Tomorrow my sweet baby boy turns one, ONE!!!! For the past year I've been wanting to write this out for myself so I will always remember those small details... so be warned, it's super long :) But I wanted to share my positive natural birth story since when I was pregnant all I seemed to hear were scary horrifying birth stories of hours upon hours of pain. All I can say is WALK THAT BABY OUT mamas!!!
We found out I was pregnant in the middle of September. I knew I wanted kids at some point, but next year always sounded like a better time. So Tanner was a surprise. The night we found out I was a mix of emotions, mostly being upset and mourning life as I knew it. I was too selfish to have a baby, I had too much stuff going on to have a baby, I wasn’t READY to have a baby! But by the next morning most of that angst had developed into excitement and awe. At about 11 weeks along I had my first ultrasound- seeing that tiny baby inside of me sealed the deal- I was excited!
I was blessed to have a really easy pregnancy, and even more blessed to have a quick and “easy” delivery. I have to thank my dog Duke for that. If it wasn’t for him I probably wouldn’t have “walked my baby out”- he kept me active during my entire pregnancy, hiking and walking the state forest several times a week right up until the day before Tanner arrived. Whenever I was feeling lazy he would guilt me into walking him J I recall having heard it several times over the past 10 years or so, women talking about how they “walked their baby out”- I must have tucked that tidbit of info away for when I might need it in the future. And now after doing just that, I’m a firm believer in it.
May 17th, 2009- It was Sunday at about 10:45pm. Earlier that evening I had made a fresh fruit smoothie for Pat and me- we were drinking it out of wine goblets and we jokingly toasted to having a baby that night. I was four days over my due date. Pat had work in the morning so he headed to bed. I stayed up and was hanging out on the couch rough housing a little bit with Duke. Suddenly I felt a little gush of water, like I had peed. I sat there for a little while, wondering if that was what I thought it was- did my water just break, or did I just pee myself (hey, when you’re 9 months pregnant anything is possible, haha!). When I realized that it was most likely my water breaking, I yelled into Pat to wake up, my water had broke! He had just managed to fall asleep, and called back something of the sort of You’ve got to be kidding me, we have a while before we have to go to the hospital, right?!
At a little after 11pm I called my DR. Turns out it was her night off, so the on call DR called me back and told me to head to the hospital right then. We gathered our stuff and headed to the hospital, calling our family on the way down. About half way to the hospital I started feeling really crampy- super sharp cramps every few minutes. All during that day I had been feeling a little crampy, nothing uncomfortable- in fact I spent almost all day moving about sewing. My DR had told me contractions would feel like my uterus turning rock hard at the top, and that sensation moving downward as the contraction happened. So I had no idea that I was in labor all day long! I was expecting something completely different and something painful!
We got to the hospital at about 11:30pm, got checked in and set up in my delivery room. The nurses were really nice and I was feeling very comfortable with the situation. This was good since I was completely petrified of giving birth. I knew I have little to no tolerance for pain; seriously, I used to come close to passing out from changing my earrings or having a little splinter removed. During the pregnancy all I heard were labor horror stories. I was open-minded going in to labor about taking some sort of pain reliever. My plan was to go with the flow of my body- if it got to be too much for me I would ask for the pain relief. I let my nurse know that.
After getting me all set up in the room she offered me a sleeping aid so I could get some rest- from the little we knew about a typical labor and delivery, Pat and I didn’t expect to be seeing our baby until mid morning the next day. We were expecting a LONG night. And apparently our nurse thought I was a typical delivery too when she offered me the sleep aid. I went back and forth about taking it, but then decided I was really wound up and it would be nice to get some sleep before all the turmoil I was picturing labor to be. Not even a minute after taking it I ended up throwing up. This totally freaked Pat out until the nurse assured him this was typical. About an hour later we looked back at this and realized this was likely my body’s way of rejecting the sleep aid.
About 15 minutes later, probably around 1:30am, my contractions started to get a bit painful. I started getting nervous that if I had to endure another 5 hours or more of this kind of pain I wouldn’t do well. So I let my nurse know that I may want some pain relief in a little while if my contractions continued to get worse. On that, my nurse gave me an internal exam to let me know about when she thought would be a good time. I’ll never forget the puzzled look on her face as she was doing it, and says to me “Hmmm I can’t seem to find your cervix”. This sent a brief wave of panic through me- wasn’t she supposed to be an expert at this, and she can’t even find my cervix! Then the look of shock when she exclaimed “OH MY, you’re 9 ½ centimeters dialated, I need to go call the Doctor!” to which I exclaimed “WHAT, the doctor isn’t here!!!??”. She assured me the doctor would arrive in 15 minutes. She came back in a minute later as me and Pat were giddily chatting about how I had made it through the textbook hardest part of labor without hardly flinching- without any sort of pain relief. The nurse agreed and called me a trooper, saying she would have never guessed by my calmness that I was even close to being fully dilated.
Well not even a few minutes later the most amazing and intense sensation surged through my body. My body was ready to push out this baby and there was no stopping it. I felt an overwhelming urge to push, so overwhelming that I couldn’t fight it off. All I could do was do it. It was the craziest feeling I’ve ever felt in my body. The nurse was trying to talk me through “breathing it out” since the doctor had yet to arrive. For about 10 minutes I had managed to “breath out” instead of push, which worked during some of the contractions, and not so well as I naturally pushed during the other ones. All I remember during this time was that amazing sensation in my body and repeating over and over to the nurse, “WHERE’S THE DOCTOR, I NEED TO PUSH!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!” The doctor finally arrived a little after 2am and I was finally able to let my body do its thing- I pushed for less than 15 minutes- Tanner made his entrance to this world at 2:27am on May 18th, 2009. They placed him right onto my chest and I said to Pat, “so is this the best present I’ve ever given you?”- a baby boy. He was so beautiful, with a thick head of almost black hair. And a big boy at 8 pounds 2 ounces and 22 inches long. And so life began as a family of three (well, six, counting our furry family members).
Tanner celebrating his first birthday: