It was 12:30 a.m. on February 8, 2015 when I awoke from the worst pain I’d ever felt in my life. I nudged my husband and said; “I think our son is going to come today.” I went to take a bath at 2:30 a.m. trying to cope with the amount of pain I was experiencing (if I only knew what was coming). Finally at 6:00 a.m., I woke my husband up and had him time my contractions. They were two minutes apart and it was time to go to the hospital! When we arrived, the doctor checked to see how dilated I was. I just knew he was going to say 5 centimeters. He revealed I was only one centimeter. My jaw hit the floor.
The nurses suggested that I walk around for 20 minutes while drinking ice water and then they would check again. If nothing had progressed, they would send me home. My husband practically had to carry my weight as we did hospital laps. Not only were my contractions brutal, I felt nauseated beyond belief. I remember telling him, “I’m not cut out for this!” his response, “Well it’s too late to turn back now” with a huge smile on his face. When we got back to the room I was dry heaving. I went to throw up in the hospital bed, and felt something pop. My water had broken and when the nurse saw it, her facial expression looked concerned. My water was greenish brown and they told us that the baby had his first bowel movement.
The good news was that I was now 3 centimeters dilated. “What’s your birth plan? Did you consider having an epidural?” The nurses asked. “UM…BRING ON THE EPIDURAL!” I thought they’d never ask. They inserted that needle into my back and in that moment I got over years of fear of needles. I took one deep breath and all was right in the world. Except it wasn’t. They revealed that with every contraction the baby’s heart rate was going down and because of his premature bowel movement, NICU would be joining us immediately after his birth. They put an oxygen mask on me and continued to monitor my contractions and the baby’s heart beat.
It was about noon when everything finally settled down and it turned into a waiting game. My husband and I just watched some television and chatted. “How are you feeling?” he asked. I knew he was nervous because of all the news we had received. “I could have TEN BABIIIIESSS, this epidural is WONDERFUL.” I responded in my loopy state. I knew worrying was only going to make it worse, so I decided to pray and remain optimistic. Time passed quick and slow at the same time. It was now 5:00 p.m. and I expected to only be 7 centimeters or so. Low and behold I was 10 centimeters dilated and it was time to push it, push it real good.
I was a complete rookie to the whole process, and pushing was no different. I never took any birth prep classes. I wanted to go into it blind. After this part, you can never be ashamed of anything else in your life. It’s all out there on the table, literally. It took everything I had to push each time. The nurse helped hold my legs back because they were spaghetti noodles because of the epidural. With each push I knew I was one push closer to meeting my son. They make you push in “three push segments”. On the final one they asked if I had four pushes in me. I cried out, “absolutely not!”, while my husband held my leg up and said “oh yes you do!”. On that fourth and final push I felt him pass through and heard exactly what I needed to hear, a full on cry. He was healthy, and safe. We were okay.
Once he was out, my husband disappeared to be with our boy while I was left with the after birth and second degree lacerations. When he remembered that his wife was still on the table, he came back over with a huge smile on his face. “Our baby is healthy, and you didn’t poop.” In the midst of my tears I laughed. It took the nurses 30 minutes to get my baby cleaned up and ready to meet me. I was almost scared to hold him. My whole life had just changed. 9 months didn’t prepare me for what was about to come. The nurse walked over with him and laid him on my chest. I sat breathless and savored the moment. If I could infinitely replay it, I would. He curled up as if I was the only person who could comfort him. It’s true that a mother’s bond with her child is immediate. I looked at him and was overcome with the feeling that this was truly my greatest blessing.