I woke up late Monday/early Tuesday morning and could not fall back to sleep. After lying around for about an hour I realized I hadn’t felt the little one move. That was pretty unusual since the peanut was very active and I could feel her wiggling around basically all the time. I poked and prodded and drank some juice and started to worry. Maybe an hour later I finally felt her move, but it was kind of half-hearted. I had an overwhelming feeling of ick and decided to call my doctor. She instructed me to go to labor and delivery post haste, which I was honestly happy to do, I just felt …. concerned.
I got to L&D, they hooked me up to the monitors and I could hear little Mika’s heartbeat straightaway – whew! We hung out there for a couple of hours, my doctor came by and did an ultrasound to check my fluids (which were fine) and asked if I just wanted to be induced. I decided against it, but asked her to strip my membranes to see if we could get the party started. In short … that started the party.
Riaz and I came home and I decided it was finally time for me to pack my bag for the hospital (my labors are, on average, 3 days long, I did not feel a huge sense of urgency!) I did a few more things around the house and then just chilled. Around 8:00 p.m. I started to feel the first light contractions. Again, my labors are LOOOOONNNNGGG, so I really thought I had another couple of days before it was really baby time, so I just kind of puttered around and then went to bed around 10:00. I woke up at around 1:30 to a pretty painful contraction. Hu hum, I thought, that was a pretty good one but I bet everything will just stop after a few of those.
Things didn’t stop though and I kept having reasonably painful contractions that actually seemed to be getting progressively closer and closer together, something that NEVER happened with either Aiman or Sofia. At around 2:30ish I decided to start timing the contractions and lo and behold they were already 5 minutes apart, and then almost instantly they were 3 minutes apart. And they stayed that way. For about 30 minutes I kept telling myself, “if the next one comes in 3 minutes, I’ll wake up Riaz …” Contraction …. “O.K., if the next one comes in three minutes, I’ll wake up Riaz.” I was in denial.
I finally came to the conclusion that I really did need to wake up Riaz cause, OUCH! these contractions kind of hurt and CRAP! they are really close together and %&$@* they are like a minute and a half long.
It was a little after 3:00 when I shook Riaz awake and said, “it’s time to go!” Unbeknownst to me, Riaz was having a hard time getting to sleep that night so he had taken a sleeping pill at around 1:00 thinking, like me, that we had a few days of labor to go and that he would need to get some good sleep that night. Ha! Getting him out of bed was a bit of a chore, and I’m not sure he was really taking my laboring seriously, but we got out of the house in about 30 minutes and were on our way to the hospital.
When I got to the hospital they hooked me up to every machine that has ever been invented (stupid Western medicine) and checked to see that I was 6 centimeters dilated (Yipee!) I told them that yes, please and thank you, I would like the epidural, get on that.
The anesthesiologist got there and after scolding Riaz for trying to take a picture, did his work. My lower body went blissfully numb and I tried (unsuccessfully) to get some rest.
At maybe 7:00 or so my doctor came by to check on me and said I was only about 7 centimeters dilated, I really didn’t care that I had made so little progress because (as I mentioned before) I was numb and happy. She ordered up a tiny bit of pitocin and I sat back to enjoy my medicated child birth.
Almost immediately after she left I started to feel some contractions. They were no big deal and I thought it was probably because of the pitocin and that maybe I was starting to go through transition.
A few minutes later the contractions were starting to get a bit more painful. Ummmm….I signed up for a heavily medicated birth and pain was not part of my birth plan!
I have done natural child birth before and I DID NOT want to do it again. I asked the nurse if the anesthesiologist could come back around and top me up. No luck, he was in with another patient.
The contractions got consistently more and more painful and I was trying to do the deep breathing and concentration techniques that I had used during Sofia’s birth. Nothing really helped though. The build up to the extreme pain happened so quickly that my body and mind just did not have time to adjust and I was in some seriously serious pain that I was not ready to deal with.
At probably 7:45 or so I started to feel a real need to push. They checked my cervix and I was fully dilated. My doctor was called back to the hospital and I was told NOT to push. As in … I know that all your body wants to do right now is push, but DO NOT do it. People, the way to make contractions at least somewhat manageable is to try to completely relax your body, it’s not easy to do, but it is definitely the trick to making it through natural childbirth. When I was told not to push, I literally had to tense every muscle in my body to keep from shooting that baby out like a rocket and it just made the contractions all the more unbearable. It was truly terrible and I had real thoughts of committing some kind of violent felony against the anesthesiologist.
My doctor finally got back to the hospital a little before 8:00, I pushed twice and Mika Jane was here! My body was so ready to Get.Her.Out.
Mika was placed directly on my chest and stayed there for over an hour. UCLA is really wonderful about that. She nursed for the first time maybe about 30 minutes after she was born and basically hasn’t stopped. She cried and cried when she was born, but is a fairly chilled out little girl. She’s not as quiet as Sofia was (but definitely no longer is!), but not the screamer that Aiman could sometimes be.
I can say now that I was honestly shocked to see a little girl, towards the end I was telling everyone I had no idea what we had, but I really thought she was a he. My maternal instincts fail me yet again!
I have healed up remarkably fast from this labor, probably because I barely pushed and because Mika was quite a bit smaller than her siblings. Three weeks out and I am happy to report that besides the extreme exhaustion, I feel pretty great.
This was by far my easiest labor, though the last 15 minutes or so were much more painful than anything I experienced with either Aiman or Sofia, but I do think that had a lot to do with the fact that I was not mentally prepared to deal with the pain.
As everyone says though … it was all worth it in the end. She is a most precious little girl.