Throughout my entire pregnancy, I was always so curious about how I would know I was in labor. Would the contractions slowly come on? Would my Braxton Hicks turn into real contractions? Would I know the difference between fake contractions and real contractions? Would my water break in a slow trickle? Or a large gush? If my water broke, where would I be? Would I be at work? Maybe the grocery store? Would it happen at home? Would it ruin my mattress? Now I know you are probably thinking, this chick is crazy! But, it was the unknown that I was so nervous (and excited about). You see, a woman spends nine whole months waiting for that moment. That moment when she goes into labor and knows there is only a matter of hours before she gets to meet that sweet little baby she has been growing for nine months.
In the weeks leading up to my due date, I started researching how to induce labor naturally.
**Now, before you judge me and get angry that I was trying to have my baby before he was done fully cooking, I did talk to my doctor about all of these things first. My doctor did tell me that no matter what, nothing can induce a baby to come early if they are simply not ready. I wanted a healthy baby more than anything else.**
At 36 weeks, we were told he may be a bigger baby and was already measuring 6 pounds 7 ounces. The doctor said a baby usually gains about a half a pound a week. So, at 40 weeks, our little boy was estimated to be 8 and a half or even 9 pounds. At this time, I was already 1 centimeters dilated and 60% effaced. My doctor said she would strip my membranes at my 37 week appointment. If the stripping of the membranes worked, I knew I could go into labor within 72 hours of doing so. Throughout the week, I drank red raspberry leaf tea (which is supposed to make your uterus contract), I took evening primrose oil (1 capsule in the morning, 1 at night and then I also inserted one inside of me before bed). The evening primrose oil is supposed to soften your cervix and inserting one at night is supposed to reduce the risk of tearing. I went walking every single day during my lunch break and each night with my husband. I also bounced on my exercise ball each night.
I didn't want to get too excited, but I was really excited about the thought of having my baby so soon. When I went to my 37 week appointment, I made sure the car seat was installed and we had our bags packed, just in case. To my disappointment, I had made no progress since my 36 week appointment and my doctor said we should wait until my 38 week appointment to strip my membranes. I left the appointment feeling disappointed and with tremendous guilt. I was disappointed that I probably wasn't going to have my son that week and I felt so guilty for feeling disappointed. Like I said before, my son's health is and always will be far more important than anything else. I felt so guilty for wishing he would be here sooner than he was ready.
The following week, I went back for my 38 week appointment. I was about 1 and a half centimeters dilated and 70% effaced. My doctor decided to do a partial stripping of the membranes since I hadn't made a ton of progress since my last appointment. At this point, I was pretty convinced I would be going all the way to my due date, if not later.
Week 38 of my pregnancy also happened to be my last week at work before maternity leave. I had saved up all of my vacation at work to use for my maternity leave. What I didn't realize is I had saved up about a week too much. If I didn't take off the week before my due date, I would lose a week of vacation at the end of the year since it does not roll over to the next year. I figured I would use this week to prepare for the baby and simply just rest and relax.
So, Friday, October 3rd rolled around. It was my last day at work before my maternity leave started. I had spent the prior few weeks writing instructions and making sure all of my work was covered for the few months I would be off. So by the time Friday rolled around, I didn't have a whole lot left to wrap up. I was planning on working the entire day, until 5 pm. Once 2 pm rolled around, I found myself with nothing left to do and my boss's boss came over and gave me the go ahead to take off early. I left the office around 2:30 pm which just so happens to be the same time my husband is off work. I gave him a call and we talked about how both of our days were and talked a little bit about the baby. Tom's Dad does some traveling for work and we both talked about how we hope he is in town when I go into labor.
I live about ten minutes away from my work, so I got home fairly quickly. I pulled into the garage, shut the garage and turned off my car. Just as I opened my door and stepped out of my car, I felt a huge gush. I was 100% sure I did not wet my pants and my first reaction was to drop my pants, right there in the garage (thankfully I shut the garage door! Lol). My husband was still on the phone with me and I just screamed that I think my water broke! The water was clear and as I stood there in the garage, I realized my pants were soaked and the liquid continued to leak. I ran upstairs to the bathroom as fast as I could, with my pants around my ankles still. As I sat on the toilet, the liquid continued to stream out, like I was going to the bathroom.
I was in complete shock and I was shaking. I told my husband that it was time and I was going to call my family and get my bags together. I called my Mom twice, got no answer. I knew she was on her way to a town two hours away with her boyfriend so I started to panic. Thankfully, I remembered I had her boyfriend's number saved into my phone. To my relief, he answered and they turned right around and headed to the hospital. I then called my Dad and told him the news. Lastly, I gave my doctor's office a call. They wanted me to come into the office before heading over to the hospital to check to be sure that it was my water that broke. Once my husband arrived home, we both ran around like chickens with our heads cut off. We were both so surprised we were just running around the apartment frantically trying to gather what we needed. Our bags were packed and we had a list of things we needed to still pack like phone chargers, toothbrushes, etc.
We quickly grabbed my bag, my husbands backpack and the diaper bag and hopped in the car. I quickly remembered I hadn't ate lunch yet and I knew from our baby classes that they won't let you eat once you are in labor. I grabbed a container of peanut butter and spoon and hopped in the car. Once we hit the road, my contractions started. During our birthing class, they made us hold a baggie of ice for a minute and told us that it was similar to contractions. Um?! NO! Contractions are NOTHING like holding a baggie of ice for a minute.
Within the 20 minute drive to the hospital, my contractions were lasting a minute and were about two to three minutes apart. I ran into my doctors office and I felt like people were moving in slow motion. They made me wait to be seen and then once I got into a room, I had to wait for the doctor. I understand people can't completely cater to me when they have other patients, but, goodness, waiting with contractions was difficult. Once the nurse practitioner came in, she just wanted to chit chat. I will be honest, I am all for chit chatting about how our days are going, but not when I am contracting every two minutes.
She laid me back and did a quick exam. Her response was, "Wow, there is a lot of liquid down here!". My response? "UM, YEAH!!!". My husband and her both laughed at me, I clearly didn't think it was very funny. She then called the hospital and made sure they had a room ready for me. I thought they would have wheeled me over to the hospital or something, but they made me walk. Once we walked across the street to the hospital, we had to wait a couple minutes for a nurse to come out and walk us back to the room. Once again, it felt like people were moving in slow motion. I had a very painful contraction as we waited to be walked back.
Once the nurse came out, she called my name and walked us back to our room. She was trying to walk slow because she knew I was in pain. Personally, I wanted to sprint to the room so I could curl up in a ball during my contractions. Clearly, I am not a very patient pregnant lady.
We got back into the room, by this time, it was about 3:45 or 4:00 pm. She gave me a gown to change into. Before I could do anything, I needed to go number 2 (TMI, sorry!). To me, the contractions felt similar to menstrual cramps and the cramps you get when you have diarrhea, but ten times worse. Once I went to the bathroom, I changed in my gown and sat on the bed. There were a lot of people in and out of the room, hooking me up to IVs and different machines to monitor the baby and my contractions.
By this time, I want to say it was about 5:00 pm. I was dripping in sweat and felt like I was going to throw up. I felt so exhausted after each contraction. I was only two centimeters dilated still, but they offered me an epidural. I will be honest, I thought I was going to be a champ when it came to labor, but I was a huge wimp. I took the epidural the second they offered it. A resident came in to administer the epidural and it took him a lot longer than I thought. The initial poke wasn't the painful part. The painful part came when he was moving it around to get it in the right spot. I could feel a lot of pain on the left side of my back.
Once the epidural kicked in, I was in heaven. I was surprised I could still feel contractions and my legs, but my pain went from a ten to a two. My Mom, Sister and my Mother in law came in to hang out. We talked, we laughed and I almost forgot I was in labor. My energy came back, I didn't feel nauseous and I stopped sweating. I felt really good.
The nurse came back in around 7 pm to check me. My contractions had slowed from two to three minutes to about five to six minutes apart. I was also only dilated to about 4 centimeters. The nurse said that most people dilate about a centimeter an hour. We figured we wouldn't have a baby until midnight, or later. The nurse suggested a little bit of pitocin to get my contractions to speed up.
Once 8:20 pm rolled around, the nurse came back in to check me and was shocked to see that I was dilated to 10 centimeters. We know what that means!!! Time to push soon!
I had always imagined pushing to be like the movies, where you have a ton of nurses in the room and the doctor all suited up to catch the baby. It was nothing like that. I started pushing at 8:40 pm. It was just my nurse, my husband, my mom and mother in law in the room. Once I felt a contraction, I grabbed both of my legs and pushed three times. I held each push for as long as I could, took a breath and then pushed again. Once I pushed three times, I waited until the next contraction rolled around. After just a couple pushes, the nurse was able to see the baby's head. Every one in the room told me how much hair our little boy had!
Not sure what time it was, but once the baby's head was really showing, the nurse called the doctor in. With each push, the baby's head came out a little further. During this whole time, all the doctor could talk about was how much hair the baby had. At one point (this is kind of gross lol), she even gave him a little Mohawk between pushes. By this time, she said the baby would be here in about 5 more contractions. I was so determined to meet our little guy that by the second contraction, he was here!
The doctor immediately put our little boy, Benjamin, on my chest. I cried and I cried. He was the most beautiful, most perfect, most amazing little baby I had ever seen. Best of all, he was ours. Ben was screaming and I just couldn't take my eyes off of him. I counted his fingers and toes and examined him from head to feet.
He was perfect.
Just as I spent nine months wondering how I would go into labor, I also spent those nine months wondering what our son would look like. He was more handsome and more perfect than I ever could have imagined. I loved Ben from the second the pregnancy test said "Pregnant", but the amount of love I felt for him the moment I saw him was truly indescribable.
For the hour after he was born, I held him. That is all I did. I was so mesmerized by him that I didn't even see my husband cut the umbilical cord or notice that the doctor had delivered my placenta. I just couldn't take my eyes of my beautiful son. I was surprised to hear later on that I had no tearing what so ever. What a relief!
Once that hour was over, the nurse came in to weigh him, measure him, help bathe him and swaddle him up for us.
Benjamin Gregory Dukes was born on October 3, 2014 at 9:58 pm. He was 6 pounds 13 ounces and 19 inches long.
My sweet boy is now almost six weeks old and there are no words to even begin to describe how much I love him. Throughout my pregnancy, everyone told me that little boys love their mamas. I am happy to say, my little boy is no different. When he cries, my husband will try to soothe him with no luck and the second I pick him up, he instantly is calmed. We have this special bond and I could just sit with him all day and stare at him. He is perfect and I have never been so in love in my entire life.
Being a Mom is the best thing. Ever.
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