Today I’d like to share the birth story of my daughter, Tatum. It was so hard to choose whether to share hers or the birth of my son–they are both equally special to me. But Tatum is my first, and I’ll never forget how I felt in the moment that she made me a mom. Childbirth is such a miracle–I LOVE me a birth story! I hope that you enjoy mine!
My due date (August 29, 2012) came and went, and I was still at work that Friday the 31st. It was a tough pill for me to swallow. I was mentally and physically drained, and I just wanted our baby in my arms! I remember calling my mom on my lunch break that day, sobbing through the phone with frustration.
Fast forward to that evening, around 11:00 p.m. I got up to take one final trip to the bathroom before calling it a night, and (without going into too many details) saw signs indicating that labor may be imminent. My heart jumped into my throat–could this be it!? Lo and behold, within fifteen minutes, I felt my first real contraction! My husband immediately instructed me to get to sleep, knowing we would have a big day ahead of us in the morning.
I did my best to sleep that night, but I was too excited! The contractions were very mild throughout the night, but they kept coming, about every ten to fifteen minutes.
The following morning, my contractions were a bit more intense, but pretty sporadic. I felt comfortable enough to send my husband to his brother’s house to help with a project. In the meantime, I forced down a small breakfast. I went about the morning with as much calm as I could muster. I straightened up, got our hospital bags set out, and finally sat down to pay some bills. As I was writing out checks, I noticed that my contractions were becoming stronger and more patterned. I got my contraction timer app going, and by the time I was done with the bills, my contractions were coming about 5 minutes apart and lasting for close to a minute each. This was around 11:00 a.m. I was starting to feel antsy, so I called my husband to get him home.
Picking Up Speed
I spent the next three hours bouncing on the exercise ball and whining to my husband, as my contractions continued to become more painful and frequent. Finally around 2 p.m. I knew it was go-time. My pain level was already through the roof, and I was getting very little rest or relief in between contractions. I will never forget the car ride to the hospital! It was 98 degrees outside, and I was in so much pain, sweating like a pig, and trying really hard not to cause a scene.
We made it to the hospital, and I thought I might just die walking from the car to the door considering the heat and the painful contractions.
After what felt like hours, we made it to triage. I got set up on the edge of my tiny bed, and we considered calling our families, but I didn’t really want to get anyone too excited until we were admitted.
The nurse did all those triage-y things that they do and found that I was dehydrated. She explained that this was probably contributing to the severity of my contractions so early on. I was put on IV fluids to get my hydration level back up. In the meantime, she checked my cervix, and I was surprised to find that I was 100% effaced, but only 2 cm dilated. Since the hospital wouldn’t admit me until I was at least 4 cm, she suggested I walk around a bit. The thought of having to walk around with the pain I was feeling brought me to tears.
The nurse checked the monitor one last time, and I suddenly felt my water break–weirdest feeling EVER! After my suspicion was confirmed, the nurse announced that I could now be admitted to a delivery room. Hallelujah! She also warned me that my contractions were likely to become much more intense, and boy was she right. My pain levels skyrocketed almost immediately.
In The Delivery Room
Once in my delivery room, I tried sitting in the tub for a bit, but I could NOT get myself to relax no matter how hard I tried. I had my fists balled up, and with every contraction I would tense my arms and shoulders and basically just grind them into the bottom of the tub. Contractions were coming every minute, sometimes less, and the pain seemed unbearable. OMG, I was SO sore the next day! I felt like I’d been hit by a truck after all that tensing up.
After about forty-five minutes in the tub, I broke down and asked for an epidural, which up until that point I had been trying to avoid. My husband helped me out of the tub, and I made my way to the bed completely naked. I just simply did not care who saw me. Thinking about it now cracks me up!
The midwife checked my cervix, and happily announced that I had progressed to a seven. This was about two hours after my first check, when I was at a two. Needless to say, I was ecstatic to hear that things were moving along so quickly.
Finally the anesthesiologist arrived. Within about ten minutes, the epidural was in place, the nurse was helping me into my gown (finally… haha!), and I was feeling that sweet relief. Although I went into my birth not wanting an epidural, I didn’t regret it for a second after it was in. I was so relieved that I could finally be present and enjoy the birth of my baby!
At this point, I suddenly realized that I was half-way through my labor and we still hadn’t called ANYONE! We immediately started making calls. When I got a hold of my phone, I saw that I already had seven missed calls from my family. Oops!
Our parents and my sister came to see us around 9 p.m. We all thought it was so cool that I was able to talk and laugh, all while the contraction monitor was going up and down like crazy. Modern medicine for the win!
About an hour later the midwife came in to check my progress, and surprised me completely when she announced that I was fully dilated. She then went on to say that baby was facing off to the side a bit, and still wasn’t as far down in the birth canal as she would like. There were no signs of distress, so there was no hurry to push. I was positioned on my right side with a peanut ball between my legs, which would allow baby to reposition. As we waited, we watched Saturday Night Live and just hung out.
Time to Push
Just before midnight, baby was in position and it was time to do a few practice pushes with the nurse. Our families left the room at this point. Pushing is HARD! Despite exercising throughout my pregnancy, I was so out of breath during the entire delivery. Baby’s heart rate started to drop with each push, so I was encouraged to take slow, deep breaths, and ended up wearing an oxygen mask. Luckily this helped, and everything was fine.
Once we were towards the end, the midwife and baby nurse showed up. I watched as the baby warmer was set up, and it was all so surreal. We were going to have our baby in a matter of minutes! With the midwife guiding, an EMT-in-training actually delivered our daughter (his very first baby delivery – so cool!) A couple big pushes, and our sweet Tatum was being lifted from my body and plopped onto my chest! It was 12:41 a.m. on Sunday, September 2nd.
Meeting Our Daughter
I don’t think I have ever felt so much emotion in my entire life. I was laughing and crying all at once, blinking away tears so I could see our beautiful baby’s face. She looked calmly from my husband’s face to mine, with eyes wide open. She was a healthy bright pink and very alert. As the umbilical cord was cut and the placenta was delivered, I held our daughter, stroked her, and drank it all in. I had a small tear, but nothing else to speak of. I was able to hold our girl for about an hour before the nurses weighed, measured, etc.
Once the nurses were done with her, I was able to nurse her for the first time. When she was done eating and my epidural had completely worn off, I eased my way into a wheelchair, the nurse handed me our little bundle, and we made our way to the recovery floor as a family of three.