For majority of my pregnancy, my main concern was about keeping baby girl inside of me until it was safe for her to come out; once I hit the full-term mark I suddenly felt like she would be safer outside of me, where I could see her and hold her.
Starting around week 37 I had been trying everything to get labor going. Besides being completely over being pregnant, I so desperately wanted to hold my new baby girl.
I woke up Monday morning, feeling like I was on a mission. After three nights of disrupted sleep due to contractions, I was eager to get the show on the road. I asked my mom to come watch my son, Toby, since he was fighting a nasty cold. I went for a walk to try to continue the contractions I’d been experiencing off and on since the night before; but after 45 minutes of rigorous walking (uphill and downhill) the contractions had stopped.
My doctor wouldn’t do anything to induce labor (besides recommend the home remedies I was already trying) until 39 weeks, which was only a few days away. So while I was trying hard not to be discouraged, I knew that there was indeed an end in sight.
All day, I experienced spurts of contractions. They were slowly getting more intense, but they kept fizzling out.
Since Toby wasn’t feeling well I tried to rest as much as possible on the couch with him.
Around 5 I had some more contractions that required a little more concentration. By 6 I noticed that they were still coming, and while they were getting more painful, they weren’t staying consistent.
Derek came home from work, and I told him what was going on, but to not get too excited.
Around 7 we called my mom and asked her to come back to watch Toby so we could walk around the neighborhood a bit to see if we could speed things up.
While we were walking Derek timed my contractions with an app on my phone and noticed that they were about 3-5 minutes apart. When we got home I laid down to see if the contractions would stay consistent while I was resting. At one point I got up to use the bathroom but I couldn’t tell if I had actually peed. I mentioned this to my mom and she commented that it might have been my water breaking instead.
It was like a light bulb went off and that’s when I started to think that I might really be in labor. I said, “oh ok, yeah. Let’s go to the hospital”.
The entire drive to the hospital I was praying that I really truly was in labor; we live about 45 minutes away so the last thing we wanted was to be told to go home and wait it out.
We got to the hospital around 9:30. In the maternity triage, a nurse confirmed that I was 4cm and that my water had indeed broken. We got settled into a labor and delivery room, a very kind nurse was assigned to us (she stayed the whole time and was a huge blessing to us), and I continued to labor with my mom and husband by my side.
A couple of hours later I had progressed to 7-8cm. We started to think that our new baby would be born in the next hour. I was getting tired, but tried to stay motivated by the knowledge that it was all almost over.
A couple of hours later and there was no change. I was really tired and starting to have a difficult time handling the contractions. Everyone was so great at encouraging me and coaching me through each contraction.
I kept asking if the baby was doing alright.
Another couple of hours and still no change. I was completely exhausted and finally asked for an epidural. I was disappointed in myself (I was really hoping for a natural birth), but remembered that ultimately all I wanted was a healthy LIVING baby in my arms.
After the epidural was in place, I laid down to try to rest. With each contraction the baby’s heartbeat would decelerate. At one point I heard her heart rate drop really low and all of a sudden there were a couple more nurses in the room, one of them put an oxygen mask on me.
I was worried and scared.
After putting on oxygen and the nurses helping me to switch positions a bit, baby girl’s heart rate stabilized. Our nurse suggested that it could be a sign that it was almost time to push. She checked me and sure enough, baby girl was ready to come out.
About ten minutes later Zoe Grace Carlson was born. She had the cord around her neck once and was a little purple; amazingly, I wasn’t scared because I heard her cry right away. After a little rubbing she pinked up and was fine. She was placed on my chest and a wave of relief washed over me.
She was here. She was healthy. She was alive.
In an instant, I experienced a wave of so many emotions and memories: Relief. Love. Gratitude. Sadness. Amazement. Longing. Bliss. Somehow they all rolled into one, and then cleared as clouds part after a storm and all I could see was my baby.
This sweet little blessing, she was worth it all.