My daughter Nora’s due date was May 27th, 2012. As of June 5th, she was LATE! I was 41 weeks and 3 days pregnant.
I was scheduled to be induced on Sunday June 10th if I didn’t go into labor naturally, so I’m so glad I did go into labor on my own. I just didn’t want to be induced; the suspense/anxiety would have gotten to me. So on Tuesday night of the 5th I started getting contractions. I had been getting a lot of Braxton hicks contractions through my third trimester, but taking a bath or laying down had been making them go away.
After a few hours of contractions we went to the hospital. They checked me out in triage and told me, “You’re only 1cm dilated. You should go home, take a bath, relax, eat a bunch of food, because once you’re checked into the hospital we won’t let you have anything but clear liquids.”
My water hadn’t broken yet either, so we went home and ordered tons of Chinese food, and tried to watch a movie. My contractions were getting worse and worse and I couldn’t focus on the movie. My partner Mike basically force fed me and told me I needed food to have energy for labor. He was right, but I was basically crawling around the house moaning, so eating wasn’t my FIRST priority — but I ate it anyway.
For a few hours I tried to get comfortable through the contractions — moving in different positions, trying to lay down, taking a bath, etc. I thought, I MUST be dilated more, I MUST! Let’s go back to the hospital!
So around 2am we went in again, they were like, “Oh, you’re back!” Mike had to wheel me in a wheelchair, the contractions were so bad I couldn’t walk and had tears in my eyes from the pain. It turns out I was now dilated three centimeters, so we got all checked in and into our room. I took another bath (because they had whirlpool tubs with jets in every room) and then tried sitting on the birthing ball, laying weird ways in my bed, having Mike hold me and rub my back. I couldn’t imagine the pain getting worse, but it was, little by little.
I loved having Mike rub my back and my shoulders. It really helped. The nurses were all amazing, too. They had great suggestions for positions that would make me more comfortable. Apparently as labor progressed and my contractions were getting stronger I wouldn’t talk during them.
Around 6am they checked me again and told me I was 6cm dilated. Now usually women dilate about a cm an hour, but I was moving slow (it took me 14 hours to get from 1cm to 6cm). Also Nora was in the posterior position (head down, facing forward), so I was having back labor.
In discussing the probability that my labor would progress quickly until it was time to push (which is another two hours usually), I was looking at at least another four hours of contractions and then two hours of pushing. At that point I really considered an epidural. I talked it over with the doctor and nurses and I decided after having been up all day, and then 14 hours (so far) of labor, I was so exhausted and had no energy left, that I wanted the epidural. I had always said I didn’t want one, but at that moment, in so much pain, I thought I deserved the drugs.
So I got an epidural, and it was amazing. I was able to eat some broth and jello. It was truly the most relaxed yet exciting moment. I felt the drugs take effect, and it made my whole body shake for about 10 minutes, but then it stopped and I just remember breathing these huge breaths of relief and comfort. I was too excited to REALLY sleep but I got a little catnap in.
Finally around noon on Wednesday I was dilated 10 centimeters, my water had broken while I was trying to nap, and after a quick check by the doctor, I was told I was ready to push! I cannot put into words the excitement I felt. My body just took over and it felt good to push. I have never felt my body just have the urge to do something that I wasn’t mentally controlling. It was such an incredible sensation.
One of the nurses grabbed my left leg, Mike was instructed to grab my right leg, and off we went with pushing! At the beginning of the pushing stage, I had enough energy between pushes to chit-chat with the nurses, but the last 45 minutes I was in such a crazy mental state. I really remember nothing. Well, all I remember was that I was BOILING hot, and apparently mumbling and asking Mike to pour ice water over my head, and put ice cubes on my head. I also remember just not thinking. For the first time in my entire life, I had no thoughts in my head, only the instinct and urge to push. It was this dreamy, blank, primal state of mind.
At one point my OB/GYN had left the room, but apparently my pushing was more effective than anybody thought it would be and her head came halfway out. The nurses told me to stop pushing, and I snapped back to reality and was like, “WHAT?! NO!!!!” They told me, “The doctor isn’t here, we paged her, she’s coming!” They kept telling me to wait and not push, but I just ignored them and pushed one last time with all the energy left in my body, and the nurse caught her just as the doctor ran through the door to witness it!
They immediately pulled off my gown and put our daughter right on my chest and cleaned her off while she was on top of me. I really and truly cannot put into words how incredible that moment was. I was so proud of her (and me!) and just cried and cried tears of joy. I could not believe this little person staring at me, holding my finger, breathing her strong little breaths laying on top of me. If anybody was talking to me or saying anything, I did not hear it.
The only thing in the world that existed in that moment was me and Nora. All I could do was marvel at her beauty. I had my little person in my arms! I’m crying again just thinking about it. It was the most fantastic moment of my entire life.