My First Daughter’s Birth Story – Written by Lisa Nerem

My birth stories are both very different, but let’s back it up to 2014 – my first pregnancy. For those of you who know me, you know I am a planner. I’m organized. I NEED to know what is going to happen and when. So when my husband and I decided we wanted to try for a baby, I did everything I could. I tracked periods, ovulation days…and I was very fortunate to have gotten pregnant within a few months after we started trying.

Throughout my pregnancy, I felt great and loved almost all of it (except all the fluid I retained!) The biggest concern I had towards the end was not knowing when I was going to go into labor or how badly it would hurt. I’d heard more bad than good stories about women laboring and as a new expecting mother, I was definitely scared. One of my biggest fears regarding labor was that my water would break at work. My due date was August 3rd and on August 1, low and behold, my water broke at work!

The previous day, my OB had ruptured my membranes to move the process along and told me there could be some minor bleeding. I was nearing the end of my work day (on the 1st) and as I was finishing up with a patient I felt something happen. I couldn’t have peed my pants…maybe it was blood? No, not blood. I sat there with my legs crossed until I was alone. It kept happening. I didn’t initially think it was my water breaking, because I assumed that when that happened it would be a big gush of fluid. I wasn’t sure what was going on or what was going to happen so I cancelled the rest of my day and started my 30 minute drive home. I called my husband and told him to make sure he was ready.

I got home and finished packing my hospital bag. For some reason, even with all of my obsessive planning, I didn’t have this done. We only lived a couple of blocks from the hospital so my husband asked if he could stop and grab something to eat. I wasn’t uncomfortable so I agreed! I sat on a towel and hoped nothing major would happen.

We got to the hospital around 5:00 pm and I eventually got settled into a room. They confirmed that the leaking was in fact amniotic fluid, not urine. Ha! I knew I didn’t pee my pants! The nurses came in and asked if I knew if I’d want an epidural…how did I know? Nothing was hurting yet so I didn’t want to say yes…but I also didn’t want to get too far into it and try to work through too much pain. (Power to all of you mamas who did or plan to!!) After a couple of hours, I felt the contractions start to get uncomfortable. The anesthesiologist told me that the pain I was feeling was nothing compared to what it would be, and with that I decided to get the epidural. Once I got back into the right position, I was completely numb and felt nothing! My pain was gone quickly and I was able to relax and sleep off and on the rest of the evening. The nurses would check me and I was progressing along. My husband is a night owl so he stayed up watching some movies. Around 1:00 am he felt hungry…I couldn’t eat but okay! The nurse checked me and said it was fine for him to go but he better not take too long. Thankfully I didn’t feel like eating, otherwise I would’ve been so hangry and no one would’ve wanted a tired, laboring hangry mama to be. Around 3:00 am my husband decided that he should probably get some rest. It was right at that moment that the nurse came in, checked me, and said I was 10 cm and it was go time. Things were getting real.

I told my husband to call both of our moms to let them know things were about to happen. My OB came in and had one nurse hold one leg and my husband hold the other. It was now time to start pushing. Once things got started, I thought I was pushing, but apparently I was just holding my breath! I was so numb that I couldn’t feel a thing. My doctor had to tell me when to push and ended up giving me some oxygen. We could see on the monitors that the baby’s heart rate had started to accelerate, and so I tried my best to relax. Fortunately, my doctor was amazing and made me feel calm the whole time. Once baby girl’s head was out, we realized that the cord was around her neck. Again, my doctor calmly got that taken care of and we continued on. I kept pushing when I was told but it wasn’t working and her head was already out. It was at that point that my doctor got very serious and said we need to get this baby out immediately. Her shoulder was stuck, so we either needed to use the vacuum or prep for a c-section. Now I was not against a c-section but her head was out…so the best choice seemed to try the vacuum first! With one suction, a twist, and a push my sweet Sophia was born at 3:21 am! All 8 lbs, 11.9 oz of her! And I felt nothing. God bless that epidural.

Since my baby had experienced some trauma coming out, the nurses took her away to check her out so I was unable to do skin to skin initially. It seemed like forever before I got to hold her but I was being cleaned up and sewn up (as I had a grade 2 tear.) I was happy to hear I didn’t poop during delivery (another fear) but my cousin who is a labor and delivery nurse says, “If you’re not pooping, you’re not pushing!” That makes sense since I felt nothing. So just remember that all of you future mamas who are nervous about that!

All that being said, one of the biggest hurdles I had after I gave birth was that I couldn’t go to the bathroom! It may have been a mental block but with since I could feel my stitches from my tear, I could not go to the bathroom! After a couple of rounds of using a straight catheter while I was still numb, I ended up being catheterized again (not numb anymore – ouch!)

Besides all that, my hospital stay in my small town hospital was nothing short of amazing. The nurses took great care of me, would take baby Sophia during the night, and bring her in when she needed to nurse.

Once we got home, I started to notice a horrid rash all over my body. I initially thought it was a reaction to the penicillin they gave me and that’s the story we went with. After some Benadryl and rest, it did clear up but wow – taking care of a new baby while exhausted and itchy was horrible.

I found myself crying a lot in the first couple of days. The baby blues were no joke! Once they passed though, I had an amazing 8 weeks off with my baby girl and recovered wonderfully. Breastfeeding helped me get the weight back off and I got back to my pre-pregnancy weight fairly quickly. (That being said…all of us mamas know our bodies don’t ever really look or feel the same after having a baby!)

I later learned that my baby getting stuck was called Shoulder Dystocia. It’s apparently a very scary thing and I am so thankful my OB kept her cool and that I had no idea it was an emergent situation. I also didn’t know that this issue would make such a big impact on how my next baby would be born 5 years later, which I’ll be sharing in the coming weeks!



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