I still can’t believe I am a mom! I just want to say that Ronson and I are so grateful for our beautiful baby girl and feel truly blessed to be parents. We’ve been soaking every little moment with Ren, including the sleepless nights and blow-out diapers hah. What we’ve learned as new parents is that every day is different and we’re still learning about Ren, just as she’s still learning about us and getting familiar with her new home.
If you’ve been following along my pregnancy journey on Instagram, you may know that my pregnancy has been pretty chill. I honestly thought pregnancy would have been uncomfortable and am so grateful to say I really enjoyed being pregnant. After giving birth, I oftentimes caught myself putting my hand on my belly as if I still have a bump. I sure do miss my bump and miss feeling Ren’s kicks. I stare at Ren while nursing and I think about how just a few weeks ago, this beautiful baby was growing inside me the past nine months and how crazy it is to be holding her! Bringing Ren into this world has been life-changing. I’ve heard other moms say this and I finally understand why it’s life-changing, despite the pain that comes along with it.
Before I jump into all the details about my birth story, let me just say I was so scared and nervous for labor. I definitely started getting more nervous and anxious about labor as my due date got closer. While I’ve heard some scary birth stories, I tried not to freak myself out. I stopped myself from Googling things about labor and told myself my body will know what to do, and I’d be surrounded by a medical team to help guide me through it. Here’s hw everything started…
HOW IT STARTED
On Thursday, January 28th around 3:00AM I woke up thinking I peed my pants. I got to the bathroom and saw my underwear was wet. At that moment, I was kind of panicking because I couldn’t tell if my water broke or if it was my mucus plug. I heard when your water breaks, it’s a gush of water that just keeps coming out. That wasn’t my experience so I really wasn’t sure if my water broke. So I changed my underwear and went back to bed to look for more signs. I couldn’t go back to sleep because I thought I was having contractions! I remember laying in bed and wondering, “are these contractions?!” I laid in bed for a while to see if they were consistent and sure enough, they were contractions because I could tell they were coming and going. They felt like mild period cramp–didn’t hurt at all.
I called Kaiser immediately to let them know I was having contractions and wanted to check if my water broke. I went to the bathroom again while I was on the phone with the nurse. When I got up from the toilet, there was water leaking down my leg and the nurse confirmed that my water broke and asked me to head to the hospital.
Let me just say that Ronson and I were totally convinced (for some reason) Ren would arrive late. My expected due date was February 8th and we made bets that she would either arrive February 11th or 12th. I also wasn’t on maternity leave yet so mentally I wasn’t prepared for Ren to come just yet. I’m glad I had all the essentials packed in my hospital bag because Ronson and I were both pretty nervous about it all happening so soon!
On the way to the hospital, I started timing my contractions using the Contractions app. My contractions were 2-3 minutes apart!! After my sixth contraction, the app notified me to start heading to the hospital haha. The contractions were not bad at all. They felt like period cramps that were totally bearable for me. Whenever I got a contraction, I practiced my breathing since I knew this is something I would have to be focusing on a lot as the contractions get closer together.
I checked into the hospital around 4:00AM and the doctor confirmed I was in early labor and advised me to stick around. Contractions weren’t that bad so I didn’t ask for the epidural yet. On my birth plan, I said I’d like the epidural when I asked for it. With this being my first pregnancy, I was really curious to see how much I could handle before getting the epidural. I do wanna say that I was a bit uncomfortable at this point, but the pain was manageable.
HOW IT WENT DOWN
Once I got settled into my room, I brushed my teeth and did my skincare routine. I even put on sunscreen…what can I say…I am a creature of habit haha.! After a few minutes, the contractions started to get intense. For some people, they may experience pain in the uterus or back. For me, I had a lot of rectal pressure. This was something I had no idea about. No one ever mentioned the rectal pressure that happens during labor!! The rectal pressure was the worst for me. I didn’t have any back pain and the contractions I was feeling in my stomach/uterus were totally bearable. The rectal pressure was getting so intense so I asked the nurse if this was normal. I basically told her “I feel like I need to take a big poop” haha (I know this may be TMI, but want to keep it real with you). She said it’s a good sign because that means the baby is making her way down. She called for the doctor to check my cervix, and confirmed I was 5cm dilated. For those who are not familiar with these numbers, you are fully dilated at 10cm. The doctor said I still had a few more hours to go, considering it was also my first pregnancy. So I waited and decided I would still hold off on the epidural.
I think within an hour or so, everything escalated quickly. The rectal pressure was getting unbearable and I told the nurse I would like the epidural now. While she was getting ready for the epidural, I could feel that something felt very different. I was starting to freak out because the pain was unbearable and I would have loved the epidural any moment now. Then the nurse asked me if I felt like I needed to push and I said, “yes I think so!”
The doctor came in to check my cervix again, and to everyone’s surprise, she confirmed I was 10cm already and there was no time to push, and no time to get the epidural. I was like “WHAT?!” Next thing I know, I see a bunch of medical staff coming into the room and getting things set up. I pushed for about 30 minutes and at 7:40AM, Ren Juniper Lee was born at 7lbs 1 oz. When I got to hold Ren for the first time, I couldn’t believe my eyes. I was so in awe and overjoyed to be holding our sweet baby girl. For all I know, my life changed at that very moment and I remember feeling so incredibly grateful and lucky to be a mother to this beautiful baby.
What did it feel like to push out a baby? To me, it felt like pushing out a really big poop that wouldn’t come out haha. Apparently this is why some people say labor feels like “the ring of fire.” (I didn’t hear about this until after I gave birth lol). Although I did hear that if you get an epidural, you’re pretty much numb down there so you don’t really feel it.
One reason I was terrified of labor is the recovery. I’ve heard about tearing, getting stitches, being sore down there, etc. I did get a second degree tear which the doctor said was normal. They gave me some drugs while they stitched me up and I’m so happy I did not feel a single thing. I was also too busy cuddling with Ren and soaking in the moment with Ronson so that was a great distraction on what was happening down there.
I was so happy I was able to get up and walk around after labor. I was slow to get out/into the bed because my perineal area was sore from pushing. I packed perineal spray in my hospital bag but I didn’t use it. I actually didn’t use a lot of the things I packed because the hospital provided me with so much! The hospital gave me Tucks, which are cooling medicated pads I put on top of my pads to soothe the perineal area. These were such a relief!
I had heavy bleeding for the first two days. I was also nervous about the post-bleeding because I just hate looking at blood. To my surprise, I did not bleed as much as I thought. It looked and felt like a heavy period. The hospital provided me with these giant diaper pads and mesh underwear. I was wearing these for the first few days and by the second week postpartum, I was back in my own underwear and regular pads.
I was also nervous about taking my first poop after delivery. Luckily the hospital gives you stool softeners so that really helps get things moving. I stopped taking pain meds and stool softeners the second week postpartum and felt fine.
Overall, I was really surprised and happy with recovery. I thought it would have been painful but it really wasn’t that bad. A huge thank you to my family, friends and hospital staff who supported me through this journey. I also want to thank Ronson, my best friend, partner and champion for his unconditional support and love throughout this journey. Being pregnant, giving birth and being new parents has really taken our relationship to another level. And lastly, thank YOU for reading this and letting me share my story with you. Your support means a lot to me and I’m looking forward to sharing more of baby Ren with you!