Throughout my entire pregnancy I had anxiety about labor. The horror stories. The hollywood dramas. I witnessed my sister’s 2 labors with my nieces. I was terrified of how everything would go. Needless to say, it’s done, and now my anxiety is gone. Disclaimer: This is probably the longest blog post I will ever write.
On Friday, June 12th, Paul and I decided we should squeeze in one more date night before we became parents. We headed to the movies to see Jurassic World (Totally worth seeing in case you were wondering). We caught an early showing since it was opening day, and we came home and made dinner. By about 10:30 I noticed that my contractions were becoming rhythmic, and they were stronger than my previous false alarm contractions. I started timing them, and decided I was going to head to bed “just in case” we were waking up at 3:30 to head to the hospital.
I fell asleep really quickly, and at about 2:45am I woke up having a contraction. They were painful to the point where I couldn’t sleep through them anymore. So I laid in bed, having contractions, dozing off between them, and wrestling with the idea of when I should wake Paul up. I finally gave up on sleep around 6:30am, and all I could think was by that afternoon I would be holding my baby! (Spoiler alert: I was wrong!). So I got up and took a shower, and started bouncing on a birthing ball. I was hesitant to let anyone in our families know I was in labor until I knew it was the real deal since I gave everyone a false alarm earlier that week on Monday. I think around 10:30am or so on Saturday, we finally told our parents and my sister. Low and behold, almost right after we told everyone, my contractions started getting further apart again. Paul and I went walking trying to keep things going, but we weren’te having much luck. They spread out to about 20 – 30 minutes apart for about an hour or so, and then they picked back up, which was a relief to me. I had serious anxiety about it being another false alarm. My sister was driving down from Tallahassee, and Paul’s mom was driving down from Virginia! I just kept thinking, maybe I’m wrong! Maybe this isn’t it, and now they’re both on their way!
Then again around 2:30pm, my contractions stalled… AGAIN! I was so incredibly frustrated. I was frustrated that I still didn’t know if I was in labor. I was frustrated that we had told everyone, and it was possibly another false alarm. I was frustrated because I was tired, and I thought that by this point I would be in the hospital and pretty close to holding my baby in my arms. I broke down, and Paul came to the rescue with reassuring words. He suggested we both go take a nap, and relax. He said I needed to stop stressing myself out, because I was probably the reason my contractions kept stalling. So we laid down, and shortly after we got a delivery. Paul opened the box, and goes, “This is a bunch of presents!”. I immediately jumped out of bed all giddy and excited. My family in Illinois, had all bought us presents and shipped them in one box! (Seriously, my family is the sweetest! They always know how to make things really special! I love you all 🙂 ) This seriously was perfect timing, because it completely changed my mood, and my contractions started up again.
Since Paul and I weren’t planning on being home for dinner that night (we were kind of thinking we would be at the hospital!), I hadn’t gone grocery shopping like I planned, and we had nothing for dinner. So we called my parents, and they brought over a pizza along with my sister. Apparently, my family was just what I needed. At that point I was close to another breakdown, and they walked in the door and immediately put smiles on my face. We laughed and joked, and then my mom, sister, and I went for a walk. So we walked, and we walked, and we finally headed back to the house. We sat down for a few minutes with my dad, and then my sister and I went back outside for another walk. So while we were walking, we caught up with Paul (who had just come back from a run), and I finally told my sister that I honestly couldn’t tell if I was peeing on myself or not. My pants were wet, like I peed, but I didn’t feel like I was peeing. (pregnancy is a really beautiful thing huh?) Melissa looked at me and said, “Lo, I don’t think you’re peeing yourself, I think your water might be broken”. That thought had never crossed my mind. I immediately felt better that I wasn’t just peeing on myself this whole time!
During all of our walks, my contractions had finally picked up, and were getting pretty strong to the point where I would stop walking during them. When we got back to the house my parents and sister left, and my sister was going to come back and stay at our house that night. I decided to take a shower, and while I was showering, my contractions were about 1 1/2 – 2 1/2 minutes apart and they were really painful. I started getting nauseous and shaking. My sister suggested, I might be further along then we thought so it might be a good time to head to the hospital.
Paul and I got to the hospital around 10:30pm, and headed to triage. They measured me and I was 3 cm! Mind you I was 1 cm at my appointment on Wednesday. That means in 24 hours of contractions, I’d only dilated 2 cm. I was feeling so defeated. If labor was that slow, I knew I wasn’t going to make it unmedicated like I wanted. Not to mention, hospitals won’t admit you until you’re 4cm. Fortunately, they tested for amniotic fluid, and they determined that my water did in fact break, and at that point they had to admit me. So Paul, my mom, my sister, and I headed over to the labor and delivery room.
Honestly the rest is kind of a blur of time. Fortunately once I was in active labor, things progressed quickly. I labored in all sorts of different positions. A birthing ball (which I hated), in the tub (which I hated), and for the most part I labored best just squeezing onto Paul or my mom or my sister, and breathing, and rocking my hips. The next time I was measured I was only 6 cm. Shortly after, I felt like I had to go to the bathroom. I thought for sure I had to poop, and did lots of laboring on the toilet which cracks me up looking back. All I could think of was the show “I didn’t know I was pregnant” when all the babies are born in the toilet! My sister kept telling me I didn’t have to go to the bathroom, and that was just the pressure of Aubrey moving down. In my head I was only 6 cm, so that couldn’t be right. I couldn’t have that much pressure yet.
All the sudden the room was being put together for delivery. The nurses were coming in and out, and setting up. Finally, I laid down to be checked again, and I don’t think the nurse actually gave me a number. I think she just told me I was a little more than I was last time… gee. Thanks for that. By this point I was so incredibly tired, I physically couldn’t move anymore. I laid there in bed for the rest of labor. I knew I was freezing, and I couldn’t stay warm. Then during a contraction, I just started pushing. I didn’t know if I was supposed to or not, but I did anyways. At that point, the midwife on call showed up, and basically said it was time to push.
She let me know that during the first push, I was going to hate her, because there was a part of my cervix still there and she was going to push it to let the baby’s head through. While pushing I only remember that I kept saying I didn’t have the energy to get her out. I think at one point after they told me they saw her head, I asked if they could just pull her out. After what seemed like an eternity (Paul says it was really only 30-40 minutes), Aubrey Joy came into the world.
Labor was the hardest I have ever worked in my entire life. It was also the most rewarding experience I have ever had. There is nothing that can replace that feeling of holding my little girl that first time.
I can honestly say, I am still so proud of myself for making it through labor un-medicated. I can also say that if it weren’t for my incredible husband, my sister and my mom, I would not be able to say that. They were so incredibly encouraging the entire time, and I would not have been able to do it without their support. Also, I never thought to take pictures during labor, but leave it to my amazing sister. She captured everything beautifully!
“A woman giving birth to a child has pain because her time has come; but when her baby is born she forgets the anguish because of the joy that a child is born into the world” John 16:21