The contractions were coming and they were coming hard. I didn’t imagine them to be this painful! At least I hoped these were the actual contractions, being that I have a high threshold for pain thanks to 6 years of braces and orthodontic work. All I could think about was my left over P.F. Changs from yesterday’s dinner that I probably wasn’t going to get the chance to enjoy now.
After the obligatory timing of the contractions, my husband Chris and I left for the hospital around noon on a Monday. As we walked into the maternity ward, my OBGYN was walking out, decked in his scrubs. He gave me a look and then asked me what I was doing here. I casually replied, “I think I’m ready to have my baby soon.” Thank goodness for dear Dr. Day! He laughed and walked me over to arrivals and got my paperwork all set up.
Chris and I then sat in the hallway waiting for what felt like an eternity. A friendly nurse called me into a private room and checked me all out. I had wires and monitors and an ugly pink hospital gown on me. The nurse confirmed that I was 4 cm dilated and would be able to be admitted! (Thankfully, I might add, because my biggest fear was being one of those women who go to the hospital thinking they are in labor, only to be sent home to wait it out.)
After that, Chris and I got set up in my room. My mom and sister drove over to hang out, bringing with them delicious wraps and chips, none of which I could eat. A quick thought of my leftover P.F. Changs went through my mind…would I ever get to enjoy my food again?
My day nurse informed me that I probably wasn’t giving birth until the evening, but as luck would have it, my sister’s childhood friend was on duty that night. She would put in a request to assign her to my case.
After that, all things progressed quickly, except my dilating. I got my epidural (yay!) and settled in for the long haul. Unfortunately, I had to have Pitocin, which helps move the process along. I believe this is what caused me to throw up in a bed pan (boo!) and have a low grade fever during the birth.
At last, it was time! I started pushing and screaming while my husband sat in a chair behind me, holding my hand, unable to look. My sister’s friend was holding one leg, staring at my vagina. We both laughed how we didn’t expect this to ever happen, especially since she used to play Barbie Dolls in my house at the tender age of 7.
I grew concerned when the monitors beeped and everyone in the room stopped for what felt like eternity. They were all staring at the monitor with deep expressions. I later came to find out that Vivienne’s heart rate dipped dangerously low, as the cord was wrapped around her neck. From what I can remember, after this happened, the birth came pretty quickly. Vivienne was born at 11:53pm (on my granny’s birthday) and quickly whisked away to be checked. I was so loopy at this point, but I do remember the NICU surgeon coming up to me, explaining that they had to check Vivienne out because of the complications and my fever, but that everything appeared fine and healthy.
After Vivienne was checked and I was being sewn up, my husband was told to come and grab Vivienne. As he got up to hold his daughter, he caught a glimpse of the placenta and in his words, he’ll “never forget that image.” Ha. Good. Chris held Vivienne for a minute or two, and then once my throw-up gown was changed, I finally got to hold her in my arms.
I admit, I felt all of the traditional feelings of joy and happiness that new moms say they feel. But I was also concerned, it looked like Vivienne had a black eye! Thankfully, it went away by the next day, but my family and I still laugh about it to this day when we look at pictures of her first few minutes of life.