My first baby turns six today!
She was 2 weeks overdue, so boy was I ready. I kept saying, “Baby, come out! It’s time!” I should have guess then how stubborn and independent she would be! Everything in her time…
I spent so many weeks being impatient for this baby, but those hours and days just blur up until the day before Anna came. I bought and decorated the Christmas tree that day before, thinking, “Surely if I start this big project, the baby will start to come so I won’t be able to finish it.” Nope, I got the tree up and decorated, all the presents wrapped. Nothing more to do but wait. At about 12:30 a.m. on December 11, Brian said,
“Honey, just go to bed!”
“But I don’t to wake up and have it be one more day that the baby hasn’t come yet.”
“But if the baby is coming, you’ll need your sleep. So come to bed.”
Brian always makes so much sense. At about 2 am, I got up to go to the bathroom, and my water broke! We headed off to the hospital, slept a bit, and called our parents at around 9.
“WE’LL BE RIGHT THERE!” from my parents, who were more than just a little bit excited to be welcoming their first grandchild.
By noon or so, I still wasn’t having contractions, so my options were induce labor or go for a walk to try to bring on labor. Funny how walking either intensifies the contractions or makes them go away altogether. In this case, they intensified. All the miles of walking I did with Dayl in the weeks leading up to this… not so much.
I was so glad the walking worked this time because I had heard horror stories of how much harder labor is if you’re induced. I was hoping to do the whole thing without drugs, and inducing most likely would derail that effort. During the months I was pregnant, several people told me, “Why do it without drugs? It’s not like you get a medal!” But I really wanted to try. I truly believe that whatever is best for the baby is the right choice, and no mother should be judged for how the birth goes down. Unless she vodkas her way through labor – I think I could be judge-y over that choice. But I digress…
After my walk, labor officially started about 2 pm. YUP, THAT’S A CONTRACTION. All those Braxton-Hicks faker contractions seemed like a joke once I felt a real contraction. ARE YOU KIDDING ME WITH THIS? I thought my cervix was being ripped out of my body with a jagged knife.
I explained that I would like to see how far I could go without drugs, so she offered different positions, and the ball. I found the ball to be a horrible idea. How can I relax into the contractions when I’m using muscles to balance on a ball??
I thought I was relaxing, but my midwife Kelly came in and touched my leg, my arm, and said, “Relax this. Now relax this.” It’s surprising how much easier the contractions were when I was truly relaxed.
We finally ended up in a tub, which was amazing. Being in the warm water, with my Mama stroking my forehead and Brian holding my hand, cut the intensity of contractions by about 30%. Getting out of the water was not my favorite part, but labor had progressed enough that they wanted to get me back to the room.
There’s a dark moment when I had gotten out of the tub, and the pain was so intense that I couldn’t breathe. I was in transition, and it was hell. I didn’t ask for drugs, because I remembered what my friend Katherine had said: “You can handle anything for one minute.” Everything was black in between contractions, and searing white pain during the contractions. Brian leaned his face within three inches of mine, and whispered, “Let’s try a breathing exercise from the class.” We had laughed at the goofy counting fingers breathing exercises, but Brian had the good sense to pull one out right when I needed it. He totally got me through that hardest part by distracting me. I’ll never forget how he knew just what I needed at the moment I needed it most.
After six hours of labor, it was time to push. The pushing officially lasted 1 hour and 50 minutes before Anna was born, but it could have been three minutes or it could have been another six hours.
A screaming baby was placed on my belly, and all of us – Brian, my parents, and Brian’s mom, along with the nurses and midwife – were happily ooh-ing and ahh-ing, “Hi Baby! Beautiful Baby!” Finally my Dad said, “Hey, what is it?” A quick check revealed a girl, to which I replied, “Hi, Anna!”
Happy Birth Day to my beautiful daughter!