Myles was coming into the world on September 26, 2012, whether the doctor planned it or not. His original due date had been scheduled for October 3, 2013. But due to high blood pressure, my C-section was moved to September 26th. My husband, Jason, and I waited to find out the sex of the baby until birth, having done so with our older son, Jacob. Since we already had a boy, we were hoping for a girl. We had names chosen for our hoped-for-girl, and put any boys names on the back burner.
On the evening of September 25th, it felt like Christmas Eve. My family and I were going to receive the second best gift ever, our son Jacob being the first. My mother was flying in for the big day and my husband had left at 8 p.m. to pick her up at the airport, an hour and a half drive from our home. My 10- year-old son was downstairs watching television while I was upstairs folding laundry. Being in my 39th week during an Indian summer, I was pretty uncomfortable. I had swollen feet, Braxton Hicks contractions, and was not sleeping well because I was either trying to reposition myself into a comfortable position or getting up to pee. So, while I was standing folding underwear, I felt a sharp push. It was feeling I had not had before, but I chalked it up to being another discomfort of pregnancy. I called down to my son to get ready for bed because we had an early morning ahead of us. My mom knew I would be asleep when she arrived, but we would see each other in the morning. Jacob wanted to lay down with me in my bed, so we both settled in.
I could not get comfortable and could not fall asleep. I got up to pee once, and then lay back down. I was still having that sharp pushing feeling and then felt a tiny gush. I thought to myself, “Did my water break?” I got up to pee, again. My underwear was a tiny bit wet, so I assumed I just trickled a little pee. I lay back down again. Within a few minutes my sharp push was definitely noticeable. I looked at the clock: 10 p.m. I looked over at Jacob who was sound asleep. I decided to go down stairs and wait for my husband and mom. Over the next hour, I realized I was having contractions. Really? Wasn’t this ironic? My baby didn’t want to wait until the morning; he wanted to come out now.
I was not prepared for this. I had planned on a C-section birth and did not bother to read or prepare a birthing plan. Looking back at my previous pregnancies, I had a short labor with my first and was put under for the emergency C-section. Jacob was a planned C-section with my cerclage in place. For this pregnancy, my cerclage had been taken out one week ago with my cervix staying at one centimeter.
I am an organized person who likes to plan. And this baby obviously was not following the plan. I didn’t know how to breathe or relax, but the contractions were still relatively manageable. My mom and husband finally arrive at 11 p.m. As soon as they walk in the door I told them that I think I am in labor. We all had to laugh. My mom was hungry, so we warmed up what we had for dinner, tuna noodle. It smelled good, but I wasn’t allowed because of my surgery. While mom and I chatted, we were timing my contractions at five to seven minutes apart with intensity building. It was 12 a.m. when I decided to call the doctor. I told her I was sure I was having contractions and that my water may have broken. She told me to come in to get checked out. If anything, we could start the C-section early. Jason called his parents while I went upstairs to get dressed, get my bag, and wake up Jacob. The next set of contractions are pretty intense in my lower back, enough that I had to stop, brace myself, and breathe.
As we are walking out to the car, my son and husband are not saying a word. This was very unusual for them because they are talkers. They must have understood that I was starting to struggle. I was moaning and huffing and puffing. Man, those contractions hurt! I wished I had been prepared in some way for this. The ride to the hospital usually takes 45 minutes. My husband got us there in 25, so it being the middle of night helped! During the ride, my mom was timing my contractions out loud and patting my arm. I felt horrible, but I told her I needed quiet and not to touch me. It was a dark, blurry ride with me gripping the arm rests and my feet pushing the floor board.
We finally got to the emergency entrance where the night guard put me in a wheel chair. Off we go up to labor and delivery. We are put in a laboring room where I’m told to undress, put on a gown and pee in a cup. When I go to take my undies off, I have a bloody show. This is really happening!
I want to pee, but can’t. I feel like I have to poop, but know better than to try to push. Back to the bed. Blood work, IV, and baby monitor on. A nurse comes in to exam me with a speculum, ouch! She confirms with some sort of test that my water has broken, I am 4 centimeters dilated, and the monitor is showing definite contractions. It better be! The in-laws have arrived and the doctor comes in. She states that I am moving right along and if I want to try for a VBAC, we can. Holy crow, are you serious?
Jason and I look at each other and agree with the doctor. In an ideal world, we had wanted to try for a VBAC, but had been told that it was not a good idea due to my history. So, we had listened to the experts and agreed to another scheduled C-section. When the doctor asks us to try for a VBAC, we become excited and a little scared, but are ready to try. The one thing that I have to have at this point to get through my labor is an epidural and the doctor says yes (Thank God).
The only way for me to describe the contractions is that it was like being pummeled over and over again by a huge wave. I have read “what to expect when you’re expecting” twice and am also a registered nurse. I know the process of child birth and remember some of the techniques to help one get through contractions: breathe, focus, reposition. But I can’t do any of these things. When the contraction comes around, which it has been every three to five minutes now, my body tenses up and my breaths are forced. When the contraction is over, I’m exhausted. I remember my mother, my son, and my in-laws telling my husband to “Hold her hand! Help your wife!” Well, that was enough for me. I did not want anybody touching me and I wanted everyone out. Jason kindly kicked everyone out.
The nurse anesthetist finally comes after what seems like a very long time. I am unable to get comfortable and I think that every possible contraption is hooked up to me: blood pressure cuff, IV, catheter, fetal monitor internal and external, SpO2 on my finger. With all my wires I sit up on the edge of the bed and let Nancy, God bless her, do her thing. She states, “Oh honey, I can see your baby pressing it’s foot in your lower back.” I can definitely feel something. Once the drugs are flowing, the nurse turns down the lights and lets me lie on my side. Jason begins rubbing my feet and I doze off. My contractions are soft, small waves that barely rock me. I am checked out three times by the doctor, I only get to 5 centimeters. The doctor states that if I haven’t progressed more in the next hour, my C-section will go as planned.
Nothing happens the next hour, I remain at a 5 and I am wheeled down to surgery. I am ready for this part! I have been through it before and am excited to meet this little babe. Nancy, my nurse anesthetist, is by my side, caring and attentive. My husband does his best; he gets a little queasy in hospitals, let alone the operating room. The doctor goes to work. I feel tugging and I begin to shake uncontrollably, a reaction to one of the medications. There were three things I distinctly remember hearing: a cry, the doctor announcing, “It’s a boy!” and Jason exclaiming, “His feet!” (They looked quite big, just like his).
A precious gift, healthy and perfect, at 7 pounds, 13 ounces. Jason walks over to where the nurses have taken him and begins taking pictures of Baby Boy Clark. Like I had mentioned before, we had planned on a girl and had her name picked. A boy’s name we still needed to work on. We were a little surprised our bundle of joy was not female, but only for a second.
As the doctor puts me back together, Jason walks over to me with our beautiful baby boy. His little newborn cry touches my heart and tears of joy begin to flood my eyes. Nancy is kind enough to take pictures of the three of us and we go back and forth about boy names. Our son Jacob is speechless when he finds out he got the brother he had been wishing for. He finally gets to see his brother’s tiny fingers and toes that he had been talking about for the past nine months.
We chose Myles Perry two days later. Despite being unprepared for labor, I am proud and grateful to be able to have experienced one of life’s unforgettable moments surrounded by my family.