You can read Luke’s birth story: part 1 here
The hospital is a 20 minute drive from our house. Meghan was just getting back from a walk around the neighborhood to look at Christmas lights with her grandparents as we were leaving. Tim rolled down my window and I managed to say a quick good-bye, even though getting the words out and trying to look normal to my 3 year old were difficult tasks.
The next 25 minutes was the most excruciating car ride ever. Powerful contractions kept coming two minutes apart. Despite how intense they were, I felt like the biggest wimp. Why am I in so much pain? I haven’t been in labor that long. My mind was filled with doubt.
Based on how long I’d been laboring, I assumed that the most I’d be dilated was six centimeters. I couldn’t imagine continuing with what I was feeling for much longer. All I could think about was getting an epidural and having the pain be gone. I couldn’t even argue with myself–the pain had taken over all of my resolve to have natural childbirth.
We arrived at the hospital and parked in the parking garage. Just as we were about to walk in the door, another contraction hit. It brought me straight to my knees. I couldn’t care about the people walking in and out, who must have been staring at me.
There happened to be a hospital worker getting off his shift who noticed me. He dropped his bag, turned around, and got me a wheel chair. Bless his heart. He wheeled me into the elevator and up to the maternity floor. In that time I had another contraction.
At the check in desk, the nurses were nonchalant as they asked us what we needed. They continued to chat amongst themselves as one nurse asked us questions to check us in. Then, another contraction hit. At this point I wasn’t exactly quiet about my contractions. That got them moving a little quicker.
As they led me to my room, I looked at Tim.
“I know I said I didn’t want an epidural, but I need one. I really, really do. I need one. You have no idea how much this hurts,” I pleaded.
“I think this is where I’m supposed to talk you out of it. Are you sure, Maryea? You’re doing great; do you really want an epidural?” He asked, clearly trying to follow the plan we’d discussed.
“I do! I need one!” At this point I wasn’t thinking about anything but having the pain stop. Dear God, let it stop.
In the room the nurse gave me a gown and sent me to the bathroom to put it on. And, big surprise here, while trying to change I had another contraction. Those bad boys were relentless.
I somehow managed to get the gown on and get myself onto the bed.
One nurse said, “Okay, let’s get her IV going.” Even though in my birth plan I stated I didn’t want an IV for hydration, I was beyond caring at this point. Even though I’d drank coconut water at home to help me with hydration, I was extremely thirsty and thought I might actually need the fluids. Besides, being able to move freely wasn’t a concern for me anymore.
A nurse was firing off a million questions that I had to answer. Somehow having to say (shout?) “No!” to the question, “Did you do any heroin during your pregnancy?” made the pain seem worse.
Finally the nurse was ready to check my cervix to see how far I was dilated. As she was checking me, Tim was stumbling through my bag looking for my birth plan. I had multiple copies neatly typed up for all the nurses. Before he had a chance to pass them out, she was finished checking me. She didn’t say anything.
“What am I dilated?!” I asked, incredulous that she didn’t say a word. I thought it must be bad news. Five? Six?
“Well, I need to have someone come and double check for me, but I think you are complete.”
Complete? As in 10 centimeters complete? Tim put the birth plans back into my bag.
Later, Tim told me that I replied, “Does that mean I can’t have an epidural?”
I don’t remember saying that, but I do remember thinking, I’m ten centimeters! That means I can start pushing soon and this will be over. I can do this!
To hear that I was completely dilated was the biggest relief and provided just the boost I needed to keep going.
When the second nurse was checking me, I knew I was going to need to push soon. She urgently said, “Yes, she’s complete. Call her doctor!”
I started pushing with my contractions. There was no way I could hold back. One nurse said, “Don’t push!”
“I have to!” I cried.
“Oh, let her push,” said a second nurse.
Someone walked in the room and said, “Her doctor’s on the phone and wants to talk to one of you.”
“Did you tell him she’s complete?”
“Yes, I told him. But he still wants to talk to you.”
“Well tell him to get his butt here! She can’t stop pushing and the baby’s moving fast!”
I don’t know how she knew this, but I was glad to hear it. I was also nervous that my doctor wasn’t going to make it as he lives in the same town I do, 20 minutes from the hospital. Would all that praying and focusing on going into labor when my doctor was on call be in vain?
Another doctor was brought in the room and stood in the corner as I just continued having contractions and pushing. Even though I was pushing during my contractions, it wasn’t productive pushing. I wasn’t in a good pushing position and I suppose the nurses just wanted me to wait until my doctor got there to really do it right.
Finally, my doctor arrived. I may have heard angels singing as he walked in the door.
He quickly got himself ready and helped me get into a better position. He looked me straight in the eye and said, “Okay, let’s have this baby.” His kind eyes and comforting words spread over me like a warm blanket in the winter. I was ready to do it.
After my first push, he told me I was going to tear and needed to do a “little cut”. After a tear-free birth with Meghan, I was upset to hear this, but he later told me how fast births are much more likely to tear and I was lucky that I only needed a very small cut (one stitch).
With another strong push, I knew the baby was crowning. It was energizing just knowing that he was so close to being born. Two more pushes and he was out.
The doctor exclaimed, “You did it!”, quickly followed by, “He’s a big baby!”
My first words were “He’s so cute! He’s the cutest thing I’ve ever seen!” It was an exhilarating moment. All the pain I’d just finished enduring seemed to evaporate in an instant as I looked at my fresh baby boy.
Looking back, this is the birth that I envisioned during my pregnancy. I hoped for a quick labor with minimal time at the hospital. We arrived at the hospital at 7:30 PM and Luke was born at 8:15 PM. I really wanted to have my doctor there to deliver the baby and he was.
The result was totally worth every detail.