Gracie Mena’s birth story

So now that the little punk is 3 weeks old (yes, that old!) I figure it’s time for me to finally write out her birth story. She’s happily swinging in her swing for now, so hopefully I can get this all written out.

Starting on Wednesday (the 22d) I started getting some early labor signs. I had some show and some mucous the week before and Monday and Tuesday I was MAJORLY nesting, and those all popped up again on Wednesday, along with contractions. The contractions were definitely different, more in my back and more noticeable, but not regular or getting stronger (yet). I spent the day with Mom and Lauren, going shopping and walking a lot. Lauren kept trying to scare me into labor and she kept making me walk a lot but I doubt that really helped (sorry sister). I was exhausted by the end of the day though, so I went to bed pretty early.

Around 2 am I was awoken with way stronger contractions that I couldn’t sleep through. I got out of bed after a while and prayed a rosary while I timed them. At around 3, I woke Chris up and he didn’t quite get that it was time. It was actually pretty funny, cause I think he just thought I was uncomfortable and needed to go back to sleep. We left for the hospital around 4:30. I probably should have been more ready, but we spent about a half hour finishing packing my bag and getting everything together. That was a tough half hour for me, simply because my contractions really kicked it up to the point where I had to stand still and breathe through them.

We got to Oakwood and checked in at Triage in Labor and Delivery. They checked me, and if I remember correctly, I was about 2cm and she was a -1/2 which was crazy cause she definitely was a 0 earlier that week! They kept me under observance for a few hours and the midwife there had me walk around the floor to try and kickstart things. Well, that was all well and good cause the contractions got stronger, but I was in back labor so they were REALLY painful. We went back to the bed and she checked me. At this point it was probably about 7 and I was a 3/4. She said it would probably be a while and I could either go home or wait it out there with drugs for the pain. I was in a ton of pain then, so I opted for staying and getting some meds. They popped in my IV and got me ready to go to a labor and delivery room. Around 8 we got over there and Lauren and Mom arrived. When they came in, I was on the birthing ball (like one of those exercise balls, for those who don’t know) and was just in a TON of pain. When they came in to check on me they asked if I wanted an epidural and I honestly felt like I had been offered a piece of heaven. They got me hooked up to that (it took a few tries, but me being a perfect patient, I dealt with it) and it started blissfully working super quickly.

I had wanted to go natural, but with the back labor I just couldn’t take it. Well, I probably could have but it was very difficult and I didn’t want to tire myself out too much before I needed to push (the irony of that will soon be seen).

Once the epidural was in, it was a pretty relaxing time where we watched the Ellen show and the Price is Right. In those couple hours, I dilated super fast, a couple centimeters the first hour and then from a 6 to a 10 in about an hour! At noon, I really started getting the urge to push, and since I was dilated enough, they let me just kinda go with the flow and do what I felt I should. I ended up pushing in a few different positions, on my side, my back (the c position), kneeling and whatnot. At this point, my memory doesn’t have much, it was a bit of a blur because I pushed for 4 hours and 18 minutes. Apparently the epidural wore off a couple hours into pushing, but I didn’t notice. All I remember was being extremely focused on pushing and trying to relax in between. Lauren, Mom and Chris were cracking jokes but laughing hurt too much and I didn’t have the energy to respond (although I know I wanted to say “that’s what she said” at one point).

There were some great doctors, and I had an amazing nurse, who really helped encourage me. I’m SO glad they didn’t start mentioning a csection, cause I would have gotten so discouraged. Gracie’s head was slightly turned, so that’s why it took so long to push her down, but finally at 4:33, I managed to get the little punk out! I did have an episiotomy and some internal tearing, which has made recovery pretty tough.

It’s weird for me though. I didn’t cry when she was born (probably because I was so tired and relieved to finally see her) but now, just thinking about it makes me cry like I’m watching Baby Story. Mom always talks about her “Seven Moments” and now, I finally get it. After 38 weeks and 3 days of carrying around a precious cargo, that cargo was unloaded and now I’ve got to care for her. If any other person had put me through the pain I went through to get her into this world, I doubt I’d love them at all, but my little Gracie has all sorts of love, so much I can’t even describe it. Being a mom is amazing, wonderful, difficult, trying, tiring, laughable. But it is soo worth it, especially when my little girl curls up on my chest and smiles in her sleep.

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