School started and I was about to be 40 weeks pregnant. My ankles were so swollen I had two pairs of shoes that fit that now slip off my feet when I walk. All of my students couldn’t believe how big my belly was and I got asked a million times a day when she would be here. After being back at work for a week and a half and passing my due date, I decided I was going to take that Friday off and hopefully she would come that weekend.
The week leading up to Oakley’s birth I tried everything from walking to bouncing on an exercise ball to castor oil (ew, don’t try it). Andrew was so anxious for her to arrive! Saturday, August 26th, I woke up and had mild contractions, so Andrew, my mom, my dad, and myself went on a 3 mile walk, hoping to get things going. When we got back from the walk, the contractions had stopped. What the heck?
So, later that night they started again and I started timing them with an app. Around 10 or 11 p.m., my app told me it was time to go to the hospital. The contractions really didn’t hurt that bad but since it was my first time we thought we better go get checked out. When we got there I was only dilated to a 2 so the nurse said, “let’s monitor you for an hour and see where you’re at.” Fast forward an hour later and I was still at a 2… so disappointing. The nurse told us that she called the doctor and he said to go home and when I woke up from the contractions I would be in active labor.
We ended up getting home and falling asleep around 1 after all was said and done. At 3 a.m. I was woken up by contractions and told Andrew it was the real thing. He kept asking me if I needed to go to the hospital but I told him I needed to wait until they were closer together. That morning around 6 or 7 I woke Andrew, my mom, and my dad up to let them know this was the real thing. I took a bath to try to help the pain, which it did help. Finally, at 9 a.m. my app said that my contractions were close enough together to go to the hospital. So Andrew drove to the hospital, thankfully not as fast or crazy as his he did during his practice drives the weeks leading up to it. When we got there, I had to stop every couple of minutes because it was hard to walk during the contractions and for some stupid reason I refused to sit in a wheelchair.
Once we got checked in, I laid in bed and we all asked the nurse a million questions. She checked me and I was only dilated to a 2. When she came back in I hadn’t made much progress. I was so worried that I was going to be one of those horror stories that labored for days. I just remember telling her over and over I can’t do this until Friday (the day I was scheduled to be induced). She laughed and said oh you’re going to have this baby today. She called the doctor and he said to start some Pitocin. The nurse said all it took was less than a teaspoon to kick things into gear.
She asked me how I wanted to manage the pain and I told her I wasn’t sure if I wanted to do it natural or have an epidural. She checked to see if my water broke but it didn’t and at this point I was dilated to 5cm. Andrew learned how to read the monitor and knew when I was having a contraction. I just squeezed him and took long deep breaths through each one. My mom was getting more and more excited and my dad stayed calm, like always.
Everything I read about contractions before going into labor did not apply to me. People said to walk, bounce on a ball, switch positions, etc. I wasn’t able to do anything besides squeeze Andrew or my mom and breathe through them and some of them lasted longer than 30 seconds to a minute like everything said. I decided to go for the epidural. At our small town hospital, the anesthesiologist isn’t on staff 24/7, so by the time he got there and gave me the epidural, I was at 7cm. At this point, I was asking myself, “why did I wait so long?” He put the epidural in during a contraction so I didn’t even feel the needle. Not too long after I could barely feel the contractions and I was able to relax. I was able to enjoy the process and was so excited.
It seemed like not too long after the epidural, the doctor came in the room and he said I was about ready to start pushing. I was so happy to see him because I knew she was almost here, plus he became like family to us the past 9 months. Next thing I knew they were wheeling in all of the things to prepare for the birth and then it was time to push. I pushed for an hour and a half and every time I would make progress the nurse would get so excited. Right when her head started to come out, I realized if I looked up at the ceiling the light acted like a mirror and I could see everything that was going on. Kinda weird and kinda cool at the same time. I was so close, we could see the top of her head, and then all of a sudden the doctor said stop pushing! I was so surprised to hear that I wasn’t sure what was going on. Andrew was supposed to catch her when she came out but the doctor asked him to move out of the way and grab the scissors. I looked up at the light and saw him trying to pull her umbilical cord over her head but it was too tight around her neck to pull it over her head. So, he clipped it and Andrew cut her umbilical cord and there she was! It took her a second but then I heard her cry. My mom was in awe and I think Andrew had an adrenaline rush. I just couldn’t believe she was finally here and I was so excited to hold her. The minute they put her on my chest, the tears started flowing and I couldn’t stop them. There she was, absolutely perfect and I felt so blessed God chose me to be her mom and Andrew to be her dad. After Andrew and my mom held her they got her cleaned up and the whole time I could hear them pointing out different features she had. My dad came in shortly after that and it was obvious he instantly fell in love like the rest of us.
She nursed right away and I held her for a while before they wheeled her away to get her cleaned up. My dad kept pacing the halls to see what they were doing and when they were going to bring her back. My mom, Andrew, and I kept looking at pictures they had taken. The text messages and phone calls started coming in to fill in our family and friends. That day was by far the best day of my life and it is so true you forget about the pain because I would relive that day tomorrow if I could.