Welcome to the 7th post in a series of birth stories that will run from August through September, Birth Story Celebration. Keep checking back on Tuesdays and Fridays for new, awesome stories of the miracle that makes us parents! Today’s story is from Stacy!
Stacy is mama to one amazing almost 2-year-old and wife to an awesome firefighter. She spends her days wrangling munchkins in her in-home preschool and squeezing in blogging moments at Life On Three Sides between dishes and diapers and recess. She loves writing, coffee, sarcasm, attempts at gardening, and overshares with a bit too much honesty.
It sounds very cliché, but I have dreamed of being a mama my entire life. It was the one thing I was determined to do right by my own terms. When we were ready. We finally got to that place early in 2010, and started trying. One year later, we found out we were pregnant on January 11th, 2011.
It was a fairly uneventful pregnancy, and only at the very end did I have high enough blood pressure that my midwife was concerned. I was monitored Wednesday and again on Friday, and she determined I should go on bed rest, 1 week before my due date. Well, I disagreed and knew there was no way. I had a school in my house, and couldn’t afford to have my teachers take over for me one day before I needed them to. So I spent the weekend relaxing and getting the last few things ready.
One of my good friends was giving us a beautiful bassinet. We met for lunch and then I picked it up from her house on Sunday. It was the last thing we needed to get ready. I got it home, set it up next to my side of the bed, and we were ready, for whenever our daughter was ready.
It was like she knew. Like she was waiting. Waiting just long enough, waiting for the last piece to fall into place, and for the most beautiful moon. I finished arranging the blankets in her bed “just so”, and tucked myself in my own bed at about 10:30pm. I was sorta drifting, the usual 39-weeks-pregnant uncomfortable-ness preventing me from a true ability to fall asleep.
Everything started that night at 11:30pm. I woke up to my first contraction, and it hurt! It surprised me a bit. It wasn’t too bad, but when they say, “you’ll know when you’re in true labor”, they are kinda right. At least for me. The other contractions I’d felt were truly practice ones, and this one definitely meant business. It was the only one, so I dozed off a bit until 12:15am, when I was hit with the next one. 45minutes apart, nothing to wake my husband up for, yet. I had 5 more over the next 45 minutes, walking the hallways and worrying that this was false labor and I’d be one of the moms that showed up at the hospital and they sent home. By 1:20am they were 5-6 minutes apart, and pretty painful. So I started thinking it wasn’t false, and woke up my husband and told him if he wanted to shower before we go, he better do it now.
Under the light of the harvest moon, we headed out the door just before 2am. By this time the contractions were 3-4 minutes apart and painful enough I almost threw up a few times. Every bump on that drive was so painful, and needless to say I did NOT get a chance to enjoy that moon! I expected the pain to be brutal and worse than I could imagine. What I was NOT prepared for, was that it would STILL be so painful between contractions. You know, they say 3 minutes apart and last 1 minute, I figured 2 minutes of rest between. NOT THE CASE. Oye. That was the most brutal discovery for me. (So far.)
So we got to the hospital just before 2:30am, of course not having called our midwife OR the hospital. I got the slightly skeptical face from the desk girl, and she sent us to Labor and Delivery. They got us tucked into a room right away, hooked up to the monitors, and the contractions were about 2 minutes apart at this point, and coming on fierce. Just before 3am, the nurse checked me and I was dilated to 8cm.
The nurse went to call my midwife to let her know we were definitely on our way to having our baby, and I had my husband call my mom, who lives 2 hours away, and leave a message to let her know because I wasn’t really up to talking. We didn’t want to wake anyone else.
My husband was so encouraging, I’m not sure I could have made it without his support. And I’m not sure I would have made it all natural (if I’d had a choice) without his helping me to be strong and it going so fast. My midwife arrived and checked me at 3:40am and I was fully dilated. She broke my water, and 5 minutes later I was ready to push. It was not a prim and proper little birth, but after 50 minutes of pushing, our daughter was born at 4:35am on Monday morning.
It happened so FAST. 5 hours from first contraction to birth. Anything that happens with that kind of speed is bound to have it’s effects, and let’s just say I can say with first-hand experience what the “ring of fire” is (2 years later and I still remember what it felt like), and my midwife stitched up a 2nd degree tear and two smaller tears. I was kind of in shock and exhausted from all the pain, and it took me a minute to be able to open my eyes. When I did, the most perfect little being was laying on my stomach. 7 pounds, 12 ounces, 19.5 inches long, a thick head of dark brown hair and blue eyes. My husband got to cut the cord.
It wasn’t exactly how I might have imagined our birth to be, but it was just perfect. Because it went so quickly, it really was just my husband, my daughter, and I, on this journey together. She slipped into this world quickly, on her own terms, with a sense of humor and a fierce determination, and she has continued in just the same way for her almost-two years of life.
I called my best friend at 5am, and she was the first person to know she had arrived, and her first visitor. We got ahold of the rest of the family around 7am, and the next day and a half was a blur of visitors.
I was very much in shock about the whole process, and I think still in disbelief that after waiting my whole life, I was finally a mother. We couldn’t decide on a name, so we had the social security guy call back the next morning. It was in that moment, though, when my husband answered the phone and forever bestowed a name to our daughter, that the reality of it all hit me, and a few overwhelmed tears slipped out. I was a mama. Forever and always it would be the greatest thing I’ve ever done.