These are the things you need to know….
- When I reach the 36 week mark in pregnancy, I frequently say the words, “OMG I think I am in labor.”
- I can be slightly dramatic (not to be confused with hormonal or “whiney”).
- My husband thoroughly enjoys having a designated driver.
- I have NEVER had an early baby. In fact, I average a week late.
And why are all of these things relevant to my birth story, you ask? Well, in combination, they turned into a situation when nobody believed me. And guess what, I had a baby on the day that nobody believed me.
Let’s rewind 2 days prior when my mother in law dropped of a concotion of essential oils. Clary sage, lavender, and some other “magical” potions that were intended to help induce labor. I don’t know the science behind it, so look it up if you must, but apparently, if your body is ready, these oils can help start labor. I was already 2 cm as per my last OB visit and my doc said my body was “ready”. And with that, I took the essential oils, dabbed a little here a little there, inhaled the scents (because apparently that is a thing to do) and I did this twice a day for 2 days.
On the second day, Saturday May 28th, we went to the pool. I sat by the pool, uncomfortably large and hot and very pregnant, and got stares from little girls who gawked at my obtrusive belly and asked me such things like, “Wooooow. Are you growing a baby in there?” And I smiled and humored them.
And then I felt a pain.
And then my kids wanted ice pops, and one had to poop (because when at the pool, one always has to poop, right?) and my husband had a beer. Or three.
And then I felt another pain.
After the 3rd pain, I told my husband, “Um, these contractions. Yeah. They hurt a little.” And he laughed and he smiled and he said, “Oh, Lin! You know you aren’t having this baby for another 3 weeks at LEAST.” And then he confirmed plans for friends to come over for dinner.
Hmm. Ok. He is probably right. But I am not crazy. I have had three kids. I happen to KNOW what labor feels like. Alas, I’ve never had an early baby, so I assumed he was right. They would probably go away or something.
Even I didn’t believe myself.
So we left the pool, and went to pick up hoagies for our dinner guests. Fancy I know, but someone who “might” be in labor, doesn’t have the brain capacity to cook. And plus, maybe having friends over would be a good distraction. After all, my labors are typically long and slow.
But as the night progressed and these illusive “pains” continued, I imagine it might be awkward to be a dinner guest with a host that may or may not be in labor? Just a hunch. My husband, still not believing that my ongoing (albeit not consistent) pains were actually labor pains, insisted it was all good. Beers all around.
At 8pm I called my mom and told her to come get the kids. Despite what my husband thought, I had a feeling this was the real deal. And who better to sense that things were happening, than the expiring baby?
At 8:30 my parents arrived and I decided we should take a walk to see if that would get things “percolating” as my dad always says. So me and my very pregnant belly, and our friends, and my parents and my 3 kids started walking. The pains continued. At 9 they all left, wished us luck, told them to keep us posted. But I could tell, none of them thought this was the real deal. Did I not look like I was in enough pain? I chalk it up to being “tough” – and maybe not actually believing it myself. Because, remember, I have NEVER had an early baby, and this was 8 days early.
My husband and I decided to do one more loop around the neighborhood.
And oh yeah there it was: a stop-me-in-my-tracks contraction.
I looked at my husband and told him we needed to go home. I needed to pack my bag. And my husband? Well, he needed to start chugging water.
From 10-11:30pm we sat on the couch. Just as I thought they were going away, they picked up. Twelve contractions in one hour warrants a call to the OB, right?
Apparently so. She told us to head in.
We checked in just after midnight and I was 4 cm dilated.
Being that it was Memorial Day weekend, there was a resident doctor on duty and the on-call doctor from another practice was the one who would deliver my baby.
The resident asked if I wanted an epidural and I declined for the time being. Like I said, my labors are typically long and slow and I like to experience the pain until it becomes unbearable.
So we watched some tv, actually a really good HGTV show called “I Bought the Farm” – highly recommend!
And then I felt a pop. And a gush. And oh yeah, my dream of my water actually breaking on its own finally came true.
I dinged in the nurse.
“Um, so I’m pretty sure my water just broke, but not sure if you need to know that or not?”
“Oh yes, definitely good to know. The doctor will be right in to check you.” And away she went.
And as she was leaving I shouted, “Oh, and I’m ready for the epidural!” The pain, lots of back labor, was getting super intense.
She turned around, checked my IV and said I needed to finish the fluid before I could have the epidural.
Moments later the doctor came in to check me, he said I was 6 cm. But the contractions? Toe-curling-ly painful.
I NEEDED the epidural NOW!
And then, oh no, the urge to push came over me! I screamed to the nurse.
“OMG I NEED TO PUSH!”
“NO!” She said. “Don’t!”
“BUT I NEED TO PUSH!”
“But don’t! You’re only 6cm.”
“OMG!” I thought, “Why is NO ONE believing me today?! I CAN’T NOT PUSH! It’s coming!”
At this point I imagine my husband looked like how most men in the delivery room look – helpless and confused.
And I imagine the look I was giving him was not a sweet, loving one.
After that it is all sort of a blur.
I remember lots of screaming. Yep, just like in the movies.
I remember the resident doctor coming back in and me asking him AGAIN for the epidural.
I remember him stuttering nervously, “Well, ummm maybe. We will see….”
And I remember thinking that deep down I knew he was just trying to pacify me because with one glance between my legs, we all knew the baby was coming.
And that, my friends, is a scary feeling. When you have never considered having a natural child birth and then you are faced with no other option.
It was an excruciating two minutes.
But two pushes later, it was over.
My husband and I looked at each other.
What the *HECK just happened?! (*heck was likely not the word we used)
One minute I was watching the farm show, and 10 minutes later, our baby was born.
I heard the first cry and relief overcame me.
The baby was here.
I did it!
And it wasn’t until moments later that I realized I still didn’t know the gender. I think we were just all in shock that this little person came out so fast. So fast that the on-call doctor didn’t even make it into the room in time.
“Well, what is it?” I asked my husband.
He looked over and then back at me.
“What do you think it is?” He smiled.
“A boy,” I said.
He smiled and I knew.
Four boys. Holy wow.
I held him. I kissed him. I closed my eyes and soaked him in just so thankful that he was here and healthy and that the child birthing part was over.
Having a baby is something that will never get old to me. It is a life experience like no other. Yes, it’s painful and scary and apparently, unpredictable, but this feeling is indescribable.
Two weeks later, I still hold him and can’t believe that he is here and he is mine and that I did this four times.
Cliche, but it is a miracle that two people can make a baby and that the female body can grow a human and birth it. These are the things that will always blow my mind.
And while it’s sad that this will be my last personal experience with childbirth (we’re done!), I’m also glad that it’s over. Pregnancy, as beautiful as it is, takes a lot out of a person. But now? Now, I just get to enjoy the miracles we created.
Lindsey Schuster is a former elementary school teacher turned stay-at-home mom. She blogs at The MotherChic.