Now that Davis is here and we’re somewhat settled, I figured it was time to write down how he made his debut. Y’all ought to know by now that I’m not the greatest at remembering to take pictures, so you’ll miss out on photos of me laboring…I know you’re disappointed.
Davis was born on Tuesday, June 2, but we’ll back up to my last OB appointment to get the full picture. I had a doctor’s appointment Friday, May 29 (one day before my due date). Up to this point I had felt no contractions and was totally convinced that he was never coming out. I had started to feel lots of Braxton Hicks contractions in the last few weeks, and when I told the well-meaning (but clearly misinformed) nurse, she said, “No, when your whole belly gets hard that’s a real contraction…” (Flash forward to actual labor. She was wrong.) At my previous appointment I was 1 cm. dilated and 50% effaced and 100% disappointed. This time, she said 1.5 cm. dilated and 70% effaced, and I was still 100% disappointed. I was just so ready for him to be here! The doctor told me, “His head is really low!” Um, yes I’m aware.
Saturday (my due date) passed uneventfully; and even though I was feeling especially large and irritable, I got up and went to church on Sunday. Clearly that was God’s intent, because the sermon was about Ecclesiastes and how there’s a season for everything. Hint taken.
By this point I’ve eaten two pineapples, walked all over the neighborhood, eaten lots of salsa, and tried pretty much everything else you can think of. I’ll spare you the pictures of me squatted in the floor like a toad. Sunday night, I started feeling contractions that ranged from 5 to 20 or 30 minutes apart. They were come and go and very uncomfortable all night long. Eventually, I got out of bed and slept (poorly) on the couch. By the morning, they had not gotten on any sort of schedule, and I was feeling a little deflated (although looking more inflated than ever). Keith didn’t have to work Monday (the last of his five days off in a row), so we spent the day relaxing, walking a lot, and waiting. Long about 5 or 6 that evening, I started having contractions again, but they still weren’t very regular.
I had told Keith earlier in the day that if I wasn’t in labor then we should go to dinner for our last date before baby. By the time we got to the restaurant, I was having contractions every 10-12 minutes. They weren’t unbearable, but they were definitely there and definitely getting stronger. I pretty much ignored them as best I could since the doctor had said not to go to the hospital until they were 5 minutes apart for an hour. (Spoiler alert…didn’t happen.) By bed time they were still coming pretty much every ten minutes, and I didn’t even attempt to go to bed. I dozed on the couch all night, alternately sleeping between contractions and pacing the house like a caged animal.
Tuesday morning Keith went back to work, and I kept pacing. The contractions were not any closer but were definitely stronger. I was already awake, so I took a shower and dried my hair (mostly just to pass the time) and ate a few handfuls of dry Cheerios. Per the advice of my mother and sister, I called my doctor’s office as soon as they opened and begged to speak with a nurse (rather than leave a message and wait for a call). I just kept saying “I know they aren’t getting closer together, but they’re getting stronger, and they’re definitely real!” and she said I could wait or come in to be checked at 10:50. Two hours was basically an eternity, but I agreed. Actually I agreed, hung up the phone, and burst into tears because two hours is a long time to wait…but I digress. Our bags were packed, so I waited for a contraction, packed the car, and then headed to my parents house since it’s less than five minutes from the doctor’s office and the hospital (I didn’t want to get caught with a contraction while driving.), and I only had to pull into a parking lot to breathe through a contraction once!
When I got there, I ate some unfrosted strawberry pop tarts (my dad loves those) and tried to sleep. I feel like I probably got about 5 minutes of sleep in between contractions. I woke up at about 10 and felt a distinct *pop*. I had read enough “Is This Labor?” articles to know that my water was breaking. I did a sort of army roll off the couch and waddled to the bathroom with my legs pressed together. Yep, my water was definitely broken. In rapid succession, I called Keith, my mother, and the doctor (to cancel my appointment). Keith works at the hospital where I was going to deliver, and although I had originally told him to stay at work on his floor until I was officially admitted, when my water broke I made the executive decision that he should go ahead and meet me at the admissions desk. That was all taken care of by 10:15, and I was at the hospital by 10:20 and in OB triage by 10:30.
We did our pre-admission paperwork several weeks before, so all I had to do was go to the desk and tell them I was there. They checked me in and called the sweetest little volunteer to take me to triage. She might have been 146 years old, but she did offer to get me a wheelchair…I almost laughed at the thought of her pushing me, but I held it together.
Keith met me in triage while the nurses (one of whom sings in the choir with me…what a blessing to have a familiar face to help care for us!) asked 126,885,252 questions while we waited on the doctor. At the office, I rotated between all the providers, but I actually had not met the doctor who was on call Tuesday. I had an appointment with him Friday that I was hoping not to make anyway. A quick check later, and he confirmed that my water had broken, I was dilated to a four, and I was officially in labor – yay! They moved us to a delivery room, and we waited. This whole time, my contractions had gotten progressively stronger but no closer together.
I did go ahead and opt for the epidural pretty quickly (probably still around 4 cm. or maybe a little more), and it might have been the best decision of my life! The anesthesiologist was wonderful (and the nurse who was in there with me had taught our birthing class), and the epidural took perfectly. Once I couldn’t feel anything, I was able to get a little sleep for the first time in two days. Keith was content to watch the outdoor channel while I rested. Even though I was blissfully numb, I still had a hard time sleeping because I was getting antsy and excited. It was so surreal watching the monitor and seeing myself have contractions and not feeling a thing. After a few hours, they checked again, and I was still at a 4 with contractions every 10 minutes – womp womp. The midwife let us know that we could start a little Pitocin to get things going, and we all decided that that was the best choice for us rather than continuing to labor with no progress.
Clearly Pitocin is it for me, because two hours later when they checked, we had moved from 4 to 8. The nurses kept asking if I felt pressure or the urge to push, and I kept telling them, “I can’t feel anything…” Less than an hour later we were at 10 and ready to push! The midwife and nurses (one of whom is another sweet lady I’ve gone to church with my whole life!) came in and got everything ready, and in spite of what was about to happen, I felt very calm. I remember feeling so calm all day and praying a lot. Every time I would lay down or try to rest at all, I would just pray – prayers of thanks and asking for Davis to come quickly and safely. I don’t know the exact time we started pushing (probably around 4:15 or so), but I had the best, most encouraging people there with me, and three big pushes (or pushes across three big contractions) later and sweet Baby Davis was out and perfect at 4:37.
I keep telling people that I had the best birth experience. I don’t say that to brag but because I am so, so thankful. The last few weeks of pregnancy are so hard physically and emotionally, and I spent so much time praying for Davis to come and doing all sorts of things to try to get him here, but God’s plans are higher than mine, and His timing is perfect. The nurses and care providers I saw were ordained to be there, and it was so special to have familiar faces there to care for me and Davis. I’ve already decided that this is the preferred schedule for any and all future births – in the hospital at 10:20 and a baby by 4:37. (Side note: I’m sure that will come back to bite me in the future with a 27 hour labor or something.) Regardless of what labor was like or could have been like, we are so glad to have Davis here and are so thankful for all of the sweet people who helped get him here. I feel like I could keep typing for days including every tiny detail, but since this is already probably my longest post to date, I’ll leave it here for now! We’re still settling in and learning all about each other, but I’ll try to be back soon to talk more about my sweet baby or life or something…