Labor came a bit unexpectedly at 38.5 weeks.
We went on a Monday for our usual doctor checkup and the midwife felt that his heart rate was a little low so she had us do a non-stress test as they tried to get Harley to move. Of course he wouldn't, partially due to the fact that he had kept me up until 4 a.m. that morning kicking and moving around and partially because this is a child who is a product of my husband Tim and me and only the utmost stubbornness should be expected.
After 20 minutes on the monitor the midwife sent us to get an ultrasound, during which he also didn't move much. At this point the midwife came out and didn't even let us checkout, just sent us straight to the hospital where everything would be waiting for us.
Tim and I weren't really concerned at this point because we knew he was fine and that he was just being Harley and doing his own thing. The drive to the hospital though—literally around the corner from the doctor's office—was still tinted with a bit of stress.
We got to the hospital and as Tim was parking the car they wheeled me to the Labor Holding room where I got a very stylish hospital gown and two heart monitors strapped to my belly, one for me and one for Peanut. Lying there in the room alone was when I finally got hit with anxiety for what was about to happen. Once Tim came back I calmed down a bit.
The nurse taking care of us asked me if I'd been having contractions. “Not that I know of,” I told her. But looking at my monitor she informed me that I was actually having a lot, like four a minute! Not too long after she said that I really start feeling them, but high up in my stomach which was not what I expected.
So we hung out in the room for a while. I finally realized that it might actually happen that day and how woefully unprepared I was for the birthing process. I kept telling Tim, “I don't want to push today,” and, “This wasn't how I had expected today to go.” You know, the usual not-quite-sure-of-what-i've-gotten-myself-into sentiments. Despite my persistent hesitation, (which I'm sure the nurse had NEVER experienced from a patient) they admitted us to the hospital.
Everything happened pretty fast. It was decided that our labor should be induced, even though I was two weeks early because of Harley's low heart rate at our doctor's appointment. The nurses began the induction process that night at 8 p.m.. The rest of the evening was kind of a haze for me. I remember being very crampy and Tim and my sister sitting vigil trying to calm me down and helping me through the pain. Somewhere in there I must have fallen asleep because I woke the next morning at 7:50 a.m. with my water breaking. It was a strange feeling and I laid there thinking, “I really hope that isn't me peeing.” I got up and took a shower and at 9 a.m. they gave me Picotin to get everything going. That's when the contractions really started kicking in.
Tim was absolutely amazing and supportive the whole time. From the moment we got to the birthing room he would not leave my side unless it was to get food or drinks for me. Even when I was sleeping I would wake up and there he was coaxing me through my contractions. I made it to 5 centimeters dilated before I asked for an epidural. I could have gone longer but I was really afraid that I would be one of those women who waited too long to decide, missed the window and ends up screaming loud enough to be heard down the street. (I watched a lot of dramatic reenactments of childbirth while pregnant which may have exaggerated the oncoming experience causing a bit of panic at the time).
(A quick note: I got a lot of impute from a lot of women on the topic of natural childbirth vs. drugging up and after careful thought and weighing of all the options I feel I made the right decision for me and I'm really happy with the way everything happened.)
Once the epidural kicked in I dozed off and on. At about 1:50 p.m. the midwife woke me up to check my dilation and announced that she could see the head and that we were going to start pushing!
All of the anxiety about labor that had been building up the previous weeks were completely forgotten. Since everything was pretty numb I felt like I didn't have to worry about the pain and instead was really excited to get pushing so that we could hurry up and meet our son.
Once everything was in place and the contractions began again the midwife told me to push, and let me tell you, I pushed like the fate of the world was depending on me getting that kid out. With each contraction I pushed three times and by the end of the third set, just under 10 minutes later, Harley was out!
Harley Von Wedig was born on September 29th, 2009 at 2:07 p.m. weighing in at 6 lbs 4 oz. and measuring 18 inches long. Tim and I fell absolutely in love with Harley at first sight! We had been so excited waiting the previous 8.5 months for him and there he was, perfect and sweet and beautiful. Not since meeting Tim has someone changed my life so profoundly. To say I love them both doesn't even begin to cover how I feel.
I really cannot believe how easy we had it, especially given how much I had built it up in my head. I know that this is far from the norm when it comes to childbirth, so I feel really fortunate to have had such a great experience. I mean, in between contractions the midwife, nurse, Tim and I were having conversations about where to find a good
pediatrician! Who does this? It was definitely not the experience I thought we would have. The whole pregnancy really was amazing and a lot easier than most pregnancies and for that I am so, so thankful.
Tim and I spent the next two days at the hospital staring at Harley and asking ourselves how we got so lucky. He is everything we had hoped for with Tim's long eyelashes (like I wanted) and my nose (like Tim wanted). We're still quite amazed.
I admit that I miss being pregnant sometimes, even though towards the end the discomfort was getting to me. I still find myself trying to rest my hand on my belly without thinking. It is just a weird transition to go from being and thinking about being pregnant for all that time to suddenly not being pregnant.
But our family is now complete and I can't imagine things any different.