**This is a long story, so I’m posting it in 2 parts. It is the story of Liam being born and my first experience with labor. This was written for myself, but I’m happy to share it with you if you want to take the time to hear our story. While I portray my version of how I wanted to give birth and research that I did, I am not implying that anyone else made wrong choices. This is my story and my opinion for myself. I embrace the fact that you made your birthing choices for you in your time. Peace.
We arrived at the hospital with our luggage, bags of board games and company. Jen had told us that we’d be moving into our room and then hanging out for a while, waiting for her, waiting to receive the induction drug, and then because it was a mild drug the effects could possibly not even begin until morning. However, when Jen got to Mercy she was told that there were too many women in labor that evening to purposefully put me in that
position as well; there wasn’t enough staff available. It was decided that I would be induced in the morning instead, assuming everything was okay with the baby; and with that I was strapped to the portable fetal heart rate monitor. My sister, mother-in-law, father-in-law and mom left to get some rest and I was instructed to do the same. But I couldn’t sleep. I kept feeling what seemed like contraction-y type feelings, but I wasn’t sure. And the nurse kept telling me that I would know if they were real labor contractions and that these were probably just some Braxton Hicks, or the beginnings of some labor, but nothing serious. She offered me a sleeping pill. I stuck to my personal Just Say No campaign and instead of getting some much needed rest I laid in the hospital bed with my eyes darting around the room and feeling more and more uncomfortable with whatever these contraction-type things were. And they seemed really close together, which I tried to tell my husband, who tried to tell the nurse…but no one waved a flag and hollered out that I was in labor. Around midnight the contractions (God-dammit they ARE contractions!) intensified. Since the nurse wasn’t going to call me out and get this party started I announced that I thought I was in labor and told my husband I wanted to call my mom.
He convinced me that we should let her sleep a little more and for the next couple of hours he set the contraction timer and tried to help me move around during the contractions and the nurse sounded like a broken record trying to get me to sleep. There was no way I was sleeping through this! Even though it became more painful later than what I was experiencing it didn’t discredit the fact that I felt pain.
Over the next thirteen hours I can only remember a blur and nothing is in a real chronological order. My contractions were so intense that I felt like I couldn’t breathe and
in turn felt claustrophobic, which caused some panic. They lasted about a minute and a half and there was only about a minute and half in between each one. I felt cheated of the mythical breathing and rest time that was promised through each discussion of labor in every birth class I went to. I thought I’d be able to walk to the hallways with my husband, stopping to lean against the wall and have him hug me while I moaned softly. HA! The only way my body could recover was to let every muscle go limp like a ragdoll for the 90 seconds until the next wave of torture rolled through. I know I tried to labor in bed for a little while, scrambling into different positions during contractions. I’m guessing my logic for that was that I was hoping the reason these contractions were so close together was because I was progressing so quickly and I’d be able to push shortly. HA, again!
I moved into the hot tub, which was better. At this time my mom was there, Jen the midwife, my sister and mother-in-law; as well as the labor and delivery nurse that had just begun her shift. Everyone took turns helping me breathe through contractions, nurses, midwives, my husband, even my sister; but my mom seemed to be the only one who could really keep my from having a panic attack on top of the contraction. She would squeeze my hand and lock eyes with me and even though I was emitting a guttural, baritone blast of
noise she would tell me I was strong and it would be over soon. Hours and hours passed, the hot tub water got cold, I stood under scalding hot shower water while they re-filled the hot tub for me. I remember trying to labor on the toilet. Maybe I thought that would help move the baby down. I was exhausted, I wanted to sleep, I wanted the g*%$#mn f%$#&ing baby out already. And it was no longer because I wanted to meet and hold my long-awaited baby, it was because I needed this to be done. I distinctly remember telling myself in my head to NOT FORGET THAT THIS IS THE WORST THING ANYONE COULD EVER DO. DO NOT FORGET. DO NOT FORGET THAT YOU MUST NEVER DO THIS AGAIN. AND IF YOU DO THERE SHOULD BE DRUGS. DO NOT FORGET, KATIE, THEY SAY YOU’LL FORGET AND YOU CAN’T FORGET THIS. ONE CHILD IS IT.
(Yeah, I’m doing it again.)
I’m not proud to admit what I did next. NO, I didn’t demand an epidural. (Out loud anyway.) There were these extremely retro videos that were played in every birth class I attended. The scenes showing real labor helped you learn “tools” to use during your own labor. Mostly we just nervously giggled at the woman yodeling and thought that there’s no way I’d do that. But I did. No, wait, I didn’t yodel, but I did mimic another woman that I remembered as equally as the yodeler. The drummer. She beat her hand against the wall and had a mantra to get through the contraction. I resorted to a mantra beat to get me through contractions. I started breathlessly telling my mom that I couldn’t do this anymore when a contraction came. And you can’t just give up during contractions. I don’t know what would happen…imploding, suffocation, the baby crawling back up into your
rib cage…I don’t know, but giving up is not an option. So my mom would squeeze my hand, look me in the eyes and tell me that I could do it. I started beating my hand against the side of the tub and would breathe/moan/scream out “I CAN doo IT. I CAN doo IT,” throughout the contraction. My husband says he never wants to hear that phrase again.
After about twelve hours of this blurring, foggy experience, and the shift-change that brought a new labor and delivery nurse and a new midwife, said midwife, Ellie, had me climb onto the bed to inspect the progress. I’m not going to remember the exact order of the last few hours, but I will give you a montage. Ellie said that the baby’s head was right
there and that I could push now, but that there was still a lip of my cervix blocking the way. That meant I was supposed to be pushing the baby past that, but all I heard was PUSH. And PUSH rang a bell through my hazy brain. This is the home stretch! I’m basically done! Everyone who had talked to me about labor had told me that they pushed two times, or had ten minutes of pushing and the baby was there and it was DONE. F@#%ing mutants. That’s not actually how it always works, apparently.
I pushed like a champ. Ellie told me to work with the contractions and push through them, but to stop when they stopped because it was counter-productive and a waste of my precious energy. Actually, because I thought I was almost done, I caught a 200th wind and adrenaline burst. With every contraction and push I thought the baby was going to come
sliding out. Not so, but I was just oblivious to the instruction that I didn’t have to push for every contraction, that I could rest through them once in a while. Why would I rest? I needed to be one more push closer to the END.
Ellie moved me to a birthing stool. My husband can tell this part better because I had my eyes closed in powerful and deliberate pushing. I remember Ellie telling me that the head was right there and to reach down and feel it, which I did. I didn’t stop for a hallmark moment, though, and it just motivated me further to believe that I was just about done. Meanwhile, Ellie grabbed a flashlight and had my entourage gather around the stool to watch the head emerge. I don’t recall seeing them surround me, although I know it
happened. Finally, Ellie instructed me back to the bed where it seemed like maybe we truly were at the end. I’m pretty sure this is the point where she offered to break my water because she thought it might help get us across the finish line and it was still intact. Wait? What? How could she break my water if there was NO amniotic fluid left, as the ultrasound tech had suggested? He was wrong. There was fluid, and Ellie broke it, which brings us to the pushing out part. I’m going to go ahead and ruin the surprise that Liam
ended up weighing 9 lbs. 3 oz. You might think I was torn to shreds, mais non. Ellie gave me instructions and I am such a good student I followed them to the T. She said, “Push until you feel that Holy Shit Feeling and then stop. If you push past it you will tear.” Enough said and believe me, I knew what she meant about the Holy Shit Feeling and there’s really nothing else you can call it. I pushed that soon-to-be-Liam baby out without needing a single stitch after. It is the most insane feeling to be at a point where you aren’t thinking about pushing your baby out to be able to hold him, you’re just pushing to get this
the f@#$% over with; but the absolute second the slimy, squirming baby is in your arms you know that it was for him. There are two pictures taken of me within seconds and one is me with a face of agony and the next is me smiling and kissing my baby. And the first
thought I had was, He smells like cotton candy. Do all babies smell like candy when they’re born or is it just him?