My birth story really isn’t anything out of the ordinary. It was fairly easy and without complications. I was 3 days past my due date and my cervix shut tight. My OB and I decided on an induction for Monday the 18th. I worked that Friday the 15th (also my birthday!) and was ready to enjoy the last moments of just my hubby and I for the weekend. My mom made plans to come Sunday night as we were scheduled to arrive at the hospital Sunday around 10pm to prepare for the induction.
Saturday, I nested hard, ya’ll! I cleaned and cleaned until my poor back and feet couldn’t take it. I felt a little different but thought it was just exhaustion. Around 10:00 pm, I felt my first contraction! A lot of women experience weeks of false labor but I didn’t have a single Braxton-Hicks. I had no idea what to expect so for those wondering what a contraction feels like- let’s just say you’ll know! I felt this tightening start in my lower back and sides and work it’s way around my belly! And, boy does it knock the wind out of ya. There’s a reason they want to teach you how to breathe! I kept holding my breath which makes it worse- so remember gals to breathe! My OB had instructed me to go by the 5:1:1 rule to determine when to call which means a contraction every 5 minutes , that lasts one minute, and is consistently recurring for one hour. (Fun fact: I chose to deliver in a hospital 40 miles away from my house in the DMV area which is notorious for its traffic!) My contractions started to occur every 7-10 minutes so I calmly let my husband know and I labored at home for the next few hours. Laboring was hard to stay calm so I decided to throw on some Friends reruns on Netflix and watch a couple of those while soaking in a warm bath. Finally, as my contractions started coming more rapidly, I called the on-call doctor and made my way to the hospital.
THINGS I PACKED IN MY HOSPITAL BAG
- A Toothbrush
- Glasses/ Extra Contacts
- Mascara (I mean, pictures happen y’all)
- Nightgown (Who wants to be in a hospital gown longer than they have to??)
- Extra Blanket (Trust me on this one, brrr.)
- Check written to Department of Health for Birth Certificate (no cash or cards accepted and way easier to order it at the hospital while you are there!)
- Sleep gown for baby
- Extra outfit for baby
- Baby Book (they’ll put his footprints and handprints in there for you if you ask real nicely!)
- Wallet with ID and Check Card (food is often included but my hospital had Panera so…)
- Socks/Slippers (They need to be non-slip!)
- Nursing Bra (if applicable! If not nursing, they recommend a sports bra!)
- Phone Charger
- Tennis shoes for your departure!
WHAT MY HUSBAND PACKED:
- Pajama Pants/Undershirt
- Extra Pair of Underwear
- Extra Pillow
- Phone Charger
Upon arrival at the hospital, my contractions were just about every 1-2 minutes apart and walking wobbling into the hospital was such a feat! Listen up, do yourselves a favor and pre-register with your hospital. Just signing one paper was pissing me off! All I could think was, Jeez can’t they see the baby is about to come out of my f*****g vagina! I was taken back to triage where they took my vitals and assessed my cervix and baby’s vitals. Before long, I was being wheeled into the delivery room at around 4:30 am. My hubby gave me the phone to call my parents and let them know that we were at the hospital and my mom was there 4 hours later!
I opted to get an epidural and it was life-changing. I became very relaxed and pain-free and took some time to rest and watch some HGTV. (They always say to sleep but that was not going to happen knowing my baby was on his way out!) Receiving the epidural seems way scarier than it actually is! I couldn’t feel anything but some slight pressure and the nurses and the anesthesiologist did a great job of keeping me calm and giving me step-by-step directions and assurance. For those that do natural labor, bless you! You are a super human! Epidurals notoriously slow down your contractions so it wasn’t until about 1:30 pm on Sunday that it was time to push!
The delivery is really not so bad if you have an uncomplicated one. I was terrified but as Becca K. (The Bachelor reference) says, “Ready to do the damn thing!” My husband had one leg and my mom the other and I began to PUSHHHH! Pushing is not for the faint of heart! You have to push as hard as you can holding your breath for at least 10 Mississippis! At 2:00 pm, my OB calmly strolled in and delivered my baby at 2:07. Once the baby came out they immediately put him/her on your chest for skin-to-skin contact while they begin to clean you up! I for sure didn’t think I was going to cry but just the relief and the fact that this tiny human, that came out of me, was suddenly snuggling me, the tears rushed in! After a few minutes they took him to get measured, weighed, cleaned and primed while the Doc delivered my placenta and stitched me up. After a few hours, they wheeled us up to our Recovery Room and our life began as a threesome!
Preparing for your life as a new mother just can’t be summarized in a blog post. No matter how many forums or books you read, classes you take, or nurses you ask- caring for a newborn is not something I’ve ever experienced before. It’s an adjustment and every mother is terrified or anxious to some extent. If you weren’t then, please chime in on how you felt prepared and calm, cause your girl did not! Here is what I did to prepare in my pregnancy for the first months of being a mother!
PLAN YOUR NURSERY AND STOCK UP
Baby showers exist for a reason. Take your time to do your research and register for things that you really need. People will buy clothes regardless because, hello, they are so cute! Select the diaper pail, diapers, changing tables/pads, crib sheets, swaddle blankets, bath supplies, medical kits, bassinets/cribs, and travel systems! These are things you will need but won’t really want to bother with once baby is born. *Remember you have to have a car seat installed before being able to go home from the hospital.
TAKE AN INFANT CARE CLASS
The class seemed cumbersome but it was very helpful. Most hospitals offer the class taught by an RN and you’ll learn anything from how to swaddle, change a diaper, give a bath, and care for a sick baby. Plus, I got a manual to keep at home which I looked at every day for the first two weeks after birth!
MAKE PLANS FOR A FAMILY MEMBER/ FRIEND COME STAY FOR A COUPLE OF DAYS
I was lucky enough to have my mom come stay for the first week and then my in-laws came to stay! It was amazing to have them help me with buying groceries, cooking, cleaning, helping with my dog, and most of all-emotional support!
ESTABLISH A RELATIONSHIP WITH A PEDIATRICIAN
Make some calls when you enter the third trimester to select your pediatrician. Do your research and let them know when you are due so that when baby is born, you can schedule an appointment to be seen within the first week.
I’ll be doing a blog post next week on what my favorite baby products were that I used and which ones I never used! Share with me what you are most nervous about or if you have any questions. If you have an unique birth story, I’d love to feature you!