I never thought that I would actually be penciled in for labor and delivery as if the occasion were none other than an appointment with the hairdresser or dentist on any other morning. But alas 41 weeks had rolled around and I still found myself without a single pre-labor sign or symptom. So I was scheduled for an induction for Wednesday, June 17th (oddly enough, the date I had predicted about a month ago for my boy's birthday!). The doctor had told us to arrive at the hospital at 7:30 am. I tried to rest up in the days prior getting light exercise and eating healthy meals. I was also trying to stay relaxed as possible and not let my nerves get the best of me.
On Wednesday morning, we arose bright and early. I felt like it was Christmas morning. Just as we were about to head out the door my cell phone rang with the OB nurse telling me they had to reschedule my induction time as there were not enough birthing rooms available in the hospital. Feeling somewhat disappointed I hung up the phone and appraised my entire family of the situation. The nurses informed me that most likely I would get in later in the day but they couldn't assure me of anything. I felt a little like I was a bride all dressed up in my white gown and my fiancÚ phones to say "hmm . . . maybe we should get hitched later in the day, or perhaps tomorrow, or maybe by the end of the week." Ugh . . . there was nothing I could do but wait. My mom and I went on a nice walk around the neighborhood. Afterwards, I turned on the TV and watched part of Sweet Home Alabama to pass the time. I ate half a bagel with peanut butter and a small Babybell cheese. Little did I know this would be my last meal for hours! (One of my biggest fears of the entire labor process . . . ) My cell phone rang at 10am with the nurse telling me to essentially, "come on down!" as they would say on the Price is Right. So we quickly scrambled our belongings and headed out the door.
It felt really strange pulling up to the hospital with our packed bags feeling absolutely normal and knowing that we were going into such a life altering experience. We rolled our suitcases into the hospital as if we were checking into our vacation hotel. We got to our room at 10:40am and my labor and delivery nurse started taking my history. Another nurse came to insert my IV and draw several vials of blood. We decided to bank our baby's cord blood so the nurses had to draw extra blood. I started to feel pretty woozy at this point so the nurses applied some cold towels to my forehead and allowed me to drink a little bit of water.
The doctor arrived around noon and checked my cervix. I was still only 1 cm dilated and 60% effaced. She then applied the cervical gel that would allow me to fully efface and hopefully bring on the contractions. I was told I would have to lie in bed for a full hour before moving around to let the gel settle. She had told me how important it was to go to the bathroom before she put in the gel, so I did. Not 5 minutes after she left I felt extremely uncomfortable menstrual-like cramps and an extreme urge to evacuate my bowels. I was so miserable I had my husband page the nurse and explain the situation. I miserably experienced multiple episodes of diarrhea.
I passed the next few hours with positional changes being my weapon against the steadily increasing pain and discomfort. I was side-lying, sitting on the Swiss ball, doing mini-squats. I went down to the spa room and bathed in the tub for about half an hour. At one point, I was curled up backwards on the hospital bed with the chair fully inclined. The nurse walked in and said, "wow, I've never seen anyone in so many odd positions, can I flatten the bed for you?" "No, I answered, this is exactly how I need to be right now." My husband was with me every second asking me what I needed. The truth was, I really didn't know what I needed. I was in the zone, the deepest zone I've ever been sucked into. I could concentrate on absolutely nothing else but each present second. Within this time period, I was feeling really parched so I asked the nurse if I could have a sugar-free Life Saver that I had brought. She said of course. Little did I know that whatever sugar substitute they put in those things leaves a nasty after taste. This bitter taste lingered in my mouth for approximately the next three hours. It was pineapple flavored, I will never forget that. Stupid Life Saver.
It was probably around 4pm when the positional changes no longer eased the pain. My contractions were coming on strong and hard. Each relief between contractions lasted for no longer than 15-25 seconds. This is where my "hee hee hoos" came into play. I was shouting them out like a champ. I think my husband was supposed to be coaching me, but it was more like I was leading the way and he was joining in. At this point I was ready to exercise my right to epidural intervention. The anesthetist came in and explained everything regarding the epidural. I decided at this point to get the catheter placed and start with a walking epidural. Once the medicine began to work, I felt worlds and I mean WORLDS better! I was finally able to relax and breathe. But again after about 30 minutes the unrelenting contractions began to once again take their toll. I then opted for the full epidural. After this dose kicked in, I felt great! I felt like I was on the top of the world. I let my family and girlfriend in the room. We were snapping pictures and smiling and I was rocking out to a Tim McGraw CD.
Around 6:30 the nurse checked my cervix again. I was already 10 cm dilated! I couldn't believe it! We began pushing. I guess I had always imagined that this would be the hardest part. In reality, for me it was the easiest. With the epidural I could still feel my lower body. I felt immense pressure but absolutely no pain. Knowing that I was so close to the end and meeting my baby provided all the motivation I needed. Only my labor nurse and my husband were there for the beginning of the pushing stage. I remember at one point my husband was holding one of my legs in one hand and phoning in our dinner order with the other hand. Ah, the things you remember . . . About a half an hour into pushing, the nurse phoned in my OB. At this point it was 7pm which happened to be the changing over of the nursing staff. The labor nurse that had been with me the whole time (she was amazing) wanted to stay to meet my little guy. All the sudden there were about five women in the room and my husband all there cheering me on through every series of pushes. They said I was a great pusher and with each push they could see him descending further. I guess the months and months of Kegels and Pilates were finally paying off!
At 7:34 pm on June 17th, 2009, Owen Pete was born into the world. As soon as he emerged the doctor placed him on my chest. There are absolutely no words to describe the feelings I felt. It was completely and utterly indescribable. I didn't know my heart could harbor so much love so instantly. He came out with a full head of dark hair and steel blue eyes. 8 lbs, 4 oz. and 21 1/4 inches long. Oh and to boot, he pooped all over me. First present to mommy. I didn't mind one bit.
As I held Owen in my arms, the doctor worked my placenta out. The nice thing was that I was so intrigued with my little boy that I didn't feel any of the nudging and pulling. I also asked my doctor if I had a tear, and believe it or not, I dodged that bullet! Whew.
The next few days at the hospital where somewhat of a whirlwind. Doctors, nurses, lactation consultants, and visitors were in and out at a near constant pace. But I've never felt happier being with my new expanded family in our own little bubble. With all of the hustle and bustle and adrenaline, I didn't have time to reflect on the entirety of everything that had happened. As we were packed up to leave and my husband was making multiple trips to and from the car (how did we accumulate so much stuff?) I had a few moments of peace and quiet with my new little man. It was at this point that I broke down in tears. Looking down at his sweet little face it finally hit me that I was a mommy! I couldn't believe that I had brought this beautiful being into the world. I didn't know that my heart was able to harbor so much love and joy unconditionally to one single person. My life had changed significantly in a matter of days. The world is now a brighter place. I don't know about the baby blues but I feel as though I am experiencing baby pinks, purples, and yellows. I didn't know that I could ever feel this happy. I feel so blessed to have had such a wonderful pregnancy and such a beautiful family.
I loved being pregnant and I loved being able to share my adventures on paper with others. If you have been reading my entries, I hope that you have enjoyed sharing my emotions, thoughts, and experiences. It has been a privilege to write for StorkNet. For now, I must re-join my ranks as wiper, diaperer, food supplier, rock to sleeper, etc. etc. (i.e. mommyhood!)