It Starts and Ends with a Burrito
My labor began on Friday March 11th. I had mild cramping around 2 pm, so I took a nap when I finished my work for the day. I knew a few people who had mild cramping weeks before they gave birth, so I had no reason to think I was in labor. My husband and I had plans to have dinner at Neato Burrito before his haircut at 6pm. I really didn’t feel like going anymore, but I desperately wanted a burrito. On our walk from the car to the restaurant, I felt like I couldn’t walk too far. I held my stomach as we slowly walked into Neato. My husband asked if I was okay and I told him that I was. I said, “I think I’ve reached the point where I can’t really walk too far anymore.” Throughout my pregnancy, I’d still been going on 1-2 mile walks. We then ordered and ate our burritos (I only ate half of mine, so I took the other half with me), and then I waited in the car while he got his haircut. Normally I’d go in with him, but I had a cold, so I didn’t feel comfortable doing that. I assured him that I had my book and I’d be fine in the car. The appointment lasted for over an hour, and I was feeling too uncomfortable to read my book. The cramps felt like they were getting worse, but I kept thinking that maybe I was just overreacting. I called my mom and talked to her for close to an hour, then I sent a Marco Polo video to my friend Rachel. Just when I decided that I needed to lie down in the back seat, I saw Tyler walking towards the car. I breathed a sigh of relief, but I didn’t tell him exactly how I was feeling. I simply said to him “When we get home, I need to lay down.” He said, “Because of your cold?” I said “NO…” with an attitude, and later he told me that’s when he knew something was up with me. The cramps were definitely getting worse now; I could feel it as I cringed with every bump in the road. When walking from the car to our house, I felt a gush of liquid fill my pants. I told Tyler “I think my water just broke.” I ran up to the bathroom and pulled down my pants to the sight of A LOT of blood; None of it was water. I then called the on-call nurse and told her that I think I just had my bloody show, not realizing that this was certainly not a bloody show. It wasn’t a normal amount of bleeding. Since my husband and I had never gone through this before, we didn’t panic. The nurse told me to start timing my contractions. I told her “I’m not sure I’m having contractions.” I was apparently in denial all day that I was in labor, but my doctors and nurses had always told me I’d definitely know when I was having a contraction. It was such a different type of pain, I wasn’t really sure I could call it pain. As it turns out, my contractions just felt like really bad period cramps. I downloaded an app to time them, and my husband put Seinfeld on to try and relax me. I tried sitting in the bathtub and that didn’t feel good. I laid on the bed and that didn’t feel good, so I walked around and that still didn’t’ feel good. I tried kneeling with my birth ball, getting on my hands and knees, but those things made it feel worse. The most comfortable position for me was lying on my side in bed while listening to relaxing music and doing the breathwork I had practiced. After timing the contractions for an hour, the app was telling me to go to the hospital. Throughout this hour, I was throwing up the burrito I had eaten and texting some of my friends to get their opinions about when to go into the hospital. My friend Jess told me that because I mentioned the bleeding twice, just know that I don’t have to have the nurse’s permission to go to hospital; I can just go. The worst they can do is send me home. Because I had wanted to labor at home as long as possible and I was downplaying my pain, I was very unsure as to when we should go to the hospital. Tyler told me “We can go whenever you want to, just let me know.” I tried to hold out a bit longer, and then I decided it was time. Tyler already had the car packed and he called the nurse to let her know we’d be coming in. It was only a five minute drive to the hospital, and I waited in the lobby while Tyler parked the car. It was about 10 pm at this point. While waiting, I puked in the garbage bag I had brought with me. When Tyler came in, we walked up to the security guard and I told him “I’m in labor.” It felt like a lie as I said it, because I was so calm as opposed to what you see in the movies. He directed us to the maternity wing and they checked me in. The midwife checked me to see how dilated I was… I was 8 cm dilated! Since my preferred method of pain relief was nitrous oxide, I was relieved that I was an 8. The midwife asked me if I wanted the epidural and I told her no. I figured if I was already at an 8, I didn’t need it. I will say that if I hadn’t been so far along, I would’ve taken the epidural. It felt like once I accepted the fact that I was in labor, the pain became real. The nitrous oxide was finally set up once I hit a 9, and they still asked me if I wanted the epidural. I told them, “I think it’s too late now.” Then I pushed for an hour and a half, my husband holding my right leg and a nurse holding my left. I did my breathing into the gas mask and when I felt the urge to push, I’d tap my right leg and Tyler would tell the nurse “Now.” The two of them would lift up my legs and I’d push with all my might. It really felt like the pushing would never end. I did poop during labor and I broke a lot of blood vessels in my face. I felt the head coming out, and the rest of her followed. She came out “sunny side up” the nurses said, meaning her forehead came first. I was so thankful that I didn’t tear. She was born at 1:40 am, weighing 5 lbs 9 oz. The nurses laid her on my chest for only a few seconds, then they took her away. They said that she seemed “stunned and floppy.” I had apparently lost a lot of blood while delivering her in addition to the amount I had lost during labor. Because of this, they sent my placenta down to the lab and sent Clara to the NICU. Clara had to be put on a CPAP machine to breathe, but she was able to breathe on her own by 7 am that morning. Clara was in the NICU for two days, so we got to take her home on Monday. Once we came home with her, I was starving. I asked Tyler if he had put the other half of my burrito in the fridge, and he said that he had. So he took Clara and I finished my burrito. While at Neato, Tyler had joked “If you go and eat a baby sized burrito, it’s going to push a burrito sized baby out of you.” He was, indeed correct.