My “labor story” started out with what I thought was the stomach flu. I couldn’t imagine being in labor even though I was two days past my due date, even though I had read so much about it, EVEN though I knew it was imminent—I still couldn’t believe it.
At 4 a.m., I woke up with diarrhea and thought, “Great, now I’m sick with the flu and I’m supposed to be giving birth soon.” My husband, Robert, had slept in our spare bedroom the night before because his snoring was at an all-time high and he wanted to be sure I got some sleep, instead of waking up every half hour to tell him to be quiet. After having painful stomach “aches” for two hours I pulled out my iPhone with my contraction app on it and decided to start timing them … well whaddaya know, I was in labor. I was in a lot of pain at that point and as I was walking to the spare bedroom to get Robert, I thought to myself that I was such an idiot for not realizing that I was in labor. I almost laughed at myself, but at that point, all I wanted to do was get back in bed since the contractions were getting painful.
I went into the spare bedroom and shook Robert’s foot and he woke up with a start, as he had been for the past two weeks, thinking that every little thing was a baby alarm. I said to him, “I have to tell you something, but you’ll have to follow me back to the bedroom because I want to go lay down.” (I still wonder to this day why I approached the subject like that instead of screaming “THE BABY IS COMING!” In a way, I think I wanted to keep myself calm). I walked slowly back to the bedroom. I heard Robert’s hurried feet behind me. You could almost hear the anticipation in his steps.
I laid back down in bed, took a deep breath, let out an even deeper breath, and heard Robert say, “Is it time?” I looked at him, and said, “I think so.” We timed a few more contractions and agreed that I was in labor. I called my doctor’s office and they said that I could go directly to the hospital or I could stop by the office so they could check me out. Now, I had read story after story about women who go to the hospital and are told to go home because they weren’t progressing the way they should be or some other type of craziness, so I decided to go to my doctor’s office first just to be sure. (I look back and think I was nuts for putting up with the pain for that long and not going straight to the hospital).
I arrived at the doctor’s office and they took me right in and I was already at 5 cm dilated. They proceeded to roll out the red carpet for me to get directly back in my car and go to the hospital. On our way, we stopped at the gas station for some gum and some water. Hey, I needed gum!
By the time we got to the hospital, I was still 5 cm and they asked if they could break my water to move things along. Sure. They mentioned that things progress quickly after the water is broken, so I might want my epidural beforehand. “No, I’ll wait, especially if I’ve made it this far!” They broke my water and 90 seconds later I was screaming for my epidural. My husband went to find the doctors and came back in with three people. Three pokes and prods later, I had my epidural, and life was good again—until I suddenly had a team of nurses surrounding me, looking for my baby boy’s heartbeat—they had lost it. After being flipped and turned from side to side as they were looking for the heartbeat, I turned to see the worried look on my husband’s face. It was the scariest 60 seconds of my life. The attending doctor came in, felt around, and with a chuckle, said, “The baby slid all the way down the birth canal which is why they couldn’t find the heartbeat, they were searching too high—you’re at 9 cm!”
I couldn’t believe it! I looked at Robert, we smiled, and I assumed the position to start pushing. Three hours later, and I was STILL pushing. I can only say that pushing for that long was one of the most grueling things I have ever done. And the pressure on every area of my body during that three hours was intense as well. So intense and tiring that I almost wanted to give up. But I didn’t. My husband (whom my hero award goes to), held one of my legs up along with my head (while the nurse held the other leg). After hour one, my muscles were jello and so was my strength and endurance—thank God for my wonderful husband’s strength.
At 5:33 p.m. on July 11,2011, I gave birth to my baby boy, Mason James. They whisked him off briefly for the usual tests and I heard him crying as they stitched me up. Robert went back and forth from the baby to me, from me to the baby, making sure we were all OK. I told him to get back to the baby’s side because I heard him crying and since I couldn’t comfort him, he would have to take on the job! I told my husband, “Talk to him!” As Robert talked to him, the cries would hush and Mason would stare up at Robert as if trying to locate him and why he sounded so close. As they placed Mason into my arms, the crying stopped all together, and we stood as a family for the first time. I’ll never forget that day. Even though the day was so hard and so tiring from start to finish, we are truly blessed and I wouldn’t have it any other way!