the day you came

The day before you were born (your due date) I was driving home and noticed five cars with Christmas trees tied to their roofs. I was smiling. How amazing I thought that you could be born in this magical season to celebrate another very significant birth. I worked a ten hour shift on your due date. I had been feeling nauseated and crampy but hadn't noticed any strong contractions. Still, something was different, and I had a strong feeling that you were coming very soon. I tied up a few loose ends at work and said my good-byes. I made dinner and sterilized bottles and pacifiers when I got home. Nesting was in high gear.

We went to sleep about 11pm. I woke up at 1am with distinct pain that I hadn't experienced before. I knew they had to be contractions. They came every ten to fifteen minutes and were painful enough that I couldn't sleep through them. At 3 am I noticed a very strong contraction and timed the next one less than a minute later. I turned over in bed to wake up your Daddy and felt a pop and then a gush of fluid. My water broke and suddenly I knew it was really happening. We were finally going to meet you! We headed to the hospital shortly after. At the hospital we were admitted to triage. I was dilated to 4 and the nurse confirmed for sure that my water broke. We waited in triage about two hours before being admitted to labor and delivery. I kept thinking "I am so grateful my water broke". I didn't want to come to triage and be sent home like so many other women I knew. In fact when we brought in all our belongings everyone
assumed I was being induced. "Nope," I thought. You're just not sending me home. The pain became more intense by the time we left triage. I couldn't talk through the contractions and was finding myself annoyed when the nurse kept asking me questions. I never thought I would have a completely natural drug free delivery. I thought that it would be an incredible feat but my motto was, I'm not going to try and be a hero. I met with a nurse from anesthesia and went over all my pain control options. I decided to get a "walking" epidural. It allowed me to move, walk and even bounce on the exercise ball. It took the edge off and kept the epidural in so that I could convert to a regular epidural at any time. I am still really happy that I chose that initially. I did not want to be stuck in bed all day completely immobile. I walked in the halls with my family. Gabe was so amazing the entire time I labored. He would massage my back and offer water or juice. I kept throwing up and he never became squeamish. My family came throughout the day. In and out each visitor would take their turn. They were all so excited. It was so helpful having their support and encouragement.

I was contracting on my own all morning and most of the afternoon. After several hours of walking and bouncing I was dilated to six. At that point they chose to start Pitocin, to help further my progression. That was when things got intense. The contractions became more and more unbearable. I cried and had a very difficult time deciding if I should convert the epidural or work through the pain. I was still terrified of being stuck in bed. I was crying and overwhelmed with each contraction. The anesthesia nurse came in and admitted that in her 6 years there she had only seen one person deliver a baby with a walking epidural. All other women usually convert to the mainstream epidural if they get the epidural in the first place. It was getting late. I was getting so tired. I really hadn't slept much the night before and I did not want to be there all night. I converted the epidural and soon I was dilated to 8cm. The nurses turned me in several different positions every 15 minutes or so in hopes that the baby would descend more. At 9pm I had been ruptured for 18 hrs. In lay terms that means your waters been broke too long. Let's get this show on the road. So we did. I was finally dilated to 10cm. I cried when the nurse told me I was complete. Mostly because I was excited to meet you but also because I was so scared. My worst fear all along was that I would labor and then not be able to deliver naturally. I was determined to be a "good pusher." In my years as a baby nurse I had heard countless labor and delivery nurses describe patients as lazy pushers. People that attempted to push but could not deliver babies. The team rushed around the room and sweet Dr. Lewis came in and eased my fears and just chatted with us in between pushes. Each time you didn't come I could feel the frustration building up, not sure if I was being effective. An hour later the NICU team came because you had passed a little meconium. Having an additional three people in the room compounded with your meconium gave me the added might to see you. Your dad was so great at encouraging me and it was so amazing hearing the excitement in his voice when you were almost here. Just a few more attempts and you came in to the world at 10:21pm. They placed you in my arms and I was overcome. After all the waiting and wanting you were finally here. Our sweet little boy. We loved you instantly. You were bright eyed and alert. We did it. I couldn't believe that you were actually mine. All 7 pounds and 15 ounces of you. You were more perfect than I could have dreamed. Being pregnant with you was one thing but actually meeting you and looking at your face was remarkable. I am so grateful that you are here, Grayson. Mommy and Daddy love you so much.

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