I was due February 14th, and by the time my 39th week appointment came around, I was ready to have this baby. At this appointment, I found out I was 3 cm dilated and 90% effaced… which means I wasn’t the only one ready… little baby Lord was positioned and ready to go. “Any day now” they said…which is what they said at the previous appointment, but I still waited.
Everyone thinks its clever or cute to ask “You haven’t had that baby yet?” at least once daily for the last several weeks of a woman’s pregnancy, but let me tell you… it’s friggin annoying. Never EVER again will I even ask a woman about when she’s due, because the due date is almost never accurate. Instead, I will ask her how she’s feeling, inquire about the nursery, and ask about her post-pregnancy plans…because at that moment, in the final weeks, no one wants to talk about how they haven’t had the baby yet, but rather focus on the positive and exciting things that are to come… because let’s face it, if it were up to us, we’d have the birth planned out exactly as we want it at the exact time we want it if we could.
Friday, February 15th came and still no baby. I went to work as usual because I was feeling great, aside from getting irritated with everyone and everything that crossed my path. Logged in and out without a single contraction, although I tried to force them upon myself.
When a woman is past her due date, she will do almost anything to get the child out of her. I got a lot of advice… go for a walk, bounce on a yoga ball, eat spicy food, nipple stimulation, have sex, drink castor oil… oh, they just kept coming! I tried lots of things, but obviously nothing worked because little baby was not going to come until HE was ready, no matter what I tried.
When I left work that day at 4:30, I went to meet up with Pat, his best friend Ethan, his sister Amy, and mother Jan at the local bar and grill (which is also the place Pat and I met a year and a half earlier). The moment I stepped through the door around 5:00, I peed myself. Not a lot, just a little bit, but enough that I had to run to the bathroom pretty fast. To be honest, the pee didn’t bother me… having a baby bounce on your bladder for several months, little moments of peeing yourself become the norm, as fabulous as that sounds. So, I sat down to have dinner anyway. I wasn’t about to let a little pee delay me from feeding my fat pregnant self.
At about 5:30, I stood up to introduce Pat to one of my good friends whom he had not met yet when I peed myself AGAIN, but this time it was a little more than before. I ran to the bathroom again and realized the possibility I had been fighting in my mind… it wasn’t pee… my water broke.
Only about 10% have their water break. Me, being the obsessive compulsive knowledge-seeker I am, I knew this based on reading numerous books, forums, and blogs. Based on these statistics, I figured I’d be in the 90% so I didn’t have to worry about my water breaking, especially in a public place. Well, I was wrong.
I revealed the fact that I “thought” my water broke to Patticakes and his family, which excited them to no end. Everyone wanted me to go to the hospital, but I decided not to. Not because I didn’t think I was in labor, but because I’m stubborn and didn’t want to just sit around a hospital for two days. I would go to the hospital when I was good and ready…which wasn’t then.
Instead, we all went back to my apartment. I sat on a towel as I watched the family and friends play the wii. We laughed and talked for a couple hours before everyone dispersed around 9:00 PM. At 9:30, Pat and I went to bed. Not long after I laid down, I had the most intense pain I had ever felt. It didn’t last very long, so I just hung out in bed a while longer. When it happened again, only more intense a second time, I decided to use the bathroom. It was when I discovered I was discharging blood that I decided to call the hospital to let them know we were on our way.
When we got to the hospital, we were the only ones there so we got VIP treatment. They tested me and my water had in fact broke. I was 6 cm dilated and 95% effaced. With contractions about 4 minutes apart, I was glad I got there when I did.
After about 4 hours of labor, I opted for the epidural, which was recommended by my OB. He mentioned that it would help me sleep which would help me to have more energy when I pushed later on. Pushing for a first time mom averages between 2 to 4 hours, which makes sense why my doctor mentioned that sleep would be important.
There are mixed views about the epidural. Some women are 100% pro-epi because it really helps to dilute the pain, whereas others are against it due to the risks it possesses: risk of a longer birth/delivery, higher risk of cesarean, headaches, shivering, nausea, backache, etc. Whatever the stance a woman may have on this form of anesthesia, its best to know that every situation is different and therefore, whether a woman chooses to have an epidural or not is completely up to them.
Frankly, I don’t really care what you think of me for using an epidural because it helped TREMENDOUSLY. Four months prior, I watched my sister recover from one of the most difficult deliveries I had ever heard of. Her first words upon seeing me after her delivery were “take the epidural.” Both she and my mother had to have cesareans, which was the number one thing I was hoping to avoid. And because of my sister’s traumatic experience, I hoped and prayed for an easier effort. Luckily, my prayers paid off.
Prior to the epidural, I labored in style. Although I was in pain, it wasn’t all that bad. Don’t get me wrong, it was the worst pain I’ve ever felt, but it wasn’t nearly as awful as everyone made it sound like it would be. I breathed through them and patiently anticipated the next. I walked around and danced with Pat in the hospital room in an effort to bring the baby down further.
After the epidural set in, I was confined to the bed. With an epidural, you pretty much lose feeling in the lower half of your body. Although contractions continue moving forward, you can’t feel them… at least, that’s the intension. It was the weirdest thing and at times, I felt as though I was paralyzed because I would try to move my leg, but it wouldn’t move. I had to think about it long and hard yet it would still not move. SOOO weird! I even went so far as to pinch and slap my own thigh, but I could feel nothing. Again…very very VERY weird.
Instead of freaking out about the possibility of paralysis, I attempted to sleep, but was unsuccessful. I slept maybe an hour and a half when the labor pains returned. I called the nurse who checked me and found that I was fully dilated and effaced and she would begin prepping me to push. When she came back in a half an hour later, the baby’s head was visible so she encouraged me to push. They brought in a mirror so I could see him as he descended. With my partner and my mother by my side, I began to push. After only 3 pushes, we stopped to call the doctor in. Ten minutes after my OB arrived, little Ridley was born.
It all happened so fast. Only 10 minutes of pushing and I was holding my slimy little nugget in my arms. He was so beautiful, I couldn’t stop kissing him. The whole process was beautiful. I loved my support system. My nurse was spectacular and I secretly want her to deliver my next child as well. I loved the mirror and watching him come out (some may find that weird, but its truly beautiful). I loved it all. It was a perfect delivery and I would not have changed a thing.