My Birth Story

I’ve been a mom for almost 12 weeks, and it has been the best 12 weeks of my life–seriously! Before my journey, I read a ton of stories from others about their pregnancy and delivery. Some made me feel more nervous, while others reassured me that our bodies were meant to do this. Every woman has such a different and unique experience, it made me want to share mine. Surprisingly, my experience was so much different than I had expected–in a good way. I’ve never been more amazed by my body and the things it can do!

Let’s rewind a few months back…I found out I was pregnant a couple of weeks after returning from Montréal (blog post here) in early April. I actually miscarried back in November at 6 weeks, so I was excited yet extremely nervous. I didn’t want to get my hopes up. My miscarriage took not only a physical but emotional toll on my body. With this pregnancy, I could tell things were different from the start. From about week 5 to week 17, I was nauseous on a daily basis, vomiting and just plain exhausted. Before pregnancy, I worked out 5-6 days a week, but I could barely make it to the gym 3 days a week during my first trimester. I really started feeling more like myself around week 20, which was the middle of the second trimester. Then my third trimester hit, which is where I started packing on the pounds, gaining 37 total in my pregnancy (a lot of which was baby and water weight). My hands and feet were so swollen it hurt to walk! My wedding rings stopped fitting right around week 36. However, I consider myself lucky. Besides early nausea, tiredness, and swollen feet, everything else was perfect. I was even able to stay active until two days before delivery.

Reflecting back at my pregnancy, I really enjoyed it. Watching my body grow a little human was such an out of body experience. His kicks, hiccups, and movements were magical. My pregnancy was great, and a part of me misses it.

Photo taken by Azure Mahara Photography

Photo taken by Azure Mahara Photography

Photo taken by Azure Mahara Photography

Photo taken by Azure Mahara Photography

Photo taken by Azure Mahara Photography

Photo taken by Azure Mahara Photography

With my pregnancy going well, what really freaked me out was the fact that this baby had to come out…one way or another. I tried not to think about it because, at the end of the day, I was terrified. I decided not to attend any birth classes, as I figured I would be more anxious and even more fearful. Typically I’m the type of person that does a ton of research on anything and everything, but with this, I just wanted to go with the flow, and it worked for me! I have several friends that have attended classes and became overwhelmed with anxiety. I’m happy I didn’t because the day of my delivery I was super calm and ready to meet my little man.

It all started on Thursday, November 15th, 2018, I was 38 weeks and 3 days along, thinking I had plenty of time left in this pregnancy. I woke up in the morning and noticed that I had passed my mucus plug around 6:30 am, which could mean that labor is right around the corner. Shocked, I called my doctors office, and they let me know that this actually doesn’t mean too much and that I could go into labor within 24 hours or 2 weeks, so I went on with my day and went to work. It was my scheduled last day in the office, as I was planning on enjoying a few days off before Thanksgiving and my due date of November 26th. Like the way these things always go, the baby had other plans.

The next morning, November 16th at around 2:30 am I woke up with awful back pain. I had similar pain around 35 weeks, and it went away on its own, so I wasn’t sure if this was the real deal or not. I laid in bed for a bit trying to get my mind off of the pain, but that didn’t work. I started to feel cramping coming around to the front. Finally at approximately 5 am I decided to take a shower to help ease the discomfort, plus if I was going into labor, I didn’t want to do it with dirty hair. I stood in the shower for about 30 minutes, but the pain stayed around. I started timing the throbbing contractions, I was about 10 minutes apart. It seemed like this was really happening! My next priority was to eat something filling before heading over to the hospital. I started making banana protein pancakes, but my contractions were getting stronger and more painful. At certain points, I had to stop myself and sit down. My contractions were lasting about 30 seconds each. They felt like really intense period cramps. During those 30 seconds, I couldn’t do anything but focus on breathing through the pain. I had to have Eugene finish making the pancakes while I went upstairs to dry my hair. By 7 am my contractions were irregular but mostly 4 minutes apart. They were painful. I finally decided it was time to call my doctor and most likely head to the birth center.

Once we arrived, I wasn’t confident that I was going to get admitted right away, so we left our bags in the car and went to meet with our nurse, Chris. I changed into a hospital gown, and Chris started measuring my contractions, which were now about 3-4 minutes apart. I was 3 cm dilated, and she told us we were definitely going to have a baby today! THIS WAS HAPPENING! My body was going into active labor! I was in shock, everything was happening so quickly, and I was 10 days early!

While we waited for my body to progress, the contractions were getting even stronger and closer together. My body was trying to work past them, but I started shaking uncontrollably. I had asked a few times for the epidural, but they didn’t want to give it to me too soon. When each contraction hit, I held onto the bed, closed my eyes and focused on my breathing. I needed silence in the room to get through each one. In between contractions, I was totally fine –cracking jokes, laughing, trying to buy the Yeezys that were launching that morning, texting my girlfriends, etc. The atmosphere was calm, Chris did a great job explaining what was happening and made me feel as relaxed as possible.

Finally at 10:30 am, I was at 6 cm dilated, and I was able to get the epidural. Side note–I’m genuinely in awe of all the women that do this without the epidural, you guys are amazing! Before they set up the epidural, I had to get an IV and catheter inserted. I’m terrified of needles, but again Chris kept me relaxed and explained everything she was doing. She ended up using numbing cream on the area on my hand where the IV was going, to help ease the discomfort. After she finished, the anesthesiologist came in to explain the epidural. Once set up was ready, they inserted the epidural (which I barely felt compared to the IV), and we waited about 30 minutes for it to kick in thoroughly. I was surprised that I could still somewhat feel my legs. It felt like I had sat on them funny and they both fell asleep. I could also feel a tightening through each contraction, but thankfully the pain was gone. Eugene and I watched each contraction peak on the monitors, and by noon I was 10 cm dilated and ready to push!

At this point, I was so emotional and excited to meet the little baby that had been growing in my body for 9 months, I started bawling, happy tears of course. My mom and Eugene were both in the room during my delivery. Once I started pushing, Eugene held my right leg, Chris held my left and my mom was in back massaging and supporting my shoulders. Through each contraction peak, I pushed and paused during the lows.

After pushing for almost an hour and a half (on and off), my doctor came in. She let me know that it would be best to perform an episiotomy; otherwise, I would tear. Within a minute or two of the episiotomy, Elliott Aleksander was born at 1:29 pm at 8 pounds 1 oz and 19.5 inches! He was perfect. I’ll never forget the moment my doctor plopped him on my chest. I started bawling. My beautiful baby boy. He was such a chunk! Those cheeks, his chin…the first thing I said to him was…”where did you get this chin??” What an experience.

I’m grateful for my husband, my nurse, my doctor and the staff at St. Mary’s. I’m so thankful that Chris was my nurse, she was absolutely fantastic and kept me calm my entire delivery. She was extremely patient, and understanding and I’m lucky she was able to take care of me from start to finish. As I mentioned in the beginning, I know everyone has a different experience, but I’m here to say mine was amazing. It was such an emotional process and the most fantastic thing I’ve done in my life.

What was harder than pregnancy and delivery in my eyes was the actual recovery afterward. No one really talks about this. Especially after an episiotomy, I struggled. For the first 2 weeks, it hurt to sit. I enjoyed my Thanksgiving Day meal standing! I was limited with my mobility using the stairs, getting up, etc., so having my husband home was extremely helpful. At about the 2-3 week mark is when I started to feel back to normal and was cleared for all physical activity by week 5 postpartum. Even though recovery wasn’t easy, it was 100% worth it. By week 6, I was 7 pounds away from my pre-pregnancy weight. With breastfeeding, I don’t expect to hit my previous weight for a while, but that is okay. I’m focusing on eating healthy and working out, while my body is supporting this little human that it produced.

PS. everybody poops.

Thanks for reading my story!

6 comments / Add your comment below

  1. “plus if I was going into labor, I didn’t want to do it with dirty hair” lolol love your story Marina! Emotional thinking about my next one! 🙂

    1. 😆i mean i hadn’t washed it in like a 4 days lol. Legit concern. So excited for baby number 3 for you! Can’t wait to meet him!

  2. You’re a great writer Marina! I really enjoyed reading your post. Childbirth is such an amazing experience! Thank you for sharing yours!

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