Saturday, September 28, 2013, my mom flew into town hoping I would go into labor soon. This was my due date and it came and went without so much as a single contraction. My ever positive mother rolled up her sleeves and got to work helping around the house so we would be ready whenever baby decided to show. One week later we had done everything we could think of to prepare for his arrival—cleaning, freezer meals, stocking up on groceries, getting the nursery ready, schoolwork, etc., etc. We were beginning to get a bit impatient… when would baby get here?
Friday, October 4, 2013, I was just short of 1 week overdue. On this particular Friday I had yet another tedious, but necessary, doctor appointment. Doctor Stovall had me come in so we could monitor baby’s heartbeat and make sure he was doing alright in the womb. All looked well, I was dilated to a 2, and about 75% effaced. Doctor Stovall decided it was time to strip my membranes and man did it hurt! He also decided it was time to set up an induction date just in case. We set the date for Monday and he gave us his cell phone number in case we went into labor before then and he wasn’t on call. We were, of course, thrilled with this gesture; he is such a wonderful doctor.
The rest of the day I was aching and cramping from the membrane strip; however, there were results! By nighttime I started experiencing more and more uncomfortable contractions, but it wasn’t until around 11pm to midnight that I expressed my concern to Joe and he started timing them on the microwave clock. As soon as Joe declared we were going to the hospital dread set into my mind. The event we had all been anxiously waiting for was upon us, but now I was in denial. I started spouting ridiculous comments like:
“These are probably a false alarm and they will just send us home!”
“I’m not ready to go to the hospital… none of the bags are ready!” (The bags were in fact ready and had been ready and in the car for over a week).
“No, no, no. I am not having a baby!”
“I can last a few more days…”
Joe and Mom did finally convince me to go to the hospital, but I took my sweet time getting out to the car. We arrived at Sacred Heart Medical Center around 12:30AM Saturday, October 5, 2013 and were told to wait in the waiting room for a few minutes while they got the room ready. Mom excitedly took pictures of us and I made a pathetic attempt to act calm. Once we had gotten into the birth room, Joe had brought in our things, and I was settled into the hospital gown and bed, I was surprised by how much calmer I felt about everything. I realized this was one experience I couldn’t back away from. There was a feeling of peace about what was to come and I felt ready to meet our baby!
Soon my first nurse, Sam, told me I was dilated to a 4 and fully effaced. She also let me know that Doctor Stovall, who was on call Friday, would stay at the hospital till I had the baby so he could deliver him for us—we were thrilled! Before long I was hooked up to tubes providing me with plenty of liquids, antibiotics for the baby’s safety, and a low dose of Pitocin to move things along. By this point Sam’s shift was over and she introduced us to our second nurse, Mary Ann, a sweet Scottish woman.
By now my contractions were growing worse and I was conflicted by my yearning for an epidural and my desire to see how long I could take it. The nurse anesthetist came in and spoke to me and Joe about what to expect with getting an epidural, any complications that could happen, and any concerns we had. I don’t think I could have been in better hands. He gave me all the information I needed, made me feel completely at ease, and did a tremendous job. Once I had received the epidural my contractions seemed distant. Since it was so late we decided to get some shuteye while we waited. The lights were dimmed and we slept on and off for hours.
I remember waking up at some point for Doctor Stovall to come check on me and for them to break my water. I didn’t feel a thing. Thank goodness for modern medicine! Then I remember waking up a bit later for a student to come in and ask me some questions. Unfortunately I got very nauseas while she was in the room and threw up all over myself. She was so sweet and didn’t even blink an eye as she helped clean me up. When Mary Ann came back in she got me some fresh sheets, a new gown, and some medicine for the nausea since it wasn’t subsiding. Not my most glamorous moment, but nobody said labor was pretty. I also remember worrying that one of my legs was much more numb then the other one, but my nurse said that was alright as long as I could still lift them. She placed a pillow underneath one side of me to help the blood flow even out the epidural.
Around 11:00AM Mary Ann checked on me and baby was almost ready to be born. The only problem was he had turned around to face the wrong way! She had me lay on my side on a peanut ball for about half an hour and he turned right around. By about 11:30AM the nurses were busily getting the room ready for the birth. One pulled out a tray full of some scary looking tools and I quickly remembered why I wasn’t in any hurry to get to the hospital the night before.
Shortly, Doctor Stovall arrived, a bright light shone down from the ceiling, and a mirror was placed so I could see the birth. Baby was beginning to crown, Joe held one leg and Mary Ann held the other. I was anxious for what was coming, but thankful I still did not feel much pressure or pain. Since I couldn’t feel my contractions very well Mary Ann had to let me know when they were coming so Joe would know when to begin counting and I would know when to push. I began pushing on and off around noon. The doctor and nurses would tell me things like, “He has a full head of hair!” while I was pushing to encourage me and so I could look in the mirror and see the top of his head. Everyone in the room also kept saying things like, “PUSH, PUSH, PUSH!,” “Push through it! You’re almost there!,” etc. I was surprised when I found myself laughing during labor and Joe teased me that that wasn’t allowed.
The delivery process felt like a progression of two steps forward, one step back, but at 12:43PM on October 5, 2013 Ezra Joel was born. He was 8lb. 3oz. and 20-¼ inches long. Through the process of pushing I remember wondering how long I would have to do this for, but once Doctor Stovall pulled Ezra out of me I thought, “Wow! That was fast!” I still hadn’t really felt much pressure or pain even when his head and shoulders emerged. Joe cut Ezra’s umbilical cord, Doctor Stovall stitched my episiotomy cut up, and the nurses placed Ezra on my chest so I could hold him for the very first time. The moment was surreal. Ezra peered up at me with his little blue eyes and cried and cried as I tried to comfort him and keep him warm. When I looked up at Joe I noticed he was a little teary eyed and it all became more real for me. Here was my baby that I had carried inside me for 9 months. Joe and I were finally parents to this beautiful little boy.
I am grateful for all the incredible nurses at Sacred Heart who helped me learn how to nurse and made me feel comfortable during such an emotional experience. I attribute my quick recovery completely to Doctor Stovall and the amazing and attentive job he did during the delivery. I feel truly indebted to Mary Ann for her cheery attitude, funny stories, and complete understanding. I am so glad she was by my side. I know the knowledge that my mom was in the waiting room just a few doors down helped me feel more confident during this process.
Most of all I am thankful for Joe for always being by my side, for being the best father I could ever imagine for our son, and the best husband and friend for me. I feel truly blessed for this magnificent experience Heavenly Father has provided me with and know He has helped me tremendously throughout my entire pregnancy and delivery. Finally, I am ever grateful that our little boy is healthy and whole. We love him so.