The last few weeks before Maddie was born my husband and I were preparing the house, her nursery and our lives for what was to be and is a beautiful welcoming addition to our family. On April 19, 2012 I went to work, came home and cleaned, while Mike was at the Capitol working late. But now that I think back, that day was very interesting. I felt a rush of a “nesting feeling” and asked my mother to come over after work to wash all the floors in the house while I did all the laundry. Of course, being the amazing mom she is, she agreed. I then told her that I was going to get my hair cut one last time before the arrival of Maddie.

When I came home from work, my mom was there waiting with a mop and bucket and I quickly had dinner, did some laundry and got my hair cut at Blades Salon in Old Wethersfield. Everyone there was joking that with my due date being a few days away (April 24) that my water could break at the salon. I told them no way, and that I wouldn’t want that to happen. Luckily it didn’t.

When I came home, I laid down on the couch and watched TV. I had really bad back pains and wanted Mike to come home soon. When he did, he brought me some food, which was a little spicy. I said hey, what the heck, there is no way its going to affect me. So while Mike was in the shower I tried some of the food and laid back down. When he came downstairs the back pain was even worse and he suggested I go up to bed for the night. As I was walking up the stairs in my purple Anne Taylor sun dress (got it on sale!) I felt a rush and all of a sudden my WATER BROKE! I told Mike who actually thought I peed myself and he didn’t believe me until I looked at him with a huge amount of anger and fear and said – we need to call the doctor….boy did he quickly move his tush and within minutes the car was packed, dog went out to pee and here we were driving to the hospital.

The car ride was probably the most calming (i know! so damn weird) moment I’ve ever had with myself. I remember looking at Mike saying this is our last ride in the car together! As we were driving I felt a wide range of emotions, but the ones that come to mind are empowered, excited and eager. I felt like a football player on Superbowl. Now, if you know me, you know that is SOO not how Melissa operates. I’m a nervous nelly and anxious person, but at this moment, I was so not myself and yet it felt great!

Mike dropped me off in front of the hospital. I walked out with my hair done (sooo damn happy for that), a sundress, gold flip flops and my coach purse! I was rocking and it felt good, except for the fact that my water was still breaking when I walked into the ER.

Anywhoos – we walked into Labor and Delivery and I had to have an internal exam – that hurt more than actual labor! The resident who looked all preppy and obviously had no idea what it was like to be a woman told me I needed to relax, my response – “are you digging for gold”! He didn’t seem to think it was funny and I was intending it to be.

At about 930pm we went into our room and I quickly received my epidural (heaven!) and ate about 3 dozen Popsicles throughout the course of the night.

At about 7am I was 7cm’s dilated and by 730am, this chick was fully dilated and ready to push. I pushed for two hours exactly and the last hour they turned off the epidural so I could feel pushing. To be honest, it didn’t hurt that much for me, if anything it was just bad period like cramps. I think I handled it very well, because I suffer from a lot of stomach issues, I’m thinking it prepared me for the pain. I remember pushing and Mike saying, “C’mon, C’mon”! After 5 minutes of that I told him he needed a new choice of words or I was going to hit him 🙂

At 9:29 a.m. Miss Maddie was brought into the world all 8.10 pounds of her! My husband watched the entire birth (despite me telling him not too) and was shocked, as I was to see how big Maddie was! The doctor said she would be around 7 pounds, boy was she off!

So as you are reading this, you might say that everything seemed to be going perfectly, no issues, no pain, no worries — right? Well here is where it takes a turn and here is the real story of my labor, something I am very open about.

Right after I delivered Maddie, things went wrong. Besides having a 3rd degree laceration, (yet the doctor assured me during my pregnancy that she would do an episotemy if need be), I started to bleed and bleed, so bad that I hemmorgaged. I can honestly say that was the scariest moment in my life – I thought for about 10 minutes that I was not going to make it. I remember laying down, watching Mike hold Maddie, thinking to myself – this is it. I was here to give this man a baby and now my life was over. I was so scared, I remember praying, thinking, please God don’t let this be it. Some of you may think this is dramatic, but guess what – it was very much a traumatic experience and filled with drama, so yes, what I’m saying, how I am feeling is all real. Laying on the bed, I felt as if a gallon of milk was being topped over and heard nothing other than the gushing sounds coming from below. I worried so much because my doctor did. I asked her if i was going to be OK and she said, “i don’t know” and I said what is going on, whats wrong – and she said, “we need to see why you can’t stop bleeding.” She even told me she would have to take me into the OR and that a room would be ready if she needed to operate. I asked her on what? She said to remove your uterus. From that moment on, I was so scared up until I stopped bleeding.

What actually happened was that because I delivered such a big baby, my uterus stopped working when it was supposed to contract after delivery to stop any bleeding from happening. When the doctors realized that’s what it was, I was given a large amount of medication and they had to manually push on my uterus to get it to work again, which was by far the most painful experience, WORSE than labor.

I will never forget the doctor telling me to stop asking questions and to just look at the little baby I just gave birth to across the room. She told me it would help stop the bleeding – I dont know if I believe her now, looking back, but at that moment I did. I starred at Maddie for what felt like hours and the rush of emotions and hormones I had made me feel so much better. I remember looking at Mike and he has such a dazed and confused face going on. He just had this fake smile that everything was going to be OK and I didn’t believe him. I felt alone for a short period of time, because Mike was with Maddie and I was alone on this bed, with about 10 doctors trying to stop the bleeding.

Finally, it stopped and I had to wait a few more hours to be taken into my room. When we entered the room, everyone was so happy, the nursers were great, and it felt weird to me because I just went through something scary and these nurses are wanting me to be happy, excited, ready to get right into motherhood – for me, it took some time. For the 2 days I was in the hospital, I felt worried for myself, scared if I was going to start bleeding again and it bothered me that my attention couldn’t be totally on the baby – i felt selfish, but to me I thought if im not OK – babies not OK.

The nurses were overall great, except one who forced me to get out of bed just hours after delivery to use the bathroom. I will never forget what she said to me and I still ponder on whether or not to write a letter. She said to me, “you make it seem as if you had a c-section, you only had a vaginal delivery and all mothers here who just gave birth are walking around and you should be too.” I wanted to say screw you lady! I was so ticked off, i did tell her that well i had a 3rd degree laceration, an 8.10 baby and I hemmorgaged so if you could give me a few hours to breath that would be great – and by the way – can i have a ginger ale with ice! erggg!!

For the next day I had to get checked every 20 minutes to see how the bleeding was, started iron pills, blood work twice a day and almost had to get a transfusion, but luckily i didnt have to. I was in soo much pain from the laceration that I was on medication for weeks. What hurt me the most was that I couldn’t walk for weeks until the pain went away. I would look out my window at home and see people walking their babies and was soo upset that I couldn’t do the same. It broke my heart, but my dear mother assured me that I would be OK and it would just take some time. Actually, the girls at CT Working Moms were so supportive with me. I can’t thank them enough.

When we left the hospital that Sunday evening in the pouring rain, I remember holding Maddie so proudly as I was being wheeled out to the main entrance. During the time I was being wheeled, I looked back at the past few days, actually the entire pregnancy. I thought to myself, my pregnancy was soo good, no problems, everything was going as planned, yet how could I be in this much pain and discomfort. I quickly realized that things happen for reasons we do not know – we can either accept them for what they are – learning experiences or continue to worry. For the first few weeks, I chose to worry and then, with the unconditional love and support from my family – accepted it as a learning experience a part of life that makes us stronger.

To all the moms-to-be out there – my best advice is to be your own advocate. At the end of the day, no one is going to be able to do what you need to do for yourself. Stay strong, stay focused on your baby and that alone will help you get through any worry in labor and delivery.

Readers – do you have a birth story you would like to share with us?

Until next time,

Melissa

p.s. sorry if this post is a little all over the place, a 6 week old definitely keeps you busy and its hard to write as good as you would like to.