Family.

41 Weeks

I’ve always wondered why people shared their birth story, but now that I’ve given birth, I realize how important and memorable the experience will become. Not only that, giving birth is one of the most BADASS things I’ve ever done!

I mean, this blog is 6 months late, and I still remember almost every detail vividly.

I wanted to share with y’all.

Well, here we go…..

A full-term single pregnancy lasts somewhere between 39 and 41 weeks.

Of course, someone like me, who is not only extremely impatient, but a control freak who likes to plan everything, would make it to 41 weeks.

FORTY-ONE WEEKS

Image result for bonnie swanson pregnant

From the very beginning of my pregnancy, I had plans to labor and deliver as natural as possible.

Unfortunately for me, at 41 weeks I had to be medically induced because I was ZERO centimeters dilated. I made the choice to be induced as opposed to waiting because I knew I wasn’t progressing on my own, and I didn’t want to risk the complications of being post-term.

April 19, my husband and I stopped for chicken biscuits from Chick-fil-a, which was very important because I knew I couldn’t eat while in the hospital.

We arrived a little after 8 am.

I checked in and was escorted to labor and delivery room 6.

I changed into my hospital gown, and the nurse hooked me up to an IV and asked about my birth plan—which shocked me because I figured that birth plans were frowned upon because things don’t always go as planned. They asked if I wanted to breastfeed, if I wanted skin-to-skin contact with the baby, if I wanted pain medication, and if David would be cutting the umbilical cord. My answers—yes, yes, no, yes. The nurse also gave me all of my options for pain relief. Shortly after, the anesthesiologist came in. They basically come in to get my consent for an epidural, just in case I need an emergency c-section.

It was around 9:30 am when the nurse practitioner came in to check my cervix, and to insert the Foley balloon catheter. At that point, I still wasn’t dilated at all (although my cervix was almost completely thinned out), which helped reassure me that I made the right choice to get induced.

I could have been pregnant forever, who knows.

The Foley balloon was basically like a weight that was inserted in my cervix, one balloon inside, and one outside. They are filled with water. The friction of the heavy balloons causes the uterus to contract. I was also given Cytotec. The Cytotec is a tiny pill that helps soften the cervix, it also helps cause contractions.

It took about an hour before I started having obvious contractions. They were maybe 7 minutes apart, but they only felt like mild period cramps. I was still in a pretty good mood, watching my favorite show. We brought DVD’s, I wanted to laugh through the pain.

It wasn’t until 2:30 pm when I finally dilated to 4 centimeters, and the Foley balloon was removed.

CERVICAL EXAMS SUCK—so when the nurse asked me if she could break my water, I said YES since she was already in there removing the balloon.

Once my water was broken, the contractions really started kicking my ass.

Things were progressing as expected. The nurse told me that things would move much quicker if I either walked around my room, or used a peanut ball. The peanut ball is basically a giant peanut shaped exercise ball that you hold in between your legs while you lay in bed. Helps open the cervix & get the baby into the correct position for delivery. It wasn’t comfortable, but I couldn’t be lazy if I wanted to get this baby out.Image result for peanut exercise ball

I was still in good spirits, just very very uncomfortable.

The nurse gave me permission to eat real food, as opposed to Jello or chicken broth. I ordered a cheeseburger. I wasn’t really hungry, I just chose to eat because I had no idea how long I would be in labor. The burger was gross, but it held me over.

Even though the contractions were getting pretty rough, I was still anti epidural. I made sure David promised to not let me get one. His job was also to make sure I wasn’t given a c-section unless it was completely medically necessary.

I was able to tolerate the pain until around 7:30. I basically blacked out from the pain. I couldn’t see much, but I felt every.single.contraction. I couldn’t get comfortable at all. I could barely talk. The nurse recommended that I hum in order to calm myself down, which I did.

It was around 8:30 maybe 9 pm when I finally gave in and requested pain medication. I decided to go with Fentanyl which was given to me through my IV. It kicked in pretty quickly, and allowed me to get some rest. I still felt the contractions, but I was able to nap in between them. I knew it was important to save my energy for delivery. Unfortunately the medication wore off around 10. I blacked out once again. Everything was a blur. At this point, I couldn’t even space apart my contractions. I just felt pain consistently. I was restless, and just miserable. I felt weak, and defeated. I believe it was around 10:30 when I got my cervix checked. The nurse told me I was at 9 centimeters, and I wouldn’t get another exam for 4 hours since my water was already broken, they didn’t wanna risk infection. Y’all have no idea how discouraged I was. I cried when the nurse left the room. I basically started to question if I could continue without an epidural.

I was pretty much yelling through my contractions, the humming no longer helped. The urge to push was rough. About 30 minutes after my last cervical exam, I got to the point where I couldn’t hold it anymore. I had David push the nurse call button. He didn’t even know what to say. I’m sure all the nurses heard was me screaming. That was enough to get the whole team in the room. I told them I couldn’t hold this baby in any longer.

I had my two nurses, the baby had two nurses, my OB as well as the delivering doctor were there. So 6 people on the medical team, plus David & I. The room was packed.

The nurses raise the bed up, turn all the lights on. It sounds like it would be embarrassing, having a huge spotlight on your vagina. However, at this point, I just wanted this baby OUT.

THE MOMENT WE’VE ALL BEEN WAITING FOR.

The doctor gave me a cervical exam. I was at 10 centimeters, and I was ready to push.

Somehow, I got a huge burst of energy, I was still terrified, and I had no clue what I was doing.

During my next contraction, I gave my first push. It took so much strength, it was tiresome.

The next contraction took about a minute, which wasn’t much time for me to recharge.

I relaxed, paused, and took a huge inhale, I pushed long and hard. Her head was out.

THAT WAS SO EXHAUSTING.

I literally asked my nurse if I could take a break lol she said I had to keep pushing.

I’m not sure where the strength came from, possibly fear, or maybe eagerness.

On that third contraction. That. third. push.

She was here.

The first thing I said after birth, “it’s a girl right?”  I asked that during every ultrasound as well. I was convinced I would have a boy and he would be wearing pink his entire first year of life.

It was a girl.

I went from screaming “OH MY GOSH OH MY GOSH OH MY GOSH” to ugly crying, I ugly cried 5 minutes straight before I even looked at her face.

Immediately I felt relieved.

I did it.

I. Did. It.

I may have gotten medically induced.
I may have caved and gotten pain medications.

But I did it.

I birthed a baby—and it’s one of my proudest accomplishments.

8 hours and 44 minutes of labor.

Somewhere between 5 & 10 minutes of pushing.

1 Beautiful baby girl.

 

Mom.

There’s so many things I could say about my mother; good, bad and ugly (I’ll keep it cute this time lol). Sounds cliché, but my mom is my best friend. We weren’t always this close. You would think that us being in two separate continents we would drift apart, but somehow the distance has made us closer. My mom and I talk almost every day, about everything you could imagine. My mom is my mentor, my therapist, and overall my biggest inspiration. I can say I honestly gave my mom a hard time while I was growing up. I was always into SOMETHING, whether I should or shouldn’t have been. I wanted to share some of my favorite memories with my mom. (I’m sure she will get a kick out of these).

I was probably four years old and I was always trying to be slick. I remember one day I tried to sneak some candy. My mom had one of those boxes of chocolate, and it was on the kitchen counter. I just kept sneaking pieces of chocolate, and putting the box back on the counter. Somehow the box slipped off the counter & all the chocolate spilled all over the kitchen floor. My mom was furious. She made me sit & eat all those chocolates off the floor. This taught me to always ask permission.

I think I was in kindergarten when I chopped off my hair. My mom told my sister to take out my braids before she got back from my Gramas house. My sister didn’t want to help me with my hair, & I didn’t wanna get a spankin. So I got some scissors to help, I cut above the rubber bands so I can take my braids out faster. I cut about 2-3 inches off. I took all the leftover hair & hid it in a plastic jack-o-lantern in my room. My mom immediately noticed when she got home, needless to say I got in huge trouble. I’m pretty sure my mom still has the hair in a bag. This taught me to be patient (still a work in progress).

When I was in the second grade, my mom thought I had alopecia. I know, sounds crazy. I’ll start from the beginning. You know the phrase, “monkey see, monkey do”? Well I had always watched my mom arch her eyebrows, and when mine began to get bushy, I wanted to do the same. One day I went in my mom’s bathroom and used her razor to shave my eyebrow, & it wasn’t what I expected. I shaved a huge chunk out of my eyebrow & I was so embarrassed. I didn’t say anything to her, but when she noticed, she freaked out. We went to all sorts of doctors & dermatologists. They gave me special shampoo to help my eyebrow grow back. I kept my mouth shut. It wasn’t until my junior year in high school that I slipped up and asked my mom if she remembered that time I accidently shaved my eyebrow off. Oops! This taught me to let things in the past, stay in the past.

I was in seventh grade when my mom, sister & cousin worked together to put out my mom’s ex-boyfriend. We literally packed all his things & put it in his car, we went to a party afterwards. Sounds like girl power to me! This taught me not to take crap from anyone.

I was in ninth grade when I got my first job. It was a surprise to my mom, she didn’t even know I was looking for a job. Seeing my mom work hard inspired me. This taught me independence.

I was in the eleventh grade when my mom drilled my bedroom window shut. I clearly wasn’t as discreet as I thought. This taught me to not be sneaky.

I was also in eleventh grade when I bought my first car, in cash. My mom helped me with the entire process. She told me I was the first person in the family to buy my own car in cash. This taught me to go after what I wanted.

My mom is probably the only person in the world who really understands me. My mom is my biggest supporter in everything. My mom still helps take care of me when I feel like I can’t take care of myself. I haven’t seen my mom in almost two years. In the airport, where she sent me off to Japan to be with my husband. It was one of the toughest days of my life. I ugly cried, I haven’t yet mastered the graceful cry. It was hard on both of us. I think the distance has showed us what really matters. Whether we live 8000 miles apart, or 8 feet apart, I will forever cherish & appreciate my mommy.

                Living so far away from my mom has taught me that I will always need my mother.

 

Unexpected Birthday Shock.

I’ve always been the one to over celebrate every holiday, especially birthdays, my birthday was always my favorite day of the year. I guess you could only imagine, waking up on your birthday to your mom in shambles. I don’t think I had ever seen my mother cry before, so I didn’t really know how to comfort her. I had no clue what was going on, and I had no idea how to ask. I was the only other person in the house awake at the time (maybe around 7 am). I just knew it was something serious, I knew it was something that I didn’t want to hear.

My mom had just got off the phone with her parents. Her younger brother had just suffered a massive heart attack. As expected, he had to be transported to a hospital that could actually save his life (he was in a small town at the time). Unfortunately, it was too late. In a matter of what felt like minutes, he was gone.

I grew up in a pretty tight family. My mom’s 4 siblings have always been a huge part of my life. I have 8 cousins (last I counted), that were my best friends growing up. We have been lucky, we hadn’t really experienced losing a family member this close before.

It was my 14th birthday and everyone was mourning. Nobody really knew how to react. We didn’t know what to do, or say, it was really awkward. I actually wanted to change my plans to another day, but my mom didn’t want me to. She didn’t want my day to be ruined. My sister and my godmother made sure I could at least enjoy part of my birthday. It was pretty chaotic, obviously nobody was prepared for this.

We tried to make the best of it, but it wasn’t easy. My birthday party was becoming a vigil. One room was filled with rambunctious teenagers, and the next room was filled with a ton of grieving adults. It was confusing. It was traumatizing. As much as I wanted everything to be about me, it wasn’t. I knew that my birthday would never be the same. My birthday would never be a “happy” day because it was the day we lost a piece of the family.

I had avoided thinking or even talking about my uncle. I had remorse, and yet for some reason, I felt guilty. December 5th wasn’t about me anymore. I was selfish, I was wrong. I just couldn’t accept the fact that we lost him on that day. I felt like nobody would even want to celebrate my birthday anymore because my family would be grieving.

For the first couple of birthdays after his death, I felt like everyone was constantly reminding people that he died on my birthday. I know it wasn’t to intentionally bring me down, but it did. I just didn’t know how I was supposed to feel. I was inconsiderate, I didn’t really think about how his death affected other people (my grandparents, my cousins). I only really cared about how it made me feel like I couldn’t celebrate anymore.

I knew his death was not my fault (obviously). It took a few years to actually enjoy my birthday. Once I learned how to balance (celebrating both of our lives), it was easier. Every year on December 5th, I always take a moment to appreciate the time that my family did have with my uncle. I know I am thankful for him. As I get older, I become more selfless. Over the years, I began to learn what was important in life. Family, love, and celebration mean so much to me. Losing my uncle was hard on ALL of us, and I wish I realized that sooner. Every year that I avoided thinking of him, was regretful. I was an insensitive teenager, what do you expect?

Now that I am 20 years old, I’m starting a new tradition on my birthday. Every year, I will listen to the music that reminds me the most of him. The music that brings nothing but positive memories. From Alicia Keys- No one, to Trick Daddy- I’m a thug. He was amazing, and I am so lucky that he was a part of my life. He will forever be in my heart. I look at my birthday now as just another reason to celebrate, celebrate the life of my Uncle June.

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