The last ten months have been an insane whirlwind of excitement, fear, joy, and stress. And the last four weeks have been the most exhausting and yet incredible four weeks I’ve ever had. Who knew how much a tiny baby could flip your entire world upside down? Everyone told me this would happen, and I knew it would, but nothing can prepare anyone for the roller coaster ride that a baby will take you on. I love my daughter SO MUCH. There are not any words to describe it. And the love I have for Josey has found an entire new dimension now that we are parents together. This doesn’t mean that we haven’t had a couple of rough patches here and there (I mean, we are both pretty sleep deprived at the moment), but watching him be a daddy to our baby is such a precious gift in itself. My little family is the greatest blessing and I feel so so grateful, despite the tough days and rough nights. Anyway, there isn’t really any way to start a birth story without it being awkward so I’ll just cut to the chase.
Saturday, July 15th, we woke up with no expectations that Skylar would be born that day. Her due date wasn’t until the next day, the 16th, and as everyone knows, most first time moms go past their due date. So we really weren’t expecting her for another week. Due to a certain medical condition I’ve dealt with for a few years now, my doctor and I agreed that if Skylar wasn’t born by July 19th, I would be induced on the 20th. Not my ideal plan, as I really wanted to try to have my baby naturally (Josey and I took a Bradley Method class in preparation). So we prayed that Skylar would come before the 20th and attempted to kick start labor on our own. We walked miles, I ate spicy stuff, drank raspberry leaf tea, and….other “methods” (if you know what I mean). Still, no contractions. Well, July 15th, came and we woke up and had breakfast and at around 8:30 AM, I started having some pretty intense contractions. They were bearable but I could tell they were different than some of the Braxton hicks contractions I had felt a few days ago. A few contractions later, I thought they seemed sort of close together so I downloaded an app on my phone and timed them. They were about forty-five seconds long and about four minutes apart. Our Bradley Method instructor said that we would want to head to the hospital when the contractions were lasting a minute long and were four minutes apart consistently for one hour. I timed them for an hour and a half and they stayed consistent at forty-five seconds to a minute long and were anywhere from three to four minutes apart. Because we live about forty-five to fifty minutes from the hospital, I called my doctor just to make sure I was in real labor (not sure why I doubted). Because it was Saturday, my doctor was off and I had to speak to the on-call doctor. She asked me if my water had broke and I told her I wasn’t sure. This is gross, but no one said birth was glamorous, so I apologize if this is TMI. I was leaking some sort of fluid, but I couldn’t tell if it was my water or if I was peeing. You know how you always hear those stories of ladies who think their water broke but it was just pee? Yeah, so I wasn’t sure. On-call doctor told me to go ahead and get to the hospital since we had a bit of a drive and the contractions were so close together. We grabbed our hospital bag and let our pup out one more time before we left. I continued to time the contractions on the way to the hospital. It was about 11:00 AM by the time we got there and were admitted. I thought, good grief if it hurts this bad and they check me and I’m only three or four cm dilated, I’m going to cry. Soon after we were in our labor and delivery room, a nurse came in and checked me in between contractions. I was elated when she told me I was seven cm dilated. THANK GOD. I then thought, “Hey, I can totally do this.” Up until this point, the contractions were pretty painful, but I had been managing them fairly well. Sometimes bouncing on an exercise ball helped, sometimes sitting in a chair helped, sometimes being on all fours helped. I labored for another few hours and the nurse came and checked me again and told me I was at eight and a half cm. I feel bad that I don’t remember the nurses’ names, they were all so encouraging and helpful. Anyway, this was when I started seriously doubting and questioning why in the hell I wanted to have my baby naturally. The contractions progressed from being around two to three minutes apart to being right on top of each other. And they HURT. It basically felt like I had knives being pushed through my uterus. I tried so hard to keep my jaw and hands relaxed through each one (one of the tips we learned in class), but sometimes I just needed to squeeze Josey’s hand as hard as I could. I remembered thinking, “Can they just do a c-section instead? Go ahead and cut this baby out, because holy shit, this SUCKS.” The nurses and doctor told us that when it was time to push, I would feel like I need to poop. Well, whenever they would come and check on me and Josey, they kept asking “Does she need to poop?!” and then Josey would ask, “Do you need to poop yet?!” And I remember getting frustrated because it was hard enough to speak during the contractions that were on top of each other, but now everyone keeps asking if I have to poop and NO, I DO NOT HAVE TO POOP. I then started to feel discouraged that Skylar would never come out because I didn’t “have to poop.” But the pressure I was feeling was so intense, I turned to Josey at some point and told him I couldn’t take the pressure anymore, I need to push her out. I think he went and told one of the nurses (I really don’t know because I was trying so hard to focus on anything but the pain at that point). Before I knew it, all the nurses and the on-call doctor were all set up and ready for me to push. I know everyone says the transition part is the hardest part of labor, but I think it was the pushing that was. The contractions are so painful and while you’re having them, you have to push so hard using muscles you don’t really consciously use. I remember yelling as I pushed because it made me feel better. I pushed for thirty minutes and finally she was out! It was the most amazing relief I’ve ever felt, the feeling of her body leaving mine, it was crazy. She came out crying and was so little. I told Josey, “I can’t believe I just did that.” They placed her on my chest and it was amazing. Her tiny body on mine, all pink and warm. I couldn’t believe that this baby was inside me for nine months and I just gave birth to her. It all felt so surreal. I did have some first degree tears that needed attention so as they stitched me, I watched Josey hold our daughter and watched the nurses clean her up. I couldn’t believe she was finally here and she was ours.
So in short, I labored from 8:30 AM to 5:26 PM. Skylar weighed 6 pounds 11 ounces and was 20.5 inches long. A fast, natural labor and delivery and a healthy mom and baby were things Josey and I prayed for throughout the entire pregnancy, and God certainly answered our prayers!