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Birth Story: Messier, but Faster Than Expected

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Thank you, Joanna Azar, for sharing the first of your four birth stories with us. If anyone else would like to submit a birth story, visit our submissions page to learn more.

Joanna_Azar2 I would say I was pretty prepared for pregnancy and birth. Perhaps I was almost over prepared from reading too much. With every little thing that happened, I’d freak out. At five weeks gestation, I started spotting heavily and had to go in for an ultrasound. I was still teaching at the time and I hadn’t told anyone that I was pregnant. I had just peed on a stick and a week later, I was spotting.

Everything I read on the Internet said it was miscarriage. We went in for the ultrasound and could hear the heartbeat. The doctor could see everything just fine, so he said the spotting was because the egg was attaching to the wall of my uterus. I spotted for a week.

The pregnancy progressed just fine. We took a birthing and breastfeeding class through the hospital. I made my husband go with me even though he was the only man there. It was helpful though because later when I was frustrated while breastfeeding, he was able to help me.

I went into labor wanting to try for a natural birth, as long as I could handle it. My sister and mom all had natural births, so I figured that if they could do it, I could. I was nervous because sister’s first baby was two months premature. I thought my family had a curse of the first child and that the baby would come early.

During my pregnancy, we had four ultrasounds because of early spotting and later because I had gained so much weight. The doctor thought he’d be a 12-pound baby. His due date was September 7, but I didn’t want to make it into September. The doctor stripped my membranes a week prior and my water broke that night. It was very surprising for a first baby.

I was having contractions before I went to bed, but they weren’t bad. My husband passed out because that’s what guys do. At 2:00 a.m., I sat up in bed and felt the gush of my waters breaking. I drove to the hospital. I knew I was going to have the baby because water broke, but I still wasn’t having bad contractions. At least not until we arrived at the hospital.

I hated that feeling of water breaking. You sit in hospital and feel like you’re sitting in wetness. I just felt gross. I had to go to triage first to see if I would be admitted, but I knew I would be since my water had broken. Even still, we couldn’t skip triage. When they checked me, I was 4 cm dilated.

After we got through triage and were admitted to the delivery room, they had me walk the halls to hurry up the contractions. I did all right for about 3 hours, but then the pain was too bad. My husband got the nurse and they called the anesthesiologist. I remember him well, as he walked in with an IU (my alma mater) beanie on. The doctor was very nice and walked me through the steps of getting the drugs. It was painful, but the contraction pain subsided soon after. I was much more comfortable then. I could still tell when I felt pressure and needed to start pushing.

When I felt the pressure, my husband got the nurse, and she said I was ready. She called the doctor, who came in and was ready for me to deliver. I only had to push for about 30 minutes after getting the epidural, so luckily the drugs didn’t slow anything down.

The pushing wasn’t so bad, except my husband and the nurse both had to blow their runny noses in between each contraction. The nurse had allergies, but my husband had a mask on and a mint in his mouth to help with “the smells he couldn’t handle” which caused his nose to run. This meant when the next contraction came, I had to yell to them to get out of the bathroom and get over to me.Joanna_Azar1

Once the baby crowned, I felt the horrible “ring of fire” everyone talked about. I thought I would avoid this with the epidural, but apparently not, but I never felt this in the next two births. They could quickly see the hair-covered head coming out.  Then I felt a tremendous amount of pressure go away as soon as our little boy was born. My husband and I both cried. He looked like a little boxer with a smushed and crooked nose from birth.

I got to immediately do skin-to-skin contact with him. This helped distract me from the afterbirth and the one stitch the doctor had to put in. I was shocked when he only weighed in at 7 lbs. 8 oz., since they expected an over 10-pound baby. He cried very little and nursed right away.

I would say, all in all, things were a lot messier and a lot faster than what I had expected. Everyone feels welcome to share their horror stories with you, while you are pregnant, which made me expect the worst. I guess that made it seem not so bad!

Every mother has a story. Share yours with us. Visit the submissions page for more info. Not sure what to say? Learn how to write your story here or check out “Your {Birth} Story Matters” for more tips.

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