Remember this post: My Mental Struggle with 39 Weeks ? Well, as much as that seemed like false labor, I believe that was actually the start of everything.
For about 3 days, I was in “early labor” which consisted of fairly regular contractions – happening every 7-10 minutes and lasting for 60-90 seconds.
By about 2:00pm on that 3rd day, the contractions finally started to intensify. I was timing them to be about every 5 minutes apart and I was leaning my back up against the wall to help ease the mild pain and discomfort that accompanied these contractions.
Although I was sure that they would send us back home, my husband and I decided to go into the hospital and see what they had to say. I’d rather have a medical professional tell me whether or not I was in real labor instead of trying to figure it out for myself.
Once we checked-in at the front desk, they took us back to a room to monitor my contractions and check the progress of my cervix. We discovered that my cervix was only dilated 2, maybe 3 cm. But, my contractions were very regular and happening every 3-5 minutes. So, they decided to keep me for at least a little while longer just to see what would happen.
I got hooked up with my IV before the nursing staff had me walk the halls of the labor & delivery floor to see if that would help speed things up a bit. We walked around for an hour before returning to our room to be checked again. My doctor just happened to be around the hospital that evening, so she came to see how I was doing. I was sure she would tell me that I was at least 4 cm dilated by now… nope! still only 2, maybe 3 cm. Ugh, really?!?!
She talked about the possibility of breaking my water, maybe a little later… after I got my epidural. Then, they suggested I do some more walking since that seemed to help before. So, sometime around 10:00pm, we headed back out to walk the halls again. After about an hour and a half, I was definitely getting more uncomfortable and the contractions really started to hurt.
Justyn suggested that it might be a good time to request that epidural. So, we went back to our room and told the nurse that I was ready… and thank GOD we asked when we did!!! We ended up waiting nearly 2 hours for my epidural because there was only one anesthesiologist on staff that night. He was extra busy that night with two other girls who came in last-minute, fully-dilated and one girl’s baby was breached so they needed an emergency c-section!
When it was finally time to get my epidural, I was getting a little nervous about everything and it was visible to everyone that my entire body was shaking uncontrollably. I asked the nurse if I should be concerned about the shaking and she reassured me that it was a normal part of labor. She explained that my body was just going through a lot of stress with all of those contractions.
I have to admit, I was a little scared about getting my epidural… but really, there was no reason to be afraid. It was the quickest, easiest, non-painful part of my labor and delivery. Almost instantly, my shaking started to ease up and I began feeling very warm and content. I laid back and tried my best to relax while the nurses got the Pitocin going to intensify my contractions.
Sometime around 3:00am my water broke. This was when it all became so real for me! I knew I would be having my baby sometime that day… it just had to happen. One thing I remembered from our child-birth classes was that you only have 24 hours after your water breaks to get the baby out!
By 5:00am I was 7cm dilated and this was when things started to get uncomfortable. I started feeling strange down there. At first, I actually complained to my nurse that I felt like I could feel my catheter… it was a weird feeling, kinda like I needed to use the bathroom but there was something blocking the exit. Then, I started feeling my contractions again for the first time since I got my epidural. Right away, I knew this was a bad sign.
Sure enough, the epidural just wasn’t working for me. I was really feeling all of my contractions now and they were no walk in the park! Justyn was a big help at this point. He watched the monitor for me and helped coach me through each contraction, saying things like “almost to the top now” and “okay, it’s starting to come down”. I know it seems like such a little thing, but it was such a comfort to hear his voice and to know when each contraction was peaking.
During this time, Justyn also snapped this picture for the memory book:
At 6:45am I was fully dilated and it was time to start pushing. I was really getting excited now, I knew it wouldn’t be much longer before I would finally be holding my son!
The first few pushes weren’t bad at all… and since I was feeling all of my contractions, I knew exactly when it was going to be time to push. I could feel each contraction building and I could start mentally preparing myself to give it my all for the next push!
It wasn’t long though, before things really started to get ugly. The pain and pressure with each contraction and each push was almost too much to bear. And just when I was really getting uncomfortable, they told me to stop pushing because we needed to wait for my doctor to arrive. OMG! The 10-15 minutes we waited for my doctor to arrive seemed like an eternity! All I wanted to do was push to get rid of all that pain, pressure and just plain discomfort in between my legs.
It was 7:20am when my doctor walked into the room and I swear, I had no idea how happy I would be just to hear that woman’s voice and finally see her face at the end of the hospital bed! She and the rest of the nursing staff quickly got into position to deliver my baby. I started pushing again… this time it came with screaming and crying and I’m sure I shouted some other interesting things in pain.
I don’t really remember all of the details from this time, but I can recall a few of the important things:
- I remember looking into Justyn’s eyes, searching for help, knowing he could give me the strength I needed.
- I remember seeing the tears on his cheek as he told me “you can do this!” and that our baby was almost here.
- I remember my doctor standing up to look me straight in the face and tell me I only had 1, maybe 2 more pushes left.
- I remember reaching down to feel my baby’s head as he was being born and realizing at that moment that I could and would finish this… I just had to do it!
Most importantly, I remember and will never forget the moment Coyer was born and immediately placed on my chest! He cried and looked directly into my eyes. I cried and smiled, holding him as tight as I could while the nurses cleaned him up.
Once Coyer was in my arms, I didn’t care about anything else! I felt no pain and I didn’t have a care in the world. I was only focused on him and how beautifully perfect he was.
I delivered the placenta – no big deal at all. Then, at one point, I noticed my doctor was in total focus while stitching me up. She later told me that there was no need for an episiotomy and that I only endured a minor 1st degree tear during delivery. I thought to myself, “great news!”… but really, I wouldn’t have cared if she told me the complete opposite. I was finally holding my perfectly healthy son, and during that time he was all that I was concerned about. Nothing else mattered.
I never expected my labor and delivery to be anything like what I experienced, but I wouldn’t have changed a single thing! Every moment that I can remember will be cherished forever. The bad wasn’t fun at the time, but now it seems like such a small bump in the road to meet my precious little boy. The good moments were filled with emotions that I never knew I could feel. Every parent will tell you that the best day of their life was the day their child was born… and of course, I totally agree! That’s easily the truest statement anyone could make. I can’t imagine ever feeling that much joy again! Well… that is until Baby Kearney #2 is here! 😉