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Guest Blog from a Fellow Engineer: My Precious Baby Girl

Blogger’s Note: I hope you enjoy the below guest blog from a fellow engineer-mom!
One would argue I am not a “real” engineer but a “pretend-gineer”. That’s because I don’t have a bachelor of science in engineering but a bachelor of arts in engineering. I also never intend to take the PE. 🙂 I also have a BA in International Affairs, and a Master of Environmental Management. Currently, I work for an environmental consulting firm as a Sustainability Consultant (going back part-time once my maternity leave ends in early April) and am also working on an independent consulting project as a subject matter expert . Not sure any of this is really all that relevant for my birth story but since this blog is focused on the “engineer’s” guide to parenting, as well as the “biologists” birth story, I figured I would share.
Perhaps some details that are relevant to my birth story are as follows:
  • I am type-A.
  • I am 27 years old and have wanted a baby for as long as I could remember so getting pregnant and having a child is truly a dream come true.
  • Although I have gone through a lot of schooling to get where I am in my career today, I have found, through only 2 months of motherhood, that being a Mom is my true calling in life and what I am most passionate about.
I hope you enjoy my birth story! I find hearing about everyone’s birth story so interesting because everyone has a different one to tell!

My precious baby girl was born on Saturday, January 14, 2012 at 8:15 pm. According to my OB, she was 36 weeks, 4 days gestation, so born “pre-term”, and weighed in at 6 lbs 5 ozs, 18 3/4″ long. To follow my birth story,  it’s important to note this was my first baby. It’s also important to note that my goal was to have a birth free of medications. In fact, I had hired a doula to help me support this goal.

I woke up not even entertaining the thought that I was going to go into labor on this day since I was not yet even full-term. It was just going to be just another day as a 9 month pregnant lady. Although I was not looking forward to the day very much because I had an all day meeting scheduled for an independent consulting project, after a full week at my “day” job. I woke up at 5:30 am for an hour-long walk and it felt great! After the walk it was time to get showered, dressed, and fed.

A college professor of mine was in town and staying with me. He was originally supposed to stay through Sunday but when he arrived he decided to flight home early and leave Saturday evening instead of Sunday…thank goodness he did!

Let’s call said Professor Joe for the sake of this story.

Our meeting lasted from 9 am until about 3pm… by 2pm I was feeling tired and unproductive and ready to curl up at home in my PJ’s. As we were packing up for the day, Joe jokingly said, “Well at least you didn’t go into labor today!”…little did he know! Well, after the meeting, Joe wanted to stop at NC State bookstore to purchase a gift for his daughter, and then I was planning to drive him to the airport to catch his flight.

We went to one NCSU bookstore, and while I was standing in the bookstore, I suddenly felt like I stared peeing myself and couldn’t control it! Turns out that my water had broken but at the time I didn’t think that was the case (I honestly thought that I had not done enough kegel exercises during pregnancy and therefore my pelvic floor was weakened!). I was so embarrassed and uncomfortable, but didn’t say anything to Joe (because I thought I peed myself), and I just wanted to get home so could put some dry clothes on! Well, Joe couldn’t find what he wanted at the bookstore, so he requested that we go to another bookstore, which was in the middle of campus and required parking far away and a longish walk. Under normal circumstances the walk would have been short but again let’s remember that my pants and underwear were soaked through and I kept feeling like I was peeing myself the entire walk! I braved the journey–I was trying to be a good host- and the entire time I kept thinking “I can’t wait to get to a bathroom and get home so I can put some dry clothes on”!

Finally, Joe found the gift he was looking for, the never-ending walk of wet shame was over, and we were seated in my car and headed to the airport- at least I didn’t have to keep tugging my shirt down in order to hide the wet spots on my behind…but I was very uncomfortable and started having contractions during the drive. Except at the time the thought that I was in labor had not crossed my mind, because I was only 36 weeks 4 days, and therefore I thought maybe the pains were just pregnancy pains/discomfort or Braxton Hicks. But again, I felt embarrassed so I tried to act completely normal during this drive, which was incredibly difficult considering my underwear and pants were soaked, I was having contractions fairly regularly (and in hindsight found out they were pretty intense contractions), I was trying to drive my colleague and former Professor to the airport safely, and carry-on light-hearted conversation! All I knew is that I could not wait to drop him off so that I could go home and relax…and again, put on some dry clothes!

By the time I got to the airport, I started putting the puzzle pieces together and finally realized that I might actually be in labor! I called my husband (DH) as soon as I dropped Joe off and let him know I thought I was in labor. Really I should have had him pick me up from the airport but at the time all I could think about was getting home as soon as possible. DH told me later that he carried on with whatever he was doing at the time for about five minutes and then realized he should probably take my phone call more seriously and pack his hospital bag.

The airport is about 40 minutes from my house but the contractions continued throughout the drive and I finally arrive home from what seemed like the longest drive of my life. I had to breathe through about 5 contractions during the drive and was thinking the whole time–wow if this is what the beginning of labor feels like I am never going to make it through to the end without an epidural!!

Within minutes of arriving home, I am down on the floor having another contraction and DH immediately jumps into preparation mode. He gets the contraction timer app downloaded on his phone, and then he calls our doula. I recall him also attempting to google everything that is happening to identify if I really am in labor–it’s funny to think we live in an era where that is the method we are using to obtain additional information about my medical state instead of just calling my doctor. Our doula suggests we call the doctor since DHn described to her that I “peed” myself and “couldn’t stop peeing myself” about 1.5 hours ago, I was bleeding, and my contractions were 3-4 minutes apart. This was a red flag to her that my labor could be progressing very quickly! I was still in denial at this point—trying to play by the labor rules– and said, “But I haven’t been having contractions for an hour, 5 minutes a part, and each contraction a minute long”…no, but my contractions were coming much quicker than five minutes apart, and I was bleeding and my water had broken!

The contractions continued to be very intense, bringing me to my knees every time. I realized later that I was having back labor which was quite painful. Mind you, from the beginning the contractions were “bring me to my knees, curled up on the floor” and “you really shouldn’t be driving” kind of contractions. I couldn’t even focus on packing up the few remaining things that needed to go into my hospital bag, despite having a very detailed list right in front of me because of the intensity and frequency of my contractions. Thankfully DH took over that task for me.

The doctor (really mid-wife) took a good 20 minutes to call me back. Thankfully we didn’t wait to get a phone call back from her before we started driving to the hospital, which was about 30 minutes from our house. And thank goodness for DH being in a normal state of mind to get the car packed up and get me in the car–or else I might have delivered the baby in our house! When I spoke with the mid-wife over the phone she suggested we head into the hospital and I notified her we were already on our way.

We pull up at the same time that our doula is walking up to the hospital door and she leads me in while DH parks the car and makes a few quick phone calls to the key people who would be interested to know I was in labor. I have to sign in at the desk, and have to breathe through two contractions during this time…it’s difficult to focus in providing personal information and get through contractions…but I get through it somehow–certainly with the help of our doula.

Finally I get to the labor room and strip off all my clothes–I was constantly leaking fluids and that bothered me a lot for some reason–it was just not comfortable! The midwife comes in to determine how far along I am very shortly after I arrive. It turns out I was REALLY TRULY in labor as I was 8 cm dilated and this was only about 2 to 2.5 hours after my water had broken and labor had begun!

The rest of the story is a little bit of a blur, but I remember just taking one contraction at a time and our doula encouraging me to try different position to keep me comfortable–on the toilet, on all fours, laying on my side etc. At one point the pain was so intense I started vomiting–which felt good in a weird sort of way…and then came that “feeling” that women describe–the strong urge to poop—but what is really is  the urge to push….the pushing felt like it took forever (in reality I pushed for about an hour), and it was quite painful simply b/c unlike the contractions, there was not any relief in between contractions…b/c the baby is so close to being out her head was exerting a lot of pressure on my cervix that even when I was not pushing, I was still very very uncomfortable. And at some point I asked for drugs–I didn’t care about natural anymore- I just wanted to not feel the pain anymore…but at that point it was almost too late so I gave up that idea and my doula helped talk me out of it. And then at one point during pushing, I started crying, and told everyone that I couldn’t do it anymore. But finally out came Baby Azalea. And I made it through without any medications!

The doctors were a little concerned because the baby was “pre-term”  and they forewarned me that they may have to take her away right away if anything was wrong. But nothing threw up any red flags when she arrived and they were able to let us bond with her for about 45 minutes. They placed her on my chest, she was all slimy but it was such a wonderful feeling to finally meet her! It was honestly surreal to think that she was living inside of me, and then I pushed her out of me, and she was finally in my arms!

In retrospect I love my birth story, I love that I was able to endure the pain and achieve my goal of a natural childbirth. But I do admit that I am one of the “lucky” ones to have had a short labor. And of course the best part about it all was that my husband was by my side, and together we brought our beautiful daughter into this world.

One Comment leave one →
  1. The Biologist permalink
    03/22/2012 07:57

    Wonderful story! Congratulations on the birth of your daughter!! You might think you’re lucky to have had a short labor, but I’d had both and they each have their own challenges! So very well done! 🙂

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