Adelina is here! It’s been one week with our beautiful baby girl, so I wanted to share Adelina’s birth story and some of our first family photos.
Two days after I posted a photo on Instagram of a few items I was packing for baby girl’s hospital bag, I awoke at 6 a.m. to my water breaking. I was 37 weeks and 3 days with a doctor’s appointment scheduled later that morning.
I wasn’t 100 percent sure what I experienced was my water breaking, but after emptying my bladder and realizing it was still occurring, I knew this was it. I texted and called Graham and my sister before leaving a message for my OB. About 10 minutes later, the doctor on call advised me to come into labor and delivery to get checked out. Worse case, she said, I would be sent home, but otherwise I would be having the baby that day.
I wasn’t prepared to hear that news. My bags weren’t fully packed and I had not felt a single contraction within the previous days. This first timer assumed I would have some indication that this was near. (I did have other symptoms I now realize were hints.) For some reason I have known for some time I would not make it to April 30, but I didn’t expect it so early.
We arrived at the hospital at 10 a.m. and were taken to a triage room so they could check whether the discharge was amniotic fluid. I was told I was only about 1 cm dilated, if that. We were next checked into what would be our labor and delivery room. The nurse suggested I order myself lunch while I still could. I was starving at this point, so I devoured a plain garden burger in about 10 seconds. After lunch, Graham headed out to pick V up from preschool and take her to our friends’ apartment, where she would stay until later that evening. Graham’s parents had told us they would be driving up from Louisville, Kentucky, as soon as we told them my water broke, but it’s a five-hour drive, so luckily we have friends nearby who were amazing enough to switch their schedules around. (They had also offered to take her overnight; they’re angels. Plus they left me cinnamon streusel bread. Yum!)
While Graham was out I walked around the hospital for about an hour and 15 minutes to try to start contractions. I felt so ridiculous walking around in my hospital gown, but I quickly let go about caring what people think. haha
Around 2 p.m., I started Pitocin. The justification was the risk of infection. I spent the entire afternoon either walking around the hospital again with my ridiculous drip rack or laboring in my room. The contractions, while getting more regular, were not that intense and wouldn’t be until much later that night. Around 10 p.m. a Foley catheter balloon was suggested to speed things along given the duration of my ruptured membranes. I did not want to do this at all. I asked to wait a while longer to give the Pitocin more time to work, but by 2 a.m., it was clear Pitocin was not doing what it needed to do. My water had almost been broken for 24 hours by then and the risk of infection was consistently brought up. At this point I also found out I had mild preeclampsia after my blood pressure readings escalated. I ended up needed the Foley balloon catheter, anyway. The Foley balloon catheter was one of the most uncomfortable procedures I’ve ever experienced. But, after about another 6 hours, a nurse removed it and it was clear that it was working. My contractions were becoming a lot more intense. I was exhausted and needed a rest, so at some point that morning I requested IV pain management. (The timeline starts to get fuzzy here.) It allowed me to sleep while taking the edge off contractions. I also used a birthing ball to help with contractions that afternoon, along with getting into the tub in my labor and delivery room. I felt like I could manage my contractions so far, but then I remember asking to get out of the tub. I had several people in the room encouraging me and doing who knows what else, but I tuned everyone out. It’s funny, labor was the only time in my life I did not care one bit who saw me undressed or what anyone thought. (A resident would hours later ask if he could observe and assist in the delivery and I said, “Sure, why not?” when I typically would say no. At that point I no longer cared!) Later, a cervical check told us I was about 7 centimeters dilated and the on-call OB suggested an epidural to help get me the rest of the way. My body was no longer relaxing/progressing as it did before. I decided that my ultimate goal was to avoid a C section amid the compelling reasons I was given: infection and preeclampsia. I consented to an epidural despite the fear of the actual process. It was the most uncomfortable, and downright awful, part of the labor, but I was able to relax and even sleep. (I know many people don’t think the epidural is that bad, but this is my own experience.) I was soon(ish) at 10 centimeters but we decided to labor down to let the contractions do the work so I wouldn’t have to push for hours. I am so glad I did this! Although, it was clear Graham (and the rest of my family) was getting impatient based on the texts asking for updates but I also know it was just excitement. Around 9 p.m. the OB suggested practice pushes even though I didn’t yet feel the urge to push that many people describe. Once I did the first set of pushes it was clear I was ready, no need for practice. I just needed to push. It was finally time!
I kept hearing encouragement from Graham and the nurse while pushing, but I almost didn’t believe she was so close to coming out until the nurse asked if I wanted to feel her head. She brought my hand to it; it was incredible and motivating.
About 20 minutes later, Adelina was born!
It is 100 percent true that all the uncomfortable and painful aspects of labor are worth it when you see your baby. Graham cut the cord and she was brought onto my chest. It was amazing to see her little face! I didn’t even realize or care what was happening down there as I held her, including delivering the placenta.
We ended up being in the hospital from 10 a.m. Wednesday to 2 p.m. Saturday, which was the longest time away from V, ever. The hospital had a no-children visitor policy because of a recent illness/flu outbreak, so she was not able to meet her sister until we made it home from the hospital. It was heartbreaking to not see V and be able to introduce the sisters, but there was nothing we could do. I was just so happy to be home Saturday with our newest family member and to have had family watch V while we were at the hospital. (Graham came home throughout the four days to take our dog Capone out and our friend also helped.)
We did take advantage of photography offered by Bella Baby Photography while we were there. I love how the photos came out, though I still want to do a family session.
Since then, I have spent the past week focusing on breastfeeding, which is my full-time job at the moment. Other than that, I cannot stop staring her! I can’t wait to share more updates soon.
If you follow me on social media and have sent well wishes, thank you so much!
Marette Flora is the founder of Floradise blog and personalized gift shop. Marette is a passionate storyteller and creator. She attended the Walter Cronkite School of Journalism at Arizona State University and obtained a bachelor’s degree in journalism and mass communication.
She is passionate about creating helpful and meaningful things.