My nine months of pregnancy was normal.
I handled everything like a trooper, including a scare my doctor had given me at 35-36 weeks. At that specific appointment, I was told my son was turned "oblique;" a term which means sideways, literally laying from one hip to another. I was used to them saying, "Baby is head down, and engaged, meaning he was due to make his appearance soon." As usual, however, my child had to be stubborn. "The baby is turned oblique, and we're barely reading a heartbeat." My heart was stammering in a million directions, my mind was coursing through every possible outcome. I was prepared to be told to drive next door to the hospital to be checked into Labor and Delivery. My fiancé and I anxiously waited for the head OBGYN to come in and give us the news. To our surprise, however, the news was uplifting. Christopher (our son) was, again, head down and engaged. His heart rate was reading normal and a healthy speed.
Finally, at 40 weeks, I was ready for the doctor to tell me to head over to the hospital to be induced. After nine months of pure torture playing the waiting game, I was ready to meet my precious little bundle of joy. After two NSTs (Non-Stress Tests) due to the hospital's strict protocol, at 40 weeks and six days, I was sent home to wait on a phone call that evening. By eight PM I was situated in a hospital room with an IV of fluids already in my arm. After that night, it was a long 48 hour wait for my son to arrive.
I remember every detail following that day; the lack of sleep I received unless I was given pain medication, the lack of appetite and food in general. The most depicting memory, though, was the rude awakening of my water breaking two days later after being admitted into the hospital. My sister-in-law and my fiancé were both playing lookout for any sign of Christopher, staying up all hours on their phones just keeping an eye on me. In between my sleep and being half awake, I overheard the toy of them whispering about something my father-in-law had done the night I had been admitted. He had put his hand on my belly and told his grandson, "Christopher, get out." My fiancé mimicked this gesture and all of a sudden I heard two thumps coming from the heart monitor. I felt my stomach go down and bounce back up on the side, and instantly felt my water breaking. After that, it was a short waiting game. Everyone jumped up, thinking the show was on the road and that we were hours from having us a baby. To my surprise, however, I would be in labor until the late hours into the night. It was only 4:46 in the morning; day three of active labor.
Growing later into the day was torture. The contractions were excruciating, and I remember feeling them only in my back. I was constantly having my sister-in-law, fiancé, and mother-in-law rubbing me through them. Everyone taking turns and alternating. I kept getting restless and uncomfortable. All I wanted to do was sleep, but rest wasn't my best friend. My sister-in-law encouraged me to bounce through the contractions on a yoga ball, walk the hallways, and do squats. Anything to make time pass and to help me dilate further. However, Christopher had his own ideas. He was showing us just how stubborn he could be. He wasn't leaving his warm incubator until we forced him out.
Everyone calls the epidural torture because it seems like an electric rod going into your back. They also make it sound as if it's painful. Imagine having top chart contractions back to back, and put that up against an electric rod in your spine for a couple of minutes. The epidural was a breeze, and being honest, it probably saved my life in the end. I remember being spooked by the taps into my spine, and holding my fiancé's hand waiting for the pain. That pain, however, never came. I felt nothing except the pressure from the contractions, which I was told I had to sit very still for. This was the biggest challenge. Each top chart contraction seemed as if there was no break in between the last one.
After the epidural was in, rest was the only thing I could think about. I could hardly feel the pressure of the contractions, and the naps that followed into that afternoon were the best ones I had seen in the past two days of labor. My nurses were in my room every hour on the hour, disturbing my newly found slumber to check the baby's heart rate, my own heart rate, on top of my blood pressure. As evening grew near, the doctors became alarmed that I wasn't dilating to their liking. They finally threatened me with the one thing that was against my birth plans (Minus the epidural, originally), an emergency c-section. By this time, Christopher had been without water for a good 12 hours. Babies are limited as to how long they can survive in the womb after the water breaks. They usually try to have them delivered before the 18 hour mark. I was stuck at six centimeters for four hours, with no sign of dilating any further. "If she doesn't reach ten centimeters by 9:00, prepare her for a c-section." By then I was alarmed and begging my mother-in-law and fiancé to do whatever they could to make sure I didn't have to go under the knife. It was against all of my wishes. Everything I had prepared for was slowly being snatched away from me.
My head nurse that night, Dorothy, was my saving grace. She introduced me to this ball shaped like a peanut that I laid in between my legs. I would rotate myself every 15 minutes to get Christopher to position himself in a more promising way; a way that would encourage contractions. Also encouraging me to dilate. I couldn't feel the contractions, but I could feel the pressure growing more and more intense. I felt as if the epidural was wearing off. I was checked the next hour (8:00) for dilation after mentally preparing myself that there was a high possibility I wouldn't be pushing this baby out on my own. A part of me was excited. I wouldn't have to worry about being ripped and having to have stitches. I wouldn't have to feel the immense pain everyone talked about when you're pushing something the size of a watermelon out of something that's the size of a lemon. That's when it all became a reality. "You're nine centimeters, Lisa. You're fixing to get ready to start pushing." I was filled with excitement, but at the same time, there was a hint of terror. I had mentally prepared myself for nothing, and now I hardly knew what to expect.
There was barely enough time to gather my thoughts before I had finally reached ten centimeters. I was placed on oxygen to help Christopher. He was becoming overwhelmed by the amount of contractions. I could tell he was trying to be stubborn to keep himself in his warm little home just a bit longer. I was ready to start pushing, and that was the longest hour of my life. I felt as if with each push I was getting nowhere. The pain was growing more and more unbearable, even with the epidural still in my system. I kept asking everyone around me, "Is the head out yet?" Each time, all I heard was "Keep pushing," "Almost," and "You can do it. Bear down." I remember the very last scream, and the tears that came along with it. I remember screaming, "I'm ready to meet my baby." I gave it my all and gave one final push.
He was here.
The first cry sent chills up and down my spine as my beautiful baby boy was laid on my chest. I remember kissing his forehead and just thanking God for the wonderful gift he had blessed me with. After nine months of carrying him, three days of torturous labor, and over an hour of pushing, my hard work had finally paid off. Mine and my fiancé's lives were completely changed forever.