The first thing I thought of when I found out I was pregnant was “better start reading all the books and articles on how to prepare for labor.” Let me just say that all the research in the world cannot fully prepare you for how your labor will go or what to expect…trust me. We thought we had everything ready to go at week 36; bags were packed, car seat was ready to be installed, we went over birthing plans, attended the first of three lamaze classes, continued steps to prepare our dogs for the new arrival, and made travel plans for out of town family members to visit the week before my due date on May 2.
Based on how our labor came to be, I am convinced that the more you prepare and expect something to go one way, the more likely it will go the entirely opposite.
My husband and I decided to take a last minute weekend trip to Raleigh, our final overnight trip with just the two of us. That morning we dropped the dogs off at boarding and began the two hour drive. After a full day of walking and exploring a new city, we brought our food back to the hotel and prepared for a quiet night in…definitely was not expecting to welcome our baby twelve hours later.
My water broke at ONLY 36 WEEKS. It wasn’t just a little trickle that faded away, this was like a dam had burst and there was nothing I could do to stop it. Safe to say I was FREAKING OUT. I think my exact words were “uhh baby, something is happening.” The look of fear and shock on my husbands face is something I will never forget. It took us a minute to gather ourselves before my husband suggested I call my mom and then Triage. After calling and freaking out my mom, I called L&D Triage only to be told that if it was my water that broke, I would have plenty of time to make it back to the hospital so there was no need to rush straight back. Thankfully my husband and I both listened to our guts and immediately got back on the road, just as my contractions began.
At this point, my mom let me know that she and my sisters had frantically packed their bags and were about to get on the road to be by our sides. I am so thankful they left when they did because it’s a five hour drive from where they are and any later they may have been too late.
Now, our two hour car ride back from Raleigh was BRUTAL. Huge shoutout to my amazing husband for talking me through each contraction and remaining calm the entire time while I was trying my hardest to not freak out. I used an app on my phone to time each contraction and monitor how far apart they were. During that two hours, I had 30 contractions lasting 30+ seconds and about 3-5 minutes apart…I was definitely in labor.
We were able to make a quick stop by our house to grab the hospital bags and car seat, since we didn’t think to bring them with us on our weekend trip. Super thankful that we had finished the hospital bags early because there was definitely no time to think about what items to grab. It only took Elton a few minutes to grab everything and then we were heading to the hospital.
We made it to the hospital and went straight to L&D Triage. They confirmed that my water broke and checked my dilation and I was already 4cm dilated and 75% effaced; my blood pressure was also a little high so I needed a blood draw to be sent to the lab. We were quickly admitted to a delivery room, not-so patiently waiting for the anesthesiologist to come and give me an epidural since this labor was progressing way too quickly and making me very uncomfortable.
After waiting a very long time for the labs to come back with the all clear, I received my epidural. Most. Painful. Needle. Ever. But after that was all done, I started to feel such relief and was actual able to (somewhat) enjoy the remainder of my labor. Shortly after getting the epidural I had to receive a steroid shot to help our baby’s lung development, since he was so early, and have a catheter placed – lucky me, I didn’t feel a thing. The only downside was the amount of shivering I was doing and my mouth being so dry but ice chips did help a bit.
My mom and sisters arrived at the hospital which calmed me down tremendously! Our original plan was to have my sisters stay home with the dogs and come visit after the baby was born. We certainly didn’t plan to have them in the room as I delivered since I did not want to be responsible for scarring them, but we had no choice at this point.
My dilation was checked again and I was up to 10cm with baby at zero station! Just a waiting game at this point. The nurse wanted me sitting in an upright position, allowing gravity to aide in guiding the baby down. My blood pressure had gone down to normal levels which really helped me to relax more while my husband and sisters tried to get some sleep.
The first few pushes were at every contraction, about 2-5 minutes apart and the actual pushing didn’t hurt at all…but the contractions did very much. The nurse had me with my legs propped up and laying on my side to see which position worked best for me – we even played tug-of-war with a sheet which actually helped the most. His little head was crowning and it was almost time to meet him!
And the real pushes began! All the delivery doctors and carts were brought out to prepare to meet our little boy in just a few minutes. FIVE hard pushes later and…
Our perfect baby boy arrived!! I never knew how much I could love another person until I saw his face and heard those first cries. And seeing my husbands face as our son was born was the sweetest and most priceless thing in the world.
April 7, 2019
I am forever thankful for all the nurses and doctors who helped us during our 48-hour hospital stay, making sure both myself and our baby were healthy before we went home.
We love you so much, sweet boy.