As many of you know, Justin and I welcomed our little girl, Sofia Blanche, into the world on May 26 – the same birthday as my dad. Cheers to forever birthday buddies!
As all you already-parents know, bringing your first child home is quite an adjustment, no matter how proactive you are in preparing for their arrival.
Sof has certainly made her mark and I already see her budding personality. In the two weeks since her birth, there are two distinct lessons I’ve already learned (and many more to come).
1. There is really no such concept as a birth plan. I did not have a birth plan, per se, but I did fantasize about the labor process from start to finish. Everyone warned me how the labor process typically is for first-time moms. How early most women go to the hospital with their first child, “so prepare to be sent home.” And “laboring tends to be genetic, so look to your own mom for a glimpse of what your labor may look like.”
Everyone was wrong. I should’ve known this, given every old wives tale and typical “signs” of pregnancy were also inaccurate during my entire gestation.
I was prepared to be in labor for quite a while and was determined to “stick it out” at home for as long as I could sustain the pain. I imagined I would waltz into the hospital after a (hopefully) good night’s sleep, get situated and given an epidural before the contractions were debilitating and perhaps, have some time to freshen up prior to active labor.
The reality? After a very inexplicably exhausting day, my mom and I met Justin, my dad, & brother at the local dive bar, Spats, where they were playing Golden Tee after being downtown all afternoon for the [ultimately rain delayed] Indians game. We ordered some food and hung out. We were home and showered and in bed by 11pm.
I woke up to a small gush of fluid, thinking I peed myself for the first time during my pregnancy. I went to the bathroom and thought “this doesn’t look or smell like urine.” I looked at the time – 12:01 May 26. Dad’s birthday.
I knew my mom would still be awake, so I texted her from the bathroom. “Do you think this could be my water breaking a little?” Her reply? “Most people don’t have their water break at home. If you’re not in pain, try to go back to sleep.” So I did.
12:40am – cramping began. I was still unsure if I was truly in labor. Justin was doing his drunk snore and I knew he needed to sleep longer before I mentioned anything.
2am – cramping was feeling pretty aggressive at that point. Having never been in labor before, I wasn’t sure how bad it had to be before heading to the hospital. It had only been a couple of hours, so I felt defeated and somewhat embarrassed that I was in so much pain. I caved and woke up Justin. He asked if it was just stomach pains from Spats food. Um?
3am – Justin called my doctor (she happened to be on call) to ask if the amount of blood I was seeing was normal. She assured him it was normal. She asked about my comfort level – Justin replied that I didn’t seem that bad. Defeated again. I tried to shower.
4am – I cracked and we headed to the hospital. Justin warned me there’s a possibility they would send us home.
5:30am – We were finally checked in (we neglected to pre-register) and I was not a very friendly and responsive person to the poor nurse dealing with us at that point. She checked me and called Dr. Zart in quickly to check me, too. 8, almost 9 centimeters dilated. I was met with many “wow, I can’t believe you waited this long to come in” from the clinical staff rapidly filling the room. “Most first time moms come in at 3 centimeters!” All I thought amongst all the praise and chatter was “does this mean I can’t get an epidural.” But it wasn’t just a thought, I realized I was crying and asking out loud. My doctor and the nurses looked at each other and then at me and explained I was already at my peak pain and the baby was coming soon. I needed to be on whatever drip they gave me for an hour prior to the epidural, and I wouldn’t have an hour. I cried. I begged. They paged the anesthesiologist. He happened to be my parents neighbor. Funny. I was told I’m already this far into natural labor and I can do it. I was told the epidural likely wouldn’t work at this stage, but may at least take the edge off. I pleaded to give it anyway. Mentally, I wanted the drugs.
I dared to ask the question: “so, when should we have come in?” The answer? “Probably when your water broke at midnight.” Oh.
6am – the epidural was administered and I was still feeling the contractions, but was hoping to rest my eyes for a bit as I’d been functioning on one hour of sleep. Dr. Zart walked in and said it was time to push. WAIT, WHAT? Justin called my parents, who were taking their grand old time to come up because “labor is long for first time moms.” Justin told them they were going to miss everything.
6:30am – my parents arrived. Nurse asked if I wanted my mom to come back. I said “sure.” My mother walked in, her face paled and she walked out. LOL. She wasn’t expecting to see everything.
6:47am – Sofia made her debut.
My total labor from start to finish was 6 hours and 46 minutes.
I was met with more praise from the staff. I was told my pain tolerance is very high. Who knew?
There is no way to know how your labor will progress. I can earnestly say: birth plans are stupid. LOL.
2. It truly does take a village to raise a child. It literally takes us minimum 30 extra minutes to get out of the house. We will never be on time to anything, ever again.
My cousin, Carrie, and my mom were over the first night we decided to take Sofia out with us to dinner. It took all of us almost an hour to get everything together and get out the door. An hour.
Justin has been super dad and husband. He cleans up the house while she’s chained to me. He takes care of her as much as I do and he has gotten up with me for every single feeding in the night.
I’m terrified for him to go back to work tomorrow.
Two weeks down, two big lessons already learned. I can’t wait to see what else motherhood brings.