This is the story of when you first decided to begin the very long journey to join us! (this post is long, brace yourself!)
On Friday, October 12th, I woke up in the middle of the night with cramping. I could tell they were contractions but they were not very consistent so I was able to fall in and out of sleep. It wasn’t restful but I knew this was only the beginning. On Saturday the contractions continued and although we were tracking them somewhat, per the advice of Terry, our doula, we were trying to go about the day somewhat normally and trying to forget about them. We had an idea that labor was going to be slightly difficult due to her positioning still being OP, but I am not sure Maciej and I were ready for what was to come!
Saturday night the contractions were coming and going at inconsistent intervals but definitely getting more intense. Sleep was not really an option but we tried to relax as much as possible. We let my parents and Sister know what was going on but didn’t really want to let on to anyone else because things seemed to be taking a lot longer than expected.
Sunday was more of the same-lots of contractions that were coming and going and getting stronger and stronger without getting any more consistent. Mach and I were in constant communication with our doula and she was confident that things needed to become more consistent and the contractions needed to get a lot closer together before we moved forward. Sunday night we spent keeping me hydrated, laboring on the birthing ball and breathing through a lot of contractions.
Monday morning things really started to get a lot more intense and the contractions were very strong and getting closer together (although still inconsistent). I would have 3 major contractions right in a row with no break. Terry suggested I get into the tub and lay on my side to encourage the baby to flip. We tried this but our tub was very small and didn’t allow me to stretch out on my side as needed.
*side note-during the morning on Monday, my Sister made her way down from Boston and my parents made their way from CT. They’d decided to check into a hotel to be close in the event that things progressed quicker than we anticipated.
Mid morning on Monday Maciej called Terry and described the timing and intensity of the contractions and she decided to come over. When she arrived we began working through the contractions and getting into positions to encourage the baby to flip. These positions were not comfortable as I’d have to twist/turn and try to move in different ways DURING each contraction. After a few hours, Terry talked to Mach and asked if there was another place that we could go to labor in a tub as she was feeling that I needed to lay on my side for a long period of time during contractions to encourage the baby to move. Mach suggested talking to my parents about possibly coming to our apartment and letting us go to their hotel (The St. Regis) to labor in the tub there. I was initially apprehensive as we’d have to take a cab to get there and then I’d be laboring in a hotel room without the comforts of our apartment. But the pain was bad and I knew that we needed to get her to flip over. The bath was the best option.
After a particularly tricky cab ride-with lots of breathing-we arrived at the St. Regis, gave a few quick hugs to Mom, Dad and Jess and made our way to the room. This time is all very fuzzy as I was just trying to get through each contraction. Terry just kept telling me “one breath at a time, just get through this breath”. It was everything I needed to hear. I needed to get through them one at a time and I was very much in the moment. I couldn’t think ten steps ahead.
After several different sessions in the tub, the baby still hadn’t flipped and the contractions were almost unbearable and peaking several times in a row without any breaks. Terry explained that the way the contractions were coming and how inconsistent they were (about 3 minutes apart but still varying) was due to the baby’s position. At around 10:30pm, Terry decided things had progressed and were intense enough to start the trek to the hospital. We still had to endure a cab ride and check in to the hospital. Terry gave me a little pep talk and explained that we needed to keep up the momentum and not get frustrated if things weren’t as far along as we were hoping when we got to the hospital. She explained that we needed to keep focused and continue everything we were doing in the hotel room and at home once at the hospital.
We managed to pack up-get a cab-and not make too much of a scene in the St. Regis lobby. We arrived at the hospital and went into triage to get checked. It was hard to sit through all the tests while having the intense contractions but I managed to get through it by breathing and with Terry constantly applying a warm compress to my back. Mach and Terry made a great team. Terry was able to give Mach the direction needed for the technical support (where to press the compress on my back, helping me labor on the birth ball, etc…) We got great news after getting checked-I had dilated to 5 cm and was 100% effaced. This was big! I still had a way to go but at least we had made progress.
We were brought to our beautiful room overlooking the East River and Williamsburg bridge (I didn’t notice this until later)! It was close to midnight at this point. We were so lucky because the doctor on call was OUR doctor! Dr. Dobrenis! She came and said hi to us right away and we gave her an update. She was very supportive of me working through the contractions without meds as well as being intermittently monitored (this means they come in and check my heart rate and the baby’s every 40 mins instead of being hooked up constantly). She left us to do our thing and said she’d give us space unless we needed her. It was perfect. I was given some IV fluids as well since I had been laboring for long and was a bit dehydrated. Terry got me in the shower right away and we began to labor there for a while. The warm water was soothing and I was able to stand up and lean on the wall through each contraction. At one point, my Mom, Dad and Jess came to say hi (it was about 2am at this point) and Jess even braided my hair for me. They stayed a few minutes and then we told them to go home and get some sleep. Things were still moving slowly at this point.
Around 4am Dr. Dobrenis came to check in on me and I was in the shower. She asked if I wanted her to check me. I said no. Terry stepped outside to talk to her and then they both came back in and said they felt like I should be checked. They said that with the baby’s position it was important that I was making at least some progress, especially after how bad the contractions were and how hard and how long I had been laboring (we were going on 4 days at this point). I was expelling lots of energy that I would need to push. I agreed and Dr. Dobrenis checked me. I hadn’t made much progress. I was about 5/6cm. At this point Terry and Dr. Dobrenis explained the importance of this baby flipping. They said they really needed me to be able to lay on my side for several hours and relax to encourage the baby to move. Since the contractions were coming so close and so intense, I was unable to relax at all. I felt a little defeated at this point because I knew this meant I had to get an epidural. But, I looked at Terry, Dr. Dobrenis and Mach and they all agreed this was the best decision for not only me but for the baby. It had been almost 4 days of being in labor and I was exhausted. My main priority was delivering this baby vaginally and so I knew if getting an epidural would up those odds, that’s what needed to be done.
After I got the epidural (4:20am) I was able to lay on my side and relax a bit. They wanted me to sleep as much as possible (especially since Mach and I had had none in so many days) but honestly I still felt extreme amounts of pressure and even some pain. The epidural was nothing like I expected. It was such low doses that I was able to feel almost everything minus the intensity of the actual contraction. I was able to move my legs/feet, etc… Mach was able to shut his eyes for a little, as was Terry. Dr. Dobrenis checked me a short time later and broke my water. There was a TON of water! Things started to move pretty quickly from there on. She didn’t check me again until close to midday (12pm) on Tuesday and I was fully dilated, fully effaced and the baby was RIGHT there. She had me do a sample push and she said it’s go time. We still didn’t know if the baby would flip but Dr. Dobrenis was confident that we were ready to go. We began pushing just before 1pm. They put a mirror up so I could see-but after a few pushes I asked them to take it away. I needed to focus. She was right there and not going anywhere. After about 30 minutes of pushing (and the most intense feelings and pain I’ve ever had) I felt this huge relief of her coming out. It is an indescribable feeling. Next thing I knew I had this amazing, warm, squirming little baby on my belly. I was in awe.
Maciej announced the gender. It’s a girl! We couldn’t believe it! They let the umbilical cord pulse for about 5 minutes and then Mach Maciej cut it. They gave us about an hour to be skin to skin and just love her. We tried a little breastfeeding but she was very very sleepy. They took her then after and weighed her and cleaned her up and gave her back to me. She was beautiful with the most edible cheeks imaginable.
Our family came in a while after we had spent lots of skin to skin bonding time and met her and then we were moved upstairs to postpartum.
Labor was longer than I ever would’ve imagined and the biggest test of strength of my life. 5 days of no sleep paired with labor was the hardest thing I’ve ever had to do. I could not have done it without Mach. He is my constant support and is already the most amazing father to our little girl. I don’t know what I would do without him. I can’t imagine having to watch him go through this and he remained calm and supportive, which in turn kept me feeling as confidant in myself as I could. He was never more than two steps away from me for the entire time I was in labor. Not to eat, sleep, etc…he is incredible.
Terry was the other amazing player on our team. She is an amazing woman and I cannot say enough about her and her services. She is worth every penny + millions of dollars more. I don’t think we would have had the same success without her. She and Dr. Dobrenis worked together and were the most amazing team. I feel so blessed to have had such a great support system.
So, that’s the jist of it. Little Ellery-we are so happy you are here and our hearts are overwhelmed with love for you. We never knew we could love anything as much as we love you.