My birth experience.

Every Mom has their unique and personal birth story.  I heard hundreds of them leading up to mine. I have yet to find any two women that experienced the same. It is necessary to throw every plan you have out the window. Everyone talks about their birth plan. Birth plan? Really!!

All I knew was that my doctor said they were inducing labor on my due date if the baby hadn’t come.

Why I asked? She replied, “because you’re 35 and at risk for complications.”

I had been feeling so great up to week 38! Living my best life. Woke up Monday feeling like I had been hit by a bus. Sinus pressure, cough and insomnia. I chugged tea and bone broth. Tried everything to fight what I assumed was a sinus infection.

I took this picture at work. Not sure how I got through the show with no voice that day. Must have been awful listening to it. I never missed a day of work. Shit, I walked the Avon 39 pregnant.  No damn cold was gonna stop me. I was feeling exceptionally pointy that day. Took this picture. Not realizing it’d be my last preggo pic.

Went to my doctor Wednesday and was feeling terrible. Then the blood pressure results. 140 over something. Whatever it was, it was too high.

The nurse said, “OMG what happened? You were doing so good. You’re falling apart on us.”

She said it in a cheeky way. I laughed because it was so true. I was also feeling less movement from the baby. They did a long ultra sound to make sure all was good.  They checked my blood pressure three times and each time the same. That’s when my doctor came in with that face. The face of “this ain’t good.” She said with all the symptoms I had, I was leading towards preeclampsia. She decided I should check in at the hospital and get monitored. If the blood pressure remained elevated they were going to induce labor. I was stunned. It took a minute to settle in. I was most likely having my baby that night. I had my go bag at my apartment and desperately wanted to take a shower before I checked in. Never know when the next time would be to shower.

I took the subway from Columbus circle to my apartment downtown. I took in every ounce of the commute. I got to the apartment and just sat on the bed staring at the wall for a bit. This is happening…. I thought. I took a long hot shower. Grabbed my things and got ready to go.

As I was about to close the door I had a moment. A moment where I was saying goodbye to my current life. Saying goodbye to my cute tiny west village studio apartment. I knew I wouldn’t be back since my lease is up and the boys are moving my things out soon. Goodbye pre-baby life. You were good to me!

I told everyone I was taking the subway to the hospital when baby comes. It’s the fastest route. 35 minutes to be exact. A cab would have taken an hour. Technically I wasn’t in labor, so it wasn’t bad. It was 3pm and the “A” train was fully packed. An older woman looked at me standing with three bags on my shoulders and mouthed, “Are you pregnant?” Once I said yes she lightly slapped the arm of a young man sitting in front of us and told him to give up his seat. He did. I spent the rest of the 30 minute ride soaking it all in.

A glorious New York moment.

Once I got to the hospital I was checked into triage. Sean got there shortly after. My blood pressure was still elevated so they decided I was going to be induced that night. I checked in at 4pm. I was still in triage at 5am. There were lots of babies being born and there wasn’t a room available for me to start labor. I asked if I could go home and labor there. They said no because the babies heart rate had dropped.

I sent Sean home to get some rest. I knew I needed his support when pushing, not labor. The only annoying part was that I was sick as shit. All the nurses said it was end of pregnancy congestion. I knew it wasn’t. I went through 3 full boxes of tissues that night. Finally at 5am I was brought to the labor room. Just in time to catch the sunrise.

As you can see I packed a go bag. I can tell you I didn’t use anything in it. Except a pair of sweatpants to go home in.

My doctor showed up about 7am and said it was time to induce labor. She gave me Misoprostol. It’s meant to soften the cervix. Mine was completely closed. The next step would be a balloon to open the cervix and then patossin.

Well the pill worked and I was in full labor an hour or so later. On top of that I was having all the side effects like nausea and diarrhea. The nurse said I would only feel mild period like cramps with this medication and the real heavy pain would be after the balloon. As the contractions started I knew it was more than minor cramps. Contractions took the breath right out of me.

It’s the slow wave that happens as you know it’s coming. The wave, 10 seconds of excruciating pain, the wave out and then all over again every 2 minutes.

The night before I was checking my messages. A woman emailed me and said, “Please make sure you get the epidural before the balloon.”

How on earth did she know I was getting induced. Maybe she didn’t and it was dumb luck. I knew the balloon was coming so I asked about the epidural. Thanks to her advice!!

The pain got so unbearable on top of having the nasty side effects and being sick, I couldn’t take it.

After about four hours of the pain I talked to the nurse and she got the doctor. He did an exam and found that  I was 4cm dilated. He was shocked. He said that typically doesn’t happen with Misoprostol. I was in full on labor and the baby was on it’s way. Therefore I didn’t need the balloon or the patossin.

Since I had inquired about the epidural the nurse said now would be the time since my contractions were so bad and so close. At first I said I wanted to wait for Sean to get back. The nurse Corinne gave me a look like “REALLY.” I was like Fuck it, do it!!!

A huge part of me was disappointed in myself because I wanted to go natural as long as I could. The other part of me was relieved. I was sick and the contractions were horrible. Sean came back just as I was getting the epidural and the wait was on. I’m glad he missed the nasty labor.

The epidural wasn’t as bad as I thought it would be. I think because the contractions took the focus away. When they are putting it in, you have to be so still. My nurse Corrine was amazing. She held the back of my neck and breathed with me through each contraction so I wouldn’t move. After it was done I felt instant relief. Everyone left the room and we just waited. After about 15 minutes the pain was back. I just assumed you still feel them. Later on the nurse came in and asked how long the machine had been beeping. It was about an hour. She got the anistesologist. Turned out it wasn’t administering the medication. We honestly laughed about it.

As we got to about 6pm I was fully dilated and it was time to push. I had Sean, my mom and my sister with me. I pushed for 4 hours. Seems like a long time but it goes fast. I thought I’d be yelling but I actually was really quiet. I got into this animalistic zone. I was focused.

I swear my Dad was there! Rubbing my head and catching me from the other side. He always kept me in check. In the most positive of ways. I really needed him and I know he was there.

So for four hours I was pushing for ten seconds in sets of three. EVERY. THREE. MINUTES. Insanity.

Lucky for Sean there was a TV in his view so he could watch the NCAA finals. He did take a few breaks to feed me ice chips! OMG they are everything!!!!

I was getting frustrated because every push they kept saying how great I was doing and how the head was right there. Yet I couldn’t get him out. I even got a bloody nose during the whole ordeal. I was giving it my everything. My doctor said he was positioned sideways and we would need to use forceps or the vacuum. There was a doctor on duty who is a pro with forceps. Once I gave the ok, there were 15 people in the room.

The doctor showed Sean and I the forceps and explained in detail what he was going to do. Once he turned the baby the right way I was to push with everything I had.

They had everyone in position. They put me in stirrups and raised the bed so high. I felt enormous pressure. Saw a look of fear on my Moms face and knew it was game time.

Once I heard “PUSH” I let out the scream I had been holding in all day.

I gave a second push, roared like a lion and he was out. There was this wave of excruciating pain but instant relief. They threw him on my chest and all I remember is feeling his warm body. I looked to my left and Sean was cutting the cord. It was the most euphoric moment of my life. There aren’t enough words to express how it felt. Just incredible.

The first thing I said was, “I can’t wait to do this again.”

My doctor and everyone in the room was like, that’s a first.

You go from the emotional high of finding out you’re pregnant to carrying this person for nine months. Then in one second, they are in your arms. A long journey for that one beautiful moment.

When they screamed boy we didn’t react much because we were 99% sure it was a boy.

I was so swollen from being sick, side effects of the medication and labor. I look like I had an allergic reaction. Luckily it subsided pretty quickly!

Love my Doctor!!! Dr. Fiorelli, she’s the best!! I have to thank the two nurses that got me through. Corrine and Sharon at Columbia Presbyterian.

After they gave me some skin to skin time we tried breast feeding!!

This kid literally latched right on. Like he had lock jaw. I was shocked. I had anticipated breast feeding so much. Wasn’t sure if I could do it. The baby knew what he was doing.

It’s so weird because you have all these people around you for two days. Then I’m laying in a hospital bed in the labor room that looked destroyed. I looked at the clock and it was 2am. I tore pretty bad and was all stitched up. Laying there I started to lose hearing, seeing stars and sweating profusely. I screamed for Sean. All I could get out was, “somethings happening.” He got the nurse and she covered me in cold rags and gave me an IV of fluids. Turns out I lost too much blood and they said I would need a blood transfusion. I’m not kidding it felt like a stroke. Luckily I came to and recovered.

They wheeled us down to our room. Somehow we got lucky and got our own room!

Right away the nurse cleaned me up and gave me those mesh underwear with a maxi pad full of ice!

OMG relief.

Now it was time for Dad to get some skin to skin time.

After we were moved to the room I asked if I could see a doctor about my sickness. They insisted it was end of pregnancy congestion. I know my body and I’m never sick. They did a swab of my nose. Sure enough an hour later they told me I had RSV. It’s a respiratory virus that is extremely harmful for babies. They told us we were to stay in our room until we were sent home. Michael wasn’t allowed in the nursery since I was sick. I nursed him around the clock to make sure he was getting the antibodies to fight the virus.

We had a few visitors but mostly just our siblings. I didn’t want to get anyone sick. It’s really hard seeing people when you’re so out of it. I don’t think I slept more than five minutes.

The craziest thing is feeling your vagina after you pee. I swear it felt the size of a large cauliflower. So swollen. Of course bigger in my head. Peeing hurts like a bitch. The squirt bottle is everything. So are the witch hazel wipes, lidocaine and dermaplast.

I couldn’t stop staring at this tiny human! Our one dilemma was his name. I had 15 girl names but only one boy name I liked. Patrick! Seans cousin named her son Patrick so he felt it was odd to use the same name. So we went with Michael. Michael Patrick. Deep in my heart he’ll always be a Patrick. LOL. I’ll stick with Michael so I don’t confuse the poor kid.

The nurses were so great showing Sean how to swaddle and change diapers.

When we got the ok to go home we didn’t have the right necessities. I had just ordered the car seat and stroller. Luckily my Mom had one put in her car as soon as I found out I was pregnant.

We made a headrest out of the hospital towel. Worked like a charm.

I stripped off the hospital gown I had been in for three days and turned the shower on.

NO HOT WATER!!!! OMG!!!! I was like, fuck it. I’m throwing sweats on and I’ll shower at home.

Everyone always has those cute going home pics. Not us.

We got discharged on St. Patricks day! My mom found this cute onesie at Old Navy. We bought the hat at an airport in Dublin.


We piled in the car. There is a Wendys right next to the hospital. Best Wendy’s I swear. Sean grabbed food and we hit the road. He was literally driving 35 on the saw mill river parkway. We were so nervous.

When we got home we first introduced him to Cooper! I asked my mother in law to keep Coop outside. That way we would bring the baby in and Cooper after.

I turned to Sean and his Mom and said I’m taking a shower.

I remember getting undressed! Feeling how different my body felt. A mushy belly and swollen bottom. I still had blood on my arms and the nastiness of the hospital. As soon as the warm water hit my body I sobbed and sobbed and sobbed. What a release. I had achieved the goal. My baby was home and my body didn’t fail me.

Afterwards I felt like a million bucks. It was time to snap into mommy mode.

Daddy went right to work! Changing diapers, soothing him and getting me water while I nursed. I’m so lucky to have a great partner.

Well what else can I say, we did it! It was an incredible journey for us as first time parents. We couldn’t have done it without the amazing support of not just our family but all the people I may never meet online. I gained an online support group of men and women that gave me encouragement and advice along the way. THANK YOU!

The fear has turned into never ending joy. The fear for his safety and well being will be with me always but the happiness he gives fills my heart. I am whole.


Annie, XOXO


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