It is hard to put the experience of laboring a baby into words, and while I am usually not sappy or overly maternal, the experience changed me. It changed my marriage. It changed my body. It changed my entire life. It's something that was so difficult, but so worth it, and I couldn't imagine living life not experiencing it. Here goes, here is my story:
On Saturday, November 5th Matt and I went down the block to my aunt Elisa's house to watch a movie with my relatives and my parents, and eat some takeout. At this point I was 40 weeks + 6 days pregnant and SO uncomfortable and ready to give birth. I'd been 3 cm dilated for weeks, which didn't help. At around 6PM I noticed I was having what I thought were Braxton Hicks, but they started to come closer together. When I timed them, they were 5 minutes apart for the entire movie! I couldn't believe it! They taught us in our birthing class that the rule was 5 minutes in between 1 minute contractions for an hour means you can go to the hospital, and when I called my doctor she said to go to Labor and Delivery! We couldn't believe it, we were going to have our baby.
We drove calmly to the hospital (my contractions were regular, but not painful) listening to Iron & Wine, the soundtrack we had for all of our wedding songs and we talked about how peaceful this all seems compared to the movies. When we got to the hospital they checked me into triage to be assessed, and hooked me up to a non-stress test. .. but they sent us home shortly after. It was a huge bummer. They said my contractions were regular, but they needed to also be very painful, so I needed to let labor progress and come back when they hurt and were 2-3 minutes apart.
That night, I actually was able to sleep like a rock. I woke up at 7AM and walked the entire boardwalk in Long Beach (5 miles). Matt and I had brunch at my other aunts house with a ton of my family, and that's when the contractions started to feel more like cramps. When we left brunch, we went for a walk around our neighborhood, and I started to feel the contractions radiating in my back. It hurt, but was totally bearable. We went back to my aunts house down the block for another dinner (everyone laughed at us for our fake labor the night before, of course!) and my pain began to progress. I knew it was time to go home and be alone with just Matt and I when my dad started to annoy me, because him and I are close and he never bothers me!
When we came home, I walked on the treadmill in our building for a while. When I came back down to our apartment, suddenly the contractions went from 0-8 super quickly, and they were coming 3 minutes apart. That's when we grabbed our things and went to the hospital!
The hospital check-in felt like it took forever, because at that point my contractions were so strong I couldn't sit or stand through them, all I could do was kneel in pain. When they assessed me in triage they told me I was 4cm dilated, which was a bummer because the pain was SO bad already. The nurse gave me two options - walk around and re-check in an hour or two later, or receive an epidural and become admitted. The thought of how bad my contractions could be in another hour pushed me toward the decision to go for the epidural, even though I always thought I'd go natural. I told myself I had nothing to prove to anyone, and I didn't look back from the decision.
We were admitted. I was in so much pain, but it was so unreal. Matt and I kept looking at each other in between contractions and going "OMG WE'RE GOING TO MEET OUR BABY!" I was brought to the room I would labor in, and they hooked me up to an IV. While they were hooking me up, matt played me a video of Claude giving me her paw, and I lost it and started hysterically crying. It was all so overwhelming, and the pain was so strong at that point. Minutes later they came in and put the epidural into my back, and after that labor became a COMPLETELY different experience. This was around 11PM.
Within minutes my contractions were like minor cramps. It was INSANE. But the best part was that they didn't slow down at all, which was my biggest fear. They were still coming every 1-2 minutes consistently. I called my best friend in California, and texted my family and friends, and relaxed in bed seriously fearing what it would mean to push the baby out. I was really nervous for that part.
At 3AM they came in and told me I was at 6cm. They said they were going to break my water and start me on pitocin to speed things up, and then my contractions intensified a bit more (but still nothing too bad at all!) They checked me again at 7AM and told me that I WAS 9.5 CM DILATED AND WE WERE READY TO HAVE THE BABY SO SOON! I began to throw up, which they said was a sign we were really close. My parents and brother came at 8AM, and waited in the room until it was time to push. It was really such a peaceful morning, and such a sunny and beautiful Fall day. Finally at 11:30AM they asked me to do a practice round pushing. During the practice round, they told me to stop because they could see his head!
Minutes later they were suited up and we were pushing! I was still on the epidural so I felt minor contractions, but none of the intense pain that is talked about. Matt was standing to my right, and when Hudson was born he cut the cord! We did skin to skin right away, and all everyone kept saying was how much hair he had! They initially told me he was around 7 lbs, but when they weighed him they said "8.7 lbs!!" and we could NOT believe that he fit inside of me! He opened his eyes and looked right at me and then at Matt from my chest, and it is a moment I will never ever forget.
It's all been a whirlwind since then! I feel really sore, but so overwhelmed with love for this tiny person that we made. I actually miss him when he isn't in sight for just seconds. When the hospital took him to the nursery to be weighed, Matt and I were counting the minutes until we could get him back. It's a love I didn't know I was capable of, and it's incredible what our bodies can achieve. It's been an amazing, challenging and beautiful journey and I can't wait to spend the rest of our life with Hudson in our clan! How lucky are we?!
Labels: maternity, pregnancy