If you haven’t yet, I suggest reading part 1 first. (P.S. The wedding was the 24th, I had said it was the 26th.)
That night after the wedding, I felt my first mild contractions. They weren’t bad and were pretty far apart, but I don’t think I’ve ever been so happy about feeling pain. I didn’t even wake my husband, cause I didn’t want to keep him up if this wasn’t the real thing. And sure enough, come Sunday morning, they had stopped. Joseph and I decided to head home that morning though, just in case, rather than hanging out for the day with family in Madison. As we drove South on the expressway, I once again tried to will contractions to happen. I’ve discovered that doesn’t work.
We hung out together all day Sunday, just the two of us relaxing and trying to not think too much about the pressure we felt to have that baby before 8PM on Monday.* We were still up around midnight (normal for us at the time) when I felt more contractions. This time stronger, and closer together. Joseph whipped out the stopwatch (or smartphone, whatever) and began the timing. We took a walk outside, excited through the pain. I was having contractions of about a minute each, five minutes apart, for an hour when we called the doctor. That’s when they say you should call (the 5/1/1 rule), but I didn’t think it was that bad yet.
When the doctor found out the situation he told Joseph to take me in right away. What? Already? I had wanted to labor mostly at home, but…doctor’s orders. So we grabbed our bag and went, calling Joseph’s sister and my mom (our chosen labor helpers) as we whirled away.
As I sat in triage (where they measure you and ask you a bunch of personal questions), Joseph’s sister came and marveled at the fact that I was still talking and even smiling sometimes, as every time she’d been in that room she wasn’t able to answer any questions. I started to think, ‘hey, maybe I’m gonna be one of those lucky ladies who breezes through labor!’ That’s when they told me I was only like 2 centimeters dilated or something ridiculous like that, and they couldn’t admit me yet. I could either hang out around there or go home. I chose home.
We got home around 3AM and I had a few more contractions along with a snack and we decided to try to get some sleep. That was a silly idea because literally as I crawled into bed my water broke.
Again we made the calls, but this time I was able to labor at home for a few hours with the help of Joseph’s sister (what a champ). I ended up going to the hospital around 7AM when it got pretty bad. Since I had already gone to triage earlier that morning, I got to skip it and was whisked away to a room. That was nice, because at this point I could see how Joseph’s sister hadn’t been able to talk during her time in triage. I could also see that I was not going to be one of those aforementioned lucky ladies.**
I labored at the hospital for 6 hours (for a total of 13) before our sweet girl was born. It was kind of crazy how fast the time went even though it was so painful. You’d think it would go slow, but I think since my contractions were pretty close together the whole time I didn’t have much of a chance to clock-watch. Another crazy thing is that it’s hard to remember what the pain was even like and how terrible it must have been. I remember saying, right after she was born, “No wonder women forget labor pain. You’d have to in order to ever want to do that again.” But now it’s all getting foggy. I do remember yelling out a couple times and worrying about scaring or disturbing other mommies down the hall.***
I pushed for an hour (I didn’t have one of those movie-perfect two push deliveries) before she came. And then it was over, and the doctor was holding her and announcing, “It’s a boy!” Seriously, he said that. We were all shocked because they had told us girl the whole time. The shock lasted about 2 seconds before he corrected himself. “No, it’s a girl!” We’re still not sure if he was messing with us or if the cord was hanging just so.***
There she was, a perfect little bundle, and it was the most surreal thing. She was dark-haired and quiet. I couldn’t believe that the little human the doctor was holding had been in my tummy that whole time. It’s hard to explain. My first thoughts were relief and disbelief and my second ones were something about fingers and toes. But she was here, and beautiful.
Simona Myla was born at 1PM on August 26th, exactly 7 hours before I was supposed to be induced.**** And she waited until after the wedding, from which she had a window of 48 hours to make her appearance on her own. So I got to be at, and fully appreciate, my brother’s wedding. I had thought I wanted her out before then so I could bring her, but now I see that I would have been very preoccupied and tired, had I even made it there at all. (My expectations about what having a newborn was like were very skewed, but that’s another story for another time.) The timing really could not have been better. God’s plan is always perfect and always better than what we can dream up, and I remind myself of this story when I’m doubting or worrying or all caught up the way that I think things should go. I’m very thankful. The end (or the beginning).
And 6 months later:
*Looking back on it, maybe we should have spent all day sleeping, but how were we to know that our we had already had our last night of good sleep for quite a long, long time?
**While I wasn’t one of the rare women who breeze through labor with hardly a whimper, I feel very fortunate to have the labor story I did. I am not in any way complaining about how it happened, because I know that some women experience much worse and that mine was fairly average.
***Yeah, even in labor I’m a people pleaser.
****He is an excellent doctor. Really. No lie.
*****I know that not all induced labors are really that bad, and that there are women who have had good experiences with it. Unfortunately though, the stories that you hear, or at least the ones that stick with you, tend to be the negative ones.