No, I haven’t had the baby yet! This is the tale of my second baby, my first boy. And it’s the story of my one and only natural delivery!
On July 27, 2010, I finally cashed in a gift certificate for a prenatal massage at a spa in town. The masseuse was a large, strong man (perfect, in my opinion, because who wants a wimpy massage?). He did a stellar job loosening my hips and relaxing all my achy parts. When I left, I was feeling great but also experiencing some uterine cramping. I don’t think I was in labor, but I have a fairly high pain tolerance, so it’s hard to say, looking back. At any rate, I was headed that direction.
At this time, I was about a week from my due date. I was living at my parents’ house in Georgia and working for P&N while my husband had started a new job in Salt Lake City. He was flying back to Georgia that night so he could be there for the birth of his son. Unfortunately, he arrived just a little too late.
That night, after dinner, I changed into PJs, sat down on the bed, and suddenly felt intense contractions. I called to my mom and told her I needed to go to the hospital.
“No way … you just started having contractions. Time them and see how close together they are.”
A few minutes later, I reported my results: The contractions were nearly back to back and very intense. She caved and told me to get in the car. As I crawled into the back of my mom’s Odyssey, my water broke. She threw me some towels. I started to throw up, which is what I like to do when I reach the transition period of labor. Mom got behind the wheel and drove like a champ to Northside Hospital in Atlanta. My grandma had also joined us (she is my dear friend and very welcome!)—she tried to get my doctor on the phone as my mom raced down the highway. Meanwhile, I’m on all fours in the back of the car, needing to push but trying not to. It was a glamorous scene.
By some miracle, traffic was very light that evening (those from Atlanta know this is truly miraculous). Mom pulled into the drop-off zone at the hospital, jumped out, grabbed a wheelchair and put me in it, wheeled me in to the front desk of the women’s win, and ran back out to park the car. Sitting in that wheelchair at the front desk, in my sodden pajamas, is a vivid memory. The receptionist was asking me questions, and I was groaning about how much pain I was in. She must have thought I was exaggerating, because she had very little reaction to my agony. They didn’t have a room prepared, she said, but they would get one ready for me as soon as possible. Meanwhile, a man wheeled his wife in behind me. She looked beautiful in her flawless hair and makeup, delicately breathing through contractions.
The receptionist gave up on trying to get any cohesive medical information from me, and, thankfully, a room opened up. My doctor was nowhere near the hospital, but lucky for me, I was assigned an awesome midwife who happened to be taking her shift. She came in and checked out the situation, looked me in the eye, and calmly told me there was no time for an epidural. In fact, it was time to push. This scared me, but it was incredible how my body took over and pushed through the pain. The animal instincts that kick in are crazy!
One or two pushes later, amidst grunting and screaming (I hadn’t practiced controlled breathing because I never expected to have a natural birth), Finn arrived, all 8 pounds, 14 ounces of him. The midwife, who had recently given birth to twins of her own, told me I’d made her night. That made me feel pretty darn good, I tell you! The entire delivery, from my hospital check-in time to the time of birth, was 17 minutes.
I got to meet my Finny before they took him away to the NICU—he was born so quickly that he had residual fluid in his lungs. I guess this is normal? He was fine a day later. Anyhow, Shawn arrived from the airport not long after the birth, and I was full of energy and ready to talk about my wild experience. I remember that euphoria lasting for hours. I felt like I could jump up and go somewhere, not at all how I felt after having an epidural the first time. Maybe it was a mix of endorphins and adrenaline? I should have been exhausted, but I was so pumped and happy!
Giving birth naturally was such a raw and vibrant experience. I did not choose to repeat it with baby No.3, but I’m still glad it played out the way it did.
About the pic: Finn is still a fast little guy! This was us before a race last July. Finn won first place in his age group; I took third in mine.