Aria Finley was born on December 2nd, 2012 at 8:16 pm, weighing 5 lbs and 8 oz, measuring 18 inches long. She arrived well before her due date at 34 weeks and 4 days.
Her birth story…
Just before 9am, my water broke. I was sound asleep when all of a sudden what felt like a balloon bursting between my legs woke me up. I hot-footed it out of bed, leaving a trail of fluid behind me – that my husband stepped in when I called him into the bathroom. Oops. I wasn’t sure if it was my water breaking or not. And, I’m pretty sure hubs was in denial about the whole thing. I called my OB from a towel on the floor while hubs ran to the store to pick up some pads. My OB said head over to the hospital and they would check it out. So, I ran around like a chicken with my head cut off gushing fluids trying to gather up some supplies in case I was actually in labor. Hubs, again in denial, just kept telling me I didn’t need anything and let’s just go to the hospital already. After all was said and done we made it to the hospital and got set up in a room at about 10:30.
My water was very much broken – they didn’t even need to swab because apparently there was just no denying it. I’m pretty sure I soaked everything I came into contact with, continuing the whole day. I got hooked up to the baby heartbeat monitor and the contraction monitor; I was contracting but couldn’t feel anything yet. My OB also did an internal exam, which hurt as much as the contractions before I got an epidural – it felt like he had to stick his whole arm in there to poke around. I was 2cm. He said he would leave me alone for a couple hours to see how I was progressing, and take it from there.
Since I was actually in labor I got moved to a different room, one that had a big tub that I wasn’t allowed to use because my water was broken – it taunted me. I was starting to feel the contractions; they felt like mild warm cramping. I got hooked up to an IV, which sucked a lot. I’m pretty sure I asked anybody that came in the room how long I had to have the IV after I delivered, they all said it depended on how my body was doing at that point (I was holding on to the notion of like an hour after delivery – oh those naive thoughts). So, I was hooked up to fluids and some other silver bag, and had two monitors wrapped around my stomach, which of course meant I had to pee every 20 minutes. It was more like every 5 minutes, but I would hold it for 20 minutes since it was such a pain in the butt to drag the fluids and monitors with me.
It did not take long for the contractions to become unpleasant. By unpleasant I mean at least a 6 on the happy face chart, the one I couldn’t see from my bed so I guessed a 4 when the nurse asked me…lies all lies. The next time she asked I went with a 7, but apparently I meant more like 12. I lost all track of time after a while, but at some point in time I was offered and gladly accepted some drugs. Best part of labor. The pain went away – contractions, what are those?! – and I think I passed out immediately afterwards, but I was so damn loopy I have no idea what was going on. I could barely keep my eyes open and I was having visions of randomness – like snowflakes, and the colour brown. Eventually the fun went away and the contraction pain came back in full force. I was on my side holding on to the bed rail, singing to myself, and attempting to breathe. About that time I told the hubs to go fetch a nurse and let them know I was ready for that epidural.
The anesthesiologist came and started setting up and talking to me about what was going to go down and side effects etc. I am pretty sure I heard 10% of what he said because I was concentrating on not dying. When he finally got around to putting the epidural in all I felt was a prick and some pressure after that. The worst part was that the cap holding my hair out of the way kept slipping over my one eye… that is until they put the catheter in and then I wanted to cry. Hubs said he felt the same way when he saw it. The epidural made the pain lessen, but I still felt everything – including the catheter the entire time, making the contractions hurt more and the time in between incredibly uncomfortable. I would have preferred to just pee on the stupid bed, which wouldn’t have changed the level of wetness since I soaked the bottom half of the bed so much I was slipping around in fluid during contractions. Good times. I also would have preferred to have been one of those people that feels nothing after they get the epidural, but sadly that was not the case.
I was dreading the internal exams after that first one, but even the second one sucked much less and by the time I was 10 cm I was like, whatever I barely feel a thing. When I made it to 10 cm, some point in time around dusk, the contractions were terrible. The most painful thing of the entire day. I was squirming and moaning in pain and wanted to kill everybody that told me we’d just keep contracting for a while before pushing to let her move down on her own – all that with a damn epidural. The nurse came in and said maybe I could push in half an hour, then my OB came in and said I could probably start pushing in half an hour. Then people started to come in and set things up for her arrival and the delivery…and then they went away. Uncool.
Finally my OB came in and told me the plan: with each contraction take a deep breath, hold it, grab my knees and pull back, tuck my chin to my chest, and he would count to 10 while I pushed like I was trying to poop – three times each contraction. Right before I started to push the nurse took out my catheter as well, ahhh sweet relief. As soon as I started to push it was a completely different type of pain, and not as painful as the non-pushing 10 cm contractions at all. I sort of sucked at following the directions though and holding my breath for the whole 10 seconds. He would tell me when I was pushing in a super productive manner, but I couldn’t figure out what I was doing differently. While I was pushing he was running his fingers in a circle around the opening – at least that is what it felt like, and it didn’t so much hurt as feel really awkward. Also, for some reason, I kept visualizing digging with a shovel when I pushed – my coping mechanisms are strange. There were like 5 or 6 people hanging out in the room at this point, with my legs splayed in the air and my business hanging out – didn’t matter an iota, it barely registered. I do recall lots of chit chat between contractions. At some point in time they asked if I wanted to see – that was a big negative. I could feel her moving down and I felt her when she was crowning and I knew she was just about out, but I had done my three 10 second pushes and had to wait for the next contraction – that bit hurt. The next contraction she was out with the first push. Immediate relief and shock and confusion. I saw them lift her up, screaming, and place her little purple and white self on my chest. I just kind of stared at her mouth while they rubbed her with a towel, I didn’t even touch her because I wasn’t sure if I was allowed to.
After that things got a little blurry. My OB asked if hubs wanted to cut the cord, which he firmly declined. After she was no longer attached to me, they took her away to get weighed and what not while I delivered the placenta (my OB brought a pot type thing between my legs so I thought to myself am I suppose to push, gave a trial push and then felt it flop out – hubs thought it looked like a steak and I had a policy of avoiding eye contact with everything going on down there) and then got stitched up with what felt like 87 stitches (2nd degree tear). When Aria was tucked up in one of those plastic boxes they stopped by my bedside for a minute and then whisked her away to NICU along with hubs. I had been ignoring the stitches until that point, but after she was gone I had nothing else to focus on so I felt all the needle pricks and whatever else he was doing down there that felt awful. I was expecting all of the previous bits, but then he pushed on my abdomen and it hurt so much unexpectedly that I squealed and curled up, and it also caused a lovely gush of blood. Obviously nobody told me about that part, I was not mentally prepared. After all of that, the nurse cleaned me up, but all I remember is really freaking cold water. Then all of a sudden everybody was gone. The hubs eventually came back up and was telling me about Aria, and we started letting friends and family know that she was here.
After about an hour of texts and phone calls, I was starving – only having eaten part of a granola bar before heading to the hospital that morning. Hubs went and got us McDonald’s – dinner of champions. After we ate the hubs went back down to see Aria and then home to feed the cat. While he was gone a couple of nurses came in to get me up and changed and help me to the bathroom before moving me to one of the recovery rooms. When hubs got back he fetched a wheel chair so we could go down to the NICU to see Aria; about 3 hours after she was delivered I got to see her again.
Giving birth isn’t on my list of fun things to do, but I would do it over and over again if I had to for Aria. She was the most beautiful teeny human I’d ever laid eyes on. But, it was hard to see her with tubes and wires all over, not being able to hold her or even touch her because she was hyper-sensitive. It was the greatest feeling being able to actually meet her after a few days and get to know her. My love for her grows everyday, and it always will. She is almost 11 months now, and I cannot believe how fast the time went. But, I am glad that the vivid memory of giving birth and how incredibly taxing it is has faded.
I want to thank Ali for letting me share my birth story. I am so glad I wrote it down as soon as possible after actually giving birth, it is without a doubt one of my favourite things to re-read and remember. I obsessively read birth stories when I was pregnant, so I am happy to be able to share mine as well.
If you would like your birth story featured, please email me at alidamron at gmail dot com.