You guys, I can’t believe I’m a mom! It is truly unbelievable and the love I have for baby Cassian is indescribable!! Giving birth was also such a beautiful experience for me and I wanted to get this post out ASAP before I forgot it all. If you have been following me for a while then you know how terrified I was about childbirth. It was literally one of my biggest fears in life. I was so terrified I thought I would never have kids (you can read about that in this blog post) but I’m beyond thrilled to share my positive birth experience with you guys because I swear everything online is all horror stories which scared the shit out of me going into all of this so hopefully this helps for all you mamas who might be a bit scared of childbirth like I was.
So here’s how it all went down.
My due date was May 20th and up until the week of my due date, I just knew Cassian was going to be a late baby. Every Dr visit I had, we had no signs of baby dropping or my cervix softening so I had a feeling he would be very late or that I’d have to be induced. To be honest the week of my due date I was freaking out. I heard the longer the baby cooks, the bigger and bigger they get and I really was terrified of pushing out a 10 lb baby so my anxiety levels were HIGH. My due date came and went and Friday morning on May 22nd I had a Dr’s appt at 11 AM to see if I had any progress. To no surprise I had not progressed, baby still hadn’t dropped, no sign of contractions, and cervix was still not ripe. I was discouraged and to be honest a bit sad. So John and I decided to go for a long walk to get my mind off of things.
After 3.5 miles of walking outdoors, I started getting mild cramps which are normal for being 40 weeks pregnant so we went back to the car around 3 PM and started to drive home. I was trying to take off my belly band and while attempting to, I felt a small gush of warm water. I thought “oh great I think I peed myself” but I wasn’t sure since that’s never happened to me before. I told John and he said to wait for any contractions before we jump to conclusions. Lo and behold I started to feel very light period cramps and used my app to time the cramps. They were pretty sporadic and very very mild so I figured it was false labor. Once home, I texted a few of my gf’s who have babies what happened and they all told me to call my Dr immediately. You have to understand I was convinced that baby wouldn’t come for another week so I just didn’t want to call my Dr, go to the hospital, and be turned down. But around 5 PM I called my Dr just in case and she told me to head to the hospital. (Side story, my actual Dr was randomly out of town so I got the on-call Dr which FREAKED me out cus UM HELLO I wanted my Dr not the on-call one)
As soon as the Dr told us to pack up and head to the hospital John got all excited and started to clean the house, clean the nursery, vacuum, and organize shit. It probably took us an hour to finally get out of the house and head to our hospital which is only 7 minutes away. I was still convinced that it was false labor so I was super chill while John was happy but freaking TF out. Due to Covid-19 John had to wait in the car while I got checked. Walking to the labor and delivery wing was surreal. I thought I was gonna pass out. I was terrified to my core and kept thinking to myself “its just false labor, don’t worry Ellen.” Once I got the Labor and Delivery at 6 PM, the resident Dr checked everything out. He told me my water did break and since I don’t have any contractions nor was I dilated yet, they need to put me on Pitocin as soon as possible to minimize any infection. I was shocked. At 7:30 PM I called John to come up since I was admitted at that point and I got checked into my labor and delivery room.
(lol at john sleeping and my Pitocin machine blocking the view)
Let me start by saying how gorgeous our L&D room was and I know how ridiculous that sounds. A hospital room that felt like a four-star hotel room lol!??! It was a huge room with large windows. Tons of natural light and a huge view of the Hollywood hills. No idea how and why we got such a nice room but I was just so thankful. As soon as I got settled in, they put the IV in which honestly felt like nothing. A lot of people say the IV hurts more than the epidural. The IV was really nothing I think drawing blood hurts more. Anyways, after the IV my nurse started Pitocin at 8:30 PM. I heard horror stories about Pitocin but my nurse assured me that everything would be fine and that I wouldn’t feel sudden and painful contractions out of nowhere. She started my Pitocin at a dosage of two and she would increase it by two every hour. Every hour my contractions were getting stronger as the doses were getting bigger.
By 3 AM I still wasn’t feeling any super painful contractions. I mean couldn’t talk through my contractions as I would really need to concentrate on breathing but I wouldn’t describe those contractions as painful. John also learned a technique to put pressure on my hips during a contraction and that helped A LOT. Luckily my contractions were only 40 seconds long and 5 minutes apart. While my contractions were manageable, I was so tired. We had gone for a long walk in the blazing sun earlier and I just wanted to sleep. At 3:30 AM I was 4 cm dilated and my nurse recommend I get the epidural so that I could sleep and gear up for the next day.
The epidural was the one thing I was MOST scared about. I knew 100% sure I was gonna get it but I figured the pain of the contractions would mask the pain of the epidural. That was my plan going in. But since I was exhausted and sleepy I figured I had no choice but to get the epidural now before my contractions got painful. It took about 10 minutes for the anesthesiologist to come and of course, I started to cry a little cus I was scared. I requested the chief anesthesiologist to do my epidural which made me feel a little more at ease. My nurse and John both held my hands and comforted me as the procedure started. The anesthesiologist was also super comforting and kind. She guided me throughout the whole procedure which I really appreciated. The procedure was done in less than 15 minutes and I didn’t feel ANYTHING. Not even pressure. It felt like she was just rubbing my back the entire time. I didn’t even feel the numbing shot. I started crying/laughing because I was so shocked at how painless everything was. Now I’m not saying this is the case for everyone ‘cus it’s not but I felt so lucky.
(John was soo happy eating all the free hospital food)
From that point on, I slept all night and into the day. I was relaxed AF. I loved this part of my labor. John by my side making jokes, while I watched all my favorite shows and movies. I hadn’t eaten for over 30 hours at this point. Not sure if it was the Pitocin or epidural but I didn’t have much of an appetite but I did force myself to drink tons of juice and popsicles provided by the hospital (the only things you can really eat during labor) so I could have the energy to push. At 4 PM I started to feel my contractions again. I was 9 cm dilated and my epidural just wasn’t strong enough which is totally normal. At Cedars (the hospital I gave birth at) they do low doses of epidural. They want to make sure you can still move your legs and wiggle your toes. The anesthesiologist told me this beforehand plus I learned all about it during the epidural class I took earlier this year at my hospital so I knew I would need a booster. After 10 mins of contractions which were still not too painful, I just had to breathe and meditate through them, the booster set in, and I was back on cloud nine.
By 4:30 PM it was time to push. Since I just got a booster, the Dr turned off my epidural so that I could push more effectively. This part gets a bit blurry because it happened SO FAST. I pushed three times with the nurse and she immediately called the Dr to come since I was a great pusher (her words not mine lol). At one point the Dr asked me if I wanted to pull him out while I was pushing like Kourtney Kardashian…. and I was like HELL NO just get him out ASAP! I pushed for about 20 minutes total and baby Cassian came out. I felt nothing but some pressure during this phase. Once he came out they put him on my chest. John was crying, I was overwhelmed with so many emotions, but we were both in heaven staring at our little boy. He let out a small cry and then looked right into my eyes. I’ll never forget that moment.
Cassian John Hong was born at 5pm exactly weighing 6 lbs 15 oz.
I know this was a long with but I hope my birth story brings some positivity esp. if you’re scared of childbirth like I was. I never thought giving birth was something I would be able to do physically and mentally but if I can do it, so can you! Our bodies were meant to give birth. Women are incredibly strong and you’ll come out of birth even stronger than you could ever imagine. I’ll do another post on postpartum/after delivery since that’s a whole another story itself but so far I’ve been recovering pretty well and we’ve been adjusting to “normal” life. Baby Cassian is also growing so fast. Every day is like a new adventure with him. I can just stare at him all day.
A huge thank you to my family and my best friends who texted me every week, constantly encouraging me, praying for me, supporting me, and giving me the inner strength I never knew I had. And the biggest thank you to my husband or what we call him now is Doula John. John was everything I needed and more during my entire pregnancy all the way to postpartum. I’m the luckiest to have the best partner in the world. I’m not even kidding. I mean who packs a fan in their hospital bag?! Only John would lol! Watch my stories if you have no idea what I’m talking about… (thank you for fanning me babe lol)
And thank you guys for all the sweet messages, comments, advice, and encouragement. I’m so glad I was able to share my experience with you guys. See you on the ‘gram!