Looooong time coming is an understatement.
Rowan’s birth story.
I’ll preface this with letting you all know how uneventful the whole thing was. If you picture how it usually happens in a movie that’s pretty much how it went down with maybe a little bit more trauma considering how anxious we were after Ben’s story, told here I had a stillbirth.
On August 17th at 38 weeks and 6 days, I was working from home. My mom was at my house helping me clean before babies arrival. I spent most of the day bouncing on my yoga ball while working on my laptop. I was really hoping for Rowie to come on her own because if not my doctors were planning to induce me on her due date. They wanted to be sure she made it out alive and we didn’t want to add any extra days to her stay in my womb if we didn’t need to.
I had been having Braxton Hicks contractions for a few days. I had just finished a spin on my Peloton and around 230 pm I started to get contractions that were super irregular but consistent enough to make me believe this was the beginning of labor. Scott got home from work and there was an excitement in the air I can’t really explain unless you’ve been through something close to what we’ve been through. I kept saying I think this is it but I didn’t want to give a false alarm and get our hopes up. I monitored my contractions through an app and Scott moved our hospital bags and the car seat to the front door, just in case. I stayed up most of the night unable to sleep as the contractions were pretty annoying and as you could imagine my nerves were on end. I ate a bowl of cereal and eventually fell asleep watching Pineapple Express. I kept thinking what if this is the last meal I eat, and what if this is the last movie I watch before she gets here. I was trying to cherish my last moments of pregnancy. When I woke around 3 am my contractions seemed to have stopped. Shortly after Scott got up for work and just before he was leaving around 5 am I told him it would be fine for him to go because the contractions were so irregular still and now I believed they stopped…
I fell back to sleep and Scott left, on his way to the yard down the road and then he would be on his way to Santa Ana in the 91 freeway morning traffic. But of course, Rowan had her own plans, as I rolled over in bed I felt a gush of water! I looked at my phone, 5:32 am. I didn’t even think twice. I called Scott. “My water just broke! Come home!” Luckily he was just leaving the yard and hadn’t gotten onto the freeway yet. Once I hung up the phone I walked to the bathroom where water continued to gush out leaving no doubt in my mind that this was it.
And so, just like that at 39 weeks we pack up the car and headed to the hospital. We were admitted and our journey through labor began.
We settled into our room and made acquaintances with our nurse. Thankfully I had printed out a birth plan. On that plan I made clear I didn’t want an epidural amongst other things but of course as they say it’s less of a plan and more of a suggestion.
I labored until around 11 am au natural making it to about 5-6 centimeters. The contractions were wearing on me, even as I tried different positions, standing, lying down, squatting and such. The nurse came in and informed me that they were about to perform two C-sections back to back, tying the anesthesiologist up until about 3 pm. She knew I didn’t want the epidural but she wanted to give me the option. At this point I wasn’t progressing as fast as I would have liked and they were about to start Pitocin to speed things up. Because my water had broke so early the doctor didn’t want me laboring for too long. I trusted their decisions. I asked the nurse a ton of questions and gave her my concerns about why I didn’t want the epidural. As you’ll have read in my previous experience it was awful and I was terrified of that happening again. We talked it over and I decided I was going to get the epidural. I was at the point where I was miserable and I couldn’t see myself continuing on for hours longer in so much pain. Scott was tapping his feet and watching videos on his phone, the noise alone was making me want to strangle him so I knew it was time. Kudos to all you women who have toughed it out.
My epidural experience this time was pleasant and the anesthesiologist ended up being one of my favorite people I met in the hospital. She even came and visited Rowan the next day in the postpartum suite to make sure we were okay.
With the epidural in place I was finally able to relax. The only annoying thing was I began to shake uncontrollably for the next few hours. They also started the Pitocin drip at this point. This led to the most traumatic part of the labor. The Pitocin was working so well and speeding up my labor that it start to stress Rowan out. For anyone who has ever birthed in a hospital, you know too well the constant beeping on the monitors that lets you know your babies heartbeat is strong and steady is annoying, yet a source of comfort because it let’s you know that all is well with your little babe. If the monitor turns red however or starts to make a different beep it becomes very nerve wracking and you may start to get more anxious. Right about now my monitors went into this distressed mode. Our nurse rushed in, super calm and began to take charge. She was really good at keeping us thinking that nothing was wrong, but soon another nurse rushed in and asked if she needed help. Scott and I could tell that something wasn’t right but the nurses wouldn’t let on to this at all. With our history it was hard not to think the worst.
They decided they needed to get a better reading on Rowan so they would attach a monitor to her head while she was still inside my womb to have more accurate vitals and they would also begin to pump more water into the womb to calm her down since we still had some time to labor. They had me wear an oxygen mask for the remainder of the process. Things became more stable but our minds were racing, hoping for this whole thing to be over soon so that we could hold our baby and hear her cries.
And that is exactly what happened. A couple hours later I started to feel pressure. I went into a sitting position to get gravities help bringing Rowan down the canal so I wouldn’t have to push as long.
Around 5 pm it was finally time to start pushing. It was all happening so fast that the doctor almost didn’t make it in time for the delivery. After about a half an hour our little Rainbow made her grand entrance! The most surreal moment of our life. A living, breathing, crying baby was born at 5:21 pm on August 18, 2020.
Scott and I were both in such shock. I was more scared of her the moment she came out then excited, thinking, “Holy Crap. We actually did it. We brought a living human into the world.” Of course the first thing we did was count her fingers and toes to make sure she was all there. I’ve basically been scared of her up until now, around 2 months. I’m not afraid to admit that it took me a solid 8 weeks to bond with her. Newborns are fucking scary.
A lot more happened after the birth. We were hoping to go home as soon as possible but on the morning of discharge her Jaundice levels were through the roof, so they had us stay an extra night to administer blue light treatment. I got about 45 minutes of sleep that night between the nurses coming in, Rowan crying for what seemed like hours because she hated what the blue light treatment entailed and having to get up every couple hours to feed her. The stupid nurse also made it seem like I wouldn’t be able to breastfeed. This was traumatizing for me until the most amazing lactation consultant came in and gave us a very informed run down of what was happening and what would happen. We spent that night supplementing with formula using a tube and my finger to make sure she was getting enough food to get the Jaundice out of her body. We freaking spent so much time trying to pump and hand express milliliters of colostrum to avoid formula but it just wasn’t enough. I know Jaundice is pretty common but this was so unexpected for us. They didn’t talk about this in the newborn class or in anything else I read. Because I wasn’t prepared for this, I wasn’t ok mentally and I think this played a role in me becoming even more scared of Rowan. Some how we made it through the roughest night ever and we got to bring Rowan home the next day on Scott’s Birthday. A present I am sure he will never forget.
Fast forward to now, I get tears just staring at her. I am still scared of her but now in a different way. When she makes eye contact with me while listening to my silly songs about farts and being a burrito baby, I melt. The universe knew I needed a daughter first rather than a son. Things have played out in a weird way. I am still processing through those emotions. I will always cherish our moments with Benjamin and I will always wish he was here as a toddler in this moment. But I can honestly say in these moments now, it all feels right.
I had a live birth.
Oh, how sweet those words are.