Since day one, my son has been a force of nature. A force to be reckoned with, one that cannot be ignored.
I was 40 weeks pregnant and counting. I had passed my due date and he showed no signs of making an appearance. I went to the doctor and my midwife recommended stripping my cervix. It was a last-ditch effort. If that didn’t work, I was scheduled to be induced in a few short days. I was nervous. I didn’t want to be induced. I had a birth plan. I wanted it to be all natural – no drugs and minimal interventions. An induction did not fit that plan.
So, my midwife did her thing and stripped my cervix. It was incredibly uncomfortable, and I winced as the pain ripped through my body. This better work. We left the hospital and went home to clean out the truck. If I did go into labor that night, we wanted everything to be perfect.
The contractions started a couple hours later. They were irregular and spaced a bit apart as I continued to prepare. My hopes started to rise. This was it. He was going to come tonight. Then, after a few hours of mild contractions, they tapered off. The disappointment washed over me, and I worried he would never come. We crawled into bed, hoping to sleep the day away.
I awoke a couple hours later to more contractions. Again, they were irregular and infrequent. I spent the entire night sleeping when I could and timing contractions when I couldn’t. It was a frustrating experience. I just wanted him to come already.
Around 8 a.m., my husband left for work and I decided it was time to get out of bed. It didn’t seem like this was going to happen today, so I might as well get things done. I headed downstairs and began making breakfast. Around 9 a.m., the contractions began again. But these ones were different. These ones hit me like a crashing wave. I bent over and tried to breath. I tried to walk to my bedroom but had to stop on the stairs. It hurt so much.
I called my husband and told him it was time for him to come home. It was time. He would later tell me he thought I was overreacting and it was another false alarm. HA! After I hung up with him, I called my midwife. I explained the progression of my labor and she informed me that they were at max capacity. I would have to be diverted to another hospital. She thought I had time and recommended I go to one about an hour away. My husband arrived home just then. Upon seeing how much pain I was in, he began to panic. He ran around the house, gathering up things, and taking them to the car. He helped me down the stairs and out the door. Here we go.
As we head to the hospital, we hit a traffic jam. And then the rain starts to pour. At this point, I’m screaming I’m in so much pain and my contractions are only a minute or two apart. Something isn’t right. We aren’t going to make it the hospital. I frantically called my midwife and put her on speaker. My husband tried to explain what was happening between my guttural screams. The midwife directed us to the closest hospital and off we went.
We arrived at the hospital around 12:00 p.m. My husband pulled up to the emergency room entrance and rushed inside. Some nurses rushed out to get me. As I struggled to climb out of the truck and into the waiting wheelchair, one of the nurses remarked, “Oh, she’s in like real labor.”
They pushed me into the emergency room while my husband went to park the car. They started examining me as they gathered paperwork from my midwife. They escorted me upstairs to a delivery room and started hooking me up to the monitors. Their midwife came in, introduced herself, and started examining me. “You’re only four centimeters dilated. And you’re a first-time momma. It’s probably going to be awhile. Most first-timers are in labor for twelve hours and you just got started,” she said. Just what a woman in labor wants to hear.
I looked at my husband and told him I didn’t think I could handle this for twelve hours. I wanted an epidural. “Are you sure? he asked. You told me to tell you no, no matter how much you asked.” “I’ll wait a little bit”, I responded. I really didn’t want one but there was no way I could make it all day like this.
The nurse stood next to me trying to put an IV in my hand. She rushed to do it between contractions and asked me to keep still. Keep still? How could I keep still with waves of pain rocking my body every minute? Eventually after multiple failed attempts, she went and asked a more experienced nurse for help. The new nurse got it on the first try and all was right in the world.
About fifteen minutes later, my son and my monitors showed no problems, so they agreed to let me get up and move. The nurses brought in a balance ball and I leaned over the bed. My husband rubbed my back as I tried to breath through the pain. The midwife came to check on me and I told her I thought I was further along. “It’s only been fifteen minutes. It’s going to take more time, she answered. “Please, just check me again,” I begged. She agreed, and I got back in bed. She checked me and was surprised to see I was already six centimeters dilated. I was progressing fast, but it was still going to be awhile she explained to us.
I got back out of bed and leaned on the ball. For twenty minutes, I sat in excruciating pain. This had to be it. The midwife came back in to check on me and I felt something wet below. She looked and informed me that my water had broken. This was good news. But it was still going to be awhile. The midwife stayed in the room to wait with us. Another ten minutes passed, and I started to feel the urge to push. “Don’t push! It isn’t time yet. You must resist the urge. It will only do more harm than good,” the midwife explained. So, I resisted but the urge only grew. I quickly realized that it was time, but my midwife was hesitant to agree. After much arguing, she finally agreed to check me again.
I climbed back in bed and she shockingly stated that it was time. I needed to push. This baby was coming. Fifteen minutes of pushing and intense pain later, my baby boy made his grand entrance. He came out with his arms up by his head, a force of nature from the start. It took an hour and a half from when I arrived to when I was snuggling my sweet boy. He was born at 1:33p.m. and all the nurses and our midwife were astonished by my fast delivery. They had never seen a first-time mom go through labor and delivery so quickly. It was all over in the blink of an eye – no drugs, minimal intervention, almost everything I had planned – just at a different hospital and a lot faster than I had imagined.
But what can I say? My son is a force of nature. A force to be reckoned with, one that cannot be ignored. And he has been ever since. And will be for many wonderful years to come.