I’ve heard people say before that words cannot describe what it is to become a mother, and it’s true. There’s nothing you can say that will perfectly capture what it feels like to hold in your arms a tiny little creature that you made and grew inside of you for 9 months. It’s just amazing. This is my daughter’s birth story. If you’re one of those women who had 22 hours of labor and all sorts of trauma, please try not to hate me.
Wednesday night after the doctor appointments and dinner and a little television Jason and I settled into bed early because we were both exhausted. I had only been asleep for about an hour when I woke up with some pain in my pelvic region. I thought it might be a contraction, but couldn’t really tell so I got up to go to the bathroom. As I was walking down the hall I felt something trickle down my thighs and wondered whether my water had just broken. It wasn’t a ton of fluid so it was hard to tell, but something inside of me sort of knew that this baby was on her way. I went back to bed thinking I had hours (because duh, you normally do), and thought I would lay there and let Jason sleep as long as possible rather than waking him up to be bored while I languished in early labor. But then things started to hurt a lot more than I had thought they would at the very beginning, and I got scared, so I woke him up. He started timing the contractions, they were coming every 10 minutes. I went to the bathroom again and noticed that I was bleeding, so I started second guessing myself and wondering if I had just passed my mucous plug and that my water hadn’t actually broken. I decided to call the hospital, because we were debating whether it was too soon to go in or not. They tell you to stay at home as long as possible to avoid being sent home because you aren’t far enough along in labor to be admitted. The woman who answered asked what it looked like and how much there was, and also when my due date was. When I told her it was 3 weeks away she assured me that it was probably just my mucous plug and that I should give it an hour and see if the contractions stopped or progressed. So I hopped in the shower thinking hot water would help. Jason sat in the bathroom with me and I would holler when I had a contraction so he could time how long they were, and how far apart. After a few of those he said to me, in sort of an alarmed voice, “um, honey, your contractions are 2 minutes apart, I think we need to go to the hospital right now”. So we flung ourselves around for a few minutes trying to figure out what the hell we needed to take with us and then headed for the car. I was in a lot of pain and a lot of panic at this point because I knew things had progressed faster than was normal. I was confused and scared and feeling like I couldn’t do this, and recognized from the books I’ve read that this confusion and panic usually accompanies the transition phase of labor, which is the phase right before you start pushing. And we were in the car. 25 minutes from the hospital ohmygod. The entire trip to the hospital I writhed and panicked and uttered strings of curse words that my husband later told me frightened him a whole lot. All I remember about the entire trip is staring at the dashboard clock and seeing that yes indeed, my contractions were 2 minutes apart. When we got to Labor and Delivery I told the nurse behind the counter that I was in labor, that my water had broken, and that my contractions were 2 minutes apart and very strong. She asked me how long ago the contractions had started and when I told her 2 hours she looked at me like I was nuts. I’m pretty sure she thought that I was still in early labor and just being dramatic. She handed me a form and said “okay, can you fill this out?” I stood there at the counter, writhing in pain, trying to fill out the form until another nurse (who obviously wasn’t a dumb ass) said “when you’re finished with that contraction why don’t you just come into a room so we can check you and see where you are”. So I went in the room, changed into a hospital gown and noticed that the bleeding was a whole lot worse, so I mentioned it to Nurse Dumbass as I got in the bed. She proceeded to check my uterus. “Yep, you’re having quite a bit of bloody show… oh! Oh my. We’re at like an 8 or a 9! I’m going to go page the midwife”. She took off and one of the other nurses said “did you want a natural childbirth”? Luckily that was indeed my goal because, as she told me later, even if I had wanted an epidural the anesthesiologist would never have made it on time. At this point everything got crazy. Since they had all realized I was not just being dramatic and was indeed close to delivering they started panicking about getting my IV started. Nurse Dumbass jabbed me 3 times before someone else finally took over. Someone sent my husband down to admitting because they couldn’t find me in the computer system even though I had registered online. Someone else asked about my strep b. status and I told them that my midwife had done the test that morning, but obviously the results wouldn’t be back yet, so they freaked out and grabbed some penicillin to put in the IV to try to get it in before the baby came. At this point my husband came back (the idiots at admitting having realized that indeed I HAD registered online, they had just closed my account when I checked out the week before), saw me bleeding from a few different IV attempts, and got a little woozy so he had to sit down. I think he was coming down from an adrenalin high what with all of the panicking and driving under duress. He quickly recovered and was amazing through the rest of the delivery. Finally the midwife showed up. It wasn’t my midwife (she couldn’t make it on such short notice), but at this point I didn’t care because I was feeling the urge to push and I told her so. She said to go ahead and give into the natural urge, and then she would check me. When she did she said “yep, you’re ready, go ahead and start pushing”. She and the other 2 nurses coached me through it and a little less than an hour and a half later (yes, I know – I told you not to hate me), at 2:47 in the morning my little Louisa was born. The nurses were all flabbergasted that my labor was so short (roughly 4 hours and 20 minutes), especially considering that it was my first baby. They were even more flabbergasted when I told them that I had seen my midwife that morning and that at the time my cervix wasn’t even slightly open. They brought me my consent forms to sign, laughing the entire time that I was signing consents for things that had already happened. Then they finally gave me my baby to hold and I fell in love. Oh did I fall in love. She still isn’t home from the hospital because of the jaundice. She has been on phototherapy, only allowed off of the lights for 30 minutes every 3 hours to eat. We spent half of today hanging around the hospital so that we could be the ones to feed her. They took her out from under the lights at 5pm and will check her levels again in the morning. If things still look good we’ll probably get to bring her home tomorrow. If not, I might go crazy. Seriously. It’s not very fun having all of these motherly instincts and raging hormones and not having the baby to hold and cuddle and smell, so cross your fingers.