Sunday came FAST. I was emotional all day, yet strangely calm for someone who was about to have a baby. Ryan packed the car up with everything we were taking, and we started the drive to West Boca Medical Center. Once there Ryan grabbed my hand, and we made our way into the birth pavilion. The security guard asked if she could help us and I replied: “I’m here to have a baby!” Ryan and I were oddly quiet while checking in and getting settled into the room our daughter would be born.
My nurse was AMAZING! She was so sweet and made me feel safe. I’ll forever be grateful for that. She examined me and informed me that I was 4 cm dilated, but only about 10% effaced. This was not good, apparently. She explained that they were going to insert a tampon like a thing, that would thin out my cervix. She said that usually it takes about 12 hours for it work as needed, and to get ready for a long night. Fast forward to 3 hours later, and the pain starts. Like whoa. GIVE ME THE DRUGS!! But seriously. They gave me an IV drip of pain meds, and I passed out. Oh, sweet relief!!! (So I thought) I woke up about an hour later in awful pain, and Ryan was passed out…*eye roll* I buzzed for my nurse and told her something didn’t feel right. Here’s where things got scary….My water broke (yay!), but the babies heart rate had dropped very low. Ryan finally woke up and grabbed my hand, thank god. I was half out of it from the drugs and wasn’t fully understanding what was going on. I know the nurse was trying to play it cool, but something was wrong. She called in the head nurse to help, and they started having me roll around to get the baby moving, but she wouldn’t. This part is all a blur….next thing I know they hooked me up to the oxygen machine. Contractions were getting serious at this point, and the drugs were NOT helping. I remember just staring at Ryan so scared and him repeating that everything was going to be okay. (Que tears as I’m writing this) I kept thinking, “Is my baby ok? Am I ok? Are we going to get through this?” It seemed like a million years were flying by as I was trying not to cry with an oxygen mask on my face. My contractions were 2-3 minutes apart at this point, and it was the worst pain of my life. WOW. (Shout out to the moms who deliver without an epidural, you are superwoman.) I was crying and begging for an epidural but couldn’t get one yet due to our heart rates still being low. FINALLY, I got cleared, and the Anesthesiologist was waiting outside to come in. (thank god) 5 am. I’ll never forget the time. My contractions were still 2-3 minutes apart and so intense. The Dr. told me “Leah, listen to me, going to give you this and you’re going to feel way better, but you need to sit very still. You can not move.” UHHHHHHHH how was I supposed to do that with these contractions??!!! Ryan and my two nurses grabbed my hands and my legs and told me to grab them as tight as I could…..and I did. Seriously, longest 10 minutes of my life. Everyone warned me that the epidural hurt, I honestly didn’t even feel the needle at this point. Maybe I just didn’t care.
“Oh my god, I’m numb. Epidural, I love you. Where have you been the past 2 hours? I can do this.” – my brain.
5 hours, that’s how long I slept. I woke up at 10 am with the craziest pressure ever. I knew it was time. The moment has finally come. My midwife came into the room and examined me, 10 cm dilated and 100% effaced. OH, MY GOD, IT’S BABY TIME!!!!! Could I do this? Was I ready to be a mom? What will she look like? Will this hurt? PUUUUUUSHH!! Ryan held my left leg up and held my hand the entire time. I didn’t think it was possible to love this man more than I already did until that moment. He kept yelling “push baby push! You can do this! You are strong! You are a fucking badass! Holy shit I love you so much! PUUUUUSH!” My daughter did NOT want to come out. The pain was unbelievable. I BEGGED for an emergency c-section, and Ryan looked me dead in my eyes and said “NO! You CAN do THIS!”
What’s next is not for those with weak stomachs. I will spare you all the gruesome details, but my actual delivery was awful. Ryan told me days later “I knew shit was getting real when your midwife got suited up and brought in a tray full of knives and scissors” Yes, it was THAT serious. My stubborn baby girl was perfectly cozy inside of me and ended up being HUGE. (Laughing now, but at the moment I hated life) My MW had to give me an episiotomy…..if you don’t know what it is, google it. Mega ouch.
“I can’t do this Ryan. Im not strong enough, I can’t do this” – while hysterically crying. “I SEE HER HAIR LEAH!!!!!!!” Hearing Ryan say this gave me some crazy human strength and I did the last couple pushes to get her out. I. Will. Never. Forget. That. Feeling. I felt her shoulders come out and knew we had made it. I did it!!! I’m alive!!! I had a baby!!! I heard her little cry and lost it. Uncontrollable crying and sobbing. They put my daughter on my chest, and that moment I will never forget. I couldn’t believe she was mine. My heart exploded into a million pieces in that exact second. She was here. She was mine. She was perfect. November 7th, 2016 at 12:45 pm. Almost 3 hours of pushing and my beautiful 8lb 12oz + 20 inches long baby girl came earth side. The greatest moment of my life. The moment my whole world changed for the better. She was so chunky and had a full head of hair. Her little cry turned my world upside down, and holding her was the best high I’ve ever felt.
Sterling Rose McDonough. My daughter, My world. My life.
Now the real journey begins.