As Morgan's first birthday draws near (one more week!), I am naturally getting very nostalgic about the past 300-something days that we've been parents. I mostly think about all the lessons learned and moments shared, but they always lead me back to that first day we laid eyes on our little girl. Now that I have this platform to showcase little moments of our lives to the world, I would like to share with you Morgan's birth story!
On April 6th, 2015 (6 days past Morgan's due date), Joe drove us to my last OB appointment. We learned that I had made some progress but not enough to warrant a trip to the hospital just yet. We couldn't wait any longer, though, so we decided to schedule an induction at 5 am the next morning to speed up her arrival.
After the appointment, we went to my parents’ house to have one last night of good food and good company before the craziness ensued; little did we know it was already set into motion! Around 5 pm, as I was standing at the counter talking to my mom, I felt a super powerful and painful ‘shock.' I had been feeling these in a more mild way for weeks, but this one really hurt and didn’t go away quickly. My mom even asked, “What was the face about?” as I grimaced in pain.
The sensation did subside; however, about 45 minutes later, I went to the bathroom and, to my surprise, found blood. I immediately asked my mom if that was normal. She seemed concerned; this was definitely a sign of something happening, but what kind of sign we weren’t sure of. We decided to stay calm but be on the look out for any other changes.
At 6 pm, the 4 of us sat down to eat. It was a delicious meal, although, very hard to enjoy once I started getting stronger cramps than I'd ever had before. I didn’t say anything after the first or second one, but then a third came just as my dad asked me a question and I couldn’t answer without showing my pain. Once I informed them about what I was feeling, we decided to time these cramps. Every 3-4 minutes and for about 30-45 seconds at a time, I would get a severe cramp that took my breath away and made me want to curl into a ball. They seemed to be getting stronger with each one, although I could still talk through some of them. 2 hours into this, Joe and I decided to not take our chances and to get to the hospital just in case this was it. The ride there was filled with more contractions and us worrying if they would admit me. I kept psyching myself out that the cramps were stopping or that they weren’t that bad, but when another wave of pain would come over me, I quashed those notions really quick!
At 8:30 pm, we arrived at the hospital. Once on the labor and delivery floor, we were sent to triage for me to get checked by a nurse. The woman who walked in asked if she looked familiar to me. I felt bad because I didn’t recognize her at all. Then I saw the name on her ID badge and it clicked: she was the mother of one of my students! I had never met her before, but the resemblance was undeniable. This was a good start to the whole labor and delivery process as it put me a bit at ease to know I was in someone’s hands who I had a connection with and felt I could trust.
After changing, she strapped me up to the monitors and it showed some definite contractions. She gave me my exam and said I was 100% effaced but only 3 centimeters dilated. She was also glad to hear about the blood I had seen earlier and said that was a good sign (who knew?). Their policy for admission is that you have to be at least 4 centimeters dilated to be admitted. She said they would let me rest there for an hour and see if I progressed; if I didn’t, I had to go home until my labor was further along.
For the next hour, Joe and I ate ice chips and watched the NCAA Men’s Basketball Championship (which my Blue Devils ended up winning). The nurses came in and out to see if I needed anything and to check the monitors. Apparently baby’s heart rate was going up, so they put me on my side to lower it. This caused my contractions to move to my back and those were way more uncomfortable.
At 10 pm, the nurse came back in to check my progress. I was still 3 centimeters, but she said she could work some magic and get me to 4 cm. It wasn’t the most comfortable process, but once she was done she announced I was here to stay!
Once I was admitted, we started the process of getting me an epidural. I had to get 2 bags of fluid in, fill out some paperwork, and get blood work done before they could administer it, so I had to lie in pain for a little longer. This is when the nausea started; I began to shake and throw up. The nurse said these were both typical and good signs that I was dilating further and closer to meeting our baby. While that was good news, the fact that the nausea wasn't going away and might get worse was not.
Around 11 pm, I was cleared for the epidural. The anesthesiologist was awesome and really made this painful procedure so much easier. It took about 5 minutes total to be placed. The most painful part was the numbing needle that seemed to go into my spine forever. When the procedure was over, my legs felt warm and heavy, but I could still move them. The epidural took really well and I was pain free pretty soon after.
At this point it was midnight and we just had to wait for me to dilate fully (I had progressed to 7 centimeters) and then we would start the pushing process. The nurse told us to try to get some sleep as this would really be the last opportunity to do so before the baby came. Joe was knocked out pretty quickly, but I just could not sleep. It was a combination of nausea and excitement that kept me wide awake.
After passing the next few hours watching ESPN and cruising Pinterest, the nausea had ramped up to unbearable. I told my nurse and she checked me again; it was 1:45 am and I was fully dilated to 10 centimeters. She decided to break my water and start me on Pitocin so that the baby would move down faster.
For the next hour, I had to lay on my sides to help her move a little more. The hope was that by the time the on-call doctor was out of his previous surgery, I'd be ready to deliver. I didn’t get any rest during this time, but I was exhausted. At 2:45 am, the nurse announced it was time to push. They propped my legs up and talked me through how to do it. I didn’t realize that by me not being able to feel anything, that included the muscles I needed to push. Pushing during labor is a lot of strain while holding your breath, and I had no idea if I was doing it right since I was so numb! It was exhausting for my lungs and the whole process only worsened the nausea; so much so that I started throwing up again.
I don’t remember how many rounds I did, but around 3:45 am, the doctor arrived, I was instructed to give one final push and my job was done. At 3:47 am, we saw our daughter for the first time.
She seemed so big and had so much hair. The first thing I noted was how much she looked like Joe, then I realized I couldn’t hear her. I started freaking out and asked, “Why isn’t she crying?” They calmed me down and said they had to get the fluid out of her throat. They inserted a bulb into her mouth, extracted some liquid, and we finally heard her first cries. They wiped her down and laid her on my stomach and I just couldn’t believe she was finally here!
They took her over to the scales with Joe and she immediately grabbed his finger with her little hand and held on tight. She weighed 8 pounds, 8 ounces and measured 20 inches long. During this time, my parents came in to meet their granddaughter; it was a beautiful, priceless moment watching them lay eyes on her for the first time.
We spent the next 24 hours trying to figure out how to take care of this tiny human and attempting to get some rest. The hospital stay was fairly enjoyable with all the nice things they did for us, including a complimentary steak dinner and some beautiful newborn shots that we had made into a photo book. Even with so many highlights from our time at the hospital, we were ready to be in our own home and were happy to be discharged in less than 48 hours.
So there it is: the story of Morgan Adleigh Kader's grand entrance into the world. Overall, childbirth was nothing like I thought it would be. When looking at the actual hours that passed (6 pm - 3:45 am), it seems like the labor and delivery experience took forever, but it truly felt like the blink of an eye. The whole experience of labor and delivery made me feel really empowered, and I can’t believe I feel this way, but I would do it again in a heartbeat. We were also so glad that we waited that extra week and she came on her own; no amount of time is too long when waiting and preparing for a true angel to come into the world.