Hurry Up And Wait
On Tuesday night July 22, 2014, the day before my due date, I went into labor. There is nothing fun about labor and in my case, nothing predictable about it either. I did what I was supposed to, according to the doctor, which was wait for my contractions to become very regular. Guess what? They didn’t. But the pain was worse than my worst Braxton Hicks contractions so I knew this was not a drill. They hovered between 3 1/2, 4 and 1 minute apart, never becoming consistent. I almost didn’t call in reinforcements (aka my labor coach – my sister-in-law, and my awesome childcare team – my neighbor and friend Allison and my step father Tim). Luckily pain is the ultimate dictator. It forced me to decide that waiting for a rhythm that wasn’t coming, wasn’t doing me any good.
Labor Not By The Book
I had heard pleasant theories that subsequent labors would be shorter and easier. I got the easier part right and the shorter part oh so very wrong. I went into labor at 9 pm and didn’t have her till 5:08 pm the next day. I can tell you one thing after one 12 hour delivery and one 10 hour, I sure as hell didn’t see a 20 hour labor coming. My labor stalled at 4 cm and then again at 6 cm so I had to be given Pitocin to move things along.
Doula In Disguise
I’m pretty proud of myself for reaching a new level of pain tolerance, and perhaps I can chalk that up to my body’s experience by my third delivery. I was up with headphones on dancing around my room for several hours trying to get gravity to help things along. At some point I had to admit that even though it made me feel better to be up and doing something, it just wasn’t moving things along. So after the first 10 hours, I got my epidural, which I had forgotten hurts like a B@$#%. It truly was worth it though. I got to avoid the pain of them putting in the catheter and the more painful contractions that follow once they break your water and/or start Pitocin. I know there are women that can go natural, but I know it’s not for me. Someone told me to get a doula after I wrote my post Post-Traumatic Labor Disorder. What I discovered was that I had one all along in my sister-in-law Julia.
Her words were steady, reassuring and yet insistent. I listened and trusted her and it paid off big time. When laying down she noticed my contractions weren’t as strong and urged me to sit as much as I was comfortable doing so. She talked to the nurse who told her that when the baby’s heart beat dips slightly with each contraction, it’s because the baby is pushing down, working with the contraction. So she was able to reassure me that the baby was working just as hard as I was to come into the world.
When transition pain hit, she urged me to breathe even though I felt like there was no air left in my lungs. She talked to the baby and rubbed my belly. She told me I was doing good when I felt like she was never going to come out. Can you believe they had a lock down drill take place while I was in transition? I thought they’d never come in and check me and I had a pretty good feeling I was ready to push. The only thing quick about my labor was the pushing. I was so exhausted and determined that I did one “practice push” and refused to stop until she was out.
Welcome To The World – Sydney Alexa Grace
Recovery in the hospital is not restful, but I’m super happy to be home now with my new daughter – Sydney Alexa Grace. She was 7lbs, 9 oz, 21 inches long and the most beautiful thing I ever saw. I wept with joy the second they placed her on my stomach. My theory popped into my head clear as bell – you don’t forget the pain of childbirth, what you do is look at your children and think, “What wouldn’t I do for you?” Looking at my little peanut that’s exactly how I feel.
So the first day and night home has been all feedings, diapers and lots of sleeping. I’m thankful that even though my body would never let me nap except during pregnancy or sickness it has allowed me to nap with my daughter. I’m so thankful I enrolled my older children in camp and that my husband is home for a week to help me. I just couldn’t have done any of it without my husband Willie, my sister-in-law Julia, my neighbors and dear friends Sean and Allison who took care of my older kids, and my step father who hung out for the duration and reminded me how much my mom would have loved the baby if she was still around to see her.
We are all in love with her and I’m looking forward to all the wonderful ways she’ll change me as a person and a mother. I have no idea how I’m going to handle the challenges of having three kids, but I’m ready.