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Caleb’s birth story

Since my only goal for last month was to have a baby, I thought I’d share a little about how it was accomplished:

My water broke at 5:30 on Sunday morning, May 16. I wasn’t sure it was my water at first, because it wasn’t a huge gush or anything. But thinking that it could have been my water, I couldn’t go back to sleep. I got up and started fixing my hair for church in case we ended up going. Jason woke up a few minutes later, and came into the bathroom with a sleepy look on his face. He looked at me like I had gone off the deep end and asked “What are you doing?” I told him I couldn’t sleep, and he said, “Okay. I just wanted to make sure we weren’t having a baby or something.”

My response? “We might be; I’m not sure yet.” We spent the next hour piddling around the house, kind of getting ready to go to the hospital. I emptied the dishwasher and folded a load of laundry while Jason loaded up the car. At about 10 til six, we left for the hospital, church clothes in tow in case it was a false alarm. (At this point, though, we were pretty sure it was the real deal).

When I got to the hospital, they put me in a triage room, and checked me to find that I was already 5-6 cm dilated. We were definitely staying! For being that far along, I wasn’t really terribly uncomfortable. The nurse asked several questions and went to get a room ready for us.

While she was gone, things got bad. I started having very close-together contractions that were much more painful than anything I’d experienced yet. I got very hot, and ended up getting sick. My poor husband tried to help, but watching me almost made him sick, too. The next hour was a blur. While the nurses worked to move me to the other room and prep me for an epidural, I couldn’t focus on much but squeezing Jason’s hand every time I had a contraction, which was pretty much non-stop. Looking back, I think that must have been what they refer to as “transition labor.”

It didn’t take the anesthesiologist as long to get to me as I had expected. My wonderful nurses told me later that they could tell I was progressing quickly and went without checking me intentionally so they wouldn’t have to deny me the epidural if I was too close to delivery. I cannot thank them enough for that, because once the medicine was flowing into the catheter in my back, everything got better. Jason says I was acting a little loopy; I maintain that I just was deliriously happy to not be in pain anymore.

When I was completely numb, they checked me again, and I was already 10 cm dilated. It was about 9:30. Talk about fast! I wasn’t feeling the need to push (actually, I wasn’t feeling much of anything, thank goodness), so they let me rest for awhile. The nurse came back in around 10:15 or 10:30, and I pushed with her help for about a half hour. They brought the doctor in at 11:00, and Caleb was born 15 minutes later.

Except for that one miserable hour, the whole thing was a pretty positive experience. I certainly wouldn’t want to do it every weekend or anything, but I’m glad my labor happened the way it did. I was very nervous about getting the epidural – I’m not super crazy about needles. But it ended up being the most wonderful thing I could have done. When I was in the intense pain of transition labor, I was unaware of what was going on around me. Having the anesthesia allowed me to be fully mentally present when my son was born, and I wouldn’t trade that for anything.

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