On July 6, 2018 at 10:11 AM, I became a mom to my sweet baby girl, Margot Rose. I still can’t believe I did it and really can’t believe how magical epidurals are. Meeting her was the most beautiful, amazing moment of my life and today, I’m here to share my labor and delivery story with you. I didn’t know what to expect and nothing sounded worse than the pain of childbirth, but I had such a positive experience. And I would go through just about anything to have this little one here with me – there is no way to prepare for how much you’ll love your baby. It is incredible.
She’s passed out on my chest as I write this and…I’m already crying.
I was so afraid of the pain of labor and had such a smooth and painless labor and delivery. I did get very lucky that things went as smoothly as they did, but now that I’m on the other side, I can tell you that I would go through literally anything to have Margot here. I knew I’d love her but I didn’t know just how much I’d love her. I wish I knew that this was who was waiting for me.
It all started at my 37-week appointment. We had a scare when Margot’s heart rate dipped during an appointment but after more monitoring, everything was fine. But I couldn’t shake the fear that something might happen again. That plus the fact that both Conor and I were big babies with giant heads (he was “off the charts” huge) had me nervous (ok, terrified) that I would have a difficult delivery. My OB offered to induce me at 39 weeks but I really wanted to go full-term if possible and was afraid of that kind of intervention, so I decided to wait.
After talking to her again the following week, we made the decision to get on the waitlist to be induced at exactly 40 weeks. I was already 3CM so things were progressing, and I trusted my doctor who thought it would go well (and it did). I am a patient at an all women’s practice, so the odds that my doctor (who I love!) would be on call when I happened to go into labor were 1 in 8. She happened to be scheduled the day of the induction and was the one to deliver Margot. It was meant to be.
At 1:30 PM, we found out that we would check in to Prentice late that evening. I finished my work day in bed (to stay calm) and tried to nap that evening but couldn’t sleep. We packed our bags, Conor dropped the dogs off with my mother-in-law, and I did my best to relax. We pulled out of our driveway and talked about the fact that this would be our last time leaving the house without her here. I played some of my favorite songs on the way to the hospital and when Lord Huron’s “She Lit a Fire” started playing as we were driving through the city, it hit me. We were about to meet our baby girl.
After checking in, we went up to the delivery floor, sat in a waiting room for maybe 15 minutes, and then were checked into the delivery room. Things started to feel very real and I was anticipating a long and likely painful 12-24 hours. I was also so ready to not be pregnant and to meet our baby that I was a lot more calm than I imagined I’d be. It was still so scary having zero control and not knowing how things would unfold.
So I got into bed and was given my IV, which, if you can believe it, was the worst part of the entire labor and delivery process. I had no idea how painful IVs were. It hurt going in and my arm was sore until it came out. After 2 hours of pitocin, I went ahead and asked for the epidural at 3:30 AM. I had started to feel contractions but they were light to moderate and my friends who had gotten epidurals said to get it earlier than later, and I just wanted to get it over with.
The anesthesiologist and nurses came in and I almost burst into tears. The moment I had been dreading (a needle in my spine) was here. Conor was asked to leave the room. He gave me a kiss and said everything would be ok and again, I almost broke down crying. The doctor and nurses asked why I was nervous, talked me through everything, the nurse held my hand, and I still can’t believe I’m typing this, but it was completely painless! I know there can be side effects but they’re not very common.
Most of my friends said the epidural was “nothing” but I was still terrified so really – do not let the epidural scare you. The lidocaine (numbing shot) stung a tiny bit, but I didn’t feel the epidural go in and the relief was almost instant. Being able to rest without any pain and not having to get up to pee every 5 minutes (you’re given a catheter which you also won’t feel go in) was a welcome break. Modern medicine really is a wonderful thing.
My OB came in to break my water at 5:45 AM (zero pain) and at that point I was dilated to 4CM. Progress! She said I it should take a few hours to get to 6CM, and then I’d dilate an average of 1CM per hour until I hit 10. We expected this to go on for a while, so I planned to rest and wait for my baby girl. I think I got maybe 2-3 hours of sleep? It’s all a bit of a blur.
In the early hours of the morning, the nurse calmly woke me up and asked me to change positions since the baby’s heart rate dipped a few times. This was what I had been dreading. I was a little nervous but asked if I should be worried and she assured me everything was ok. I stayed calm, tried not to go to a bad place in my head, and fell back asleep. Knowing what a worrier I am, I still can’t believe how calm I was through everything.
I felt the pressure of every contraction, but they weren’t painful at all. The nurse told me I’d know when it was time to push because I’d feel pressure “down there” – like I had to go to the bathroom. I was surprised when I felt what she described before 9 AM, so I sat with it for a little bit to make sure that’s what I felt. After feeling it a few times, I buzzed the nurse.
At 9 AM, my OB came in (with who I think was a resident?) to check on me.
Resident: “I can’t feel her cervix.”
Me: “Umm…where did it go?”
OB: “You’re ready to have this baby.”
I was 10CM and ready to push. I still can’t believe how quickly things progressed.
My doctor and nurse got ready and walked me through how to push since I had no idea what I was doing. I was told it would take an hour or two and after the first round of pushing, knew this was going to be exhausting. The room felt calm and looking back, I really wish we had played some music but we somehow didn’t think to do that. I could feel every single contraction (again, no pain), so I knew exactly when to push and when to stop, feeling completely in control. You’re basically holding your breath and pushing as hard as you can 3x back-to-back for 10 seconds, so I closed my eyes to “rest” in between contractions for a second although that did nothing since they were so close together. I would have been really tired had it taken 2 hours, but also would have gotten through it.
About 10-15 minutes in, she told me if I gave her a few more pushes, I’d have a baby in about 10 minutes. I was in shock.
It all gets really blurry again. One minute I was pushing and all of a sudden, she was on my chest. After 9 months of pregnancy, our baby girl was here. I thought I’d be a sobbing mess but I think I was in shock (not actual shock – just stunned). Did I really push a human being outside of my body? I’m a mom! She’s ours?! Is she ok? That went on for a while.
According to Conor, the next 40 minutes were spent cleaning us up. I tore a little bit (didn’t feel it) and needed 4 stitches. Again, just some pressure but no pain. They checked the baby’s vitals and stats. She was 7 lbs 13 oz and 21.5 inches of perfection.
Then the most incredible, beautiful, and perfect moment happened. I handed Margot to Conor and he sat with her by the window. His first time holding his baby girl, tears beginning to stream down his face. I never, ever want to forget that moment.
Going into labor and delivery, I was terrified of the epidural, pushing, tearing, and the “aftermath” of it all. I realize I got very, very lucky, but I can tell you that Margot would have been worth a much longer delivery or a C-section. Had I known this was what having her here would feel like, pregnancy would have been a lot more tolerable and I would have been so much less afraid.
The nurse offered to help me stand up to get into the wheelchair to go to our hospital room, but I was able to stand on my own. We spent some time with Conor’s mom and then settled in as a family of 3. We didn’t know how long it would take to bond with her and fully expected life to feel upside down for a while, but we were lucky and that love came instantly for both of us. So the three of us snuggled on my little hospital bed and the tears started flowing. I could not believe how much love I had for someone I just met.
The “aftermath” was much better than I imagined. We stayed in the hospital for two nights and did our best to rest, but nurses and doctors kept coming in to check on something. I was sore but the pain was at a 3-4 at the highest. Ice packs, pain meds, lady diapers, spray bottles, and witch hazel pads all help a lot.
Over the next few days, my mother-in-law came back to visit again, and we had a few friends come by with dinner, spritzes, and snuggles for baby Margot. My friend Katie Kett (who shot our wedding) was the first friend to meet her and took these beautiful photos for us.
Margot Rose, you’re the best thing we’ve ever done. You’ve changed our hearts and lives for the better, and our love for you is unlike anything we’ve ever known. Welcome to the world and thank you for making us a family, baby girl.