The Best Day of My Life

February 5, 2015  – Mira’s Birthday!

Growing up, my mom always told me that the day I was born was the best day of her life. That statement stuck with me and filled me with pride and wonder… There are a whole lot of amazing days in a life, could one really be the best? And now I understand. February 5, 2015 – The painful, wonderful day when my heart split into two and now can be held in my arms…

The Birthday Timeline:

1:00am – I woke up with the worst case of heartburn I’ve ever had. It felt like Baby M was having a dance party in my uterus! I’d gotten used to lots of middle-of-the-night wakings throughout my pregnancy and had just seen the doctor the day before.  She told me that I wasn’t dilated at all, so it would probably be at least a couple more weeks before Baby M would make her arrival (my due date was February 19).  So, instead of my usual google searching about signs of labor, I searched Pinterest and Zillow.com — found some great houses and projects! 😉

1:45am – All of a sudden, I felt like there was about to be a bathroom emergency, so I made my way to the other room, wondering if this was a sign that something exciting was happening (or a sign that I needed to be more careful about what I had for dinner). The bathroom trip yielded the same result as always, nothing out of the ordinary.

2:00am Sighing, I started to head back to the bedroom when… oh yes, I was most definitely dripping… I cannot even explain how happy I was to be seemingly wetting my pants. 😉  I’d already experienced weeks of false labor and one trip to the hospital for leaking mystery fluid, though, so I decided I’d wait to wake up my husband, Tony, so he wouldn’t lose sleep over a false alarm.

2:30am – Yes, I was definitely still leaking all over the place and was now soaking through a towel (don’t worry, not one of the good ones), so I decided it was safe to wake up Tony.  He was groggy at first and didn’t quite understand what I was saying and then he lept up into action – just the best.  We were giddy as we got our things together to head to the hospital.

2:45am – Tony went out to get our car from the garage in the alley, when he hit a barricade.  Gahh – one thing about trying to get anywhere in Chicago in February, you need to be prepared2-4-15 3am Shoveling to shovel!  Luckily, two nice guys were coming out of iO Theatre, directly behind our apartment, and helped him shovel a path for us to get the car out of the garage!

3:15am – We made it to the hospital!  The staff at St. Joseph’s was great.  They checked to make sure my water had indeed broken (even though I can’t imagine what else could have happened — the last time I saw that much pink liquid was when my dog managed to eat a giant candy cane and proceeded to regurgitate it in liquid form all over the house :-P).  Yes, my “bag of waters” was broken, however, my cervix was still completely closed, so they would need to augment the labor to reduce the chance of infection.  Now, I decidedly didn’t come up with a strategic birth plan, since I really had no idea what to expect and am most comfortable improvising as situations present themselves.  However, I was very curious about every aspect of the birthing process and hoped I could at least experience some of it naturally.  I figured I would decide in the moment whether or not to have an epidural, etc.  This situation ended up making up my mind for me.

4:30am – Pitocin administered via IV to speed up contractions and labor process.  Boy oh boy did it work, within a few minutes those contractions hit me like a truck!  The nurse would come in every half-hour or so to check how things were progressing and to monitor my pain level. I asked her when the doctor would be checking to see if I was any further dilated and her response was that it would be several hours at the very least because they didn’t want to risk infection by examining too frequently. “Several hours??” Eek, there was no way I could take those contractions for several more hours! Well, at that point, I tossed the idea of going without an epidural out the window. — After all, I wasn’t having a natural birth anyway, thanks to my cervix and the pitocin.  Now I’d experienced the pain of full on contractions, might as well see what the epidural had in store!

10:30am – Epidural administered.  Hallelujah – I can definitely say that getting the epidural (when I did) was absolutely the right move for me.  I still had feeling everywhere and could feel the contractions and control my body, but the excruciating pain was abated and I was able to relax a bit more and take in everything that was happening.

12:00pm – Around noon, I started feeling a reeealll sense of urgency in my nether-region. I was slightly beside myself.  It really felt like I was about to explosively evacuate all over (and yes, I do mean sh*t the bed! ;-P) I tentatively called in the nurse… “Um, I really feel like something is happening… Is there any way the doctor could come in to check to see if I’m dilated any further??”  “Oh, don’t worry, she’ll be in to check in a couple hours. In the meantime, I could get you a bed pan.”  –Soo, now I’ve got a bed pan lodged under me along with all the other fun things. 😉 After trying unsuccessfully to stop this feeling of yikes, I asked the nurse again if the doctor could please check (although I was ready to feel totally ridiculous if I was just enlisting help to have a public bowel movement).

1:15pm –  Whoohoo, the doctor came in to check the progress and announced with surprise, “Well, you are at ground zero — 10 cm, fully dilated.  Are you ready to push?” “Yes!” I was absolutely ready.  Ha, so, Tony, one very nice nurse, named Kelly, a resident and a shell-shocked medical student (this was his first birth), gathered around my legs and coached me through the pushing process, gazes focused on my hoohah. I pushed for an hour, we all took a little break and then started again. Then, they called in my doctor for the final push and woosh!

3:48pm – With the last giant breath, eyes and every other muscle squeezed – out came her head and then the rest of her little body just wooshed right out of there! I started laughing, I hadn’t expected the rest of her body to come out so easily.  And then it happened. The nurse held her up. Mira Joseph Monterastelli had arrived!  The giant wave of disbelief, gratitude, awe and love flooded me … the nurse placed her on my chest and I kept saying, “You’re here!  You’re here!” She is here and life is forever changed.

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