For me, being pregnant was all kinds of awesome. From the moment we found out we were expecting we were completely in love with the tiny little miracle that had just checked into a womb at the Coke Four Seasons. In addition to that, I had also fallen in love with choosing names, creating our dream nursery, visiting Dairy Queen once a week, never having to suck in my stomach, and living in yoga pants and flip-flops the final three months (along with the first six). I never had morning sickness, never had to stop wearing my rings, never grew a moustache and didn’t turn into a complete hormonal mess (well, no more of a mess than my usual state). Yes, for me, pregnancy was *super* awesome.
The days, weeks and months ticked by; April 16th was fast approaching. We were beyond excited. The only thing more awesome and exciting than being pregnant is being unpregnant.
At our March 25th appointment, we found out we were one centimeter dilated – hooray! Right on schedule. We were past our “weekly appointment” stage, and our midwife decided we should come back in a few days. We were eager to see what progress had been made. Our next few appointments went something like this:
– April 1st: one centimeter.
– April 5th: one centimeter.
– April 8th: one centimeter.
– April 10th: one centimeter.
– April 15th: one centimeter.
Yes, the day before D-Day, and we were still at one centimeter. I was having serious, lengthy discussions with then-named Baby C about the importance of arriving on time (this, from a woman who was perpetually 10 minutes late for everything before having children). I explained to Baby C that mama is notoriously challenged in the punctuality department. I started thinking that this was God’s way of impressing the importance of timeliness upon me. Nice one, Big Guy.
At our appointment on April 18th, our midwife let us know she was perfectly fine with us going one week past our due date, but then they would induce. I was completely and adamantly against induction; not because I’m some hippy who just wanted things to happen on their own (although that was part of it), but because I absolutely terrified of being induced. I had learned enough from friends, birthing class and horrifying mommy blogs to know that the last thing I wanted was someone cramming a knitting needle up my hoo-ha to break my water, then “kick-starting” labor with an IV bag full of the worst contractions ever, thankyouverymuch.
So we left the appointment, scheduled to come back the next day to see if we were any further dilated. I had another very serious conversation with Baby C. Something along the lines of, “You have seven days to get here or you’re grounded until you’re 30.”
Friday’s appointment rolled around. We were now three days past our due date. I remember my midwife asking me if it would make me feel better if she just lied and said we were dilated 2 centimeters, wink-wink nod-nod. I said yes. And with that, the induction was “tentatively” scheduled for the 24th.
I started maternity leave. I waddled miles and miles around the block. I bounced on an exercise ball. I ate spicy food. I tried dancing in my living room. I attempted some maternity yoga that ended with me ass-over-tea kettle and laughed at by three of our four cats. I’m pretty sure I even heard my husband’s stupid parrot laughing at me. Yes, we did everything (and I mean everything) we could think of to encourage labor. Baby C’s response was always a series of kicks to my ribcage, followed by an elbow to the bladder and some wicked heartburn.
Saturday, April 20th. Still plenty of time. We went to Publix to pick up the ingredients for our pizza, which we make every Saturday night. When we were checking out, our regular cashier (with her endearing Bostonian accent) asked us the same question she asked every week, “When ah yah due?!” Tonight, my response was, “LAST TUESDAY.” She smiled and said, “Take the bumpy road home tonight and pack yah hospital bag, that baby’s comin’.”
So we took the bumpy road. We made pizza, extra red pepper flakes. I poured a glass of red wine (at four days late, the kid was done baking). We stuffed our faces, and watched an old horror movie.
At 2:30am, I got up for the 47th time that night to pee. I sat down, and started thinking, “Good grief, how much water did I drink?” Then I realized what had happened…
I quietly and calmly awoke Evan, and told him my water broke. Then I did what I’m sure most women going into labor do: I took a shower, shaved my legs, mopped the house and emptied the dishwasher. I also called the maternity ward (I never wanted to be one of those women who goes to the hospital umpteen times thinking she’s in labor) and just like a Verona Beach retiree, I could hear Rod Roddy’s voice telling us to COME ON DOOOOOOWN! We were the next contestants on, “Guess How Dilated You Are!”
We arrived around 4:30am, and were taken to maternity triage. Another girl, probably 30ish weeks along with the most horrific morning sickness ever, came in right behind us. There, in the 30×30 room, separated only by little curtains, we got to listen to her chorus of vomiting for half an hour before the triage nurse came in to see if I needed to stay. Yes, even though I was sitting in a puddle of amniotic fluid (on a pee pad; yes, all dignity is out the window when you embark on the adventure of having children) we still needed to decide if Baby C was really on the way.
The nurse decided we’d start the first round of “Guess How Dilated You Are!” By now, Baby C had dropped so low that it was nearly impossible to get to my cervix (don’t worry; this is about as TMI as it gets today). When the nurse finally found it, the pain was so intense that I had one of those Linda Blair in The Exorcist moments. I apologized, knowing the nurse had probably heard and seen much worse. She just smiled and said, “Don’t worry honey, you’re three centimeters dilated!” Now, that might not seem like much, but after holding steady at one centimeter for what felt like six weeks, we were excited.
Unfortunately, the poor girl across the curtain got to hear my momentary possession. I could almost see her second thoughts about childbirth. Here I was, not even really in labor, practically climbing the walls and wailing in pain.
6:30am – Contractions start. Not too bad, but not something I’d want to experience on the reg. All back labor, thanks to Baby C’s headfirst plunge into the birth canal.
8:00am – Still three centimeters. Contractions getting stronger.
9:00am – Still three centimeters. Pitocin started. Extreme terror sets in.
9:15am – Triage nurse comes in, increases pitocin to 3mL.
9:30am – STILL. THREE. CENTIMETERS. Pitocin increased to 5mL.
10:00am – Sigh. Still three. Pitocin increased to 7mL.
10:15am – Contractions getting super strong. The last four hours have been spent bouncing on an exercise ball between bouts of what I’m certain sounds like a pelican squawk. Women with children, you know what I’m talking about. The nurse comes in – again – and increases the pitocin to 9mL.
10:30am – Nurse comes in. I give her the death stare. Evan laughs at me. Pitocin goes to 11mL.
11:00am – More death stares, more pitocin. Evan may also have a few fractured fingers.
11:30am – Sadistic nurse sent by the Anti-Christ comes in. Sees my face. Wisely decides against more pitocin.
Noon – Time for round two…FOUR CENTIMETERS DILATED! Now I’m allowed to lay down, hallelujah. We’re officially in “active” labor (I don’t know what they called the last three hours of pitocin hell…) and we can “expect” to dilate one centimeter every hour until we hit the big 1-0.
Here’s the thing about contractions…they are completely unexplainable. There’s no way I could put into words what the feeling is like; it’s painful, but not like any pain you’ve experienced. I think because it’s pain with a purpose. Oh yes, it hurts, but once the contraction is over you enter a brief (very, very brief) state of euphoria. You’re hooked up to the monitor, and you can watch your contraction lines going…you can see how long they are, and how strong they are. The monitor picks up the strength just seconds before you really feel it. I remember lying on my side, watching that stupid green line as it would dramatically jump into Mount Everest territory. I would prepare myself for what was coming next. And then it was over, and you could recover, even if it was only a few seconds.
We had decided against the epidural long ago, after watching a terrifying video during birthing class and reading some horrific posts on a few mommy blogs (stay away from the too-serious mommy blogs, ladies…) Those few seconds of recovery helped to reaffirm that I could do this; it wasn’t that bad.
Around the time of The Green Line of Torture, my midwife came in for the third round of “Guess How Dilated You Are!” It was 1:00p. She sat down at the table to do some of our paperwork, and listen to me during the contractions. One contraction later, and she decided it was time to play. It had been an hour since active labor began; I was expecting to be at five, if we were lucky, six. In my mind, I kept thinking that I had six more hours of this before sweet Baby C would arrive. I was feeling t-i-r-e-d.
My widwife checked, and her face lit up like we’d hit the $10,000 slot on Plinko…
Holy cow. All I could think was, “That was fast, that was fast, that was fast!” I also wanted to throw confetti and spray champagne on people. It was time. Like really, REALLY, time, to start The Big Show.
The next hour was a blur, except for the end. We were in the homestretch. Baby C’s gigantic noggin was out; shoulders were out, just one more push and…STOP. My midwife asked me to stop. You want me to what?! You spent the last 45 minutes asking me to push, push, push, push some more, breathe and push again, and now…just stop?
She asked me to stop so that Evan could be the person to deliver Baby C; so that he would be the first to hold our sweet baby, the first to know what our baby was. Here we go…
One. Last. Push.
I will never, ever forget Evan’s face when he erupted with, “It’s a BOY!” I will never forget that instant feeling of love, of accomplishment, of pride, of joy, of peace, of family. My goodness, your heart will literally explode.
Miles Clark Coke, 7lbs. 11oz., born April 21st, 2013
Love at first sight!
April 23, 2013 — The two men who melt my heart.
People will tell you throughout the journey of starting a family that you will never feel another love like this; that you never knew you could love like this. I used to chuckle at the whole sap-fest of it all…the Lifetime movie stories my mom friends would tell me. And then, we became parents. Everything you’ve ever heard is absolutely, positively, 110% true. There is no love like this. It will overwhelmingly consume you. You will know God in a new and amazing and incredible way, because you have experienced a miracle unlike any other. There aren’t enough words in the world to express how becoming a parent changes you, for the better. No, it isn’t always easy, but it is completely worth it. Because for every long night of rocking in a chair with your sick baby, every hour of crying when teething begins, every ounce of spit-up dripping down the back of your shirt (again!), there are ten thousand moments of giggles, smiles, new discoveries, snuggles and love. Your child will look at you in a way that will fill you with fear, with the realization that you are responsible for this tiny person – for their well being, their safety, their life. But, you will also fill with complete joy, unconditional love, overwhelming thankfulness, and gratitude at the blessing you were given.
To say, “a love like no other” is really just the beginning of the adventure.
Thanks for hanging in there!