On Sunday, June 3rd Kyle boarded a plane and flew to an interview with MidwayUSA in Columbia, Missouri. I was 38 weeks and 5 days pregnant. We prayed that the baby would not come while he was away. I said, "it's a full moon tomorrow night, I bet the baby will come," crazy things always happen during full moons was my reasoning.
Jonathan and I had a good Sunday together, we went to the pool and he did all sorts of darish tricks and had me running after him all afternoon. I stayed up late that night working on a project for a client.
The next morning I woke up to bloody show. I think that typically this would have freaked me out, but instead I just laughed at the irony of my being in labor while Kyle was 1000 miles away. Kyle was in interviews all day and I knew he would have his phone off, so I called my mom and told her what was going on. I didn't want to cause unnecessary panicking for Kyle so I held off on calling him until after I went to the midwife's office to get checked out.
Sure enough, I was in labor. 4.5cm dilated, 90% effaced with a bulging bag of waters. The midwife told me I was going to have a baby that day. I asked if standing on my head could prevent that.
I spent the next few hours wondering how I was going to get to the hospital once my contractions started getting harder. When you are planning on an all natural birth you want to spend the smallest amount of time possible at the hospital - meaning you need to do a lot of your laboring at home. This would be fine, except I didn't know how if labor came on all of a sudden I would manage to drive Jonathan to a friends house and then drive myself to the hospital.
I decided it was probably best to go to Costco a buy a video camera so I could record what I had decided was going to be my Blair Witch filming style birth video for Kyle. I bought two, one was waterproof (could come in handy right?) the other was just a regular one - I had not done any research on camera's so I decided it best to get two and return the one with poorer reviews (waterproof pocket camcorder turned out to be a piece of junk.). Sometime in there either Kyle listened to a voicemail I had left him or my mom called at talked to someone at MidwayUSA, because Kyle got his flight moved up from landing at 11PM that night, to landing at 7PM.
I knew that I should be resting - I had only had 5 hours of sleep the night before - but instead I got the a huge dose of nesting rush and spent the day sewing, cleaning and dancing with Jonathan. I also took my first non-successful nap ever.
I did not believe that I was going to have a baby that day. I was almost certain that the midwife was wrong. By this point I was having very slight contractions and had lost my mucus plug. But, I wasn't going to let myself think that that meant anything. I did a classic Caitlyn thing where I break down the amount of time until an event into little tiny segments. "Only 5 minutes until it's half an hour until there are only 5 more hours until Kyle gets here . . . Only 4 more hours, that's half of what I was waiting 4 hours ago and nothing has changed!"
I made it to 7ish. The phone rang, Kyle's plane had landed. I told him that Jonathan and I were going to go on a walk to get labor started because "apparently I am having a baby today" - something I was less convinced of now than I had been that morning.
Jonathan and I walked over to the tennis court. I sat down on a bench and filmed him playing with rocks, he started to run away and I thought, "oh, I had better go get him" so I turned the camera off. I realized I was having a contraction, probably the hardest one I had had all day. My cell phone beeped, it was my midwife texting to see how my progress was. I stood up to get Jonathan and respond to her and my water broke. My water broke like it does is the comedy movies. It was just gushing down my legs, pooling in my shoes. I ran and got Jonathan, texted my midwife, called Kyle (he had just turned onto our road) and realized Jonathan was not going to cooperate on our trip back home and that I was going to have to carry him. So I picked up my screaming 21 month old and carried him back to the apartment amid contractions that I had decided to start very suddenly and very painfully all the while leaving a trail of dripping water behind me.
I got home and called my friend Colleen to tell her what was going on and to try to work out how she was going to get Jonathan from us. My head wasn't working too well, so I told her Kyle would call her in a bit. Kyle got home right then and I really had no idea what to do. Should we drive Jonathan over to Colleen's house or take him to our other friends house? So I timed my contractions, realizing that they were 3 minutes apart I decided we needed to get to the hospital ASAP.
We put the bags in the car and drove to our friends house to drop Jonathan off. My bag of waters is still gushing and I am yelling at Kyle to slow down and drive more sanely because his sharp turns are making everything hurt worse.
We got to the hospital, Kyle dropped me off at the emergency room and I walked in. There was a line, so I stood in it - shortly after I am standing in a puddle because my water will not stop ( I had been drinking at least 2.5 gallons of water a day for the last 4 months), I am having contractions and the woman in front of me says, ". . . are you?? Do you want to go in front of me." "Uhh, yes please."
Get signed in, lady with a wheelchair comes and whisks us away and tells me to let her know if I think I am going to have to push. I am still thinking that I am not going to have a baby today and that this lady is crazy for thinking that I am so close to delivery. We go past triage, right into a room, "you're obviously in labor, we are not going to check you." Once in the room I ask for a birthing tub - I never got an answer on this one, I think they thought there would not be enough time.
I'm still cracking jokes at this time, so I know that it's not nearly as close as they think it is. They check me and I'm 6 something dilated. "Fantastic," I think, "I hope the rest of it is this easy."
Long story short, the second half of it was not as easy as the first. The pain got really bad. I told Kyle I wanted an epidural, he told me I didn't . . . but then he fell back asleep (he stayed up the night before reading the hunger games. . . ) and I got back in the shower and realized I didn't care what Kyle thought I wanted, I was going to get an epidural and he wasn't even going to wake up to know about it. It was probably 11:20 and I was exhausted. I think if I hadn't been so tired that maybe I would not have wanted the epidural so badly - but, I was falling asleep in the shower between contractions and was getting so irritated that I had to wake back up 2 minutes later to have another minute long contraction.
My midwife told me that maybe I could try something a little more mild than an epidural to see if that helped at all.
I got out of the shower. They checked me, 8 cm. I felt a little defeated here, I had been 8 the last time they checked me, over an hour ago. They made me lay down and put this giant ball between my legs which made my contractions feel about 75% more painful than they had before. I just screamed that I hated it. I told them to get the IV going for the lesser pain med and signed the sheet for the epidural. Then I got back in the shower to wait while they got everything ready (the shower was really amazing. My contractions were somewhat manageable in the shower, but, I hadn't progressed in the shower - so it was a love/hate relationship). 10 minutes later I got out. It was probably 12:20AM. They hooked me up to the IV and got the bag of fluids going into my arm. Once it was in they said they needed to check me again before they could give me the medicine. I said, "no, I don't want to be checked," and they informed me that they had to because if I was too close to 10 my baby would be born sleeping and they would have to give him/her a shot to wake him/her up. "Born sleeping" was all I had to hear. The world stopped. I knew they didn't mean born sleeping in the way it is used to describe babies born dead, but it still freaked me out.
So, it was now an epidural or nothing. I had one more contraction. Told them they could check me and while they were checking me I said it was time to push, they said, "oh yes, it is, you are 10 cm, 100% effaced and at -2." It must have been about 12:44 AM.
Pushing was a lot worse than I had imagined. They told me that was because I had a 9lb 2 oz baby with a very big head and shoulders that got stuck under my pelvic bone. I pushed for 12 minutes and yelled, "Claire!" when I knew the baby was out, then I heard Kyle say, "No," and the next thing I knew I was holding a baby boy with dark black hair.
I know it was the most painful thing I have ever gone through, and at first I never wanted to do it again. But, I really have forgotten how bad it was, and even thought it hurt worse than having Jonathan, my memories from Jonathan's birth stand out as more painful to me.
Repeat Downbeat: Circle Patterns
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