Thursday, July 28, 2011
A week ago today, I gave birth to my new baby boy, Ben. And here's how it all went down:
I was six days past my due date, with a looming induction scheduled for the next morning. I spent that Wednesday tearing my hair out between what I thought were more Braxton Hicks contractions, trying to decide if I was going to keep the induction scheduled, or cancel it and see if my body would go into labor on its own for another week. Sam had been two weeks late, and I had to get induced with him. I was really hoping to have a different kind of experience this time.
That Wednesday evening, I had pretty much decided I was going to cancel the induction. Sam got on his bike, and Mark, Sam's grandparents (Mark's parents) and I took a walk to the playground...with me waddling and having to stop every so often with a contraction. I laid down by the swing set, my head resting on Sam's helmet. We walked home and had dinner.
After dinner, I took a bath and watched some TV, still having contractions, but not regularly enough to know if it was really labor.
But about 9:30, I started timing them again on my lap counter (timing contractions is a good use of the lap counter, I've found!) as I tried to go to bed.
Three contractions, 11 minutes apart. Hmm. Three more contractions, 9 minutes and 30 seconds apart. OK, maybe this is labor. The next contraction was stronger than any of them had been. Me: "I think we're going to the hospital." A quick call to the nurse, a nudge to the grandparents who were thankfully sleeping at our house, a quick kiss on Sam's cheek as he slept, and we were out the door.
Nineteen minutes later (a speed record my husband is very proud of), we were at the hospital, and upon being checked in around 11:30p.m., I was 7.5 cm dilated. WUHOO!
I told the nurse that I'd love to have the baby naturally, but was open to the epidural and hadn't really decided yet. But since I was so far along, I decided to go without it for a while. A half hour or 45 minutes later, I was 8.5 cm dilated. An hour later, and with increasing pain and moaning per contraction, I was still 8.5. I was playing mind games with myself to manage the pain.
Each contraction was about 90-seconds long, I think, which was about 25 quick breaths so I was counting them out in my head, knowing that by the 25th, it'd be over. And I was picturing each contraction as running a 400 as hard as I could, feeling like I just might barf or fall over (I like speed work) when coming around the final bend, but knowing I'd be able to stop and recover once I crossed the line. And in between contractions, I went to Kauai in my brain. Warm air, clear ocean, green grass. That helped, despite the tsunami that I knew was coming...another contraction.
The doctor came in just after 1a.m. and said she could break my water, which she thought would help it along, to which I quickly agreed.
Water broken, three painful contractions about three minutes apart, and within nine minutes I was screaming, "I'M PUSHING!"
And from there I became a wild animal, screaming louder than I ever thought possible and probably scaring the rest of the labor and delivery patients to get every pain drug possible.
I screamed with every contraction, and I think it sounded like...well, like I was birthing an 8-and-a-half-pound human out my body. When the doctor and nurses came in and wanted me to move this way and that, I was thrashing about so badly that one nurse had to grab my head and tell me to focus.
I did focus, between screams, and about 15 minutes of pushing gave me my baby boy Ben. Hallelujah.
Immediately after, I wanted to break it all down, play-by-play, with Mark because I just couldn't believe what had just happened...something I find myself doing after a big race. Mark, on the other hand, was speechless.