PERFECT PREGNANCY: MY LABOR STORY!
HAPPY MONDAY!!! I hope everyone had a lovely weekend!! I know I start and end almost every post with some well wishes for a great day/ weekend and I just want everyone to know that I really mean it! Everyone is so busy and works so hard that I hope the weekends provide the opportunity to rest and have some fun!
Since our Little Miss Lillian July is five weeks old (yay!!!) I thought I would share the memorable day that changed our lives just a few weeks ago. It is still so hard to believe that I went through labor, yet at the same time, I can close my eyes and picture the whole thing so vividly.
Before I share the exciting and hilarious aspects of my experience, I want to let all women who are expecting know that each experience will be unique. When you're pregnant you want to hear everyone's labor story-- at least I did. I naively thought that by hearing the stories of other women I could take the commonalities and believe that that would be my experience. I also relied too heavily on my sister Caitlin's labor stories. I thought we were going to have very similar experiences, and in some ways we did, but again, every single labor is different. I contemplated not sharing my story for several reasons, but ultimately I decided to share because we all went through the pregnancy together and I want to remember this joyful occasion.
I've realized it is good, healthy, and necessary to hear the stories of other women's labor not to be used as a guide, but rather so we can all marvel at how special, miraculous, and downright crazy the whole thing is. But most importantly, we get to share how inspiring women are! Our bodies our incredible! It has given me more strength and power and makes me feel like we can do anything!!!
Let's start from the beginning......
Sunday, March 1: I attended a lovely baby shower for my girlfriend Noel. At the shower there was a Tarot Card reader and all I wanted to know was how was my labor going to go. She said no one had ever asked her that before and that she could tell my baby was a gentle baby and that I should have my hands free so that I could hold my baby (belly) during labor.
Skip ahead a few weeks....
Sunday, May 24: Remember when I thought my water broke but I really just peed my pants? Read the full story here. #FalseAlarmNumber1
Friday, May 29: At 40 Weeks we had our doctors appointment at OneMedical for the sweeping of the membranes. This was exciting because my sister Caitlin delivered Camilla two days after having this done and she delivered Clementine 14 hours after having the sweep. Here is where I thought that I would be like my sister: WRONG!! Nothing happened for me after the sweep until a few days later....
Monday, June 1: Jesse started his paternity leave! Yay! We spend quality time together and check off all of the items on our to-do list.
Tuesday, June 2: Our due date and still no baby!
Wednesday, June 3: I was having a TON of contractions and they were four minutes apart so Jesse and I went to the hospital to get checked. We waited in Triage (which is check-in and where they monitor you until they decide to admit you). One doctor said I was 4cm and then another said I was only 2cm. I was sent home..... #FalseAlarmNumber2
Friday, June 5: We had our weekly OneMedical appointment and we laughed with our provider about the false alarms. We also scheduled an induction for June 11 at 8:00pm because the doctors do not want women going past 41 weeks and 3 days.
Now this is where is gets fun!!!
Saturday, June 6:
8:00am: Jesse and I sleep in and wonder if our baby girl is arriving soon.
10:00am: We head to breakfast at our favorite neighborhood spot, Pomelo. I have the BEST breakfast of my life and I can feel contractions starting and they feel a little bit different.
11:30am: We head to Mission Bay to go for a walk. I am able to walk but it's so funny- EVERY time I cross the street I get a big contraction, forcing me to stop in the middle of the crosswalk. Jesse gently pushes my back to say, let's move it! I can only say to Jesse that this is the start of it....
12:00pm: Since we are at the gym, I urge Jesse to go for a swim. I drive to Starbucks to get a hot chocolate and a Venti Ice Water.
1:00pm: We drive home and I am still having contractions that are noticeable.
2:30pm: Something told me to shower and wash my hair, so I do. Then I lay down on the bed with my heating pad, two ice packs and a pillow over my face (I always put my fluffernutter over my face when trying to nap).
3:00pm: I can't get comfortable in bed so I head to the couch and Jesse and I rent Iron Man. After fifteen minutes I feel like I can't sit still so I go into the bathroom and blow dry my hair.
3:30-5:30pm: Contractions start to feel stronger and I am sitting in the rocking chair in our nursery and a contraction will come on and I just breathe while it lasts for a minute and then once it's over I am euphoric-- I feel amazing and I start saying funny things and joking with Jesse. I figure this can't be labor, shouldn't I be screaming?
5:30pm: My mom calls and says they are almost home from Sonoma. I ask her to come over to see if what I am experiencing is actually labor.
6:00pm: My parents come over and my mom and Jesse are sitting with me in the nursery as I rock back in forth in our glider. My dad is in our living room watching sports bloopers on his iPhone. I can't figure out why he's doing that and start laughing.
6:30pm: Contractions intensify and my eyes well up a few times. I keep alternating between sitting in the rocking chair and standing up and bending over on the side of the crib or walking around. Jesse urges me to keep laboring at home as long as I can.
7:00pm: I start crying and say to Jesse I want to go to the hospital.
7:15pm: I can't even talk to the front desk receptionist when we check in because I am focused on myself. Jesse checks us in and as we our walking into Triage we see the nurse that sent me home the previous two times. She gives me a big hug and says, "this looks like labor!". In the back of my head I am just thinking please let this be it. I can't sit in Triage for a fourth time if they send me home.
7:30pm: Contractions are getting stronger, but bearable. In the triage room it's me, Jesse, my mom and my older sister Caitlin. I'm feeling okay in between contractions and all I need at this point is silence. I asked everyone to not talk (which is sooooo not like me). I just needed peace and quiet. Jesse is standing next to me and I'm just holding on to him as a breath through contractions. After each contraction I YAWN!!! What?! Yes, I yawn and then all four of us start laughing!! I refuse to look at the monitor and see how far apart and long my contractions are. Caitlin and Jesse are looking at it and then looking at one another. Caitlin tells me that I'm having three contractions in a row. That was what was hard-- not getting a rest between contractions.
8:00pm: Good news: The doctor checks me and I am 4cm dilated and they are going to admit me! Yay! Bad news: All of the labor rooms are full. I'll have to wait in Triage until one is free. Caitlin steps outside to go to the bathroom and sees her best friend who had the same due date as me walking the halls- she is in labor, too!!
8:10pm: Nurse lets me know that one labor room just became available but they have to clean it first. I remember from the hospital tour that cleaning takes about two hours. In my head I know that I have two more hours in triage.
9:45pm: I say to our nurse Kate (who was an angel from heaven), "I need to get out of this room!" She says they're almost finished and she will start the bath for me.
10:00pm: Labor and delivery room #13 is available. I think to myself is this good or bad luck?! Our nurse Kate puts me in a wheelchair and I remember feeling like I am on a carnival ride as we zip through the halls. Jesse, my mom, and three sisters are following behind me! I had no idea how long this part was going to last.
10:05pm: In the labor room I meet the resident, who checks me and says I am 8cm dilated! Holy guacamole!! No one can believe how fast I am progressing. I hop into the bath tub and try and get comfortable. Nurse Kate says to me, "if you feel the urge to push, get out of the tub!" This advice proved to be invaluable. She saved my whole experience.
10:10pm: I have four strong contractions in the tub. Jesse is beside me, holding my hand. My mom and sisters are in the labor room watching tv. I can hear some noises and I say to Jesse, "Are they watching cartoons?!" and he said no, they're watching Friends. This made me laugh because it seriously sounded like they were watching cartoons.
10:30pm: I am in the bath tub and all of a sudden I feel like the baby is slipping out!! I start to scream, "someone check!! Is the baby coming out?!!! I feel like this baby is coming out!! I NEED to push!!!" I get out of the bathtub and the resident checks me and says I am 10cm dilated. Just as she's saying that I feel my water break!! Oh, and it gushed all over her! I say, "OH my gosh, my water just broke!!" and I had a feeling of physical relief from the pressure.
10:45pm: It's go time! It's time to push. And for the first time throughout the labor I thought to myself I'm not sure if I can do this. I liken it to the feeling of running a half marathon and that moment of "I can't go on". But, the show must go on!!
This period is called transition and usually lasts half an hour to an hour or a half. Mine lasted 30 seconds and then I was pushing.
10:50pm: My first push I was screaming and I pushed long and hard and I then I thought to myself, "she's out!!!" and the doctor told me they could see the top of her head, about the size of a silver dollar. I couldn't believe it-- I thought I had pushed enough for her to come out. So then I say to myself, "all hell nah! Time to get this baby out!!!" And I push two more times and am screaming and making great progress. Then the doctor says to me, "take that energy you're using to scream and turn it inwards and use it to push." So I did.
11:05pm: Our Little Miss Lillian July Pedersen is born and immediately placed on my chest and I just cannot believe it!!! Jesse and I are so happy and we are a family of three. My mom and my sisters are so happy and we all cannot believe what just happened!!!! We feel like the luckiest people in the world to have the special privilege of having our families with us at the hospital!! Everyone got to hold Lillian when she was minutes old.
Some thoughts on my labor and delivery:
Everyone keeps asking me about the pain and it's so hard to describe and it's all worth it. Some days I lay down and I just think about all of the different stages I went through. Jesse and I did not have a birth plan and I didn't end up using one thing that I thought I might need (no heating pad, candles, music, etc.). All I wanted was for it to be quiet so that I could just focus on each contraction and not be distracted. I was surprised that I didn't need and didn't want any "cheerleader" comments and supports during labor, except for when I was pushing. I had my eyes closed during pushing but could hear everyone saying, "Come on, Caroline! " and "Good job!" and more. That really helped. That is when I needed the most support and hearing everyone felt just like the good old days when I was playing sports and could hear my family cheering for me.
I had to share the photo below because it was right when we got home from our walk and I said to Jesse, I want to take a picture of me in labor!!
I didn't want to make this post too long, so feel free to email me if you have more questions!!! Lots of love! Thank you everyone for your support always, but especially during my pregnancy!!
Caroline, Jesse & Little Miss Lillian