A birth story

11 months ago I gave birth to a beautiful, blue-eyed baby boy.
I had no idea how drastically, and how much for the better, he would change my life.

Baby C was born February 21st, weighing 9 lbs, 4 oz.
My early labor started on a Friday around 5 am. There wasn't any regularity to my contractions, but they happened enough to keep me tossing and turning the rest of the morning. By the time I got out of bed, they had stopped but I made sure to pay close attention to any more I had during the day and how far apart they were.

I meant to take a nap that day, but my parents were visiting and I wasn't able to. I also didn't go to bed on time, so when my contractions started up again around 1 am, I was already tired. After more tossing and turning and failing to get comfortable, I resigning to pacing. I walked laps around the room for about an hour, timing the contractions. After a while, when I was sure they were lasting a minute, five minutes apart, I decided I was in active labor. I woke Hubby up and filled him in. I sat on the floor, still counting, as he called the hospital to ask what they thought we should do. They told us that it indeed sounded like active labor and for us to come on in.
Once we got the go ahead, we grabbed our pillows and bags. Bags I had packed nearly 4 months earlier.
Considering how early it was, we only called Hubby's dad to share the news and then we were on our way. Thankfully, it wasn't snowing although it was cold as heck. We had already installed the car seat, not wanting to forget it during the rush to the hospital.
The drive was uneventful, but felt very long. I was nervous about the unknown. I was far from being uneducated about child birth; I had read up on everything I could get my hands on about pregnancy and birth. I just didn't want to get to the hospital and be surprised. I knew the "usuals" to expect...I knew to expect at least 15 hours of labor with my first birth. I knew to expect an IV, a catheter, and multiple people asking me if I wanted an epidural.
"No I don't want one."
"Yes, I'm sure"
I knew the pain would challenge my resolve and I knew what a c-section involved, if one was necessary.
I did not expect it to be so slow.

The IV I could have gone without.
Whenever I talk about that day, I always say that getting the IV put in was the worst pain. It felt like a knife was stabbing and scraping the bone in my arm. I have very small veins on the top of my arms and the nurses had a hard time trying to find one.
After 4 tries, and 2 nurses, it was finally in.
That doesn't mean it stop hurting.
The pain made me vomit. Labor was a breeze comparatively.
I got mad because Hubby didn't believe me when I told him it wasn't because I was scared of the needle. It was the pain of the needle digging around in my arm. The thought makes me shudder.

The contractions were not that bad. It took a long time before they were really painful, but it helped when I concentrated on even breaths. I do have to say, I'm glad I took that birthing class. The breathing techniques really do help. I didn't do them the way I was taught, but the idea is the same.
I, again, refused any meds. I could handle the pain and how uncomfortable I was. The back labor was rough simply because there is no position known to man that makes you feel better. Those big medicine balls helped a little though. Since sitting on one didn't put extra pressure on my back, it helped.

After around 15 hours of labor, I was really struggling to stay awake. I was falling asleep between contractions and wasn't really aware of anything else going on. I remember people telling me there was no shame in getting pain meds so that I could sleep. I flat out refused an epidural but after some persuading, I accepted Nubain. It was an IV med that numbed the pain long enough for me to get an hour or two of sleep. It was wonderful to be able to rest for awhile and it helped me gain back some energy I desperately needed.

The Pitocin they had started me on when I got to the hospital wasn't helping. (It is something I plan on declining this go around.) I was hardly progressing at all so they decided to break my water. I remember it felt very weird and I kept saying "gross!".
I got out of bed again to sit on the medicine ball and wait.

Looking back, I realize I had too many people in the room waiting with me. I appreciated the concern but I didn't have the privacy I would have preferred.
Labor was long. Very. very. very long. I was expecting 15-ish hours, but it was turning into 17, 18, 19 hours and still no progress. I became really agitated wondering what is taking so long?! I was angry, frustrated, impatient, and so ready to have this baby. I remember I kept asking them to check me and each time, no progress. It took me 21 hours to dialate 9.5 centimeters.
Twen-ty one hours.

I was finally dialated enough to start pushing. Let me tell you, it is harder then you think. You have to push through your bottom and I just had a hard time getting the hang of it. I really don't know if the baby moved down at all during that time. I just remember my doctor yelling at me to push harder and longer. It was hard for me to hold my breath for the ten seconds they want you to. I have the lung capacity of a gerbil. 
My mom said that she felt the doctor was a little rough, pushing me too hard. But I actually appreciated it. I was getting upset which made me push harder plus I wasn't really worried about anything else except getting that baby out.
After an hour and a half of pushing, I wasn't making any progress. I remember looking at my doctor, and she at me, and she asked, 
"Well? What do you want to do?"
I told her I felt like nothing was happening and it would probably be best to go for a c-section. My energy supply was gone hours ago and I didn't know how much longer I could keep going. She agreed and left to go get ready.
I had to wait another hour for the surgical team to get everything ready.
I slept between contractions.
I don't remember being taken to the OR. I do remember getting up on the table and leaning over for my spinal. It took 6 tries because I kept falling asleep and leaning too far. But once the anesthiologist got the spinal right, I felt it immediatley. 
It was glorious.
My contractions melted away as I laid down. 
I breathed a sigh of relief.
They waited a minute for the spinal to take full effect. The poked my belly to test but I could still feel it so they tilted the table down to help the medicine work its way down.

They brought in Hubby to sit with me then they began. I wasn't worried. I was so tired and numb that I wasn't thinking about anything else. The doctors were chatting and joking with each other as they cut me open. They actually made me giggle...but the sleep exhaustion may have contributed to that.
I was completely relaxed as they tugged and pulled. It was strange feeling pressure but no pain. 
After a few minutes, I heard one small little cry and the doctor say,
"God, look at those shoulders!"
There was no way he would have delivered naturally. He had the shoulders of a linebacker.
He was cleaned off and wrapped up, then they brought him over for me to see.

"He's so pretty!" was the first thing I said. 
I was all smiles and tears, I couldn't believe it.

There was this moment.
I fell head over heels in love for my son.
I could feel something turn on, like I had been blind to what love could really be. And now I knew.
I knew that for the rest of my life, I would do anything for that boy. I would love this child till the end of time.
It was instantaneous.
I will never forget that feeling.