I am a worrier…always have been and probably always will be. So before I was even pregnant, the thought of giving birth was terrifying. I was certain there was no way something the size of a watermelon was going to come out of me without ending in my untimely death.
But, after five wonderful years of marriage filled with travel and fun, we were ready to start our family. So, I pushed the irrational fears to the back of my mind, and within only a month of trying, I had a little bun in the oven. I remember when I was pregnant my mom saying to me, “Yes, it will hurt, but it’s only one day…then you will have a little person to love for the rest of your life.”
My pregnancy was uncomplicated, aside from the first five months of incredible nausea and vomiting. I read every book and every website about having a baby. I took all the classes and did all the homework. I was still pretty sure there was no way I could possibly give birth and live to tell the tale. But here I am!
It was four days before my due date, and I was huge and hot (it was the end of July). We went to my 39-week doctor appointment and she did the usual check. “Well you’re still only about an inch-and-a-half dilated.” I was a little disappointed, but not surprised. When I sat up I noticed my legs were wet. My doctor checked me again, and to our surprise my water had ruptured and was leaking. She sent us straight downstairs to the hospital to be admitted. Wow, this was really happening!
They waited about four hours to see if my contractions would start on their own. They didn’t. At that point they started Pitocin. I believe I started feeling mild contractions about two hours later. They progressed over the next couple of hours and I decided to get the epidural. I have all the respect in the world for women who have a natural birth, but I am very glad I decided to have the epidural. It helped ease my anxiety about the pain and made the experience much more calm and comfortable.
By the time the anesthesiologist arrived, I was in a lot of pain. I was really nervous about the epidural, but when you are in the middle of painful contractions, you couldn’t care less about the needle…you just want relief. I felt better almost instantly. I spent the rest of the night lying in my hospital bed watching “Friends” reruns on TV. Coincidentally, the episode where Rachel gives birth to Emma was on. It was oddly comforting.
I tried to sleep, but have never been a great napper (neither is my now 6 month old!). My husband, mom and best friend were there with me. They all slept on and off in the super uncomfortable chairs and brought me ice chips as needed. The anesthesiologist came in during the night to “top me off” on my epidural when I started having some pain again. Other than that, I remained pretty comfortable. The nurse checked me throughout the night and though I was dilating well, the baby hadn’t moved down yet. So she told me to rest, while I “labored down.”
Early the next morning, the nurse came to check me. I was fully dilated and baby boy was down in good position. It just so happened that my OB’s shift was getting ready to start at 7:00 a.m. They called her and she said she was on her way and would come straight to my room. While we waited, the nurse decided I should do a “practice push.” So I got in position with the help of my support crew and pushed. I just remember everyone saying “Whoa!” and the nurse telling me “Okay! Stop pushing!” Apparently my son’s head was making an appearance. I like to tell people that I “held him in” until my doctor got there. She arrived shortly before 7:00 and got prepped. About three pushes later, my son was born at 7:01 a.m.
Another thing I worried about when I was pregnant was that maybe I wouldn’t love him right away, or I wouldn’t bond with him. That all faded away when they laid him on my chest and he looked right at me. I realized that this was the little person that has been with me for nine months and I immediately knew that I would love him and protect him for the rest of my life.
Looking back, I don’t really regret all the worrying I did. It made the ease of the whole birth experience a pleasant surprise. It also gave me great practice for all the worrying I will do as a mother!
Want to share your birth, pregnancy, breastfeeding or motherhood experience with us? Here at Unexpectant, we believe that every woman has a story and that every story matters. We believe that through open dialogue, we can support and encourage one another through our motherhood journeys. So, what’s your story?
Nicole Klemp is a freelance writer and new mom. She lives in Indianapolis with her wonderful husband, adorable baby boy, sweet kitty and hilarious pug. She blogs at A Master’s in Mommy where she discusses her journey from a career in marketing to a stay-at-home mom.