It was 12:22 a.m. in the morning on Monday, August 2, 2021. It was my 25th birthday and 6 days before my due date.
Stan had just gotten home from work, and he gave me my birthday gifts—clothing from South Vine and products from Astoria. (#shoplocal) I was impressed with his shopping, to be honest. Love is Blind was on the TV. We had watched the series in early 2020 when the COVID-19 outbreak was in its newborn stage, and Mark and Jessica were the world’s best entertainment second to Tiger King.
My phone rang, and it was a number I didn’t recognize.
“Hi, is this Kennedy?” the woman said.
“Yes, how are you?”
“Good! Would you like to come in and have your baby?”
WELL, OF COURSE! I was immediately shaking. The first thing I did was, I moseyed on over to the toilet and dropped the Browns off at the Super Bowl. Reality had hit. Reality had set in. It was time to become a mom and do the damn thing. I actually shit from nervousness and excitement.
I had the baby bag and my own bag packed, but Stan didn’t have his ready to go so he threw like a pair of socks in his bag and we left. It was unseasonably cold, and the moon was an orange crescent. I had sweatpants on and the windshield was covered in condensation. We sped an hour plus to the hospital. I told them I would be there by 1:45 a.m., and we were indeed there in time. Stan parked in the emergency department parking lot, and we walking in to the ED as instructed. My belly was prominent, and on the way in, we were congratulated.
We checked in and were directed to Labor and Delivery. I was still shaking. When we got to the room, the nurse came in and the dry erase board had “Happy birthday” written on it for me—a nice touch, as I would begin to spend the next 18 hours in labor. The nurse tried to insert my IV, but her first attempt ended in pain and my blood spurting out across my gown and the bed. Her second attempt in my other arm was successful. If it had not been, I would have left. Once that was finished, she left the room for a couple of minutes.
We had the nursery completed, the name chosen, and seemingly everything prepared. Despite this, I was still feeling anxious and nervous. So off to the bathroom I went.
By 3 a.m., my induction had begun. I had Cervidil inserted inside of me, and there it would remain for the next 12 hours. This was meant to induce labor. If I didn’t progress, I would be given Pitocin through my trusty IV. The Cervidil was inserted around 3:15 a.m. The nurse gave me Ambien, and I decided it would be smart to try and get at least a sliver of sleep. So I did.
When I woke at 7 a.m., there was a new nurse and I was feeling good. Nervous, but good. Although, I couldn’t eat, so that was disappointing. I was feeling good, because after all, it was my birthday. 25. A quarter of a century. Plus, I was likely about to share a birthday with my first baby.
Stan went down to Starbuck’s for a coffee and a snack.
“I want a fucking muffin at least,” I begged. But no, ice chips were the only snack I’d be delighted with that day.
Things were fine for the first 10 hours of labor. We were just hanging out, I was texting friends, people were wishing me happy birthday. It wasn’t anything crazy. If things were slightly painful, I got some Tylenol. I thought, “Wow, this will be a breeze.” HAHAHAHA
After 11 hours, my thoughts diverged. It was beginning to be intense. And remember… The Cervidil had to be inserted for 12 hours before anything could happen.
I got up to pee, and boom. My water broke. A lovely gush covered my feet. Contractions began to intensify, and I knew it wasn’t going to be “a breeze.” Shit began to hurt.
Before labor, I knew I was going to get any sort of pain medicine to help a girl out. Why on earth would I willingly go through child birth without some sort of solace? It was 2021 at that point, and I was going to utilize modern medicine to my fullest. There is no trophy at the end for those who don’t have an epidural. With that being said, I wanted any sort of anything that would help the pain. I was here to have the least amount of pain as possible, so I was able to somewhat enjoy the experience.
I was administered one dose of Fentanyl…. I was weary about this, because can’t one granule of such actually kill someone? Sure, let’s administer it to a laboring mother. I received the drug which barely helped, but it relieved 1/9th of the pain. The pain began rapidly increasing. Stan rubbed my legs for approximately 2 hours, because contractions were intense and my legs would have been better off chopped off. Stan didn’t know what to do, so he called the nurse. “Get her an epidural.”
The least they could do was give me nitrous oxide, so they did. Let me tell you…. This did absolutely nothing. I had the mask on my face for maybe 5 minutes, and I’m pretty sure this just made it worse to breathe.
After an hour or so of absolute pain, it was time to remove the stupid piece of plastic from me. The nurse checked me, and I was dilated to 7 centimeters.
“WOW! I’m actually surprised!” the nurse said. “You were likely going to go into labor soon anyway if we hadn’t called you for your induction.”
Since the Cervidil was removed, I was feeling jazzed because I could actually get an epidural. I don’t know why, but they wouldn’t allow me to get a birthing ball or anything prior to the removal of the Cervidil. By that point, I didn’t want anything but the damn epidural.
But I couldn’t. the anesthesiologist was busy. Swamped. They were tending to an emergency C-Section and probably more important things.
I began to get nervous I wouldn’t be able to get an epidural. In between trying not to throw up, sweating, and screaming, I started to cry. I needed relief, or I needed to be euthanized.
I was going on hour 14 with minimal pain medicine.
After 15 hours, the beautiful woman in her beautiful scrubs and beautiful mask walked in like an angel. She whipped out her gaudy needle, lodged it into my back, and almost instantly, I felt bliss. My entire lower half became numb and useless.
GiGi’s heart rate and my blood pressure kept dropping, so they kept flipping me on my side and pumping me with fluids. I had a peanut-shaped gigantic ball between my legs. I couldn’t feel a thing. It was scary, though, because her heart rate kept dropping every 15-30 minutes or so, and I wasn’t really sure what was going on.
I was stuck at 9 cm for about 2 hours. I was also shaking, freezing, and nervous. I kept wondering what would happen if the epidural didn’t wear off after labor and my legs were numb forever—a dumb thought to keep having during labor, but it did pop into my mind quite a bit. I was fully prepared to have flimsy legs the rest of my life.
After 18 hours of labor, it was finally time. I began to push around 8:40-8:50 p.m. I couldn’t feel anything but tried as hard as I could. Her heart rate was dropping with each contraction, so the doctor retrieved a ‘vacuum’ and 6 NICU nurses rushed into the room. I was overwhelmed.
The doctor tried the vacuum contraption once… POP. Nothing. She tried it again… BIG POP. Stan and I looked at each other. We absolutely assumed the baby had been decapitated.
The doctor assured us this was normal.
“Okay, this isn’t working. I am going to have to perform an episiotomy so she can come out easier.”
I was chill with it. I couldn’t feel anything, and I sure as hell wasn’t looking or paying attention to that region.
Snip, snip, went the doctor.
After this, I pushed maybe once or twice, and she was born.
At 9:35 p.m. on August 2, Georgiana Rose was introduced to the world.
Stan was too nervous to cut the cord, so a nurse did. They took GiGi over to the baby station to check her out. She was over there shortly, and they placed her on my chest. She was tiny and slimy and warm and perfect.
I had become a mom.