My son Riley was born March 7 at 8:28 a.m. Here is the birth story…
I went to the doctor on Thursday, March 5 and was told I was over 2 cm dilated. That was very exciting news considering when I had been there on Monday, my due date, I was only a “fingertip” dilated (ewwww) and had been that way for about 5 days, which was discouraging. So when my doctor announced I was over 2 cm, I was elated. However, just in case, we scheduled an induction date of Wednesday, March 11. That night after work, I could tell that things were happening, and figured I’d be awoken by labor Thursday night. I wasn’t.
Friday morning when my alarm went off and I realized labor hadn’t woken me up, I was disappointed, to say the least. I still felt a little off and I knew I didn’t want to go to work. I almost went in just because I figured if I didn’t go into labor over the weekend, I’d have to face the music Monday and REALLY get some crazy comments asking why I was still at work. So I stayed home. And it’s a good thing I did.
I felt pretty much fine for the majority of the day. Until 3:20 p.m. I was walking down our hallway and I felt a pain in my abdomen that I hadn’t felt before. It stood out to me so much, that I glanced into our bedroom to look at the clock. That was my first contraction. By 4:00 I called Derek at work and asked him to come home because something felt different. He was trying to tie up loose ends at work and I called him two more times until he came home around 5. We started timing these new contractions around 5:30 and they were pretty irregular. Ten minutes apart, 3 minutes apart, 7 minutes apart. And me, I was still thinking that these weren’t really contractions and that I’d be pregnant forever. Denial isn’t just a river in Egypt, ya know.
From 6:15 to 7:15, the contractions were between 3 and 5 minutes apart and getting more painful. I was sitting on an exercise ball in the living room, breathing through contractions, when Lola came over and laid down between my feet. She just sat there and looked up at me, like she knew something big was happening. Finally, we called and talked to a nurse, who checked with a doctor, who told us to come to the hospital. Leaving the house was a weird feeling. I started crying when I was saying bye to Lola. I don’t know why, maybe because the magnitude of the moment caught up with me and I knew the next time I greeted my pup, I’d have a baby with me.
We got in the car and off we went – contracting all the way to the hospital. Derek dropped me off, I sat and waited while he parked the car, then we headed in. I had a strong contraction in the lobby and ducked behind a pole to deal with it.
Up on the second floor of Labor and Delivery, I told them who I was and that I was in labor, and was taken to a triage room. The triage nurse tried to check how far along I was, but because of her “short fingers” she couldn’t find my cervix. Um…seriously, you’re a L&D nurse and your fingers are too short to find a cervix? She was digging around in there and it really hurt! Finally another nurse came in and announced I was 4 cm. Woohoo!
We were taken to a labor and delivery room and we were both giddy with excitement when we realized this was the room our baby would be born in. The contractions were getting pretty strong, so I hopped in the whirlpool tub for about 45 minutes. It made the contractions much more manageable. I could actually focus and breathe through them in the water. When I got out, the nurse suggested that we walk the hallways for 45 minutes to an hour. By this point, the contractions were really strong and I knew I didn’t want to walk the hallways for an hour. I lasted 30 minutes walking. During every contraction, I’d slump over Derek, put my hand in his jeans pocket and almost rip it off. I started moaning too and he asked if I was all right. Yeah, I’m fine, just squeezing out a human, that’s all.
Finally, we went back to the room and I told Derek that I couldn’t do it. I wanted to get out of there. Where I thought I’d go, I have no idea. Fight or flight, man. I always choose flight.
I climbed back in bed and told Derek to push the nurse call button because I wanted the epidural.
“Are you sure?” he asked. “Yes,” I replied firmly. He then proceeded to ask if I was sure two more times, to which I replied, “I’m going to kill you. Push the button.”
He obviously believed that I would do it, because the button was pushed and the nurse came in. Since I had tested positive for Group B strep, they had to finish a round of IV penicillin before I could get the epidural. Ten grueling minutes later, the IV was done and she paged the anesthesiologist.
“How long will it take him to get here?” I asked.
“Not long, he’s right down the hall.”
When he came in and introduced himself, I answered with a “How long does it take to put the epidural in?” “About 20 minutes,” he said. Oy.
Yes, getting the epidural hurt, but it was sooooo worth it. I got the epidural around 1 a.m. and then Derek and I fell asleep off and on for a few hours.
At 6 a.m. I was awoken by a pop and a gush. My water had broken. My first thought was thank God that didn’t happen at work. It was grody. The nurse came in and checked and I was 10 cm and ready to go. I couldn’t believe it. Even though it had been about 10 hours since we came to the hospital, I couldn’t believe it was all coming down to this. We were so excited.
I started pushing at 6:45. Since my blood pressure and the baby’s heartrate kept dropping when I was pushing on my back, the nurse suggested I try pushing on all fours. Sure, whatever, let’s just have a baby. I probably pushed that way for about an hour and it wasn’t bad. The epidural started wearing off or was turned down and then I could actually feel where I was supposed to be pushing and progress was made.
Derek, the guy who said he wouldn’t look “down there” during delivery, definitely did. He even held up a mirror so I could see our baby’s head crowing. Wow. Yeah it was kind of gory and definitely didn’t look like something you see down there every day, but when I stopped to think that that was our baby trying to make his or her way into the world, it was awesome.
The doctor came and I knew the baby would be out in a few minutes. I reminded her that we didn’t know the gender of the baby, so she had to make sure to tell us right away. She replied, “Dad will tell you what it is.”
We all assumed the position and in one really big push, the baby was born. Derek announced, “It’s a …. RILEY!” He couldn’t see what it was at first until the doctor turned him. I couldn’t believe it. Riley made eye contact with Derek as he came out. I looked down and the first thing I thought was, “There really was a baby in there!” I dont know what I expected.
They put him up on my chest and he lifted his head and looked me right in the eyes. It was unbelievable.