A month ago, I gave birth to my guardian angel Margaux Arya. Since then it’s been a huge learning curve; everything I thought I knew has kinda gone out the window because who’s ever truly prepared? And also, she’s quite unique.
Prior to delivery I bought two parenting books and read countless articles to prepare, I still use them as references, especially when I have a burning question, but I’ve learned to just listen to my body and Margaux and all will be well. I am by no means an expert, but I thought it’d be interesting to share my experience so far.
My pregnancy was pretty uneventful up until the third trimester. I didn’t suffer from extreme morning sickness, just the usual tiredness and fatigue. Though I can say that my emotions were extremely high! I continued teaching until the middle of my fifth month of pregnancy and threatened to quit nearly every other day. I was super moody and all the way in my feelings about everything! Most of my students didn’t know that I was pregnant so they continued with their regular antics! I had to quickly learn to let a lot go so I wouldn’t stress myself and the baby out.
Then the third trimester came. I stupidly hurt myself while running after a younger cousin, forcing myself on unwanted bedrest for the remaining weeks. I could barely walk and it was extremely painful getting out of bed. At this point I hated being pregnant and wanted it to end! My belly was super sized, I could barely breathe, and the pelvic pressure was intense. I purchased a pregnancy belt which supported my belly tremendously.
The Birth Story
At 36 weeks I began to experience Braxton hicks contractions at night. They didn’t hurt, but were uncomfortable. Then one Friday night I begin to experience pain that was rhythmic, lasted for hours, but then stopped. I was able to sleep through this pain, so I knew I wasn’t in labor, but through research I found that I had experienced prodromal labor. These contractions were considered real contractions, however I wasn’t in active labor. So the pregnancy continued.
As my due date approached I began practicing a few techniques that would help soften my cervix and prepare my body for labor. I drank raspberry leaf tea every morning, bounced on a yoga ball a few times per day, went on daily walks, and began pumping for nipple stimulation. At my 39 week check up my doctor told me not to call unless my contractions were so bad that I couldn’t talk through them or unless my water broke. So I waited.
On Friday September 15th I was so sure that I was going into labor – my contractions were about seven minutes apart and although I could talk through them, they kinda stopped me in my tracks. But as the night went on they grew further apart. So I went to sleep. I was getting frustrated because I didn’t want to go beyond my due date and I didn’t want to be induced. But that was looking more and more likely.
On Saturday the 16th my contractions continued. I monitored them but they were all over the place; sometimes they were 2 minutes apart and other times they were 12 minutes apart. So I started to lose hope. And then my water broke around 6:30pm. I had just laid down in bed when I felt a liquid trickling down my thighs. I knew I hadn’t peed on myself, but I didn’t want to get my hopes up so I turned to google. I searched “how do you know if your water broke” and one article said the liquid would smell sweet or like chlorine and sure enough my liquid smelled like chlorine. So I took a shower and rested. I made sure the liquid continued to drip onto a pad confirming, yet again, that my water did break. I took my time – I tidied up our room and double checked our hospital bag.
I arrived at the hospital around 9pm. Once my nurse confirmed that my water did indeed break with litmus paper, she gave me some medicine to make my contractions stronger. She had noted that my contractions weren’t that strong, nor were they frequent. But boy did that quickly change. The new contractions were unlike anything I had ever felt, but they were bearable.
Around midnight my nurse checked my cervix and I was 3 cm dilated. So the journey continued. I was excited to hear how far along I was because my obgyn never completed cervix checks during my weekly visits so this was all new to me. Through the night the contractions continued to get stronger and closer together. They were a consistent seven minutes apart and made me want to scream at the top of my lungs. I honestly thought I was going to die but I at the same time I was so sure that I was 6 cm or more dilated and that the end was near. At this point I tried walking the hospital halls and swaying back and forth but I felt like shit.
At 3am my nurse came back to check my cervix and I was still 3cm dilated. This news was like a blow to the stomach. It made me question everything I thought I knew about giving birth. Prior to this I had planned to have a natural birth, but the pain was excruciating and I wasn’t making any progress so I opted for the epidural. And honestly it was the best decision I’ve ever made. The pain of the needle pricks was worth the instant gratification! Finally, I was able to go to sleep. Earlier my nurse warned us that we’d need all the rest we could get to make it through the delivery. So I slept like a baby!
When I woke up the next morning, I expected a nurse to instantly check my cervix but they were adamant about me getting my rest. Around 10am my new nurse checked my cervix and I was 6cm dilated and around noon I was 8cm. I was excited and nervous. I was moments away from meeting the parasite that lived off of me for 40 weeks, I mean my precious baby. Then finally around 3:30pm the doctor said I was 10cm dilated and was ready to push.
Okay so I didn’t take any of those preparation classes so I had no idea what I was in for.
1) I couldn’t move my legs because of the epidural; it was like dead weight and my brain was sending signals for them to move but they couldn’t.
2) I was told to push whenever I felt pressure, but I could barely feel anything because of the epidural.
3) I was told to push like I had to shit, but that proved to be ineffective because well duh! Babies don’t come out your ass!
So I started to get frustrated, I was tired and I didn’t feel like I was making any progress and it was a much slower process than I had anticipated. And then just when I thought things couldn’t get any worse, I threw up all over myself like 3 times. I felt my mouth start to water and I tried to get out of the bed, but the IV stand and other equipment were in the way, and most importantly I couldn’t move my legs because of the epidural. By now I was over it and wanted to be done with this experience altogether. After getting cleaned up, I was ready to go. As soon as I felt pressure I started to push with all my might.
My doctor was determined to get the baby out, she climbed into bed with me and at 4:11pm we welcomed Margaux Arya into the world. She weighed 7.8 lbs and was 19.5 inches! Everything was so surreal. As I was pushing I felt a pop and the onlookers all gasped and urged me to continue so I knew her head was out so I kept pushing. And the next thing I knew, there was a warm baby on my chest. She smelled disgusting, but I didn’t want to let her go.
Unfortunately, I had a fever and she was born with a fever so she had to go straight to nicu. I was nervous and scared, and in pain! Once they removed the epidural my back felt like it was broken, I could barely walk and there was blood everywhere. Sorry if that’s TMI, but that’s the real deal. Margaux stayed in nicu for 48 hours and we were finally free to go home Tuesday evening.
The first two weeks home were the hardest! I felt like I had been hit by a car, I wasn’t getting any sleep and I wasn’t producing enough milk. Margaux was down to 7lbs and her pediatrician was forcing me to supplement with formula. I physically and mentally felt like shit.
I felt terrible about giving her formula because I wanted to breastfeed exclusively, but I also felt guilty that she wasn’t getting enough nutrients to grow. And not to mention breastfeeding hurt like a b****! I called a lactation specialist who recommended a few resources before scheduling an appointment, and they really helped. I was able to stop supplementing with formula and by the end of her 2nd week Margaux weighed 8.7lbs and was 21.5 inches. I felt so accomplished!
Sleeping was and still is an issue for us. Margaux can sleep through the night but she’d much rather sleep in my arms. The greatest investment I’ve made thus far was buying a Snuggle Me Organic pillow. It allows us to co-sleep and it snuggles her like she’s being held so sometimes I don’t have to!!
Tips For New Moms
+ During labor expect the unexpected!!
+ Ask for extra pads in the hospital, because they’re free!
+ Make sure your partner or someone is available to assist you during those first two weeks – they’re rough and without help you won’t get any sleep which is necessary for you to properly heal and care for your newborn.
+ Say no to guests if you aren’t feeling up to it.
+ Invest in a Snuggle Me Organic pillow. It’s well worth it! https://www.snugglemeorganic.com
+ Don’t get discouraged about breastfeeding, there’s a ton of resources and help out there.
+ Invest in a breastfeeding pillow, it will save your arms and wrists.
+ Give formula if you want and if necessary.
+ Listen to your body and the baby. In terms of feeding and sleeping, let your baby be the boss!!
+ Sleep when the baby sleeps. This one you’ll hear a lot but it’s truer than true! You can use some of the nap time to get work done around the house or take care of you, but to avoid becoming delirious I suggest that you sleep when she sleeps.
+ You could never have too many receiving blankets for swaddling the little one. Swaddling the baby should be first on this list honestly – babies feel much more comfortable and sleep longer when swaddled!
+ Wait ten minutes after the baby poops, there may be more!!!
+ Get a body wash and lotion set specifically for nighttime with some lavender in it. Your baby and you will thank you.
+ Take hella pictures. They grow so fast! I even made an Instagram for Margaux just so family across the country can stay updated.
+ Record your babes milestones! There’s a ton of free printables online. These are the ones I’m using, I just edited the color to purple http://okiehome.weebly.com/blog/babys-first-year-milestones-free-printable
+ Take care of you when you can and remember to get some fresh air!!!!