Late Labor

The nursery had been set-up and the room was ready for their baby son to move in. She kept thinking to herself that Baby would be early, but the weeks rolled on and on. Another woman at work who was pregnant and due May 17th, had her son three weeks early. A week before she would have baby.

It was May 3rd, 2015 when she awoke at 5am. The cats were making noises waking them both up, when suddenly she felt a gush of water rush onto her body pillow. “Babe? I think my water just broke!” She exclaimed. At 41 weeks and a day away from being induced, this was an excited moment. They were finally going to meet their son. Getting out of bed, she took time to bathe and eat (since she knew she wouldn’t be allowed to eat once admitted), before calling the hospital. The nurse sounded as though she didn’t believe her.

“Are you sure you didn’t just pee yourself?” The nurse questioned

“I am 100% sure.” She replied, frustrated.

“What’d they say babe?” He asked from the bedroom, still laying in bed.

“They want me to walk around and see if more water comes out. I mean it wasn’t a lot at all.”

“Well, I am going to try and sleep some more. It may be my last chance. Want to join me?” He asked, but she was trembling with excitement and couldn’t fall back to sleep. He was in the middle of finals for his last semester of college and had one final paper to complete before getting his degree. She had been off work the last week in preparation for baby, and had worked a bit on it for him by collecting information to back up his thesis. In her free time, she had packed her bag and his bag, cleaned the apartment several times, and even made “Thank you” gifts for nursing staff and visitors. They were tiny Chinese take-out boxes in baby blue filled with a Baby Ruth and a tiny notebook she created from cereal boxes and paper.

All of that busy work had led her to the moment her water broke. A few hours later at around 10am, the hospital called asking why she hadn’t come in yet. “I didn’t know I was supposed to, I don’t even feel contractions yet.” She explained to the nurse, the sound of his snoring carrying like a tune in the background. After getting off the phone, she waddled into the bedroom and touched his back. “Baby, it’s time to go.” He smiled and quickly got up and dressed. She had tried to eat as much as possible, while FaceTiming her mom to keep her posted. As he and she grabbed their bags to leave, she still felt the sharp pang of hunger and knew it would be a long day.

Upon arrival at the hospital, they brought he and she into a room to do a swab check. This was to make sure she really didn’t just pee herself after all. “Babe, are you sure you didn’t just pee yourself?” He said jokingly as they waited a half hour for the results. Her mom was champing at the bit to hop in her car to make the 3 1/2 hour drive from her home town.

“I am going to be so pissed if I did!” She answered back, smiling.

“Ha pisssssssed!” They both burst out laughing as the nurse walked in to confirm that labor was upon them.

They brought them to a large room where they admitted her and attached a million different things to her, which at 41 weeks was a pain to cart to the bathroom. He and she were binge watch Criminal Minds as she breathed through mild contractions. When the doctor came to check her, more water broke and it was awful. She was dilated at 1cm, which in labor terms means nowhere, as the doctor attached internal monitors that were painful to insert. Her mother was traveling at the speed of light to get to her mistaking a text she said saying the doctor would be back to check her again at 5pm for saying she was 5cm. Her mom arrived at 3pm, only two and a half hours after she’d left. “I went like 100mph all the way here.” He and she shook their heads smiling. She was happy to have her mom there as well.

The contractions grew stronger, but she was still able to breathe through them. “The anesthesiologist will take 40 minutes to get here once we call him.” The nurse explained.

“Let’s call him now then.” She said, already getting sick of having to pee so often and the increasing pain of contractions. Ice chips were her best friend, although she was starving and extremely thirsty. He would run down the hall to get her ice chips every hour or so. Once the epidural was in place, the rest of the labor process was a breeze. At 5pm, she had’t progressed much at all. She was able to get some rest while he stayed awake writing his paper. Her mom slept in the chair next to her, with the flickering of HGTV on the TV.

Finally around 3am, she had significantly progressed and was almost ready to push. Once her doctor came in to check on her an hour later, it was time. He and she shared smiles as he took her hand. Her legs were numb, so he and a nurse held them up. She was told to reach through the insides of her legs and do what they called “chicken arms” when she pushed. “Babe, I can see his head! He has hair!” He said excitedly, cheering her on as her mom, the nurses and doctor were. An hour of pushing later and there he was at 5:19am on May 4th, 2015. She was able to hold him momentarily before they whisked him away across the room. He followed the nurses and baby as the doctor tended to her. Her mom stayed next to her during the process, though the nurses seemed concerned.

At this point, they had already taken out the epidural, but what she didn’t know was that they push down hard on the stomach after birth to get everything out and start the uterus contracting. Her pitocin drop was supposed to help with that, but hadn’t enough since she was losing a lot of blood and clotting. The nurse pushed down on her stomach with all of her weight, leaving fingernail marks in her belly button every 15 minutes. The pain was excruciating as she screamed across the room. Her mother began to tear up, holding her hand while he sat across the room holding baby. She had only gotten to hold baby for a few minutes to try and breastfeed before they realized a problem and took him away again.

He passed baby over to her mom as he came to her side for comfort. The pain of everything was getting overwhelming, as he took her hand. Every 15 minutes when a nurse would enter the room, she would begin to tear up in anticipation, and eventually she just gave in to full on crying altogether.

Finally, she was able to move to the recovery room 5 hours later and attempt to feed baby. She had to supplement a bit, since his blood sugar was low from not eating right after birth, but she caught onto breastfeeding quickly.

He and she cuddled together on the hospital bed, amazed by all they had been through in the past two days and the past 9 months. Her mom stayed with them for a week as they took on parenting one day at a time, more in love than ever.

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