So I'm finally getting into a groove with this whole motherhood thing, and if I'm learning anything--I should savor this feeling because I'm pretty sure, soon enough, our little guy will throw a wrench into things and change it all up on me.
Blogging has always been a bit of a challenge for me to find time to do with working full-time and running my calligraphy business; I honestly thought maternity leave would be easy breezy and I'd have all the time in the world to focus more on my calligraphy and this blog. Boy, was I wrong. But that's another topic for another day. Today I want to focus on our sweet new addition, our son, Emory.
It's common place for us bloggers to share our birth story. And when I was inching towards being 40 weeks preggo, I turned to a lot of blogs to read about their birth experience and it was therapeutic for me in a way. I was terrified my entire pregnancy of giving birth. We went to birthing classes, read all sorts of books, everything just made me more nervous. I didn't enjoy my pregnancy because I was so afraid of giving birth and in a way I was afraid of my baby because I knew in order to meet him--I had to get him out. I'm such a Type A planner, so not knowing how my body would go into labor, what the delivery would be like, etc. freaked me out--and every birth story I read or spoke with other moms about were all different. So here's mine...
I was certain I was going to deliver our baby early, wrong again. (And our little man was so small when he was born it's a good thing he overcooked!) I was three days overdue when I woke up in the middle of the night to go pee (a very common practice for a preggo) when my panties were soaked! (TMI? Then you should stop here, this is a birth story--there's lots of bodily fluids). So naturally, at 2AM on a Sunday morning, I start googling. I thought it was my mucus plug and the discharge from that so I didn't think much of it. The night before I took a nice long bath (because I heard it can kick start labor), and when I woke up to start my day, I headed to the nail salon for a pedicure (another tactic I heard of to kick start labor!). When I got home John and I sat down and watched some TV and I felt another trickle of fluid. Being 40 weeks + 3 days preggo, I didn't know if it was my water breaking or if I was peeing my pants (#preggoprobs), so I put on a pad and told John I was going to take a nap, and if I was still leaking fluid by the end of my nap I was going to call the doctor.
So as I took a nap, hubs went out to take some photos around the city and run a few errands for us. Sure enough, I woke up and was still leaking--now I was getting worried that it wasn't my mucus plug, but maybe my water did break? I called my doctor and she advised me to come into Labor & Delivery just to make sure because if my water break we would need to monitor me and work on getting labor started to ensure no bacteria would get to the baby.
When we got to L&D triage we ran some tests to see if I was leaking amniotic fluid and sure enough--my water did break. The resident let us know we were there for the night and since I wasn't having any contractions they would start me on Cytotec that evening, the next morning I would be induced with Pitocin, and that afternoon we'd have our baby!
So naturally, we start freaking out. It was happening! Baby was coming, and we weren't going home! We let our family, bosses, and friends know it was the final countdown. Once I started the Cytotec, I was going to be on a liquid diet until after baby got here so John went and got us dinner for our last supper as a family of two, my parents started to pack up their bags and make the drive to Chicago, and our amazing friend Stacey stopped by our apartment to gather all the things we forgot to grab when we left for the hospital and brought it over to us. Luckily, my mother-in-law had booked a flight to arrive in Chicago that Monday (perfect timing!).
The first couple doses of Cytotec weren't too bad. I felt some very, very light cramping but I was in good spirits. We watched TV (thankfully The Devil Wears Prada was on TV that night and since I was the one going into labor, I got full power over the TV!), spent some time with Stacey and my parents when they arrived around midnight, then we decided to try to get some rest; tomorrow was going to be a big day! However, my contractions started to really kick in after my third dose and I was dreading my other doses of Cytotec--I was going to be given a total of five doses. I tried to take some Tylenol to ease the pain but it didn't help at all. I was given some stronger pain meds through my IV, but it made me super nauseous. Cue: Cali crying while throwing up in a bucket and saying "I'm sorry!" while John rubbed my back. It kind of reminded me of my college days ;-)
I threw up a couple times that night and around 7am they checked my cervix and I was dilated to 5 centimeters. My body started to go into labor with the help of the Cytotec! But 5 centimeters--that meant it was epidural time! Woo!! It all happened pretty quickly, I mean I was expecting another dose of Cytotec and then a round of Pitocin before I could even get an epidural, so John and I were a little taken aback.
The epidural wasn't bad at all, it felt like a little pinch on my back. I was just worried about staying still for the anesthesiologist because the contractions were coming on more quickly and they were getting stronger. John wasn't allowed in the room when they gave me the epidural, so once the medicine was kicking in they started to test spots on my legs to see if the epidural was working. In the meantime the baby's heartbeat started to dip. So they put me on oxygen and started rearranging the way I was laying down. When the nurses brought John back in from the waiting room, they were inserting the catheter and the internal monitor. So much for not wanting John to see that area during the process...
Only about 10 minutes after getting the epidural I was fully dilated. Our doctor said I'd be able to labor down for about an hour, rest and relax, then we'd start pushing. But our baby's heart rate started to dip dangerously low. It was like a scene from ER--about 15 people rushed into the room and put me into position--it was go time, we had to get the baby out.
John had one of my legs and a nurse had another, after about 10 minutes and maybe 7 pushes, our beautiful baby boy was born. Emory James O'Rourke-Wu was born at 8:59am on August 28, 2017 weighing 6 lbs. 12 oz, measuring 21.5" long.
Thankfully I got the epidural when I did because they were still checking to see if I was numb when I had to start pushing! Also, I didn't feel a thing. My doctor had to let me know when I was having a contraction and when to push. Getting an epidural was the only item on my birth plan--I just didn't want to feel any pain. And honestly, the birth experience was very relaxing for me. I barely said a word, I felt so at peace, so relaxed, and really enjoyed the experience (despite the very scary situation).
Since the placenta cord was wrapped around Emory's neck and they had to use a vacuum to help get him out, I wasn't able to delay the cord cutting or do skin to skin right away. But the peds team cleared him and he did not have to go to the NICU.
Since we weren't expecting to have the baby until that afternoon my parents decided to get to the hospital a bit early. When John met them in the waiting room he didn't tell them the baby was already here, so when they got to my room John said 'he's here' and opened the door. Emory was maybe about 10 minutes old. It was such a beautiful moment, and all of us were crying such sweet happy tears.
As someone who did not enjoy being pregnant, I can't put into words how much I love being a mom. I was so scared throughout my pregnancy, I kept thinking 'if I don't love being pregnant--would I love our son?' A thousand times over, yes--it's a love that is deeper than I've ever known and it gets stronger every day. I'll take the sleepless nights, the bouts of colic, and blow out diapers all day long (this kid is giving us a run for our money!) because when I look into his eyes and see John's brown eyes, and touch his small ears during a feeding that look exactly like mine, I can't believe we created this beautiful little person who grew inside me. I love watching Emory grow every day and I look forward to all the memories we'll be making as a family. Ain't no hood like motherhood, and it's a club I'm so, so happy to be in.