☀️ Our little sunshine 𝑅𝒶𝒻𝒶𝑒𝓁𝓁𝒶☀️
My due date was May the 4th. I would always add it was “May the Force be with me.” 😅 But somehow I was convinced she would arrive earlier. Why?
Simply because I exercised almost daily plus the fact that we handled a move from Mexico to France at 32 weeks pregnant with our two dogs, and then arrived at our apartment in Monaco for the last two months climbing up 88 stairs about two times a day!! ( no elevator).
Buuut I was wrong, no signs of her until her exact due date: May the Force.
On that day, I was woken up at 5 am by some sudden menstrual cramps. They were light and came every 10min or so. At noon they stopped. Since it was week 40, we had a visit scheduled that same day with the Obstetrician, who told us the neck (cervix) was still very long so I could just as well give birth in a week, there was no need to be startled.
I always thought my labor would either be very long or very quick, but no in-between. Weelllll wellll I was right about that! 😅
The work lasted 24 hours in total. 😐
Here's what happened:
The following day, On May 5th, I was woken up at 6 am by menstrual cramps again. Same as the previous day, but this time these “cramps“ didn’t stop. The latent phase: one bearable contraction every 10 min lasted all day long. I continued with my normal day, showered, had breakfast, lunch, and even went to the park with my mother and my nephew. Just handling the cramps with the breath and my maman timing them with her iPhone chronometer. They lasted 10- 20s max. Hubby was working from home.
All was going smoothly until around 7 pm when the active phase began: contractions lasting longer, more intense, and closer to each other. After having a delicious lasagna with my husband on my pilates ball (I couldn't stand the stiffness of the chairs anymore), the time came to head to the hospital. I was in denial though, thinking it was still manageable, I was sure I would be sent back home or asked to go for a walk.
We arrived there around 10 pm. The hospital was quiet, dark and of course, the reception curtains were closed so we went to ring the night bell. A midwife took me to a room where they monitored me for an hour, there sitting on the pilates ball and handling contraction after contraction, I found out I was only 3cm dilated.
My husband Fer was excited and decided daft punk was a good music choice. I almost killed him. For him, it seemed like a party was starting. I, on the other hand, was getting tired. It was getting close to bedtime and I had been up since 6 am and “in labor“ all day. Suddenly, I felt a hot-water-filled balloon exploding down my legs.
My water broke at 11 pm. 💦
They asked me if I wanted to go take a shower in a room or step into the delivery room. (“salle d accouchement” en francais). One other woman was giving birth at the same time, and the midwife told me she also didn’t want an epidural! I felt less alone.
The delivery room was pretty big, with a delivery bed in the center and lots of cables and instruments around it. A bit scary to be honest, but the midwife was so funny and nice, I felt reassured. We put on the playlist I had prepared called "bundle of joy", I was given the pilates ball, and as fun as it may sound the room light was changing color every so often, from blue to green to pink to purple yellow... We were in the room with the so-called luminotherapy!
I felt like a fish in an aquarium, Fer and I had a good laugh. I was managing every contraction like a warrior, or at least that’s what the midwife was saying. But soon enough the manageable part was fading away. Once the water breaks, the pain gets to another level. 🥵That's where the increasingly intense, long, and painful contractions began.
I would just wail like an animal to get it out, I remember telling Fer: “ no one deserves to feel this pain in their life.” We did all the breathing exercises, we traveled to Egypt on camels, in the trajineras of Xochimilco (his idea, another party 🙄) to Uruguay surfing waves, but when there, I screamed that I only felt a shark eating me from the inside. Around 1 am, we heard the woman next door screaming twice as if she got stabbed in a horror movie. I was kneeling on a diaper (water keeps running once it breaks), my chest on the ball, and Fer sitting on a chair. We immediately looked at each other in surprise and, I just burst into tears. 😭The midwife came running, closed the door, and told us "everything is fine, her baby was born."
At that point, I knew that I was 5cm dilated cus the midwife came every so often to check me and I was afraid of each approaching contraction that was getting more and more painful and now add to that the fear of the pain of the expulsion! I turned around and told Fer "I don't want this anymore." I was exhausted, tired of feeling pain, I wanted it to end and I was barely halfway there.
I surrendered and begged for the epidural.
It took an hour between when I asked for it and when they arrived to put it. It was the longest hour of my life and I dilated another 2cm. I even went to the bathroom to throw up out of pain. I didn’t know that was possible. I became impatient while enduring the worst contractions. I felt I was burning from the inside like a ring of fire. I even hit my husband unintentionally.
😆He was the best though, accompanying me in every pain, bringing me water, juice, socks, blankets. At that point, I was lying down on the bed and my legs and teeth were shaking. After using the swinging belts, cat walking on my hands and knees, on the ball, I was sweaty and exhausted.
Finally, the nurse arrived. He started to talk to me about the epidural procedure. His name was Manu. I was just rushing him to insert the needle already, I was already mad enough that they had taken so long. Not here to have a cup of tea. Then Dr. Sultán arrived, he tapped my back and the procedure took 20 minutes. I endured three contractions sitting down as Manu held my hand. Fer was outside as it was anesthesia and he had to leave the room. As soon as the anesthetizing product took effect, I reached a state of pure bliss. I no longer felt ANY PAIN. I told Fer: "Long live science and the epidural, I reached Samadhi thanks to the epidural." 😌
I was in full ecstasy, I didn't feel any pain during the three hours that followed. I told my husband that I loved him because for the past hours I was actually hating him when in pain. I could feel a few burns in my right hip in my lower back every now and then but I had the ticker to inject more dose if needed. I only clicked 2 or 3 times.
At 4 am I reached 10cm, but the midwife kept coming and going because apparently baby’s head was still very up. Around 5:40 am Laurence the midwife told me she hoped she would be delivering my baby cus her shift was up at 7 am. I felt such a strong bond with her I told her “Please Laurence don’t leave me”. She told me to try something: when I feel the burn (a contraction), hold air in and push strongly to see if the head would go down.
Apparently, that worked cus she started screaming “ca y est on accouche!” “Ok, we are delivering!”. After 2 strong pushes where I didn’t feel a thing, baby Ella was born. 😅
Laurence handed her to me while saying “attrapez votre bébé!” (catch your baby!), and I grabbed this beautiful creature with my shaking hands feeling numb, and I put her on my chest. She chose the song “you are my sunshine” to arrive at 5:57 am on May 6th.
So yeah 24hours since the first contractions!
They asked Fer if he wanted to cut the cord he said no; these things freak him out, and I was too busy contemplating my creature to care. So they waited until it stopped beating and cut it. I didn’t even see the placenta, they threw it away because they consider it trash. This is very sad I would have loved to keep it and make vitamins and shampoo out of it. But at that moment I couldn’t care less. Her eyes were perfectly opened she observed her surroundings, sniffed, and just crawled to latch on like a little animal.
We stayed together there, the 3 of us, for two hours (till 8 am) which is the norm in Monaco for the encounter /golden hour moment, and they even weighed, measured, and dressed her right next to me. I saw Laurence sawing, she told me she was performing some plastic surgery because I hadn’t torn but just ripped a bit. Did not feel a thing. Epidural was still on point. Then they passed us to the room, and Fer went home to get some rest and take our dogs out.
That day, the doctor's visits wouldn’t stop and I was so tired since I hadn’t slept… it was like starting a marathon “en vivo” without a night's sleep 🥱. The first night I asked them to take the baby to the nursery because I wanted to sleep but unfortunately, it was closed because of covid. I don´t know how I did it but I survived.
I stayed in the hospital 4 days and 4 nights total, which is absolutely normal for a vaginal birth (3-5D natural and 5-7D cesarean) under the condition that the baby recuperated weight and that the pediatrician gives the OK to go home. All the nurses were soooo nice. I actually cried when I left. They showed me how to bathe her, breastfeed her, soothe her, wrap her, etc. I felt like I was in “the school of maternity”. The pediatrician would check on her daily and we had 24/7 help (which I think I abused of, haha.)
The food was not good-hospital food- which I thought was outrageous because we are not sick we need pampering but oh well Fer brought me food every day. He was the only person allowed to visit because of covid but it was perfect like that.
After going home I got even more help, my lactation consultant came (she actually was the midwife who birthed me 30Y ago!) and I had a midwife who checked on me and the baby.
It was a long but beautiful birth journey and I am so grateful I was able to have my first baby in my hometown after being abroad for 13 years, with my family around, especially my mom who is the greatest emotional and physical support of all.