Kai’s birth story
Before Kai was born, I was 110% sure that I would NOT share his birth story on the blog. It felt incredibly personal, and I figured that not all of you lovely readers would actually be interested in all of the, um, intimate details.
But then Kai was born, and we battled some health problems right off the bat. At first we weren’t too concerned, but at just over 2 weeks old, he was rushed into emergency surgery for a twisted intestines. The surgery went perfectly and Kai is recovering tremendously well – but it changed my perspective on the whole thing. Our little peanut seemed like even more of a miracle after surviving the ordeal. And I knew I had to share the story (even if only for my own documentation). So… here it is.
A few weeks before our original due date, I measured in at 3cm dilated. Much to our surprise, the doctor seemed confident that I’d deliver within the week. This came as a huge shock. My mom was 3 weeks late with me, and I never expected to deliver early. Sam and I frantically scrambled to prepare for our earlier-than-expected delivery. We packed our hospital bags (DON’T JUDGE US FOR NOT PACKING EARLIER!), prepped Lola’s “overnight” bag for dog boarding, and wrapped things up at work. Thankfully my job was flexible enough to let me start maternity leave a few days earlier than we had originally planned. Sam and I spent my first 2 days of maternity leave nesting and prepping for the big event. And then, the due date came and left. And much to our disappointment, there was still no baby. So we went back to the doctor, who measured me and found that I still hadn’t progressed from 3cm. At this point I was getting frustrated. Sitting and waiting around for baby was literally the worst. The doctor suggested I hike Diamond Head (a popular hike near Waikiki) to help get baby out. I huffed and puffed my way to the top, and all I walked away with was tight calves.
We spent the next few days on a very specific routine: wake up. go for a hike, stop by the beach for a swim, run errands, cook something super spicy for dinner, and then wait some more. The suspense (not to mention the heartburn from all that spicy food) was killing me. Finally on Monday, April 13 – after a spicy homemade dinner of chili rellenos – Sam and I were getting ready for bed when I felt my first contraction. It didn’t hurt at all, so I assumed it was the first of what was likely to be several days of pre-labor. I was excited, but in no rush to do anything about it. I didn’t want to be one of those moms-to-be that got sent home from the hospital for jumping the gun.
Sam downloaded a contraction counter (yes, there’s an app for that) and started timing my contractions. It was fun and a pretty surprising to find that the contractions were occurring faster and faster with every cycle. And just 45 minutes in, we reached the point in labor that our lamaze teacher had suggested calling the hospital. Although it felt pre-mature after so little time, Sam convinced me to call. And I almost had a panic attack when I did. The hospital confirmed that it was time for me to come in. But also dropped a huge bombshell on us: they were FULL. We were told to go to another hospital. Keep in mind that we had done the tour, taken the classes, pre-registered, figured out parking and knew the most direct route to our planned hospital. The alternative hospital? Not so much.
Sam packed the car as I mentally tried to process what was happening. By the time he came into the house to get me, my contractions were really starting to hurt – and I was starting to get scared. Sitting in a car sounded miserable, but what choice did I have? I got into the car, and Sam hit the road. Luckily it was about 11:30 pm at this point, so there was no traffic. But my contractions were hitting hard at 2 minutes apart, and I was a mess. I couldn’t think straight, couldn’t talk, couldn’t answer Sam’s questions about how to get to the hospital. Thankfully he figured it out without my help. The walk from the parking lot to registration was equally miserable. It was weird to be having such serious contractions in public. I could feel people staring at me as I leaned against walls and made unexpected noises of pain to ride out each wave. I think what scared me most was that this could be the first of many, many hours of pain ahead.
Somehow we finally made it to labor and delivery, only to be told to sit patiently in the waiting room. It turns out that this hospital was currently full, too. WTF, right? I mean, what was happening 9 months ago? Seriously. I continued having painful contractions in the middle of the waiting room. I guess someone at registration saw how serious our situation looked and bumped us ahead on the list. We ended up in a triage room to get checked in while we waited for a delivery room to open. The triage room was the size of a small closet, and I remember wondering if I was going to have our baby right there. I also asked for an epidural about 10 times while waiting in triage. I was told I had to wait until I was officially admitted to put in the request. An annoying answer when you’re trying to get admitted, FYI. A nurse finally came by and confirmed that I was 6cm dilated, 90% effaced, agreed to admit me and found us a delivery room. I was relieved to hear that I was so far along (and that I wasn’t a total pansy). At 1am, we were officially admitted and laboring in our very own room while waiting for the anesthesiologist.
This is a good time to explain what a huge wuss I am. I have a low pain tolerance and I always sorta knew I’d get an epidural. But I was terrified of it, too. Have you seen the size of an epidural needle? Well, it turns out that the pain of the contractions was so intense I didn’t care about the epidural needle. And when the anesthesiologist finally came in to administer the epidural, I couldn’t have been happier. I actually had a contraction during the epidural process, which was slightly terrifying because you’re not supposed to move while it’s being administered. Luckily the contraction was so intense that it almost negated the pain of the epidural. When the anesthesiologist finished, I told him that I loved him. The relief was immediate, and I felt so much more calm. Sam had been asked to leave the room during the epidural, and he later reminded me that I gave him a double thumbs up and a huge grin when he walked back in the door.
At this point, the nurse suggested Sam and I try to get some sleep. We slept lightly from about 2-4:30 am. I woke when my water break, and had an immediate urge to start pushing. I called the nurse in, and she confirmed I was 10 cm dilated. She told me to continue resting, and that we’d start pushing shortly. At about 6:30 am, we started pushing.
We pushed for a full 2 hours – and finally, only about 10 hours after that first contraction, Kai popped into the world. What a surreal experience it was to have a slimy gray infant thrown onto my chest. We could tell he was a big boy, but we couldn’t believe it when he was finally measured. Kai was born at 9 pounds, 12.5 ounces! I’ve never felt more proud of myself. Sam’s sister said it best when she texted him saying, “Congrats! You’d better buy Marisa something nice for birthing a TODDLER!” Um, yea.
But anyway, I was immediately so in love. Crazy how everyone says that happens, but it really does. Labor was no joke, but I got the most precious little dude out of it. It’s hard to believe we created him, but to me he’s perfect and I simply can’t get enough.