Grey and I spent Thursday night pretty typically. We had whole-wheat spaghetti with homemade pesto for dinner then watched “x-men: first class” (because I’m supposed to be getting up to speed on the entire x-men series, so we can see the new one coming out.) We were officially one week overdue, and knew baby could be here any day. For weeks I had been experiencing contractions, and every time they would start up, I thought “maybe….this is it,” only to have them fade away in a couple of hours leaving me thinking “no, this most certainly is not it.”
After the movie, Grey and I were visiting with his mama when I felt the first contraction around 10:30pm…only I didn’t know it was the first contraction of a series that would bring us to our son the next day. I shrugged it off because I had felt this before and this (apparently) was not labor.
I finished doing some laundry before going to bed. The contractions kept coming. They were irregular and not very bothersome so I went to bed. I laid there for about an hour when I realized I wasn’t sleeping.. I was so tired, but because they started coming more regularly, I decided I might as well finish packing the hospital bag before trying to go to bed again. …and do more laundry, wash the dishes, etc…..just in case. 😉
Around 2:30am it hit me. I’m in labor. Right now. I didn’t want to wake Grey, because I knew we would have a long day ahead of us. So I tried to get some sleep. I couldn’t work through the contractions silently anymore and Grey woke up around 4:00am and asked me if we needed to go to the hospital. I knew eventually the answer to this question was yes, but I wanted to stay and labor at home as long as possible.Once the sun was up, Grey went out to water the garden and tend the chickens. I ate a total of four grapes for breakfast and rocked through each contraction until we decided it was time to go to the hospital around 8:00am. On the drive there, I called my mama. As we pulled up to the hospital I thought:“this is it,” after an entire 41 weeks of waiting for this moment—today is the day.”
We walked through the double doors and checked in. They immediately took me to a room to be monitored and checked. I was only dilated to a three when we got there, and the pain was uncomfortable, but still not unbearable. The nurse predicted we would have the baby somewhere around 5:30pm. Normally this would have sounded excruciatingly long considering the constant state of pain I was about to endure, but 5:30pm meant I was having the baby today. Today is the day we would meet our son. Once she hooked me up to the monitor, she was having trouble keeping track of the baby’s heartbeat–probably because I was less than an excellent patient at this point.
She expected me to lay flat on my back and hold still through each contraction while she had me strapped to a machine. People…holding still was not happening for me at this point. As soon as I felt a pain coming on, I felt it absolutely necessary to rock, roll, kneel, stretch, walk, squat and get into any position that helped ease the pain. Every time she would come back into the room she found me all tangled in the monitor wires. She would let out a sigh and untangle me and get the machine back on track.
I have to admit here: I purposely pulled the dang thing off a couple times during a contraction.. She would walk in and I felt like a little kid–that couldn’t follow directions. I would just look at her when she came back telling her: “I don’t like this” with my eyes. That didn’t seem to matter because she hooked me back up for the fourth: “we just need to monitor the baby for 20 minutes then you can get off the machine.” I’m not quite certain how some women are able to lay still and simply breathe through the pain–they must be a whole lot tougher than me. I needed to move: from the chair! to the bed! to the foot of the bed! to tub! to try to escape the discomfort.
Speaking of tubs, I originally planned to do a water birth, so we took the class and watched videos of women peacefully giving birth to their new baby underwater a few weeks ago. I loved taking baths, and thought the plan was perfect. There was only one water birthing suite at our hospital, and I was worried that it wouldn’t be available. But…since I was practically the only woman having her baby on this day, it was open.
Once I was dilated to a five, they moved me down to the room I would give birth in. I was so relieved. “We’re making progress, I thought, a five means I’m halfway there.” Little did I know the second half would be the kicker. I came bouncing out of the monitoring room to find our photographer ready to go, and our family and friends out in the waiting room. “This really is starting to feel real.” I thought. The nurse immediately filled the tub and I climbed in. The water felt so relaxing on my tummy, and I instantly understood why so many women had a great experience with water birth. “This was going to be good,” I thought… “piece of pie.” There was only one problem.
I was a mover…remember? Once a contraction started coming on, I started flopping and splashing around like a fish to try to relieve the pain. I busted my knee open in the process, and decided it was time to get out–and stay out of the tub. I made it to the bed, to find that the pain followed me–wherever I went.
At this point, the nurse practitioner that would be delivering our baby still was not at the hospital. I remember having a moment when I scanned the room that scared me. “Where is she? What if she doesn’t make it on time? I need her here now!” Once I was dilated to an eight I started to get doubtful that I could physically give birth to a baby. The pain was now shooting down my legs and I remember saying “I can’t, I can’t, I can’t.” I looked at Grey and asked him to “please help me.”
Finally our nurse practitioner got there. I felt so relieved to see her. I instantly knew everything was going to be okay. I remember our photographer reading aloud the screen on the baby warmer (that was now on) that said: “admit baby.”
“Oh yeah. Our baby. That little hat and wrist band was for our baby, that would be here by the end of the day no matter what.” I was totally encouraged, and when she asked if I would like to start pushing, I started almost instantly.
After the first couple go rounds the feeling of doubt crept back. This was harder than I thought. She told me that I wasn’t sustaining the pushes long enough, and that I needed to work harder. (If you’ve never gave birth…I gotta tell ya…hard work is what it is.) Up until now, I didn’t really have to do anything but withstand the pain. But now–it was up to me to get this baby out.
Finally, after a couple contractions, I heard her say “look! dark hair!” I thought: “finally we’re making progress. When Grey saw the top of the baby’s head, he started to gently cheer me on. It felt so close, but still nearly impossible. I committed myself after this, to make every contraction count, and push with everything I had, and within two contractions I felt my belly collapse, and a little body appear down towards my ankles.. I was shocked because it came sooner than what I thought was possible. Our son was born at 3:31pm.
I asked what it was, and the nurse let Grey take a peek and tell me it was a boy. After briefly checking him out, they laid him on my chest. I instantly felt EVERY ounce of pain disappear. I cried because I was relieved the pain was gone. I cried because after waiting so long we finally got to meet our son. …and I cried because I instantly loved him, and knew it was him all along.
I instinctively started checking every square inch of him out. Lifting his little hat to see his hair, looking into his squinty puffy eyes, inspecting his ears and mouth, feeling his back, and holding his tiny hands. I was a mommy and will be for the rest of my life. Grey stood beside the bed, like he had been all day long, and looked at our new son: Greyson Daniel. Our lives are changed forever. This moment was one of the happiest moments in my entire life.
After all of the post birth procedures were taken care of I laid there with our new son and my parents and brother came in to meet him for the first time. He snuggled right into my side to keep warm for about an hour before I got up and took a shower. After I was in my own comfy pajamas I bought at Motherhood Maternity only a couple of weeks ago, they let Grey and I push him through the halls to our recovery room, and sound off the song that announced that a new baby has been born. It felt surreal. I cried as I walked down the hallway because it was like a dream. The hospital staff had dinner waiting for me in our room, but I wasn’t hungry. I simply wanted to enjoy our new family, and that’s what I did.
We spent two days in the hospital even though we could have gone home the next day. This time was so precious to me. The entire first night I don’t think Grey or I slept an ounce because we stayed up watching him sleep. Because the wonderful hospital staff waited on everything we could possibly need, there was nothing for us to do but kiss, cuddle, admire, and show off our new baby boy to family and friends….and that is exactly what we did.
Our balloons and flowers from the hospital were already home, and our house was tidied with a few last minute details that I never got around to, but Grey’s mama did while we were in the hospital. Everything felt so wonderful…and a week later, it still does. So…now we have a son and I survived to tell the story. 😉
**Thank you, Grey for fanning, watering, and encouraging me through the process. Thank you for being there for every moment of the day. You were amazing.**