This past weekend, the mysterious and long-awaited Baby C chose a warm, sunny Saturday morning to enter into the world. Today I’m ecstatic to announce that Antonio and I have a healthy, beautiful baby girl, Xaviana Rose! Accordingly, I will be taking a hiatus from Prego in San Diego–at least until I’m pregnant with Baby C #2, that is. 🙂 And, of course, I want to share the most important lessons I learned throughout pregnancy and labor.
But first: Xavi’s birth story… Xavi was an easy pregnancy, and labor started out that way as well. Mild contractions had begun the previous night after Antonio and I had enjoyed a huge steak and lobster dinner at Hunter Steakhouse, which was incidentally where we’d celebrated when I’d found out I was pregnant!
The contractions became stronger the next morning, and I told Antonio, “I wonder if Baby C will break the water to let us know that he or she is coming.” About two seconds later, I felt a small trickle and started laughing; it was as if Baby C had heard us.
In the hospital, my labor proceeded smoothly for the first few hours. I had told the nurse that I was interested in an epidural only if necessary; the contractions were within my pain tolerance for the first hour or so, but I certainly wasn’t shy about requesting the epidural when my body told me enough was enough.
However, as the contractions intensified and Xavi’s head began to descend into the birth canal, her heart rate plummeted below 100 beats per minute, and the doctor and nurses treated this situation as an emergency. Xavi’s umbilical cord had wrapped around her neck, and the doctor gravely informed me that he might have to perform a C-section. I was rushed upstairs to the operating room in a flurry of medical personnel; it was truly one of the scariest moments of my life.
However, the doctors and nurses took several steps to avoid the C-section. First, I was infused with a fluid similar in composition to amniotic fluid, so Xavi was cushioned and was able to float slightly upward and untangle herself from the umbilical cord. Second, they gave me terbutaline, a medication that stops contractions. The drug, combined with the urgency and stress, caused me to shake from head to toe. Luckily, Antonio was right there with me, holding my hand. We prayed continuously, and he urged me to remember my labor mantra, serenity and strength.
Antonio squeezed my hand, filling me with support, love, and healing energy, and as I prayed for Baby C’s safety, I saw an image of Jesus, radiating golden light. Channeling all of my strength, I focused on serenity, repeating the word internally until my shaking subsided.
After that, things turned around. Xavi’s heart rate rose to the healthy 150’s and the terbutaline wore off. Soon, it was time to push–and there, the strength came in.
I had been preparing for labor ever since I’d found out that I was pregnant, making sure to maintain my muscle tone and stay well nourished. I treated the pushing as an ab workout, and a long-awaited one at that–although I performed prenatal yoga, side planks, and core strengthening, I had really missed the intense ab workouts I’d done before pregnancy. I pushed three times with each contraction, and my active labor lasted about 40 minutes. Antonio, the nurses, and I set a goal of getting the baby out by 6 PM, and we actually beat the goal by six minutes. Since Xavi was still considered high-risk, the doctor helped us out a bit by using the vacuum to assist the delivery at the end.
I was beginning to feel a mild pain by this time, and I’d just screamed, “It hurts!” when the doctor pulled out a crying, alert Xaviana. My first words were an ecstatic, “It’s a girl!” I’d prayed for a little girl before I’d even been pregnant. Antonio and I were so happy that our little angel had been delivered safe and sound; the scare really made us appreciate how blessed we were.
Preg moms out there, may God be with you when you deliver your beautiful babies. The most important lessons I learned during my pregnancy were as follows:
- Maintain your health and fitness throughout your pregnancy. Pushing will be infinitely easier.
- Create a labor mantra, and don’t forget to repeat it to yourself in the heat of the moment. A lot of labor and delivery is your mindset.
- Trust in your healthcare providers. The best things in life seldom proceed according to plan, and your doctors and nurses are prepared for complications.
- Have a support system. Antonio was the driving force during my labor; his calming influence and encouraging words, combined with our deep spiritual link, helped me immeasurably.
- Don’t be afraid to ask for an epidural. They are magical. I did not feel any pain from the contractions or the pushing. Only during the final pushes, when the epidural was finally starting to wear off, did I feel a twinge of pain.
So there you have it! Best of luck throughout your pregnancies, and I will see you again in a year or two. 🙂