Part Three: Transition, Birth, and Our Hospital Stay
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Leopold’s heart rate wasn’t getting any higher, and the nurses were getting a little nervous. You could feel the tension in the room. I honestly didn’t feel like I could handle much more. My body was hot, then cold, sweaty and shaking. I was in transition, I knew it. My doula had the peanut shaped ball between my legs in the hopes that it would open my hips up and help Leopold travel down and out.
It was SO uncomfortable.
They were flipping me back and forth and every which way on the hospital bed and I wanted to scream at them, but I was trying too hard to focus on my breaths. Someone came in to check my progress and then promptly instructed the nurse to call the midwife. And the NICU team. And a few more nurses for good measure.
A lot of this was relayed to me later on. The whole birth scene was a blur to me because I was so focused on my breathing and the way they had me on the bed had the blood rushing to my head. Definitely not how I would have chosen to push my baby out!
Someone placed an oxygen mask over my mouth to help get some air to both me and my baby. This was only another distraction and annoyance because it just made things hotter and I kept asking to take it off. I was fully dilated and it was time to push.
My midwife had recently broken her foot and was traveling by scooter. She didn’t have her scooter on this particular night due to an incident involving dog poop earlier that day. I had progressed so fast that she didn’t have time to get to my room so she called in reinforcements. A doctor came to my rescue (of course, after months of working with midwives)!
My bed was surrounded. My sister was up at my head, reminding me to breathe and giving me a play by play.
“Everything is okay, the baby is okay, you’re okay. You might not get to hold him right away but it’s okay. He will be here soon!”
My main nurse was monitoring Leopold’s heart rate, my mom and James were near the end of the bed, off to the side. My midwife made it in time to hold my hand and help Angela tell me everything was going to be alright. The two of them really helped me through the pushing part of the birth! The rest of the bed was surrounded by my doula and various nurses.
Pushing was probably the least awful part of the whole process.
To be blunt I felt like I was just taking a really big poop. Laying down, uphill. I only pushed for about 20 minutes. I don’t know how much more pushing I could have done, to tell you the truth! We learned about ‘purple pushing’ in our hypnobabies class and I knew that’s exactly what they had me doing. I wasn’t really in any position to argue at that point and I was just ready to give birth and have my baby.
They had to perform an episiotomy and I flinched and cried out in pain when they gave me the numbing shot. I’m pushing a baby out but I’ll cry about a needle. Go figure. I felt the cut but it didn’t hurt, thank goodness. After a few more minutes of uphill pushing and grunting with some huffing and puffing, Leopold was finally out.
To everyone’s surprise he was totally perfect and healthy.
They laid him on my chest and we were able to wait until his umbilical cord stopped pulsing before James cut it. I could hardly see him from the fog in my eyes but having him there on my chest after all this time was nothing short of a perfect moment.
James came over to look at him and we were both in total awe of this beautiful boy we made together. We brought a towel from home and they patted him down while I held him, then they covered us with a warm blanket.
He had a tiny bit of blonde hair on top of his head and a little bit more brown hair in the back.
The doctor stitched me up (which felt VERY weird) and the room slowly cleared out. Leopold was born around 2 am on September 30 (my grandma’s 90th birthday)! The nurse realized she had never turned off my pitocin so she went ahead and did that. Then she showed us how to breastfeed. I said my goodbyes to my family so they could go home and get some rest. Now James and I could bond with our son as a new family of three.
After we were all cleaned and sewed up we were rolled down to recovery. They stuck me in a room about the size of a modest walk in closet. Since it was the middle of the night the kitchen was closed but I was still allowed to order ‘room service’. I ate about half of a turkey sandwich and some fruit but wasn’t super hungry after all of the excitement.
I held my baby and stared at him and cuddled with James and we all fell asleep around 4am. For about 20 minutes. Then the nurse came in to punch me in the uterus (that’s just what it felt like. OUCH). She gave me some pain pills and some poop pills and left again.
Between feeding Leopold, nurse check ins, and general excitement about being a new mom, I really didn’t get much sleep that first night.
My sister arrived early the next morning with Starbucks and my parents came soon after with some breakfast. Everyone got to cuddle Leopold a little bit and each guest saw a little too much of my anatomy I’m sure.
James had to go to work that day so Angela stuck around and my parents came and went.
I had a few friends swing by to see baby boy. My best friend even came all the way from North Carolina just for a quick snuggle! We got his bath taken care of later in the day. Then the nurses started coming and going for tests and heel pricks and all the necessary things.
About halfway through the day I decided to wear my hospital gown backward so we had easy access to my boobs for nursing and so the nurses had a clear shot when they came in to abuse me by pressing on my stomach. (They were checking to make sure everything was healing up the right way). The mesh panties they gave me were seriously the most comfortable things in the world. They also gave me ice pack for my downstairs business and a peri bottle to clean up after a trip to the bathroom.
I had burst blood vessels all over my face and on the whites of my eyes. I was black and blue from giving birth! That is the true definition of ‘purple pushing’ because in the end I was purple!
I’ve gotta be real with you guys, I was so scared to poop after the trauma that had taken place down there!
But having heard horror stories about women who held it in for too long made me afraid not to poop too. I finally made it happen a few days postpartum when I was back at home. It was terrifying and it hurt, yes, but my stitches didn’t break open like I had feared!
Staying in the hospital was a fun little adventure but after the first day I was ready to head home with my baby! Unfortunately he was a little too jaundiced and we had to watch his numbers for an extra day. Ultimately they sent us home with a bili-light that he had to rest on 24/7 unless he was eating or being changed. That was no fun for a good two weeks or so!
I’m so grateful to my sister for being there for me while I had Leopold! If it wasn’t for her I would have been alone most of the time. On the way home from the hospital my sweet big sister stopped by Chick Fil A AND Starbucks to help me fulfill my cravings for non hospital food.
I would go through this a thousand times for my sweet boy!
The recovery was probably my least favorite part. I didn’t know when I would stop being sore, or being scared to poop. I was ready to get back to my life and bring my baby along! I’ve never had stitches before so it was all new to me. Luckily everything went smoothly and we survived hurricane Matthew. It was nice watching Netflix and eating our meals in bed for a good three weeks or so.
It was beautiful, sleepless, messy bliss!