The hardest part of labor to me is not knowing how long it’s going to last. It’s like running a race, but you don’t know how many miles. You’re not sure where the finish line is. If someone could tell you, just a few more, you could totally do it. You can always do one more. But in labor, it feels so uncertain.
Arriving at the hospital was surreal. I remember Harrison dropping me off at the doors so he could go park, riding the elevator to the top, walking up to the desk and saying “hi, I’m in labor.” I felt like a little kid who had no business having a baby. They got me into a triage room and at this point, my water hadn’t broken yet, but while I was sitting in the bed, my water finally broke (while I was sucking on my grape popsicle) and at 4cm they checked me into a room.
The nurse that took care of me while I was in labor was amazing. Her name was Ragan. After she initially asked me about how I would like to deliver, it was never questioned again and I felt so supported in my decision to labor naturally - which was a huge relief for me. Leading up to my delivery, I definitely had a fear of being pressured in another direction. But all of the staff at Physicians Regional Medical Center, all of the nurses, and my doctor, Dr. Brabson were incredible in that regard and I am SO thankful! I’m so sad the hospital and the Women’s Pavilion closed this past December, but I will always have sweet memories of that place! Thankfully, the Women’s Health Specialists practice will continue on - another delivery room is currently being built and is supposed to be finished by this coming summer.
Contractions & Labor
In preparation for giving birth naturally, I had read a lot of books and articles on helpful things to do. Ways to relax, helpful positions to be in, etc. Y’all, I envisioned myself lunging down the hall & bouncing on an exercise ball and listening to bad rap pop music. I (I know, the music thing is weird.) I thought, I might get in the bath tub or get up and move around the room. But NOTHING happened like I thought it would in that regard.
The way I labored almost the entire time was like this: criss cross apple sauce on the bed (doesn’t seem like an instinctively helpful position), my face in my hands with a cool wash cloth, and not really saying a word. Harrison and his mom, Tracy, rubbed my lower back almost the entire time and they are literal angels to me because of it. Tracy was a labor and delivery nurse and she has been such a special person in my life so it was so meaningful to have her there. I didn’t know if I would want anyone else in the room besides Harrison, but she was a strong & steady presence. Harrison has a video of me in between contractions, falling asleep. I know that sounds crazy - but if you’ve known me for very long, you know it’s actually quite normal. Snoozy was a nickname I had growing up because I could fall asleep any & every where. (Just a product of being 1 of 7 children and living life on the go-go-go.) My contractions felt so intense and so close together and It think it was just my body’s way of grabbing a few seconds of rest in between. I’m weird. I know.
I know I joked about Harrison being “unaware” at the beginning when my labor started, but I have to tell y’all. He was THE BEST support ever. He was in it with me the whole time. Encouraging me. Rubbing my back. And just being right there beside me. I love him so much.
There were a few times that they offered to check my dilation and I declined because I thought, if I haven’t progressed very much, that would just kill me mentally. I wanted to go as long as I possibly could before getting checked. It’s kind of like a hard work out. You can always do one more rep. You can always hold a little bit longer. But it’s a mental game. And I remember someone telling me - just when you think you CANNOT make it any longer, you’re usually almost there.
Throughout my labor, I barely said anything. But I think the few things I did say, were, “this is hard.” “I don’t want to do this.” “I don’t want to do this again.” (HA.) And Harrison would just nod and keep encouraging me. I vaguely remember signing some paper work at one point. And any time my nurse asked me a question, I couldn’t focus on what she was saying to save my life. I would have her repeat it over and over and I still felt like I couldn’t understand the question. At one point, trying to be supportive, she asked me if I’d like any music on. Forget the pump up music I envisioned having - when she asked me about music I literally could not think of one song title or artist. My mind was on one thing and it wasn’t music. (Sidenote: I think most people want worship music or something soothing on, but that was never what I really pictured for some reason, not that I listened to either haha.)