Brock and I got the call at 4:45am – our induction was a ‘go’, please be at the hospital by 7:05am. We arrived, were shown to our room, asked to change into a gown and got into bed. The nurse started asking a billion history questions, and Brock and I were dizzy with excitement.
Then my doctor came in, talked a little bit about our expectations for the day. She checked and said I was 1-2 cm dilated, which I had been for several weeks at this point. She broke my water at 8:30am. It was all of a sudden VERY REAL. We were completely ready. We thought so, anyways.
I was against being on pitocin. I wanted to see how my labor would progress having only broken my water. But the nurse told me that we could be there for days if we didn’t give it something to get everything going, and I caved. We started the lowest dose of Pitocin around 9 am. My contractions immediately started to pick up, and they were serious. By 9:30, the contractions were strong enough that I needed full support through every one – counter pressure, breathing, changing positions, etc. It didn’t take me long to realize that pitocin contractions were nothing like the ones I’d been experiencing for the last several months. They didn’t come and go in waves, there was no break, they would just come and get stronger, then get stronger, then get STRONGER. I had no rest. Around 11:30, 3 hours from my first check, the nurse said I was 3 cm dilated. I was so disappointed, and in so much pain, I asked if it were possible for me to get an epidural yet. She didn’t even blink, she just called the anesthesiologist immediately. She turned the pitocin off because my contractions were so strong, and even though it only took him around 15 minutes to get to my room, it felt like a year.
Getting the epidural was more than a little scary. I was perched up on the edge of the bed, ’rounded over’ into a ball, with Brock supporting my shoulders. Every time I had a contraction, the anesthesiologist would put counter pressure on my lower back to help me through. He then told me to brace myself, “this is really going to hurt.” I held my breath, and braced… for nothing. I hardly felt the needle stick. I asked him if everything was okay, and he said, “We’re done!” I laughed and said, “Shit… is that all you’ve got? That was NOTHING.”
Yes, I did cuss at the anesthesiologist. I’m not proud of that.
So, ten minutes to place the epidural, and another half an hour for all of the medicine to kick in and start working right. I got to the point where I couldn’t feel the contractions except at the very PEAK of them, and it was wonderful. The nurse never turned the pitocin back on. They had never gotten past the lowest dose. From that point out, all the contractions were my own.
(Brock ALSO feels much better after my epidural. He couldn’t stand seeing me in so much pain.)
The nurse checked me again at noon, and said that I was a good 5 cm dilated. The epidural had helped relax me and allow things to progress. A few friends stopped by on their lunch breaks, and I realized how fast the day was going. At 1:00pm, the nurse checked again and said I was 7 cm. We were shocked at how fast I was progressing! We started talking about what would happen when I was ready to push, and who would be in the room. The nurse said we would probably have a baby before 7pm that night.
About an hour later, Brock’s mom and brother showed up. My contractions were still very strong and regular, and the nurse asked if I would mind if the doctor came in to check me again. Jane and Brady moved off to the side out of the way, and she checked – pronouncing me 9 and a half centimeters dilated! Dr P. said she was going to go check on a few patients and come back in about an hour to see how we progressed.
Fifteen minutes later, the nurse asked if I’d mind if she checked again, and she said I was 10 and complete. She asked me if I wanted to try a test push to see how effective my pushing would be and give the doctor an idea of how long she had before she needed to come for delivery. We talked, prepped, and pushed one time. Without saying anything, she got up and left the room. I remember feeling totally breathless at this point. Labor wasn’t supposed to be that fast. There was supposed to be time to think about it, to prepare, to know what was coming.
Less than 3 minutes later, five or six people started walking in and getting tables, trays and warmers set up. I assumed that meant I had adequately pushed!
Dr P. came back in and asked if SHE could see me do a test push, and we did. She laughed, stood up, gowned up and said, “Are you ready to have this baby?”
For the first several pushes, I was just pushing by instinct and direction. I was getting very frustrated because everyone was talking about how good I was doing, and that they could see the head… but I didn’t feel like anything was happening. I asked for a mirror, and immediately everything changed. I could SEE the head when I pushed, and I could see it move back when I stopped pushing. I was having NONE of that. Within two pushes with the mirror, the baby crowned. I could see what was happening, and it was so surreal. I remember pushing to deliver the head, and he came out face down. I remember watching as the doctor rotated him sideways, and I remember the first glance of his face. His perfect, beautiful little face. It was so surreal, so incredible. I loved him SO MUCH in that moment, I started crying and I couldn’t focus to push again. I delivered my beautiful baby boy on the next push.
I still cry when I see pictures, I still hardly believe my memories, and I still can’t believe I get to be the mother of such an amazing little human.
Ronan Kenneth Allender was born at 2:59pm on February 23rd, 2009. He was 21 inches long, 7lbs and 4oz of quiet perfection. From the moment I saw his face, the very moment, I loved him more than I ever knew was possible… and it grows every second he’s alive.
I don’t know who decided that I was lucky enough to deserve this gift, but I am thankful for it with every fiber of my being, and I will be so for the rest of my life
Daddy and his amazing boy: