FAMILY


My Birth Story

Melissa

We found out we were pregnant at the Whole Foods salad bar. 

After one too many glasses of wine turned away and feeling a little fluish, without asking any questions, I made my husband quietly run to the drugstore to get a test as we were staying at his parents house for the holidays. He was making a salad at the Whole Foods salad bar when I emerged out of the bathroom with tears and shaking so badly I couldn't feel my legs. 

Pregnancy for me wasn't a breeze, but it wasn't difficult either. The most horrible part was my nausea and anemia. I couldn't stand the smell of anything garlic or onion. I couldn't eat meat. I craved pancakes, Snickers, popsicles, and BLT's. 

On the morning of August 6th (my husband's birthday) I woke up early and served him breakfast in bed. I was 39 weeks and considered full term. In previous weeks I was having somewhat of a hard time. I was measuring small, so to take every necessary precaution I was ordered to visit the hospital and do prenatal tests three times weekly until baby girls arrival. My fluids were measuring dangerously low that day, so I was ordered to go to the hospital after my appointment to be induced.

I cried, frantically called my husband and asked if I could go home and have a sandwich, get my bag and kiss my dog. Husband met me at home and 20 minutes later we were on our way. I was excited and scared so I couldn't eat my sandwich. I decided on a popsicle. 

Because I was being induced and not in active labor yet, and because it was my husband's birthday, we obviously had a party that night in my hospital room. His entire family (four younger brothers and their girlfriends, and parents) piled in, passed cake to the nurses while Fritz opened his presents, then at midnight we sent everyone on their merry way while I was waiting for my cervix to artificially efface (or "soften" for those of you not familiar with Pregnancy Terms 101). 

Effacing isn't supposed to hurt, but this was by far the worst part of my labor experience. There are a multitude of ways to do this, and for some reason I chose Cervadil (a uterine suppository) over the pill form as I was told it was the most time effective. Of course I have some sort of reaction to it and have the worst PTSD telling this part of the story. Anyone reading this who is sensitive, especially to latex or plastics, opt for the pill version! 12 hours later and many tears and screaming later, I was softened and ready for Pitocin (Pregnancy 101: an artificial hormone they drip to get contractions started). 

Although Pitocin contractions are considered ten times worse than natural ones, I still would take them over the Cervadil experience as I had somewhat prepared myself mentally for labor. I took a lot of prenatal yoga and a private session at our home on how to breathe, massage, and visualize during labor - aka Daddy doula training. We decided to not have a doula in labor and delivery as I really wanted that time to be between my husband and I. I also know some men feel so helpless, so teaching him how to comfort me in a useful way was really rewarding for our experience. Fritz was able to massage me while I labored on a yoga ball, and relieve pain and pressure when I finally started my active labor. I highly recommend anyone pregnant in San Francisco to do this with Kari Marble at The Mindful Body Yoga studio

Labor wasn't progressing for me easily and it took me 36+ hours to fully dilate, but once I was there, I didn't have that much farther to go before baby girl would make her appearance. I had the most wonderful nurse, Valerie. When nurses came to check on me and I wasn't fully dilating, they almost took me off the Pitocin for another day in the hospital waiting. Either magic happened or baby girl heard she had to wait another day, but all of a sudden I started feeling major tingling in my thighs, and a feeling women described to me "like you have to poop"!  Val immediately placed me in a Labor & Delivery room. It was go time!   

After the long induction process and a lot of pain, I decided to get an epidural. I waited as long as I could, and wanted to feel as much of the experience I could, but I am not super woman nor do I care to prove that to anyone. At UCSF they have an epidural that you can self administer with a button, once properly placed. At midnight on August 7th, they gave me my epidural, let me eat a sandwich, and told me and my husband to rest while they upped my Pitocin and monitored my dilation. They woke me up at 5 AM and magically, I was ready. Valerie had me practice pushes and prepped me for the doctor to come in. After only four pushes, baby crowned, and twenty minutes later, I had a beautiful baby girl in my hands. I cried, told her I loved her, then daddy cut the umbilical cord and warmed her up skin to skin as I was having a little trouble delivering my placenta. We named her Theodora "Teddy" Middleton Lanman - born on August 8th, 2015.  

I had "going home" outfits packed for all of us, but recouping in the hospital post birth is anything but! The constant interruption from nurses made it hard to relax, so when our two days were up, we literally ran out of there, in our pajamas without showers (case in point above). When my mother in law asked me what the baby wore for her going home outfit, I told her we left "hill billy style". My new reality. 

Being at home with baby has been amazing. She feeds well and is a great sleeper. I joke that because I have a pretty easy baby that of course my punishment has been my recovery process. That story is for another day but thankfully I'm 100% on the road to recovery, albeit dealing with the fun postpartum issues that nobody really talks about (again, for another day)! Teddy will be four months in a few days and I can't believe how much I love her and being a mother and how happy I feel everyday. She truly is magic to me.