It was about one year ago I took my pregnancy test and tearfully told my husband I was pregnant. I’ve shared my birth story with others and have had some crazy reactions telling me I shouldn’t share my story because it wasn’t fair to mothers who went through “real labor”. The reality is, is that not every birth is 30+ hours – yes, some are – but not all. Our little cricket entered the world with determination and my entire experience was about 3 – 3.5 hours long as a first time mother.
The other night some friends were chatting about babies and one asked if it really hurt like they say it does. Yeah. It does. Although I sit here watching my baby sleep and know I would go through that every day for her if I had to. I wonder how many other mothers feel the same?
At 40 weeks and 6 days, my first contraction was just before 2am. I had Braxton hicks for months prior so decided to time my contractions and get ready for the long haul. My next two were 3 mins apart.
Nope. Not waiting.
I woke up my husband and grabbed our hospital bag. I made it down into the kitchen to find him loading the dishwasher.
We bickered about him loading the dishes…. he wanted our house clean for the guests who would arrive to meet our child… I didn’t want to give birth in the driveway. Another contraction. Only 1 min apart.
We jumped into the vehicle and drove to our designated hospital. As rural citizens we were to drive to a rural hospital, in the exact opposite direction from the city. It was only 5 mins longer of a drive so we didn’t think it was a big deal. We arrived around 3am, and when asked what was going on I broke into tears saying I
was in pain. Are you in labor? I think so. Okay dear, this way… we walked to an assessment room. During the drive my contractions had slowed to every 5 mins. I was petrified that they would send me home to wait this out. I could hardly walk and needed assistance to remain standing during contractions. I was checked out. 6 cm dilated. I don’t remember how effaced i was, but it wasn’t any different than I had been for the last two weeks.
The nurses admitted me and suggested I get into the shower. I refused, indicating that this was “happening too fast”. The nurse looked at me sympathetically, told me It was going to be a while so try to rest and get comfortable.
“What’s your pain management plan?”
“Kill Bill. Knock me out and I want to wake up to a toddler”.
The nurse looked at me like I was crazy.
“Drugs. Give me all the drugs you can. Dear God this is supposed to get worse!?”
They called the doctor and anesthesiologist – both were on call and had to drive in from the city out to us. We were moved into a delivery room – it was free and I had gotten pretty vocal about these contractions. I was told to go pee; apparently that helps speed things up – although I’m pretty sure they just wanted to minimize what they were in the line of fire for. I got back into the bed and turned to a nurse.
“I have to push. I’m ready to push now.”
“No dear, it’s too soon.”
“I have to.”
“Well, if you feel the need.”
I pushed. I thought I gave it my all but in hindsight it was rather wimpy. A second nurse walked in and talked about how I shouldn’t be exhausting myself too early, I had only just been admitted and was 6cm dilated after all.
The anesthesiologist came in at this time – looked at me and refused to give me an epidural, determining that if I was wanting to push, I was too advanced in labor for it to kick in. He walked over and I pushed again
It was a movie scene, in my opinion a horror although my husband later swore it was a comedy; and when I say this was a movie scene I’m not joking. My water explodes -it comes out so fast that it hits the wall on the other end of the room and has everyone jumping out of the way. Someone cracked a joke about wearing rubber shoes that day. The nurses get nervous – and tell me they are going to check me again… I was progressing so fast. 100% dilated. Fully effaced. Baby was at station zero and starting to move.
I pushed again, this time being coached by one of the nurses
. Tuck your chin in, grab onto the bed. Give it everything you’ve got. Another push. The doctor walks in and proceeded to ask the nurses why the bed wasn’t set up the way she likes it and asking what other positions I had tried. I remember laughing seeing the nurses roll their eyes and quickly tell her there was no time. I push again. The baby crowns. I push again. Out comes the head. I push again –
Stopping in the middle of a contraction was HORRIBLE and unnatural and painful. I fought it but wasn’t sure how to control it – it’s like being told to just stop your heart for a moment. This was primal. I wasn’t in control of my body.
The baby’s shoulders were stuck. A quick push on my belly and she moved properly. One last push. Out comes my baby.
I don’t remember much of those first few moments. My world went silent, I closed my eyes for a moment and I asked my husband if the baby was breathing, I couldn’t hear a cry.
He looked at me with tears in his eyes – Yes! Baby was crying. I’m still unsure how I couldn’t hear it, but I couldn’t.
Jason, did you tell your wife what your baby is?
It’s a girl
Are you sure? I thought it was going to be a boy.
Taylor, we have a baby girl.
She was placed into my arms and I just stared at this puffy thing covered in slime. I was petrified. How could I be given a newborn? I hadn’t held a small baby let alone something ‘fresh’ to this world.
I laid there for a moment but it felt like forever. I couldn’t take my eyes off of her. I still can’t take my eyes off of her.