Slow and steady
I didn’t rush to the hospital or immediately call family. Instead, I wait for the contractions to start. They never started! The four hours of what I thought would be labor and delivery came and went. Eventually it was noon, and I hadn’t felt a thing, even though my water had broken nine hours prior. Knowing I was getting closer to the line of infection risk, I begrudgingly called my doctor and told her my water had broken “a while ago.” I was told to go to the hospital to be safe, so we grabbed our bags and headed for the door.
When we arrived, I was the only patient in the maternity ward, so we got lots of attention. I was given an amazing RN named Kay, and she was the perfect amount of realist and cheerleader for my birth experience. She didn’t mock me when I told her I wanted to try the natural route, and she pacified any feelings of guilt should I change my mind. All she did say was that come 3 p.m., if my contractions weren’t creating some progress, I was going to be induced.
I’ve never wanted to feel undesirable pain so badly. I really, really wanted to progress at my own speed, and with every tick of the time clock, I felt my confidence waver. I knew that Pitocin would change my game, and I knew I was out of arguments. The reality was my water had almost ruptured 12 hours ago, and that meant we were at risk. I sighed. I took a deep breath, and I agreed to start the drip.
Determined to keep trying, I had another nurse fill up my tub. We had our flameless candles and the diffuser running. Everyone kept favorably commenting on our “labor feel.” We made lots of friends thanks to the lure of lavender oil and our jazz vibes playlist. It was fun, minus the IV hookup and terrible pain.
At this point I started feeling pretty ill with each contraction, especially the ones that would make me want to jump up from the pain, but my body was too tense to move or breathe. Matt did his best to be encouraging and bring life to my dreams of a natural labor, but I found myself questioning what my priority was and who or what I was doing it for.
I agreed to be checked and was some- where between 5 and 6 centimeters. I think for some, that’s a good number to lean on and for others, that’s a victory in itself. I looked over at my husband and suddenly had a change of conviction … I had a desire to have a conversation with him, to take a nap and capitalize on our precious time together. As I mentioned earlier, we have another baby, and our alone time was already scarce. I realized I had available time to spend with him, sans baby No. 1, and that window was coming to a close sooner than later. I really wanted to make that time about us, rather than my natural birth, and I asked Kay to arrange for an epidural.
He never said it, but I think my husband was relieved. We had done this together before, and the familiarity brought peace. We just looked at each other, trying to make jokes and watched bad television while resting. He snuck me too much apple juice and reminded me that we were able to handle whatever life was going to look like after that point, and we were always going to be together.
It also didn’t take long to get the show on the road. A few nurses came in to check on things because they couldn’t detect my son’s heart rate. This was because he was too far south for a reading to be established. “This baby is about to fall out!” said one nurse excitedly. It took about 30 seconds for my delivery doctor to arrive (not the midwife). She had also been my advocate for natural labor, but she didn’t say a word when I changed my mind, which I appreciated.
I’m not sure why, but I have the quickest deliveries (praise hands). Both my babies emerged in just a few minutes—this most recent birth being the quickest at about 3 minutes of active pushing. I barely had time to get in the proper frame of mind when he was born. Navy Wells, a whopping 8.4 pounds and 21 inches long. My doctor handed him to me and said, “Look at what you just did. Look at him. Meet your baby.” He was seriously handsome, and he made me feel known immediately.
Now that we have gotten to know one another a bit better, I can’t believe I spent 27 years of my life without him. His creation completed unfinished parts of me, and his arrival also brought me to the end of myself in many ways. He is sweet, sensitive and deep. He made our family what it is present day, and no matter his arrival, it feels like we have always been waiting
Meet the DeBusscheres
Home: Atlanta, Georgia
Navy now: A 10-month-old baldy who smiles constantly and has fixed heart eyes for his sister, Bellamy.
Favorite activity: Breakfast, snack time, midnight meals … this kid loves to eat!
Behind the name: Navy just fits his personality! He is gentle and deep, not too harsh while also vibrant. His nickname (affectionately given by his sister) is Nay-Nay.
Milestone memory: He just started crawling, but he can’t even sit up on his own yet! Having an older sister helps model his activity, but having a big head makes balancing a challenge.
Send us your birth story! Whether you had a home birth, hospital birth, 37-hour labor or emergency C-section, we’d love to read the tale of your little one’s grand entrance. Write up your birth story (click here for tips on getting started) and email it, along with a few photos, to firstname.lastname@example.org. We’ll share it on our Birth Day blog and may even print it in an upcoming issue!