Today is the first day I am sitting down with the laptop for a couple of hours. And since Benji is turning 2 soon, I cannot help but reminisce on Benji Bear’s Big Arrival!
I am going to be sharing my labor and delivery story, as well as a little about our little Benji Bear.
I want to tell the story of the beginning. Because next to the day I married Vic, my children’s date of birth is undoubtedly the most special day of my entire life.
So I know I haven’t talked about this yet, but a short insight into my third trimester.. I was kind of an emotional mess. And part of my worries definitely came from anxiety over childbirth. There were a few things that contributed to my fears: seeing dramatizations of traumatic births on youtube, allowing my imagination to run wild, and hearing way too many horror stories from friends, and family.
Today, though, I’m here to share an extremely positive experience, and hopefully alleviate others fears of childbirth. Because I have to say, Benji’s delivery was incredible, and not at all traumatic. So incredible I was pregnant again 8 months later! *post coming soon*
At home: the night of September 23rd
Around 10 or 11 p.m. on Sunday September 23rd, I was watching The Office as usual, when I started to feel some cramps. They just felt like bad menstrual cramps, but they definitely caught my attention as I hadn’t had a period in quite some time. While they really weren’t very painful, they prevented me from sleeping comfortably that night, partly because they added to the discomfort of being nearly 40 weeks pregnant but also because my mind was racing. What if I went into labor at any moment?! Was I ready? What if I can’t do it?!
At midnight, Monday September 24th, I was woken up by a “gushing-like” feeling, as if I had just pee’d myself. I ran to the bathroom with my cellphone and as I sat on the toilet I started Googling, “water breaking”, “what does it feel like when your water breaks”, and every search only further confirmed that I was going into labor! AHH! Benji Bear’s big arrival was happening!
By 12:15am my OBGYN had already called me and had given me instructions. I will never forget how cheerfully she said, “I’ll be seeing you in a few hours.” I woke up my husband, and my mom,
I was feeling discomfort and pain, *Not painful enough to cry, though!* You know that scene from The Office, where Pam is obviously in labor, but she refuses to go to the hospital? That was me, a part of me was hoping it was just Braxton Hicks and they would go away soon, haha.
So what did I do instead? I took a shower, and drank a smoothie, naturally. Because who knew how long it would be before I had the chance again, right? Showering was challenging, though, as the contractions were getting stronger and more frequent.
The car ride/hospital arrival
We waited for a break in the contractions, and then hustled out to the car around 5:30 am. Luckily, the hospital is only 15 minutes away. Now lets just hope that Monday morning rush hour hasn’t started. As Vic is driving through Lake Balboa, the contractions are getting stronger and I am more and more uncomfortable.
Inside the hospital, we had to first check-in with the maternity department. Paperwork, photo ID, the usual ya know? After five or so minutes, a nurse came to get Vic and me. I sat in a wheelchair, and the nurse brought us up to triage on the second floor.
Triage was a small room, filled with at least 5 empty beds all separated by curtains. Definitely not the mood setter, haha. The nurse handed me a gown and then checked to see if in fact my water had broke.
*I know this is going to sound weird.. but… I was more worried about something going inside me than a baby coming out of me.*
So I had to make sure exactly how she was going to check. When she told me it was a cotton swab and if it turned blue it was positive, I had so much relief. Then she had to check how dilated I was. There was no going around this one, she had to go in. When she told me I was 3cm dilated, some type of peace, of calmness came over me and I felt ready to finally meet my son.
The delivery room was really nice. It was a large private room with its own bathroom, television, the works. Once in there, the nurse told me to take all my clothing off and put on a hospital gown and some non-slip socks. She left to call the doctor on call while I was changing, and when she came back, she hooked me up to a CTG, which monitors the fetal heart rate as well as contractions, she also hooked me up to an IV. She then checked me to see how far along I was dilated, 4cm!
Labor was, without a doubt, the hardest part of Benji’s delivery. I was able to bear the pain until I was about 7cm. For those who have seen Twilight Breaking Dawn Pt.1, when Bella is giving birth to their daughter..? And her back is breaking, well thats exactly what I felt. I felt my spine break completely from top to bottom. Without hesitation I pressed that nurse button so quickly and asked for the epidural.
Ladies, I want to debunk all the myths surrounding the epidural right now. Because it did not hurt. Like, at all. Truly, I had no idea when the anesthesiologist started and when he stopped *although I was singing Twinkle Twinkle Little Star to stay calm*. But it really was painless. I think I was more worried about having catheter inserted. But my nurse Julie *she was so incredibly wonderful*, explained that it wouldn’t hurt at all, that the area would be numbed beforehand, and that all I’d feel is the small pinprick.
The waiting game
After the epidural was administered, I was a different woman! Woo! Yasss! I was ready to meet my son. But as explained to me, sometimes the epidural slows down the dilating process. So I was given a small dose of Pitocin, and a big massage ball to bounce on.
By this time I had been in labor for approximately 15 hours. It was around 3:30pm the nurse told me I was fully dilated. It was time to call my doctor to come over and help get this baby out!
*Side Note: I had perfectly explained to Vic NOT to stand below my waist! What does he do?! He watches the WHOLE thing happen!!!!*
The doctor explained that we had wait for a contraction to show up on the monitor, and then we had do a set of three 10-second pushes. I was so scared that I wouldn’t be able to push effectively, or worse poop! But the doctor told me not to think about it too much, and just push like I was trying to get something out.
I absolutely felt no pain “just pressure. Epidurals = pure magic. I also feel like the epidural allowed me to take in this magical experience. The only challenging part of pushing was that it was physically tiring. I did well through the first two pushes of every set. But lost steam around the third set of pushing. At some point after pushing for almost 2 hours, I was scared the doctor was going to suggest a caesarean section “C-section”. And somehow the thought of meeting my son in possibly minutes helped me gained the strength and I was able to push his shoulders through.
Still two years later it’s hard to put into words how magical the whole experience was. I remember the doctor asking me if I wanted to finish pulling my baby out, and I remember that both Vic and I were crying. I remember the doctor asking my husband if he wanted to cut the umbilical cord. Smelling him for the first time was amazing. Yes, I know they are covered in yucky stuff. I remember his little cry. I remember kissing him and telling him I loved him more than anything in the world.
The birth: The late afternoon of September 24th. At 5:57pm, Benji Bear made his big arrival
About two hours after Benji was born, we were taken to the first floor to our recovery room for some rest. By this time it was almost 10pm and everyone was exhausted.
Here are a few photos over the past 2 years that make my heart completely melt.