Stella Annette Bates

I woke up on September 4, 2018, just like any other day for the past nine months. I was sore, hot, miserable, and most importantly ready to get this baby OUT. Living in the south and being heavily pregnant do not mix well. But let’s backtrack a little bit. This was my first time experiencing pregnancy, and I honestly had no idea what to expect going into it…

I grew up in Georgia for most of my life and was new to Alabama. I was extremely nervous. I had moved to a new state and recently gotten married on October 31, 2017, and I didn’t know anyone. If you would have told me about three months after getting married I would be pregnant I would have laughed right in your face. I was 28 years old! I managed to use birth control correctly for most of my life, but I guess God just had other plans for me.

Although everyone in my family was very supportive, the closest family member lived hours away. I was not expecting a baby anytime soon and felt quite alone in this journey. So choosing a doctor was a big deal to me. I wanted someone who had a great bedside manner and enough experience to properly educate a prego newbie like myself. At the time I was working at a state park in the accounting office.

It was an amazing view to see every day at work!

One of my coworkers who had six kids of her own (side note: I don’t know how she does it. I swear she is supermom or something) recommended a doctor she used. I thought to myself  “If I were going to go to any doctor she would be the best person to ask.”

When someone recommends a doctor, of course, you will want to do your own research. I always think it is a good idea to look up reviews on any new doctor. I was quite confident in my choice, which eased my nerves. I was trying to keep my big news under wraps to most people but my extreme morning sickness gave it away. Well, the cat was out of the bag… I was inundated with questions. Was I going to have a natural birth? Was I going to elect for a C-section? Was I going to have an epidural? and the most asked question… Who was my doctor?

Now people have very strong opinions when it comes to doctors and were not afraid to tell me every horror story about the one I chose. These things are probably not the best to tell an overly emotional pregnant woman. I understand people do out of caring/concern, but it turned my world upside down. I started to second guess my choices, became nervous at every appointment and started to fear “what if it goes wrong like -blank-  said?” After much back and forth with my husband (who is a much calmer person than me at this time) told me to do what I felt was best. This goes back to what I previously said DO YOUR OWN RESEARCH! Always follow your gut instinct and don’t let negative things get into your head. So I stuck with my doctor, he had never given me any reason to doubt him personally.

Midway through my pregnancy, I was diagnosed with Placenta Previa. My doctor was great at explaining all the risks involved and we discussed the option of C-section if it did not move. That is not the easiest thing to hear with your first child but you no matter how she makes her way into this world as long a she was healthy nothing else mattered.

Though many prayers as my pregnancy progressed my placenta shifted! I was elated to know I could have my baby vaginally. Everything had actually gone quite smoothly considering, but this brought up a lot of other questions however….would I have a natural birth or an epidural. I have always heard childbirth was unimaginably painful. I was only six years old when my sister was born, so I had never experienced birth as an adult, and at the time I was the first ones of my friends to be pregnant. After much talk with my doctor, I decided I was going to have an epidural and of course breastfeed my baby (this I will discuss on another post later). I also let my doctor know I wanted to naturally go into labor if at all possible and to not be induced if not necessary.

Now fast forward to September 4th…I had a routine doctors appointment like I have had every week for the past nine months, but this appointment would not be as routine as I imagined. I was about 37 weeks pregnant at the time and my blood pressure skyrocketed. I knew what that could mean.. Preeclampsia. My doctor was super worried and sent me over to the hospital for some tests.  My induction date had already been set for September 20th but his last words to me were “If this blood pressure doesn’t go down we are going to have to think about having this baby earlier baby girl”. I WAS TERRIFIED!! This meant the possibility of C-section was back on the table or being induced early. I realized just how unprepared I actually was for everything.

I had not really eaten that day because I had been feeling so poorly. So the nurse suggested I go home get a quick snack before going to the hospital. An everything bagel and orange juice were all I managed to scarf down. (Hindsight…I wish I had eaten something more substantial) It was about 4 pm when I finally got to the hospital. I called my husband and told him I didn’t want to be alone for the test. He was able to rush home from work to sit with me while I panicked internally. I was all strapped up for an NST. (An NST is a simple, painless procedure. They are monitoring your baby’s heartbeat. It usually takes 20 to 40 minutes to complete an NST.)

My husband and I sat around making jokes looking at funny videos while waiting for the 40 minutes. About 20 minutes in I started to feel my stomach tighten for a good while then relax. Were these real contractions? I had no idea. This went on again and again for about 15 minutes before the nurse came in with a very concerned look on her face. “Could you feel that?” she asked me. Of course, I was feeling something, but I was not sure what it was I was feeling exactly. The nurse decided to check me to see if I had dilated any from my appointment at 3 pm (I was a 2 then). Now, this was not comfortable… Up until that point, I was actually not in any real pain.

**From here on things get a little graphic**

As the nurse’s gloved hand comes up over the sheet all I could see was blood. The room started to spin and I became nauseated. I didn’t even know what that meant, but apparently, it’s quite normal to bleed at that stage. I had dilated 2 more centimeters since 3 pm. This is when I noticed just how regularly my stomach tightened and relaxed. It was anywhere between 3-5 minutes apart. The nurse turns to my husband and says “Alright let’s get you in a gown and head to labor and delivery”. I can tell you, I have never seen my husband’s eyes get that big to this day. I thought he was going to pass out, or possibly turn into Forest Gump and keep running FOREVER. Thankfully he did neither of those things and we made our way to a bed in L&D.

I hardly remember what I did for the hours I waited at the hospital, but I had my husband and family with me to make the time go by faster!

Now what I do remember… I WAS STARVING. You are not allowed to eat or drink in case you have to go into surgery. A detail I wish I knew before…

Hours pass and my nurse asks if I want to go ahead and get my epidural. I had dilated to about a 6 at this point. I decided why not things weren’t super painful but I was actually more nervous about the epidural than the baby I was going to have to push out.

I have to say the epidural was pretty amazing once it was all said and done. Unfortunately, my labor slowed dramatically after that. So much so that we have now passed into September 5th, but my water had finally broken. Something I was never told was that water doesn’t always just gush out like in the movies. It was a slow trickle that came out slowly with each contraction. Now again it’s a waiting game, hours have passed and I notice a little tingle in my leg. I thought that was quite odd since I had the epidural and couldn’t feel crap down there. Slowly I started to regain more feeling… then BOOM. It was as if I had never gotten an epidural. From about 7-9.5 cm I had no epidural at all. The nurses couldn’t understand why it was not working and assumed it somehow shifted.

I had never felt so much pain. They decided they were going to redo my epidural. I was so hesitant to be stuck in the back with a needle again, but I just wanted the pain to stop. It was an experience, to say the least. Two epidurals…

The doctor finally came in to check me one last time. I was pretty much completely dilated at this point and the craziest thing happened. Now I am wanting to share my raw birth experience. I think the nitty-gritty details aren’t talked about enough. Nothing is sacred anymore after going into labor. Everyone in that hospital has pretty much seen all your lady bits. So then it happened…. my water actually ruptured and sprayed all over the doctor and about a foot away. I was mortified, but I had no control over it. My poor mother-in-law was stopping in the check right as it happened. I saw the same look on her face as my husbands face he made earlier that day.

After that, though it was GO TIME! I swear lights came down from the ceiling about 20 people showed up out of nowhere and drapes were placed down. All I heard was PUSH. My doctor wanted the people I chose to be in the room to be very involved in my labor. I look up to see my mother, sister, and husband helping me hold my legs up while I pushed.  I told that doctor I was not playing around I wanted her out! He told me to put my hand down and feel her head as she was crowing. My sister said it looked like a bleached raisin with peach fuzz. I didn’t know how to feel…It all seemed surreal. Two more pushes and the doctor said: “Okay pull her out”. Wait? What? Was he talking to me… yes yes he was. I reached down and pulled her out as gently as I could while pushing. THERE SHE WAS.

She was finally here and I actually pulled her out of my body. I placed her on my chest as my doctor sang Happy Birthday to her. It was one of the most special moments of my life. I was in a hospital that was very big into the skin to skin bonding and had about an hour of time with her after the delivery. My husband cried as we looked at our precious baby for the first time.

Stella Annette was finally here!

1 thought on “Stella Annette Bates”

  1. As father of the mother here, to be aka pop pop, I don’t believe that it is possible to more proud of and for my baby girl!!!

    As a comment for this blog; I had a conversation with a Dr. who told me that many first time mothers just don’t know if they are doing a good job or not, thus it’s easier for them to feel inadequate at times. I can see where this “ unsuredness “ could be as frightening as swimming in the dark.
    So first I would like to reassure both my baby girl and the world that she is doing great!!!!!
    Then secondly,if you are a first time mother and that is one reason why you are reading this blog now, I feel that if your concern about the choices you must make as a mother can bring about feelings that can be as strong as fright,then you are probably doing a fine job.
    Try to not worry over all the things you might could do wrong and look for every opportunity to do something good and enjoy every moment you can. ( it goes by so fast)

    Didn’t intend on writing a blog of my own, I’m just so proud……………

Leave a Reply