On Tuesday, May 13th, I was 41 weeks and one day along. I had a doctor's appointment with an ultrasound planned at 1:30 that afternoon. Ian went along with me, and I half-jokingly asked him on the way what he would say if the doctor checked us out and then admitted us to the hospital right then and there ... he said there's no way that would happen (and while it didn't, it was close!).
We were excited to see our sweet pea on the ultrasound since our last ultrasound was done at 18 weeks. I nervously asked the tech to confirm that it was still a girl ... hallelujah, it was, because we had a very pink nursery waiting for her!
The ultrasound showed a slight decrease in fluid levels, which I knew could mean that the doctor would want her to make an appearance sooner than later. They hooked me up to watch her heartrate and gave us a little time together in the room.
The type-A planner in me wanted a naturally-occuring labor (and maybe medication-free), so the idea of being induced was not in "my plan" ... but sure enough, the doctor talked with us at length about the potential dangers of the low fluid, and he recommended an induced labor that evening.
Ian and I discussed this with each other, with our doula, and with our mothers and decided to leave the doctor's office, grab our hospital bags, and go forward with the induction that evening.
We unpacked and repacked our hospital bags nervously. Ian took a little celebratory sip, and off we went to the hospital, with a quick dinner trip to Jason's Deli on the way. The lady cleaning up at the salad bar looked at my big belly and said "Soon, yes?" -- I just had to laugh. Yes, soon -- as in one hour!
We got to the hospital and pulled up to the front where they offer valet parking for the expectant mamas. They hustled out to the car with a wheelchair and we told them we wouldn't be needing it. Up to the room we went and got ready to start the induction process.
Before we got everything going, I snapped one last photo in the restroom -- my, oh my, this was one large belly.
Around 8:00 that night is when the doctor came in, started me on Cervadil, and gave me an Ambien. He told me to enjoy my last night of good rest before the baby came. Our doula Jess, my mom, and my sister Laura also came by the hospital during this time.
Our doula offered to stay the night with us, but I told her no need -- may as well have everyone get some good rest.
Well, around 2am I woke up with extremely strong contractions coming two minutes apart!
I decided to let Ian sleep through it since I knew I'd need all of his energy when it was go-time. I buzzed in a nurse and asked for a yoga ball and texted Jess letting her know that I needed her. The contraction timer on my phone was my best friend as I sat there on the ball, rocking back and forth through the strong contractions, and waiting for Jess to arrive.
She was amazing. She rolled tennis balls around on my back to help relieve pressure, and she also pushed my hips together during contractions (which felt wonderful). We made it through the night without medication, and let me tell you ... those contractions were strong and powerful. Early in the morning, she also recommended a walk around the hospital floors with Ian, and all three of us paused during each contraction so that I could hang on to the railing on the wall while Jess pushed my hips together.
The next morning, they started Pitocin. Around 9am, I believe, is when I first got some pain medication through an IV, and Mom and Laura arrived.
I really didn't want IV pain meds, but I wasn't progressed enough at that point to even think about an epidural, and I was hurting. The medical staff said that the pain meds could help me sleep while my body continued to make some progress.
I did sleep a bit, but not well. I remember whimpering in my sleep through each of the contractions.
At that point, it was just the waiting game.
After a bit of sleep and a lot of pain, I was still only 2cm, but considering that I started at 0cm (yes, even at 41 weeks!), I felt like we were making progress. They cleared me at that point for an epidural.
Even though I wanted to attempt an epidural-free birth, I decided at that point to go for it. The pain I was in was so strong, I still had a lot of progress to make, and I didn't really feel "in the moment" to be able to truly soak it all in and appreciate the people that were there for me. After such a wonderful experience with my entire pregnancy, I wanted to enjoy the labor as well. So, epidural it was.
And after that, I got ready to have my baby. I put in my contacts and put on my face. Yes, my family laughed at me, but I told them I wanted to make a good first impression on my baby girl!
And from there on, we just waited until we had clearance to start pushing. I had a tremendously wonderful epidural -- the pain was gone but I could easily wiggle my toes, move around in bed, and bend my legs up to scoot around. I could also still feel my contractions.
Once it was time to push, I was so excited ... I thought I'd be meeting my daughter any second. Well -- not so much. It took two hours of intense, intense pushing until she made her way into the world! I had Jess, Ian, and my Mom all present for the birth, and it was the most wonderful team of cheerleaders. I couldn't have done it without all of them there.
Our beautiful Camille was born at 6:43pm on May 14th.
They immediately put her on my chest when she was born, and I nursed her just a few minutes afterwards -- exactly how I wanted that to go. The planner in me rejoiced, ha!
Not long after this, I did have a scare when I fainted. The nurse was trying to get me out of bed to use the restroom (since I had to have a catheter with the epidural) and luckily I was sitting in a wheelchair when it happened. Scared my mother to death -- Ian wasn't in the room at the time -- but the nurse handled it well and took great care of me.
We had a very good first night thanks to great nurses, and on Camille's second day in the hospital, she got her first bath as well as her footprints.
And on our second night, Ian surprised me with two sweet gifts ... a new band to wear with my wedding set, and a bottle of SAUVIGNON BLANC, yessir.
Camille stayed in the room with us both nights and slept and ate very well. Each nurse that came in remarked how beautiful and alert she was. We were, and are, such proud parents.
I could have not had a better birth experience, I truly believe that. It was not the one I necessarily imagined, but I think being flexible and trusting your medical team (as well as your own intuition) is key. And most importantly, prioritizing the health of your baby. Camille is one healthy little babe, and that's all that matters now.
Thank you to my wonderful sister Laura for
these beautiful photos ... I will forever cherish them!