Our sweet girl’s due date was May 11th, and we started the day at a doctor’s appointment. We scheduled an induction for one week later, the 18th, if needed, but I was already 2-3 centimeters dilated and hoped we wouldn’t.
I stopped by the grocery store on the way home and debated between grabbing a few things or filling the cart. Those last couple of weeks before the baby comes are such a strange gray area. Every decision comes with questions. Should we stock up? Or is it best to wait? When does this expire? When will I have energy to cook again? What will I even want to eat after labor?
I ended up getting a full cart. The cashier was friendly and I reveled in answering, “Today!” with a smile when he asked about my due date.
The rest of the day was pretty normal. Cleaning a bit, some schoolwork, and just resting up. I did take a nap later in the evening which made it hard to go to sleep that night.
Around 11:00 I got out of bed after tossing and turning for a while and ate a bowl of cereal. I did not know at the time that it would be basically the last thing I ate until 6:00 the following evening.
Then, at about 1:00 in the morning, I started to have contractions. They were uncomfortable enough that I knew they were the real thing, but they weren’t too painful. I woke Dellan up, told him what was happening, and said that I was going to go in the guest bedroom so I could move around without bothering him.
I started timing the contractions once I was in the other room. They were 3-4 minutes apart for about 20 minutes. Like I said, they weren’t super painful, but I was thinking about how I had already been almost 3 cm at the doctor’s that morning. I also tested positive for strep B and was going to need IV antibiotics at the hospital.
Because of both of these factors, I didn’t want to waste any time, so I called my doctor. He advised that if they continued to go at that rate for the next half hour or so we should come in.
Dellan had heard me talking on the phone and came into the other room to see what was going on. I told him my contractions were 3-4 minutes apart and he looked at me wide-eyed.
“This is really happening!”
He got in the shower and then started to get Dottie (our bulldog) ready to spend a few days with my sister. I called and left her a voicemail, then I showered and got ready, too. At this point, I started to have to hold onto the wall or bend over the sink when the contractions came. Dottie was running around frantic because she didn’t understand why we were all awake at 2:30 in the morning.
We kissed her goodbye, hopped in the car, called our doctor to let him know we were leaving, and headed out to have a baby.
We arrived at the hospital at about 3:30 in the morning. Right as we pulled into the parking lot, I noticed that I was starting to feel the contractions in my back as well and it was making them a little more painful.
The doctor met us there shortly after. He checked me and I was at 4 cm. He also said the baby’s head was much lower than it had been the previous morning.
“You’re in labor!”
It was very surreal.
My IV was placed, they took us to our room, we got settled in, the fetal heart monitor was strapped around my stomach, and I started my first dose of IV antibiotics.
Because of the back pain happening with my contractions, it hurt to be in a reclined position. Whenever I would sit straight up, though, the monitor on my belly would slide out of place and it looked like the baby was in distress.
I asked if I could get up and walk around so that I could stay more upright. Our nurse offered to place a wireless heart monitor on my belly which was much better. She also brought a yoga ball for me to bounce on for a while.
I spent the next few hours sitting on the ball, walking around a bit, and watching This Is Us. Dellan applied heat to my back when the contractions started to intensify. I was having them probably every 2-3 minutes and sometimes didn’t really have a break in between. I was feeling them primarily in my back at this point which was really uncomfortable.
At 6:00 one of the nurses checked me again and I was at 6-7 cm. This was great news to me as it seemed like things were progressing well. They did say, however, that my contraction pattern was all over the place. The nurse asked if my pain was primarily in my back, and I told her it was. She said the baby was likely turned a little bit and that it was causing the back pain.
She explained that the doctor would probably want to break my water and start pitocin in a couple of hours to help my contractions strengthen and even out. She also mentioned that, because of the baby’s position, it might take me longer to push. They wanted to be sure I had good, effective contractions for pushing to help her be delivered smoothly.
In the meantime, though, I could keep laboring like I had been. My doctor probably wouldn’t get to the hospital until about lunchtime unless things sped up, so I could see how it goes.
I kept passing the time the same way—sitting up as much as I could with Dellan applying pressure to my back. I also got another round of IV antibiotics. At around 11:30, the nurse asked if I wanted to spend some time in the tub. The baby had been doing great on the monitor, so she was comfortable removing the electrodes from my stomach and letting me soak for a while.
I agreed, and when I stood up to get out of bed, the nurse looked me up and down.
“I haven’t really seen you stand up before now. Looking at your belly, it looks like you’re having a big baby!”
This was the first I had heard this information.
Once in the tub, my contractions slowed down quite a bit. The jets felt great on my back, and I was able to doze off for a while. I hadn’t slept since my late afternoon nap the previous day, so I welcomed the rest.
At 12:30 or so, the nurse came into the bathroom to give me another round of antibiotics, and she said that my doctor would be there soon. She told me again that since my water hadn’t broken, he would probably want to break it and start pitocin to regulate my contractions.
At this point, she was kind but very frank with me. She told me that starting those two things would likely increase my pain quite a bit. Her exact words were something like, “This is when you’ll start to feel like you’re dying. I don’t want to sugarcoat anything.”
That did not make me want to get out of the tub.
I sat in there a little longer enjoying the relief. Dellan, ever in tune with me, could sense that I was stalling. Eventually he said, “Babe… I know you’re scared. At some point, though, this baby has to come out.”
I knew he was right, and he helped me out of the tub. By the time I was sitting back in bed, my doctor arrived. I was happy to see him because he is a trusted face.
He told me the same things the nurses had been saying, and broke my water and started pitocin at about 1:15. He also checked me and said that I was at 9 cm.
My nurse said that they would watch to see what my contractions did as a result, then left the room.
They were right. This is when things really started to get intense. My contractions had been close together all day, but now there was never relief in between. My back especially hurt the entire time.
I had the other type of monitor strapped around my stomach again, and it would start beeping if I tried to sit up at all. I had to be flat on my back to hear the baby’s heartbeat, and that was the most painful position to be in.
It was at this point that I could tell I was starting to slip mentally. We were playing worship music, Dellan was telling me what a good job I was doing, but I just kept shaking my head back and forth and groaning.
Dellan said I started to cry out in the direction of the doorway as if I wanted the nurses to hear how much pain I was in. Full disclosure, he also heard me utter the singular curse word I said all day. That’s how he knew I was not doing great.
My mind was swirling with the pain alongside wondering when my contractions would even out and how long it would take after that happened to push. I worried that it would be a long stretch of feeling miserable like this before we met the baby.
My nurse returned and asked if there was anything she could do for me.
I said something like, “Well, it’s too late anyway, isn’t it?”
“What do you mean?”
“I can’t get an epidural at this point, right? It’s too late.”
Her eyebrows shot up, “We can get you an epidural!”
The anesthesiologist was in the room within minutes, and I got an epidural at about 2:30. It worked very well, and I barely felt anything from that point on.
My nurse encouraged me to take a nap while the contractions continued to stabilize, and I passed out for about an hour and a half. It was glorious after almost 12 hours of labor and not sleeping at all the previous night.
At 4:00, they said my contractions looked good, baby looked good, and I could either start pushing or keep napping.
I said, “I’m actually really hungry, so I would like to start pushing.”
This was my favorite part of the whole experience. I loved getting to just enjoy the process of bringing our daughter into the world. My doctor had been with us through the entire infertility and pregnancy journey, and he encouraged me the entire time I pushed.
When they said, “She’s almost here!” I started to tear up and then told myself I couldn’t cry yet because I needed to finish getting her here.
She came out fast on the final push, and my doctor said, “Whoa, whoa, whoa!” as he caught her.
They placed her on my chest, I saw her dark hair first, and I was in love.
Elora Ann was born at 4:57pm on May 12th. My grandpa’s birthday and the day after her due date.
We placed bets on what her weight would be, and the nurse who thought I was having a big baby was closest. Elora was 8 lbs 5 oz and 20 1/4 inches long.
Perfect. Everyone kept saying how perfect she was. And she still is.
It’s basically been a long celebration since that day. We’re so thankful for her and the story God wrote for our family.