It was nearing 1 am.
My husband and I were just getting into bed when it happened. I felt an ever-so-slight, completely unstoppable leak. Could this be it, I thought? I nudged my husband with a calm “I don’t want to scare you, but...”. We called our midwife who suggested we try to get some rest and to come to he hospital first thing in the morning.
Within a half hour it was clear that we wouldn’t be getting any sleep that night. In a beautiful mix of panic and excitement, we pulled out the exercise ball, turned on Harry Potter, and worked our way through contractions until daylight.
My parents arrived from Washington at 7 am and my mom jumped in the car with us to get to the hospital. The hospital admitted us right away and we walked into our room convinced we'd have a baby by noon. I had a plan- we'd make it through the contractions while continuing our Harry Potter marathon, I'd push Taylor out naturally in a birthing tub and we'd be recovering with him before we knew it. All things considered, I was feeling pretty great - we walked around the L&D floor, had some snacks and my husband helped me through the contractions.
How naive was I to think I'd have a baby by NOON?! Noon quickly came and went... then 3 pm...5 pm. The midwife never told me how far along I was and thank goodness she didn't. After the fact, I was told that at 3 pm I was only about 3 cm dilated, Prolonged Early Labor they said. I had a long way to go. I remember thinking at 3 pm that I couldn't get through this - I was scared, exhausted, and my contractions continued to become more unbearable with no end in sight.
The midwife put me on the bed with a peanut ball in a contorted position to try and move Taylor into a more optimal position. The pain was excruciating, but I managed to close my eyes for a few moments. Looking back, I'm not positive if I was passing out from exhaustion or actually falling asleep. My body was done. The doctor offered me a morphine sleep so that I could rest, but I hadn't taken any medication up until this point and the idea of taking morphine, not to mention waking up in active labor, was terrifying. Instead, I hobbled into the bath tub and continued to try and get through my contractions, popping in Mentos as my mom and Matt rotated cold towels on my chest. This went on for hours. During our birthing classes, I remember watching these videos of women who turned into animals during labor - I was sure that wouldn't be me and that I'd maintain my composure throughout labor. Once transition hit, I absolutely became that woman. I was unrecognizable, I didn't speak a single word for the next two hours with the exception of humming (moaning, more like it) through contractions that seemed to have no beginning or end.
Around 9:30 pm, the midwife told me that I could finally start pushing and in between contractions, I was quickly ushered into the birthing tub. I pushed for two more hours only to have my contractions slow and almost completely stall. Feeling disheartened but still motivated, I climbed up into the bed and tried again. I remember watching the clock tick - it was nearing midnight on June 16th, Father's Day. All I could think about (aside from the obvious) was that I was going to have this baby on Father's Day; by midnight, I would have my sweet baby boy in my arms and this part would all be over.
Midnight came and went. My deadline passed. I had been in labor for almost 24 hours - I was exhausted. I had to keep going. I continued to push with every last ounce of energy I had and finally, at 1:30 am, I heard that sweet, fluid filled cry. We made it. Our healthy, beautiful baby Taylor was safe in my arms and I was OK.
My lesson: labor and delivery requires you to give up all control. Your baby is going to come into this world however (and whenever) they choose and you are going to be OK. When all is said and done, you will not be worrying about how it happened or how long it took. All that will be on your mind is this beautiful human that YOU brought into this world.
Maybe one day, I'll get my husband to document his side of the story. We are superheroes for bringing these babies into the world, but our partners make for really great and necessary sidekicks.