I’m going to state a very unpopular opinion here. Labor was the easiest part of pregnancy. I know a lot of people will disagree with me, but for me, it really was the easiest part. I think the easiest way to do this post is to break it down into a concise timeline of what happened.
It all started on Saturday, May 3rd, unfortunately. Alex and I had ventured to visit his family that lives two hours away, and then another two hours to his brother’s and sister-in-law’s graduation. We sat on hard bleachers for almost three hours and then helped them finish packing up their apartment to move up by us. During all of this, I started having noticeable contractions. They were close to a minute long, and thirteen minutes apart. Close enough to be completely annoying, but not close enough to go to the hospital.
This went on for a week and a half. The weekend following their graduation (May 10th), we moved to a new apartment. Our one-bedroom apartment was a perfect first home for the two of us, but it was not big enough to welcome a baby, especially after you figure out how much stuff a baby needs. Our new apartment is much more like a home. We have a kitchen that is more than a wall in our living room; we have a hallway; we have a bathtub; we even have our own washer and dryer. Thanks to much help from my family, we were able to get completely moved within the early part of the day.
I continued doing everything as normal. I worked at the schools and tried to nap through most of the days. At my weekly appointment on May 8th, my doctor told me I was dilated to 2+ centimeters. She told me to schedule another appointment, but was skeptical that I would make it.
On Tuesday, May 13th, around 7 pm, I realized that my contractions were becoming more and more frequent. They were lasting a minute or longer each, and varying between three and five minutes apart. Within an hour, my lower back was killing me, and I was ready to be done (more so than I had been for the previous nine months). At 9:30, we decided to go to the hospital to see what was going on. I’d tried calling, but they were unable to give me any information over the phone. They were unable to give me any information once we got there, until I was checked in as a patient.
The plan was to monitor my contractions for an hour and see if I dilated any further. If I did, we’d stay and I’d have my baby. If I didn’t, they’d send me home. When we went in, I was still at 2 centimeters. Once I was hooked up to the monitors, my contractions evened out and the waiting began. At the end of the hour, I was at 3 centimeters. It was time for me to have my baby.
We checked in on facebook, and it was official. We started letting family and friends know what was going on. I texted my bosses to let them know I wouldn’t be at work. It was really happening. My parents left at some point (I think around 1 am), and my mom told me to let her know when things happened.
The contractions really weren’t that bad. They felt, to me, like the same cramps I’d had every month since I was twelve.
At 4:00 am: I was given an epidural. Really, that was the most terrifying part to me. That is one LONG needle. But the poke for the local anesthetic was the worst part, and I jumped a lot. But once that was over, it was just waiting and squeezing Alex’s hand as hard as I could. It was over quickly enough, and I was numb.
At 4:45 am: Dr. Someone came in and broke my water. I’d been admitted in the middle of three deliveries, so I’d had every nurse on the floor in my room. The on-call doctor broke my water, and was on his way.
At some point: I puked all over myself, and fell asleep. The nurses came in a little later and changed the bedding. My left hip had been killing me during every contraction since my water had been broken, so they put me on my left side to let the epidural spread, and I slept most of the night.
At 6:00 am: My mom came back to the hospital.
At 8:00 am: The nursing staff changed, and I had a whole new set of people taking care of me.
At 9:00 am: I was dilated to 10 centimeters. The nurses had me wait for an hour to help make pushing easier. Every contraction, I had the strongest urge to push, but I tried my hardest to relax. I had the worst cold I’d ever experienced, and I was constantly coughing, which didn’t help the relaxing.
At 10:00 am: The nurse came in to check and I was ready to go. Within minutes, the doctor was there, and I was pushing. Three contractions later, it was 10:22 am.
At 10:22 am: My daughter was born. She was perfectly healthy at 7 pounds 4 ounces and 19 inches long. Those first moments, holding my baby girl, were easily some of the most emotional moments of my life. I didn’t cry, I came very close, but I didn’t. But if I had, they would have been happy tears, because, at that moment, I’d never been happier in my life.
The most painful part of labor? There’s 80% chance of vaginal tearing during natural birth. With those chances, you’re likely to end up with stitches. And that was the most painful part of my labor experience (and, if you want me to be completely honest, that wasn’t even that painful). I’m sure being able to hold Lacey during it all was what made it all bearable.