I went to a childbirth class that was offered by my OB’s office about a month before my first baby was born. The class really did nothing to prepare me for the experience. I pretty much just learned more about the process of birth and some pain relief options.
Her due date was a bit of a mystery throughout my pregnancy because they changed it twice: once in the early weeks and again sometime in the second trimester. I really didn’t have any idea when she’d arrive.
I had one false alarm but the contractions turned out to be Braxton Hicks. I was so big and uncomfortable – ready to be done! My blood pressure was elevated near the end (38 weeks?) so my midwife offered me an induction. I discussed it with my husband and we decided we would wait a little bit longer simply because we wanted the baby to come when it was the right time and she was ready.
Well, I woke up to real contractions on the morning of my cancelled induction. It was 5:30 and I was definitely hurting. It felt like really awful menstrual cramps. My husband called into work and I called my midwife. She told me to relax, watch a movie, take a shower, and pay attention to the timing and intensity of the contractions. Once they were closer together and more painful, I was to call her back so we could meet at the hospital.
I watched The Wedding Singer with Drew Barrymore and Adam Sandler but I found it hard to relax or to enjoy it. The pain was bad but the contractions still needed to get closer together. I took a shower and that was great pain relief. It was so good, in fact, that I feared the intensity was decreasing. But as soon as I turned off the water, it returned full force and I was struggling! So I called her back.
We arrived at the hospital at noon, after six hours of laboring at home. I was hooked up to belly bands that monitor the baby’s heart rate and the contractions. They were close together and painful, still like waves of severe menstrual cramps and the baby was handling everything fine. They monitored my blood pressure, which was normal, and I got an IV.
My midwife checked me and I was dilated (though I don’t remember how many centimeters); she suggested having my water broken to move things along. This intervention was one of three that I regretted most. My pain level went through the roof and I began having absolutely terrible hot and cold flashes. My teeth were chattering and I was shaking violently one minute and then I was sweating profusely the next. I was beyond myself. I asked for an epidural (a walking epidural which allows more feeling) and at some point they also gave me pain meds through my IV, which was intervention regret number two.
The next few hours have always been a blur to me. I still felt the contractions to a point but when it came time to push, I couldn’t feel the urge so it was a challenge to keep doing it. I pushed for so long that they decided the baby needed better monitoring; they put a clip on her head, which I found out afterward actually cuts the baby’s head (didn’t she feel that, then?! intervention regret number three). She was handling the contractions and pushing well, thankfully.
After two hours of pushing, she was finally born! At 6:04pm, a little over twelve hours from the time I started laboring, she came into the world. She was 7lbs9oz and 20 inches long. Her arm was up next to head, and her hand covering her face, which is why the pushing took so long.
She was perfect. Beautiful dark hair, long eye lashes and such a sweet face. I became a mom for the first time that April evening and I was so in love! She is eighteen years old now and is just as beautiful as the day she was born, and what’s better – she’s become my best friend!