On Thursday, April 12th, 2012, I had decided I had waited about long enough to meet my sweet little one. I was 10 days late, uncomfortable, anxious about when and where labor might start for me, and just plain excited. I had a doctor’s appointment scheduled for the next morning, and I was planning to ask about being induced and how soon that might happen.
However, EK had her own plans. Friday morning at 6:00am, I woke with contractions. They were already 60 seconds long and 8 minutes apart by the time I woke up. I got up, ate a light breakfast, took a shower (destined to be the only one for days), and called my doctor’s office when they opened at 8:00am. The PA I talked to suggested I just wait and come in for my appointment, but be ready to be sent to the hospital. Hubby and I packed our bags and headed to the doctor.
One small but significant detail is that my doctor is a friend of Hubby’s family. He delivered Hubby and one of his brothers, so although I knew it might not work out, I knew it would be special if he could be there for EK’s birth. When we saw him for the appointment at 9:00am, I was 5cm dilated and he did send us directly to the hospital. He informed us that he had to be out of town in the afternoon, but he would make it a priority to be back as soon as possible so he would hopefully be here for her arrival.
By the time Hubby and I checked in the hospital, my contractions were getting extremely painful. We had to take an elevator up to labor and delivery, and when the elevator doors opened, I was doubled over with a contraction, only kind of breathing, red faced and all. The reception gals took one look at me and hollered, “Don’t have that baby in the elevator!” Thanks a lot girls, because you shouting that is what would keep me from having the baby. Anyway, they sent us to a preliminary room to be checked. The nurse seemed to think I wasn’t ready (based on what? I don’t know. All she did was talk to me.) but I told her my doctor had sent me because I was 5cm dilated, and she then said “Oh! Then we need to get you upstairs!” (Cue face palm.)
I finally got up to the room I’d be laboring and delivering in, and eventually received my epidural at 11:00am. I might’ve acted a little bit like Elizabeth Banks in What To Expect… “Give me the juice!” After receiving the epidural (which felt to me like I’d been stabbed in the back) I was content for several hours to sit with Ryan and Lauren (my best friend, a PA and my doula) and watch the monitors of my baby’s heartbeat and the strength and time of my contractions. The nurses were all wonderful, and I really felt great (albeit hungry) all day.
At about 6:00pm (not too long after the nurse had broken my water), I started to feel real, intense pain with my contractions. I pressed my epidural button (which I had done about every hour and a half throughout the day) and felt cold liquid ON my back, not in it. The needle was still in my back, but the tube had come unhooked. I hadn’t had any medicine in who knows how long, and my uncomfortable self got pretty angry at that discovery. We called the nurse, who sent the anesthesiologist to correct the problem. By the time that was done, and he had given me an extra boost to get the medicine back in my system, I had to focus only on my breathing to keep myself calm. The doctor on call came in, checked me, and I was almost 9cm dilated, which was two more cm than the last time he checked. I think that the loss of the epidural sped up the process – a blessing in disguise. He also said that my doctor was on his way back from to town, and to “sit tight” (ha!) until he came back to check me in two hours. Those two hours passed slowly but surely, and the doctor on call came back at 8:00pm. He checked me again… still 9cm. He said he’d be back in TWO MORE HOURS. Imagine… you’re at 9cm (you start pushing at 10cm) and he’s just leaving me alone for hours. This seemed ridiculous to me, since I knew I didn’t have far to go, and was already feeling the need to push (how did I even know what that feeling meant?!). It was incredible how much my body kicked in and knew what to do. That was the moment I realized my body was made to have that baby.
Luckily, my very own doctor rushed in around 8:30pm like a knight in shining armor… especially since Lauren and Hubby were both getting restless as I tried to fight the urge to push. He took one look at me, called for the nurses, and explained to me about pushing, and exactly what he wanted me to do. We had a “practice push” during my next contraction, and he said we were ready to go for it! Somehow, I mustered up an immense amount of focus, and strength I didn’t know I had. My body took over, and I let my brain go as I closed my eyes, and listened only to Lauren’s count of one to ten, and the coaching of my doctor (seriously though- the man turned into a high school football coach- “Come on, Whitney! COME ON!”).
let me squeeze the shit out of his held my hand, fed me ice, and reminded me to breathe SLOWLY in between contractions. Lauren held one leg and counted, and the nurse held my other leg. After about 6 contractions and pushing, my doctor said the baby’s head was in place, and with the next pushes, her head would likely be out. Sure enough, after a few more pushes in the next contraction, EK’s head was out. I didn’t even realize it until my doctor said, “Look Whitney! Here she is! Keep going!” This was all the motivation I needed to finish, now with my eyes open so I could see my precious child. Her eyes were open and I swear she was looking back at me. In a couple more pushes, she was here, and in a few more moments, in my arms. I pushed for a total of about 30 minutes. It wasn’t nearly as hard as I thought it would be. (Cue women everywhere, bitching at me. I know.) I just kept thinking about my baby and bringing her into the world. I had done several wonderful months of prenatal yoga, and I really do think it helped my body stay loose, and helped me focus my breathing and my energy. I had an amazingly happy and healthy pregnancy, followed by a wonderful delivery. And let me tell you, that baby girl is still changing my life for the better, every single day.