I’ve had a feeling in the back of my mind that I was going to go into labor early for quite a while. Boy, was I right.
After a few days of not feeling the best, needing IV fluids and an uneventful weekly appointment with our midwife I was finally starting to feel well enough for an actual meal. We were supposed to have birthing class that night with a 2 hour labor practice but decided to not go on account of how badly I had been feeling the past few days. The last thing I wanted to do was pass whatever I had to other pregnant women. Sean wasn’t able to make it to the appointment so I filled him in on what he missed at dinner – basically that nothing was happening. The baby’s head was down but not engaged and not a single contraction since we left the hospital on Sunday. We talked about our options for induction should we approach 42 weeks without going into labor as I ate my first real meal that actually tasted like food in days.
That night we took our sweet time going to bed and watched a movie (I actually stayed awake the whole time!) finally making it to bed around midnight. Around 4:30am, a really strange sensation woke me up.
I can’t really describe what this sensation was…just strange and enough to get me to jump out of bed. It took me a few seconds to realize that it was my water breaking. After taking a few minutes to let the thought that it was really time sink in, I asked Sean if he was awake and told him that my water broke. He very unenthusiastically responded with an annoyed “really?” and started snoring again pretty quickly after that. It’s like trying to wake the dead with that one!
In birthing class, they taught us to try to get as much rest as you can during the initial stages of labor so I crawled back into bed thinking I could get a bit more sleep before the contractions set in. Within just a few minutes I knew the contractions were intense enough that I wasn’t going to get any sleep. Instead of tossing and turning and keeping Sean awake, I told him I was going to go to the basement where it was cooler, I could sit on the exercise ball and watch some tv. I thought he might as well get as much sleep as he can because of the long day ahead of us. He thought it was a good idea so he could get a little more sleep before going to work. He is a brilliant man before the sun comes up.
I barely made it downstairs and the contractions began to get really intense. Not being able to get comfortable and not wanting to be alone, I started coming back upstairs. By the time I hit the third floor, I was doubling over from the contractions…that were coming awfully fast and very close together. I started timing them and couldn’t believe that they were already timing at about 2 minutes apart, lasting for about a minute. There was no way that could be true. It had only been an hour since my water broke.
Before long, the contractions grew so intense that I couldn’t talk during them. I was pacing in our room and then crawling around on the floor trying to find any amount of relief I could find. It was absolutely impossible. Sean tried his best to coach me like we had been taught in class but I wouldn’t listen. I started saying that I didn’t think I could do it, I couldn’t do this without numbing the pain. If this is what labor felt like at it’s best – to hell with a natural birth plan. I was showing all of the signs of being in transition, but refused to believe it. It had only been an hour and a half since my water broke, there was no way that I was already at that point in labor.
None the less, things grew so intense that I finally said, that’s it we have to go…RIGHT NOW. My dear sweet husband decided he needed to take a shower before we left. I decided to put on a necklace and earrings. Hey…we each have our own oddities and this was not a time to judge a pregnant woman in the agonizing pains of labor. By the time he was out of the shower, I was insistent that we leave that second. Poor Bailey didn’t even get a chance to go outside – all I knew was that I needed to get to the hospital immediately.
We finally got in the car to make the 5 min drive to the hospital and I kept saying “I can’t do this, I want an epidural. Don’t judge me or think any less of me but I want an epidural!”. I had never felt anything like this before and I didn’t want to feel it anymore. It was completely indescribable the sensation of pain that I was having. Knowing that was not at all what I had wanted, Sean asked if I wanted to try something else first to see if that helped and I immediately shot him down. I could not handle that amount of pain for much longer.
We arrived at the hospital, made the mile long trek to L&D, braved the check in desk and was finally brought in to our room after being asked and unable to answer the pointless questions because the contractions were so long and so close together they consumed every inch of me. As the nurses worked to get me situated, they called the midwife on call and I worked to try to survive. I tried to answer more questions and asked again for an epidural. After listening to me in the background, the midwife requested the nurse check me while she was still in her car on the way to the hospital. 8 cm, completely effaced and at a -1 station. More things were said on the phone that I couldn’t hear and the nurse hung up. In the back of my head I knew the answer before I even asked, but I asked if it was too late for an epidural. I felt completely defeated when I heard the response “well…probably”. Right then, I thought I might die. The clock said 7am, and I knew that I could not continue like this for long.
While we waited for the midwife to arrive, Sean, the resident and nursing staff were great. They worked through each contraction with me as I laid in bed screaming through them. Pretty soon, I started feeling the urge to push and they kept telling me to try to wait. That lasted for a few contractions before I said that I couldn’t wait anymore. It wasn’t until about that time that I realized our midwife had finally arrived and I felt so relieved. She did such a great job reassuring me, telling me it was ok to push when I felt the urge to or to relax if I felt I needed to. They had told us in class that once you feel the urge to push and actually start pushing, you feel so much better. It is so true. The midwife stayed by my beside for the 20-30 minutes it took to deliver and Sean stayed by my head, encouraging me and letting me squeeze his hand until I thought I might break every bone he had.
Before I knew it, Amelia Elizabeth was born and laid on my chest for what was the most perfect moment I could ever imagine. I was holding onto my baby girl – listening to her breath and feeling her warmth – and my husband’s hand as we stared into her amazingly beautiful face in the most perfect moment of the most perfect morning.
Amelia’s birth was an experience I can’t even begin to describe. The experience was intense, painful, self-fulfilling and extremely gratifying and beautiful at the same time. It took 3 hours from start to finish in a completely whirlwind, chaotic and amazing labor. She wanted to meet her family. She’s going to be a sprinter, like her mama.
We spent the next 2 days in the hospital adjusting to life as a new family and watching our beautiful baby girl’s every movement and breath. It was complete bliss and that bliss continues to grow more and more every day.