That morning I woke up feeling great. No signs of labor. I worked out and headed to the office to do some cleaning. I told Omi I would for sure be back in the office on Monday. There were absolutely no signs of anything happening on the baby front. I headed back home and spent the rest of the day doing our usual Saturday cleaning and laundry. Pat and I spent the afternoon hanging out and trying to enjoy the time we had just the two of us. We decided to go out to dinner. It was Saturday night, so going out was normal. And we were trying to ‘live it up’ a little before baby arrived. Granted that is a relative concept for us, and for a 40 week preggo. But we thought we would hit up endless shrimp at Red Lobster. We got a little excited. It was a bit of a drive, but not too far. Pat went to get his shoes and I went to the bathroom. As I finished up my water broke. I admit I was a little confused at first. We learned in one of the classes we took that water breaking only starts something like 10% of births, unlike what you often see on tv. (Don’t quote me on that statistic.) I sat there surprised for a moment while what was happening sank in a bit. I heard Pat downstairs and cracked the door open to say, “Honey, I don’t think we are going to Red Lobster tonight.” He asked if my water just broke, and I confirmed I thought so. We kind of laughed a little, and he ran to get a towel for me for between my legs. Pat sprang into action at that point. Our suitcases were pretty much packed, but sitting open on the bedroom floor. He zipped up our stuff and loaded it all into the car. I grabbed the baby’s bag and fortunately remembered to grab his baby book. Pat fed Dagger and turned off the ac. He got everything loaded up while I kind of stood there thinking, Huh. So this is happening. We got into the car. I was even more awkward now with the big belly and a towel between my legs to catch the liquid. It was still seeping out with the occasional gush like. That is a very strange feeling. You know something is coming out of you, but you can’t stop it. And it’s okay, it is amniotic fluid. But the idea that you are constantly wetting yourself comes to mind.
They got us set up in a room (actually the one we saw on the tour!). The doctor wanted the antibiotics started right away. I was hooked up to an iv, along with monitors for the baby and contractions. One thing I wish I had been told ahead of time is that the penicillin can really burn when it goes in. Really that was the thing that freaked me out. One minute you are sitting there fine, excited to be starting labor. The next your arm feels like it is on fire! The nurse quickly reassured me that it was normal. (Hey, how about you give people a heads up to that kind of thing?) She adjusted the flow, which made the pain go away. It also made the whole dose take forever to finish up. But better that than being in pain the whole time. I admit I was worried about what was to come if that iv pain was so bad. How could I handle actual labor if the iv pain got to me so much? I tried to reassure myself they were different pains. One had an easy fix, making it more frustrating to deal with. The other is productive pain that leads to a baby. It was easier to think about from that point of view. Once the iv was done I was disconnected from everything and allowed to move around.
We called my parents and Pat’s parents at that point to let them know the show was on the road. They were excited, but really great about letting us contact them with news instead of bombarding us with inquiries. Then we started walking. My doctor thought my body was pretty much ready to go labor wise at the last appointment I had, but the baby was still really high up. My water had broken and I was group B positive, so we had to do whatever we could to get labor really going or I would have to get pitocin, The on call doctor gave us 18 hours to make things happen. So we walked. A lot. It wasn’t very exciting I have to say. And of course I was still super preggo, so it was slow too. Poor Pat found it a bit tedious, but he was a champ. We took a few breaks the hang out in the room. I used a rocker and did some squats. And light contractions started. Nothing too bad compared to what was to come, but I felt them. We were up pretty late, adrenaline I think keeping us going. Finally around 2, we decided to try to sleep for a bit. It seems strange to try to sleep during labor, but we would need the energy later.
Once the lights were off I started having stronger contractions. They were still between 5 and 10 minutes apart, but they were real. I was able to deal with my breathing though. Pat had to sleep on the pull out chair. It was long like a bed, if a bit narrow. But I didn’t worry about keeping my breathing quiet for him. I know he didn’t sleep perfectly, but he did seem to sleep better than I did. I was able to catch some zone out kind of sleep though. It was already kind of hard to relax. If I let myself tense up the contractions were harder to deal with. They were a pretty consistent one minute in time. I could kind of keep an eye on the clock, which was digital with seconds and tell myself I just had to last one minute. It can be a long minute though, especially in the dark.
Around 3am I started to get nauseous, and I had to wake Pat up. So much for getting some sleep. The nurse encouraged us to keep resting, so we tried to. But with contractions and another dose of penicillin we didn’t actually get much rest. By 6:30 Sunday morning I was only about 3 centimeters. I was totally bummed! Labor was taking forever. I was getting a little worried that I wouldn’t be able to make it without the epidural. Pat was very supportive of whatever I wanted to do, so I decided to keep going without it. I kept walking and trying different positions in an attempt to be more comfortable. Pat tried to find some tv I could tolerate as a distraction. Breathing through the contractions was working for the time being. Poor Pat though, I wouldn’t let him near me! I could not handle being touched. But I wanted him nearby, so he kind of had to hover in the magic zone of not too far away, but not too close so as to actually touch me.
We just kind of hung out in the room from that point on. I walked and tried different positions as labor continued. I have to say I think I was pretty nice to Pat during all this. I did tell him at one point I was jealous of those who had c-sections. I know that is actually the harder route, but mid labor pains it doesn’t sound too bad. I remember distinctly thinking that I was only doing this labor thing once. No more kids. (Thank goodness I changed my mind about that!) The one time I did get really short tempered was when a gentleman came into our room to discuss epidurals. I have to say I was not super polite to this man. He wanted to talk about what would happen if this ended up in surgery. Of course, I blurt out we aren’t having surgery, I’m just having a baby. He said true, but with an epidural, anything I can happen. And he had talked to Dr. T about this. I was like, who the heck is Dr. T? I have Dr. A. He seemed confused and asked if I wanted an epidural. I basically yelled no and told him to get out. Super nice of me. Well, it turns out he had come into the wrong room anyway. He wasn’t supposed to visit me. He probably just got yelled at again by whomever was actually waiting for him, so I feel a little bad. But you have to expect to get yelled at when your job involves working with women in labor.
The morning continued on. I had a hard time relaxing and kept bearing down on the contractions. This was not good. (I don’t remember why, I just know it can be hard on the baby.) I ended up getting a dose of analgesics through the iv to help relax a bit. That was kind of fun, it makes your head all floaty. It doesn’t really take the pain away, but it does make you care about it less and relax. I admit I was disappointed in myself for a bit that I didn’t have a completely unmedicated birth. But who cares? No one should but me. My main goal was to have a healthy baby and a healthy delivery. If that meant getting a some medication to help me relax and not bear down during the contractions that is just fine.
Once I was able to relax a little bit more, things sped up a bit. Going from 8-10 took no time at all. Then we were ready for the exciting part! All of a sudden there were a lot of people in the room, bringing in tables and equipment, getting ready for baby to arrive. I couldn’t do much though. My eyes were mainly closed, although I wouldn’t let them dim the lights. Pat had found soothing music on the tv and was helping my through the contractions. It was time to get ready to push. The nurse helped me into position and said we would do a few pushes to get ready. I asked if the doctor should be there, and the nurse said she would, but the nurses do all the work. I apologized for being rude, I was just checking. I also asked Pat if he needed a break to get some water or use the bathroom before we started pushing. I remember a nurse laughing she hadn’t heard the mother ask if the father was okay at this point before. But we were all good. So the nurse told me to push.
Pushing wasn’t bad. It’s true that it is nice to finally be active in the process, instead of just trying to relax. Well baby was ready. Because the next thing I heard was we need Dr. A now and someone calling for her down the hall. I looked around a bit to see what was happening. I don’t know what all the people were doing, but everyone was busy prepping. They offered to get the mirror so I could watch. But I didn’t want to and knew there wasn’t time. Dr. A took a look at me and started rushing. I recall her grabbing some stuff and saying this will do, let’s go. I was begging to push again and for her to hurry. Baby was coming. They told me to wait, but being me, I kind of said no, I’m going to push. Dr. A got into place and really one more push and Baby was out! It did not take long once he was ready to come out. They immediately unsnapped my gown and placed baby on my chest. Pat teared up, and I just looked at him and said “We did it” I couldn’t believe we had just had a baby. At this point, the room was still a flurry of activity, but time stopped around Pat and the baby and me. We decided he was indeed a Benjamin. I held him on me and we just kind of looked at each other. He cried out and it was the best sound ever.
I love thinking back and remembering when Ben was born. It changed our lives in all the best ways. It’s crazy that three years have flown by and my tiny baby is now a busy toddler. I’m so blessed to be Ben’s mom.