Third trimester is really when everything gets uncomfortable and it literally feels like your organs are getting smushed, but you are so very close to meeting the love of your life, so it’s all worth it! During this trimester, everyone will tell you to get more sleep but how on Earth is that possible when you get up to go to the bathroom every hour??? Also, it’s not like you can “bank” your sleep! I would recommend taking long walks, doing foot baths, relaxing on the patio and reading books during this time because you will never have the same amount of time again!
I work in a hospital and at week 37 of pregnancy, I was basically told to stay home. A new policy came out and I was not allowed on site (the hospital) once I was 37 weeks pregnant based on the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists guidelines. I was furious because if you know me, I like to stay busy and love my job. I was planning on working until going into labor, but nope that was taken away from me due to Covid.
It ended up being great because I had two full weeks to prep for baby Salem before delivering. We finished the nursery, set up the stroller and gadgets, washed all his clothes, and I was able to read all my books and mommy blogs on newborn life!
Sonograms and Appointments
Due to Covid, I still had to go to all my appointments and sonograms by myself but now it had just become the new normal since 24 weeks. I face-timed my husband for every sonogram and appointment. For the sonograms, it really was not the same – he couldn’t really see anything at all which made me feel super sad because we couldn’t share this moment. In hindsight, I would recommend recording the session so you could potentially zoom-in to the video later and watch it together.
I chose to get induced at 39 weeks so that I could prepare for, as best as possible of course, what was to come! We went to the hospital at 7 AM feeling excited and scared at the same time. My OB came in to check up on me and then personally broke my water around 8 AM. It totally feels like a gush of water pouring out and as if I peed myself!
Now that my water had officially broken, they started a drug called oxytocin (also known as Pitocin) right away and my contractions started getting closer together shortly thereafter. One side effect I experienced with Pitocin was shaking! SO MUCH shaking. I literally looked like a meth-head. It progressed as labor went on and by the end my teeth would not stop chattering and I was freezing.
I tried to prolong getting an epidural but as the contractions started to get two to five minutes apart, I wanted one ASAP and I was about 4 cm dilated at this point. I was a little nervous about getting an epidural but the CRNA (Certified Registered Nurse Anesthetists) that I had was calm and reassured me that it wouldn’t hurt and would be done fairly quickly. I was sleepy after this but couldn’t even sleep or doze off because of the continuous shaking. The epidural didn’t wear off until I was about 10 cm dilated and all the nurses recommended that I let it wear off so that I could actually feel the contractions and push! I wasn’t happy at the time but glad that it happened that way. I was in labor for about 13 hours and I pushed for about 40-45 minutes (which apparently is great for a first time mom). Let me tell you, the 45 minutes felt much longer! They asked me if I wanted a mirror to see the birth and I just said “all I want is this baby out now!” In hindsight, I wish I would have said yes to see the miracle but in the moment that did not happen. I also remember everyone in the room saying “Omg he has so much hair!” In my head or maybe even out loud, I said I did not care and wanted the baby out now! The charge nurse was so great and coached me through the breathing and all the contractions. She even stayed past her shift to help deliver my baby – how sweet right?! Pushing the placenta out was not really a big deal after you have already pushed out a baby. I remember people saying it was slightly painful, but I honestly did not think so.
I ended up with second degree tears (which is the most common). The midwife came in to stitch me up and let me tell you, that part is painful too! If they did not give me local anesthesia, I would have joined my newborn in all the crying because the stitching sure hurt like hell.
No one really tells you about the postpartum recovery and I can confirm that it is certainly NOT fun. The time that you’re in the hospital, at least for me, was pretty tough as I could barely get out of bed. I needed help from the nurses and my husband to get up and even go to the bathroom. I felt so sore and there was so much bleeding that I did not expect (I am not sure why I didn’t expect this). On top of that, trying to figure out how to take care of a newborn was also difficult. I couldn’t really move very much to learn all the simple things from the nurses like swaddling, proper way to change diapers, burping, and so forth. My hubby had to learn everything and had to do most of the work, which made me feel sad as I could not partake. Of course, he walked me through everything once we were home, but the feeling of sadness you have when you can’t do it at the hospital is also difficult to explain to others.
In conclusion, I honestly did not think that I would be able to give birth vaginally and I was always prepared to have a C-section. I actually did consider an elective C-section but the hearing some of the recovery stories and infections postpartum steered me away from this option if I had a choice. That is why I am so glad that I was able to give birth vaginally with the help of an epidural of course! I wanted to share my story to tell those who are scared of giving birth vaginally should definitely at least try to before electing for a c-section. Of course the ultimate decision is yours, but even if your pain tolerance is low, you can do it! I would definitely choose the same birth plan all over again if I had to!