My due date of March 11th came and went and my patience went right with it. The doctor had said I wouldn't make it to 38 weeks based on the baby's size and position, but there I was, hugely pregnant and overdue. First-time moms: don't listen to the doctor.
I had my weekly appointment that Wednesday when I was officially 40 weeks and 2 (long) days pregnant. Chris came along with me in case we needed to make any decisions on when the baby would make its entrance. Sure enough, my doctor walked into the room and said she would not let me go to 41 weeks. In that case, I had two options. She could strip my membranes or put me on the induction list. If I didn't have the baby by the following Monday, I'd be marching into the hospital to let them induce me. That's the last thing I wanted.
I walked out of her office that Wednesday afternoon around 4 p.m. I had gone with the first option and while uncomfortable, it was painless. She said labor would most likely start within 24 to 36 hours, so I started waiting. We ordered BBQ for take-out, planted ourselves on the couch and relaxed.
I spent the evening feeling very uncomfortable and cramping. Thinking it was just because of the procedure, I wrote it off and went to bed around 11 p.m. At 1 a.m., I woke up even more uncomfortable. I assumed it was because I was forty weeks pregnant and I moved to the couch. At 5 a.m., I woke up even more uncomfortable and again, assumed it was the couch's fault. I made my way to the guest bedroom to try to get some more sleep.
At 5:45 a.m., I woke up to intense lower back pain. And then again at 5:50. And 5:55. And 6. I started texting Casey who had become my unofficial midwife through the entire pregnancy. While consistent, I wasn't feeling any contractions in the front, so I wasn't convinced it was real. Just to be safe, I woke Chris up and told him what was going on. "Pack your bag just in case. If it keeps up, I'm going to the hospital." I took a shower and made the effort to blow dry my hair. When I got out of the shower, the back pains were still consistent and becoming more painful. As I paced the house around 6:45, I told Chris to plan on going to the hospital if they were worse in fifteen minutes.
At 7 a.m., I was hanging over a dining room chair. It was time.
We took off for the hospital, bags in the trunk and me leaning over a pillow. As soon as my husband parked after searching for what seemed like eternity for the perfect spot, I got out of the car and just started walking. I was still having contractions every five minutes and I knew I had just a few minutes to make it to the door before the next one hit. We made it up the elevator to the second floor. Not thinking, I told them I needed to "check in"; they told me to take a seat. The next contraction hit and found me leaning over one of the waiting room chairs. A nurse looked over and said, "Wait...are you in labor or do you have a scheduled delivery?" Apparently "checking in" was the wrong term.
I was taken back to Triage around 8 a.m., dressed in a gown and hooked up to monitors. I had been 3 centimeters for the previous three weeks, so I was curious if I had progressed at all overnight (now that I knew it wasn't the bed or couch's fault for my discomfort). When they checked me, I had progressed to 4-5 centimeters and my contractions were still 4 to 5 minutes apart. It was still all in my lower back and Chris had been given the dutiful task of applying pressure with each contraction.
They moved me to the Labor and Delivery room by 8:30 a.m. and the contractions were consistently 4 minutes apart. I found relief in standing up and leaning over the bed to take the weight off of my lower back. By 10 a.m., I had progressed to 6-7 centimeters. Things were happening.
Our room had a private tub and I took full advantage of soaking in the hot water. I stayed in there for about 45 minutes before I had to be hooked up to monitors - one for the baby's heartbeat and one for my contractions. The hospital required I be monitored for 20 minutes of each hour. Once I got out of the tub and they placed monitors on me, they determined I was dehydrated and hooked me up to an IV. The bed made the pain worse since all of the pressure was on my back. And it meant I could no longer get into the tub. My contractions were now 2 minutes apart and I was unable to find relief being tied to the bed.
They eventually let me stand up and walk around, but it was easier said than done with monitors strapped around my belly, a blood pressure monitor around my right arm and an IV pole hooked up to my left wrist. Each time I leaned over the bed to find relief, the monitors sagged and disconnected. It was a lost cause.
By 12:15, I was 7 centimeters and the contractions seemed less than 2 minutes apart. They lasted a minute or longer, and sometimes were on top of one another. I was getting about 20 seconds of relief between each one and Chris was getting no relief from his massage duty. He hadn't had a break or eaten a thing and my body had become so tense that the baby wasn't getting a break either to make its way down. The pain was shooting into my lower back, through the sides of my hips and down my legs. (They now think the back of the baby's head was pushing down on my lower back.)
Having planned to not have any pain intervention during labor, and having so appreciated a nurse who was more than encouraging, I pulled her into the room and said, "What are my options?"
She sweetly explained what they were, and knowing I physically couldn't handle the back pain any longer (and was contemplating this baby being an only child), I opted for an epidural. As soon as it was administered around 1:15 p.m., the back pain went away within minutes. I was almost completely relieved and the atmosphere of the room immediately changed.
We began to enjoy this having-a-baby thing.
By 2:45 p.m., I had progressed all the way to 9-10 centimeters. At 5 p.m., my bag of waters was still in tact so the nurse went ahead and broke it. She called my doctor to give her an update and my doctor made her way to the hospital. At 5:40 p.m., I was completely dilated and effaced and we were told we'd have a baby in the next hour or so.
My doctor came into the room at 6 p.m. and I began pushing.
At 7:02 p.m., just twelve hours after leaving our house for the last time as a family of two, our sweet baby made his grand entrance. Chris declared him a boy and they placed his shivering body on my chest. I immediately started bawling. When they asked his name, I couldn't get the words out. I felt complete joy and complete relief. Liam Christopher was here and we were all good and healthy and whole. He was a solid 8 pounds, 1 ounce, and 20 1/2 inches.
In the dim light of a hospital delivery room on March 14, 2013, we started our journey as parents.