I am aware this next post is not food related, but since this blog is my favorite space to share things, and since I do what I want, I decided to write this here today....
Exactly a year ago today I started to go into labor with my first baby. It was one of the most surreal experiences and as I draw closer to my daughter’s birthday tomorrow, I felt the need to write a blog post about the entire process which was so magical (and crazy). I realize this post has absolutely nothing to do with food, in fact, after reading it, it may put you off of food for a while but nonetheless I need to write this for myself and for any other moms out there looking for a little something to read!
So let’s start with the very beginning of motherhood: the labor.
On April 5, 2016, I gave birth to my first baby, Mayzie Paige Bojarski – born at 10:38am weighing 6 pounds 10 ounces and measuring 20 inches in length. To say my life changed completely in a matter of seconds between pushing, and actually birthing this little angel, is the understatement of the year. So, I wish to take this time to relive the moments leading up to Mayzie’s entry into the world and to tell you my story of labor.
There are many things that go through a pregnant woman’s head, especially in your 9th month of pregnancy. Being the type-A, über planner that I am, I wanted to know exactly when I was going to go into labor, how it was going to go down, all the details of what was going to happen, the weather, where I’d be, who I’d be with, when I would eat, what I would eat, etc. However, this is virtually impossible to know (hello, Captain Obvious). Even if you have a scheduled delivery, things happen and nothing is ruled out of what can occur while you are gestating this little person. The one thing I did find solace in when pregnant, was reading other women’s stories of how their birth went down, and the various ways women went from preggo to mamma. So with that, I give you my story, which will hopefully act as a form of help/humor to others, as many stories were to me…
On Monday April 4th, I had an OBGYN appointment scheduled for 1pm, since I was officially overdue (40 weeks and 6 days to be precise, because let’s be honest, pregnant women count down each day and pray for an end). The whole night before, I was up with cramps/contractions, convinced that I was going into labor. I woke up my husband at 2:30am saying “I think it’s starting”, and I immediately jumped into the shower, shaving as much of my legs as I could see over my belly so as not to completely gross out the doctor when she was down there. I was bound and determined to be ready should my contractions start to speed up and we needed to rush to the hospital. However, around 6am, after hours of meticulously recording the stop and start time of my contractions, they miraculously stopped all together and my excitement/panic seemed completely premature and ridiculous.
At around 12:30pm, while I headed to the doctor, I had lost all hope that this baby was ever going to come out of me. I was convinced I would be the one pregnant lady who would just remain pregnant until she was 110 years old and I would never meet the thing growing inside of me (no one ever said pregnant women were rational).
I arrived at my doctor’s office and went in for my stress test and sonogram (you will get these towards the latter part of your pregnancy to make sure your baby is ok in there). I decided it was time to have a chat with my OBGYN about the future of this never-ending pregnancy. This was my second post-due date check-up and I had just about reached my limit of patience with the incessant peeing and discomfort with the whole pregnancy… so when I was told at this appointment that my cervix was still not dialated at all, I requested that we schedule an induction for as soon as possible (I believe my exact words were “get her out of me”).
I left the OBGYN’s office with the instructions that someone from the office would contact me by the end of the day to schedule an induction for later in the week. Ok, maybe an end was in sight…
At 5pm my personal OBGYN called me on her cell phone and asked if I could make it to the hospital by 7pm that night, and if so, we could begin the induction right away. I looked at my dog, then at my watch, then my belly, and told her I would see her in 2 hours.
I immediately called up my husband at work (something I have only done one time in the last 8 years I have known him) and told him the plan.
“Are you sure you want to be induced?” My husband asked, to which I didn’t even answer because it was probably the most ridiculous thing I have been asked my whole life. Of course I wanted to be induced, I was the size of Shamu and had enough.
I then called a family friend to make arrangements to have our dog picked up and watched for the next 2 days while I was in the hospital. He was at work in Brooklyn and was nice enough to immediately leave work, drive to our apartment in Manhattan and pick up our fur baby (great friends are always the best in times of need).
At this point, I finished packing the last minute items in my hospital bag (which had been pre-packed for months because I am insane) and awaited my husband’s arrival home. I sat down for a second to breath and suddenly, it all hit me, I was going to have a baby within the next day, I was really going to become a mom…sh*t was getting real.
My husband got home, packed up a bag, and we hailed a taxi to the hospital. We lived all the way on the west side of Manhattan, and my hospital was all the way, directly crosstown on the east side of Manhattan – which in miles isn’t that far, but in NYC traffic, can take as long as driving 50 miles on the open road. It was 6pm at this point and I was not going to be late for my doctor’s 7pm deadline so, I made it a point to talk non-stop about giving birth throughout the duration of the cab ride, which clearly the cab driver was overhearing. That cab zoomed to the east side so fast that I was shocked to have made it there in under 15 minutes (a Manhattan miracle). Note to all women in NYC wanting to get to the hospital quickly: talk about your birth loud and clear in that back seat...mention things like water breaking and birthing in detail for expedited cab service. True story.
We checked into the hospital, and were finally called into a room (more like a glorified closet), around 8pm to get the process going. A nurse came in to ask me a few routine questions (I am 99% sure she was either stoned or the most laid back hippie I have ever come in contact with). Thankfully by the time she had finished her exceptionally slow questioning, and putting it into the computer, it was time for a nurse shift change, and I was rewarded with Super Nurse, who had her sh*t together. And so we were ready to get my birth on.
It was at this time that a doctor’s assistant came in to check me out internally (read: she stuck her entire hand up my vahooha without so much as a warning), and alerted me that I was actually 3cm dialated by the grace of God alone. What luck, I thought! Here I was ready to be induced, and my body was naturally already going into labor! Hashtag amazing timing.
After determining that my body was dialating, my good ol doctor’s assistant decided that she would help speed things along by inserting a Foley Balloon in my va jj (the foley balloon mechanically helps dilate your cervix quickly).
Let me stop here for a second to digress. I read a lot while I was pregnant, including classics like “What to Expect When You’re Expecting”… but I purposely left out every chapter in every preggo book that dealt with the actual labor. To me, knowledge was not power, and in fact, going into labor blindly was my only birth plan. I made the mistake of reading one random labor anecdote somewhere in my travels and immediately started sweating and regretting ever getting pregnant…so from that moment forward, no knowledge was good knowledge. And if you’re anything like me, and don’t want to read about the good, the bad and the ugly moments of labor, stop reading now.
Fast forward to meeting the Foley balloon. Whenever you hear the word ‘balloon’, it typically evokes happy thoughts of enjoyable birthday parties, or celebrations of any kind. The foley balloon however, doesn’t fit in the category of either fun or party…in fact it elicits those insane contractions you see women experiencing in movies where they’re screaming like a poltergeist is about to rip through their abdomen. At 3cm dialated, prior to the balloon, the contractions were almost laughable… I remember turning to my husband and saying, “oh man, if this is all that contractions are, this labor thing is a joke!”…fast forward to my cervix being stretched open by the balloon of death and I started to feel like a real assh*le for ever thinking labor could be so easy.
With every contraction, my husband who was diligently watching the monitor, would say to me, “You’re having a contraction now”, as if I didn’t know. Note to any hubbies reading this: DON’T do this. Trust me, we know we’re having a contraction and your ability to point it out during the apex of pain is really awful. So after about 3 hours of agonizing contractions, I relented and decided it was time to call in the big guns: the Anesthesiologist. I don’t know why I even waited 3 hours… actually I do, but it’s mildly embarrassing to recount. I didn’t want the nurses to think I was a total lame-o and couldn’t handle my contractions, and I felt like I should try and last as long as possible so they didn’t think I was a total softie (absolutely ridiculous reasoning in retrospect, but you live, you learn). After calling for the miracle doctor aka anesthesia lad, about 15 minutes later, he arrived and I was given the almighty relief of the epidural. I was afraid the needle the size of a joust being plunged into my spine would hurt, but to give you an idea of how much a contraction hurts, I literally didn’t even feel the needle going into my back since it was being done so at the exact same time as a contraction.
At about 1am, I was basically numb from my waist down and was feeling like a million bucks. I was cracking jokes, making friends with the nurses, thinking about the excitement of my baby coming…life was good. My cervix continued to dialate as planned, and at 4am and 7cm dialated, my OBGYN made her first appearance of the day and as a welcome present, broke my water for me (again, I felt nothing). I continued to revel in the numb pleasures of life, and got increasingly more excited to finally meet my little!
Feeling no pain with the magical EpiduralMy hubby Justin attempting to sleep before all the excitement began....
At about 6am, my OBGYN came in again and announced that she felt the baby would be ready to come out around 9am. At this point, my husband and I got on our cell phones to call the grandparent units and tell them to vaminos (that’s Spanish for ‘hurry the f up’) into the city so that they could be in the waiting room at the time of the baby’s arrival. Again, my type-A detail oriented planning mode kicked in and I wanted everything to be perfect and as I had prearranged in my mind.
At 8:30am my OBGYN and what seemed like a small cavalry of medical students came into my room and said we were going to start to push. Only one problem with that idea…I couldn’t even feel my contractions coming or going since my beautiful epidural was working it’s magic, so my OBGYN decided, we need to turn off the epidural.
WHAT. NO. DEAR GOD NO.
I started to negotiate immediately, convincing her I was going to push as hard as I could, please just keep the epidural on! Dear sweet God don’t turn that magical magical thing off! Well to make a long story short, I lost the negotiation and was reminded again of the lovely feelings of contractions…only now they were coming every minute. Joy!
I will admit here that from the time of 9am to when my daughter was born, 10:38am, I literally wanted to die. I have to say, I am a very pain tolerant person (I used to get piercings for fun, and have never even flinched during a shot, etc.), but I literally thought I was going to die from pain that morning. I soon became that pregnant lady who was moaning, cursing, spouting bizarre chants in non-existent languages, and who was begging for the doctor or anyone present, to get this baby out of me. But throughout the entire process, every time I wanted to give up or thought I couldn’t bare anymore, I thought of what the end result would be: this little munchkin who I had been carrying for exactly 41 weeks.
As I was pushing, the doctor realized that the umbilical cord was around the baby’s neck (the worst possible thing you could hear as a mother in the midst of birthing a baby). Immediately I was in a panic and between the pain, the hormones, and the awful thought that my baby was in danger, I continued my slew of bizarre noises and chants all while hysterically crying from both agony and fear. The doctor actually was able to cut the umbilical cord from the baby’s neck as her head was out of my body, but her body was still in me (ew/awesome). Before I knew it, I had finally pushed enough to release the baby from inside me and I never in my life felt that kind of physical and emotional relief ever before. After crying and realizing it was all over, I noticed, I haven’t heard the baby cry yet. Panic sets in again. I start screaming out, “is she ok, where’s my baby?” (I deserved an Oscar for most dramatic performance, to be honest). Low and behold, my baby girl was fine and seconds later, I heard the first of her many cries, which funny enough came out in the sound of “la’s” like she was singing. I looked over to where they were cleaning her up, and caught my first glimpse of my baby girl, Mayzie. I cried out “Oh my God, she’s gorgeous, thank God!” and the entire room laughed. Which at this point I thought to myself, “wow that was a lot of laughter.” I look back over down by my feet and realize there’s roughly 10 people in the room whom I don’t know. When did the invitation for this party go out?! And here I am, still spread eagle, with God knows what going on down there, and oddly enough I could care less.
It’s funny how when you first start to go into labor, you’re self conscious of everyone seeing your lady parts, and by the end, you could care less if Leonardo DiCaprio was in there checking the size of your cervix himself. Labor is a time to put all vanity behind you. There will most likely be a poop situation, there will definitely be a bunch of people checking your feminine bits many times, and there is no time to worry about how you look or what others are thinking of you during this time…and trust me, if you get to the point of pain I was in, you could care less what was going on south of your border, you just want that little babino out!
After the labor, came the introduction of the grandparents to the new bundle of joy…more crying, and happiness and elation from all parties, and exactly what you have been waiting for, for 41 weeks. One of my biggest suggestions for new moms is to have anyone who wants to visit you, do so in the hospital. Since you will have a gaggle of nurses around you, and plenty of extra help, this is the time to do a mass introduction of people to your baby. I personally wasn’t much in the mood for visitors to come to our apartment after we got home from the hospital – I found it to be more work than it was help…but this may just be my preference.
Nothing quite like seeing your husband hold your baby for the first time
I will never forget the day Mayzie was born, both the good feelings and the not so good… but all you can tell yourself, when you feel like you can’t go any longer:
We’re all here on earth because someone had to give birth….if that many people can get through it, so can I!