Wow has life changed in the past couple of weeks (and that is a total understatement!).
As it is fresh (despite sleep deprivation) in my mind, I want to document my birth story with Reid. I have to admit that even though he was born 2 weeks ago, the intense pain that I remember recapping to my family and friends is now more blurred in my memory. It may be from the lack of sleep or from the fact that now I have a beautiful and healthy baby boy in my arms, but the pain of labor was all worth it in the end.
For starters, my labor story is probably not a common story but then again who knows what is common when it comes to labor?! All I know is that all the books that I read and classes that I dragged my husband to seemed to make ZERO difference when it came time for my actual labor. Sure they made me feel more comforted that I was “prepared” and “knew” what labor was going to be like–but in the actual moment nothing that I had learned applied to my situation.
So here goes…
My wonderful mom had come into town the Friday before I went into labor. She had a few days off of work and thought that Reid may come early and she wanted to be in town on the off chance that he did. When she was in town we took full advantage of my last days being “baby-less”. We went to dinner, went shopping, took long walks, and chatted like we had no big responsibilities. She was eager for Reid to pop out when she was here so we jokingly did all the old wives tales tricks to see if he would come–I ate spicy food, Mexican food, Chinese food (which made all of our stomachs turn), I ate dates and black licorice, drank raspberry tea, went on long walks, and finally ate eggplant parm (despite my taste aversion for it). We had a lot of fun trying all the old tricks out, but nothing seemed to be working. I was not having the Braxton Hicks contractions that my class talked about and I did not have any pelvic pressure or abdominal discomfort.
The only signs of labor that I had (now that I know), was sharp hip pain and somewhat intense lower back pain. I thought that the pain was just associated with my growing belly and the pressure associated with being 38 weeks pregnant. Around 5:00 a.m on Thursday (February 25th), I googled ways to relieve lower back pain while pregnant and back labor. Google and all my books explained that some women experience back labor, but that it was not very common. So I did the stretches that I found online to relieve my back pain and planned to do squats/lunges and take a walk during the day–both things they said would help relieve the pain.
My mom was set to leave on Thursday morning and she was flying back the following Wednesday. Since I didn’t think much of my lower back pain, I assured her that I was going to be fine and take it easy until she came back. After I dropped her off, I went to 9Round to do my squats and lunges in order to relieve my lower back pain (my mom does not classify that as taking it easy ;). Following my quick workout and a failed shopping trip to Hobby Lobby to find a frame for the nursery, I went on a 2 mile walk with my neighbor and her baby boy. My back pain was still there, but it had subsided some and I felt like it was just a normal day.
Around 6:30 that evening, Drew arrived home from a bad day at work and decided to go for a run on the treadmill to burn off some energy. I was putting clothes away and straightening up the guest room when I started to feel some intense pressure down below. Additionally, my baby started to have an almost spasm that lasted 30 seconds. I remember leaning over my bed in pain as the spasm subsided. I called my mom and then my mother in law to ask about contractions and labor. Both of them told us to get it checked out–so I walked down the hall and told Drew that I thought I was in labor and walked out of the room. He said that I was very non-chalont about the whole thing so continued to run. He hollered at me to come back, but at that point I was having another contraction. His mother told me to put him on the phone, following a discussion with her he got off of the treadmill and came to help.
We called the Ob/Gyn office which did not give us any instruction, so then we called my sister. I explained the pressure that I was feeling and she quickly told Drew that I was in labor and needed to get to the hospital ASAP. At that point, Drew changed from being okay to being on go mode. I still didn’t think I was in actual labor as I didn’t have abdominal cramps and they were only lasting 30 seconds–but he hurried me out of the house with our bags in tow. We called his mother who said that she was getting in the car and driving to the hospital. We talked to my mom and dad as we were in the car going to the hospital.
When we arrived at the hospital, I had a contraction while walking to the front door and again one when we were at the check in desk. The front desk lady said you are having back labor and you aren’t going home tonight. We chatted with her for a bit about her back labor experience before we got checked in and sent to a triage room. The triage nurse checked me and said that I was still only 2 cm dilated. She asked me a couple of questions and I explained that our “birth plan” included an epidural and any pain medication (as I clearly had a low pain threshold as I was only 2 cm dilated). I told her that I continued to feel like I had to go to the bathroom and throw up at the same time. The nausea only lasted about a minute but the pressure continued on. We explained that my sister had a quick labor. She hooked me up to a machine to check the baby’s heartbeat and said that she was going to monitor me.
She explained that she was going to keep me at the hospital for a couple hours and then discharge us. She told me that I was experiencing pre-labor pains and that it would last for the next couple of weeks! I remember thinking–how in the heck am I going to deal with this pain for 2 more weeks! She then re-instructed us about 5-1-1 and waiting the next time to come to the hospital when my contractions were a minute apart (this was after she asked if we had gone to a birthing class!!). Needless to say, the nurse (though she later apologized) did not think that I was in serious pain or that I was in actual labor. I cannot blame her as I was a first time mom and had told her to give me all the drugs necessary for me not to be in pain as well as only being 2 cm dilated. However, she was wrong and I was in actual labor.
I remember having intense back pain while I continued to have a lot of pressure down below. I was holding on to Drew’s arm and squeezing it while attempting to massage my lower back at the same time. At one moment, I remember telling him that the pain was going away–just for it to come back 3 minutes later as a constant pain (transition pain). At the time that the constant pain started, my mother in law arrived at the hospital. I remember seeing her enter the room but I could barely look at her as I was in so much pain. She tried to massage my lower back as I was still holding on to Drew’s arm. About 5 minutes after she arrived, she told Drew to call for the nurse to have me checked again. The nurse came in and checked me and stated that I was 10 plus 2 cm dilated (meaning his head was coming out)!
At that moment, I knew that there was going to be no pain medication and that this was the real deal. I had my eyes shut and remember hearing about 7 nurses scurrying around asking where the doctor was and that I needed to be moved ASAP. They quickly moved me into a labor room, where I was then instructed that I had to open my eyes to be transferred to another bed. My mother-in-law helped the nurses and doctor put on their scrubs as the doctor told me to focus and that I was going to need to push like I had to use the bathroom. I remember feeling water or something poured on me (which was a numbing agent) and then the doctor telling me to push. I looked at a nurse with fear in my eyes and pushed–the doctor said that the head came out. Drew and his mom looked (but I totally didn’t hear him say look nor was I going to look at something half out of my body!). Following the head, I pushed once more and his shoulders and body came out. Shortly after, I had to push for the placenta to come out. Next thing I remember, is Drew cutting the cord and then looking at the nurses carrying a baby to a table to check him out. Needless to say, I was in complete shock!
Here I thought that I was just a wimp with zero pain tolerance in pre-labor and less than an hour later, I was a mom! Following his Apgar scores, I was given my first and only shot of pain medication and he was placed in my arms and I held him with my body shaking. I remember being scared that my body was in shock–but then I was told that the shakes were totally normal and would last for a little while.
We were allowed to stay in the labor room for an hour before heading down the hall to my room. At our hospital, the baby always stays in the room. That evening, Reid was given a sponge bath and had multiple staff members coming in and asking us questions. I was still in shock and remember talking to my family and texting with a few of my close friends. Despite the super late time (1 or 2 a.m.), I was able to share in the news with some of my favorite people!
The next day was a whirlwind of doctors and nurses coming in to check on little Reid and visiting with our families. My mom took the first plane out on Friday morning and was back in town by 9 a.m. in the morning (I still feel terrible about the crazy turn around time!). My sister and dad drove down and arrived around 6 p.m. Friday evening. Drew’s mom stayed the night at our house and was back at the hospital in the morning. Drew’s sister arrived on Friday afternoon and so did Scott. It was great that all of our family was able to see Reid within the first 24 hours of his life!
Since Reid passed all of his tests (we had to retake the hearing test-apparently, if babies come out quickly or are C-section babies they don’t get the added squeeze and fluid can stay in their ears), we were fortunate and able to leave Saturday around noon (we were supposed to stay until 10 p.m.). We could not say enough about the hospital staff and nurses. They were all wonderful and made our first time parent experience a great one 🙂