Part one: The Beginning

8 AM THURSDAY 11/19

On Thursday morning, I was getting the boys ready for school when I lost the ability to speak. I had a clear head and knew what I was trying to say, but gibberish would come out. I thought I was having a stroke as one side of my face and my arm both felt numb. I was almost 40 weeks pregnant, and I was so worried something had also happened to the baby. I was having contractions the day prior and light contractions that morning. I called a friend to pick the kids up and I then went to the hospital, where they kept me for 24 hours. I was having contractions upon arrival but they soon stopped. After many tests, including an MRI, it is believed I suffered from a migraine Aura without the headache. ( I will write more about this at a later time)

9 AM FRIDAY 11/20

I arrived back home on Friday, November 20th. I knew I had to rest, but I also felt like I had so much to do before the baby was born. We ended up getting a weekend sitter, and I ran errands all day Saturday and Sunday.

4:30 PM SUNDAY 11/22

I arrived back home at 4:30 in the afternoon after a long day of running around. I had lost my mucus plug with my first two babies 24-72 hours before I went into labor, so though I felt like the end was near, I knew I still had time. Ray handled dinner Sunday night as I felt I really needed to get my hospital bag packed either way.

5:40 PM 11/22

As I was adding my last item to the bag, I felt my underwear all of a sudden soak through. I immediately thought..did I just pee?!?! My water had never broken on its own, and I was sure this could not be the one thing I thought I was “missing out” on experiencing. It was far from the scene I had played out in my head, being anti-climactic at best.

I then felt my first contraction. I contacted my physician just to be sure it actually broke. She told me to wear a pad, and if I soak through or continue to leak, my water had probably broken. I did not have any pads, so I changed my clothing, and 10 minutes later, fluid began to trickle down my leg. I quickly yelled down to Ray, “I THINK IT’S TIME!!!!” I called my mom, knowing it would take 30-40 minutes for her to arrive.

6:30 PM 11/22

Contractions continued, and I called my doctor’s office to let them know I was in the early stages of labor. Unfortunately, my doctor was not on call. The on-call physician called me back and told me I could probably wait an hour before heading to the hospital. I did not want to get to the hospital too early..but I also did not want to deliver on the highway. Ray and I both agreed an hour seemed like too long, and we anxiously waited for my mom as we contemplated throwing the kids in the car.

6:48 PM 11/22

My mom walked in to save the day, and Ray and I immediately left for the hospital. We both decided it was a good idea to walk outside the hospital to let labor progress. I never get to the hospital before I’m 6 cm dilated, and I wanted to make sure I did the same with this labor. I did not have a birth plan and was not sure if I wanted an epidural or not. I was still feeling a little worn down from my previous hospital stay, so I was really taking everything minute by minute.

7:12 PM 11/22

We arrived at the hospital and immediately realized it was too cold to do laps outside. I had the most random outfit on. I literally grabbed it quickly and threw it on as we ran out the door, not fit for an outdoor walk on a chilly evening.

7:19 PM 11/22

The hospital was virtually empty. We decided to walk some laps before I headed up to labor and delivery. This way, I could keep labor moving and make sure I was where I wanted to be before we checked in. I knew I had a better chance at a quick labor and delivery without an epidural ( based on my specific body and experience), and the further along I could get before heading upstairs, the better. We talked and laughed and then every few minutes I stopped in my tracks when a contraction hit. As my mom always says just ride that wave baby, and before you know it it will pass. With each wave you are that much closer to meeting your baby. As a women of four unmedicated births she knows what she’s talking about.

7:45 PM 11/22

At around 7:45, we headed up to labor and delivery to just ask a few questions. We still were not positive; we wanted to check-in, but I wanted to speak to the head nurse. I had very mixed experiences at Greenwich hospital and felt I did not have a voice when delivering my firstborn and only had a semi-voice with my second. My first ended with a nurse that would not listen to my needs and strengths and resulted in an epidural at 10 cm.

I had never delivered at Stamford Hospital, and I had no clue what I was walking into, which made me nervous.

Little did I know how the nurses at Stamford hospital would make me feel. I was greeted by a labor and delivery angel. I had never felt so heard and understood as a laboring mother that just wanted to potentially have an unmedicated birth without being hooked up to a monitor and strapped into a bed. I still had my guard up because I didn’t believe it could be true. I told her I would not check in yet unless she agreed to let me walk around the room (due to covid I could not walk around the floor). She completely agreed and shared her own unmedicated birth story with me.

I told her my reservations being that I was worried I was at the hospital too early and mid sentence I felt my strongest contraction yet. I knew I was right where I needed to be.

* I had one nurse that really had a negative effect on my experience at Greenwich Hospital. There are many amazing nurses there, but I only have my own experiences to share.

Part two: active labor

8:00 PM 11/22

I had my fluid checked to make sure my water was definitely broken. I also had a covid test. I Once your covid test comes back negative, you can labor without a mask. Your spouse or plus one does not need a test and needs to keep their mask on.

8:16 PM 11/22 

I had my dilation checked, and I was six cm! I was very happy. Getting my dilation checked is not fun, but for some reason, it extremely speeds up my labor. Right after my dilation was checked, I could feel my contractions get very strong.

8:46 PM 11/22

This was when I went from being able to ride the wave to full-on screaming to get through the contractions. They were extremely painful.

8:49 PM 11/22 

I said, “I just can’t decide if I want to get an epidural or not” as the pain escalated.

8:51 PM 11/22

Sh*t got real, real fast. I had one really really painful contraction, which I screamed through…so loud that multiple nurses rushed in. I could feel my body want to push and a few drops of blood hit the floor along with more liquid.

8:53 PM 11/22

I jumped on the delivery bed so they could check my dilation, and I was 10 cm! I had always wanted to deliver on my knees or on all fours vs. laying down, and I finally was going to be able to. The nurses were incredibly supportive. I started on all fours and I ended up turning around, so my hands were on the headrest of the bed. My back was to the nurses. I felt like I had no control over my body and just felt like I needed to push.

8:55 PM 11/22

I was screaming in such intense pain; I’m surprised my head didn’t start spinning. This extreme urge came over me to push. I felt like I had one push in me and needed to get this baby out. I could tell I delivered most of the baby after that first push, but then someone yelled, stop pushing. I couldn’t stop. My body took over again.

8:56 PM 11/22

I heard my baby boy cry for the first time.

9:00 PM 11/22

I got to hold him and do immediate skin to skin…but there was still work to be done. I had to deliver the placenta. Adrenaline had completely flooded my body, and it was uncomfortable but not terrible. I also asked why they told me to stop pushing and learned the babies umbilical cord was wrapped around his neck. Thank God everything was ok.

9:01 PM 11/22

I had a first-degree tear. It is the mildest tear you can have. Since I did not have an epidural, I could feel most of the stitching. It was extremely painful. I had my baby boy in my arms, though, which helped. It also helped knowing it was the last step before I was completely done! This is also around the time I realized the doctor on call never made it to the delivery. There ended up being a resident there. Our baby boy latched for a bit before the nurses took him back.

9:54 PM 11/22

He was measured and weighed. 7 pounds 11 oz and 21.5 inches long.

10:54 11/22

We thanked our incredible nurses and headed to the recovery floor.

Part three: recovery

Night of Sunday 11/22: 

We arrived on the postpartum floor around midnight. If we arrived a little later, we would get another night’s stay at the hospital. We got settled into our new room. I had already peed when we were on the delivery floor. I was given an ice pack and some witch hazel pads right after delivery, so I went right into bed when I arrived in my room. The first time you pee is always a little scary because you find out if it will be painful. The water bottles they give you to squirt on yourself as you urinate are lifesavers. They work like a charm and masked any discomfort I might feel. I personally like to fill them with warm water. The hospital offers you the most amazing hospital underwear, ice packs that are shaped like a pad, large pads, and witch hazel pads. Use it all and take plenty of extras home. I’ve always had plenty from the hospital for my postpartum care at home.

I was hooked up to pitocin. Pitocin is used after delivery to help the uterus stop bleeding.

I felt pain while breastfeeding. The cramping was intense for the first two days. As intense as mid labor contractions but not as frequent, much more painful than I had remembered. Every time I fed or sometimes even looked at the baby, I would experience cramping. The nurse told me it is the uterus working to shrink, and the pain gets worse with every child as the uterus has to work harder after each pregnancy.

The nurse offered me Percocet, Motrin, or Tylenol. I did not feel I needed Percocet and did not want to feel out of it at all. I went with Motrin and Tylenol which I took every six hours. I have not had to take a thing since leaving the hospital.

I had Ray go back home late that night. I thought it would be so nice for the boys and for Ray to have their dad home to do school drop off and pick up. He has never had the opportunity to do this, and it would also give Nona (my mom, aka Babs) time to rest. She offered to take the boys to her house the following week.

I sent Scooter to the nursery after I breastfed him. He was spitting up a lot. When they have such a fast delivery, they have a lot of amniotic fluid stuck in their system. The early days were filled with a ton of spit-up. I felt safe sending him to the nursery. All moms on the floor get tested for covid. If anyone has covid, they are not allowed to send their babies to the nursery. I sent each one of my babies to the nursery. You need to take this time to rest and recover. Unless you have a night nurse when you get home, that’s where the real fun starts 😉 You want to be as rested and recovered as possible. before you leave.

The nurse brought the baby in every so often overnight so I could feed him. Breastfeeding was going well, but it was a bit painful. I was looking forward to speaking to the pediatrician to see if this guy had a lip and tongue tie like Ford did. They can cause pain while breastfeeding, and if they go undiagnosed, can end many breastfeeding journeys. I already looked in his mouth. I can not spot a tongue tie at his age (his mouth is so small), but he had an obvious lip tie.

Monday 11/23:

Many people are in and out of your room on day two. The OB, pediatrician, nurse, birth registrar (paperwork).

The pediatrician came, and I asked her about the lip and tongue tie. She had never heard of a lip tie and said she did not see a tongue tie (more on this later…but she was wrong). TIP: Most of the time, if there is a lip tie, there is a tongue tie. I knew he had a lip tie, and I knew that she did not have the right tools to give me the right info if she did not know what a lip tie was. My pediatrician did not belong to Stamford Hospital, and I had never met her.

I have a local specialist I trust, Dr. Kundel. I planned on getting him looked at in his Stamford office that week.

I spent the rest of the day relaxing as much as I could between feeds and phone calls. That first shower felt amazing, and I had the nurse bring me an abdominal binder, which also felt good to put on. Abdominal binders help slim and your support your belly, waist, and hips post-delivery.

Ray came back to the hospital in the late afternoon to bring me some things and see the baby.

By the end of day two / beginning of day three, I found I did not need the ice pack any longer. I was feeling much better. The baby went to the nursery again overnight. I was able to get some rest in-between night feeds. I felt my recovery this time around was already much faster than the other two births.

Tuesday 11/24:

I had an early morning wake up by a nurse, OB, and then pediatrician. It was the day we got to leave!! I actually could’ve stayed one more day. Ray came to pick us up after he dropped the boys off at school.

I had a bunch of paperwork to fill out, we had to get our car seat inspected, and we asked the nurse for a swaddle refresher. Never hesitate to ask the nurses for advice. They are so knowledgeable.

A nurse came to my room that morning and told me all about her experiences with migraine auras. She saw I experienced one in my chart as I was also being checked daily during my hospital stay to ensure I was not having any type of relapse. The nurse also experiences them and told me about her story and triggers. It was so interesting and felt good to connect in person with someone that completely understands what it feels like to go through an episode that is so scary.

We still didn’t have a name at this point. Never leave the hospital without a name. It just gets harder. We left without a name around 12:55 PM. It was the first time I didn’t have to take a wheelchair out because the hospital did not mandate it, which I loved.

Just like that, we were headed home to see the boys!!!

The Mrs. Nipple Birth Story

December 23, 2020