Crosley Lena Plourd: The Day You Were Born
Every woman is different and every baby is different so no surprise that every delivery is different too. When I hear a first-time mom tell a woman matter-of-factly what to expect during labor and birth, I smile and walk away. This is my third and while I have a general idea of how the birthing process works, I have no idea how the details will play out. So with that said, below is a recap of one labor experience. It's how Crosley entered this world.
Contractions woke me up Sunday morning, November 15th, 2015 at 5:32am, but they were inconsistent and didn't hurt. Blake and I streamed the church service online in case we needed to rush to the hospital, but no such luck. Afterward, my mom came over for lunch and the three of us walked our dog Diamond to the dog park and back (about 2.5 miles) to try to get Cros out, but nothing seemed to speed the progression, so we sat and played games for a few hours. It was becoming apparent that while the contractions felt real, they certainly weren't advancing fast, so my mom went home to rest and we promised to text updates.
By 11:00pm the contractions were stronger and closer together (3-5 minutes apart and a 6 on the pain scale). I was having back labor and soon enough I could barely breathe through a contraction. Crosley was a very active baby, kicking all the way to delivery, which made the contractions hurt even more. Blake somehow got two hours of sleep (pregnancy is so hard on men...) before I woke him up at midnight to drive us to the hospital. As we pulled out of the driveway at 12:10am, I got excited thinking about our little girl being with us when we returned. Our home would never be the same.
We arrived at Pioneers Memorial Hospital at 12:25am but the nurses wouldn't admit me because even after an entire day of at-home labor, I was only dilated to a three. I will never forget that I was a three because despite testing positive for Strep B, which in part meant I wasn't to be checked more often than necessary, the night nurse checked me during a contraction, then asked the nurse-in-training to check me to see if they got the same number! Of course they waited to do it during the next contraction. All while Crosley was roughing me up from the inside. If you are a woman that has never been checked for dilation, then just know it's the equivalent of the worst cramp you've ever felt x3 and to do that during a painful contraction makes me wish a very painful death upon you,
and a thousand generations,
and your family and your children,
and their children and their children.
And for the record, yes, they both got the same number. Wonderful.
I was in a lot of pain and wanted an epidural quick! I kept asking for the drug-man, but apparently you don't get to meet him until you're admitted. When they refused to admit me, I asked them to call my doctor. They drug their feet (instead of my body!) and about an hour later, I was admitted, because the incredible Dr. Zavala authorized it.
But still no drug man...
They tried telling me it'd be better to wait because an epidural can slow down progression. But these contractions were so painful that I couldn't breathe through them. Not only that, but I couldn't have anyone in the room talking while I was experiencing one because I needed to give my complete attention to the ripping apart of my pelvis. So once again, I insisted on them calling my doctor.
No surprise, she authorized the epidural. And the night nurses drug their feet some more (instead of my body!) and I didn't receive an epidural for a few more hours.
By 10:35am my contractions were 3 minutes apart and the Ashurst/Plourd family reunion taking place in the waiting room began to guess Crosley's size, ranging from 6lb 2oz to 7lb 7oz. Small to average guesses because my tummy never got that big.
Meanwhile, in the delivery room, my body would occasionally begin to shake uncontrollably. It was scary for Blake because it was the first time he'd seen me so vulnerable, and I hated seeing the helpless look on his face. I kept trying to reassure him I didn't hurt, but the truth was, I didn't understand what I was going through either because no woman had ever told me about the shakes. Apparently they're a pretty common reaction to epidural drugs. Why do women not talk about this stuff?
Just before 3:00pm, I finally reached 9 cm dilated, and the day-nurse "accidently" broke my water (forever thank you). By 3, I started pushing.
And I couldn't feel a thing!
Nurse Carrie and Scrub Tech Sonya (endearingly known as Ghetto Sonya) told me I did a good job with my first push, but I wasn't convinced. I said "really? Because I legitimately cannot feel a thing" and they said "ok...well...you could have done a little better..." And so began one of the most fun 90 minutes that Blake and I have ever had.
Blake, the nurses, and I joked and deep-gut laughed through the entire delivery. Blake motivated me by reminding me that Johnny's Burrito was closing soon, and that when the baby was out, I could get cheese fries and Starbucks. He yelled "it's the burnout baby! just 5 more minutes!"...a joke from the T-25 workout videos we did to stay in shape during the pregnancy. At one point Ghetto Sonya yelled "You're strong, Mama! Just like Ronda Rousey!" but Blake reminded her that Rousey was knocked out in the second round just the night before. Sonya laughed so hard she dropped my leg out of the stirrup and we didn't even try to push through that contraction...
And at 4:28pm, November 16, 2015, Crosley Lena Plourd was born. Weighing a surprising 8lb 3oz.
Here's all the kinda nasty stuff that also I found very funny, so read at your own risk.
In the half a second it took to pull Crosley out and onto my tummy, she had her first accident, peeing all over me. But no worries, I still couldn't feel a thing. Then they straightened out the umbilical cord and asked Blake to cut it.
Except Blake didn't want to cut it... But that didn't sit well with Sonya, so she shamed him into doing it and he picked up the scissors and begrudgingly gave it a go. But then they went all safety scissor on him and just turned sideways, which was pretty awkward and funny. I had a side-stitch from laughing so hard, and he frustratingly went for the cut again, but the elementary-grade scissors slid off and only nicked the edge of the cord before he manhandled through a third attempt to finally release Crosley from total dependence.
And then, with Blake working with the nurses to wipe Cros down, we still had to deal with that gross "after-birth".
Now doctors and nurses are very discrete about these things, so it was all very medical when Dr. Zavala asked the nurse to discard the placenta, but I yelled "STOP, NO, BLAKE WANTS TO EAT THAT!" and everyone in the room froze. Blake, says "WHAT?! No I don't!" and Zavala says "I really didn't take you two as those kind of people..." and Sonya had to sit down to catch her breath.
The energy was so high that when everyone left the room for that special Mommy-Daddy-Baby Golden Hour... Blake and I felt alone and didn't really know what to do. We were holding this new living thing in our arms and while it was certainly miraculous, it was also...strange.
When that hour ended, Nurse Carrie walked in and asked how the baby was latching. Problem was, we didn't know we were supposed to feed her! Apparently she was real hungry and apparently that's some maternal thing I was supposed to just know how to do. Lucky for us, Crosley had the right instincts and took to feeding like a pro.
And by 5:30pm, Brandon walked in with cheese fries and Starbucks.
Best. Day. Ever!