1.24.2017

Pregnancy + Labor Story


I was browsing some folders in my lap top earlier this week and I found some pictures of newborn Felix in the hospital. As I browsed through them, I started walking down memory lane and reminiscing about carrying Felix and awaiting his arrival. Since I started this blog in December (almost two months after my precious babe was born), I never got to share the joys and pains of pregnancy with my little blogging community. Since today is my birthday, I thought I'd share my little one's "birth" story -- its better late than never, right?

Here's my  [ pregnancy + labor ] story as I remember it. 


How I Found Out: 
I found out I was pregnant last March. I had been feeling very tired during the day and it was getting to the point where I couldn't get out of bed until 11 am. I was struggling to wake up for work and I missed a few days because of it (luckily, I worked for my mom and she didn't fire me!), but even on the days I made it on time, I was so sluggish and I could barely function. So, on March 11, I woke up thinking about the two unused pregnancy tests I had tucked away in my sock drawer. I contemplated whether I should take one, but opted to go make breakfast instead. As I opened the fridge and looked inside hoping to distract myself with a meal, the very thought of food was repulsive and made me want to gag. I went back to the bedroom and sat on my bed eyeing the sock drawer and thinking about why I felt so sick for what could have been at least 15 minutes.  I decided to take a test just because -- I wasn't feeling myself, but I was 101% sure I wasn't pregnant. 

I peed on the stick and waited patiently for the words "not pregnant" to appear.  Since I was convinced that there was no way I was pregnant, I felt like this was wasting a test which happen to be quite expensive. Five minutes had passed and I slowly leaned in to read.... PREGNANT. 

I didn't believe it -- how could I be pregnant, I was just reeling from the emotional roller coaster of losing our first baby last November,  and I was definitely NOT pregnant. I ran to my room, grabbed the second pregnancy test and took it -- only to read PREGNANT again. 

Reaction:
When it finally hit me that I actually was pregnant, I didn't know how to react. Part of me was overjoyed, but part of me was worried. I had suffered from a miscarriage three months prior and I wasn't sure I could carry to full term. There was no medical reason for that fear, but when you lose your first baby, those kind of fears take root in your mind and it's hard to shake them. While I had mixed emotions about having a baby, I started to brainstorm how I would tell Florin. 

How I Told My Husband:
I didn't actually tell him face to face. Florin worked several jobs last year and sometimes we would sleep at my parents house. It was half way between our home and his jobs, so when I had to work at my parent's house the following day, we'd just meet there instead of making him drive all the way home for one night -- the day I found out I was pregnant was one of those days. Florin had asked me to bring him some clean clothes, so I strategically placed the pregnancy between his shirt and pants in a bag. The evening rolled around and we were at my parents house, and he asked me if I brought the clothes, to which I replied yes and gave him the bag. About 15 minutes later, he came out of the guest bedroom with the test in his hand and asked me what it was. I told him it was a pregnancy test, to which he replied, "you're pregnant?" in sort of a surprised and confused tone. I said yes and he left without saying a word. I followed him to see what was the matter -- he was just taken aback with the news, but was overjoyed at the news.

The Pregnancy: 
After I told Florin, we both shared the feeling of not wanting to get our hopes up just in case it would be a repeat of last time. We told our parents, siblings and a few close friends the good news, but we wanted to wait until the 2nd trimester to announce it to the rest of the world. 

The first trimester was brutal. I just couldn't eat anything. The thought of food was repulsive and I honestly would gag the moment anything touched my tongue. I threw up a total of two times, but that number would have been much higher had I eaten. I spent my days eating crackers, bananas, and drinking Gatorade. I lost 10 pounds the first 3 months of my pregnancy. Another aspect of the first trimester was the constant state of sleepiness. I honest felt like dropping down and taking a nap every 3 to 4 hours -- if dropping down meant sleeping on concrete I was tired enough that it sounded desirable. 


During the early months of my pregnancy, I found myself without medical insurance and I didn't visit the doctor until I was 7 months pregnant. I had applied to our state's program, and was waiting for a response. During my first trimester, I ended up visiting a pregnancy resource center in April to get my pregnancy validated, so I could send the results to the insurance in hopes that they'd process my paperwork. Going into the center, I was a bit embarrassed because I wasn't in need of much help and I wanted to keep my baby, so I sort of felt like I was wasting their resources. When I walked in I was the only person besides the staff, so that made me feel a bit better. The people there were so friendly and helpful -- they gave me a test and it confirmed that I was pregnant to which they offered a free ultrasound to further validate the pregnancy. Seeing my baby, for the first time on the screen was probably one of the most memorable moments of my life -- there was my little babe at 13 weeks with a strong heartbeat and thrusting around those little stubs that would soon form into precious little hands and feet. I was in love.  I then announced that was expecting a little bundle late May via social media.


Once the second trimester rolled around, I was full of energy and starving! I was tired of just staying in bed all day and had this crazy appetite for fruits, veggies and rice crackers. I finally resolved the medical insurance issues in late June, but when I went to make an appointment with my OBGYN, the only opening they had was a month out. A cousin of mine told me about private ultrasound clinics that held sessions to find out the gender, so I quickly found one near me and made an appointment. Everyone that saw me and my growing belly told me that based on my shape, I was going to have a baby girl and I was just so curious! My husband and I went into that appointment thinking we were going to have a little girl, but we left with the pleasant knowledge that a little boy would soon be gracing our lives. 

I didn't go out much during the second trimester because it was summer and I couldn't stand the heat. Every time I went in weather that was higher that 80 degrees, I'd feel like I couldn't breathe. I stopped working around 6 months and spent my days inside next to the air conditioner.

When the third trimester arrived, it brought back the waves of sleepiness -- only this time I had to sleep. I couldn't keep myself awake anymore. I would sit down on the couch or on my bed which would then result in crashing for two or more hours at a time. I was so tired all the time and everything started to hurt around seven and a half months. My little nugget was already head down, pressing on my cervix and I had 2 more months to go! As the days went on, it got harder to walk because of the pain and I started to get so much acid reflux that I couldn't sleep at night. It was the most uncomfortable I've ever been. To add to the pain, my little guy was a kicker and by that I mean that whenever he kicked, I felt like my abdomen was about to burst. You could see the kicks move my belly almost always and he was moving all night long. If that wasn't enough, around the same time I found out Felix was head down, my body decided to throw in some Braxton Hicks contractions -- I felt like a complete mess! 

I recently found this picture on my computer, exactly a week before I gave birth, passed out before 9 pm.
😂 I have NO idea when he took this -- it cracks me up.
I also had a preclampsia and high blood pressure scare. We were having a prolonged summer and the heat would raise my blood pressure into a troublesome zone. The doctors at the clinic labeled me a "high risk pregnancy" and since my due date was November 15th, they decided that they wanted to monitor my blood pressure and the baby's heart rate. My primary doctor eventually had me going to her office for a stress test twice a week -- which was where I get hooked up to a machine that measures my contractions and the baby's heart rate for 20 to 30 minutes. By the end of my pregnancy, everyone in the office knew me by first name basis since I was there what seemed like every other day.

Stress Test Selfie! 

Labor + Birth
I woke up on October 25 at 3 am with a really dull, but persistent backache. I tried shifting the mountain of pillows I was sleeping on in order to get more comfortable and went back to sleep. I woke up at 7 am with the same persisting pain. I made breakfast for Florin and then saw him off to work around 1:30 pm and ended up having my best friend Diana come and visit me. We chatted for about 2 hours,  but as I sat on the couch the pain was getting worse and worse. When she left around 4 pm, I went straight to bed. I woke up at 6:30 pm with what had to be the worst back pain I had ever felt in my life. I went to the bathroom to pee and noticed that I wiped a little bit of blood. 

Trying not to panic, I told myself it must be nothing and tried to go back to bed. I couldn't sleep, so I started to time the sudden streaks of pain in my lower back. I was having one every 7 minutes. I went to the bathroom again only to wipe even more blood -- I started to get nervous. I called the clinic and was told that there probably wasn't anything wrong, but because this was my first baby, they just wanted to check me out. I called Florin and told him that the doctor wanted to see me and he rushed home. By the time he got home, I was having those streams of pain in my back every 5 minutes and it was getting hard to walk. Florin came home, helped me get into the car and we were off. The hospital I went to had their birthing unit away from the main entrance, so we had to park the car and walk to the door -- I thought I was going to have the baby on the sidewalk the pain was so strong! 

I finally made it inside and checked in at 8:30 pm. They showed me the room I was to be in and had me get into a hospital gown. She checked to see if I was dilated and I was -- 3 inches. She announced that tonight was baby night. She explained that the pain I was experiencing in my back was "back labor," and that some women get contractions in their back instead of their abdomen. She called the doctor and he said he was on his way. 

The doctor that came in to deliver my baby wasn't my primary OBGYN because it was her night off. The doctor my husband really liked was on call which made him happy. I had seen Dr. Yanke a couple of times during a stress test, so he wasn't a complete stranger. During my pregnancy, I felt really odd about a male delivering my baby, but when the time came, I didn't care who did it, I just wanted my baby out, so when he arrived I was more than happy to see a familiar face.

Contractions were coming every 2 minutes and I felt like my back was going to break, so Dr. Yanke okayed the epidural and around 10:30 pm I got the shot. The process was smooth and the results were amazing. I could feel my abdomen tighten, but the pain was gone -- I was so relieved. Thus the waiting game began. 



The nurse would come in every hour to check how far I was dilated.  Around 2 am, the nurse and doctor noticed that I stopped at 5 cm and wasn't dilating anymore, so they pumped me with some synthetic hormone to get the contractions going even more. I spent another 3 hours laying in bed, dozing off and on, until I felt an immense pressure and had the nurse get the doctor. 


Alas, my baby was making an entrance into the world. Labor was definitely harder than I anticipated and I thought it was going to be pretty hard. Pushing a child out of your body seemed almost impossible. Felix was coming out transverse, so it made pushing him out harder. I pushed for about 45 minutes until Felix was completely out on October 26 at 5:43 am. It was insane. About 5 minutes before he was born, I was ready to tell the doctor to cut me open because at this rate the kid was never going to come out. They have you push in segments of three and you're supposed to hold your breath. By the third push, I couldn't even breathe so I'd let it out. The doctor encourages you to push, and tells you to push like you did last time, but in my eyes, I was pushing the same the whole entire time! It was just hard, but he did finally come out -- and that's the important part!  

Felix didn't cry much when he came into the world, just whimpered. When they placed him on my chest, I was so relieved that he was out, and so tired from 8 hours of labor and 45 minutes of pushing. It didn't really hit me that I had a baby until about 8 am and from that moment on, I couldn't get enough of him! 

He came into the world weighing about 7 pounds and 2 ounces and was about 21 inches long -- a skinny, long baby boy. He had the sweetest cheeks and a head full of hair (all that heart burn was not in vain, praise jesus). He had the softest skin and the longest fingers I've ever seen. He was absolutely perfect. The nurses were telling me that he was becoming a hospital favorite because he was so tiny and sweet and I couldn't have agreed more!

I  know ever parent feels like this, but it was love at first sight. I honestly felt like I had the cutest baby in the world. Every discomfort that pregnancy and labor brought was quickly washed away as I spent time with my little babe. Having a child really shows you a love that you've never felt before. 


We spent two days in the hospital because I had a bacteria in my system that could have been potentially   dangerous for the baby, and they wanted to monitor us for at least two days. Everything turned out fine and we got to go home on the 27th and begin life at home with the sweetest little man who happened to be ours. We were so excited to go home and start our lives! 



Thinking Back:
If I have any regrets -- it's not taking more pictures of my baby bump. While pregnant, I felt like such a WHALE (I had gained about 40 pounds by the end of it all) and since the camera adds 10 pounds, I didn't want that documented. I avoided the camera at all times. The very few pictures I have are shot that were taken when I wasn't paying attention at a family gathering or outing. People told me that this was a regret of theirs, but I didn't listen and now I am reaping the consequences. It's not a major thing, but it would have been nice to have a few more pictures. Next time I suppose! 

Annnnnnd, that my friends is my [ pregnancy + labor ] story as I remember it. Truth be told, I thought that pregnancy and labor were probably one of the hardest things I've ever done, but in the end, you realize it's so worth it.  I would do it all over again (and I probably will!) The journey is long, and sometimes tedious, but oh the joy it brings. I look at Felix and I just have such an immense love and joy when I see him, it's like nothing I've ever known. I'm always thinking about we now have this precious little baby who makes everything in this life so much sweeter. As a person of faith, I feel like having a baby puts into perspective how much God loves us. It's the most incredible, heart warming feeling! 


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 Thanks for reading this novel of a post! 

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