On Valentine’s Day 2015, my husband told me he was ready to begin trying for children. We had only been married for about three and a half months at that point, but we both knew we were ready. Still, the thought of actively trying to have a baby was surreal. Just a few years prior to us getting married, I was vocal about never wanting to have kids.But what my mom always said was true – when I found the right person, that would change. I was eager, excited, and hopeful that it would happen soon.
It happened much sooner than either of us expected. Just a few weeks after going off my birth control, I started feeling a little.. different. The first symptom I felt was boob soreness, which honestly scared me at first. When I couldn’t attribute it to bumps, lumps, or PMS, I decided to take a pregnancy test. I saw a faint positive line and took a few minutes to try to wrap my head around what that meant. I didn’t even consider crafting some kind of surprise announcement for my husband; I was too excited. I did my best to hide my smile as I asked, “Guess what?” He knew immediately what I had to tell him. He was elated and we spent the entire day (and the following 40 weeks) reminding each other of the great news.
Fast forward nine months to my due date of January 5, 2016. I was not feeling any signs of labor, so I went into my doctor’s office for a quick check. Everything seemed okay on the surface, but she recommended that I get an ultrasound just to be sure. That ultrasound revealed that I had very low amniotic fluid levels, which can be dangerous for the baby. She asked me calmly, “Are you ready to have your baby today? We need to talk about induction.” I mean, it IS my due date. But I wasn’t expecting anyone to tell me the time and place it would happen. It was a surreal feeling as I agreed to the induction and walked over to the hospital. Luckily, we had brought our overnight bags just in case (and that was the first time we decided to do so).
We checked in and made our way to the labor room where I changed into an unflattering assless drape and got connected to a variety of machines, all of which I had elected against per my natural birthing plan. The pitocin jump started my labor. The antibiotics helped prevent the Group B Strep from crossing the placenta. The saline solution kept me hydrated since I was not allowed any fluids by mouth. The fetal heart rate monitor kept a constant measure of the baby’s vitals (while giving me a much bulkier silhouette). I was not allowed to sit in the bathing tub as I had originally planned. I could not move around freely without having a tube and cord leash to be mindful of. I was provided a birthing ball, but found it to be terribly uncomfortable.
Six hours into unmedicated labor, I was beginning to lose steam. The pain was getting real, becoming unbearable, and I was starting to feel delirious. Concentrated breathing, changing positions, and praying had gotten me this far, but I needed to know the end was near. I called the nurse in to check my progress, thinking I was at least six or seven centimeters dilated. “Looks like you’re almost two centimeters. I’d say there’s about ten hours to go before you’re ready to deliver.” NOPE. I took a minute (literally one minute) to mourn the fact that I didn’t think I could continue with this labor without pain medication. It was a big decision for me, to ask for the epidural, since I was so adamant on going natural and “experiencing” the whole process.
The nurse called in the anesthesiologist, who took WAY TOO LONG to arrive. His spiel about procedures and risks went in one ear and out the other. I could have agreed to anything. I almost agreed to having a student “train” on me. My husband and mother stepped in on that one.
Sweet, sweet relief entered my body through a four inch needle into my spine. The epidural also helped my body relax and progress much more quickly; I was at eight centimeters within an hour. My family and I had fun watching the monitors spike with each contraction while we tried to imagine what I would be feeling if my lower extremities were not completely numb.
When it finally came time for the delivery, I had to move to a different room, where I asked my family to please wait outside as I exposed my nether regions to the world (my mom still hasn’t forgiven me for that). My obstetrician barely had time to suit up before it was show time. She instructed me to bear down, hold my breath, and push through the contractions that I wasn’t even aware I was having. After only two or three contractions, our baby boy was born. At 9:48pm on January 5, 2016, an 8 pound 1 ounce, 19 inches long strong, squirmy boy changed our lives forever. Seeing him for the first time was magical, spiritual, and unreal at the same time. He looked like a gooey, cone headed alien, but he was beautiful.