The morning of October 7th, my date to be induced at 40 weeks and 5 days, I woke up feeling like I was headed to the airport to make a flight in which I had no idea where it was destined to land. Nervous, curious, excited, scared… We ate a light breakfast, said bye to the puppies and headed to the hospital. My doctor, Samantha Stein (best doctor ever!), recommended that since I was still only 2 centimeters dilated that we induce by taking Cytotec orally which would provide me with the freedom to walk around, use the restroom and eat, unlike an induction with Pitocin which is administered by IV. My husband and I spent October 7th taking walks around the hospital campus in my own clothes (not a hospital gown), having much needed alone time and I had my “food bachelorette party” wherein I ate a deep dish pizza by myself with a fork and knife, chicken and vegetables with a mint lemonade, a lot of fruit, birthday cake and red velvet cake from my favorite bakery, and several blueberry muffins from Starbucks. It was really fun to indulge. After 24 hours and 4 doses of Cytotec, there wasn’t much progress beyond 2 centimeters. As much as I thought I wanted to show up at the hospital and have the baby several hours later, I really needed that 24 hours. Up to this point in my life, I had never had an IV, never spent the night in a hospital, I had never even sat on a hospital bed before! The experience of the slow induction allowed me to calm my nerves and become a witness to this process amongst the greatest nursing staff, giving me the ability to really be in the moment.
On October 8th, around hour 28 of my stay I got my first dose of Pitocin. Up to now, I had been feeling contractions but they were still somewhat irregular. At this point, the topic of an epidural was presented to me. My plan going into this was that I didn’t have a plan but I knew I wanted to feel the “pain” that everyone describes for myself as long as I could take it, maybe all the way through delivery. With the IV in, I was now committed to the hospital bed with my husband by my side. I have to say, I was never so excited to watch the Dodgers in postseason baseball. It was a welcomed distraction to my nerves and the unknown…I really looked forward to the game that day although I couldn’t tell you for the life of me what the outcome of the game was. After I began Pitocin I had regular contractions about two minutes apart. I was told that they wouldn’t get any closer together but they would intensify. The contractions definitely intensified around hour 33. I wouldn’t use the word pain for contractions but it was definitely an intense discomfort, for me in my hips and legs. My doctor had described it as period cramping times 100 and I would say that’s a good description. The worst part of contractions are not knowing when the wave of discomfort will be over. When my night nurse came on she asked me if I wanted an epidural and I began to cry. I wasn’t sad, I wasn’t any identifiable emotion, it’s just a big deal and crying felt right. She non-judgmentally asked me why I was considering not getting an epidural and I didn’t really have an answer. She kindly reminded me that there wasn’t a “Wall of Martyrs” that my picture would be on where others could come to visit and give me recognition. She and I connected right then and there! She was so right, what was I trying to prove? So at hour 38, and somewhere between 5 and 6 centimeters dilated I decided to get the epidural. This was a major decision for me, remember the whole I had never sat in a hospital bed thing?? Well I surely had never had a needle in my back! However, being in the midst of intense discomfort every two minutes will make you make brave decisions. The epidural is really not that bad. The build up to getting the epidural, calling the anesthesiologist, explaining the process, making your husband leave the room, prepping your back is all way more dramatic than actually getting it. I was definitely not completely numb from the epidural but I’m happy I got it when I did because I was able to relax and rest. A few hours later, I called the nurse and told her I was feeling a little different and she told me it was time to push!
Throughout my hospital stay, the nurses had asked me what I would want during delivery to make myself more comfortable. All I requested was that the room had low lighting and calm voices and my requests were kindly granted. The doctor came in and explained to me what it really means to push. My amazing nurse, Michala, whom I feel I had bonded with told me not to by shy or wimpy about it. I’m always up for a good challenge! I closed my eyes each time and I pushed four times over the course of about twenty minutes. After the fourth push I opened my eyes and she entered the world into a completely calm and quiet room, she wasn’t even crying! The entire delivery was so quiet and calm, I couldn’t have planned it more perfectly! When they laid her on me she made little squeaking noises and rubbed her hand back and forth on my face, it was so, so precious. After 45 hours, at 4:55 a.m. on Sunday, October 9th Leighton Everly Moss was born 7 pounds, 4.25 ounces, 20.5 inches with a lot of little dark blond hair. During my pregnancy I kept thinking that I just wanted to get the delivery over with and behind me but I actually find myself wishing I wasn’t getting further and further away from that moment. The delivery itself was hands down the best experience of my life. I would do it again in a heartbeat…seriously! The only time I have cried since giving birth was thinking back at how wonderful the whole experience was. Much of that I attribute to the amazing labor and delivery doctors, nurses and midwives at Kaiser Permanente Woodland Hills. The level of care we received exceeded anything I could have possibly hoped for. They made me feel proud of every choice I made and milestone I made it through during my delivery. Steve and I left the hospital feeling cared for and encouraged to begin our new adventure with our baby. As I write this, I am 28 days postpartum. I have been kind to myself during my recovery and I have spent the last month relaxing and reflecting from my bedroom. Between feedings and snuggles I have laid on my bed and enjoyed the view of the outdoors from my big bedroom window knowing that the seasons are changing out there without feeling them for myself. I definitely have not been outdoors as much as I normally would during my favorite time of year. I have been watching day after day the sun setting a little earlier each night. A sentimental heart like mine never wishes for a moment to pass by too quickly. Undoubtedly, when autumn returns next year, I will feel the familiarities of the season again. The cool, dry air of late October, the autumn winds of early November and everything else that I love about this time of year. But for now, my heart is indoors, patient and still, as I am happily separated from what has always been familiar in my world. Enjoying that my season of life is forever changed.My Leighton girl is one month old today! Thank you to everyone for their sweet and encouraging comments throughout my pregnancy and since my delivery. We read all of them and appreciate everyone who takes the time to reach out.