Today’s my birthday, so I thought it fitting that I post this today. WARNING: I will hold nothing back in this story, so it’ll be long and graphic.

On August 16th, I woke up at 4PM to watch a League of Legends tournament. I went out to the living room and sat down. I was still groggy from my nap, but I thought I felt weird. Couldn’t put my finger on it, but I felt weird.

I was having a conversation with the hubby and right in the middle I noticed that I felt wet and squishy. I didn’t say anything to Greg; I just got up and went to the bathroom to look. There was some clear thin fluid. I was suspicious, but just changed my panty liner and made a mental note to keep an eye on it. I stood up and took three steps before I felt another little squish. I turned around and checked again and there was a little mucus in there too, but still it was more of that fluid.

At that point, I called Greg in and told/showed him what was going on. I put an actual pad on and went back into the living room to call the midwife. She said it sounded like my water broke, so I was advised to take a shower, eat dinner, and then come in to the hospital.

It was that moment that two words started repeating in my head: Holy shit. Even with the midwife having said that, we were both a little skeptical. After all, it really wasn’t that much fluid. Even my doula, Holly, was saying that it was unlikely, but to keep her updated. So we planned to pack a bag, just in case we were kept overnight for observation or something or in the unlikely event that this was in fact “time”.

Greg went to start dinner and I went to take a shower. I pulled down my shorts to find they were wet. I pulled down my underwear and they were soaked. I could see my underwear THROUGH the pad I had on it was so saturated. I yelled to Greg and stepped into the hallway. “This is NOT a false alarm, there’s water everywhere!” I’m pretty sure my eyes were big as saucers. I proceeded with my shower in a bit of a daze.

Got out, got dressed, and started packing. Despite knowing my water was broken, we were still packing with the words “just in case” in mind. I ate real quick and we decided to take a walk to see if we could get some contractions going, seeing as I hadn’t had any since my water broke. It was about 6PM at that point and we went for about a slow two mile walk.

Now we were expecting early labor. That means we were expecting like 10-20 minutes between contractions and several hours of easy contractions. I also expected the contractions to feel like the Braxton Hicks ones in the abdomen. That’s not what happened. About 10 minutes into the walk, I noticed I was getting some back pain…periodically, with maybe a little abdominal cramping.

I decided those were probably contractions. Especially when by 2/3 through the walk, they were 4-5 minutes apart and I was having trouble moving and talking during them. I wasn’t too worried though, because I figured it was just because we were walking so much that they were so close together and intense already.

We got home and while we finished packing and getting things together, I called my friend. She was going to give us a rocker for the baby to sleep in next to our bed since the room is so small. It was kinda fun how I told her too. “So has Zac grown out of that rocker yet?” “Pretty much, why?” “Cause my water broke.” Needless to say she was really excited for me.

So off we went to the hospital, where I was stripped, sat on a Chux pad, and put on a monitor behind a curtain while they assessed me. They asked me a ton of questions while I was monitored, and it wasn’t until they were all answered that the nurse looked at the readout. Greg had to answer some of the questions for me towards the end because I couldn’t talk during a contraction anymore and when we asked how they were, we were told that they were 2-3 minutes apart. We looked at her like she just told us she was an alien. That’s active labor, after only about two hours of early labor. She also lifted up the blanket and said “cough”. I coughed and felt a squish, which is apparently what she was looking for.

She finally went to get the midwife and when she came in and introduced herself, she said she had to check me. I was expecting this, but still so unenthused. I had never been checked like that before and kind of feared it. I mean, that’s a whole freakin’ hand going in there kinda far. Sure enough, that was one of the most unpleasant experiences I’ve ever had. She even admitted that she’d basically just raped me with her hand and apologized (though with a smile on her face, because we all knew it had to happen). I was a centimeters dilated and 75% effaced already. It was official, I was in labor. She said she was the midwife on call until 8AM so she might not be the one delivering.

I was given mesh undies with a gigantic pad in them, and we got settled in our private laboring suite by about 9:30PM and Greg went to get the birthing ball out of the car while I started sending texts. I texted my family that I was in labor and would be turning my phone off until after the baby was out, texted Holly to tell her it was all for real, and called my mom because she wanted to be there. When I told my mom how far along I was, she started getting that “why didn’t you call me sooner?” tone. I just told her “Mom, we are as surprised as you…”

By 11PM my mom and Holly were both there and I was miserable. I was trying to drink water and/or some Gatorade to keep my strength/energy up. I was in the bathroom every 15 minutes to poop, and I was desperately trying to find a labor position I could stick with. I tried walking now and then, but never strayed too far because contractions were so close and it hurt so much.

At one point I told Greg “I think I’ve got some serious back labor going on” to which he replied “nah, you’ve always had some back problems, so you’re probably fine”. Yeah, he later told me that he’d lied through his teeth and just didn’t want me dwelling on the knowledge that I had back labor. So I felt better about thinking that he was so wrong at the time lol.

I lost most of my modesty, just dropping the hospital gown whenever I walked over to the bathroom, not caring if Holly or my mom saw me basically naked. I kept thinking through the contractions that maybe an epidural wouldn’t be so bad, but I had preached about going natural and taken a class to help me do so, so I couldn’t disappoint everyone, including myself.

I lost all track of time, so that’s going to be pretty vague from here on out, but eventually I gave up trying to find a comfortable labor position and just laid down on my side. I began tearless sobs at that point and knew better than to even try to move because I didn’t have time between contractions and moving during them hurt even more.

At one point I had begun the low tones, just letting sound out in “ooooo”s. In class we’d been taught that it helped, but truthfully it’s not so much that it helps, that it lets you vocalize without screaming. It also let Holly and Greg know when I needed to be reminded not to pant so I didn’t hyperventilate.

I did get a heplock at some point, at which time I was told I was dehydrated. I couldn’t keep up with water unfortunately, because things had started just so fast. They never did use the heplock though, which is both good and annoying (that thing hurt my hand and to know it was unnecessary kind of made me mad).

I kept feeling cold and shivering, but was told I was quite warm and that it was just feeling the adrenaline. Well, while I was lying down I started to feel sick and thought it was probably just the adrenaline again, which might be kind of stupid, but it’s what I thought. I had to try to get to the bathroom without causing myself undue pain, which was not easy as fast as the contractions were. I did get sick, though thankfully between contractions.

I went back to bed, and was long past the point of being able to relax through contractions. I tried to relax as much as possible, but it would get to a point where I couldn’t help but squeeze something. Sometimes it was Greg’s hand and sometimes it was the bedrail.

A short time later, I needed to get sick again. I figured I was in transition by now, which is the time between active labor and the pushing stage. I was not so lucky this time though, and contracted while I heaved. That’s another God-awful experience by the way.

I got back to bed and continued to contract, thinking more and more about begging for drugs, but guilt tripping myself out of it saying a word about it. I was still sobbing tearless during contractions and needed to be reminded to keep my tones low and breathing deep more and more. At some point, I kind of felt like bearing down, but was too afraid to because I thought I’d poop myself. I tried going again once or twice, but nothing would happen anymore.

As the urge got stronger, I started to try to push. As I turned over, and contracted again, I was thinking I was done. I was going to actually ask for an epidural because my back hurt so badly with every contraction which just came so close together. At the same time I thought that, I realized my body was pushing whether I wanted to or not. Instead of asking for drugs, I said “page the midwife, I’m pushing” which came out as basically a whisper.

Holly told the nurse that I wanted the midwife and that I was grunting, which I hadn’t noticed, but was true. Only a couple minutes later, the midwife was there and said she needed to check me again to see where the baby was. I think I actually begged her not to, but she assured me it wouldn’t be like before, and sure enough, she only needed to use a couple fingers and didn’t have to go far. The baby’s head was pretty low now and I was in fact working on pushing her out.

I was on my side and a nurse had one of my legs up as I considered pushing from that position. I had a contraction and tried to lower my leg and she would let go, so I whined at her to let me go and yanked my leg out of her hand. I later found that kind of funny, especially when I remembered periodically saying “no touchy” to everyone during contractions.

I turned on my back and was stripped completely. I brought my legs up, but had trouble holding them myself I was so tired. So Greg took my left leg and Holly took my right. They brought a mirror in so I could see the progress and crowning in case I wanted it. I tried to decline, but they politely argued that it sometimes helps.

I was surprised when it did actually help. I could see her head come closer with every push. However, once we reached the “ring of fire” which is the moment the baby’s head is crowning – the phrase is SO TRUE! The burn…omg – is when my allowance of the mirror ended. I watched. Myself. Tear. No one argued when I said “the mirror needs to go away now!”.

I remember saying that I was so tired and couldn’t do it, and what happened it I passed out or was too tired to push or something. I don’t know, maybe I was delirious. Holly was even holding my head up while I pushed. I was stuck at the crowning point though. They kept telling me to keep pushing, and I was, but just couldn’t get past it.

The point of crowning, and even before when the baby is in the birth canal, is kind of horrid. The pressure on your urethra and anus is so tremendous that it hurts and you constantly feel like you’re going to pee and/or poop yourself. I even told the midwife I thought I’d pooped, and she said nope. I could see in the mirror what the sensation was though. It was the fluid coming out of my vagina and passing over my over stressed anus that was causing that sensation. Gross, I know.

So getting past the “ring of fire” became my sole focus in the world. The midwife said it would happen when I got mad. She was right. I finally got so frustrated, that I pushed hard enough to feel that pop, and my daughter’s head was out. I was so freaking relieved. Next were the shoulders, which also hurt, but not nearly as much.

Once her shoulders were out, the midwife said “reach down and pull out your daughter”. I reached down and pulled her legs out of me and brought her up on my belly. At one point during my frustration, my mom’s shoe squeaked and she took one for the team. I couldn’t kick anyone else out, so I said “Mom I love you, but get out.”. So she was by the door and peeked her head around the curtain by the door and I looked at her and just said “I have a daughter”. Tara was born at 2:37AM on August 17th.

Birth hurts, like seriously, nothing else on the planet like it, hurts. But once you have that baby out and in your arms, it’s absolutely euphoric. For one, yes, lots of endorphins, but the joy and elation are like nothing I’ve ever felt before.

So after that, the midwife called me a birthing beast (yes, I’m proud of that). I was given a shot of Pitocin to help with the bleeding as I had a bit of hemorrhaging, but that was short lived and worked out. I got my 2nd degree tearing sewn up, which hurt like a bitch despite the local anesthetic. Holly and Greg had to hold my legs down after Tara was born because the adrenaline was so strong that I was shaking pretty badly.

Once the baby was checked out and I was taken care of, we were wheeled up to a room on the maternity floor. Greg got a little sleep that morning, but I didn’t sleep until Sunday night. During that time, we learned a lot in terms of breastfeeding, diaper changes, crying, and sleeping. Overall, it was an incredible experience and I will forever cherish those first 48 hours of pure wonder at the tiny human. My tiny human.


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