Mr.'s alarm went off for work, we woke to a normal Wednesday morning, I rolled my-whale-of-a-self out of bed, heading directly for the restroom. When you're pregnant you always know where the nearest bathroom is. When you go into a store you use it, if you are there for longer than 20 minutes you use it again, and then once more as you exit the store. Using the restroom in those last weeks may have been one of the most annoying parts. You literally use the restroom, walk out and practically turn around and go right back in.
I digress... I made my normal pit stop. However, this time, it was more than just the norm, I relieved myself, and then more came. It wasn't the gush like in the movies, just a feeling like you're peeing, like your body is relieving itself wether you tell it to or not. I stand up and walk to the sink to wash my hands, lean over the counter and whisper to Mr., I think my water broke. He all but breaks the bed jumping out of it, yelling, "wait, seriously?!". "Yes, I think so..." I change myself, and low and behold, I just keep leaking. It's 7:30am and I know my Dr's office is now open. I grab my phone and stand in the shower to make the quick call.. "Hi, this is Jaime R., and I am pretty sure my water broke". They schedule me to come in at 10:00am to see the doctor and verify that in fact my water broke (and that I didn't just pee myself) as I was not yet having contractions. However, they said if things were to pick up then to just head directly to the hospital.
We call Mr.'s dad, and my mom, "My water broke". They're on stand by for go.
At first we try to time contractions, I was feeling tightening, but no real pain, we give up. I shower, blow dry my hair, get dressed, make a peanut butter sandwich, finish packing hospital bags and then install the car seat. - See, that was on our smallish list of things left to do before baby came. We literally had planned to install his car seat that very night, once Mr. got home from work. Picture this, me, very hugely pregnant, having tightenings, pretty uncomfortable with Mr., trying to install this car seat. I have worked with a car seat many a times, however, Mr. is quite green when it comes to any thing baby. We were quite the sight to see. -
Car seat installed, bags packed, we trek down the road to the doctors. My doctor's office is all but 5 minutes from our house, and the hospital 30 seconds from there. We first see the doctor's assistant and she all but says, it seems so, but let me have Dr. L come in and check you out. Dr. L walks in and 1000% confirms, yup, it's time to have a baby. "Do you have your bags with you?", "Alright, let's get you over to the hospital". At this point I am sure, Mr.'s eyes and mine are bug-eyed. This is it, we are having a baby. After all those birthing classes and the countdown leading to this, we have finally come to that time. I call my mom and she clears here schedule for the afternoon, finishing up with her morning patients and then heading to the hospital.
We arrive at Shea Hospital, only to have a team awaiting us, and we meet our angel of a nurse, ironically with the same name as my older sister, Janelle. No triage for me, directly to the birthing suites, which means no extra poking and prodding! Mr.'s youngest sister works at Shea Hospital. Not only does she work there, but she just so happens to work in the OB registration department and who do you think picked up the phone when Dr. L called and prepped the hospital for my arrival? She had tried calling and texting us, but Mr., ignored her call and text her saying we were still at the doctors. Little did we know, Dr. L had spoken directly to her and she knew we were headed her way.
At this time, I was finally having contractions, nothing horrible, but uncomfortable. We get checked in, asked a ton of questions, I give my nurse my birth plan and it all begins. First, a hep-lock. We had prepped for labor by taking bradley classes. (The Bradley Method is all about having a natural, drug-free child birth.) Unfortunately, at the hospital you have to at least have a hep-lock in case of an emergency they can pump stuff in you. Ultimately, it's the iv needle in you, capped off. Then, they monitored baby for 15 minutes, and this continued every hour until he was born. Initially, I tried to walk around the hospital to get things going. The hospital is not the place to walk, there's too much stimulation, too much noise, you can't focus and noise, quite frankly, every little bit made contractions that much more unbearable. Once, we were in the quiet of the suite it was so much easier to focus and relax. The first two hours I birthed in the jacuzzi tub in between baby monitoring. My mom finally arrived about 1:00pm. After the third round of monitoring contractions really intensified.
At this point, I should really let Mr. finish the birth story... I was so inside myself, concentrating through the contractions, the earth literally stood still inside that birthing suite. My birthing team was Janelle, whom we only saw to monitor baby, (She was really amazing at letting me labor in peace and have exactly the birth I wanted.) my mom and my coach, my friend, my lover, my partner, my Mr.
Mr. truly was the best partner, the best coach. I already knew how amazing he was, but in those moments, in that darkened birthing suite, in my weakest moments he was my strength. He held my hand, and rubbed my back, he encouraged me without speaking. He understood all I needed was him by my side. Not many words were spoken once things were in full swing. Eventually, my body tired and I wanted nothing more than to take a nap. The contractions were crashing down one upon another as I hit transition phase, the last big hill before pushing, and in these moments, I did ask for anything, something, just so the contractions would stop and I could take a nap. I knew I could handle labor longer, if only I could just take a nap. Mr. and my mom both soothed me and encouraged that I was fine, that this was it, there was no time for a nap. Let me tell you, transition sucks, it hurts, those contractions crashing down on one another, tire you relentlessly. They tell me I did sleep in between some contractions. I thought I was a heavy breathing banshee, writhing in pain, whimpering, but was told they could hardly hear my breaths, not even Mr.'s sister down the hall at work could hear me. She has told me stories of woman yelling, screaming, crying and it is heard down the hall. Internally, everything goes much differently that what other's partake in. At this time, I was ready to go back in the tub, I asked to have Janelle check me, and then I was going back in the tub. Hot water was so relaxing and it was exactly what I wanted. We paged Janelle, she checked, I was a 9!
Hallelujah, all of this really was for something, I was far from the 6 I had been at a few short hours before. Janelle said Dr. L said it was okay to go in to tub, internally, I am screaming uhhh no, I will walk all the way there sit down, just to be told to get out you can't birth in the tub. I remain on my side in the bed, within minutes Dr. L finally arrives, asks Janelle if she has time to change, and Janelle says yes! Internally, I'm thinking, do they not realize it's time, I have got to push, here comes baby. Beyond exhausted, my body is pushing.. It's weird when there's no control, just your body saying, get out child. Mr. asks me if I want to know the color of baby's hair, this in itself gives me my second wind "my baby has hair!". He's there, right there, let's do this. With only 20 minutes of pushing I deliver my beautiful baby boy at 7:13pm, 12 short hours since the time my water broke, 12 days early on the 12th of February. Janelle even stayed on to help me finish out my delivery, even though it was past her shift end, she had to meet this incredible baby.
Those first moments are so surreal, you're so outside of your body, and this new baby is so perfect you don't believe it, but you do, because he is right there and nothing in the world matters, except you're in pain and the doctor is poking and prodding. (Nothing really prepares you for that pain, it's a pain without purpose, so it seems worse than the actually delivery). You want to know if he has 10 fingers and 10 toes. What color are his eyes? It is such a whirlwind, and then all is quiet. The room empties and all that's left is baby, the new mom, new dad, grandma, and one nurse who teaches you how to breastfeed your baby and teaches you all that bathroom stuff. (the icky after care you'll be doing for the next few weeks. a short bathroom break has now turned into a 10 minutes ordeal).
They move us to our post-partum room... Seeing the waiting room filled with 20 or more people, they put us into one of the bigger post rooms, which was actually a delivery room at one point. Slowly, baby gets to meet his grandparents, great-grandma, aunts, uncles, cousins, his family. Eventually, finally, it's just baby, Mr., and I. I die for that moment, the moment when it's just us 3. We get to revel in the newness of this beautiful soul we've been chosen to be parents of. I do not know how we got any sleep that night. Mr. was so sweet, letting me sleep while he held baby so that I knew he was safe and secure. Or, more for his own surety of this new tiny human being taken care of.
Labor and delivery is a privilege. Not all women get to experience the labor of love that is childbearing. That in itself it is a miracle. Those moments I will never forget. Already, the pain of it has subsided and you truly do manage to forget how much it actually hurt, but all the details, will never be forgotten. Once you have accomplished that marathon of a day, you truly feel you could do anything, even childbearing again.
Maher Isa Rayyan II
February 12, 2014