Note: This post might be a little TMI so feel free to skip this if birth stories aren’t your thing.
Micah is going to be 4 months old on the 20th and I’m finally getting around to writing his birth story. Better late the never, right?
Before we get into the day I went into labor let’s establish some back story. I went on maternity leave on February 15th and my due date was March 4th. I thought I had plenty of time before he came. I was going to get ultrasounds every 2 weeks and seeing my OBGYN every week. At my last doctor appointment my OB gyn had recommended that I get induced and do a C-section at 39 weeks (Feb. 26th). He suggested that we measure the baby at my final ultrasound (Feb. 21st) and we can discuss our options the following Monday (Feb. 24th) and decide what we wanted to do. Charlie was going to go to go on paternity leave on Saturday, the 22nd.
I told myself that I’d start getting everything prepared when I go on maternity leave sine I “had time.” We didn’t even have our hospital bags fully packed because I ordered a bunch of stuff online that I was waiting for. But Baby Boy had his own plan.
It was February 19, a regular day. Charlie went off to work, I had a video call at 10:00 am, had meetings/lunch dates with friends and colleagues all week, and was working on some last minute business things. At 11:30 am, my video call and when I stood up I thought I peed my pants. I thought it was odd, but I just went to the bathroom, cleaned myself up, and changed clothes. Immediately, it happened again.
”Did my water break?”
I called Charlie and told him I think my water broke but I wasn’t sure. He headed straight home to take me to the hospital just to be sure, but we had the feeling this was it! We packed a few last minute things and left for the hospital. I heard the horror stories of not being able to eat when you’re at the hospital so we stopped at McDonald’s in case they wouldn’t let me eat until after I gave birth.
When we got to the hospital the staff wheeled me up to the labor and delivery department and settled into our room around 12:40 pm. They admitted me, put in my IV (ouch, I hate needles), and had me change into a hospital gown. They confirmed that my water broke so they notified my doctor that I was there. My doctor said that since my water broke we could attempt to have Baby Boy vaginally. At this time, I wasn’t feeling any contractions and was only 1 cm dilated. I had the feeling I’d be there for a while.
Since my bag of waters broke and labor wasn’t progressing much they gave me Pitocin. I had decided that I would get an epidural once I was about 4 cm dilated, so my nurse told me that I should tell her about 30 mins before I was ready in case the anesthesiologist was busy or in the OR for a c-section.
Around 2 a.m. I was ready to get my epidural. Honestly this was probably one of the scariest parts for me. I’m scared of needles so I tried to mentally prepare myself for the procedure. One thing I didn’t know was that Charlie had to leave the room when they administered the epidural which really scared me. I was really relying on him for moral support during this time, but here I was with 2 strangers. The nurse was so great (all the nurses at our hospital were amazing). I started trembling almost immediately because I was so scared. I realized I was having my first anxiety attack (I would have many more anxiety attacks the next few days after giving birth). I heard from other women that the epidural feels like a hard pinch or bee sting. LIES! It was way worse than a hard pinch!
The epidural kicked in slowly, starting from my mid-back and made its way down my right leg. It took a while and the numbness finally started to make its way to my other leg. Within a few hours the entire bottom half of my body was completely numb. I couldn’t even lift my legs. I was shaking the entire time because I was so scared. Was the epidural going to work properly? Did I make a mistake getting the epidural? Once the epidural kicked in completely I got extremely drowsy and slept until about 7 am.
At 7 am my doctor came in and said I was almost ready to start pushing! Baby Boy was coming that day! I was dilated almost 9 centimeters. My anxiety kicked in again as I was mentally preparing myself to go into active labor. So I start pushing but depending on the positioning of my body Baby Boy’s heart rate was dropping. 3 hours go by and still no baby, we can’t figure out why. My doctor said he suggests going back to our original plan: c-section. Let me say, I love my OBGYN and trusted him completely. Charlie and I agreed that we wanted to do what kept baby and I safe so we decided to do the c-section.
LAWD. My mental health was put. Through. The. Ringer. That. Day. Originally thinking I was going to have a c-section, to trying to have the baby vaginally, then going back to c-section was just so much for me to mentally take in. I was trying to psych myself up for what was to come. To help me keep my cool. What can I say, I’m a planner. I like to know what the game plan is.
They began to prep me for surgery. They had Charlie pack up our stuff, transferred me onto another bed, and wheeled me into the OR. Charlie and I parted ways to get him set up as well.
I’ve never had an operation before. I’ve actually only been to the hospital a handful to times, let alone for myself. Getting wheeled into that room was so overwhelming for me. It was really cold, there was a mirror pointing at me, I couldn’t and didn’t want to look. They transferred me again onto the operating bed, put up the sheet between my shoulders and the rest of my body, had me put my arms out like a T, and started prepping me for surgery. I was still alone, Charlie wasn’t in the room. There were people in there that I didn’t know, the nurse that was helping me in my original hospital room, the anesthesiologist, and finally my doctor. At the very last moment before they began Charlie walked in and I immediately started crying and shaking.
There was so much going through my mind…
“In a matter of minutes our baby is finally going to be here.“
”They’re about to cut you open.”
”You’re about to have major surgery.”
”You’ve been waiting over 5 years for this.”
”Am I going to be ok?”
”Is baby going to be ok?”
My anesthesiologist injects the numbing medication, explains what’s going on, and here we go. From what I can remember it was just a matter of minutes. Once the medication kicked in I felt extremely nauseous. That lasted for a minute or two and then everything went numb. I just remember feeling pulling and tugging, and I knew I was shaking the entire time. I was so scared, emotional, and ready all at the same time. It was so overwhelming. Within about 5 minutes (could’ve been a little longer) I hear him cry. I started sobbing, I asked Charlie if he could see him, they asked him if he wanted to cut the umbilical cord, and they started to put me back together. One of the creepiest things, hearing them staple me back together. Yikes!
They wheeled us into recovery, checked him, and gave me time for skin to skin with him. At 2:32 p.m. on 2/20/20, he was born! We still didn’t have a name for him until the following morning. Micah Bryant Ortega.
We had the most amazing experience from beginning to end at our hospital. We loved our doctor, the nurses and staff were so kind, knowledgeable, caring, and helpful. They made me feel so safe, I felt like I was in good hands, and they were there for me for anything I needed. I am eternally grateful that we had such a great delivery experience from beginning to end.
Was I scared? Yes. Was I worried? At times, yes. Especially when Micah’s heart rate would drop below normal.
Would I do it again? For him? ABSOLUTELY.