I seem to have a lot of ideas in my head that very rarely pan out the way I envision. You'd think I'd have learned my lesson by now, but I guess I'm kind of hard headed in that sense. My plan all along was to bring the computer to the hospital with me so that I could jot down Rory's birth story right away. That didn't happen. In fact, I hardly thought about anything other than how tired I was and how in love I was. Now here I am, boxing 3 month clothes because they're too small, and I still remember his birth like it was yesterday. It went a little bit like this...
I had been having intense Braxton Hicks contractions pretty much from 30 weeks on. It was the same with Aubrey. But unlike with Aubrey, my due date came and went and I was still pregnant. Cue the violins. I was big, it was the end of May and scorching hot, and I had a toddler to run after. Despite all of that, I was comfortable, okay with the fact that Rory was still cooking. I didn't feel the need to rush anything.
Until I went into actual labor.
My birth plan was to go natural. No membrane stripping, no drugs, no water breaking. Just let him come when he wants to come. Sunday the 25th, as I was sitting in the newest X-Men movie with the husband and having intense contractions every ten minutes, I whispered into the packed theater, "This is it." I could barely pay attention, shifting every so often to try and relive some of the pressure my too tight maternity pants were creating. They stayed consistent until we got home...and then I went to bed. Twenty minutes apart. Thirty minutes. I woke up the next morning with nothing to show for it.
So Monday, the 26th, when it happened again, I tired not to get my hopes up. I went to bed expecting to wake up not in labor. What I did not expect was to wake up at 1am and still be in labor. The contractions were five minutes apart and strong enough to keep me from sleeping. "Babe, this is it." I poked him until he woke up and talked until 3am, too excited to go to sleep. When I realized that they weren't getting any closer together, I let Todd go back to sleep and ate a peanut butter and jelly. Around 5am, still awake and very much in labor, I moved myself into the living room and sat on my exercise ball. I was tired, literally falling asleep sitting up, and I was in pain, the contractions getting stronger but not more frequent. At 6am my dad comes waltzing into the living room to leave for work. He looks at me, looks at the ball, and says, "Guess I'm not going to work today?"
We sat together for the next hour or so, him periodically rubbing my back while I tried my hardest to breathe through each wave of pain. Still five minutes apart at 7am. The husband finally wakes up, joins me in the living room. 8am we decide to call the midwife- no answer. She always answers her phone. We call her again at 9, and again at 10. Still no answer. Still in pain. Tired and hungry and nauseous and just so tired. 11am and she finally calls back, tells us to head over to her office to check me. And you know what she told me? 2cm dilated, 90% effaced, baby's still high. So discouraging to hear after 10hrs of labor.
And so I made a decision that I thought I would never make, but that I realized I was at peace with. We checked into the hospital at 12pm and told the nurse we would be needing an epidural. I was nervous, but okay. When I gave in to the epidural with Aubrey, I felt like I had failed myself and failed him. Even after the 30+ hrs of natural labor, I felt I hadn't done enough. But this time I had the feeling that I was doing what was best for us. I labored for another hour on my own, per my request, before the nurse checked me. I told her not to tell me how far (or not) dilated I was, but Todd told me anyway. 4cm, effaced, baby's still high.
So she sent for the anesthesiologist and we waited while I tried desperately to keep my hands and body from shaking with nerves. A little side note- I hate needles. I hate the idea of that giant needle going into my spine, which was almost enough to keep me from getting one at all. But as each contraction became more intense and more frequent, I knew that I'd throw aside my fears for comfort. And I'm so glad I did.
The rest was smooth sailing- Rory's heartbeat was strong and steady, my contractions were consistent with the help of pitocin and I didn't feel anything until I needed to.
8pm- 9cm, water still intact. Midwife asks if I want my water broken, since it's most likely the cause for the baby still being so high. "Let me know if you feel the urge to push," she says after it's done. I'm so nervous/excited I can't stand it, and when just ten minutes later I feel the urge to push, I almost chalk it up to impatience. "I really need to push!" I finally decide, and sure enough, it's time to push.
But of course, it's not that easy. Rory is posterior and does not want to come out. A half hour passes, and I decide I can't do it. I'm tired, I'm hyperventilating. There are too many people in the room. I kick everyone out and keep trying to GET THIS BABY OUT. I give up, more than once. I yell at the midwife that she's lying, that I'm not almost there and he's stuck in there forever. I JUST CAN'T DO IT. I see the look the midwife and nurse pass between each other. Todd's hand tightens around mine, they give me oxygen. Another half hour passes and still he's not out. I fall asleep between contractions, so physically and mentally exhausted that I don't even care what happens at this point.
And then finally, finally, I feel his head break free and then the emptiness that follows the release of his body, and then he's on my chest and everyone's back in the room and I'm crying and he's crying and my mom's crying and he's finally here. I have two babies. I hold him and I squeeze his slippery body and I cry some more because, let's face it, I cry watching Lifetime movies. And all the pain and the waiting and the pushing was totally worth it because his little body fits perfectly into mine and he latches right away and when they take him to do baby stuff I keep my eyes on him the whole time, unwilling to let him out of my sight for one second.
When he's back on my chest and Todd is hovering over both of us like a big snugly papa bear, I realize that I am whole.