I’ve been talking about writing out Alea’s birth story for the longest time now. It’s literally been on my “to do” list since the day she was born and I’ve just never gotten around to sitting down to write it out for one reason or another. It’s silly really that four years later I’m finally writing it all down, but better late than never if you ask me! Alea had a pretty uneventful entrance into the world, but I have to admit– I liked it like that.
Her birth wasn’t exactly how I pictured it was going to be, but it really was the perfect day with the perfect little girl to show for it.
I woke up around 1:30am on Saturday, April 3rd 2010. It didn’t take long for me to realize it was the annoying tightening of my stomach that woke me so suddenly. I laid there holding my stomach and kind of rolled my eyes assuming they were just those annoying Braxton Hicks contractions I’d been having for weeks prior. (Alea’s due date was March 28th, mind you, so we had been playing the waiting game for a while.) It honestly didn’t even cross my mind once that this could be “it.” I got up shortly after and decided to have a little soak in the tub to see if that helped the pain any. Soaking in the tub was a bit of a joke at that point– the water in our shallow tub barely covered half of my protruding stomach.
Cory slowly popped his head in the bathroom after a while, his eyes tired with sleep and shocked by the bright light of the bathroom, and asked if I was feeling okay. I told him that I was just having those darn practice contractions and that I’d be back in bed shortly. The water was starting to feel cool and I was feeling more tired now that I wasn’t experiencing as much pain. I pulled the plug on the drain and as I hoisted myself up from the bathtub, I felt this incredible rush of pain throughout my back and abdomen and I immediately knew that this time was going to be different.
I slowly walked across the hall to our bedroom and sat down on the edge of my side of the bed holding my stomach. After finally laying down, I woke Cory and asked if he could start timing my contractions for me. They were extremely irregular and I remember him saying at one point “No! You can’t be having another contraction right now! You just had one!” Silly, silly boy. I’m pretty sure I knew whether or not I was having a contraction! He suggested we go for a walk up and down the sidewalk outside of our town house, but I immediately put the kibosh on that idea. Walking is the last thing I felt like doing when I was in that much pain. Not only that, but I felt so sick to my stomach.
Cory finally started to take my “condition” seriously after I threw up and immediately after felt a trickle of fluid. He took one look in the bathroom and was on the phone with the nurse on call in the birth center right after. The next couple of minutes was a rush to find phone chargers and any of the other last minute things we needed to throw in our birthing bag that had been packed for almost a month before this day.
The drive across town to the hospital seemed like the longest drive I had ever taken. Every bump and stop light on that 5 minute drive was excruciating. I just wanted to get there and I wanted to know what our next steps would be.
We arrived at Emergency Department at about 6:30am. Poor Cory. As we were being admitted, I wasn’t the nicest to him as I tried to give information between each contraction. I’m horrible when it comes to pain, absolutely horrible and any amount of talking and reassurance can’t calm me down or distract me from that pain. We were finally ready to head to the family birthing center and it seemed like a never ending amount of long hallways to get there as I waddled and hunched over in pain with every contraction.
“What would you like to do for pain management?” the nurse asked as we walked into the room where I would meet my little girl. “An epidural.” I said with tears in my eyes. “But, don’t you want to start with a walking epidural? Remember? I thought that’s what you wanted to do?” Cory was of course just reminding me of our birth plan, but that little plan of mine went out the window immediately. I knew hospitals and I knew that if I ordered my epidural upon arrival, it could still be hours before I actually saw it.
They did a test to determine whether or not the fluid that had been leaking was amniotic fluid and sure enough the results came back positive, but the amniotic sac wasn’t fully ruptured yet. They used a hook to break my water the rest of the way and discovered the amniotic fluid had meconium in it from Alea. This placed me at a higher risk for infection and increased Alea’s chances of respiratory problems, but they were just going to continue to monitor the both of us closely.
My mom arrived about an hour after we were admitted to our room. I remember squeezing her hand so hard that she had to keep switching hands. I even kicked Cory out of the room because he was being too loud when he was calling his parents to let him know I was in labor. Whoops! After four tries, two hours after our arrival at 8:15am the epidural was finally inserted. I learned during the process that my spinal column was a bit crooked right where they needed to put the catheter in my epidural space. The anesthesiologist told me before his fourth try that if he was unable to get it in then, I was going to have to do this on my own. You can imagine my relief when he finally got the epidural in. I was in tears! I felt almost the immediate release from the pain. My legs went completely numb, but I was perfectly content.
I was starving and so thirsty after not eating or drinking all morning, but every time I took a sip or water or ate the Italian ice they had I was throwing up right afterwards. Besides the tummy troubles, I spent the rest of my day in and out of sleep between cervical checks and the what seemed like constant inflation of the blood pressure cuff.
As the day went on, Dr. Susa came in and checked me at around 5:15pm and told me I was finally 10cm dilated and it was time to push. It could have been the sleepy daze I was in, but I was just shocked that the time was finally here. He put on Jewels’ Lullaby CD and as Cory held one leg and our nurse Molly held the other, I could barely see through all the tears in my eyes. I’ll never forget how I felt in that moment. I was overwhelmed with excitement, but also a little scared as well.
After struggling to push when they were telling me to push, I finally just started pushing on my own– when it felt right. The pressure was incredible, but thankfully I received more epidural fluids just before my last cervical check, so I felt absolutely no pain during the birthing process itself. I pushed for roughly 50 minutes before Alea’s arrival!
I became a mommy + Cory became a daddy at 6:19pm on April 3rd, 2010.
Alea Anne weighed 8lb 6oz and was 21″ long. She was born with her hand pressed against her cheek, exactly how we saw her with each ultrasound. They were worried about a possible clavicle fracture, but everything checked out just fine and she escaped with just a small bruise to her cheek. She did, however, consume some meconium and amniotic fluid during her journey through the birth canal and didn’t cry right away when she was born. After Cory cut the cord and I have her kisses, they whisked her off to the warming table to have her tummy suctioned and received a little oxygen.
It seemed like I waited forever while they suctioned out her tummy, I birthed the placenta (which is totally amazing if you ask me!), and they weighed and measured her. The doctors and nurses were absolutely amazing. They finished checking her out after giving her to me to begin nursing her as soon as I could.
Nursing didn’t come so easy at first, and I was constantly calling the nurse in to help me, but Alea and I both got the hang of it after a while. I was so thankful that I was able to nurse her until she weaned herself a couple weeks before her first birthday.
It may sounds cliche, but it was love at first site. Those chubby little cheeks and baby blues had me swooning from day one and I’m still so in love with my little girl four years later. Happy Birthday Alea Lou!