I went to bed about 11:45pm. I was up at midnight to pee…and because I swore SWORE I just felt a little fist punch me in my pelvis…like lower than any little fist should be able to reach. My first thought was ‘oh crapt, this baby has his hands by his face’. Why I thought he would possibly be that low and I would still be in bed I have no idea—if he truly was low enough to punch me there I’m pretty sure he would have been hanging out…
So back to bed I went. After being up and down all night, I JOLTED awake at exactly 5am. I felt and heard a little “pop” and took off running to the bathroom before I was even aware of what my body was doing. I made it as far as the bedroom door before I had a trickle of fluids hitting the floor.
ME: Eric…I think my water just broke.
ERIC: Yeah. Really? (and back to sleep he went)
So I went to the bathroom and sat there for a good 10 minutes…and nothing more. Hmm…perhaps this is a new stage of pregnancy where I pee my pants in the middle of the night. So back to bed I went.
ERIC: How far apart are your contractions?
ME: I’m not having any.
ERIC: Shit. You know they’re going to want to induce you.
ME: ::Panicking:: Umm, well maybe I just peed my pants.
ERIC: Then why’d you wake me up.
Oh, Strike 1 for the hubby. (Though, I guess he does get points for totally not being phased that I might have just peed my pants…)
I tried to go back to sleep, but then I thought, if this is the start of labor, I sure have a few things on my To-Do List I’d like to get done first. Like trim my fingernails. And paint my toenails. And clean the microwave. Yep, that’s what I do in labor at 5:30 in the morning. Before I could finish cleaning the microwave, the contractions started. And they started pretty strong. I was squatting and moaning in the kitchen within minutes. I crawled back onto the foot of the bed and grabbed Eric—“Ummm, this kid is definitely coming today.”
I really wanted to shave my legs, so off to the shower I went. No sooner had I washed my hair then I realized that was not going to happen. By the time Eric came in the bathroom minutes later to check on me, I was laying in the tub moaning through contractions. Eric looked a little worried and began timing the contractions. We realized they were lasting about 45 seconds and 2-3 minutes apart. Ummm…holy crapt. No wonder I felt overwhelmed and like I couldn’t get “control” over them. I didn’t even have time to really catch my breath!
We originally planned to labor at home as long as possible, but it seemed that we had already done that—and it had only been 20 minutes. Eric finished getting ready while I crawled around the apartment—yes, crawled. At one point in time I was perched on the arm of an armchair with my head hanging over the back. I really didn’t think early labor was supposed to be this strong and close together!
When we got to the hospital, we parked and I walked in with Eric; I did not want to get separated from him. The women in the ER didn’t even look up when we walked in and since the counter was high, they didn’t even realize I was pregnant. Eric finally leaned over the counter and exclaimed, “she’s in labor and her contractions are 2-3 minutes apart.” This kicked them into gear. Eric later remarked he was impressed I actually stood there and answered admittance questions and gave them my preregistration information and ID. I actually felt really calm at this point and think it was because contractions had slowed a bit with the nervousness of being at the hospital. They sent a nurse with a wheelchair to take us up. I made it about 20 steps down the hall before a contraction hit and I jumped out of the chair and walked to the elevator. The nurse looked concerned and said he’d never had a pregnant woman get out of the chair before. It was quite apparent from the beginning that laying or sitting down was torture.
They put us in the triage room and checked for dilation—only 4-5 centimeters. This was good considering I’d only been having contractions for a little over an hour, but I did get slightly panicky…I wasn’t very far along and these contractions were CRAZY strong. The nurse asked if we’d taken childbirth classes, which I replied no, but that we had planned for a natural birth. She asked what that meant…at this point, I think both myself and the nurse thought it was going to be a looong day. At some point here, Eric actually reviewed the birthplan with her, a fact which I didn’t know until I asked him later. 10 points to him!
They hooked me up to the fetal monitor and made me lie down…didn’t happen. Most. Uncomfortable. Thing. Ever. I’m not sure they ever did get a full chart on me because I kept jumping up after a few contractions—I just couldn’t lie there any longer. They finally just sent me to the delivery room and tried to bribe me—if I stay still long enough to get a full read on the baby, they’d let me get in the tub. The nurse tried to distract me by asking me questions and it worked for about 5 minutes. I think the doctor finally freed me and told them to let me get up and get in the tub. While I was waiting for it to fill, I sat on the toilet—it’s true—it’s one of the most comfortable positions/places during the whole delivery.
When I got into the tub (like a jetted Jacuzzi), my first instinct was to get on my hands and knees. The nurse encouraged me to just sit back and relax, and she was right. It was instant heaven. Absolute bliss and relaxation. For about 5 minutes…During this time I was able to catch my breath and finally felt in control of the contractions. After about 10-15 minutes, I started shaking uncontrollably. I think this freaked Eric out a bit, but I actually felt good and we had a great conversation and joked around quite a bit (mostly about the bathroom looking like a crime scene—fluids-gah!). It never really dawned on me that this was transition—wasn’t I supposed to be screaming in agony and have my head spinning around and cursing at Eric and all of that? Eric just thought I was cold, and I just thought my hormones were going crazy causing me to shake. All of the sudden, I looked at Eric and said, “get the nurse, I feel like I have to go to the bathroom—bad”. I remember reading that this feeling could mean I’m ready to push, and I did not want this kid coming in the toilet. It took the nurses a few minutes to get there; I don’t think they really thought I had progressed. They checked me and I was 8-9 cm. This was a great source of willpower. I just kept thinking, “holy crapt—I’m through the worst part and I didn’t even notice. I can definitely do this.”
They encouraged me to get back in the tub; I no sooner sat down (literally 10 seconds), than I jumped up and exclaimed, “I need to push.” Thankfully the nurses were a little more timely and checked me quickly. Indeed, I was fully dilated, save for a slight lip. They told me wait just a few minutes and they would get the doctor. I really, really, NEEDED to push… I stood by the side of the bed, squatting and doing what Eric deemed my “tribal dance.” The nurse kept lowering the bed when I would squat down, then raise it when I stood up. This went on for a good 5 minutes before they realized they should just leave it alone—I wasn’t staying in one position very long. Another nurse came in and fed me ice chips while Eric rubbed my back—I remember being really grateful and giving her a whole-hearted “Thank You!” in the middle of a contraction—at least I was nice. The doctor came in during this time (Eric said he looked like Jack Hannah—Birkenstock sandals, holla!), and he sat down and observed for a few contractions. I remember thinking, “I’m ready to push people!” and finally said so. The doctor checked me and said I was indeed ready—told ya. He asked if I wanted a squat bar, and it took them a while to find it because apparently they don’t use it very often.
While waiting for that, I was trying to breathe the baby down and do some light pushing. I could feel him coming out, and when I finally moved into a squatting position on the bed over the squat bar, I was certain I was squashing the poor little guy with my moving around so much. After a few minutes of light pushing, I heard the nurses mention a drop in heart rate and the doctor order a call to respiratory. The nurse shoved an oxygen mask on my face and the doctor told someone to get him an episiotomy tray and Pitocin. They shoved me back and put my legs in the stirrups. I shot up and very calmly asked what they needed that for. All three of them answered, “just in case.” I still felt perfectly fine, and call it mother’s intuition, but I knew the baby was fine. I refused internal monitoring, so I’m sure they weren’t getting a good read. I pulled the oxygen mask back and said, “Umm, I’m fine. I can push.” Everyone froze, calmed down, and the doctor laughed and said, “well, let’s push then.” At this point I realized that in order to avoid invasive measures, I was going to have to push hard and get this baby out quickly.
When the next contraction hit, I pushed hard, took a deep breath and pushed again. The baby must having been slightly stuck, cause the doctor did some sort of crazy work with his fingers to dislodge him that made me about come off the table. We laughed about it after the contraction and he apologized—I guess he thought it was better not to warn me, and he was probably right.
During the next contraction, I took 3 breaths, and with that, the baby was out. Everything I read said avoid pushing so hard, but I must admit that it did feel “good” to push that hard—it felt like I what I needed to do.
During those last two contractions, Eric made all the difference. The doctor and the nurses kept saying that the baby was coming, but it was Eric encouraging me and saying that he could see him coming that really motivated me. His voice was eventually all I focused on…and yes, at some point in time I do remember thinking, “I can’t believe he’s looking—I hope he doesn’t pass out.”
When the baby came out, they put him on my belly and he was perfect. There’s no other way to describe it—even covered in “fluids”, he was already cute and perfect and loved. I loved him before he was born, but it’s amazing how quickly that swells.
He wasn’t “pinking up” as quickly as he should, and Eric said they suctioned more fluids/mucus out of his nose and mouth than they were used to; however, he was roaring like a dinosaur (that’s exactly what it sounded like!) from the second he came out, so his little lungs were definitely fine. They took him to check him quickly, and all was fine, with strong Apgar scores. They weighed him too—8lbs, 5oz, 21” long—and this was the first time I started to wonder what the heck my girly parts were like after getting that big guy out (though, I felt no pain, so that was good sign). I looked over at Eric—once I made eye contact I guess he thought it was safe to fall apart…he simply said, “I need to go.” He looked very pale, and I laughed because I was surprised he’d made it this far. Apparently he spent the next ten minutes passed out in the hallway with the nurses feeding him orange juice.
We told the nurses that Eric didn’t want to cut the umbilical cord, but they were insistent that he do it. The doctor kept waiting for him to come back, and I told them again there was no way it was going to happen. They asked if I wanted to do it, and I most certainly did not. As the placenta was delivered, the doctor literally held it up and said, “look” as he plopped it in a tray. I wasn’t sure (and I still don’t) if I thought it was cool or was completely grossed out. He said I had a slight labial tear that needed two stitches (whoo hoo—it could have been so much worse), and thankfully that was done before Eric came back. As soon as they got me stitched up and handed Matty back to me, they all ran out of the room. Another gal started having problems and needed an emergency c-section. The nurse looked at me, said “You’re doing great. You don’t need us. If you do need anything, just page.” Ummm…ok, thanks, I think…
It was 4 hours and 16 minutes from the time of water breaking to the time my baby was placed on my belly. Amazing. It was only another 10 minutes before Eric and I were alone snuggling with our new son. Even more amazing. By 10:30am, 5 ½ hours after my water breaking, I was out of bed, showered, dressed, and watching pregame football with my two favorite guys while Eric updated his fantasy football league. It was very surreal. And it felt so natural and normal at the same time.
Eric actually left around noon to meet his parents who drove up to visit, and to pick a few things up from the apartment—we’d left in such a hurry that we didn’t grab everything. He went out for dinner with the guys later that night. Clearly, this transition into parenthood was going well! By the time the nurses were done waking us up all night, I asked what the likelihood of us going home that day was. They started the paperwork, I was cleared by my doctor by 10am, Matty was cleared by the pediatrician by 11am, and we were home by 3pm. Eric went to work for two hours. All three of us have nicely slid into a routine, and I couldn’t be happier with our little guy, or my amazing husband (who has yet to change a diaper, but has shown patience and a natural fatherly tendency that I didn’t know he had).