I love talking about birth stories and hearing other people’s experiences because just like kids, they are all unique. It’s one thing in life that you can’t really plan out perfectly and there is always an element of surprise. Each one of my births has been a little scary and traumatic in different ways so its been nice to reflect on it some time later while the emotions aren’t as fresh. Giving birth is such an incredible experience because it is emotional, spiritual, and physically demanding all at the same time. I hope you enjoy reading my birth story of Jersey.
As with my previous two pregnancies, I had a long, hard nine months with Jersey. I was very sick the entire time, gained a ton of weight, and was so uncomfortable especially by the end of my third trimester. Jersey was due on April 30th. Both of my other kids came past their due dates so I assumed that I would go late with her as well. My hope was that Jersey could stick it out until after the 28th at least, because my brother’s wedding was that day and I wanted to be there with all of my heart.
On the evening of April 24th, I was folding the laundry and watching Dancing with the Stars (my normal, Monday night routine,) when I started feeling contractions. I was in denial mode because I didn’t want to miss my brother’s wedding, not to mention I needed to get my laundry done! I didn’t like the idea of leaving a messy house behind. I continued to fold my laundry until my labor was undeniable. I raced to clean up, pack my hospital bag and shower. By the time I was finishing up it was close to 1 am. My contractions were very strong and close together and it was becoming difficult for me to focus on anything else. When we got in the car to take the short drive to the hospital, my labor kicked in to high gear. Because I had waited so long, the drive to the hospital and walking into the hospital was difficult and painful but Bryan was there for me every step of the way.
As I was getting checked in the nurse told me that they wanted to monitor me for an hour before they admitted me. I wasn’t happy about that. I was in a lot of pain and waiting sounded excruciating both mentally and physically. I clinched Bryan’s hand as the waves of contractions kept washing over me. Luckily the staff soon realized that I was in intense labor and needed to be admitted immediately. From Cruz’s birth (my second-born,) I learned that I wanted to get my epidural before I was fully dilated. So when the doctor explained how far along I was, I decided it was time to get an epidural. My anesthesiologist teased me when he looked over my records from my previous births that I cut it pretty close the last time and that this time would be much better. My husband Bryan scrubbed up hoping that this time, he would be able to “catch” the baby. He had done the same thing with my other two births, but because they were emergency deliveries he wasn’t able to deliver them himself.
My epidural kicked in and I finally relaxed for a short moment. I had a problem with my blood pressure dropping a little too low, which made me feel light headed but they were able to treat it with a shot of adrenaline. On April 25th around 5 am I felt a lot of pressure and it was time to push. Excitement filled the room. I used the “bloom method” for pushing and it was incredibly productive. Basically you push by squeezing your abs. Every time I pushed, she moved a little. This had never happened for me before. My other births were difficult and pushing was hard and frustrating. Bryan and I were in disbelief at how smoothly everything was going. It only took a few strong pushes and she was out! She was gorgeous and I gasped because I just couldn’t believe how perfect my little, newborn baby was. She was a healthy 8 pounds 9 ounces. She didn’t look like a newborn, she had beautiful expression and depth. During my pregnancy it was hard for me to imagine that another baby could be as cute as Jayda and Cruz but she truly exceeded all of my expectations. She had gorgeous dark eyes, dark hair and the perfect tan skin. She definitely looked a lot like Bryan and she was adorable.
I believe the first time you see your child is one of the most magical things in the world. I will never forget the feeling of immediate love and joy I felt for each one of my children the moment they arrived. Jersey stole my heart the second I saw her. Perhaps because I have such difficult pregnancies it’s hard for me to keep perspective and remember that there is a little baby growing inside of me. During my pregnancies I just feel awful and that’s all I can focus on or think about. I am in continual survival mode. So for me, the moment I see my baby is when I realize that it was all worth it.
As for labor and delivery, Jersey’s birth was the smoothest I had ever had and everything went really well. Unlike my previous emergency deliveries, I actually held Jersey right after she was born. I got to have that moment you see other mothers have when they get to envelope themselves in the rapture of their newborn. Everything seemed to have gone perfectly but unfortunately that isn’t the end of the story.
After all the nurses and doctors left I decided to try to nurse Jersey for the first time. She was doing great, but I started to notice that my bed felt really wet. I told Bryan, but I didn’t really think much of it. We were enjoying our alone time with our sweet, little baby girl . Within minutes I felt like somebody had taken my batteries out. I couldn’t let go of my suspicion that my “wet” bed was likely very bloody. I was tired and limp, the kind of tired where your arms feel like lead and even talking seems laborious. I told Bryan to get help. The nurse came in and lifted my bed sheets and immediately saw that I was hemorrhaging. She called for the other nurses and people spilled into the room. They rolled me over and jabbed me with a shot in my backside and began to measure how much blood I was had lost by weighing it on a scale. I was hemorrhaging because a piece of the placenta was still in my uterus wall leaving open blood vessels. The hormones that are released during nursing can accelerate the bleeding which can in turn drop blood pressure. This dangerous type of hemorrhaging happens in approximately 1% of deliveries.
I began to shake. I felt terrified and very cold. I kept asking for more blankets hoping that something would warm me up. My head was reeling as I heard them mention “large blood clots.” It freaked me out that I had passed not just a few, but several blood clots the size of fists. My doctor came back and explained to me that they were going to turn my epidural back on and try to see if they could get the part of the placenta that was left in my uterus out to stop my bleeding. If this was unsuccessful, they would need to do an emergency surgery to stop the hemorrhaging. I knew things were serious because I felt so tired. I knew that life had flooded out of my body and I needed help to get it back. There was so much I wanted to say but all I could do was look at Bryan holding my sweet baby. Bryan was my rock. Throughout the entire ordeal he was calm and composed. I started convulsing uncontrollably and I began to tear up because I felt so helpless. My doctor acted very quickly and was able to stop my bleeding. I was told I would need a couple blood transfusions. For some reason this really scared me but I knew this was the best course of action. Although it took a while, the transfusions helped me start to regain my energy. I began to feel better as my blood levels returned to normal and my shaking subsided. It was now morning and I was very tired. The nurses suggested that I finally get some sleep. They took Jersey to the nursery to help me get the most rest that I could.
When I woke up I was extremely swollen from the trauma of the transfusion. My arm was riddled with puncture wounds from all of the IV’s and shots they needed to give me. It had been several hours and I wanted to see Jersey. I was sure that she was hungry and I felt terrible for sleeping for so long. They finally brought her to me and I was able to attempt to nurse her again although I am pretty sure my body was still in shock and I wasn’t producing any milk. The doctor told me it would be a couple weeks before I would feel like normal but I started feeling better little by little everyday. The nausea and sickness I felt from pregnancy had finally subsided and from that alone I felt so much better. Not feeling nausea for the first time in nine months was like getting released from prison. I was thrilled. Meanwhile, Jersey was the perfect baby and just her existence filled me with immense joy. And even though I wasn’t making much milk for her, she was resilient and healthy from day one.
My brother’s wedding dinner was the day I got released from the hospital and by some miracle I managed to make it to an hour of the dinner. It was one of the most stressful days of my life. The shoes I had worn to the hospital for the delivery didn’t even fit my feet because I was so swollen. But it wasn’t just my feet, I was swollen everywhere and none of my clothes fit me. Bryan also managed to get in a car accident in the middle of the chaos so I had to get my two other kids dressed and ready all while trying to juggle a newborn, all by myself. Did I mention that I didn’t feel 100%? Leaving my brand new baby with a babysitter also was a little nerve racking to me. It was a bit crazy but we all survived.
When I reflect back on the entire experience I am just so grateful for my loving and supportive husband. I am also so blessed to have the life saving medical care available to me. But most of all I am so lucky to be the mom of Miss Jersey Faye and I would do it all over again for her. Have any of you experienced anything like this during your deliveries? I would love to hear about your experiences and what you think about mine!