I am almost certain that this is the last photo I posed for during the final weeks of pregnancy. Notice the bare feet, they were too swollen to be housed by my constricting shoes. Michael took photos of me almost weekly during my pregnancy in front of this print. We’ll eventually compile those photos into something like a flip book and watch my belly grow. My husband is very creative so just check back and maybe it will be finished soon? Our current goal is to pick out our wedding photos, yikes!
My version of the birth story.
I was 40 weeks and 4 days overdue when I went into labor. At my doctor’s appointment the Friday before I went into labor, I went away from the office downcast because Dr. Price was becoming concerned and mentioned induction [I thought almost all first time mothers went past their due dates but the doctors and nurses acted as if I were an anomaly]. The Dr. asked me if she could sweep my membranes and I nervously blurted out that I would have to call my husband and ask him. I felt a burst of heat come over my body and I started to sweat from fear. This was the one appointment that Michael missed because I said that it wouldn’t be a big deal because they’d likely examine me and just send me home. The Dr. very politely said that she would step out so that I could have a private conversation and not feel pressured. I wanted to do it because I thought it was a better option than induction with medication which I was not yet prepared for and Michael agreed. Oftentimes I have a meltdown (or fold up like a deck chair as Mm would say) without him around to help me make tough decisions. I was told that I could go into labor in an hour or in twenty-four hours but there was no telling and I would just have to wait it out. I was already three-four centimeters dilated and hoped things would get going. Before I left I scheduled another after term appointment the following Monday to discuss “our options”. I checked out the posted on call schedule just to see which doctor would deliver if I went into labor over the weekend- Saturday Dr. Johnson, Sunday Dr. Terresa, and Monday Dr. Price. I really like all of the doctors who practice at my Ob’s office but I was hoping for Dr. Terresa or Dr. Price.
The weekend came and I didn’t feel anything remotely close to a contraction until Sunday night at 10:30. We were watching the series premier of The Cape on NBC and I was knitting next to Michael on the couch when I stopped, looked over and said “Honey, I think I just had a contraction” and Michael said “Okay, let me know if you feel another”. We had had many Braxton contractions already and we both thought that this was the same. Shortly thereafter I stopped what I was doing and told Michael that I had had another. He started to time my contractions and we realized that they were happening every four-five minutes apart. I couldn’t believe that I was actually in labor, where did first stage go? I think we skipped it completely. In our birthing class we were taught about false labor and real labor and the process that followed. Somehow I went from Second stage to transition in a little over an hour and all of a sudden I was down on my hands and knees telling Michael that I couldn’t do it. I repeated that I couldn’t do it and Michael was on the phone with the doctor. We also learned in our birthing class that when a first time mother states that she isn’t able to “do it”, she’s transitioning and the baby is really close to entering the world.
My very amazing husband remained calm through this, managed to gathered some of his belongings and mine and put my sneaks on backwards and upside down while I tried to breathe. He ran out to pull the car around and managed to get me off the ground and into our foyer where I again fell to my knees trying to get through another contraction. I kept my head down in the car and didn’t raise it until we stopped at a stoplight. I told Michael to run the light because it felt like we had been sitting there forever and I was so hot that I could hardly breathe. This is when I think I rolled the window all the way down and froze the poor man out. My guess is that it was about seventeen degrees outside. We finally arrived at Baptist East and by that time the contractions were right on top of one another and I stood up to get out of the car only to kneel down on the cold hard concrete in front of the hospital entrance to work through another hard contraction. Michael helped me up, we got to the elevators and I went down again. This happened until we got to labor and delivery and all I can remember at that point was that Michael had to hold the elevator door open by the button because I couldn’t make it out and a nurse asked him if she could get us a wheelchair. I thought to myself, “really . . . could I use a wheelchair???, Does it look like I could use one?”. (Note the sarcasm)
I don’t remember changing out of my clothes to get into the hospital gown because I think I kept my eyes closed virtually the entire time I was in the delivery room. I do remember a nurse telling me that she was going to check my progress and say that I was 10 cm dilated and fully effaced. Then suddenly a handful of nurses sprang into action, supplies in hand, gliding furniture and rolling tables around, waiting and ready for action. Then they stood there and watched me. One nurse whispered to another, “she took the Bradley classes, no epidural”. They were talking to me I just couldn’t understand them nor could I communicate.
I was lying on my right side clenching my Michael’s hand so hard that I knew he must be wincing from the pain of nearly broken fingers. He kept whispering instructions in my ear and I think I nodded and did what he said. I do recall a nurse that kept speaking loudly into my left ear, telling me to breathe into my mouth and out through my nose repeatedly. As Michael would describe it, she got a curt “I GOT IT” response when I had decided that I’d had enough. I remember apologizing repeatedly and saying that I was sorry because I was not pushing like everyone needed me to. I just felt like I needed to rest and somehow managed to turn around to face the head of the bed so that I could lean over some pillows and take a break. I sat with my back toward everyone because I was wiped out but could sense the eyeballs staring at my back. After a few minutes I turned back around and asked for the awful monitor measuring my contractions to be taken off since it was strapped so tightly around my belly. I think this is when my body realized that the contractions were getting stronger and took over. My endorphins were rushing and I felt no pain. I was no longer coherent and remember hearing someone say “look down” so that I could see my baby but I couldn’t see. Everything was so blurry. A minute later they placed baby Who on my chest. I gazed over at Michael and he was crying and then looked down at our son. I couldn’t believe what had just happened. It didn’t sink in until everyone left the room and there the three of us sat. I started to cry while I fed my son for the first time and my husband sat next to me and held us.