I woke up around 3:30am with, what I thought was, gas pains. I flipped over in bed. That didn’t help. I flipped over again. Still no relief. I got up to use the bathroom. That didn’t help. Then, the pains started coming and going. That’s when it suddenly occurred to me, “Hey…maybe this is it.” It still amazes me that it began so anti-climactically, like labor pains were the last possibility I came to after ruling everything else out. When I realized the pains were contractions that were coming pretty regularly (about every 10 minutes), I woke Sam up and told him, “I think we need to go the hospital.” He isn’t the best about waking up in the middle of the night, and, so, mid-doze he suggested that I take a bath to ease the pain. That seemed like a good idea. I didn’t want to get to the hospital too early. I’d been watching a lot of TLC’s Baby Story and Discovery Health’s Birth Day. This was part of what I considered to be my “research” regarding child birth. I didn’t want to be one of those moms who showed up at the hospital dilated to 1cm, only to wait days before the baby actually came. I was determined not to get there too soon.
After the bath (which, admittedly, did help relieve some of the discomfort), I walked around the tiny living room, dining room, kitchen of our house, hoping to progress things. I didn’t turn the light on and the floor creaked. I was worried about waking my mom up who was resting upstairs. She stayed with us for the 2 weeks prior to delivery, anxiously awaiting her first grandbaby. She was an invaluable help to us during our move (yes, the move that transpired just one week before delivery), and in getting the nursery ready. Who am I kidding? She helped with a lot more than that! Knowing full well that the contractions were getting more intense and closer together (every 5 minutes), I fully woke Sam up. He got ready, and ran upstairs to tell my already-awake mother (who wakes up at the drop of a pin), that this was it! We were heading to the hospital.
It was 5:30am when we got to the Medical Center of Central Georgia. The drive to the hospital was an exciting one. Sam drove faster than he should have, including one questionable “race” at a lane-ending, but there was very little traffic on the road that early in the day. We got to the part of the road on Hardeman by the interstate where the left most lane is almost at a 45 degree angle, riddled with huge pits where inlets used to be on grade with the road. I was in the middle of a full-blown contraction at this point, and I just remember thinking “PLEASE get in the middle where it’s not so bumpy!”
I checked in at OB Assessment. Sam helped with the paperwork, while I attempted feebly to get a urine sample and change into a gown in the midst of contractions. By the time I got back out to the exam table, and the nurse checked me, I was at 5cm. It looked like I was in for a pretty quick labor. I was so worried that I wasn’t going to have time to get an epidural. (Again, I’d heard this a lot on those birth shows!) When they moved me to a room, the doctor on record was Dr. Pope (not my primary OB). I was going to be kind of sad if he delivered the baby, but at that point it wasn’t a huge concern. Dr. Durso materialized quickly and almost chastized me for not calling him! (Leave it to me to not want to inconvenience my obstetrician during the birth of my child! But, like I said, I wanted to be sure it was the real thing.) He calmed my fears about the epidural and informed me that the anesthesiologist would be in shortly. When he got there, the epidural process was quick and painless. Unfortunately, it only numbed the right side of my body. I could still feel everything on the left side. Leave it to me to be an oddball when it comes to something like that.
I labored for a few more hours, and Dr. Durso came back to break my water. I remember seeing the hook and thinking that it looked like the little plastic thing my mom had to pull the tray out of the toaster oven so we wouldn't get burned. Funny how thoughts like that occur at the most random moments. Anyway, what a sensation that was...like all of the sudden I'd lost control of my bladder and it was just wet everywhere. The bad news was that my water was not clear which meant little man had his first bowel movement in utero. From the get-go, I was having to deal with newborn poop. I was ready to push.
It was such a relief to be able to push through the contractions rather than sit through them. I didn't push for very long when the doctor brought out the vacuum. I wasn't too excited about it, but he seemed to think I needed help. As a twenty-year old first-time mom, I just let him go for it. At 10:55am, my healthy-as-an-ox big man was born at a strapping 8 pounds 13.7 ounces and 21 inches long. The Stork Squad examined him for any ill effects from the meconium he passed before birth and he checked out perfectly. He was an angry little, red thing. (As years passed by, I would learn that some things never change.)
Sam went out to announce the news to my mom and mother-in-law who were waiting just outside the door. (Maybe I'm weird, but the only person in my delivery room is my husband.)
My mom cried. (And I'm sure she'd also be thrilled I posted this on the internet for everyone to see.)
While the doctor stitched me up, they cleaned Benjamin up in the nursery. Sam stayed with him. It felt like an eternity before I got to properly meet the little guy. It was probably twenty or thirty minutes later that I held him for the first time and he nursed. It was at that moment that the enormity of the task before me sank in. This baby was mine. He was going home with me. I was going to be responsible for him day in and day out. We'd been hanging out for nine months, sure, but it was instantaneously different.>
And even though I was just a twenty-year-old girl with a brand new baby on my lap, I matured about two decades in that moment. I've always been a bit of an old soul, but when I became a mom, there was no question about it. I had no choice. And it was the best thing that ever happened to me.
And so began our life as our little family of three -