I’m actually not sure when my labor started. On a Thursday in April, in the still-dark hours of the early morning, my contractions began. I thought – and seriously hoped – they were signs of early labor, as they didn’t feel too painful but were definitely different from the Braxton Hicks contractions I’d felt in the weeks prior. Sadly, they went away mid-morning, and I felt pretty miserable the rest of the day. We were able to go on a walk with our daughter that afternoon despite the discomfort, and as the night wore on, I began to wonder if I’d ever deliver a baby!
My sleep was interrupted again that night when the contractions returned. These were more intense, and I finally ended up waking my husband to rub my back at 5 am as they came and went. But by mid-morning, they vanished. Again. I was disappointed, for sure, but thankful to be able to get some rest. At noon, I woke up to them. I felt….excited. A little nervous. I had no idea what was going to ensue for the next 24 hours!
As the afternoon hours passed by, the contractions became more painful but not predictable in their timing. I was so afraid that these were just Braxton Hicks, but they were pretty uncomfortable and increasing in intensity! And no matter what position I tried, nothing relieved them even a little bit. I began to seriously worry that I would not make it through labor and delivery. My original goal had been to have a medicine-free birth, and I still really wanted to make that happen. But there were doubts that surfaced with each wave of pain…
I finally called the doctor that night after dinner. She thoroughly discouraged me when she said I was probably just having false labor. But a few hours later, as I began to feel shaky and nauseous, and then proceeded to puke into a trash can; I knew it was the real deal. I called again; she said if I’d been in real labor, I wouldn’t be able to talk with her on the phone. I wanted to punch her through the phone (no offense to this doctor on call; in all fairness, she didn’t know me and couldn’t tell). Thankfully, a close friend of mine called and encouraged me to go in to the hospital because I sounded like a woman in labor. She was right.
At midnight on that Friday, my hubby and I drove to the hospital after sending our daughter off to be with her grandparents for the weekend. In that moment, I just felt really tired and scared. I didn’t feel prepared to deliver a baby. I had no idea what was coming, and I HATE not knowing what to expect.
In the end, I went with the epidural. I battled feeling like a puny woman for making that choice, but after everything was set up, I knew it was the best choice for us this time. We really weren’t prepared to handle a completely natural birth. None of the techniques I’d read about gave me ANY sort of relief during the contractions. I didn’t want to get out of my bed and walk at all like I’d thought I would. Both my husband and I were completely exhausted.
Once the epidural was in, I felt immediate relief. I started chatting with the nurses, and I was able to sleep off and on. I still felt the contractions, but not the pain. 🙂 I was just really excited to meet my little boy!
Labor was really slow-going. I’m not sure how much of this was due to the epidural, but it made me extra glad that I’d chosen that route. On Saturday morning, my doctor was the one on call (I was SO happy about this), and she decided to give me some Pitocin to help move things along.
And a little after 2 PM, it was time to push. I couldn’t believe this was it!
When his head crowned, everyone gushed about how much hair he had. When he made his grand entrance, we all gasped at how big he was! We’d been expecting a 6 lb. baby but were introduced to a 7 lb, 12 oz boy. It was love at first sight.
I’ll never forget how special it was for us to experience pregnancy, and then the labor and delivery of our son (even though it was way different than what I’d expected!). Having met our daughter at 6 1/2 and knowing how much we’d missed out on with her earlier years, we felt really lucky to know our son’s beginning so intimately. Parenting has been such a gift to us. We love our children!