It was blistering cold and snowing the night you came into the world. Daddy and I always joked that you would come on a cold, snowy winter night. I don’t really remember a lot of the details of my labor, but I do remember looking outside of the hospital window, watching the snow fall, thinking, “That’s just perfect for our January baby.”
Our Monday started like every week. We had another morning OB appointment to check that you were still a happy baby inside my tummy. Only this week, I was over 41 weeks and the doctor suggested an induction. I was having very small contractions that I could rarely feel since the Friday before, but I guess you were just not ready, as I was still only one centimeter dilated. The doctor called the hospital to chat with the delivering doctor on call that day. The doctor at the hospital wanted us to come in to check on our progress herself, and possibly administer the labor induction.
Throughout the drive to the hospital, I had a very sick feeling in my stomach. I was excited about giving birth to you, yet I wasn’t thrilled about being given medication for any reason, including an induction, and prayed there would be any other option.
As soon as we finished signing all of the paperwork at the admissions desk, we were quickly swept away to the labor and delivery hall and before I knew what was happening, I was undressed, reclined in a hospital bed, and hooked up to a fetal monitor. The doctor arrived and after a quick introduction and a hefty list of possible labor scenarios, she checked again and I had only progressed half a centimeter since early that morning. I expressed my trust in her, but stated my fears of medications and request to have a natural birth, so she quickly suggested a Foley catheter to get things opened up and moving. Within minutes, it was inserted and so the small contractions that I could actually feel began.
I laid in the hospital room for a couple of hours alone. You see, we were only supposed to be going to a doctor’s appointment that morning, so our bags were not fully packed, much less with us, Charlotte had to be taken to Uncle Jason’s, and daddy need to change as he was in work clothes intending to return to work after our appointment. While he was away, I tried to sleep, but I think I was just too excited. You were still kicking around, still very active like you had been almost my entire pregnancy. Instead, I watched the snow fall, drank chicken broth and ate my hospital cherry jello, surveyed the room (we were given the biggest delivery room on the hall and it had a labor tub), and waited.
After daddy returned we sat and talked about you for what felt like hours. My contractions were getting stronger, but still not unbearable. I decided to get into the tub to relax and labor for a while. The warm water was so soothing and I dozed off comfortably several times. After a two-hour soak, I dressed and climbed back into the warm bed. The nurse came in to check on our progress and I was a full six, almost seven centimeters dilated. It was time to remove the Foley, and it couldn’t have come a moment too soon. It was starting to get uncomfortable and it was instant relief once it was removed. My contractions were continually getting stronger, and I began sitting on the edge of the bed and standing for relief while daddy gently rubbed my back.
For the next few hours I rocked on the birthing ball, walked around, and stood with my hands gripping the bed to help me through my contractions. I suddenly felt the need to get back into the tub, so daddy quickly filled it with warm water and I climbed back in.
After about an hour, the doctor returned and I was only a full seven centimeters dilated. She decided it was time to break my water bag. With the huge gush, it felt like instant relief, if only for a few minutes.
The next few hours passed by in a blur. I can’t recite many of the details, because I don’t remember much. It began to feel like an out of body experience for me. With every new contraction, I could feel them intensify and somehow I ended up with a pillow between my legs that I was squeezing until my knees felt numb. I was very blessed to have the nurse that I did through these final hours. She encouraged me to work through these hours, standing, squatting beside the bed, contracting on the toilet, and kneeling over the top of the bed. I remember suddenly feeling wide awake for a few minutes and glancing at the clock. It was just after midnight. I thanked your daddy for being such a great companion and helping me through this, then another contraction came and I was gone again, half in a daze, half in a dream.
At about 1:45 the nurse returned to the room to check our progress again. I was nine centimeters dilated, almost at ten. The room began to buzz then. People began to bring things in and turn on bright lights. The bed was taken apart and readied for the final stretch. I may not have, but I felt as though I had a huge smile on my face. This was it. After 15 hours, I was ready. After a few practice pushes, and about 10 minutes of the most intense work my body had ever experienced, you were here, at 2:10 am, laying on my chest. You instantly grabbed daddy’s hand with your tiny fingers and with tears in our eyes, we just smiled and laughed. Our perfect Opal Bloom.