My greatest accomplishment: The birth of Patryk
I spent the last 10 weeks of my pregnancy on bed rest due to preterm contractions, and was growing increasingly restless. I was ready to meet my son, yet knew that it would be best if he cooked a little longer since I was 36 weeks pregnant—preterm by medical standards.
The night of December 10, I returned home from a breastfeeding class and got ready for bed, yet could not sleep. At around 11 p.m., I began getting stomach pains. Since I had to use the restroom, I attributed my stomachache to the takeout my husband and I had for dinner.
When I got up to use the restroom for the fourth time in an hour, I felt a gush flow down my legs. Excited and shocked, I yelled out, “my water broke!” which instantly woke my husband up. With wide-eyes and a grin on his face, my husband scrambled to get dressed and pack my hospital bag into the car. Adrenaline rushed through my body and I quickly got dressed and said goodbye to our dog. As excited and energetic as I was, I was also surprisingly calm even as the contractions hit. To keep calm and take my mind off of the pain, I kept saying a prayer and focusing on the prize—finally meeting my son.
My contractions began increasing in intensity and frequency as we drove to the hospital. Every speed bump and stop/acceleration increased the pain. We made it to the hospital in record time—just shortly after midnight. Upon being admitted, I was dilated two centimeters. The contractions continued to intensify. My body felt as if it was being ripped apart. A couple of hours later, I couldn’t stand the pain any longer. When I was 4 centimeters dilated, I requested an epidural—a total divergence from my plan to deliver naturally. As the epidural kicked in and the pain subsided, I felt relieved and was even able to take a nap.
Approximately eight hours later, I was 10 centimeters dilated and ready to push. I didn’t know what to expect. With my husband at my side holding my hand and offering support and my mom and a nurse holding my legs, I began to push. With each push, I took a deep breath and tightly shut my eyes, as if to channel all my energy into pushing. As the delivery progressed, I was amazed at how my body knew what to do. Thirty five minutes later, my beautiful baby boy was born.
The moment he was placed in my arms, everything around me faded away. I told him I loved him and kissed his tiny pink head still covered in vernix caseosa. I was in a state of euphoria. All I could and wanted to focus on was my son. At 7 pounds, 1 ounce, and 20 inches long, my son was the most beautiful thing I have ever seen. When I finally took my gaze off of my son, I noticed that my husband’s eyes were getting teary. Those joyful tears trickled down once he held our son for the first time.
Time has flown by quickly since we left the hospital. My baby is now a thriving, healthy, and happy 6-week old.
My pregnancy, and especially labor and delivery, have given me a new appreciation for not only women in general but for my body. All of my life’s accomplishments pale in comparison to delivering my son. I don’t mean to brag but I pushed a little human out of my vagina! Talk about an impressive “I am a woman hear me roar” moment. And I hope to be able to “roar” again in the near future so that my son has a sibling.
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By Aleksandra Wojtalewicz Richards