Waiting. This pregnancy was defined by it, more than my previous two. First, I was waiting to give birth (or, at least, I was fervently wishing my body to wait) until after my mother arrived. Then I was waiting for Shavuos to pass. Then I was waiting for my husband to not be working the night shift. After all this waiting, only one day remained before the induction which had been scheduled. I had just 24 hours for my body to go into labor on its own.
All my babies have been “late.” One week after my due date, to be exact. And all three had inductions scheduled after watching my due date come and go. My husband commented that he expected me to just be induced with this baby, like I was with Really Little Man. This irked me to no end.
While my induction with Really Little Man was a positive experience, there was just something about potentially being induced again that dismayed me. I mean, it’s Jewish custom to say “b’sha’ah tovah” to a pregnant lady (it means, “at a good time”), and induction just kind of seems more like b’sha’ah OB-GYN than tovah. I’m just saying. It doesn’t bother me enough to not get induced, but I was still hoping that maybe, just maybe, I would go into labor on my own.
To my chagrin, there was nothing going on in the way of progression. All quiet on the baby front.
One of my neighbors asked me if I felt like I was ready, or if I was still holding on. It hadn’t even occurred to me that perhaps I was mentally impeding my labor. After all that waiting, did I have to give my body permission to proceed? Perhaps.
While this wasn’t my first time at the baby rodeo, I still felt anxiety about transitioning from pregnancy to postpartum. I was well aware that this baby would be the tipping point from a 1:1 parent to child ratio to being outnumbered by our progeny. Also, after being pregnant for 9 months, I was just kind of used to it. The discomfort was familiar to me, and, after having two other babies, I knew what special kind of discomforts awaited me on the other side of labor.
So, yeah, maybe I was holding on a bit.
After that realization, I had a little conversation with Hashem. I let Him know that I was ready to give birth. That I was letting go. Green light. Go.
I spent the day, a Wednesday, with my mother, making a batch of challah and food for Shabbos. By the time I cleaned up the kitchen, it was about ten o’clock in the evening, and it seemed prudent to go to sleep. I was fatigued, but wired from the anticipation of the next day’s events. So I lay in bed for some time, not really sleeping, but knowing that I should get some rest.
And then it happened. A contraction. It didn’t feel like one of those annoying Braxton-Hicks I’d been getting all week. However, after a week of contractions that didn’t go anywhere, I wasn’t overly excited. I thought I’d wait it out.
Ten minutes later, there was another one. And then another one ten minutes after that. This went on for an hour and a half, at which point I decided it was time to wake my husband.
A little background on my labors – with both my boys, I progressed from 4 cm to 10 in about an hour (this was without and with Pitocin, respectively). My doctor didn’t even make it for Little Man’s birth, as the hospital didn’t page him in time. He almost missed RLM’s birth, too, since it only took me 5 hours from the beginning of the induction to crowning. My current OB-GYN was aware of my tendency to go fast, and I felt confident that she would take my labor speed seriously.
Throughout my pregnancy, I was nervous that this labor would go quickly. Like, have the baby in the car quickly. Someone recently told me the story of how it happened to her. On her third baby. Dun duhn DUHN.
Because of this anxiety, both my husband and I were eager to get to the hospital as soon as labor started. Contractions every ten minutes for an hour and a half usually isn’t enough reason to head to the hospital. I think the recommended rate is contractions every 4-5 minutes for one-two hours. But we weren’t taking any chances.
After the 15-minute ride to the hospital (it’s great how there’s no traffic at one in the morning), my contractions were coming every 6 minutes or so. I was becoming increasingly nervous, but also feeling a bit zen, in the labor zone, if you will.
Competing with my zen mentality was the anxiety created by the amount of waiting hospital bureaucracy creates. First, I had to sign in at the registration desk, which took a certain amount of time (this was despite my pre-registration. I shudder to think how long it would have taken had I not pre-registered). Then we waited in triage for a nurse to come see us. Then I had to wait for them to hook me up to all their stuff, check how far I was dilated, and call my doctor.
To my surprise and pleasure, I was already dilated 4 cm, so into an L&D room I went. Woohoo!
The rest of the birth was pretty standard for a hospital birth. I was hooked up to an IV and fetal monitor, received a fluid bolus, got my epidural, given some pitocin, and then we waited for labor to progress. I expressed to one of the nurses that I was nervous about pushing, as I had experienced the “ring of fire” with Really Little Man (that term always reminds me of Johnny Cash).
“Did you have an epidural with that labor?” she asked me.
“Well, with our epidurals, you shouldn’t feel a thing,” she smiled benevolently down at me. I was skeptical, but, hey, she had more experience than I did, so I thought we’d wait and see.
I didn’t have to wait much longer after that before I started feeling a lot of pressure near my bottom with each contraction. We were close! It was almost baby time!
And then I had to wait. They needed to call my doctor. The nurses seriously told me to wait to push (my homebirth friends, are you cringing enough yet?). When my doctor arrived, and got all suited up, and they removed the foot of the bed, we waited for my next contraction. Amazingly, the nurse was right. No pain. None. Zero. Zilch. Just three concentrated pushes and out came my baby! 4:56 on Thursday morning.
We had waited to discover the gender of our baby, and so my doctor held her up to me, so I could see what she was. Not being familiar with what a newly born baby girl looked like, I hesitated to make the call. So my doctor told me, “You have a daughter!” They gave her to me, and I held my beautifully messy baby for a little while before they whisked her off to do all the Apgar testing and whatnot.
I had spent a good part of the pregnancy thinking that this was most likely another boy. My parents thought so, my husband thought so, some of my friends thought so. This made it a very pleasant surprise to have a girl. Frankly, I’m still a little in shock that I have a daughter. A daughter! I’m so used to the boys.
So, after they did all their hospital stuff, I nursed my new daughter, and we hung out until it was time to go to the recovery room. From that point on, it was lovely. The Recovery room and staff were fantastic, and I was discharged Friday morning. I was home before noon.
It’s been a little over a week with our new little girl, and we are so thrilled. Yay! Also, my mom went on a shopping spree, and we are now flush with girlie clothes. It’s a lot of fun. Take a look!
And there you have it. Our entry into the land of all things pink. Cotton candy, cupcakes and unicorns. Wheeee!