The anesthesiologist walked into the room and introduced himself to us, “Hi, I’m Dr. Gigi”. *WOAH. A legit sign from the universe.* My dad’s mom is my Gigi. She passed away a couple years ago, and I knew this was a sign that she was with me. I was so anxious about getting the epidural but right after he introduced himself, I could feel my fear start to melt away.
I knew I had to trust my decision and trust that everything was going to be okay. As he was getting the epidural ready, I was in the most pain I have ever experienced in my whole life. I was having shooting pain up my spine and I was full blown crying at this point. I wish they allowed Zak to hold my hand but when a mom receives an epidural the partner has to step outside the room. They had Zak go into our rooms bathroom because the restrictions with COVID were very strict. We were never allowed to leave both of the rooms we stayed in. Leading up to the epidural felt like it took forever. I’m not sure if it actually did or if it felt like forever because of my pain level!! Luckily, I had an amazing nurse who was reminding me to breath and was talking to me the whole time. I’ll never forget that she started to ask me questions about Ryder to help distract me and redirect my focus. She asked me what we were naming him and what I was most excited about. Thinking of him being in my arms gave me the strength to get through that moment. The hardest part of receiving the epidural was sitting still. Since my contractions were in my back it was hard to lean forward and sit still for a few minutes as he was injecting me with the medicine. Dr. Gigi was very sweet and was encouraging me that it would be over soon. After he gave it to me I could feel a tingling sensation down the lower half of my body.
“The power and intensity of your contractions cannot be stronger than you, because it is you.”
After the Epidural
Once I had the epidural it wasn’t long until it started to kick in and my my pain level came down to where the pain was almost nonexistent. I remember the nurse watching my contractions on the monitor and asking me, “Do you feel that? What about that?” and I could barely feel the contractions. Being numb was one of the things I was apprehensive about but I could still feel my lower legs and toes which I liked. It was taking away the pain, but I wasn’t completely numb. I was able to get more comfortable and relax. I put my air pods in and listened to music for a couple hours. I meditated and focused on deep breathing and then I drifted in and out of sleep and got a nap in. Zak napped too. I was feeling very centered and overall relaxed but I definitely had butterflies in my stomach!! The nurses would come in every so often to check me and see how I was progressing. Every time they checked I was getting further along which was a good sign!
Getting Ready to Push
Around 7:30ish I started to feel an intense pressure and I was convinced it was time to push. I pressed the nurses button to get checked. The nurse came in and said it was go time! She called the doctor and the other nurses right away and told me whatever I do – don’t push until they say so!! It took a little bit for the nurses and our doctor to get to our room and put their gear on. With COVID they had to wear more PPE than usual. We saw first hand that there was true shortage of masks. They were scrambling around to get what they needed. There were only large N95’s left so they had to wear those. It was finally time to push and meet our boy!!
“Birth is not only about making babies. Birth is about making mothers — strong, competent, capable mothers who trust themselves and know their inner strength.”
—Barbara Katz Rothman
Time to Push
It was around 7:55pm when I started pushing. I was still partial numb from the epidural but overall I could my body which I was happy about because I wanted to be able to know how hard I was pushing. (When you get an epidural you are able to press a button to get more medicine when you want. I personally never pressed the button because I didn’t want to be too numb. My first dose was at 3:30pm so by 8pm it had worn off a lot.) One of the hardest parts of pushing was wearing my mask because of the COVID restrictions. It took about 20 minutes of pushing and the doctor said to give her 1 really strong push. I pushed super hard and she said she could see his blonde hair! I was so excited he had blonde hair. I pushed 3 more times.
Ryder Ryan Fricke was born at 8:14pm on June 10th, 2020! He weighed 6 lbs 13 oz and was 20 inches.
They placed him directly on my chest and I remember thinking how perfect he was and as if I already knew him. When we were trying to conceive I had dreamt about a blonde haired boy and now he was finally in my arms. We did a delayed umbilical cord cutting. Zak was able to cut the cord after a few minutes. I wanted to try to nurse him right away and was able to get him to latch on my right side! We stayed in the laboring room for an hour and then we were able to move to the maternity unit to get comfortable.
“Of all the things my hands have held, the best by far is you.”
I may have not of birthed Brody, but Brody and Ryder are the best two things I have ever held. They fill my heart up in ways a mother can’t explain and I love them unconditional. Little boys really do make your heart burst at the seams. I am so incredibly grateful for my 2 healthy boys!