My Labor Story
I have to admit, I am absolutely and unapologetically one of those people that is completely and totally obsessed with Kate Middleton and her royal baby. I can’t tell you how many times I have wished and prayed that I could just give her a call and spill all of my maternal knowledge on her. I also must admit, since I am making confessions, that I have always felt a strong connection to Prince William- we were born the same year you know!
So naturally, with the news today that Kate has gone into labor and all of the news channels are spouting off all of the stats and factors that contribute to how long and what kind of labor she will have, it has made me think a lot about my labor with Noah.
Let me first say that, before going into labor, I was very private and modest when it came to my body, my personal business, and telling my story. I have always guarded my experiences as my own. Somewhere along the way, I decided that if I told someone my business, it no longer belonged to me. I even told my mother and mother-in-law that the main rule for being allowed into the delivery room was that “what happens in the delivery room, stays in the delivery room!” No exceptions!
But something changes. It is almost like a switch flipped in my brain the minute those contractions started. I didn’t realize it at the time (I was a little preoccupied with trying to push a baby out of my body) but after he was born, all I wanted to do was tell my story- to anyone! I wanted to share my labor story, I wanted to hear everyone else’s, I wanted people to ask me all about my experiences, and I wanted to ask other women really personal and private questions. My filter was gone.
So, whether you wanted to know my labor story or not, here you go…
Noah’s original due date was July 28th. This date came and went. For two weeks I fielded questions that ranged from, “what is wrong with you? Why haven’t you had that baby yet?” and, even worse, “Why don’t you just have them put you into labor? I didn’t think doctor’s let you go this long.”
The day before Noah was born, I had an appointment with my midwife and she told me I was 50% effaced but still just 1 centimeter dilated. She did some crazy midwife trick to some membrane and said that she really thought that would do the trick. She said, “Give it 24 hours. You’ll go into labor. Just you wait!” Best news I had heard in months.
That night, about 3am, I woke up with a sharp pain in my abdomen. I sat there, waited another minute or 2 and there was another one. I tip-toed down the hall to our computer where I had saved a website that tracks your contractions and I started timing the pains. I didn’t want to wake Matt up until I was sure. I was shocked and a little freaked out when the time between the past 5 contractions was only 2 minutes. Seriously!?! Two minutes!
This is when the vomiting started. Again, I would like to say that none of the baby books tell you that you may vomit uncontrollably throughout your labor. Just know- it’s possible and it sucks!
I called my midwife. She told me to take a shower, to calm down, and head on to the hospital. She also told me that vomiting is normal. One of the best things about her is that she always tried to educate me along the way. She rattled off something about hormones and how they make your body go crazy. I didn’t hear everything she said (obviously) but I appreciated the gesture.
I get to the hospital and they make me fill out all of this paperwork. I assumed that pre-registering took care of this process but, no. They make you sign all of your rights away between contractions. Then they take you into a room where they weigh you and take your blood pressure. They then take you into another room where they strap you up to all of these monitors to, and I quote, “make sure that you are actually in labor.” Listen lady! I am 2 weeks past my due date, I am having obvious very painful contractions every 90 seconds now, and I am vomiting about every 5 minutes. I am in “actual labor.”
They finally admit me to my room. It is close to 7am now. After I explained to 3 different nurses that my birth plan was to have a natural delivery and that I didn’t need to speak with the anesthesiologist, my midwife, Tanya, comes in and immediately gives me some anti-nausea medicine and the vomiting stops. Thank goodness!! She checks my cervix and I am dilated 7 centimeters. Matt calls my mom and tells her to hurry quick because labor is going fast. Turns out, she and my mother-in-law had been casually driving the 3 hour trip because they figured labor would “take a while.” Man, were they wrong.
Tanya asked if it was okay to break my water because, with past-due babies, the chances of meconium in the water was high. Tanya was always so amazing at including me in the decisions about my labor and delivery. So glad I had her. I highly recommend midwives. She broke my water and it was green and gross. She inserted an IV in my uterus and began flushing it out with saline.
My mother and mother-in-law got there around 8:30am , right as I was ready to start pushing. Here comes my mom, strolling in with a giant bag of things she was planning to do while waiting for the baby to come. Turns out, she wouldn’t be doing any knitting today!
I started to push and I could feel him coming quick. Tanya asked me to turn on my side because the baby’s vitals weren’t that great. All of a sudden, there were about 13 nurses and doctors in the delivery room. They brought in the giant NICU cart and the nurse shoved an oxygen mask on my face.
Turns out, every time I pushed, Noah’s heart rate dropped dramatically. His umbilical cord had gotten wrapped around his neck twice and was suffocating him when I would push and apply pressure. Tanya, thankfully, did not tell me this part until after he was safely in my arms.
This man appeared in my face and said, “Hi. My name is Dr. so-and-so and I will be in charge of your C-section.” I replied, in the nicest way possible, “Like hell you are!” He turned around and said to one of the nurses, “Why hasn’t this woman received an epidural? This is going to make everything more difficult.”
If I had not been trying to push a human being out of my vagina, I would have stood up and punched this guy in the face. Tanya, sensing my frustration said, “Callie, if you can push this baby out on the next contraction, there will be no C-section.” Well, all I needed was a challenge. I took a deep breath, pushed with all of my might, and Noah’s head appeared. I took one more deep breath, pushed even harder, and Noah shot out like a canon. I think it even took Tanya by surprise because she actually had to catch him like a football. And, to make matters even a little messier, all that saline that had been flushing out my uterus came gushing out too. It felt like a waterfall! And I am pretty sure it probably looked like one too– A giant vagina waterfall. :)
Because of all of the saline, Noah came out all pink and shiny. There was none of that goo on him that always kind of grossed me out. He looked around, eyes wide open (he was, after all, 2 weeks old already), and after a few seconds, started screaming. Tanya put him in my arms and I was excited and scared and so happy. I looked at Matt and said, “And, this is our family.”
So today, or whenever Kate Middleton gives birth to what will obviously be a well-loved and very attractive baby, I wish her the strength to deliver the way she hopes to, I wish her the courage to parent the way she and William choose to, and I want her to know that she can give me a call whenever she wants. I am happy to tell her my story.