March 14, 2013 by CassieCravings
I was between 30-31 weeks when I went into labor.
I denied it for a few hours. I chanted the definition of Braxton-Hicks like it was a new mantra. But at dinner that night, I couldn’t eat. The contractions were regular; there was no denying it. With instructions to put my feet up, drink water and to watch the clock, I settled into our bright red couch in our little town home.
We were in the process of moving from our tiny house to a slightly larger duplex to make room for our baby. I use the term “we” loosely. I sat and bossed while my family carted our life from one home to the next.
But then it happened. I was taking in our new little place. I was dreaming of bringing our baby boy here and making this our family home. I tried to step over a drawer that was in need of its dresser. And I fell.
Immediately I knew something was wrong. The baby quit moving. My husband tried to comfort me. But this was my first encounter with mom-intuition. I KNEW something was wrong with my baby. And I knew I needed help.
Phone calls were made. The family chatted in hushed tones and darted worried looks masked by plastered smiles. I closed my eyes and prayed. I tried not to cry.
At the hospital, it was confirmed that I was in pre-term labor. Monitoring, IV’s, sonograms and medications were all administered at rapid speeds. A lot of “If we can stop the labor…” was tumbling out of nurses mouths.
One nurse in particular stood out because of how tenderly she held my hand. She smiled with confidence. She didn’t say “if”. She simply said, “We’re going to do everything in our power.”
The hospital did everything in their power, and we prayed without ceasing for God’s intervention. At 31 weeks, I was sent home still pregnant. I was armed with prescriptions, instructions and a goal to stay pregnant 6 more weeks.
6 more weeks. It seemed forever away. It seemed an impossible goal. But I was determined. I knew that I couldn’t keep labor from happening, but I could try with all of my might and I could pray for all of God’s might.
Those 6 weeks…were long. My family kept me sane. Living room lunch dates with my dad, Game Show Network marathons with my mom, ice cream drop-ins from my brothers became my new normal. Family members and friends dropped in with reading material, DVDs, dinner and just to chat. My husband spoiled me to bits.
While the days dragged, those 6 weeks came and went. I met that 37 week mark. The medications weren’t needed anymore. I was nervous taking my last pill. Even on the medications, my contractions regularly stayed between 2-5 minutes apart for the course of bed-rest.
Within a couple of hours of that last pill, the contractions intensified. My back ached like it never has before. Later that night, I even made a trip to the hospital. A nurse fussed at me for not waiting for the contractions to be 2 minutes apart of less. I not so graciously retorted that they had been 2 minutes apart for 6 weeks. It wasn’t my most zen moment. Back home I slumped declaring something like, “I’m just going to have it at home.” My husband’s eyes were as big as saucers. He asked if I was kidding. I didn’t respond. He asked if I needed a midwife or something for that. I ignored him. My poor husband.
Back to laboring I went. For the next 24 hours I rocked, swayed, and hurt. I quit timing the contractions. I just let my body do it’s thing. While I was nervous about getting to the hospital too late, I let it go.
By the next morning, I felt like I could even get out. The contractions had slowed in their intensity but not in frequency.
I announced that we would go to my school (where I had been absent because of bed-rest) and then go to lunch. My wonderful husband didn’t ask questions. He loaded me into the car, and we went to school.
I struggled up the steps. I tried to catch my breath as I opened the front door to the office. Only a couple of steps were taken before I stopped dead in my tracks. A friend rushed up to hug me, but I put my hand up. Sheepishly I looked down and back at her, “Claudia. I think my water broke.”
She screamed in delight and hurried the principal out into the lobby. They dug out a PE uniform to change into, and I waddled down to the bathroom. On the phone, I heard an announcement, “If you want to see Casi, hurry up! Her water just broke.” I couldn’t help but giggle.
A friend rushed to the car to alert my husband. He thought she was joking and asked several times if she was serious.
But there I was in a boys’ PE outfit leaning on a desk to get through a contraction. Giggles, congratulations and prayers surrounded me when I quickly stood upright, “I need my bag!”
The husband and I rushed home and grabbed my bag. I tried to remember what else I had meant to pack but gave up. My brain shut down during contractions. I waved off everything else I needed and pouted that I didn’t get to do the cute hairstyle I had planned or wear the outfit I had picked out. But then another contraction hit, and I didn’t care.
On the way, my husband turned the wrong way to the hospital. I slapped at him, trying to stutter, breathe and contract. He looked bewildered, “We’re not going to the doctor?” I pointed the opposite direction and sputtered, “She’s. Coming. To. Us!”
Within minutes, I was in my hospital room filling out a ridiculous number of papers. My room began to fill with family and friends. But I became unaware of anything besides a spot on a ceiling tile.
I gripped the rails of the bed. My husband fed me ice chips. My mother rubbed my arm. My father took bets on when I would have the baby.
Less than 4 hours after I checked in, it was time to push. I leaned into my mother and said, “But I don’t know if I want the epidural yet.” She laughed. I was serious.
The thought of meeting my son strengthened my body. I pushed. And I pushed. And I pushed. My mom, mother-in-law, best friend and husband coached and coaxed me.
After an hour, I asked my mother-in-law if I was doing a bad job. I was getting discouraged and I was getting tired. She squeezed my hand, “You can do this.” I regained myself and continued.
Another half-hour passed and finally, finally my boy was here.
I have never seen that look in my husband’s eyes. There was so much pride, so much joy, so much love. He whispered so tenderly, “You did it. He’s here!”
I laid back. My body was exhausted. I closed my eyes to just listen to the hurry of the room. I heard those waiting outside of the door cheer. I heard my mother cry. I heard my best friend congratulate my husband. And then I heard my baby. His cry was loud and strong. I smiled. His voice was the energy I needed. I tried to get a glance of him across the room.
The medical staff scurried about. They said that they would have to take him to the nursery. His lungs didn’t sound strong. I didn’t remember much of what they said. I reached for him, and they laid him in my arms.
There he was. My son. I counted his fingers and toes. I stared into his eyes. I marveled at his mop of black hair on his tiny head. He was so small, smaller than I imagined.
They whisked him off to the nursery but brought him back within a few minutes. My boy was just fine. He was 3 weeks early. He had tried to enter this world 9 weeks to early. But he was just fine.
When they brought him back, my best friend helped me to nurse him for the first time. Sarah and I have known each other since high school. We have experienced life’s greatest moments with one another. But this tender moment where she coached me to nurse my baby is one of my favorites. Neither he or I knew what we were doing. I fumbled about and so did he. Sarah smiled in her sweet way, “He’ll get it.”
I was sure that he would and sure that I would as well. After giving birth to him, I was sure that he and I could conquer the world. I tenderly kissed his head and breathed a prayer of thanks.
Though I was tired, though I was unsure of new role and nervous, there was an indescribable hope that filled that room. I sighed peacefully: my son was in my arms and everything was right in the world.