Before even getting pregnant Dale knew he didn’t want us to find out the gender of our first child. I asked him a million times before our gender ultrasound if he was sure. Somehow I made it through the appointment without caving. I even looked at Dale while the doppler was on my belly, and said one last time, “you’re sure right?”. I knew if I could make it through that appointment without finding out the gender I could wait until our babes arrival.
On March 21st, at 40 weeks and 6 days pregnant Dale and I packed the car to head to the hospital. My doctor told me that they wouldn’t let me go past 41 weeks, and since I had already turned down the option of being induced at 40 weeks, I knew that any little pain meant go time. Around 6pm I started having small contractions and called the hospital, which informed me that once a bed was ready they would like me to come in. Dale took a last bump picture of me and we sat and watched the first episode of The Originals (since we had almost finished The Vampire Diaries) as we waited for it to be the right time to leave.
We arrived at the hospital around 11pm and checked in. I remember the long walk all the way to the last room at the end of the hall. When we walked in the nurse handed me my gown, and I remember looking at the bed thinking how I couldn’t believe this is where our baby would be born. After I changed the nurse took my vitals, placed my I.V. and hooked me up to the monitors. After I was all hooked up, they did a vaginal exam to see how far along I was. At this point I had experienced five vaginal checks and none prepared me for the “hospital exam”. When the nurse went in to check me I pushed her nearly onto the floor off of me without meaning to, which was my reaction to the unexpected pain. My mom looked at me and said, “I didn’t want to tell you, but the exams at the hospital are more intense.” She indicated from the check that I was 3cm dilated.
When I wrote out or talked out my birth plan I had only two goals: 1. a vaginal birth and 2. for Dr. Paul to deliver my baby (my OBGYN has doctors on rotation). I wanted to keep it short and simple so that I wouldn’t be let down when labor didn’t go my way, as I was sure it wouldn’t. Around 3am my contractions started getting more intense and much closer together. Before having a baby I asked so many moms to explain to me what a contraction felt like. Everyone had their own way of explaining the pain. For me I would say it wasn’t a pain on it’s own I couldn’t handle. It would come, I would squirm and move because there is no way to get comfortable, and then the pain would go away. The frequency of the pain is what had me asking for the epidural. Looking back on how many hours I was in labor I cannot imagine feeling that pain every 5 minutes or less for 12 hours straight.
The labor and delivery team was amazing through my labor experience. The anesthesiologist however was not! I have always been nervous about the idea of getting an epidural. When we first arrived and the nurse was taking my vitals I asked if my mom, since she had went to nursing school, could stay in the room with me. The nurse agreed that since it was a slow night, and since the nurse anesthetist who working was super nice my mom could stay in the room with me (usually no one is aloud to be with you). Well, lucky me, as soon as I asked for the epidural the “super nice nurse” was called into the O.R. for an emergency C-section. Instead, the anesthesiologist, whom apparently they woke from his sleep (I later learned that anesthesiologist do 24 shifts and take naps at the hospital) came in ready to get the job done-and wasn’t in the least bit accommodating to my emotional condition. He was super direct and all business. When I told him that they(the nurses) said my mom could stay in the room, he looked at me sternly and said, ” the rules are posted on the wall somewhere if you want someone to find them for you. No one is allowed in the room.” Super hormonal and terrified I started bawling. The doctor then looked at me and said, “I can come back if you aren’t ready for the epidural”. Dale looked like he could have punched the doctor in the throat and replied to him “she needs a moment” but kissed me, reassured me it would be ok, and left the room. He later told me that he stood outside the door with my mom the entire time listening to make sure I was okay. Luckily my nurse was absolutely amazing and stood in front of me so I could hold her super tight and burry my head in her chest. After all of that the epidural didn’t even hurt… All I felt was the two pinches of shots to numb me and then I didn’t feel anything else. Instead the hardest part was not moving during a contraction.
Once the epidural went into effect, things seemed to go very fast. They then gave me a medicine called Pitocin to move things along. Around 6am, the baby’s heart rate was acting funny and I started to get really nervous. Nurses were in and out of my room monitoring the baby. Dr. Paul thankfully was on call, however she was delivering another baby so she suggested they take me off the Pitocin. Luckily, when I had another vaginal check around 8am, I was fully dilated and almost ready to go. They started the process of laboring me down where they sit you up so that baby begins to drop further naturally.
At around 11am it was time to push! Blame it on the hormones, but when they told me it was go time I starting an intense nasty cry. It was a mix of such extreme emotions knowing that my baby would be in my arms so soon. I started asking questions out loud like, “why I’m I crying? Why do I feel so funny? Am I ready for this?”. Dale and my mom each grabbed a leg. The feeling of having an epidural is the weirdest thing ever. You legit can’t feel your legs. At one point I grabbed my leg and thought it was Dale’s arm. Another thing I didn’t know is that when you start pushing the doctor isn’t in the room. I pushed for a total of two hours and for the first hour and a half the nurse did all the coaching.
I couldn’t have asked for a better team than having Dale and my mom there. I didn’t know that giving birth would be such a bonding experience with both of them. The experience with my mom has brought us closer. As for my husband, I don’t think I have ever heard anyone say this about labor before, but it was a romantic experience. I guess from TV I pictured me slapping him and saying, “how could you do this to me?!” It wasn’t like that at all. He was the worlds best cheerleader! With every single push he would kiss me and say how proud he was. He encouraged me through the 2 hours of pushing and with each contraction he assured me that I was almost there.
At 1:15pm I gave my last and final push and our babe entered the world. My eyes were closed for the last push and I opened them to my baby on my chest. It happened so fast. I still remember feeling the weight on my chest and how it felt like someone placed a wet fish on me. Quickly Dr. Paul turned our baby around and spread open it’s legs and said, “you have waited nine long months mom, you tell us what it is!”. I screamed, “IT’S A BOY!!!” over and over again. I looked at Dale and said, “a boy, we have a boy, we have a boy! Can you believe it?”. Dale was right when he said we should wait. It took days for it to sink in, not only that we have a baby but we had a boy and his name is Arrow Grey Wright!
On my chest is where he stayed for almost 2 hours. I understood skin to skin is best for the baby to get adjusted to the world and to feel safe and comforted, but what I didn’t anticipate was how safe and comforted Arrow would make me feel. It took me two hours to push him out because he was head up. As I would later hear a nurse say to another nurse in my recovery room, “it was basically an explosion down there” when describing the degree of my tear, so you can imagine why it took an hour and a half for my doctor to stitch me up. This alone made me so thankful I chose to get the epidural.
After I was all stitched up Dale finally got to walk out and announce to everyone we had a son! I know that everyone in the waiting room was dying to know what was going on since my mom texted at 11:45am that we were pushing and Dale didn’t go out to announce until almost 3:30pm!
The experience of giving birth was better than I could have dreamed. For me, moving to my postpartum room and starting the journey to recovery was the hardest part. I had plans of changing into my pretty nightgown I brought and showing our son off to family and friends. Instead, Dale ended up on the hospital bathroom floor only hours after Arrow was born with food poisoning. After 30 hours with no sleep, a sick husband, my epidural wearing off, and a nurse plopping my son on my chest without instructions on how to feed him, I learned every birth story has an unexpected hardship.
I have always heard people say, “wait until you have the first then tell me how many kids you want”. I thought after my first born I would second guess going through it all again. I have wanted to be a mom my entire life but thought when I became one I would have days of wondering why I got myself into this mess. So what’s the verdict after birthing and mothering baby #1 for three short months?! I would do it all again! I would go through it every single day for the rest of my life just to see his little smile and to kiss his little cheeks.