In the weeks before I gave birth, I had begged friends and family to go swimming and go shopping with me (in order to walk in air conditioning), with hopes of inducing labor, all to no avail. On one such occasion, my sister-in-law Shana and I were eating at Olive Garden when I realized that we were going to be late for my doctor’s appointment. So we
At the last visit, I had declined to have my cervix checked, “because what would it change, right?” and I disliked being touched. This time I was antsy, so I had them check. Low and behold: I was four centimeters dilated. The midwife said that because my blood pressure had been steadily rising and my due date was only three days away anyway, she was going to send me over to the hospital.
So Shana drove me to the adjacent parking lot and we checked into the hospital. I remember sitting in the waiting room, thinking, “Is this real? Is it finally happening? Am I ready?” Yes, yes, no.
They took us to a very nice, clean, spacious room (birthing suite). The nurse told me to take a shower and change into a gown because it would likely be the last time I had the opportunity to do so with peace and privacy.
Afterward, I called Scott, thinking how convenient it was that he would only miss one day of work since they were inducing me the next day, Friday morning. He seemed disappointingly calm (but this was probably just him trying not to freak me out even more). Then I called my mom because she was going to be the only other person in the delivery room.
It was the worst night of sleep I’ve ever gotten. I was excited and nervous, the ‘bed’ was rock hard, my stomach was crushing me, I had two monitors strapped to my belly (the nurses had to come readjust them when I tossed and turned too much), plus I had an IV and a couple other things attached to me. Ironic because the nurse cheerfully told me to get some rest while I could—soon I’d have a baby keeping me up!
I was ready to be awake at 5:00 am, which is when my mom arrived (with coffee that I couldn’t have—no food or drink after bedtime). I felt comforted by her presence—something about mothers does that. At 7:30 am (a half hour late), they injected me with Pitocin.
The nurse showed my mom how to read the machine tracking my contractions and she would tell me when I was having one, but I couldn’t feel them. So I took a nap. Or two. Eventually, I started to feel a little pressure so, rather than let it develop into full-on pain, I told the nurse I was ready for the epidural.
This was the scariest part. My back was completely bare to the technician as I gripped Scott’s forearms, unable to see the needle (that I’d heard was very large). I cried like a child and the nurse had to tell me to relax my muscles multiple times.
About an hour after that, a nurse came in (for the most part, it had been just me, Scott, and my mom in the suite the whole morning). She asked if I was ready to push. I was ready for something to happen already, so I said yes.
Scott grabbed my right leg and my mom grabbed my left. The nurse, Jenny, was the best birthing coach. She kept telling me that if everyone wanted to have a baby as bad as I clearly did, babies would be born in no time. I replied, “You must say that to all the girls.” She laughed, I laughed, everyone laughed, and then it was time to push again.
It only lasted for about an hour and a half, but I was tired toward the end. Then all of a sudden, a swarm of nurses came flooding into the suite and the midwife pulled the baby out with a final tug. Scott wasn’t supposed to look, but he did. He cut the umbilical cord and took the blood-encrusted baby.
Then they pulled out the placenta (it felt like giving birth to a squid). They started stitching me up, but I was focused on the baby being given her various shots and tests. Then it was my turn to hold her.