy from PF Chang’s. I had the Kung Pao Chicken dish, extra spicy. So good. Everything was great, I got ready for bed, passed out and slept like a baby, just like every night throughout my pregnancy. I know, I know - that’s not typical and everyone has different sleeping experiences, but this is my story and my sleep was magnificent for 10 months and if I could shout it from Maui’s Haleakala mountain top, I would.
I was woken up at 3am by my husband saying “ughhh no, she threw up all over the bed.” Talking about one of our sweet dogs, Ruby. And this wasn’t just a little spit up, it was a volcanic eruption. This has never happened, by the way. So being the sweet, patient, pregnant lady that I was, I rolled out of the bed *insert sea lion sounds* to help Alfredo change all of the sheets. We put nice smelling and clean sheets back on the bed and that was a f*cking workout, so I layed back down and said “ahhh.” Two minutes later, I woke up and told Alfredo I had to pee, but I needed help off the bed because my stomach felt weird. The second he helped me, as I was sitting up, guess what happens? MY WATER BROKE!!!! I was SO EXCITED, but was also like, wait - is this really happening?
Full disclosure. I wore diapers every damn day for the last 4 months of my pregnancy and I’m NOT ashamed. Those diapers were just amazing and so comfortable. Luckily I had them on that night, because we would’ve had to change the sheets a 2nd time!
Contractions started immediately and they were pretty strong and coming pretty often. As I sat on the toilet doing my deep breathing exercises, like the calm, sweet pregnant lady I was, I called my gynecologist while Alfredo called my Mom. My doctor congratulated me and asked me about my contractions and told me to head over to the hospital immediately. She also informed me that she wasn’t on-call that night, but another doctor would be there for me. This is very typical at the gynecology practice that I go to and when I first found out that any of the doctors can deliver you, I was like eh, not into that. It was suggested at the very beginning of my pregnancy to see a different doctor whenever I had an appointment, so once I met all of them, I felt way more comfortable and was happy to have any of them, minus one. I was praying that he wouldn’t be there.
So, my contractions were strong, but I was OK. I was okay enough to look in the mirror and say, “ugh I knew I should’ve had my hair and nails done yesterday.” My hair was a mess, my nails were chipped and I wasn’t sure when my next shower would be, so I decided to just jump in quickly. After my shower, I got dressed, gathered some final things together and started driving to the hospital. It was 4:40am. We got to the hospital at 5:00am. I know, my husband is the best. NO ONE was on the road. I alsoooooo might’ve kindly threatened and badgered him for weeks before telling him that he better drive, well, like I’m having a baby, and I don’t care if he runs every red light, but to be safe AF too.
The contractions were STRONG AF at this point and Alfredo kept trying to talk to me and I’m not sure what happened, but that sweet, patient pregnant lady left. She was gone. Left my body. I don’t know where she went and I’m sure Alfredo was dying inside when he realized that and was like, “OH NO!!! SHE’S BACK!!!” As he was trying to speak to me, I was just like, “CAN YOU STFU? CAN YOU GO FASTER?” And he was like, “but what can I do?” And I was like, “JUST DON’T TALK RIGHT NOW.” Poor guy LOL. I suffer from anxiety, so I really just wanted to focus on my deep breathing, because as I had mentioned earlier, my anxiety slowly started to creep in 2 days before, so I just wanted to feel calm with the chaos going on in my belly.
We got to the hospital and they immediately put me in a wheelchair, because I’m a Queen. Just kidding. They put every woman in labor in a wheelchair. Once they wheeled me upstairs to the Labor & Delivery floor, my contractions were getting stronger and I was NOT into it. We had to check in at the front desk and I was pretty shocked that I was asked 47,000 questions mid-contractions and now at this point, without a wheelchair. That whole part was a blur and apparently I gave the front desk person and one of the nurses a little tude when they were asking me medical history questions and asking me to sign papers.
Of course I apologized once my head was clear. They laughed with me and said they get that all the time - whew! I commend, applaud, and respect all Nurses. Their patience and the way they care for strangers is unreal. Absolute Saints.
Now, here’s the fun part. Once I stepped foot into my delivery room and signed those papers, I puked all over the floor. Good times. I felt so bad that the nurses had to clean it up, I think I even asked Alfredo to do it. He didn’t. The nurse told me that vomiting happens to some people and that it’s just your body’s response to everything that’s going on. I thought, “okay, I threw up once. No big deal.” WRONG. After that, with every single contraction, I was vomiting FULL CUPS. It was the most disgusting thing I’ve ever experienced. At this point, I was miserable, sweating bullets, and, well, vomiting a lot.
Throughout my whole pregnancy I went in with the mindset that I would have a natural birth and everything would be dandy. WRONG AGAIN. There was no F’N way I was going to go through every one of those contractions vomiting, plus dealing with the anxiety that crept back into my life, for God knows how long. Right?!
This is when I BEGGED for the epidural.
It felt like an eternity for the Anesthesiologist to come in and shoot me up - - I couldn’t tell you how long it took. This period was all a blur. Getting an epidural was frustrating though, because you have to sit a certain way and you can’t just stop your contractions while they stick the needle in you and you need to be very still so that the needle goes in properly. A little nerve racking, but we got it done and I started to feel it within 10 minutes. THANK GOD FOR MODERN MEDICINE. HOLY SH*T. The first thing I asked the Anesthesiologist when he walked back into the room to see how I was doing was if he could bottle some of that up for me to bring home. Of course he laughed. But did he laugh because of my question or because he saw a completely different, happy, calm person when he walked back in? Probably the latter.
I think every woman needs to do what’s best for them and not worry about the judgements from others that come with wanting an epidural. This is your body and your life. Do what’s best for you.
I do not regret getting an epidural at all. Are there risks that I was concerned about? Throughout my pregnancy I thought about it and yes, I had concerns, which is why I went in with the natural birth mindset. When I was mid-contraction, vomiting, snapping at everyone, with a heart that was racing faster than the cars at the Daytona 500, yeah that mindset didn’t care about anyone or anything except for that Anesthesiologist stabbing me with that needle to finally give me some relief.
That epidural saved me. The vomiting stopped (let’s see how many times I say vomit in this post), and my anxiety went away, so I was able to chill, watch some tv, eat some gourmet ice chips - delicious - and I even got 2 hours of uninterrupted sleep!!! I was back in Heaven. The doctor got to the hospital and I was thrilled to see who it was. My last several appointments were with her and I just loved her. I was so relieved. I had only dilated 1cm since I checked in early that morning, so I was dilated a total of 3cm. She was surprised that I hadn’t dilated any further, but she wasn’t necessarily worried, it was just a waiting game.
A few hours passed and she came back in and was REALLY surprised this time. Why? Because I WAS FULLY DILATED!!! It happened very quickly. I believe it was between 2-3 hours since she had last checked and I wasn’t progressing. It was 3PM. I remember being deliberate about wanting to look at the clock, that was across the room and directly in front of me so that I can keep an eye on it and see how long this pushing would take. Bad idea.
I really wish there was a class that taught you exactly how to push a baby out of your vagina.
So, I started pushing very soon after 3PM and the epidural started to wear off, I was feeling the contractions, the anxiety slowly crept back in, and the vomitting began, again. I was doing my best trying to find the best way to push. I had to be in the bed, because I was hooked up to IVs, so I only had 3 options: On my back, on my side, or on my back while pulling a rope. I pushed from my back for awhile and decided to switch it up, so I went onto my side. That position was useless. Being on my side wasn’t helpful to me at all, so I tried the rope pulling and that helped a ton. I was able to get in the rhythm for awhile doing it that way, but my hands were getting sore from pulling so hard, so it was rough. And yes, I was violently vomiting throughout this whole time. I was absolutely miserable. When I looked up at the clock at one point, I saw that it was just barely an hour later, but it felt like a lifetime. I asked for more of the epidural and they told me no, because it would slow down or stop our progress. Fine. Let’s just get this baby out.
I was having a hard time. Constantly being interrupted with my vomit and the way I was pushing was really inconsistent. You know when you pushed well and when it was a bad push, you could just feel it and I kept going back and forth. I was also extremely dehydrated, I was hot, I was dizzy and I kept feeling like I was going to pass out. It was beyond frustrating. It was really getting to me and I started to cry. The nurses, my husband, and my Mom were so supportive the entire time, telling me, “you’re doing great, Christina,” “keep going, you got this,” “try not to get too upset, it’ll be harder to push,” “take a deep breath,” and so on. I didn’t believe them though. You’re pushing and pushing and think that the baby is supposed to just come out and that’s just not the way it works. It takes work. It takes strength. It takes patience. It takes belief that it will happen.
I was beyond frustrated that I had been pushing for almost 2 whole hours and at this point I begged for a c-section. I just couldn’t take it any longer. I was giving up and I felt like a failure just for the fact that I begged for the c-section so all of the pain would just stop. The doctor, once again, reassured me that we still had time and that I could do this. She and the nurses offered to place this massive mirror in front of me so that I could see what was going on down there. At first I was like, “yeah, no thanks.” Then I pushed a few more times and was like “okay, let’s get that mirror.” Let me tell you, that mirror helped tremendously. I finally understood why everyone was saying, “you’re doing amazing, sweetie” -insert Kris Jenner’s voice. - I was able to see part of Bella’s hair!!! She clearly had a full head of hair and it was the only part of her that was sticking out of me. LOL. So disturbing.
Once I was able to see everything that was going on, it gave me this boost of confidence and about 40 minutes later of the same song and dance, with 1 very strong, superhero push, her head came out!!! The doctor said, “okay, now take a brea…”
I had this urge and this instinct where I said to myself, “her head is out!! Why the hell would I take a break now?!?! I want to hear my baby’s first cry!!!” I completely ignored the doctor and I got my 2nd very strong, superhero push in, and my doctor goes, “oh! We’re pushing again. No break. Okay!” And then she was out. Isabella was out!!! She was here!!! I did it!!! 2 hours and 40 minutes later and the love of my life, my entire world was finally here. What pain? It all went away. Everything was great again. And then I heard that first cry and my life was forever changed.
*There is absolutely nothing to be ashamed of if you need to have a c-section. We’re all superheroes. We grew a human for 10 months and are raising them to be their best. That’s all that matters. The how they got here is irrelevant. Be kind to yourselves.