Aiman was given a due date of April 21, I always believed that was way too early and that his *real* due date was April 27. Sure enough, April 21 came and went and there was nothing even approaching what anyone could call imminent labor. Even though I knew I might have a ways to go, I decided that I was no longer anything more than a big hunk of mush at work and decided to call it quits on Friday April 17. Best. Decision. Ever. I spent the week of the 21st, finishing stuff up around the house, relaxing, watching T.V. and making Riaz rub my feet because my days of doing nothing were so difficult on my body. I had a doctor’s appointment on Monday April 27. The doctor wanted to monitor the baby for awhile and do and ultrasound to make sure my fluids were in check. Dr. Bayati informed me that I needed to go into labor now or she would have to induce. Thanks lady … no pressure at all!
As anyone who works with me knows, I work better with a deadline, and true to form I started feeling some contractions that night at 8:00 p.m. They were really mild and not consistent at all. They started getting stronger at around 11:00 p.m., but I was still able to fall asleep (I am amazingly awesome at sleeping through things), and I slept until about 2:00 a.m., when I woke to a pretty strong contraction that lasted for over a minute. The contraction was totally manageable though and I remember thinking, this labor crap is a cinch! I am so totally the bomb – all those women who take drugs during labor can eat it! Wusses.
After my own personal little ego boost, I went back to bed and continued to have contractions every 20-30 minutes, which I slept between. At around 7:00 a.m. on Tuesday morning, the contractions were getting a little stronger and were ranging between 5 and 10 minutes apart. Again, I was overwhelmed by the feelings of my own awesomeness. I could have the baby right here! All those natural childbirth books really paid off. I am THE. BEST. I ate some breakfast and continued to just work with the contractions. By about 4:00 p.m. the contractions were about 3 minutes apart but were only lasting 45 seconds or so and, very annoyingly, my contractions were not all that consistent, most were about 3 minutes apart, but others came after 5 minutes or even 15-20 minutes. All very frustrating.
This is where I really started to behave irrationally. In one of my natural childbirth books it talks about the “stages” of a laboring woman. The first is “Excitement” – like “oh yea! I’m having a baby today, these contractions are uncomfortable, but I am so Excited!” In this chapter you see a picture of a big pregnant smiling woman – presumably she is excited! During this phase, you are supposed to just labor at home, eat, do things around the house and just revel in your excitement. Later you move onto the “Serious” stage – like “oh man! These contractions kind of hurt, I really need to concentrate to get through them. OUCH!” The book wants you to remain in this phase for several hours or until your contractions have established themselves at 3 minutes apart and an minute to a minute and a half long before you go to the hospital. So this is where I got crazy. By 4:00 p.m. I was beginning to wonder why things were not moving along faster and why my contractions were stubbornly short, so I decided that I needed to be more Serious. So I furrowed my brow and breathed heavily through each contraction thinking … You’re Serious …. You. Are. So. Serious … Be. Serious. Serious. Serious. I am crazy.
By about 9:00 p.m., I think I actually was feeling serious. I was in my 7th shower of the day, my back was killing me and I felt like I needed to hurl. This is Serious. So Riaz called his parents, we finished packing the car and headed out to drive the treacherous 10 blocks to the hospital. During the car ride, in which I had several contractions, I attempted to give Riaz directions to the hospital, which were (of course) wrong, so we ended up driving around in circles for a few blocks (I am so cool.) Once we got to the hospital, we proceeded to get into the wrong set of elevators, then we tried to get off those elevators but instead we were taken to a different floor where we picked up a bunch of passengers who kept looking back at me breathing and clutching the handrail like I was some kind of crazy person. We finally got off the elevator of death and were forced to walk about a mile and a half to the correct elevators until we finally made it to Labor and Delivery. NOTE TO UCLA: I understand that you cannot have security staff at every door 24-7, but since it is one and a half miles from the main entrance to the entrance to L&D, wouldn’t it be a fine idea to post someone at the L&D door all the time, women sometimes labor at night, laboring does not stop just because it is 9:00 p.m., laboring and walking are hard. Please rectify. Very Truly Yours, KMF.
Once in L&D they got me into my room fairly quickly, hooked me up to the monitors, did all the tests and checked my dilation. 4 centimeters! Yes! I was feeling pretty proud of myself for being at 4 – though when I think about it now, it really should have crushed my spirit. I had been laboring for 25 hours at that point! I was at a 4 after 25 hours! But whatever, at that time I thought I was kicking ass and that is the important thing.
By about 10:00 p.m. we were settled into the room and the contractions were definitely stronger. The only way for me to really handle them was if I was either sitting up or standing (mainly standing) and Riaz or my mom needed to be jamming their fists into my lower back to alleviate the really painful back labor. Here is my little note about labor – the actual contractions themselves were really not all that bad for me. It was the ridiculous back labor that was awful. It made it literally impossible for me to lay down during the contractions which made it really difficult to get any kind of rest between the contractions. So I was really starting to get exhausted. See evidence below:
Don’t I look miserable!
At around 2:00 a.m. on Wednesday morning our awesome nurse came in and said that she was going on a break and would be back in an hour. At this point my contractions were fairly close together and felt like they were a minute or more long. They weren’t all that consistent though, sometimes they would be right on top of each other, and other times they would be 2 or 3 minutes apart.
This is, again, where I returned to my crazy ways. My childbirth book said that the final “stage” of a laboring woman is “self doubt.” Apparently this is where most women lose it. The book says that it is very important for the coach to tell the woman that she is doing awesome and is almost done because she really probably only has a little ways to go. At this point, I was in quite a bit of pain and was so thoroughly exhausted I really did not think I could do it. I kept saying to Riaz, “I think I am feeling self doubt” … “I am really doubting myself right now!” I still can’t get over how I could literally recite that damn book word-for-word during my labor, I clearly think way too much.
Anyway, the nurse came back at around 3ish and I decided that I needed her to check my progress. I told myself that if I was 7 centimeters or more then I would tough it out, if I was less, I would cave and get the epidural. She checked and I was at 6.5 – No Contest – Epidural it was!
Gentle reader – I know that I was all for the natural childbirth, but I really did not anticipate my “natural” birth continuing for over 30 hours! I was exhausted! I really believe I could have done it had my labor lasted a mere 24 or 25 or even 30 hours! It was that final one hour that did me in – 31 hours is just too much!
The anesthesiologist came in and administered the epi, it was a cinch, no pain at all (or maybe it was painful but I really couldn’t tell because I was practically comatosed from the 31 previous hours of labor!) Before I knew it, my legs were numb and I was asleep. I honestly barely remember the doctor leaving. I was out.
I was in and out of sleep for the next 4 or 5 hours. Dr. Bayati arrived sometime around 8, checked me and said, “OH! The baby is right there, you are ready to push.” I looked over and was said, “Riaz, Riaz, Riaz! Wake up! Its time to push.” I think we were all a little out of it. I really couldn’t feel a thing. I asked them to turn down the epi so I could feel what was happening, but I did a few practice pushes and apparently I was a good pusher so they weren’t too worried about it.
After probably an hour or so of pushing (which was very easy because I literally could not feel a thing), out came Baby Aiman! He weighed 8 pounds, 5 ounces and was 21.5 inches long.
Isn’t he cute!
They put him on my chest and he proceeded to poop all over me – which everyone thought was just hilarious. He had a ton of hair, his eyes were wide open and he was making a few cute little cries. He ended up needing to be suctioned out because he had some mucus in his lungs, but they got it all out fairly quickly and he scored eights on his APGARS.
I was in good shape too, just two little stitches and I was up and walking around within 30 minutes or so.
They moved us into recovery and we started working on bonding as a family!
He is the sweetest little guy. He sleeps like a champ – sometimes up to 4 hours at night, he is eating a ton and has already gained 4 ounces. He only cries when he is hungry and when we are changing his diaper – which he HATES with a fiery burning passion, but all-in-all we could not ask for a better baby. Plus … just look what he lets me do to his cheeks …
… and how big his feet are … how can you not love a baby with such big feet!