Miles Doulgas Del Zotto – April 26th, 2020, 6lbs 12oz, 21 inches
The day leading up to labor
The Saturday I went into labor I had gone for a run with David. He ran ahead while I jogged, the walked, then jogged again while I kept thinking that my belly felt different. I wondered “did he drop” because there was so much pressure on my tailbone that I had a limp because of how uncomfortable it was. That afternoon I had on and off cramps non-stop. While I was getting ready for bed I had a weird feeling in my gut that I could go into labor soon not really thinking it would be that night. As we were getting into bed David said “oh I cannot wait to sleep in tomorrow, I’m going to have such a good sleep”.
12:15AM Labor Started
At 12:15am I woke up to go to the bathroom and my water broke unexpectedly. It was not quite as dramatic as in the movies but it did sound a bit like an elastic band snapping and the floor was slowly being covered in water. It wasn’t instantly a massive puddle like all the movies showed, but enough to know my water had broke and I wasn’t just losing control of my bladder. I had no contractions but my doctor advised that I go to the hospital to get checked out right away- so of course I jumped in the shower, blow dried my hair and put on makeup, duh! I didn’t realize the tears I would later cry would wash away all my mascara before any photos.
The scene arriving at the hospital during Covid
At 1:30AM we jumped in an Uber to Lenox Hill Hospital where labor and delivery was calm and quiet. We were the only ones at the entrance except the nurses who were behind large plexiglass. They didn’t ask a single question before saying “temperature check” while they stuck out thermometers through a small circular cutout of the plexiglass. We leaned in and both came back with 98 degree temperatures and were sent up to the 6th floor which was labor and delivery. Right when we got off the elevator was our second temperature check followed by a third one once they brought David to the waiting area and me to get into a gown. Then it was a fourth check followed by an actual Covid test (which tested negative). That gives you an idea of how thorough they are when is comes to Labor & Delivery- they aren’t taking any chances.
13 hours of labor
After we went through all the Covid screening and a million temperature checks, we were admitted to our delivery room and I was quickly being poked and prodded. My contractions gradually began and were very tolerable so they decided to induce me with Oxytocin via IV and a balloon induction (I’ll save you the gory details and let you Google that one) which is very invasive and uncomfortable. After a few hours of Oxytocin, the contractions picked up quickly and we decided to move forward with the epidural (thank god for that, and praise to anyone who goes all the way without one). They monitored Miles’ heart rate very closely and shifted me to various positions because his heart rate was constantly going up and down. (Let’s note that David was passed out sleeping all the way until I hit 10cm lol). With a few scary lows they thought maybe his cord was wrapped around his neck and I had lost so much amniotic fluid that it was getting tighter cso they used some kind of tube (I tried not to look at much so I wouldn’t be nauseated) to refill my uterus with fluids, which worked. The heart rate was stable and within an hour or so I was 10cm dilated after 13 hours of labor. They got everything ready and were coaching me on breathing and pushing as my doctor was in position ready to catch the baby. I had David turn our portable music speaker on so that I could focus. But seconds later I saw the doctors and nurses freeze and all looking at the monitor. My stomach sank because their eyes all had worry in them and my doctor wanted the music turned off so she could hear better. My gut knew something wasn’t right. Miles heart rate dropped to 40bpm and in a split second they had ripped all cords from machines, threw them on me in the bed and I was being whisked across the hall to the OR. You could hear the urgent calls across the PA system calling for everyone to get to the OR. I heard two frantic calls back-to-back for the anethesiolist because he wasn’t getting there quick enough. Meanwhile, I was saying “let me push, I’ll push him out” lol, no one was listening. They wouldn’t let David come into the OR because of it being an emergency so he was left in the labor room with nothing but a chair once we were all gone. In the OR I was absolutely terrified. The amount of doctors and nurses that swarm the room so quickly is astonishing. No one is talking to you and you just had your ears to listen and hear what is happening, making everything sound terrifying. The first few words I heard were a frantic “no heartbeat, I can’t find the heartbeat”, “get me the anesthesiologist now” followed by someone looking for a tool to scrub that orange disinfectant where they would make the incision and then someone saying “just dump it, dump it” and suddenly I felt fluid pour all over my body making it all the way up to my neck and hair. Before they could get the shield up and the anesthesiologists could get there they were already making the incision to get little Miles out. Luckily my belly was high enough that I couldn’t see anything and thank goodness for that epidural. Because I was already 10cm dilated, I could feel the pressure of someone resisting who had to make sure he didn’t come out that way while they did the c-section (apologies for the visuals). Within seconds after that the anesthesiologists arrived and worked fast. Two people held up a shield so I couldn’t see the remainder of the surgery and all of a sudden my body felt like it was being pulled in every which direction. There was so much pulling on my body and then pushing on my ribs that I was gasping for air. I remember looking up at the anesthesiologist and asking if I was still alive lol. Take note that this all happened in 3 minutes. It took him a little bit but I finally heard his faint little cry. I couldn’t see him yet but I heard them call out that he is good and healthy. They went to get David from the delivery room where he thought he was coming into the OR for the delivery because it happened so fast he was completely surprised when they handed him Miles to bring over to me to meet for the first time. Thank you to the wonderful nurse who took it upon herself to take this photo without question. It brings back so many emotions every time I look at it. The doctors and nurses are unbelievable in what they do in no time at all. As scary as it was I knew I was in such good hands.
Let’s talk about the shakes after a C-section. Wow, I was not prepared for the body convulsions that come post-op. My sisters warned me since they have each had two c-sections but I underestimated what they meant. My body was in complete shock and compulsively shaking which lasted a few hours after while in recovery. I thought my teeth were going break because they were chattering together so hard. I was shaking so uncontrollably that when they set Miles on my chest in recovery I thought I was going to shake him right off.
Once I got feeling back in my legs we were able to get our recovery room. We opted for pay the upgrade for a private suite and anyone who is questions if its worth it…it is 100% worth it, especially during a time with Covid where we were confined to our little room. We weren’t allowed to so much as open our door to walk in the hallway. It made those 4 days a little less uncomfortable and the food was phenomenal with loads of healthy recovery options. The doctors and nurses went above and beyond to make us comfortable. I will never forget how incredible they were.
Once we packed up all our things one of the nurses came in and said to give her a call once we were ready to leave as she would guide us out of the hospital. Since we were leaving midday unlike when we arrived in the middle of the night, it would be much busier and she wanted to take us a different route. As soon as she left our room it sunk in that we would be home…alone…with a 4-day old baby and I was terrified. My hormones probably had a lot to do with it but I started crying and crying while David was calm as a cucumber telling me we would but totally fine. I would look at Miles and start crying saying “I just love him so much I don’t want anything to happen to him” and the waterworks would come on. Looking back now it makes me laugh because we have gotten much more confident as parents. Although night one at home was absolutely terrifying, we survived and I wouldn’t change a thing. Miles has been the best thing to happen to us and I am thankful to celebrate Mother’s Day with so many amazing moms out there:).
Recovery update today
I have to say, I had a relatively smooth recovery…. up until this past Friday. For having a C-section, I was up and moving fairly quick in the hospital and the nurses noted that I was the quickest they’d ever seen someone up and moving. I felt great, aside from the amount of swelling I had. This Friday I was about to take Miles for a little walk and I decided to go to the bathroom quickly before heading out the door. Again, to save you from the gory details, lets just say something major had begun to fall out of me while I was in the bathroom. In a complete panic I called David, then my doctor, then my doula and then my doctor again. I thought I was going to faint thinking it was either the placenta or a misplaced organ that was falling out of me (I know how weird that sounds but that was where my head was going). My doctor told me I needed to go to the ER immediately which completely terrified me to be surrounded by all of the Covid patients. She called me back and told me she would go to the office where I do my regular checkups and she would wait there for me so I could avoid the ER. Once there I had to get what turned out to be a 14-inch long membrane that surrounds the womb removed. It was invasive and excruciating. I tell you this because I had no idea this was even possible, nor was it preventable on my behalf. It may have been more terrifying than labor itself lol. Now that we can laugh at the situation David says it looked like a scene out of Stranger Things. Not Cute. Thankful again, for the amazing doctors that quickly took me in and removed it all. Now we are just monitoring to make sure nothing more happens which is unlikely at this point.
My hospital bag list I will save for another post so I don’t put you to sleep.
Jeannette Linton says
Oh my goodness what a crazy experience. It made me emotional reading it. It’s so crazy how you instantly have all this love for a little babe you’ve barely gotten to know. Your a trooper and will be the most amazing parents to Miles. Happy first mother’s day xoxoxoxox
Your birth story is quite sensational, Gillian. I am so pleased to hear everything is okay now, but so sorry you had to experience such scary times. Wishing you, David and Miles all the very best !
Stephanie Di Leo says
Wow Gill, that’s quite a birth story! I’m so happy that you and Miles are safe and healthy. He is so cute and you look amazing already:) Oh and I’m also happy that David was able to nap before he was born haha.
Aaww this was so well written. I cried reading and laughing and smiling at the amazing beauty. Through a pandemic a new life was born. Miles is strong and beautiful just like his parents. God Bless!