It’s Saturday November 1st, 2014. A few days prior my husband had jokingly told me that the perfect time for me to go into labor would be on Saturday morning after he got back from football. Every Saturday morning my husband goes to play flag football and I go for a nice long walk outside. This Saturday was no different. Well that’s a lie. When I was walking this Saturday I was walking with extra force and with an extra pep in my step in hopes that my water would break. I was two days overdue and it was time to get this baby out.
You see, the night before I was experiencing consistent contractions that weren’t very strong. Being a first time mom I had no idea what actual contractions should feel like when I was going into labor so when these contractions kept their consistency we decided that it was time to go to the hospital. We got up and got our stuff together and I hopped in the shower because my hair needed to be washed and who knew when it would be washed again if I actually were to be in labor.
While I was in the shower the contractions seemed to lighten so we decided to stay home and get some sleep. After all it was three o’ clock in the morning. We needed some sleep. I woke up feeling fine besides some more of the same light, consistent contractions I was feeling the night before. I prayed to God that my water would just break so I would actually know when I needed to go into the hospital.
Side note: I’m a carrier of Group B Strep, which is a dormant harmless bacteria found in many adults. However this bacteria has been found to be harmful to babies during birth if not treated. Because I am a carrier of this bacteria the doctors said that as soon as my water broke I needed to go to the hospital so they could put me on an antibiotic drip and have enough time to give me two doses.
Anyways, back to my walk. As I was “forcefully” walking down the hill my husband passed me on his way home from football. A few short minutes later as my foot landed on the ground after a stride it happened. It felt like I had peed my pants a little bit and it looked like it too. I got home walked upstairs to greet my husband in the shower to tell him the news.
For some reason I was scared to say anything or to say that my water broke because I didn’t want to be wrong. I didn’t want to be in false labor and make a big deal out of something that didn’t need to be worried about. Of course I told him anyways. He said, “Ok get in the shower. It’s time to go to the hospital.” We took a shower, I did my hair and we were off.
We casually walked into the hospital at about 12:30pm and I told the nurses what had happened. They led us to our room and tested the fluids down there to see if the test came up positive for amniotic fluid to see if my water had really broke. Sure enough it did. They told me that I wouldn’t be going home until I had our baby. What a sigh of relief! The time had finally come. We were going to have a baby!!
They got me hooked up on the IV, which if I’m being honest here was a bigger fear for me than actual labor. Every time I get my blood drawn or think about a needle going into my arm I want to pass out and my arm goes slightly limp. As I’m typing this and the image comes to mind that feeling is happening. Moving on…
My first surprise came when water kept coming out of me. I didn’t know that when your water broke so much would keep coming out! I also didn’t know that you would be forced to wear something similar to a diaper until you gave birth and even for the first few days after. It’s interesting what people leave out of their labor and delivery stories. The hours passed and our first visitors came, my husbands brother and his wife. At this point my contractions were slowly getting stronger and more consistent.
My husband found the birthing ball and boy was he excited. He had researched a lot of stuff about labor and for some reason the birthing ball was something he looked forward to me trying…a lot. The nurses encouraged me to use the birthing ball and take some walks to get my labor kicked into higher gear to see if they could avoid inducing my labor with Pitocin. So we walked up and down the halls and I bounced and bounced and nothing seemed to be progressing. Every time they checked my cervix it was still at about 1.5 cm, which was disappointing taking into consideration that I had to get all the way to ten!
Christopher’s parents came and went and then my parents arrived around 11pm. They had flown into San Diego from Oregon and were happy they hadn’t missed anything. A little bit before they arrived the nurses decided that I needed to start Pitocin because my water had been broke for so long and I wasn’t dilating at a reasonable rate naturally. I forgot to mention that my plan going in was to do everything naturally if possible. I didn’t want any pain medication and I had said no to the epidural.
I had chosen to go natural because I wanted to see what this labor pain was all about. I at least needed to experience the pain before I said it was too much for me to handle. After all I did have a really high pain tolerance. If the women who I had talked to who had done it natural could endure the pain then certainly I could too. I was slightly prideful about doing it natural. In a way I thought that I was stronger or braver for doing it that way.
As my parents were visiting, my contractions had gotten strong enough that I wasn’t really in the mood for visitors any more. The pain was getting worse and I just wanted to lie down and not entertain. As soon as they left at about 11:30pm the Pitocin had really kicked in and my contractions continued to get stronger and more painful. The nurses had told me that once they started the Pitocin it would be really uncomfortable and a challenge for me to go through labor without an epidural. This was because the Pitocin makes you start contracting at a faster and more consistent rate than your body would do naturally, which results in more pain. I listened when they told me this but I had the mindset that I was strong enough and I wouldn’t need the epidural.
The hours kept going by and I started to get more and more upset. I had envisioned myself having a nice short labor like my mom had described herself having with all three of her kids and when that didn’t happen I felt like I had failed in some way for some weird reason. I tried sleeping through the pain and contractions because I was so exhausted from the lack of sleep the night before but I just couldn’t fall asleep. The pain was getting so bad and I just didn’t know what to do.
I started to consider taking the smaller doses of pain medication through my IV. I had conversations with my husband and conversations with the nurse and I finally decided to pull the trigger. The nurse went to go get the medication and in the mean time I sat there in pain. I continued to talk to my husband about the epidural as he held my hand through the contractions and reminded me to breathe.
When the nurse got back I asked her to give me an estimate of how much longer she thought I would be in labor. One hour? Two hours? Surely I could handle a few more hours of this but when she said that if she had to guess she would guess about eight more hours I wanted to melt inside. I was ready for the epidural but I had such a hard time “giving in” to getting it. I felt like was surrendering myself to something that I thought I was stronger than. However, I knew that I couldn’t withstand eight more hours of the pain that I was experiencing so I told the nurse that instead of the small doses of medicine through the IV I wanted to get the epidural.
I had to convince myself that I had struggled for long enough and that I deserved to get the epidural. My husband kept reassuring me that this was true. I don’t recommend having this mindset at all. After everything was said and done I realized that my mindset was silly. I shouldn’t have waged a war against a needle with medicine that would help me. It’s interesting how often we have this mindset in our daily lives. We want to be strong and we want to do it all. This mindset all too often leads to our destruction and makes us feel like a failure when surely we are not.
The epidural started to kick in and a tingly feeling started to take over the lower half of my body. Unfortunately because the epidural primarily targets the pain in the front and not the back I was still in a significant amount of pain from the back labor that I was experiencing. After adding a dose of another kind of medicine to help the pain in my back the pain finally started to dissolve. It never went completely away but it decreased significantly.
I had gotten the epidural at 3am and at 6am I started to experience the worst pain yet. I yelled for my husband because I thought that something was truly wrong. In my head there was no way the epidural was working because the pain I was feeling was unbelievable. The nurse came in to see what was going on. She checked my cervix and said she had good news. I had dilated to 9cm and soon I would be able to push.
We upped the dose of the medicine to help the pain in my back and I was told to try to get some rest before I needed to start pushing. A little before 9am the nurse came back and said that it was time. She gave me instructions on how to push and then I began. After two hard pushes she told me that I was an incredible pusher (kind of weird…I know) and that she needed to call the doctor in before we went any further. The doctor came in, I proceeded to push and a few short minutes later my husband proclaimed, “it’s a boy,” and our little baby was out of the womb and into the world. Peyton Atreyu Hilken was born at 9:02am on November 2, 2014.
The doctors immediately placed him on my chest and the tears of joy started flowing. The memories of pain were washed away and they were replaced with on overwhelm of happiness and disbelief that this child was actually ours to keep.
I could go on with the story but then this post would last forever. I promise to keep everyone updated as time progresses and we get to watch this handsome little boy grow up.
To all of the moms reading this post I have such a deep appreciation for what you have gone through and what you continue to do. Giving birth and being a mother is no easy feat and you continue to do it day after day with a heart full of love and sacrifice.
xoxo The Wellness Paige