My dear friend over at Emily J Photo has been inspired me to write the birth story of my son. She is my super hero just so you know! She’s is an amazing mother of 7 (and one on the way) gorgeous kiddos, and she recently wrote about each of their birth stories on her blog! As I read the last one I realized, my son’s birth story is not written ANYWHERE! That means when I die, that amazing story dies with me. So here goes. The birth story of my son!
It was late in 2006 and I was serving in the Marines, stationed at Miramar Air Station in San Diego, California. Starting at about 36 weeks, my command would come into the office every Monday, see me, and say “You’re still here!” I would laugh and say something like, yup still here, and go on with my work. I would think to myself thankfully I’m still here, it is a little early still to be having my baby boy! I started having braxton hicks around 38 weeks so I was getting pretty use to how they felt. My original due date was November 2, but everyone thought he would come early on my birthday; Halloween. November 2 came and went, as did the 3rd, 4th, and 5th. Around midnight the morning of November 6th when my contractions started, I knew it wasn’t false labor, they were different and this was the REAL thing! I was about to meet my boy! My mother was staying with me to help out when the baby was born so after about 30 minutes of contractions, about every 10 minutes, I woke her and told her I was going into labor.
Being the good Marine I was, I obeyed the orders of the nurse who taught my Lamaze classes and went for a walk to bring on contractions faster. After a short walk around the neighborhood, contractions completely stopped! Apparently my son was going to be stubborn. So we waited, contractions would come and go over the next 4 hours or so. At 5:30 AM my contractions were finally steady enough and about 7 minutes apart. I lived about 30 minutes from the hospital so decided to get going, hopefully I would be at 5 minutes and dilated by the time we got there. Once at the hospital I was getting checked out, I was definitely contracting every 5 minutes, but only 1 cm. Ironically, it was a Monday, and I had my well check appointment that morning. At 7 am I was sent away and told to go to my appointment, at another base! My contractions were getting really strong at this point, but there was no convincing them to keep me. So into rush hour traffic we went, a 20 minute drive to my assigned base medical unit to see my doctor. On the way there, I called my command and was able to tell them I wasn’t coming to work! I still laugh about the irony of me not being there on a Monday and hearing “You’re still here?” I’m sure they walked in and said “SHE’S NOT HERE!”
By the time we arrived at the clinic, my contractions were strong and 2-3 minutes apart. I could barely walk into the clinic. After checking in for my appointment I sat down, relieved to be sitting. Uncomfortable, but relieved! I’m sitting there cringing with every contraction and the Marine next to me asked if I was ok. I snapped at him “I’M HAVING A BABY, NO I’M NOT OK!” I really do feel bad about that, but I really just wanted to be at the hospital, I’m sure he understands. I waited only a few minutes, but it seemed like much longer, and was called back to the exam room. On the exam table, by doctor felt for dilation and effacement, still nothing even though my contractions were coming fast. She said that, because of previous biopsies and scar tissue, by cervix wasn’t dilating and she needed to “scrape the membrane.” I about came off the table it hurt so bad! Looking back I remember that pain more than the labor. After she was done, she looked at me, smiled and said “go back to the hospital, you’re having your baby today!” Feelings of elation, fear and absolute excitement rushed through me. Then the realization that I once again had to drive… while in labor… in rush hour… back to the hospital! I wanted to cry!
I’m sure that was a sight to see though, me screaming at cars “OH MY GOSH, GOOOOOOO!!!” and “I’M IN LABOR PEOPLE, GET OUT OF THE WAY!!!” My mother was laughing at me. I think at some point, I was laughing at me too. It’s all a haze! Back at the hospital and I tell my mom to drop me off at the front and then go park the car. Parking at this hospital is ALWAYS crazy. You can literally drive around for 30 minutes before finding a spot. I wasn’t going to sit in the car while she looked for a spot to park, I was going to walk up to L&D. This was no easy feat now, it was on the 3rd floor and a good walk down the catwalks. I was sure I would get into the elevator and go into active labor and some poor Marine, just trying to get to his appointment, would stumble upon me! Thankfully that didn’t happen and I made it to labor and delivery. It seems like it took me about 15 minutes, but I’m sure that’s inaccurate.
This time, when they checked me, I was dilated to 4; I was staying! They checked me and and got me the epidural. I relaxed finally. I joked with my mom, who finally found her way to me, and even took a nap. I don’t recall what time it was, it was dark outside, but I woke up to a nursing checking my monitors. I told her I was cold, in fact, I was shivering cold. She checked my temperature and sure enough, I had spiked a fever. It wasn’t long after this point that my contractions started getting really strong. It was finally time to push! And push. And push. And push some more. Remember how I said he was stubborn, yea, no change! He wasn’t breach, but he wasn’t facing the right way either. Rather than having his face toward my back, so his head and neck could better navigate the birth canal, he was face up, sunny-side up as they say. I felt like I was pushing forever. The doctor gave me a look and said “If he doesn’t come out on this next push, we’re going to have to use the vacuum.” I thought “Oh no, you are not vacuuming my baby!” I really didn’t want a cone-head baby!
That next push was the longest and hardest push I’d ever done, and it paid off. At 8:10 PM, after TWO hours of PUSHING (the nursing staff told me), there he was. My perfect boy! After sewing up my tear and cleaning up my baby, I was able to hold him. This 8 lbs 2 oz perfect being stopped crying the moment he got in my arms. His head looked as if it hadn’t coned at all during labor, and I thought “Thanks a lot kid, no wonder I tore!” I was madly in love. The only form of love at first sight I can honestly say exists!
Looking back I wish I had done more research on child birth. I would have done things very differently. I was young and naive about my options. I may or may not have changed my mind about natural birth, pushing for two hours I think I would have still had the epidural. But I would have definitely insisted on immediate skin-to-skin contact right after birth. I have no pictures of him with his cord still attached or covered in vernix. I wish I had them now. All-in-all though, I had a successful birth. And, 9 years later, he’s still just as stubborn!
So what is YOUR birth story(ies)? Have you thought about writing them down so your posterity may know the story of their ancestor’s birth? Did something funny, scary, or outlandish happen that will disappear from memory once you’re gone? Whatever the story is, I encourage you to write it down. That moment is so precious! I wish I had written mine a long time ago, but I’m grateful I’ve not missed the chance to write it now!