This took me a lot longer to write and share than I thought it would and I am not sure why. Every time I would think about writing it down I would get overwhelmed, or find something else to occupy myself with. However, I was determined to get it written down for posterity’s sake. So here it is…only 6+ weeks after he was born…
I was lucky enough to start working from home on November 1st. On November 14th, six days before my due date (November 20th), I went on official maternity leave. For approximately two weeks prior to giving birth every morning I would wake up and wonder if today would be the day. Every night before going to bed I would think to myself “I hope it happens tomorrow”. This was particularly true thanks to the severe pubic pain I experienced the final few weeks, and once my father and stepmother arrived on the 17th. Honestly, with the couple of small scares we had at 29 weeks (bleeding) and 34 weeks (false labor) we thought the baby was going to arrive early. Yeah…no.
At approximately 38.5 weeks I ended up visiting the Birth Center due to decreased fetal movement and fairly regular contractions. I thought for a few moments that they would end up admitting me and inducing, but I was sent home with a nurse telling us she wouldn’t be surprised to see us back within the next 24 hours for the real thing. I am pretty sure she jinxed it. Over the next couple of days my contractions continued, but were no longer frequent nor consistent. They were dilating me but VERY slowly. At my 39 week checkup with my OB/GYN she did a membrane sweep in hopes of kick starting labor (the pain from the sweep was on par with the pain of pushing the baby out). For the next few days I tried every trick in the book including various foods, prenatal massage with acupressure, vigorous exercise, special teas, and more. Nothing worked. Some days I would have contractions consistently for the entire day only to go to sleep and have them completely stop. Frankly it was maddening. At my next OB/GYN appointment (40 weeks plus 2 days) I still had barely progressed in dilation/effacement; in fact I might have lost progress. I declined another membrane sweep so she offered to schedule an induction if I didn’t go into labor soon. This was the Tuesday before Thanksgiving. In severe discomfort and pain thanks to the SPD I asked her when was the soonest she was willing to induce. When she responded with “today” I nearly cried with relief.
After the appointment we headed home to get a few items, let my parents know what was going on, and then headed to the Birth Center. At approximately 1:30 pm on November 22nd I was hooked up to the IV and the Pitocin was started. The first few hours of labor progressed slowly. I could barely feel the contractions, though I could of course see them on the monitor. We passed the hours watching Netflix and Shiraz even left briefly to get some food. At about 4:30 pm my doctor came back and broke my water to move things along further (the weirdest feeling ever, FYI…it legit felt like I peed myself). For the first hour after progress slowly continued. The nurse encouraged me to get up and walk around, while hooked to a mobile IV, in an effort to move things along. After about 15-20 minutes of doing so the pain had gotten bad enough that walking around was difficult (particularly when combined with the pubic pain) so I headed back to bed. Over the next couple of hours things continued moving forward; the contractions getting stronger and the pain getting worse. At about 8:45 pm the pain had gotten to the point where I was ready for the epidural so they sent the anesthesiologist in.
It took a couple of tries to get the epidural right and fully working. It turns out there is a phenomenon where some women get a “window”; a small part of their uterus the the epidural medicine doesn’t reach. When this happens you are numb everywhere except this one small section where you can feel the contractions…and boy does it hurt. And of course this happened to me. They had to send the anesthesiologist back in to move the needle around and rotate me to help the medicine spread throughout. Once they did this and the epidural hit everywhere it was supposed to the relief was instant. I actually felt so good I could have slept…in fact, I probably should have. Instead we watched some Scrubs on our iPad, I talked with my Mom on text message, and we waited for things to progress further. At some point they had to top off my epidural medicine. Around 1 am (this is a best guess because things got hectic toward the end) the nurse came in and checked me and I was finally at 9 cm. It was time to start prepping for delivery…the final countdown, so to speak. For the next hour it was a blur of pushing, intense pressure in places you don’t want pressure, and me wondering what the hell I had gotten myself into. Finally, around 2:15 am they called my doctor in for the delivery.
Once the doctor arrived time seemed to slow. I remember the final hour VERY clearly. They thought it would only take another 30 minutes or so for me to push him out so they didn’t give me more epidural medicine when it ran out, as what remained in my body would get me through to the end. Well it turns out it took me about another hour, which means I felt EVERYTHING during the moments when I wanted to feel nothing. As I was pushing I would want to scream and the doctor would tell me “don’t scream, put it all into the push”. Honestly, I wanted to rip her head off, but then I would do what she suggested and it would make my pushes far more productive. I never actually swore or yelled mean things at Shiraz, though I did sternly tell him he had no idea what I was experiencing during the peak of a particularly intense contraction. At one point the doctor and nurse said something encouraging about how I could do this and I just responded with “I don’t know if I can….” in a sad, pathetic, painful tone. Eventually I did do it and Kian entered the world, with a luscious full head of hair, at 3:34 am on November 23rd after 14 hours of labor. The minute he was out I cried with relief that the unbearable pain and pressure was over…oh and because I finally got meet the spawn I had been baking for nearly ten months. Over the next 30-45 minutes my doctor stitched me up (I had a couple bad tears), and the nurses attended to the baby. We were now parents.
From the beginning of the pregnancy I had no specific way I wanted the birth to go. All that mattered to me was that the baby arrived healthy and safely. Even if I was induced, and even if the epidural did wear off, in the end that is exactly what happened. I wouldn’t have it any other way.
Kian Xander Olmstead Khan
Born November 23rd, 2016 @ 3:34 am
7lbs 3oz, 20 inches