it blows my mind that the squirming baby boy lying next to me was once growing inside me. to keep the parts of this enormously long story organized, i've added "chapter" titles.
The Lead-up: A Busy Day, Are These Contractions?, and Pooping Alot
i spent monday, january 25th painting window trim and baseboard trim in the nursery...which means i was doing a ton of up & down movements, trying to get the painter's tape on the floor and squeezing my enormously pregnant self behind furniture in an attempt to get all that baseboard painted. by the time devin got home from work, i was exhausted.
sidenote: i am mildly lactose-intolerant, and i don't really do anything about it (except take lactaid when the going really gets rough. if you catch my drift.)
i made a cream-based soup for dinner. this detail is important. the soup makes an appearance again later.
at 7:30 pm, after my tiring day and a warm dinner, devin and i laid down to watch tv. out of NO WHERE i started having these horrible "stomach pains" where it felt like i was going to poop my pants and my whole baby bump got tight. right away, i was like "are these contractions?? why do i have to poop every time i have a contraction?!" so, i started timing them. every 5 minutes i'd have a contraction that lasted 45 seconds to a minute. and so every 5 minutes i was running to the bathroom.
around 8 pm, i was calling to devin from the bathroom to bring me some lactaid (as if that was going to help anything.) after an hour of terrible contractions and pleading with God until each contraction subsided, i called my midwife. i fully expected her to tell me i was overreacting, this was nothing, go to bed and call me in the morning. instead, she was all, "well, this sounds real! head to the hospital."
suddenly, devin and i were like, "REALLY?! OMG! THIS COULD BE IT!" he put the nursery back together (since it was in disarray from my painting spree), i showered, and before we hopped in his truck, he put his hand on my stomach and prayed for us and for our little one. then, off we went! it was so exciting, like driving to christmas or something.
as soon as we got in his truck, "good good father" came on the radio.
The Hospital: Contractions Suck, Devin's the Best, and Thank the Lord for Epidurals
at 9:30 pm, i got checked into triage, and the midwife on call confirmed that i was 4-5 cm dilated. in the span of 2 hours, i had gone from peacefully watching tv to having intense contractions and being 4-5 cm! wild.
we got a room, and my midwife showed up. the contractions just kept coming. i remembered what i read in all my hippie-birthing books (aka books on natural childbirth), and i groaned through each contraction. i also kept saying aloud, "wow. these are awful. this is really, really terrible" as if verbally processing it was going to alleviate the pain.
thankfully, all the wild pooping i did at home meant i didn't really need to go to the bathroom while i was in labor. i did, however, start to feel sick to my stomach, and suddenly i was throwing up EVERYWHERE. all that soup. on the floor, the bed, on devin, on me...that was the first time that night he'd get debris on him. (apparently throwing up in labor is somewhat normal, but no one told me this! so as i threw up a few more times, i thought something was really wrong.)
devin was so encouraging. (how did women in the 50s ever birth babies without their husbands in the room?!) every time i had a contraction, he would tell me i was doing great/i'm so tough/way to go. he was not freaked out, in spite of my weird groans; instead, he was calm and SO encouraging.
remember how i said i was really tired from the day? i had no energy to keep my eyes open between contractions, let alone bounce around on a birthing ball or walk around between contractions. and because i felt such exhaustion and the contractions were SO TERRIBLE, i caved and asked for an epidural. BEST DECISION EVER. i had previously thought that i'd want to be mobile during birth, while getting an epidural confines you to laboring in bed--but i was so tired that i'd have been in bed anyway!
Pushing: Feeling Hopeless, the End is Near, and Devin Got Splashed
at 2 am, it felt like a baby was trying to come out of my butt. really. that's exactly what it felt like. they lowered the bottom half of the bed so i was at a slant, trying to use gravity to get the baby into position, and i felt like i HAD to push.
pushing was awful.
all the midwife's and nurse's instructions ("don't push with your face! hold your breath! try and sit up like you're doing crunches! YES! do THAT again!") didn't make sense to me, and it is very nerve-wracking to be trying so hard and not sure how to improve. devin held my epidural-numbed leg, i did these weird sit-ups, and i played tug of war with a sheet (with devin or the nurse at the other end).
i pushed from 2 am to 4 am, and somewhere around 4 am i started to LOSE IT. despite devin's calming, encouraging words, i started doing this weird cry-hyperventilate thing and i tried explaining to everyone that this was hopeless, i've done the best i can and if he's not out yet (he wasn't) then he's never coming out, i've tried my hardest and my pushes just aren't good enough.
they put me on oxygen.
devin says it helped.
somehow, i kept pushing. the midwife started to get really excited; she put on her "delivery gear" and put a bag under me to catch "stuff," so i felt like the end must be near! i kept giving my BEST pushes, and out popped his head!!!!! suddenly (did i push again?) his whole body slid out and my nether regions felt normal (no more pressure!). a ton of liquid jetted out with his body, and poor devin got splashed with i-don't-even-know-what. (he says next time he's bringing a welder's mask to the delivery.) they put the baby's slimy, alert body on my stomach/chest, and i felt the most relieved EVER: i survived. it's over. he is here.
i have never been more excited to see someone as when i saw that baby Aiden Michael Hood had successfully been born at 5:30 am.