Monday, September 6, 2010

Labor Day: My First Birth Story

Someone told me once that men have war stories and women have birth stories.

39 weeks into pregnancy, I was incredibly ready to have a baby. Enormous, uncomfortable, walking like a crazy person, squatting, and bouncing on a ball to see if I could help things along.

On Sunday night after I crawled into bed, I started feeling the tremors of what was to come. Contractions, internally radiating up my abdomen. "These are different than the Braxton Hicks." I thought.

Here we go.

Or so I thought. I bounced on my ball and eventually my hubby and I got ready to leave for the hospital. While the contractions were regular, they were spaced far apart. So we waited. Around 4 am, I tried to sleep, and the contractions slowed to a stop.

Next day, nothing. I walked a few more miles, bounced some more, packed some more, and took a nap.

10 pm that night, they started again. My husband, not convinced after the previous night's false alarm, went back to sleep, while I worked through the relatively mild but I-can't-sleep-through-this contractions. Bounce, bounce, bounce. I leaned over the couches and got on all fours on the floor during the more intense ones.

5 am: "Honey, this is it." Andrew showered and started packing our things into the car.

Texting loved ones to tell them "This is it!"
6 am: "Honey, hurry!!! I'm ready to go!" We had a 30 minute ride to the hospital, and while I knew that delivery was probably a good ways off, the contractions were getting harder, and I knew that the more difficult they were, the less I would want to be in the car.

7 am: Checked into the hospital--6 cm dilated! Who-hoo!

8am-2 pm: Walking the halls. After my saline lock was placed and my contractions briefly monitored, I walked, and walked, and walked, pausing to hold onto my dear hubby and breathe through each contraction. My mom came and walked with me. My sister in law brought me a cookies and cream Chic-fil-A milkshake (so divine!). My whole family was there, and they all took turns coming to see me and walking with me. My best friend's mom, a labor and delivery nurse, came in for an extra shift just so she could be my nurse (how incredibly sweet!).

Chic-fil-A, family, and labor
I was surprised that up to this point, labor was ok for me. The contractions, while painful, had a start and stop--that break in between is so wonderful! I felt excited. "This is going ok. Jesus is helping me. I can do this!" My water had not broken, which I was very thankful for.

2 pm: Feeling tired, and dizzy. My nurse suggested that I try resting awhile, so they helped me into the hospital bed for the first time. The contractions were intense enough to make me teary-eyed. My doctor, a petite Southern lady, came in to check my process. 8 cm. At this point, she broke my water.

HELLO crazy pain. Hello contractions that are right on top of each other.

Hello can-we-talk-about-pain-relief-options.

Prior to and during labor, my hope was to get through without an epidural and with limited medication.

At this point, however, I gladly conceded to receiving some IV pain medication. Having never had a narcotic before, they started me off with half a dose of Nubain.

It was wonderful. I could still feel each contraction strongly, but I was able to rest in-between. I was getting really tired, and every second of rest was heaven.

(excuse me while I interrupt the serious nature of this post to share with you one of the funniest pictures taken while I was in labor:)

The excitement was building, but I was a little past smiling right about here (somewhere between 8-10 cm)
Ok, back to serious:

Breathing through a contraction
Did I mention that my sister is a photographer and captured beautiful and appropriate moments of this birth? :) In many ways, this labor was a live-media event, with pictures and updates on facebook all throughout the process. That was really cool.

4 pm: Pain and tears. Checked again. 10 centimeters and it's time for action!

Pushing is no joke, ya'll.

Most people had told me that pushing is a relief. For me, not so much. It was the most intense part of my labor. By this time, I was super exhausted, and, of course, still hurting. And pushing takes amazing amounts of energy and strength. I had watched my mom give birth to my little sisters (#5 and #6 for her) and she pushed for around 30 minutes at most. I unrealistically counted on that for me with baby #1.

I pushed for 2 hours.

In the midst of it, I started getting concerned. I felt like I could not keep up the effort. I asked my nurse, "Is he really coming soon?" I was so close to the end of my rope that it seemed doubtful to me that the baby could be ok while I felt like passing out. I kept asking, "Is he ok? Is everything ok?"

My OB and nurses reassured me. My husband, mom, two sisters, and dear friend Christina urged me on.

At the end, I gave up all restraint and started praying out loud for God's help. "Lord, You created this process. Please help me get through it."  And I pushed with all I had.

6:19 pm: Our baby boy took his first breath. Oh the joy! Oh the relief.

8 pounds, 9 ounces. And look at how much that sweet head had to compress to fit through!

Our first meeting
Oh hello sweetheart. We love you!

And of course, I would do it again (and hopefully will). With maybe (pretty please!?) a little less time pushing?


P.S. I know I said I was taking a break from blogging today. But Amy's Labor Day link-up is so much fun that I absolutely could not resist. It was wonderful to write this out and I am really enjoying reading the other labor stories over at Amy's Finer Things. 


  1. I've been excited for the Labor Link Up, too. I love birth stories! Thanks for sharing yours.

  2. :) I LOVE your birth story. You know I'm a sucker for them... lol

  3. How did you get them to let you EAT during labor? Around here that is a HUUUUUGE no-no. I was allowed orange soda to sip on and that was it.

  4. What a sweet, amazing moment that was; I got teary-eyed just reading this and remembering! Alicia, you did so great on that "labor day" and we are continually proud of you, Andrew and, of course, our little "Mr. Willum's"--the Squish. Enjoy this Labor Day minus the pain!-mom

  5. love reading birth stories! hoping i have another birth story to write about soon. (i'm 38 weeks pregnant)

    thanks so much for sharing! beautiful pictures

  6. What a beautiful story! I love all the pictures {especially the Chick-fil-A one!}. What joy to bring a baby into this world! Congratulations for earning you well deserved metal my friend! :)

  7. Awwww! Congratulations!!! Loved your story!

  8. I loved reading your birth story. Labor is hard and I love reading the stories of christian moms who share testimonies of how God helped them through.

  9. Its always fun reading about babies being born! I can't wait to have another one, I enjoyed pregnancy and labor (of course I had an epidural), and I loved sharing my birth stories! I wish my mom was a writer and would share mine with me!
    Wonderful pictures too, we got very few because it was just me and my husband so we were a little preoccupied :)

  10. Stories of new life always brings tears to my eyes. Thanks for sharing!

  11. ok i seriously just cried! probably my hormones :) beautiful story!!

  12. SWEET PICTURES! I love the one with you and your husband, it's very touching

  13. What a wonderful story! And what a treasure to have your sister there to take such good pictures of those moments!

  14. I'm a nurse there. It makes me sooo happy to hear about great natural births in hospitals - especially the one I work in. Thx for sharing. Great pics too!

    @Miriam, eating in labor is up to provider not hospital policy. Several "permit" eating for natural laboring moms.


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