As part of Mom Monday’s we will be showcasing moms of all different backgrounds in their journey through motherhood. This week, Sammi joins us. Sammi shares her birth story of baby Richard. Hoping for a natural birth, Sammi realizes that like a marathon, you can’t go into a birth without preparing.
This is Richard James III’s birth story
I decided to write it real time, which I think will be a fun read! It’s a little long but its our story, I hope you enjoy it!
It’s Monday, November 21st and I am sitting in my language development class (35 weeks pregnant) with my mind wandering about my baby’s movements in my big belly. All of a sudden I am feeling something very strange. A tightness under my belly. Now it’s starting to move up the sides. This is so weird. I can’t be in labor, right? I’m so nervous, I have to text my husband!
Hubby: “Come home!”
I am rushing home on the train all the way from Manhattan to my current home in Flushing, Queens just to drive to Staten Island. Ugh.
I am at the Dr. office. The feeling has gone away, maybe they weren’t contractions. Now I am going to feel pretty dumb.
Dr.: “Well, you are 1 cm dilated and 50% effaced. I guess they were real contractions after all.”
Me: “What? Does that mean he is coming soon!?”
The Dr is informing me that I can walk around dilated for weeks! Maybe even a month. This is really surprising me, I thought I was pretty knowledgeable about childbirth but no one told me this!
It’s Wednesday December 7th. I’m 37 weeks pregnant and getting ready for a nice long day of school, but something is off. I am sitting on the bed and I know today is the day!
Me (to my family): I hope everyone is ready for a baby today!
Everyone is telling me that I am crazy, little Richie wont be coming today.
I’m at school, sitting bored in class with my mind racing because I know today is the day, I feel it. I just know.
Now there is that tightness again! It’s starting under my belly, now it’s up the sides, now its in my lower back. I have to text the husband… again!
Hubby: “Are you sure? Really sure?… okay I’ll cancel my clients, lets go.”
I call the Dr and they tell me to come in. Its going to be another long travel, an hour home to Flushing to get the car and then our nice hour and a half drive to Staten Island! Ugh.
Richie (my hubby) and I are sitting on the train and this time the feeling has not gone away, it is consistently coming and going. Is this really what labor feels like? It doesn’t hurt that bad so far. (Boy was I wrong!)
We finally make it home and grab our hospital bag and our paperwork. I am so pumped! My adrenaline is up and I am feeling good. I think I will be able to go without the epidural just like I plan! The contractions are consistent, getting closer together and slightly more intense but nothing I can’t handle!
I have been so anxious this whole car ride! I just want to get there to know if I am really in labor or not! Of course there has been loads of traffic… and fidgeting.
We are finally! At the Dr’s office and I am seen by the midwife Betsy (This office is a practice of two Drs and a midwife all of which do rotations at the hospital which means any one of the three could possibly deliver you). I am sitting on the table with my happy smiling face, she takes one look at me and says:
“I don’t know if you’re in labor”
She checks me
“Well! You are 4cm dilated and 80% effaced. I guess we are having a baby today. Do you want to have an epidural?”
I was so overcome with excitement! We are having a baby!? Today? I am smiling ear to ear. I am in total shock, I almost forgot she asked me a question.
Me: “no, I don’t want an epidural”
Betsy: “Okay then, meet me at the hospital at 6pm” (its currently 4pm)
She gives me instructions to walk and keep moving so my labor moves forward and to hopefully break my water. She said I must have had a high leak (since I thought my water broke… Boy was I wrong, again) because my membranes were still intact.
It’s starting to look dark and gloomy out. To pass the stretch we are going to spend a little bit of time at Richie’s sister’s house. Time can’t move any slower than it is now! I just want to meet my son!
It’s 5:30 and we are leaving Richie’s sister’s house. The contractions are getting a little stronger and I feel good sitting down during them since they make my legs feel a little weak. Before we go to the hospital, we stop at a store to buy Gatorade (I have heard from many people that it helps, and let me say that from my experience it was incredible! All laboring women need Gatorade for after birth!)
It’s 6:10 and we have just arrived at the hospital. The contractions are starting to get pretty intense sometimes but they are still manageable. I must be getting close. As you enter labor and delivery area of the hospital, you must wait to be checked in by the nurses. So that’s what we are doing. Waiting. I feel like that happens a lot during pregnancy!
It’s 6:25 and we are still waiting! The contractions are getting pretty intense, I cant really talk while I am having one, but this nurse is asking me a battery of questions and getting very frustrated when I have trouble answering them. I think she thinks I am being dramatic. Betsy flies into the room (I am guessing she heard I was there), she is very flustered with these nurses:
Betsy: “She is already checked in! She is pretty far through her labor, lets go, get her in a room!”
I had been trying to tell this nurse that I was probably already checked in but she refused to listen to me. That will teach her ; ).
It’s 6:45 and we are in a temporary delivery room. I am changing from my regular clothes to the hospital gown. It is pretty difficult because the contractions are close together and intense and I have to stop during them.
Betsy comes in to check me. I am 6cm and 80% effaced. 6!? I only have 4 to go! This isn’t so bad!
Betsy: “Has your water broken?”
Betsy tells me that when we get into our permanent delivery room, if my water doesn’t break before then, she will break my water for me. I really don’t know what to expect from my water breaking, or what it is going to feel like to have her do it for me, but this hasn’t been bad so far. How bad could it be?
A nurse comes in with an IV and I am terrified. I know, I know, childbirth doesn’t terrify me but the little needle for the IV does? YES it does! I am not a huge fan of needles. I actually wanted to do it without an IV but they didn’t want me to drink fluids anymore, so I didn’t see any other way to stay hydrated. So, I looked away and let her place the IV.
It’s 7:15 we are in our permanent delivery room and the contractions are pretty intense. I am still happy and smiling with the time I have between contractions, which, now is about two minutes apart. But at this point when a contraction comes I really feel the need to stand. Sometimes it feels better to sway and other times it feels better to hunch over slightly with my hands either on the bed or holding onto Richie. But I definitely can’t talk during them. And my water still hasn’t broken.
Betsy comes in to check me and talk to me about breaking my water. While I am towards the end of a contraction, she says
Betsy: “When I break your water, the contractions are going to get much worse.”
Me: “MUCH worse?!?”
She laughs and tells me that I am such a trooper and that she wishes every woman in labor was as good a customer as me. Honestly, it was extremely reassuring, I did kind of feel like a complainer but apparently I wasn’t! I had a new and stronger confidence and I sat down on the bed for her to break my water.
This is the strangest thing I have ever felt in my life! Betsy takes what looks like an oversized popsicle stick and pokes at my membrane. Nothing was happening. Then all of a sudden I felt a GUSH of fluid. And it just kept coming. I am looking at her face because I’m not sure that the amount of liquid is normal, but she doesn’t seem to be fazed. So I guess it is. She tells me that I am allowed to get up and walk around as I was before, which is good! I am extremely uncomfortable laying down when the contractions happen.
The next contraction is very intense! It is so intense that I start to feel nauseous. I ask the nurse for something that I can throw up in and she hands me one of those little kidney bean looking things. I look at her and then at Richie and he laughs.
Me: “She doesn’t understand that when I throw up, it’s projectile. This thing is not going to do anything”
So I gave up on it and decided I would run to that bathroom if necessary. I am standing and I feel another contraction coming on and all of a sudden another HUGE gush of fluid comes out again. It was everywhere. (I learned that amniotic fluid can regenerate after your water breaks, did you know that!?) I was not happy, I really did not enjoy the sensation of the fluid rushing out. Not fun. Suddenly, I am feeling extremely nauseous, with the urge to pee all at the same time. I am going to take it slow and walk to the bathroom to pee.
As I am sitting there, the nausea becomes really, really intense. It’s going to happen! Good thing I had time to flush the toilet (otherwise EW!) and it happened. The force of me vomiting also made another gush of fluid come out… I feel gross haha!
I come out of the bathroom and I cant help but start laughing at myself.
Richie: “It was fluid?? I thought you threw up on the floor”
Oh joy haha.
It’s 8:45 and my contractions are serious. There is no, and I mean no time between them. It just feels like constant pain that will spike to an almost unbearable point and then come down to a more tolerable level. I could deal with the come and go, very well actually but this constant pain is too much. I can’t help but think I must be getting close! That is why it must hurt so badly.
Betsy comes in to check me and I am telling her how bad the pain is. At this point we make a deal
Betsy: “Okay, I am going to check you, if you are 8 or 9cm, its all you, no epidural. If you are less then we will get you the epidural.”
This is a very tough decision for me. I don’t want the epidural, but if I have more than a cm or two to dilate (and they say it takes a cm an hour) I won’t have the energy to push when it comes time. The pain is so intense and so constant that I am really unable to restbetween, which is draining the last bit of energy I have left.
I am 6cm… time for the epidural.
I am really disappointed to find out that I am still only 6cm, but Betsy reassures that I have made so much progress to this point that its normal to plateau a little. Not to mention I am 100% effaced and little man’s head is so low in my pelvis that she can’t fit her fingers between my bone and his head, which is what, she believes, is causing my intense and constant contractions. I stopped feeling so bad and knew it is for the best. I need to rest.
Remember how I was terrified of the IV, yeah, imagine how terrified I was about the epidural! A needle in my spine!? The thought is still terrible to me!
It’s 9:10 and the anesthesiologist comes in to give me my epidural. He makes Richie leave the room, which is scaring me. I have to do this alone. The contractions are so serious when they spike that they are making me shake. I am trying to steady myself so he can place the needle but it is so hard. I focus on his funny Russian accent and it helps me relax and steady my trembling body.
The epidural is placed. That needle in my spine was not nearly as bad as the contractions! In comparison it was a tiny prick!
Smiles are back after I got the epidural
9:30 the relief is unbelievable! I feel so much better. I can still feel my legs, well at least the pressure sensation and I can move my legs, which I am enjoying. When a contraction comes, I feel the pressure but no pain. It is wonderful. Now it is time to relax. I am going to sleep.
It’s 11:00 I haven’t slept soundly because, of course, I am still extremely excited but I do feel more rested. I feel this pressure in my butt, I have heard this is what happens when it is almost time.
I don’t yet feel the urge to push but Betsy thinks we should start.
On my next contraction she tells me to push as hard as I can while holding my own legs up. I got the pushing down right away, but holding my own legs was a little awkward at first, I just couldn’t get comfortable.
Whenever I felt a contraction coming she has me push. For a while I didn’t feel like we were getting much of anywhere, I think that was because I still didn’t have the urge to push.
It’s 11:30 and I’m still pushing and getting very tired from it, Betsy says she can see his head when I push, so we are making some progress. But I still don’t have that urge to push.
It’s 11:45. The pushing continues but now I have this terrible pain on my left side (kind of in my uterus, it almost felt like a strained muscle). The pain is making it so hard to push! Every time I use all of my force, the pain makes me weak. I can’t think about anything but this pain. I need to try to focus. But even when I am resting the pain is still there!
On the next push, I try to take my mind off the pain. Richie is against my ear, telling me that I can do it, just push, soon our son will be here, just push. It is really helping me take my mind off of the pain. I keep listening to him and focusing only on his voice.
It’s 11:50. All of a sudden, I feel it! I feel that urge to push. I was ready and I know that he is coming now. I start to push on this contraction and now I feel like I am making progress!
Betsy: “Wait, wait, I have to get dressed. Don’t push”
Me: “I can’t stop!”
I was laughing at this! Don’t push! HA! This whole time she was telling me to push when I wasn’t feeling it and now that I was completely ready to push this little guy out, she wanted me to wait. Funny how that is!
Now that she is dressed, she tells me to push again, he is right there. I push, really hard. All of a sudden I feel this big relief
It’s 11:57 and I hear the most beautiful sound that I have ever heard in the world. My baby boy crying.She holds him up so I can see his beautiful face, he is so gorgeous.
Betsy: “Man he is heavy!”
Our first picture of him!
Our little man!
They clean him off very quick and put him right on my chest. I was looking at his little face as he calmly sat in my arms, eyes wide open. I had never seen anything so beautiful. I was staring at him, in complete shock, this is my baby, this little guy has been in my belly for nine months and now he is here, living, breathing… peeing (haha! He peed on me before they took him to get weighed). It was truly the start of my life. I had not lived until I saw him, my little baby. I looked up at Richie and was amazed that he was looking at him the same way I was, in true amazement!
We are in love.
They took him to get weighed and check him out. He was perfect. I felt whole, I have my husband and my son. The two loves of my life.
Richard James Sykula III
December 7th 2011
7lbs 11oz 19 ½ in.