Monday, I went to work. I felt funny so I didn’t trust myself driving. Osiris drove me.
I walked as much as possible throughout the day as I hurried through the responsibilities I had been given before going into labor, or starting Christmas vacation – whichever came first. I finished everything by around 12:30. As I sat at my desk, I started feeling contractions. My sweet coworkers and I laughed about how funny it would be for me to go into labor while at work. They told me to walk it off so I walked around the church lobby for a while.
At 4 o’clock, Osiris picked me up and we went to El Rancho supermarket cause I needed to buy marinated meats so I could freeze them and we’d have food if at any point that week I went into labor. We then went to the Dollar Store to buy a dresser. We got home around 5pm.
We didn’t like the dresser. Osiris said he’d return it later and he sat down to watch TV. I ate some cereal and went to bed.
I laid on my side, texting friends, and listening to Ice Age playing on the TV.
At 5:30pm, I felt something inside of me “Pop!” I thought, that was weird. I waited a few minutes. Lukas started moving a lot inside of me, I started to feel a fluid come out of me. Uh. Oh. I called out for Osiris to come quickly. He asked me what I wanted and I said “Bring me toilet paper, QUICK!!!” He did and I jumped out of bed as quickly as I could shoving toilet paper under me before the gush of fluid came out. My water broke. After sitting on the toilet, I took a shower, while Osiris packed up last minute items.
We left the apartment and stopped at the Dollar Store to return the dumb dresser. I stayed in the car, sitting on a bag, just in case.
When we got to the hospital, Osiris dropped me off at the Emergency Entrance and as soon as I got out of the car, more water gushed out. (I know this is so enjoyable to read.) I slowly walked into the entrance and just stood on the rug. The front desk ladies looked at me confused and asked me if I was okay. I just laughed and said “If I keep walking, I’m gonna get water all over your floors.” One lady quickly got a wheelchair, laid a towel on it, and came to get me.
All I remember is saying “My husband is parking!” And a dark skinny man with dreds said, “Don’t you worry, I’ll be sure to send him your way.” And I yelled back “He’s Dominican!” The entire way to the third floor, I kept laughing and saying how weird everything was. The nurse was so confused and said “You’re the funniest pregnant lady that’s ever come through. I sure hope you’re laughing like this in a few hours.”
Osiris found me once they put me in the triage room. They checked my vitals and confirmed that my water had indeed broken. I kept getting water everywhere and laughing about it. I asked if this was labor and the nurse said “You’re not leaving this hospital without a baby!” I got so excited.
They wheeled me to the Laboring room and started hooking me up to monitors. Shortly after, my parents, Grace, and my brothers showed up. At this point, I wasn’t feeling contractions or pain or anything – just excitement. They had me sign forms, different people came in to explain things to me, and other formalities.
Contractions eventually started back up. I’m not sure what time, but I’m guessing it was close to 8 or 9 pm. Osiris clipped my fingernails and then I plucked my eyebrows to pass the time. Contractions became regular, at first 10 minutes apart and soft. They quickly increased to within 4 to 5 minutes apart. The pain was stronger but nothing intolerable. Osiris sat by me and held my hand during each contraction.
At around midnight, the doctor came in to check my cervix to see that I hadn’t dilated but 2 centimeters. Due to the increasing risk of infection, we decided to speed up the process with Pitosin. Once this was IV’d into me, the contractions became more frequent, every minute to 2 minutes apart. Contractions became stronger and I had to really focus. No more fun and games. I closed my eyes and tried to relax my body and breathe through each contraction.
Time became a blur, but they say I labored this way for about 2 hours. The pain seized my entire body. I remember the fire burning through my ribs and around my back and hips and thighs and abdomen. Before the pitosin, contractions stayed in my abdominal-thigh region. After the pitosin, they radiated through my entire body.
At this point, I couldn’t talk. I do remember every thought going through my head in the midst of the pain. I kept thinking that this is what the world was going through. I kept thinking of the pain and darkness in the world. And I kept telling myself that Jesus redeems. I kept thinking about Jesus dying on the cross. I kept hearing scripture in my head, truths about redemption and healing and life. I never before felt so close to God and felt the Gospel story in action- it was happening in me, through me.
They checked my cervix again. I had dilated to a 3… and shortly after, undilated back down to a 2. The nurses were concerned that the pitosin wasn’t helping the dilation after so many hours. I thought about how much longer this could last, I remember feeling weak, and knowing that when it came time to push, I wouldn’t have the strength to do it. As fearful as I was of it, I eventually asked for the epidural. I remember thinking that the anesthesiologist was taking forever to get here after they ordered it.
My mom and Osiris had to leave the room. It was past 3am. I was so scared of the epidural. The nurse sat me up. I was having contraction after contraction, less than a minute apart. The anesthesiologist explained how everything worked and I tried to not focus on what he was doing or saying. I asked the nurse about how job, where she lived, about her kids, and I told her about my trips to Branson, Missouri with Sarah and Erica. I told her Missouri was lovely. She was from Missouri. After my conversation with the nurse, the epidural was in and they laid me down. I slowly started feeling (or not feeling) the effects of the epidural. The contractions became ghosts that echoed silently in my muscles. I could only feel the strongest of the contractions.
I began to fall asleep. At this point, Lukas had been doing great. His heart rate was between 150-170. That was good. But as the contractions got stronger, his heart rate started to drop to about 110-120. This was only borderline okay. The preferred safe zone was 110-160 so they put me on oxygen as soon as his heart rate began to drop during contractions.
Every now and then, the nurse would rush into the room and began to move me side to side and tell me to breath deeply over and over again.
Around 8:50ish, she came in and pushed me side to side, side to side, she didn’t stop, I didn’t know what was happening. She paged a doctor. That doctor came in and explained that my contractions were too strong for Lukas but they were trying to get as much oxygen in me in order to keep him going. Minutes later, the room was flooded with doctors. I had about 10 doctors surrounding my bed. They were speaking quickly as they monitored Lukas’s heartbeat.
At 9am, one of them said “Emergency C-Section, let’s go!” They quickly unhooked me, pushed my bed out of the room, down the bright halls, and through several doors. I remember a doctor teaching the interns, explaining the baby’s heart rate dropped to 60 bpm. I heard someone say “we might lose him.”
I thought to myself, “This is not my baby. This is God’s baby. God is sovereign and God is good. God, this is your little boy.” Over and over and over this went through my head. I felt so much peace.
A door wasn’t opening. All the doctors tried their tags, but nobody could get the door open. One of the female doctors frustratedly yelled “WHY ISN’T THIS DOOR OPENING?!?!” They banged on it and someone from the other side had to pry it open. They ran. Someone said “Fingers inside the ride please.” I laid my hand down next to me. I was surprised at how calm I was and how panicked they were.
We finally reached the OR, and they lifted me onto the operating table. They lifted the blue sheet over me and in front of my face. I remember trying to focus on the patterns of the sheet, the tiny blue dots. They up’d my epidural dose. I know it was a total God thing that I chose to ask for the epidural. I’m glad he made the pain intolerable enough for me to face my fear and take it. It made the C-section so much faster. Within 4 minutes of entering the OR, the nurse shouted “He’s crying! He’s good!” She ran to my face and said, “Your son is born! He’s SO CUUUUTE!” I thought, how could she possibly say that, aren’t they all born looking like aliens? I asked “Is he okay?” “Yes, he’s okay! He’s healthy! He’s soooo cuuuute!” She ran back to where they had him.
I could hear him crying. I called out to him, “Lukas! Lukas, I’m here!” He stopped crying for a moment. They brought him over to me, I couldn’t hold him because my arms were completely numb. I wish I could hold him. I wish I’d been the first person to hold him.
But I saw him. He was crying. I said his name and talked to him. He stopped crying and he talked back to me. It was so sweet. As soon as they took him away, I heard him start crying again.
I laid on the operating table as they stitched me up, wondering what the heck had just happened to my life. I remember thinking my life had just changed forever. I was so happy and so sleepy and so excited. The surgeons told me I did well. I closed my eyes as they finished me up.
The rest of my life had just begun.