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  • Writer's pictureTricia

Patrick's Birth Story

Disclaimer: I didn't hold back a whole lot on this story, so if you are uncomfortable with graphic mental images, pain, or hearing about a baby coming out of a vagina, I highly recommend you not continue reading.

So I’m a Mom now…

To this little cutie.

It still seems a little surreal even though my sleep deprived, slept about 3 hours total last night, constantly popping a boob out to nurse, took me 3 weeks to type up this post, always distracted self might feel a little differently. I’ll tell you though, I’m sitting here in my living room watching this perfect angel baby asleep in his swing, and I truly feel so incredibly lucky to be here. I often find myself thinking back on everything we went through to get here. I think about every shot, every surgery, every doctor’s office visit, every uncomfortable procedure, every tear shed, every dollar spent, and it was all absolutely fucking worth it to be able to hold this little one in my arms and call him ours.

It’s honestly pretty funny how much knowledge I have absorbed over the past few months about babies. If yall know anything about me, you know I like to be prepared. Yes, I know you can never fully prepare yourself for a newborn, but I can assure you, coming from a background of next to zero prior knowledge of babies and what they require on a daily basis, reading became my best friend. That along with seeing specialists ahead of his arrival set me up with a basic skill set that I was not previously equipped with. I will share in another post all the resources I used during my pregnancy, but for now, a book that a friend gave me, Ina May’s Guide to Childbirth, had a huge impact on the way I planned to give birth. Don’t get me wrong; I use the term “birth plan” lightly, because I had a plan A, B, C, all the way to Z depending on what happened preceding and then once I went into labor. Ultimately, though, it was my preference to try for a natural vaginal birth with no epidural.

Patrick James Wasielewski made his way into the world on June 26, 2022. That was exactly two weeks and 3 days ahead of his scheduled due date which was July 13th. Every single thing about the birth of this child was completely unexpected. Keeping his parents on his toes from the get go I guess. I can’t wait to see what life looks like in the years to come….

Oddly enough, my water broke, rather violently I’ll add, at 1am Sunday morning, June 26th. I thought I was peeing myself. I quite literally shot up from my bed, yelled, “What the fuck!?” and rushed into the bathroom. I proceeded to let out what felt like a gallon of liquid into the toilet, got up midway through but continued gushing out fluid, finally managed to grab my phone, and called my Mom, a NICU nurse and mother of three. After letting her know that there was some blood tinged fluid in there as well, she confirmed that it probably was my water breaking and I should make my way towards the hospital soon- we were going to have a baby soon.

I was in shock at this point. Only about 10% of people actually have their water break, let alone GUSH out of them, let alone a first time Mom at 37 weeks. I was telling everyone that I would for SURE be going past my due date. On average, first time moms give birth about 8 days past their due dates. I was planning to train clients all the way up to 39 weeks. Plus, my OB was out of town that week, and at our last appointment, she had literally said, “don’t go into labor while I’m gone!” I had thought there was no chance. Well, Patrick had other plans.

Another funny thing about this night, Shawn had left the house after I went to sleep that night to go to a friend’s party, so he wasn’t there when all of this started. After I had talked to my Mom, I called him, calmly told him I was pretty positive my water had broken, and he immediately dropped what he was doing and rushed home. I called the emergency line at my OBGYN to let them know my water had broken, and they confirmed that my doctor was still out of town and that the midwife on her service had recommended that I go ahead and make my way to labor and delivery. At this point, I wasn’t having any noticeable contractions, so I took my time getting ready to leave the house. I did my makeup, changed clothes, packed up my hospital bag, and made a peanut butter and jelly sandwich for the road. I wanted to eat something to provide me with some energy since I hadn’t eaten since dinner and I knew I’d be banned from eating once I got to the hospital and I was expecting a long labor.. We packed and double checked we had everything we needed and left the house around 2:15am.

My plan had been to deliver at Northside Gwinnett hospital, since my mom is a NICU nurse there. She had recommended an amazing OBGYN that I had been going to since I hit 12 weeks, she knew my birth plan and was in total support of it, and I was really excited to deliver with her. Obviously that wasn’t happening anymore since she was still on vacation. I was a bit stressed about that since I was planning to do a natural birth, as long as everything went ok, and I was concerned that if I delivered with a doctor I didn’t know, they wouldn’t be willing or able to support me through that. I tried to put it out of my head as we drove to the hospital and I started to feel some contractions coming on. On the 45 minute drive up to the hospital, my contractions were coming about every 4-6 minutes and just felt like very strong period cramps. The pain wasn’t crazy at that point and I felt pretty capable of just breathing through them. I remember being uncomfortable in the car and feeling very excited to get to the delivery room so I could be up walking around and using a birth ball.

We pulled up to the hospital around 3am, got checked in and put into a triage room around 3:15. In the triage room, they checked my vitals, got me hooked up to fetal monitoring, and tried to do a strip test to confirm that my water had broken. They tried a couple different test strips, and they kept getting covered in blood and mucus which prevented them from getting a clear reading. Without a clear result, they had to do another test called an amnisure that included a swab that had to be sent off to the lab. That delayed us getting into a delivery room by about 45 minutes. The same nurse also did a cervical check and said she thought I was about a centimeter dilated at that point, (which we are now questioning) so I thought for sure I was going to be here for 24 hours in labor.

Because I had been told I was barely dilated, and everything I had read previously made it seem like first time labors progress so slowly, and my contractions were starting to pick up a bit, and I was working off about 3 hours of sleep, I was starting to question my ability to get through this. I was trying to push my thoughts at that point to just get through the time in this tiny room and we’d be in the delivery room soon. Once I got to the delivery room I knew I would be able to be put on intermittent monitoring, use the birth ball, walk around, and find more comfortable positions. The test finally came in around 4:15 and confirmed that my water had actually broken (shocking!), and they got me ready and walked me over to the delivery room.

Here's the last time I (semi)smiled until he was out of me.

Once we were in the delivery room, things started to progress quickly. The pain and intensity of the contractions were increasing rapidly, and the time between them was getting shorter. Also during this time, I was told that the midwife on staff with my OBGYN was unable to be there for the birth. I was given the option to deliver with one of the other doctors on staff at the hospital. My immediate thought was fear that they wouldn’t help me get through this the way I wanted to, so I requested a midwife. The midwife on call that night, Hope, eventually delivered Patrick. She stayed totally hands off the entire time until it was time to push. In the moment, I was VERY annoyed that she didn’t come to check on me after our initial meeting. Now, I realize, this is probably why things played out how they did, and in some ways I’m happy about that, but there were several moments when I about lost my shit.

Once we were in the delivery room, the nurse came in to tell me that I would be getting hooked up to fetal monitoring (2 straps that go around your belly to monitor contractions and baby's heart rate and basically confines you to a bed) and having an IV placed. Neither of these things were what I had discussed with my obstetrician. I requested to have the intermittent monitoring, which they didn’t want to do. The compromise was that they hooked me up to a mobile monitor that just stuck on my belly and was totally cordless. I was actually pretty happy about that, because I was totally mobile with that thing on. Also, one of the only comfortable positions I could find happened to be sitting on the toilet, so I got up to go to the bathroom about every 3-5 minutes.

They also really wanted me on IV fluids, but eventually let me just have the IV in place but not hooked up to the tether. Having the IV placed was the start of everything going downhill for me. The nurse that initially tried to put it in my arm couldn’t find my vein. She was literally fishing around in my arm with this needle for what felt like an eternity. At a certain point during the time she was moving this needle back and forth in my arm, a really strong contraction came on, and I just got hit with this massive wave of nausea. I told them to hand me something to barf in, because it was coming. They handed me a bag and I immediately lost the entire PB&J sandwich that was supposed to provide me with some energy to get through this labor. I think the nurse felt bad for me and embarrassed about the situation, because she told me she was going to give me a break and then I never saw her again. Maybe I scared her off with my resting bitch face. So really, I went through the majority of my labor without the IV in, because it quite some time before a new nurse came back in to try again, much more successfully, thank God.

After the IV debacle, around 5:30am, when my contractions were feeling more and more like my uterus was being ripped from my body, I asked them if they could check my dilation. I was told that because of the risk of infection (after my water broke), they wanted to limit the number of times they checked me. With me being a first time mom, and the expectation that I would be in labor for many more hours, they were trying to delay checking me as long as possible. At 6am, I was basically begging for them to check me. They told me that they would come check me at 6:30. When 6:30 passed, I was basically yelling at Shawn to get on the phone and call a nurse to get in here, check me, and get me a damn epidural. Then the shift change happened at 7, so I was basically just left up shit creek without a paddle for WAY too long.

I will mention that I did tell these nurses that I was planning to go natural and to let me ask for the epidural if I changed my mind rather than them offering. So I think they were doing their best to leave me alone to do my thing. I was SO discouraged because the pain was getting so intense and they kept telling me that I had all this time left to go, and to my knowledge, that was an appropriate thing to tell me. I knew that first time labors can last days. I kept thinking that was going to be the case for me, and I just didn’t think I could hold on without any drugs for that long. It had to have been around 6am that the nurse came in and I told her I didn’t think I was going to make it, that she offered me the IV drug stadol that would dull some of the pain and help me relax a bit. Being able to rest a bit gave me a little bit of hope, so I said, “yes, let’s do it, NOW, please.”

The second she put the drug into my IV, I felt this enormous sense of relief wash over me. Even though I felt like I was drunk, it was like I could breathe again, relax, and lay down to get a tiny bit of rest. I still felt every contraction, and as time went on, they continued to get worse again (the dose they give you only lasts for about an hour). So when it wore off around 7am, I was freaking out. I kept telling Shawn to call the nurse and get someone in here to check me and order the epidural, because there was no way I could do this. After the shift change, I didn’t get anyone in my room until around 7:20, when I frantically told the nurse I needed to be checked, and they FINALLY sent someone to do a cervical check. I swear, everyone probably thought I was being the BIGGEST drama queen, when, in fact, I was likely going through the toughest part of labor- the transition phase. In transition you go from 7 to 10 centimeters dilated and the baby descends into the birth canal. It’s generally the most painful part of labor, and I felt ALL. Of. It.

My nurse came to check my dilation around 7:30am after which I thought they’d put in an order for an epidural…FINALLY! She looked at me and said, “Oh! I’m pretty sure you’re around 8 or 9 centimeters. I’m touching your baby’s head.” To which I replied, “So basically I’m fucked?”

She reassured me that a natural birth was what I wanted in the first place and that just to double check she would go get a second nurse to be sure. The second nurse came in and told us that I was complete and ready to start pushing. They immediately went to grab the midwife and get set up for the delivery.

To be honest, I felt a rush of relief when they told me it was time to push. Pushing, for me, became the workout, so, naturally, this was my favorite part of the whole thing. At that point, you can see the light at the end of the tunnel, and you know you’re about to meet your baby. Plus, I could actually participate and make something happen rather than sitting around waiting for the next miserable contraction. Once they had everything set up, I decided to start pushing on hands and knees. The problem for me in this position was that I was struggling to find a resting position in between contractions. I would be pushing with every ounce of strength in my exhausted body, and then I would try to lean forward or stretch out, and nothing felt restful in the 30-60 seconds of rest I was getting between contractions. After maybe 15 minutes of this position, my midwife suggested that I try lying on my side and hugging my knee up toward my chest while Shawn helped support my leg in the air. After my first set of pushes there, it seemed like I could make more progress in that position, so we stuck to that. It was also nice to feel a bit more relaxed in between each round of pushing. After about 15 more minutes of pushing there, his head was almost out. At this point, the midwife asked me to try to control my pushing to allow my body to adjust and minimize the tearing. I was able to control it for maybe 2 contractions, but there came a point where I just had to give it everything I had, regardless of the consequences.

Once his head was out, everything happened really quickly. It was a pretty easy push to get the shoulders out, and then the rest of him just sort of slid out. HAHA. Birth is fucking crazy. Anyways, at 8:15am, Patrick James Wasielewski graced us with his presence. He came out screaming and was immediately placed on my chest with his umbilical cord attached, and the midwife helped deliver the placenta. Everything that went on down there after he came out, I have little recollection of. I was just so in awe with my newborn baby and everything that we just went through that happened SO FUCKING FAST, it was hard to wrap my head around it all. I laid there with my baby while I got injected with lidocaine, and stitched up (I ended up with a second degree tear). Again, I felt nothing during all of that. The surge of hormones, endorphins, all the emotions, all the love must have completely blocked it all out. Or it was just nothing compared to all those damn contractions towards the end...

I spent the next hour holding, loving, and learning to feed my baby for the first time, all with Shawn by my side. It was beautiful and overwhelming and incredible and insane and unbelievable all at the same time. I know that not everyone feels that instantaneous connection with their babies after birth, but man, I felt that shit to my core. He is a part of me, and after that first moment of getting to hold him in my arms, see his perfect little face, and hold his tiny little fingers, it was over for me. He is everything.

And now we’re three weeks in, and parenting is really hard. I truly do not know how single parents do it. I feel so lucky to have Shawn by my side to support me through all of the challenges we are facing in this first month, because I cannot imagine doing this all without him. I think we make a pretty amazing team, and I feel like we’ve been doing a good job in making this guy feel loved. We’re exhausted and delirious pretty much every single day, but we laugh through the tough times and we take one look at our baby and every sleepless night gets a little bit easier. I never imagined that three hour stretches of sleep would feel so incredible, but they do. And the snuggles from this guy just make your heart feel like it’s going to explode. I have so much more to talk about, but I’ll leave it there for now. I can't say it enough, the birth of this child has to be the most wild, epic, mind-blowing experience that totally surprised me from start to finish, and I wouldn’t change the outcome for the world. This little guy is just the best.

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