It started on Friday, July 23rd. I was 38 weeks pregnant. I woke up at about 4am because I couldn't get comfortable and could no longer sleep. I noticed that I was having dull back pains and small contractions, but I didn't really think anything of it. I made breakfast for Mando and packed his lunch and sent him off to work. I had plans that day to go see my mom and sister and go with my sister and nephew to the zoo. I hadn't been driving, but I was restless and wanted to get out of the house. I got in my car and right away noticed that something felt wrong when I was driving. I got on the freeway and pieces of my tire were falling off causing my car to shake violently. I freaked out and slowed down to make my way to the shoulder. Then a HUGE chunk fell off knocking my front bumper off and I had to pull over immediately. It was SO SCARY. I called Mando and my mom to let them know what happened and then called my insurance to have them come change my tire. I told the lady on the phone that I was 9 months pregnant, having contractions, and stuck in a black car in the middle of July with no AC. I thought that would get the ball rolling, but I was wrong. An HOUR AND A HALF later the tow truck driver finally showed up. He was so rude! He didn't even apologize for being late or ask me how I was. Then he refused to change my tire because he said my bumper was hanging down to far to drive so he had to tow it. The whole way we were driving to my mom's house I was having intense contractions that were made worse by being inside a bumpy tow truck. We arrived at my house and then my sister and I got ready to go to the zoo. We walked around for a couple of hours and had a nice time, but I noticed I was still having contractions and they seemed to be getting worse. We arrived back home and hung out for a little while until my boyfriend got there and then we all went out to dinner. It was crab fest at Red Lobster and I ate a FEAST! I probably consumed 2 lbs of crab that night. I even joked at the table that it would be funny if this was my 'last supper' before labor. Little did I know...
When we got home I decided to go to bed earlier than normal. I took a bath and fell asleep around 12:30. Mando had decided to meet up with his friends for the night, and I let him go because I knew it would be awhile before he was able to do that again. I woke up around 3:30 and noticed that Mando still wasn't home. I sent him a nasty text message telling him to get his butt home; it was way too late for him to still be out while I was 9 months pregnant home alone. He came home around 4 and fell asleep. I tried to lay down with him, but I was having such bad contractions I couldn't sleep. I went to the living room and laid down on the couch and they were getting really intense. I started timing them on my iPhone and I noticed that they were already 1 and a half to 2 minutes long and only 3 minutes apart! I was shocked. I went to the bathroom and sat on the toilet and internally felt a POP and a gush. Immediately my contractions became so intense I was having trouble focusing. I started crying while still on the toilet and Mando woke up to ask me what was wrong. I explained the situation and he wanted to go to the hospital right away. I had been timing my contractions for about 45 minutes so far so I told him I wanted to wait until at least an hour before I would call. I wanted to take a hot shower to see if they would continue to get worse. The whole time I was in the shower I was bawling because I was in so much pain. By this time they were only 2 minutes apart. Mando called the doctor who I spoke with and she told me to head over to the hospital. I waited about another hour getting dressed, picking up the house, and packing the hospital bag in between contractions still crying the whole time. I couldn't believe how hard and fast they were coming on and I was scared I wasn't even dilating. By the time we got to the hospital and I was checked it was 6am. I was 3cm dilated and my contractions were only 45 seconds apart and they were hitting me HARD. The nurse even remarked 'Wow, labor hit you like a freight train, didn't it?'. At this point I was throwing up crab from the night before and at the verge of hyperventilating. I wasn't getting any break from the contractions. The nurse told me I could get the epidural if I wanted because she had a feeling I was going to go fast. I got the epidural around 8am. It wasn't too painful, but the sitting position was SO uncomfortable and I had to get it during contractions which made it basically impossible to sit still. Finally he was done and I felt better almost immediately. I could focus now and breath and rest. They put in my catheter and checked me again and I was at 5cm and at a +2 station. I spent the next few hours relaxing but I could tell that my contractions were getting stronger. Even with the epidural in, I could feel the pressure. My mom and sister visited around 11am and came in to check on me. I told my sister I felt like I was going through transition. Shortly after the nurse came in and checked me again. She said that I was at 10cm and ready to push! I was shocked. I had only been there for a few hours... I thought that I would be there over night! It wasn't even noon! My family left and the nurses started setting up the room. Unfortunately my OB wasn't on call and couldn't make it (I knew that was going to happen) so I met the OB who would be delivering. She was sweet and made me feel comfortable. Around noon they started coaching me on how to push, but I still still pretty numb from the epidural I received only a few hours prior so they turned it off. They also gave me a small dose of Pitocin (which was thankfully the only time it was needed my entire labor) to make my contractions stronger and more intense in order for me to feel them and push effectively. Then the pushing began. It really was such a challenge for me because I couldn't feel my legs and I could tell I was pushing with the wrong muscles. The nurse was massaging my perineum which really helped because the pressure of her fingers helped me figure out where I needed to push. Every time I felt a contraction I was take a deep breath and let it out. Then fill my lungs with as much air as possible, hold my breath, and push for 10 seconds while my boyfriend and a student nurse held my legs up for me. I had to do that 3 times in a row at each contraction. It was HARD work. After the relief from the epidural I don't think I was mentally prepared for the hard work and it was all happening so fast. I started to get the hang of it as my epidural wore off and my pushes were becoming more effective. The nurse showed Mando how the head was almost out and this baby had a TON of hair. Mando and the nurses just kept telling me how good I was doing and how strong I was (even though I felt like I was doing it all wrong) and they were very encouraging. Right when I started to feel like I couldn't do it anymore the doctor yelled that the head was almost out and to give her one BIG push. I pushed as if my life depended on it and before I knew it, his head was out. When the nurse had checked me earlier she noticed light meconium in the water. Once his head was out they saw that it was A LOT more than they originally thought and I had to wait to push the rest of his body out while they suctioned him to clear his lungs. After a few minutes they told me it was okay to start pushing again. I gave a few more big pushes and I felt his body slide out of me. My baby was born at 12:45pm on July 24th after only 6 hours of labor and less than 45 minutes of pushing. He weighed 7 lbs even and was 19 inches long. He scored 9/9 on the APGAR. It was so surreal.
Because of the meconium, they had a team waiting to check his lungs and to make sure he hadn't inhaled any poop. This also meant that he was whisked away to the other side of the room (with Mando by his side) before I ever got a chance to hold him. The was the only time I got angry. While they checked him the doctor was busy stitching me up. Because they had turned the epidural off an hour earlier I had started getting my feeling back down there. I could definitely feel her stitching me up and had to yell OW! to let her know they needed to numb me some more. After like 5 numbing shots finally I stopped feeling it. This is also when I found out the the doctor had given me an episiotomy (no one ever bothered to tell me this) and despite that, I STILL got a 3rd degree tear. It took her about 30 minutes to finish stitching me up and I was separated from my baby the ENTIRE time without ever having held him. I have to say this was my only negative experience while in the hospital.
Finally when she was done they gave me my baby. I was so full of emotion at finally getting to hold him I just lost it. He was so beautiful and alert and he was MINE. My boyfriend and I spent a few precious minutes just crying together and celebrating our perfect son. I refused the eye drops and immediately held him skin to skin on my chest. I let him crawl up and find my breast and tried nursing him. He didn't quite latch on, but I figured he got some practice in there. I couldn't believe how strong his neck muscles were. His eyes were wide open since birth and he was lifting his head and looking all around. The nurses all commented on how alert he was. After awhile our family started showing up and we spent the next few hours just bonding, taking pictures, and being with family.
We were moved to the recovery room where we stayed for the next 2 days. Nights were hard because of the trouble I was having with breastfeeding, but we were just so happy to be new parents it was all worth it. I'll cherish the memories of those first few nights alone with Mando and Cayden and just getting to know each other as a family. It was magical. On Monday around 1pm we were finally discharged. Cayden did excellent on the drive home even though I was a nervous wreck in the backseat with him. We made it home and have been here ever since just getting used to being parents and bonding. It's definitely been hard, but it is worth every sleepless night and every moment of frustration. We've been so lucky to have the support of family and friends. Everyone who visits has been bringing me coffee. My sister stocked my freezer with frozen meals. Mando's family has been bringing food for us. My best friend brought over homemade enchiladas and baked me cupcakes. We are so blessed. I'm still recovering from the 3rd degree tear (which SUCKS BTW) and I'm suffering from a bad case of engorgement since I quit breastfeeding. Apart from that though, thing have been going great.
Cayden is a miracle. He is so alert and strong already and his little personality just shines through. I am obsessed with his toes and can't stop kissing them. I love the scrunchy face he makes when he stretches. He eats like a champ and had already reached his birth weight + 5 oz at his 3 day appointment. Today he is 1 week old and I feel like we are really getting to know each other. He looks around when he hears my voice and stops crying when he's in my arms. Mando is such an outstanding father and has been such a huge help to me. I'm going to be so sad when he has to return to work in 2 days. I know he wants nothing more than to stay home with his son and 1 week is so short a time. I wish we could all stay home locked away as a family and just snuggle all day!
Motherhood is a lot harder than I expected, but it also has come so natural to me. I'm learning so much and I feel truly blessed to have gotten the chance to experience this for the first time. It really is a life changing experience and I can't wait to watch him grow.