I finished my Masters in Occupational Therapy degree on a Friday. We ran errands all weekend, and the following Monday was going to be my first complete, no strings attached day off in six and a half years.
My husband wasn’t feeling well and went to bed early. So to celebrate my day off, I stayed up late, watching a movie until 12:30 a.m. (something I NEVER do). I wasn’t worried about it, because my plan for Monday was to sleep the whole day and the baby wasn’t due for another two weeks.
I fell asleep on my couch, and at 3:00 a.m. I woke up to my water breaking.
We headed straight to the hospital where the nurse hooked me up to a monitor and IV and told me I was 1 cm dilated. My contractions came two in a row, with a two minute break in between.
I hadn’t completely ruled out an epidural, even though my goal was a natural birth. We had to consult the anesthesiologist due to the fact I have scoliosis. He did a consult and decided I would be at a high-risk for severe complications, but he could attempt. I decided that was a no-go. He wished me luck and was on his way.
After 4 hours of labor, there was a shift change and our new nurse came in and my mouth dropped to the floor. Our new nurse happened to be the doula I had wanted to hire!
I had taken an amazing labor and delivery class from her, but I couldn’t hire her during the month of December because she was picking up shifts as a L&D nurse at the hospital. BUT NOW SHE WAS OUR NURSE! I was so incredibly thankful.
At this point, I had been in labor for five and a half hours and was varying my labor positions between the balance ball, walking, and sitting on the couch, but every time I moved, my water would “dump” on the floor and require a lot of clean up. Water was constantly flowing out like a stream, and this was one of my least favorite parts of labor.
My contractions also became more intense. They were coming back-to-back with less than a minute break in between. I realized that singing through my contractions helped. My songs ranged from “Apple Bottom Jeans, Boots with the Fur” to “Lord, I Need You.”
My nurse thought for sure I would be progressing and checked me…2 cm.
Two cm after 5.5 hours of constant contractions. I was devastated. My doctor (who had been a labor and delivery nurse prior to becoming an OB/GYN) came in and told me the first 5 cm are the hardest.
I continued to labor and almost killed my husband as he ordered his lunch and was discussing what kind of dessert he should get during a contraction, and tried to move around more. But he would massage my back and my hips during contractions, and so did my L&D nurse.
After 12.5 hours, I was hysterical and still only at 7 or 8 cm. My L&D nurse encouraged me to do an IV pain med, because she thought I still had 4 more hours of labor (which I didn’t want to do because of the possible side effects for baby) but she said it would help my mental state as it had been a long day of no relief between contractions.
My husband and I had decided that the code word for when I needed something, pain-wise during labor, was “graham cracker.” We agreed I would only say it if I couldn’t do it anymore.
The next set of contractions came and I screamed “GRAHAM CRACKER, GRAHAM CRACKER, GRAHAM CRACKER.” My nurse gave me the IV pain med and I was shortly higher than a kite.
I could feel contractions and was completely calm through them. I had no filter on what I was saying. My husband told the nurses coming in: “she was funny in real life, but not this funny.” I would announce that “Contractzilla” was coming again before a contraction. I relaxed and with a little cervical stretch from my nurse, I was ready to push after a half an hour.
My nurse reminded me that first time moms sometimes have to push for 2 hours. I was so ready to push at this point that it didn’t matter. I would count off my nurse and my husband like counting off a jazz band before they would have to hold my legs. (Yep, I was very high.)
My nurse was surprised at my progress with pushing and told me I was going to have my baby soon (I only had been pushing for 20 minutes). She told me my doctor would be coming in.
To which I said, “Is she going to have the baby because I have been trying all day and I can’t do it.”
One push later, our daughter was born.
We didn’t know the sex of the baby beforehand, and they asked my husband to tell me. He said “It’s a boy!” only to be followed by a chorus of nurses and doctors saying “It’s a girl!”
The NICU team had to be there for the birth due to the IV pain medication being administered less than 2 hours before delivery, but thankfully she didn’t require any extra care. My daughter was placed on my chest right after birth.
My doctor was very surprised how big she was 8 pounds 14 ounces at two weeks early. I wasn’t surprised as I was huge and was reminded how huge I was frequently when I was in public.
Still higher than a kite, I got to order supper! My doctor had to leave right after my delivery to do a C-section. She delivered 6 babies that day, but she came back after and asked to swaddle our daughter and hold her.
Our baby had finally come! I told my doula that she won MVP of the day (still high) and was sent to the mom and baby wing.
I spent my first day off in 6.5 years in labor, but it was totally worth it. (Although I would have been just as happy if she would have come the day after 😉 )