I woke early in the morning, two days before my due date, it was August in Arizona and so very hot. I lay naked, partially to find relief from the heat and partially because hardly anything fit my body anymore. My belly had stretched to a point I felt like my baby might just rip right through my skin. On this early morning I felt these soft little hugs in my belly, early contractions, I laid there trying to time them and failing. I had my appointment that morning so I eventually got up to shower, even the cold water is warm during an Arizona summer, so I let the warm water spill over my belly, feeling him stretch and dance inside me, "You can come out now", I said patting the space I was pretty sure was his bottom. I found one of the few outfits that still fit and still left me feel like a beautiful woman and after a light breakfast I drove to my appointment.
A peak into my family history will tell you I was feeling quite anxious on this particular morning, I was so close to my due date and due to a family history it is highly discouraged for me to go past my due date. My family has a family history of still birth from blood clots and that chance increases drastically after 40 weeks. Anyways, I really didn't want an induction, the moms in the birth groups I'm in had me scared to death of pitocin, like something straight out of a birth horror story. So I expressed all my fears to the Dr and she suggested a membrane strip followed by an induction if it failed. If you don't know what a membrane strip is, it is exactly as awful as it sounds. I then hobbled accross the hall for a NST, a non stress test, done to check the well being of my baby and placenta, due to my family history. The tech mentioned contractions, could I feel them? Oh yeah, those little hugs, they were still there. I laid there and rubbed my belly day dreaming of what the upcoming days had in store for us.
After my appointment I went to return the baby mobile I had ordered online because I didn't actually come with any of the cute little toys that you buy a mobile for, how annoying. I decided it was highly unlikely this baby would stare at the mobile anyways so I just returned it and wandered the store because that's supposed to be good for early labor. Then I went home, where my husband, Kevin, was on the computer because he had the day off. I proceed to clean our house as I knew birth meant my mother-in-law and she is the cleanest person you'll ever meet, seriously, her and her boyfriend mop the garage floor, while I can't even see my garage floor. I tell my husband, if you wanted a super clean wife, you married the wrong woman, I do my best but a perfectly up kept house just isn't in me and I have accepted that. A little mess makes a house look lived in anyways. Well the house was clean and our bags were packed and those hugs still coming fairly regularly, I was so desperate for them to work that I'll be honest, I exaggerated them a bit.
By 4 pm Kevin thought this has been going on a long time, maybe we should go in and get checked out, so we did. The nurse checked me and I was having contractions and was 4 cm dilated, she sent me for a walk to see if I could progress. We had some dinner and returned to the unit. I think the nurse sensed my anxiety and played a long with my game and said I made some small progress, even though the next nurse insisted I hadn't at all many hours later. They checked me in and the little hugs continued and progressed to cramps as we settled in for our baby to be born. At 2 am when that next nurse said I was still at 4cm they decided they wanted to give me pitocin (enter horror story mind set here) so I asked for an epidural, even though I originally hadn't wanted one at all. I also thought to myself that I could get some sleep, since I may never sleep again (at least I was realistic about that). My sweet nurse, Barb, held my hand during the epidural, I'll never forget that lovely woman and I mention her because she actually wound up at my second birth as well. Epidural, pitocin, definitely no sleep, we were going on 24 hours. Morning shift came and I was 5 cm, seriously? So they broke my water thinking that would get things moving. My mother in law came by mid morning and we all watched shows and I had popsicles, red and purple are clearly the only delicious flavors and that really didn't do wonders for my "post baby" look, I wouldn't do that again.
Around noon they said I was very close to being complete and all the hormones and anxiety took over and I threw up all those red and purple popscicles. When it was time to push the nurse held up one of my legs and my husband held up the other. Due to the epidural I had a hard time figuring out exactly how to push, so they turned it down a bit to help. They'd raise my legs, I'd push, he'd come down, they put my legs down and he'd go back up, joy. After a few rounds of this, I told them maybe they shouldn't put my legs back down. The tactic worked and the baby engaged. The dimmed sensations from my epidural made for a strange, frightening experience when the baby began to crown, though after having given birth 3 times I now know fear it a normal part of this phase for me. I was convinced I had ripped open from one end to the other, if you know what I mean. Thankfully I hadn't. My son was born and brought to my chest where I fell in love and he cried. They weighed him and changed him and bathed him and all those things they do and he cried. He didn't stop crying until we nursed. I said to my husband "oh no, we're in for it" because at that moment I knew in my heart he wasn't going to be an "easy" baby and I was right. I think that's where we'll stop for today. He was born at 1:31 pm on August 24th, 2012 and will be 4 next month! Tyler Joseph Duclos made me a mother and it has been quite the transition. Parenthood was much more challenging than I expected. The complete and total self sacrifice required for this little person was overwhelming, but I know it was more than worth it. What about your journey has been different than you expected? I'd love to hear a piece of your story in the comments.