Ryan’s birth was one of the most insane days of my life. It was slow, then rushed, and then before we knew it, we had a little boy in our arms. Every one’s birth story is different, and when I was pregnant I loved reading about other’s birth’s. I feel like exposing myself to a bunch of different stories opened me up to the possibility of things not going “as planned.” Some people do not want to hear any birthing stories as a part of their birthing plan, so if that’s you, feel free to bypass this post! So here it goes, Ryan’s birth story:
In order to tell you this accurately, I feel the need to explain the days leading up to May 26, 2014.
Friday, May 23 : I have what would be my final OB appointment. I’m nervous since for the past two weeks I’ve been having consistent Braxton Hicks contractions – 5 minutes or less apart, lasting a minute or more, and going on for hours upon hours. When we arrive they take my measurements, and I’m quickly sent to the hospital for monitoring because I’ve gained 8 pounds in the past week and my blood pressure is crazy high.
The hospital is crazy busy – we wait in the waiting room for about an hour before being let into a room. I’m nervous but calm all at once, but it turns out the nerves were for nothing – blood pressure went way down to a normal number, and I’m only 3 centimeters dilated. We’re told that I am in fact having contractions about 5-7 minutes apart and that the baby could come this weekend or in two weeks. Alex takes me home, he goes to work, and I sit on a yoga ball all night.
Saturday, May 24: I have cramping and spotting on an off all day but decide that it’s from being checked the day before, to ease the hypochondriac that lives in my brain. Yoga ball, pineapple, nipple stimulation.. I do it all. I’m over being pregnant and I’m over having contractions for 2 weeks straight.
Sunday, May 25: I lose my mucus plug at 3 am in the morning and have some good cramps. I’m having more Braxton Hicks, and I start timing them – every 5 minutes, lasting a minute. Not painful, just uncomfortable. During the day we end up walking 4 miles and I spend the rest of my time on my yoga ball. We go out to dinner and they get further apart and irregular. 5 minutes, 2 minutes, 7 minutes… I sit on the yoga ball and we decide to go to bed when it seems nothing is going to happen.
Monday, May 26: I’m awake at 4 am with low, warm back pain that feels like I have my period. I’m uncomfortable, and know I won’t be going back to sleep for a while, so I go downstairs. As I’m making myself a PB&J, I have my first contraction. Not painful but not comfortable. It makes my stop in my tracks because it feels weird. It lasts about 30 seconds, and with it, I start timing. They start out 9 minutes apart and by 7 they’re 5 minutes apart consistently. I go upstairs to wake up Alex and tell him I think today is the day.
I hint to Alex that we should go to my favorite bagel place as just-in-case-fuel and he takes the bait, so off we go. We go for a walk after and call my doctor, who tells me to come in when I can’t talk and when all I can think about is drugs. I am hoping for a natural birth, but I tell her okay, and we go inside to watch Breaking Bad, shower, and hang out on my yoga ball. At this point I’m timing my contractions and they seem to be getting further apart, more irregular (same as last night – a few super close, then nothing for 10 minutes, then a few 5 minutes apart) It’s stressing me out so I stop timing them, which makes them more regular and closer. I tell Alex I need to get out of the house so I can stop thinking about it. What will be will be.
We decide to go to Princeton for Chipotle and our favorite ice cream. It’s an hour away from the house and a half hour from the hospital. We walk around the town and enjoy ourselves. I’m still having mild contractions, but now I’m questioning if they’re Braxton Hicks or real contractions. On the car home, I cry to Alex. I feel like a total crazy person. Am I in false labor and just creating it all in my mind? I’m generally a pretty bad hypochondriac, so I’m worried that this is it. Alex calms me down, and assures me that this baby WILL eventually come out, just maybe not today.
I must put in a sidebar here – we were on a weird schedule for when this baby “could” come. We knew he would come when he was ready, but Alex’s job requires him to take vacation days one full week at a time, starting on Mondays. He can use sick time, but with the million and seven snow days we had this year, he used most of them to ensure he’d get paid during them. At this point he had 2 days of sick time left, so if I went into labor after he left for work (1 pm) on Monday through Thursday, we were mildly screwed. He would be able to take the two days, but have to go back to work through Saturday. So I was definitely feeling pressure to have the baby on the one Monday he had off since it was a holiday.
Anyway, we get home and rest, planning on a late dinner out, and I’m once again on the ball while we watch some TV. All of a sudden I feel what I can only explain as the baby giving me a HUGE kick and – poof! my water breaks all over the yoga ball. I stand up and tell Alex that my water broke, and promptly start bawling. I honestly just felt such a rush of emotions, I couldn’t handle it. I told Alex that, “it feels so gross!” but that was just a bit of what I was feeling. It didn’t hurt (yet) but I was so relieved – it wasn’t in my head! – and also excited that this was finally REALLY happening. I change and use the bathroom (I told Alex that I kind of felt like going number 2, but wasn’t sure if I was allowed since my water broke and I was afraid of infection. I don’t know what I was even thinking) Alex sets up the passenger seat with a garbage bag and towel on top (I HIGHLY recommend keeping this in your car the last few weeks in addition to your bag. Never know when it’s going to happen.) and we’re off. I still feel pretty good at this point, and we’re a half hour away from the hospital.
About ten minutes into the drive I’m feeling contractions and man, they are no joke. Half way there we joke about having to give birth on the side of the NJ Turnpike. When we pull into the parking garage I tell Alex that I’m sorry, I can’t do a natural birth. This is worse than I anticipated. (I am not trying to scare anyone. I’m just giving a real life idea of what happened! I’m also a big wimp with pain.)
The hospital has the option of valeting, but I tell Alex to park as far as possible up into the parking garage. My biggest fear is being sent home, so I want to walk as much as possible to help it progress. We compromise by going t the second floor. I stop in the middle of the parking garage a few times to catch my breath during a contraction since I refused to take the elevator much to my husband’s dismay. We get to check in and everyone takes their sweeeeeet time. I can’t blame them – first time mom, water just broke, and I was pretty quite as I don’t like making a scene. It seems they ask a million questions (all of which they just asked on Friday!!) before they give us wrist bands and tell us to sit in the waiting room. Thankfully its an empty hospital unlike Friday, because with each contraction I dance a weird jig to stave off crying/puking/grunting.
Our nurse comes to take us back to our room and she’s chatting us up non-stop. We get to the room, and while I’m doing my contraction dance and pacing she asks if I’m okay. “Yeah, I’m just in a lot of pain..” I tell her. She says we’re going to check to make sure it was my water that broke (it was) and then calls my doctor. Does she want to come and check me, or should the nurse? My doctor was in her quarters or whatever, so the sweet nurse checks me while my doctor gets ready and heads over. This is where I’m nervous – please let me be far enough along that I don’t get sent home. Please. I know reasonably that they probably won’t send me home with my water broken, but still. She goes in to check, and she makes a funny face. “Let me just check to make sure this is right,” she says. Oh dear God, I went DOWN in centimeters, I think. Alex says she looks absolutely stunned. She picks up the phone to call my doctor. “She’s nine and a half centimeters.”
In what feels like three seconds, eight nurses come into my room. There’s no time for anesthesia, which I’m happy about – I’m getting my natural birth, whether or not intentional. A nurse gives me a shot in the thigh – no time for an IV, and my doctor gives me some shots of lidocaine down there. I start pushing. Ryan is out in four contractions. My water broke at 6, and an hour and a half later I had my son. There were so many different variables that could have made this birth happen on the side of the road, or in a waiting room, or at my house, but thankfully none of these happened.
So that’s how Ryan was born. I had two tears and I don’t know how many stitches. No desire to ever know, haha. But regardless, I got the best little boy I could have asked for, I became a mother, and my life changed forever.