I’m finally sharing London’s birth story after settling in as a new family of 3 and getting used to our “new normal” at home. I still get emotional thinking about that very special day. Here it goes…
Let’s go back to Thursday, June 20th. I had an ultrasound scheduled since Baby D was due on June 10th, making me officially 10 days overdue (41.5 weeks pregnant). My OB wanted to check in and make sure the baby was still healthy and doing okay. I was scheduled for an induction later that evening.
I was told to check in at St. Thomas hospital at midnight Friday morning and that my induction would begin at 1am. While leaving my ultrasound appointment, I received a call from the hospital telling me to call before midnight to ask the charge nurse if they’d be too busy for me to get in on time and if they’d have a short delay in inductions. I also had to completely stop eating anything by 5pm.
So the plan was to go home with Steve, get the house in order, double-check our hospital bags to make sure we had all of the essentials packed, and possibly take a cat nap before our really big night at the hospital. I did everything I could to stay busy so that I wouldn’t be staring at the clock. A nap definitely didn’t happen after I realized there was no way I was going to be able to fall asleep knowing I’d be having a baby the next day.
I called the hospital at approximately 11pm to check with the charge nurse to see if I should still come in at my scheduled time. They pushed my check-in time back to 1am instead of midnight, meaning my induction would start shortly after.
Around 12:15am, Steve and I headed out of the house one final time as a family of two. It was so surreal knowing that the next time we’d walk through those doors, we’d have a baby with us.
When we arrived at the hospital, we checked in, filled out paperwork, and were told to sit in the waiting room until a nurse would come to bring us to our delivery room. We figured it wouldn’t be more than 30 minutes, but boy, were we in for a shock.
We sat in that hospital waiting room with our bags until 7:30am. 7 hours of waiting on a hospital room. 7 hours pondering what the next 24 hours would look like. Wondering how I’d make it through a long labor and how I’d be able to push a baby out with zero energy and no food in my system. It was so crazy to be left alone with our thoughts wondering if we’d ever get called back. At times it actually felt like we were never going to meet our baby.
When we finally got placed into a hospital room, my nurse, Courtney, came in and hooked me up to my IV. It was inserted into my left wrist. I knew it was going to be uncomfortable, but it seemed a little odd that I felt constant pain in my wrist and arm even after it was completely inserted. (More on this to come..) Shortly after this, my OB showed up and inserted cytotec to ripen my cervix to help kick-start labor. I had several short contractions after that, all which were happening in my back.
Side note– after confirming all of the “back spasms” that I thought I was having the entire week before were actually CONTRACTIONS, I felt so validated. I remember constantly asking myself if what I was experiencing at home were actual contractions and if I was having back labor. Well, when I was hooked up to the monitor in the hospital, sure enough, those were actually labor contractions. So yeah.. not all contractions feel like they’re happening in your uterus/front of your body. I had no idea.
Around 12:40pm, I was given pitocen in my IV. That’s when things really started to move along. My contractions became more intense and I was finally starting to dilate past 1 cm. I decided it was time to bring in the big guns.
At 1:42pm I was given my epidural. I was stunned when Steve told me he was going to stay in the room and face me while I had the epidural administered. He’s never been one for needles and blood, but he handled the whole thing like a champ. And little did I know (until after delivery) that when the anesthesiologist had to re-insert the needle that it was because she struck bone and blood started dripping. The fact that Steve witnessed that and didn’t pass out still impresses me.
At 3:10pm I was given a catheter since you are no longer able to move around the room once the epidural kicks in. By this point I could barely feel my legs and needed help rotating from side to side on the bed. It was like being paralyzed from the waist down while also no longer feeling the intensity of my contractions.
At 4:45pm, my OB came back into the hospital to check in and see how I was progressing and to break my water. I had no idea what to expect with having my water broken, but I could barely feel a thing while she was doing it and didn’t even realize what she was doing until I heard the gush of water come out of me. It was BIZARRE. At this point, I was about 4cm dilated and 75% effaced.
After my water was broken, my parents and sister arrived to the hospital after driving from Michigan. I had Steve go down to the waiting room to give them their wristbands and come back to the birthing room for a little while. I wasn’t planning to have anyone else come into the birthing room, but since I still had a ways to go and they had yet to grab dinner, I had them come in for a quick visit. It was great knowing that they were nearby. They hung out for a little while and then took off to grab a bite to eat.
Then something terribly scary and awful happened just before 7pm. Remember how I mentioned the pain in my left wrist and arm from the IV? Well this is when things got REALLY painful. I’m still not sure if it was a giant air bubble or what, but at one point the pain got so extreme that I started screaming out to Steve to the point where I couldn’t get words out. He ran to my side and said he’d never seen me in so much pain before. I could barely make noise at this point and just had tears flowing down my face. I started vomiting but my bed was reclined, so I started to choke. I was doing my best to raise the back of my bed using the buttons at my side, but was struggling. Steve grabbed a bed pan and was literally catching my vomit while also repeatedly hitting the nurse call button on my bed and yelling for immediate help. Unfortunately, this was the busiest part of the evening for everyone on staff… as it seemed like everyone else was delivering their babies during this time. Finally, a different nurse came rushing in and without asking what the problem was, she shot some Zofran into my IV. THE SAME IV THAT WAS CAUSING ALL OF THIS TROUBLE. I kept trying to shake my head and say no, but she just assumed that I needed anti-nausea medication. Then, of course, the pain intensified x100! Eventually a doctor came in and Steve was able to tell him that I just needed my IV removed and switched over to my other wrist. He strapped some bands around me, found a vein, and re-inserted my IV. The relief I felt of my left IV coming out was unbelievable. This was definitely the worst part of my entire labor.
Once that whole ordeal was over and I was able to relax again, I suddenly felt like the rest of the night would only feel easier.
At about 9pm I was checked in on again and was about 8.5-9cm dilated. Woo hoo, I was finally making some major progress!
I was fully dilated at 11:55pm, just in time for another nurse shift change. I was now onto my 3rd nurse, Meredith. She immediately started prepping the room for delivery. After the longest day of my life, suddenly it seemed like everything was happening so fast. She turned on the bright ceiling light, brought up the stirrups, grabbed extra sheets, etc. She let me know that my OB would be on her way in shortly and that it was time to do some practice pushes. We did two rounds of three 10-second pushes so she could make sure I had a grasp of how this would go.
When my OB arrived, it was go time! She let me know that I’d be pushing when my contractions hit, and to not push if she said not to do so. Then everything became foggy and all I remember was pushing as hard as I could when the contractions came while the nurse and Steve counted to 10. After just 20 minutes of pushing, a baby came out. It wasn’t even on my mind that I didn’t yet know the sex of our baby. That is, until my doctor motioned for Steve to take a look. Then I heard Steve say in a trembling voice… “Hi London.” I could not believe my ears or my eyes. WE HAD A GIRL! And she was so, so beyond perfect.
London Grace was born at 1:01am on Saturday, June 22nd weighing 8lbs and 3oz.
They immediately placed her on my chest while consoling her and wiping her down. I didn’t have words. In that moment I just felt a combination of overwhelmingly intense emotions. My baby was here and she was in my arms. Finally.
For the next hour, I just held her in my arms while Steve and I stared at her in awe. My OB was stitching me up and I don’t even recall birthing the placenta. After London came out it was like the rest of the world just faded away. I had some pretty severe tearing and would have a lengthy postpartum recovery time, but nothing else mattered. My daughter was here.
We knew our families were probably dying to hear the news, but we didn’t rush anything. We knew our first hour of a family of 3 was the single most important thing in that moment and I needed the skin-to-skin time with her. At about 2:30am, my mom, dad, and sister were invited to come back to the room to meet their new granddaughter/niece. I’ll never forget their reaction when we told them it was a girl.
After some family bonding time and waiting for my epidural to wear off, it was time to be moved up to the 7th floor to our postpartum room with London, where we’d be spending the next two nights with some incredible nurses who were there to take care of baby and me. The next 48 hours were a complete whirlwind, but I never want those memories to leave my brain. It was beautiful, scary, emotional, and so full of love.
My body felt more pain the next day than it did during my entire labor and delivery. I was put on some pain medication and couldn’t move much other than to pick up London and use the restroom.
We played my Labor/Delivery playlist in the hospital room with the bluetooth speaker that I brought. I knew it would make me emotional, but I don’t think I was fully prepared for how much it would wreck me to listen to those songs now that my child was brought into the world. At one point I remember feeling well enough to take a shower, and when I got out of the bathroom, Needtobreathe’s “Forever on Your Side” was playing and Steve was crying while holding London. I walked over to them, embraced them both, and thought to myself “this is everything I never knew I needed.” It was the most vulnerable moment I’ve ever experienced. I will never forget that.
We are absolutely over the moon to be parents and cannot wait to see where this wild journey takes us. London Grace, you have forever changed us for the better. I’ve never known a love like this. Thank you for all you’ve taught me already, and all you will continue to teach me.
I am so blessed to be your mama.