MacKenzie’s Birth Story – Part 4 (6 months later…)

Well hello!

I really hope I remember as many details as I thought I would.  Clearly, I never have time to blog, let alone do my hair or makeup anymore.  I’m happy to report my showering has become more consistent, so that’s cool.  I always told myself before that I would never let my appearance go down the tubes when I had a baby.  I thought it was a lame excuse to be lazy.  I WAS WRONG.  Now that I am back to work full-time, it’s a wonder how I am able to pack her up, drop her at the babysitter’s house, and get to work by 9.  You should see me packing up the car in the morning – it’s much like a circus act.  I’m glad our garage is in the alley so I only have to walk through our backyard.  The neighbors would get a show every single morning.  As long as my daughter is fed, clean, and dressed for the weather that day, it no longer matters if I am wearing a shirt that hasn’t been washed in a week, if there is crusty spit-up somewhere on me, or if my hair is in the same bun from the night before.  I’ve come to terms with it, and I am okay with it.  I think it will eventually get better.

Alright.  Onto the 4th installation of the birth story of Miss Mack:

Epidural was a success.  The scariest part was officially over (although at the time, I thought that the pushing part would be the scariest because I thought they let your epidural wear off).

So, it was about midnight or a little after.  The nurse suggested that I needed my rest and to try to sleep before the big morning ahead.  I decided to watch the Food Network for a little while (we love Chopped and pretty much anything on the channel).  I couldn’t concentrate, of course.

I was suddenly very thirsty.  Still no food – only ice chips.   The nurse came in to check the monitors a little while after they completed the epidural.  I asked in my nicest, kindest voice for a sprite or something bubbly.  She said, “Sure!  I think I can manage that for you” – and off she went.  She came back with a tiny Styrofoam cup of Sierra Mist with one of those bendy straws (good thing they were a Pepsi account).  I could not have been more excited.

Cut to 3 a.m. – Mike was working on his laptop while laying on the couch, and we had the lights dimmed so I could relax.  So I took a few sips of Sierra Mist and sat back to relax.  Ten minutes later, I started to feel nauseous FAST.  I look over at Mike who had fallen asleep on the couch that seemed like a mile away from my bed.  I start saying, “Babe” to try to get his attention.  “MICHAEL!” – still no response.  I know how tired he must have been.  Things weren’t getting any better, and I knew I was going to throw up.  So, I pressed my trusty “PAIN” button which alerted the nurse that I needed her ASAP.  She was probably like, “WTF, this girl is on an epidural – she feels nothing!”

Thankfully, they move incredibly fast at Community Hospital.  That, and there was only one other lady in labor on the floor.

She swooped in and I said, “I’m going to be sick – I can’t reach anything and I don’t want to puke on the floor!”  By then, trusty husband was awake.  “I told you they shouldn’t have given you the pop to drink!  Why did you insist on asking for pop?”  Hahaha, always my fault.  Oh well, it tasted great for those few sips.  And then I puked.  Good to know for next time:  Nothing after epidural.  Stuff face before going to hospital and hide cheeseburgers within reach.  Easy peasy.

After the pop debacle, I was able to sleep for a few hours, on and off.  The nurses were pretty kind to me and didn’t bother me too many times, since the baby monitors were all wireless (they have the monitor transferred to a big screen at the nurses station so they can constantly monitor baby and contractions).

I woke up at around 6 a.m. to get “checked” again.  This wasn’t as bad since I couldn’t feel anything.  I think I was 3 centimeters.  Nothing crazy.  Still feeling good from the epidural.  By then, our moms had called to say they were taking the day off and heading over to hang out – time kind of started to fly by at this point.

At some point, like 8 a.m. maybe, the nurse decided that I should put the giant “peanut” pillow between my legs to soften my cervix – or whatever.  It didn’t hurt or anything, just super awkward trying to talk to everyone, because they had to keep switching sides, so when I was on my left side, I was facing the other wall and talking over my shoulder to them.

My mom, brother, and Mike’s mom popped in and out, giving us our privacy.

My doctor stopped in again to check me – still around 8 a.m.  I asked how would I know when it was ready to push?!  And I said, “please don’t stop the epidural, I don’t want to feel anything!”  Luckily, it was on a drip, so it’s not like they would have to give me another one or it would randomly stop working if I had to push for too long.

My doctor’s famous words:  “When you feel like you have to poop – that’s when you’re ready to push!  I think you’ll have your baby in your arms by 11 a.m.”

At some point, I started to feel a little bit a pressure, but nothing that hurt at all.  Still hanging out with the moms and Mike.  I was starting to get anxious/ excited/ nervous since I still couldn’t believe I was about to become a mother – a whole month earlier than planned.

At about 10 a.m., I started to feel the urge – and it was getting closer and closer together – which I’m sure were the contractions.  I didn’t want to exclaim to the room that I really felt like I needed to poop, but the nurse happened to pop in to check on me.  I said, “Um, Dr. Uppulurri told me to let her know when I felt like I needed to go, so could you tell her please?”   She came into the room just a few minutes later, checked me, and said, “Whoa – you are completely ready to go, we are ready to push!”

That was the cue for the moms and my brother to hit the bricks.  They headed out to the labor and delivery lounge – seriously the fanciest lounge I have ever seen in a hospital.  Labor and Delivery is on the top floor of the hospital, so the lounge had one entire wall that were windows – so you could see the Chicago skyline while helping yourself to coffee or Pepsi.  They even had a tray of donuts/ danishes that were brought in daily.

After my doctor told me it was go-time, she must have put a call out to the entire hospital, because about 10 nurses/ doctors filed into the room and started opening cabinets that I didn’t even know existed and transforming the room for delivery.  She also told me that the NICU team would be there to make sure that her lungs were developed enough – that was her only real concern since she was 36 weeks.  That scared me a little, but for some reason, I had a good feeling that she was going to be okay.

So they turn on this super bright light above me, even though it was a sunny morning.  This light was TERRIBLE – it was the same one they turned on when I got my epidural.  When we were ready to go, I asked my doctor, “Um, would it be okay if we turned off the heating lamp above me?”  I’m sure she needs to see and everything, but I didn’t feel bad asking since she wasn’t about the stick a needle in my back.  My doctor said, “Of course!”  And she instructed one of the 10 nurses to turn it off.

Then she explained how we were going to approach the pushing.  She told me that the pressure I was feeling every 30 seconds or so were indeed contractions.  So when I start to feel the beginning of one, that is when I want to start pushing.  She said I could either determine it and say, “Okay!  I feel one coming on!” or I could ask them to tell me when to push.  Since I could feel the pressure so well, I told her I would make the call.  Then she explained the best positioning – i.e. where the best place was to put my hands to make sure I was getting the biggest bang for my buck when pushing (which was basically grabbing behind my knees and pulling towards me).

Then one of the nurses said, “Oh!  We forgot to bring the mirror down from the ceiling so you can see your baby being born!”  And I quickly stopped them and said, “NO NO NO, I don’t want to see, no mirrors, NO NO NO”  and we all had a good laugh.  I think people are nuts who want to see their baby coming out of their business.  To each her own, though.  I told Mike he wasn’t invited to see that either.  He was okay with that.

And then we were ready!  Mike was by my side.  Couldn’t hold his hand since I had them on my legs, but that was fine.  He was really supportive.  It was kind of funny to me.  I mean, you see these TV shows and movies with women giving birth and what you see there is really NOTHING like what actually goes on (in my situation, at least).  I know TV and movies are fake, but sometimes, that’s all you have to compare it to if you haven’t actually been present when someone else has given birth.  And those “real” movies we watched during birthing class were TERRIBLE – especially those who didn’t want the drugs.

First contraction started – and I said, “Okay, I think I feel one – can I push?” and she checked the monitor and confirmed that it was indeed a contraction, and then told me to go for it.  So I pushed for the duration of the contraction – maybe like 20 seconds?  Nothing crazy.  And then it was like I was in an alternate universe because in between contractions, everyone went back to chit-chatting.  My doctor and the other nurse were talking about some other lady who delivered the other day and didn’t want the drugs and was like a drill sergeant.  The other nurses were talking amongst themselves, and Mike and I were just making small talk.  Weirdest thing ever!  I thought once you started pushing, that was all that you did!  I only had a few short minutes between contractions, but it was still so weird.

I wasn’t dripping with sweat like I thought I would be, I wasn’t crying or screaming…which made me think that maybe it would be a long while before baby girl was ready.  WRONG.

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MacKenzie’s Birth Story – Part 1 (a month early!)

Well, it just figures that I would be completely wrong in my predictions of when Little Mack would make her appearance into this world.  But who knew I would be THAT far off?  I fully expected her to be a week or two late in an effort to show her stubbornness.  This is still her way of telling us that she, indeed, is the boss.

So let’s take it back to Sunday, April 12.  Picture it:  We are wrapping things up at my sister-in-law’s bridal shower at a fancy banquet hall.  No one will let me help bring packages out to the cars or do anything or importance to help (this is something I hated about pregnancy).  So, I made my rounds talking to the other people who couldn’t physically help clean up.  Specifically, I was talking to Grandma (my husband’s grandma, but I still love her as I do my own grandma, so she gets the title).  She was sitting, and I was standing, getting restless.  I laughed about something (a good, hearty laugh), and then I felt something.  Something strange.  A mix between, “Oh shit, I just pissed my pants” and “Oh wait, I felt like I just got my period?  What the fuck?”  so in the middle of our conversation, I quickly excused myself and ran to the closest bathroom.

Conclusion:  Hmmm, looked like just a lot of discharge, but very watery.  What the hell?!  I did read that this was supposed to happen more near the end, as your cervix getting itself ready and shedding some lining, or something close to that.  So we’ll go with that for now.

Made my way back to the banquet hall room and as I’m walking there, I feel another surge (I didn’t even laugh to trigger anything!), so this continued to happen until we all finally left.  I probably visited the bathroom 5 more times in the next 10 minutes to clean up.  Still not knowing what it was, I decide to drive home (this is specifically what we learned NOT to do in the birthing class we literally took the day before).  As we’re walking out the door, I feel yet another surge and go to walk back into the hall, but they had already locked the building.  Assholes!  As I’m standing there, I’m debating how I’m going to keep Mike’s brand new Charger clean from whatever fluid was leaking out of me.  So I empty my purse (linen) and sit on it as I drive off.

At this point, I hadn’t said anything to anyone about thinking that my water had broken.  I did ask two people, including my mother-in-law, whether or not their’s had broken on their own, or if it broke after they starting having contractions/ got to the hospital.  No one was any help in this department, so I kept referring to the conversation that we had in birthing class THE DAY BEFORE and what I had talked to my doctor about just three days before that.

My doctor talked to me about how many women go to the ER thinking that their water had broken, when, in reality, they had simply pissed themselves.  She did say, however, that it is always a good idea to come in even if I wasn’t sure, because if my water had indeed broken, that means the birth canal is open, and I wouldn’t want anything to get in there, plus it meant contractions would likely be starting soon.  I didn’t want to be the girl who just peed herself hanging out in the labor and delivery ward (yet another reason why I told no one at the shower that my water had broken – in addition to not wanting to steal the spotlight from my sister-in-law on her big day).

Going back to what we learned in birthing class, the instructor gave us some ridiculous statistic of how many women actually have their water break on its own.  It something like 10 or 20% I think.  So basically, it probably won’t happen to you, so if you think it has, you probably pissed yourself.

All that being said, I made my way home to my husband, who had been working on cleaning the house and putting more baby equipment together the whole day.  I went back and forth about telling him what my instinct was.  Then he mentioned that he needed to go to Target to get some batteries for the baby swing and something else I can’t remember.  I was like, “Yeah!  Let’s go to Target!”  I thought I had stopped leaking at this point, so I did then tell him my fear, but that I was pretty sure I was fine now.  I just told him I was going to lay down after the Target trip so he didn’t try to put me to work cleaning something else 🙂   He did tell me to call the doctor.  I told him I would after Target, and not to worry (me putting off the inevitable because I was terrified that I was going to be forced to deliver a baby I had not fully prepared myself for yet – no joke, I think I did maybe a total of 3 kegel exercises during my pregnancy and kept telling myself, “next month I’ll really get going”).

So to Target we went!  Walking around, looking at stuff I don’t need, and then, of course, I started leaking again! Don’t worry friends, I didn’t leak all over the floor at Target.  It’s not like a faucet.  I’m much more considerate than that.  So I felt the leak a few more times as we are standing in line to check out.  Mike asks if I want Starbucks (there is a Starbucks in our Target).   Now, here is a fine example of my priorities.  In my head, I’m thinking, I could really use a Happy Birthday Frappuccino (vanilla and hazelnut frap – AMAZING).  Then, as I observed the line forming of dumb little teenagers, I decided I had better make the right decision and call my doctor.  I told Mike I would be out in the car calling the doctor to see what she says.  I think he was surprised I was passing up Starbucks, and this probably made him nervous to think that he might be a father in the very near future.

So I called the doctor’s office and had the nurse page her.  The nurse told me something I did not want to hear.

“The Doctor said you should come into Labor and Delivery at the hospital to be tested as to whether or not you are actually leaking amniotic fluid”

Okay, great.  I don’t know what I thought they were going to tell me…maybe ask a few questions about what I’m seeing and describe the amount, blah blah.  Ugh.

So Mike gets in the car and asked what they said.  I didn’t tell him right away.  I wanted to get home and pack a bag (oh yeah, didn’t do THAT either), and try to clean up some stuff so Mike wouldn’t want to murder me if I ended up having to check into the hospital and he needed to bring me more things that he couldn’t find because of how unorganized my drawers are.  So I pack my minimalist bag and say, “Okay, the doctor wants me to come in to be checked”….

So off we went to the hospital.  We didn’t say much on the drive, and I almost started crying a few times because this could just NOT be go-time.  We were both nervous.  It just couldn’t be.  So many things left undone.  Baby still needed to hang out for another month.  Pre-term labor is considered anything before 37 weeks.  I was at 36.  Does this mean they would keep us in the hospital longer?  What if she has complications?  Maybe they would let me go home if I wasn’t having contractions?  What if they don’t let me eat after I get there?  Should I make Mike stop at McDonald’s?  I know, priorities!

Stay tuned – Little Mack is starting to wake up.