Well, he came early after all! My entire labor and birth experience was so different than what I thought it would be….
I was up late with insomnia on Sunday, July 17 while my husband was out hanging with friends and having a guy’s night. When he came home, we chatted a bit and didn’t turn out the lights until about 1:30 am Monday morning. The next thing I knew, I was awakened by a REAL contraction. I bolted up in bed and checked the time – it was 3:30 am. I immediately knew it wasn’t a Braxton Hicks contraction, because it was SO much more painful than that! Since I had heard over and over again how long first labors could take, I decided I’d let my husband get some more sleep and I’d wake him a bit later. When I went to the bathroom, I saw that I was having my bloody show and the mucous plug discharge. The contractions kept coming so close together and were so painful that I couldn’t stay quiet, and Joe woke up to my screams. I was trying to get comfortable between contractions so I could rest some until we realized that the contractions were basically coming on top of each other!
We called our doctor and she told us to go to the hospital. I hadn’t even gotten everything packed in our hospital bag yet, so we quickly threw some things together and left the house. By the time we got to the hospital, it was about 5:15 and the pain was so intense that I could hardly walk or even talk. In the triage room, they checked me and said that I was fully effaced and dilated! They rushed me up to a labor and delivery room while I panicked about not having time for an epidural. I was literally hanging onto the side of the bed and yelling that I couldn’t do this, that it was harder than I thought it would be. I was so unprepared for everything to progress so quickly. Later, I realized that I was already in transition at that time!
When I got up to the L&D room, they checked me and found that I was just dilated to seven, but my cervix was stretched out so completely that it had appeared that I was totally dilated. They called for an anesthesiologist and while we waited for him, Joe and the nurses helped me breathe and get through my contractions. All that you hear about the importance of breathing while in labor is true! I didn’t realize how easy it is to lose it during contractions and hold your breath. I kept trying to roll around and find a position that would provide some relief, but that only made it worse. It took a lot of strength and support from my husband and the nurses to get me to breathe correctly during each contraction, but once I did it made the contractions so much more bearable. Also, their simple words of encouragement were essential in keeping me focused on getting through the strength of each contraction until it ended.
When the anesthesiologist came for my epidural, it was sooooo hard to sit still during a contraction. But then it brought instant relief! I was surprised with how thoroughly it worked. Right after that, my mom and my sister showed up. At that point, it was just a matter of waiting until it was time to push. With the epidural, I wasn’t feeling pain, but I could definitely feel the pressure as baby boy moved further down the birth canal.
At about 8:30, all of a sudden my doctor appeared and told me that it was time to push! The epidural was still in full force, so I needed a little bit of guidance telling me when and how to push, but I really felt the pressure enough so that helped me too. After a few pushes, baby’s heart rate dropped real low and I heard the doctor say that she needed to do an episiotomy so he would come out the next push. He came right out after that and I had only pushed for 15 minutes total! I will never forget the moment I saw him for the first time: my husband was on one side of me, my mother was on the other side, and I had a nurse and a sister holding up a leg. The doctor held my baby up between my legs and he was all tiny and wrinkly and squirmy. It felt so unreal that he was here and that he was mine!
I sobbed uncontrollably as they placed him immediately on my chest. He was just so beautiful and perfect. Lying there with my husband next to me, as mother and father to our very own child, was as special as others told me it would be, and yet nothing could prepare me for the overwhelming love and awe that I felt in that moment. Shortly after, when I ate a turkey sandwich a nurse rounded up for me, I remembered how horribly nauseous I felt during my whole pregnancy. And I thought how I’d do it all again twice over if that’s what it took for our precious Fitzgerald Fox.