Monday, October 6, my due date, came and I had a doctor appointment first thing that morning. Mark had offered to come with me, which I was so grateful for, because I was a little nervous and anxious to see if I had made any progress and if our baby was going to be born that day. The doctor told me that there hadn’t been much progress, I was only barely dilated to a 2 and about 70% effaced, so my doctor striped my membranes to see if that would put me into labor and then she asked if we wanted to set an induction date. I immediately said yes because I was so tired of being pregnant and was feeling discouraged that I wasn’t making progress. My dr said she was going out of town for the weekend so I could be induced either Monday, Tuesday or Wednesday evening. I looked at Mark and said “how about Monday?”, thinking the sooner the better. My dr responded “okay, so tonight?” Shocked, Mark and I looked at each other, both assuming she was talking about next week. After what felt like a lifetime, I asked Mark if that was ok, he said of course and I gave my dr the okay to call the hospital to tell them we were checking in that evening. As we left the dr office and were talking about it on the way home, Mark and I both felt at peace with the decision. I obviously hadn’t planned on being induced, I honestly thought the baby would come early, but I guess that’s the thing with pregnancy, it never really goes according to plan. I was full term and it was my due date and it just felt like the right decision.
So we went home and I gathered our hospital bags and pillows and a blanket for Mark while he went to the gym. Then we spent the rest of the afternoon relaxing and finishing last minute prep and saying things like “this is the last day of us being just a couple!” Then we went to get a lite dinner before heading to the hospital at 6:00pm. When we got there the nurses took me into our room, which was huge and on the other side of the birthing center from the main door and nurses station so it was nice and quiet (we really lucked out!). The nurse got my IV placed and started while I signed a couple of forms. It was so calm and nothing like I was expecting over the past 9 months! Then in walk my mom and sister Courtney to surprise me! It was nice to see them and have them visit. Within the hour I got a new nurse, my favorite nurse during my stay, Katie. She was just a few years older than us and so friendly and talkative (which Mark didn’t like during the night because he wanted me to sleep) and actually listened to me and my body. She got me started on cervidil, which thins and ripens your cervix (isn’t it funny that they refer to it as ripening, as if my cervix is a piece of fruit or something). Sometime that night, they hooked me up to an antibiotic because I tested positive for Group B Strep. I’m super sensitive to antibiotics and of course this one was in thePenicillin family, which I’m allergic to but they thought I could handle it. Within 15 minutes my arm with the IV started to turn red and burn and my scalp and face got really itchy. So they immediately stopped the antibiotic and flushed me with saline and benedril. A couple hours later they gave me a different antibiotic which was fine until the end when it made me throw up (I had to do another dose of it the next day when I was actually in labor and I threw up then too, which is really difficult and painful when you can’t move well because of the epidural and the contractions, let me tell you). Needless to say, I didn’t get much sleep that night with all this going on and on top of it I was getting contractions every 1-7 minutes.
At 8:00am my dr came in to check on me and they started me on pitocin to induce labor. Within the next couple of hours the contractions started getting much stronger and Mark was helping me breath through them. I asked my nurse when we could start talking about getting an epidural and she responded in her heavy middle-eastern accent “whenever you want my dear, you are the boss.” That was great to hear but it didn’t really answer my question as to when I should get it or how much progress needed to be made before I got it so it wouldn’t slow down labor. At 11:15 I decided the pain was pretty good and it didn’t need to try to tough it out so I told my nurse that I was ready for the epidural. She went to go get the anesthesiologist and I started to get nervous. Mark was standing by my right side watching the contractions and baby’s heart rate on the monitor and I told him I was scared to get the epidural. The anesthesiologist, a little Asian man, practically came bouncing in the room and started talking our heads off. Most of the time I had no idea what he was talking about but I think he was just trying to distract me. The epidural took somewhere around 15-30 minutes from start to finish and it wasn’t as bad as I thought it would be, although I could feel it curve to the right when he placed it. I immediately hated the feeling. I don’t know if it was the tingling in my legs or the fact that I could barely move them, but I didn’t like it. Right off the bat my right side was much more numb than my left. The whole day feels like a blur, I think we just tried to rest and get some sleep and we watched tv. The Giants were playing in the playoffs and Mark was watching that on his iPad. At about 8:00pm the epidural began to wear off and I could feel the contractions pretty strong on my left side. I told my nurse, an older stern woman, and she not very nicely told me it was the round ligaments and the epidural wouldn’t do anything for it and walked out of the room. I think I started crying after she left, from a combination of the pain, exhaustion, and her lack of empathy. Mark could see that I was drained and secretly texted my parents and asked them to come visit and raise my spirits. I was totally shocked and confused when they walked in my room and I started crying. They hung out for about an hour chatting, which was a nice distraction. During that time Mark went to find my nurse to tell her that I was in a lot of pain and needed the anesthesiologist to come. After waiting what felt like forever, the nurse finally called him to my room and he topped me off by injecting something into my epidural line and then turned up the epidural. About an hour and a half later it wore off again, this time it was super painful. My nurse said it was the baby’s shoulder hitting a nerve down low on my left side. So the anesthesiologist came and topped me off a final time. About 20 minutes later my nurse came back in and checked me to see how things were progressing. She got everything set up for delivery and had Mark stand on my right side and told me it was time to start pushing. Throughout my entire pregnancy I told myself that when this moment came I was going to push as hard as I could every time, from the first push, so I hopefully wouldn’t be pushing for hours and hours.
She taught Mark hour to count for me while I pushed. It was nice to have his voice and the counting to focus on while I pushed. About an hour into pushing (if felt a lot shorter than an hour to me) my doctor came in and I knew we were close to meeting our baby! The nurse sent Mark to my left side so he would be by the little incubator where they would do the Apgar tests and everything when the baby was born. At this point I was completely exhausted and maybe a little delirious from the pain on my left side, I was yelling things in between pushes like “just pull him out!” And Mark said I was making jokes, but I don’t remember what I said or trying to be funny…
Finally, after an hour and a half of pushing, my doctor said to push really hard one more time, so I gave it all I had and out came his head. My doctor told me to stop pushing (that was super painful to not push) but apparently the cord was wrapped around his neck once. The doctor unwrapped it (neither Mark or I knew this was going on, she told us after) and on the next contraction she told me to push once more and out he came, a bright pink, long baby with big hands. When she pulled him out, he pooped all over her! She laid him on my chest and he immediately found my face and stared into my eyes for what felt like an eternity. Time seemed to stop. I will never be able to describe that moment, but it changed my life forever and makes me cry every time I think about it. It was as if he knew who I was and was finally getting to see what I looked like after listening to my heart and voice for the past 9 months. I know it sounds crazy, but for at least a month before he was born I prayed that he would know me and would love me, and that moment was an answer to my prayers. I started crying and looked up at Mark, who was also crying, and then realized that Mason wasn’t crying. I kept asking, “why isn’t he crying, is he alright?” The pediatrician just smiled at me and said “he’s fine, don’t worry he will start crying in a minute when we have to give him shots.” Mark cut the umbilical cord and they took him a few feet over to the incubator to give him shots and clean him up. I didn’t notice any of that going on because I delivered the placenta and my doctor gave my three stitches. A few minutes later they gave him back to me for skin to skin contact and everyone left the room. It was just our new little family of three.
Mason Blake Warren was born on October 7, 2014 at 11:44pm. He weighed 8pounds 1 ounce and was 21 inches long (much bigger than what my dr estimated, she said he would be a high 6pounder.)
I wish I would have written down the experience while I was in the hospital because some of the little details are blurry to me now, but one thing I will never forget is how loved and respected I felt by Mark. He was an amazing support and partner and rose far above any expectation I had. He was my rock. And there is no better feeling than watching him love our baby.