I woke up on Thursday morning, a whopping 40 weeks, 1 day pregnant, and definitely feeling the part. This pregnancy had been so different from my first. I learned so much about my body, and was surprised by it, right up until the very end, it kept me on my toes. For a while we thought Isaac was going to come early because of all the contractions I had daily from about 20 weeks on. Even though I of course wanted to carry him to term, but if I didn’t, I tried to be as ready as I could be. After many membrane sweeps and long walks I had reached my due date and still no baby. And no sign of him making his appearance. I think because I had expected to have had him by now, it made it seem like I had been waiting forever to meet him. I was glad he still had several more weeks in my tummy to grow though.
So on Thursday morning, it felt like any other day. I was tired and sore, and ready to meet him. I had gone from “please don’t come early” to “okay Isaac it’s safe, you can come out now” then on to “okay seriously, please come out now.” At my last appointment on Monday I was still only 1-2 cm. dilated, and had my 5th membrane sweep. Thursday felt like any other day, and I was convinced I was going to be pregnant forever. At 11 o clock that night I had my first “real” contraction. I didn’t know it for sure at the time, it felt like the other ones I had had daily, but I also felt it in my lower back. 3 minutes later I had another. Then another, then another. Each time 3 minutes apart. I had planned and hoped for a natural childbirth this time, unlike my first where I was induced at 41 weeks and had an epidural, so I knew I wanted to labor at home as long as possible. Whether this was real labor or not I decided at 12 midnight to go to bed. When I went to bed I had had one hour of contractions 3 minutes apart lasting about a minute each. I wasn’t in pain, just uncomfortable. I hoped it was the start of labor, but didn’t want to get my hopes up. Off to bed I went.
At 2 am a contraction woke me up. I could no longer sleep through them. I woke up and on the very next contractions I had to lean over the bed and rock through them. They were 2-3 minutes apart, lasting a minute and causing a lot of pain in my stomach and lower back. I texted my cousin and she said “I think you should call your mom over, I have a feeling things could happen fast, you just want to be prepared.” My mom lived about 15 minutes away and was going to stay with our three-year old son Noah during our hospital stay. I walked into the kitchen to call my midwife at 230 am. Even though I was in a lot of pain with regular contractions, I was scared to call it the real deal, go to the hospital, only to be sent home. I told the midwife Jessie about the contractions, and told her I thought I was in labor. I even had a contraction while I was on the phone with her. I told her I would get ready to go, take my time, and call my doula when I got to the hospital. I was expecting and prepared for hours and hours of labor ahead of me, so I wasn’t in a rush to call my doula at 230 am. My husband walked out into the kitchen once he realized what I was doing up on the phone in the middle of the night. After I hung up with my midwife I had another contraction. That’s when things really got intense, fast. I remember hanging on to the handle on the refrigerator door, a little freaked out with how painful they had become all of a sudden. I texted my mom “I need to go to the hospital” but couldn’t text her anything more after that. Kyle finished texting her telling her it was time and to head over. From then on everything happened like a whirlwind. I walked around trying to pack the last minute things, but every time a contractions hit, I was on the floor, or holding onto something, leaning over, rocking, moaning, breathing, doing anything I could to just get through it. It got more and more intense and I started to get really scared. It was only 3 am at this point but I was in the worst pain I had ever felt. I was not scared to be in labor, but I was scared because since things had just started, I thought I was probably only 2-3 cm dilated and had HOURS ahead of me, and this pain was only the beginning of what’s to come. I knew that if things were just getting started, I didn’t stand a chance at a natural labor. I had read about methods to cope with the pain of labor, and one thing I learned was to not to try to tense up of “fight it”. I remember one contraction in particular I had when I was getting in the bathroom, I dropped to my knees and was hanging onto my bathroom counter, gripping it. I was frantic trying to escape it. I don’t know how else to explain it but for a second I was almost panicked, tensed up trying to escape the pain. After that contraction I realized “well that’s not possible,” so I just let myself go and face the pain. I realized it was inevitable and fighting it only made it worse. At one point I threw up, all the way from my kitchen running to the bathroom. During the midst of the chaos I somehow managed to lock myself out of the bathroom. Thank goodness Kyle knew how to pick a lock, and quick. And thankfully that was the end of my nausea. Labor had its moments of being the most un-glamorous thing I have ever experienced, hands down. I waited for my mom to show up; to me it seemed like it took eternity for her to get there, but really she was pretty quick. Even though my birth plan was to labor at home, I had a new one at this point: get to the hospital as fast as I can to make this stop! Considering we were 30 minutes away (that’s with zero traffic) I was so ready to get to the hospital. At one point I looked at Kyle and said “we might have to call an ambulance”. I was sweating like crazy andlaying on the cold floor waiting for my mom to show up. I felt a huge sense of urgency. Not panic anymore, but I realized we needed to get there fast. But even at that point I still had a worry that I was going to get there, things would stop and I would get sent home. Kyle was really calm and level headed through all of this. He too thought I was just getting started, and had the lowest pain tolerance known to mankind, although he never said it. (Which is a good thing!).
Finally at 315 my mom showed up. Kyle had loaded up the car and we were ready to go. I finished up having another contraction and was relieved to have the calm in between, I didn’t want to move I just wanted to rest while I had a second before my next one started, but he urged me to go so I got in the car. I crawled in the backseat so I had room to lie down or move around a little. At this point I was having contractions probably about 1-2 minutes apart lasting 1 minute. I couldn’t think straight let alone time them. It had only been one hour and fifteen minutes since I woke up at two, everything got so painful, so crazy, so fast. All I could think about was getting to the hospital and getting the sweet relief of an epidural. If I could have used the phone, I would have seriously called the hospital and asked them to have one ready for me when I got there. They contractions kept coming, and I remember praying “Please god give me rest, please god give me rest.” I just needed a break to regroup and rest. I was able to breathe through a few contractions and be silent, even though the pain was excruciating I really focused and concentrated, and I took in every sweet second when I wasn’t having one. At one point Kyle looked back and jokingly said “Alice? You alive?” When we were about halfway there I said “Kyle I feel like I need to push!” he calmly replied “no, no, you’re fine don’t push.” I fought the urge as long as I could. As we were exiting the freeway I couldn’t sit, I literally felt like I was sitting on a bowling ball, I leaned onto my side or grabbed onto the handle above the window and held myself up.
We pulled to the emergency room and Kyle ran out to grab a wheelchair, at that point I could fight the urge to push, I pushed and my water broke in the backseat of my new car. He met me with the wheelchair and I said “my water just broke!” “Are you sure?” he said. Oh yes, there was no mistaking that. From here on was like something from a movie. Kyle quickly rolling me in in the wheelchair saying “my wife is about to have a baby!” The people at the desk were very calm and asked me what my last name was about 4 times before we both yelled “PRIM! P-R-I-M!” I told them I was literally about to have this baby, and the other people waiting in the emergency room looked entirely freaked out. The nurse told Kyle he couldn’t leave the car there so he ran outside and moved it 20 feet to a parking spot while a nurse wheeled me upstairs. I kept telling her to hurry, but when we were in the elevator, I reached down and with another push, felt Isaacs head. That poor nurse started to panic going “oh my gosh, um, um!’’ the doors opened and she ran as fast as she could when she heard me give out a loud “ahhh-HURRY!” The double doors to labor and delivery opened and I looked down to see if I could see his head, I was met by about five nurses and told them “his head is almost out!” as I was holding my hand on his head right at the edge. I will never forget the feeling of shock and complete amazement as I was holding his head while he was entering into the world. It was so surreal. Even though I knew I that along with having a natural birth, that means you have to feel everything. I was scared about tearing and no medicine to dull the pain. Surprisingly though pushing was NOT the hard part. It was more of a relief to be able to push since I had been fighting the urge for a while. It was what my body had been telling me I needed to do. While I did start to feel the “ring of fire” moms talk about, it was very slight and not painful and lasted only a few seconds since the actual delivery was so fast. The nurses ran me into a hospital room, ripped off my pants, and while still in the wheelchair I pushed his head the rest of the way out, then his shoulders seconds later, all in the same contraction. I grabbed Isaac and pulled him onto my stomach. Right there in the wheelchair. Barely in even in the room. They unhooked his cord from around his right shoulder and I pulled him up more onto me, seeing his face for the first time. Those few moments were filled with complete awe for me. I will never forget seeing his face, and being overwhelmed with love. There is nothing else like seeing your child for the first time. You already are so in love with this little person in your tummy, every kick and twist and turn reminds you that they are in there. You imagine them, think about them, and wait to meet them. Then when you do, it’s the most amazing thing ever. I just kept thinking as I looked at him for the days that followed, “you’re here, you made it.” While I was still in the wheelchair, I heard Kyle walk in behind me, (only about 3 minutes after Isaac had arrived). I will NEVER forget the look on his face, when he saw me sitting in the wheelchair, holding our son. Complete shock and awe. He rushed over and cut the cord once it had stopped pulsating, and held his son for the first time as I walked over and climbed in the bed. My midwife showed up to deliver the placenta and check on me. I was so in love with my baby that nothing else around me mattered at that moment. I was able to push out the placenta while Isaac attempted to nurse for the first time. The oxytocin released from that helped me contract and finish delivering it. After a minute of nursing Isaac fell asleep and slept on my chest for almost 3 hours. I just stared, sleep was the last thing on my mind.
I was able to have my natural birth like I had prayed. I kept saying that I think God knew I wanted to do it naturally, but he knew I couldn’t handle a long labor so he made it quick for me. I was able to do it with no meds, not even an IV was needed afterwards. I had no tearing either. I was up and showered not long after and felt so great. Recovering was such a breeze. I had my first contraction at 11, went to bed at 12, woke up at 2 and Isaac was born at 345am on April 5, 2013. If we would have stopped for gas, hit one more red light, or waited for one more contraction, Isaac would have been born in the car. He was healthy, weighing 7 pounds, 15 oz. and 19 and ¾ inches long. . I look back and can honestly say it was an amazing experience. I think up until I was in the wheelchair, part of me was still in denial that I was in labor, let alone hard labor. The whole time I thought I was just getting started. For as crazy and intense things got so fast, it really was such an amazing experience. We are so blessed to have him and such an easy labor.