For some reason, I was convinced that I was going to have my baby early- why? I was born five and a half weeks early and I didn’t believe there was any possible way I could get bigger than I already was. My due date was Thursday, November 2, 2017. Since this was my first pregnancy I didn’t know what to expect on my due date. Do you automatically get contractions, have your water break, rush to the hospital, and pop out a baby on the day you’re due? The answer is … NO. Well for me at least. That day came and went. I remember I made a doctor’s appointment for Friday, November 3, just in case I didn’t have the baby by then and I said to my OB, “don’t worry, you won’t be seeing me then, I’m having this baby long before that date.” Jokes on me! I went to that dreaded Friday appointment for a stress test, to check how dilated I was, and for a membrane sweep. We talked about setting up my next appointment for being induced and what that process would look like.
When I got home I was sad, frustrated, and out of breath from walking down the hall thinking I can’t go on much longer. It hurt to walk, I couldn’t sleep because I was so uncomfortable and the heartburn made me sick, my shoes didn’t fit anymore, and I was so anxious to meet this baby! I had to make it one more week before my induction appointment, so I made the best of it. I told myself it was my “bonus” week to enjoy time with family, Netflix binging, and those final pregnancy snacks.
Finally, it was time. Friday, November 10, 2017, the day we were going to have this baby! We were scheduled to call Kaiser at 8 pm to see if they had any beds available. We went to In-n-Out for one last extra American cheese filled burger (yes, the most random craving), threw the hospital bags which had been packed since I was 6 months pregnant into the car, and called Kaiser expecting to hear that we should head in and get prepared to meet our little munchkin… turns out, they had no beds available. They told us to call back in an hour, so we did, again no beds available. The planner that I am asked what a realistic time would be to call and actually get set up in a bed so that we didn’t keep getting the run-around. We finally were told to come in at 12 am.
Jake and I drove to the hospital completely silent, both nervous and excited about what was going to happen. We parked in the designated stork parking, lugged in our bags and pillows, and were shown to our room- a traditional hospital looking triage room. We waited for the Midwife to come in and check to see how dilated I was and talk about what to expect.
Turns out, I was only 1cm dilated so the excitement of meeting this baby turned into a flurry of emotions- why wasn’t she ready to come out, why wasn’t my body ready, what does this mean for me with the actual labor process. They gave me the option to start on a small dose of Misoprostol, monitor the heart rate, then send me home. While they were monitoring the heart rate, the heart rate dropped just for a second- they assured me this could be totally normal depending on how the baby moved, but they needed to monitor for at least another hour. I was chugging apple juice, checking any latest Instagram stories, anxious as all hell all while Jake is wrapped up sleeping on the chair across from me. Eventually, we got the OK to head out at 8:00 am. With the dose of Miso, we had to be back in 24 hours to get the second, which would be 4 am. The nurse told us not to worry and to come back at 5 am to make things a little easier on us. We had yet another “bonus” day. So we came home, napped, binge-watched Grey’s Anatomy, were too tired to get up and go explore because of the emotional rollercoaster and insane amount of time spent in the hospital.
The next day rolls around and we are up and headed to the hospital to get the next dose of Miso at 5 am. We are talking about our options from here- how can we speed this up, what are the other medications I’ll need to get this baby out, when will we get admitted to the hospital. With an hour stay and all our questions answered, we headed home. “Bonus” day number… I’ve lost count at this point.
Since we spent all of Saturday resting, we decided we should make the most of this Sunday and go out to lunch. We headed to San Carlos to the restaurant Town and while we waited for a table, I waddled around the Farmers Market with Jake. I felt some intense cramping… FINALLY, contractions! Never did I think I’d be so excited for contractions! Jake pulled out his contraction counter app on his phone and recorded how long each was and when they were happening. They weren’t consistent enough to head to the hospital yet so we continued our date day. We headed back home, made sure the hospital bags were ready to go, I vacuumed the house and dusted the baseboards one last time, and then I bounced on my large green Pilates ball hoping to speed this process up all while Jake napped (he wanted to make sure he had enough rest before the “big day”). We were supposed to call the hospital at midnight so we could make sure a bed was available to head in and start the stronger doses of the Miso. Around 10:30pm I woke Jake up because my contractions had gotten worse. I tried to push through the pain and wait it out until midnight, but I couldn’t do it. Around 11, Jake called the hospital and they told us to come in. Ok- this was actually it! This car ride would be the last of just us two, it was so surreal.
We get to the hospital, get shown back to our triage room that we had spent the last two days in, and I practically pushed the nurse out of the way so I could go to the bathroom. I came out of the bathroom to put on my hospital robe and answer a few questions the nurse had, walk back into the bathroom and scream for Jake as a huge gush of water bursts- my water broke. There we are cracking up- had we waited to come to the hospital this could’ve been a mess in either our apartment or our car, but of course it happens within five minutes of being at the hospital. Since my water broke, they couldn’t check to see how dilated I was due to risk of infection. My contractions were getting worse and worse and I told them I needed some meds stat. They hooked me up to the heart rate machines and wheeled me in to our new hospital suite- I couldn’t tell if I was in a hospital or a hotel.
Once we were in the new room, the nurse gave me the options to have either Fentanyl or Morphine; however, the Midwife suggested the Fentanyl since we weren’t sure how far dilated I was and we didn’t want to risk not being able to get any additional drugs. I absolutely hated the Fentanyl- I was hallucinating that there were Zombie’s scratching at my face, completely out of it, and still in pain! After about an hour the side effects wore off and I just felt drowsy and defeated. When I wake up I see Jake sleeping on his new couch-bed in our hotel suite, it was nice to know someone was enjoying this expensive stay!
The nurse came in and explained that the Anesthesiologist would come in momentarily for the epidural and then they would start me on Pitocin. Jake woke up and sat with me as I got the epidural- I was bawling. I’m not sure if it was because of the pain or this last minute freak out I had thinking I may become paralyzed on my right side since that was the only area I felt the numbing. The worst part was over, from here on out I had my epidural in, my button to increase the meds, an unlimited supply of Jello, popsicles, and juice, and a great team of nurses to check in on me. Post epidural I got extremely nauseous and itchy, so the nurses gave me some meds to fix that. Also, the heartburn continued so I had to ask for Tums which used to be easily accessible and now they were technically considered a drug and could only be given to me as prescribed. In between the alloted dosage of Tums, I would have Jake sneak some from my purse- desperate times call for desperate measures!
My mom came to the hospital followed by my sister, dad, and stepmom. Needless to say, I was surrounded by loved ones to show their support and be there when this little bundle of joy arrived, but there was not a moment of quiet. The nurses kept saying to rest up, but it’s quite impossible when there is chatter all around, you weigh almost the same amount as an elephant, and you are also nervous and excited to meet your baby finally!
Around 5pm the Midwife came and finally checked to see how dilated I was, she said it would be about an hour before it was time. Jake and I took that time to try and nap (I didn’t, but he sure did). The nurses came in to check on me and I asked if I waited longer if that would reduce the amount of pushing. They told me it could help, but it was up to me. While they were there I asked what the room would look like when it was time and they said there would be a total of about five to six people (Midwife, nurses (my nurse had a student with her), Pediatrician, and a couple of other people I can’t remember now).
I waited a little longer than the hour the Midwife had initially suggested. My mom came back to the room and we called the nurses in for some practice pushing, which come to think of it, those were by no means practice, it was the real deal! I never expected pushing to be so hard, but I was exhausted! They gave my mom an oxygen mask to help me breathe. I have to say that my favorite memory of the pushing was when my mom pulled out her cell phone to tell me my dad’s cousin was in town and I yelled at her to just give me the oxygen- no matter how much chaos there’s always time for humor. After about eight pushes, the nurses told me they could see the head and to stop pushing. STOP PUSHING? That’s all I wanted to do was to push and get this baby out! Not to mention, the nurses told me earlier that evening that there were going to be be about five to six people in the room … there were 2! My nurse and her student! What do you know … this baby decided to make her debut during a shift change! Goodbye to the Midwife we had spent a full day with and hello to the new one who sat down told me to push one more time and caught the baby- she had an easy job that day in our room!
Maddison Anne Plafker was born at 8:12pm, I was only in active labor for 42 minutes! I scarfed down the most incredible plain turkey on wheat sandwich I had ever eaten and we celebrated with our small bottle of champagne we snuck in amongst the chaos of Maddison getting measured, weighed, and a thorough check-up with the Pediatrician. After everything was complete, we were rolled into our new room- by no means was this a hotel suite.
Jake, Maddison, and I spent the next two nights in the hospital where we slept minimally, Jake got to know me on a whole new level, and we got to bond with this perfect angel that God blessed us with. The road to recovery was not a simple one- this is actually what I was most afraid of and my fears were quickly validated, but I won’t bore you with those details!