So as I mentioned I was sitting on the couch with my very swollen, very tired feet propped up on some pillows. Once I was able to relax I could really feel what was going on inside of me. LOTS of movement and LOTS of tightening. As I was trying to unwind and catch up on some DVR action I was noticing that the tightening felt a bit more concentrated than the usual Braxton Hicks I was used to. That's when I looked over at my hubby and explained what I was experiencing were probably not Braxton Hicks.
It was as if he didn't even hear me. My words went in one ear and out the other. I know this to be true because he had a look of concern on his face and I could tell he was in deep thought about something and wanted to get it off his chest...
For at least a month or so we had finalized the name of our Baby Boy. We loved it. We were done with the back and forth. It was set. So you can imagine my state of shock as I was embarking on the so-called "adventure of child birth" when hubby decides to tell me:
Hubby: You know, I've been thinking.
Hubby: I'm not too crazy about the name we picked out. I really think we should reconsider going with our other option.
Me: (I took a deep breath in. Closed my eyes and exhaled. When my eyes re-opened they were red and swirling. Kinda like the "crazy eyes" episode of How I Met Your Mother. In case you need a visual it was a little something like this...)
I simply replied to him, "NOT. NOW."
The contractions kept intensifying and I thought I should try to get some sleep. That was positively impossible since the contractions had just kicked into high gear. We had previously taken a Bradley Method class, which I highly recommend, and I knew that just because I was experiencing intense contractions it didn't mean we needed to rush straight to the hospital. So my husband drew a bath for me, grabbed the stop watch and we began to see what we were really working with here.
I sat in the glorious, warm bath and felt very calm even though my contractions were erratic and basically on top of one another. In a matter of two hours I had gone from contractions 10 minutes apart to 2 minutes, 4 minutes, 3 minutes, 1 minute. There was no rhyme or reason to them at all. From Bradley class I knew to stay calm and just breathe. That is exactly what I did for the next hour or so. Yes, I sat in the bath tub for that long. I finally declared that I needed to get out and start moving. It was perfect timing because as soon as I got out of the tub I experienced the "bloody show" (there's that yucky talk again). We called our doctor, I think it was about midnight and she said to come on in.
At this point my calm and collected husband turned into the Tasmanian Devil and began whirling around the house picking things up, putting dishes away, getting the dog and cats situated, etc. I was breathing through each erratic contractions and rocking my body from side to side and standing at the top of the stairs, trying to remain calm while Hubby was taking what felt like a decade to get us out of the house.
The car ride was fast and the deep breathing was keeping me sane. At times the contractions would get away from me and I would start to panic. I remember reaching for the grab bar and repeating out loud, "it hurts!" And, "I'm scared!" Hubby would then reassure me that everything was ok and he would remind me to breathe. He was brilliant.
We arrived at the hospital assuming that since we had pre-registered it would be a breeze getting up to the delivery area. HA! FOOLS!! Little did we know pre-registration meant nothing in the way of rapid service to the delivery area. Again the breathing got away from me. Hubby was there to help.
I was finally in the delivery room and I believe this is the exact point that I looked right into Hubby's eyes and said, "I can't do this. Give. Me. The. Drugs." He grabbed my hand and once again reassured me that everything was going to be okay and that I could do this. What a guy! Then he leaned in close and quietly whispered, "I left the camera in the car."
While he was away the nurse gave me the 'ole "how dilated are you" check... 8 cm!!!! Hallelujah!!! I had labored at home for 6 hours and came out of it like this. I could not have been more thrilled! I was told we would just keep right on going this way until the doctor gets here and she would give me another check.
I kept slowly breathing through each contraction with the help of the nurses and Hubby. When it would get away from me they were there to help. In between contractions there was silence. It was lovely. We had spent countless hours compiling numerous play lists on our iPods anticipating every mood I could possibly have been in. Turns out I couldn't handle any noise what-so-ever. Silence was the only thing keeping me focused.
The nurses would check me from time to time and after three hours from arriving at the hospital I was told I was at 10cm and should start thinking about pushing. Nope. Sorry! Not gonna happen. The contractions were one thing and now you want me to PUSH!?!? Are you nuts?!?!? I started to get scared. It was getting real (as if it wasn't already).
The doctor came in and she explained that pushing may actually help the contractions to feel better. I took her word and gave it a try. It took me a few attempts to truly push correctly. "Great!" Said the doctor. "Let's keep doing this for about an hour and I'll come back and check on you." WHAT!?!?!?! I'm sorry, did you just say keep doing this for an HOUR?!?! I turned to Hubby...
He put is hand on me and kept doing what he did best by reassuring me that everything was fine and I could do this. Okay! He's right! Here we go. Let's have a baby! I can still remember the feeling of determination I had at that moment. There was no way in hell that I was about to push for an hour just to have the Doc come back in and tell me to keep right on pushing. No way. No how. I dug deep and I pushed. I pushed for TEN MINUTES when the nurse said, "Whoa, whoa, stop right there!" "I need to get the doctor, your baby's head is right here."
The doctor entered the room and gave me a very surprised and "atta girl" look. It was game time. The Doc was in place, Hubby was in place and it was my time to shine. At this point I had gone from quietly breathing through contractions to loudly grunting through each push. I didn't know who I was! I didn't know where these animalistic sounds were coming from. In between wildebeest-esque noise I was shouting, "I CAN'T DO THIS!" "HELP ME!" And my all time favorite, "GET HIM OUT OF ME!!!" Charming, wasn't I?
Peace. My son was born.
He was placed on my chest... I did it. I had a natural child birth just like I had set out to do. Although I wanted a natural child birth there was always that voice in my head that knew if the going got tough I could just go for the epidural. But with my Bradley training and more importantly, my husband, I was able to stick with my intention. My husband was amazing. He was my rock. He was tender and sweet at the right times and encouraging and tough in the others. Later after the commotion settled down and we were reflecting back on the labor and delivery I said to my husband, "I can't believe you cried. I didn't think you were gonna." His response still makes me tear up when I think about it. He said, "I cried because I was so proud of you. I couldn't believe you had just done what you did."
Heck! I couldn't believe I had done what I did. Child birth is crazy. But I have to say that I had an amazing experience. Often times we only hear of the horror stories that strike panic and fear into expectant moms everywhere. Thanks to the immeasurable help from my husband, the Bradley Method, and above all my determination, I have a happy story to share.
As I write this post I realize it is more for me as I am reflecting on the past year with my son's 1st Birthday fast approaching. There aren't many helpful tips or anything like that. I will share more about the Bradley Method and details within on another post. This was simply my light-hearted birth story and I hope you enjoyed it. Birth is a miracle and I am blessed to have experienced it and I am blessed to have a healthy baby boy that is the light of my life.
What is your birth story?