Around 11am, the attending OB came into my room and said that one of the doctors would be coming in at noon to check and see how far I had progressed. Another one of the doctors came in shortly after and offered to check me right then. So he did. And guess what?! I was fully dilated to 10 cm and I was 100% effaced. I was ready to go! However, they decided to allow the baby to descend further down the birth canal (called laboring down) for another hour. They would get me ready to push at noon.
MH went to get lunch because we knew that once the baby was born, he would be heading directly to the NICU and what was to come was completely unknown to us. At 11:45am, the doctor who would deliver Roo arrived and decided to check me once more. She said that it was time – we couldn’t wait until noon. Once more, our room turned into a flurry of organized chaos. The labor room was transformed into a delivery room. Within 15 minutes time, the doctors and nurses were in their delivery gown outfits, my bed had been transformed into a completely different bed without me even having to get out of it (!), and I was ready to push.
I had no idea what I was doing – having not been through the classes – so my labor nurse (who was amazing) walked me through exactly what I needed to do. Oddly, I was starting to feel some of the contractions through my epidural. They were getting that strong. They weren’t painful but I could feel the pressure of them. With each contraction, I was told to take a deep breath and push to the count of 8 or ten. I would do three pushes per contraction. Exactly at noon I started to push. Because of the epidural I could not feel if my body was responding to the pushes and I was relying on the doctors and my nurse to tell that I was doing it correctly. I apparently was pushing really well!
About half way through pushing the doctor asked if I wanted to feel the baby’s head. I said yes and I reached down and touched Roo’s head for the first time! It was DISGUSTING! Her head was squishy and very strange feeling! I didn’t like it but I was so happy to have actually felt Roo!!
Only a few more pushes and all of a sudden Roo was born! It was surreal. I saw her and heard her give a cry. I was surprised as the doctors warned me repeatedly that she might not cry and she might need various interventions to help her breath. We were both so happy that she didn’t require any of those interventions.
Ma.deleine L.uciana was born at 12:31pm on June 21 and weighed 3 pounds 14 ounces and was 16 inches long.
She was immediately taken by the NICU team for assessment and before she was whisked up to the NICU, she was brought over to me for a quick kiss. It was the first time I saw my Roo and she was adorable!
MH went with Roo to the NICU, where they did various tests, inserted her IV and several other tubes and leads into and onto her body. MH was with her for a couple of hours. I, on the other hand, was being sewn up in two different places, where I had two tiny tears. I also ordered lunch and chatted with my labor and delivery nurse, who like many of us, was suffering from infertility. She has tried IVF twice and both failed. I shared my story and we talked about what she was planning to do. We really connected and I was so glad that we were able to talk about our experiences and connect.
Before I was allowed to go to the NICU and meet my baby officially, I had to be able to walk. I proved myself and was able to see her. It was so very hard to not be able to hold her. I was allowed to touch her and hold her hand. She was so tiny but bigger than I thought. She also looked more like a a baby than I thought she would and I was relieved. I thought she would look like an alien baby like many preemies that I had seen on TV or in photos.
Again, the whole day had been so far a flash of surrealism. It happened too fast. I’m not sure that I emotionally was able to register that I had a baby. Luckily later in the evening we were both able to hold Roo in our arms, which made it all much more real and the story of Roo and us really began!