It was just an ordinary Sunday. I woke up and went to church. It felt somewhat surreal walking through the church doors. I knew everyone was anxiously awaiting news of our little one's birth, and seeing the shocked expressions on their faces when I waddled in was comical and frustrating all at once. Before our choir sang our opening hymn, we said prayers to bless our Advent celebration, and our piano player, the OB/GYN, said the following:
"This baby we have here is like our divine Messiah. He is a blessing and a miracle. When we sing the words 'Oh Come, Divine Messiah' we are singing to this baby to make his appearance tonight."
And the day went on. I took a nap on my mom's couch - something I hadn't done in years. My mom and I went to Costco (my mom said she went to Costco the day she went into labor...well she was married to my dad, and he goes to Costco almost every day, so I was not too sure how legitimate the Costco claim was). I came home, put my groceries away, had some orange juice and went about my business. I prepared a frozen dish I got from Costco, and enjoyed a nice, relaxing dinner with Jeff.
Around 5:00pm, my best friend and her boyfriend came over for a quick visit before they caught their flight back to Seattle. We had some wine, ate peppermint bark (an impulse buy from Costco I will never regret), and found out they got engaged over the weekend! This was incredibly exciting news and I was bouncing up and down with joy. They left our house at 6:00, and I made my way to the couch to watch Gossip Girl.
At around 7:30, I started feeling strange cramps. I thought I needed to go to the bathroom, but soon realized the cramping was coming regularly at 5-6 minute intervals, and lasted about 1 minute each. "Ummm Jeff??? I think something's happening." Jeff drew me a bubble bath to see if the cramping would calm down. I sat down and immediately felt relief.
Then suddenly the cramping became more intense. Jeff was sitting by the tub reminding me to breathe, and timing my contractions. They were 2 minutes apart and I started bleeding. "I'm going to call the hospital." We were instructed to come in immediately, so Jeff scrambled to finish packing our hospital bags while I attempted to get dressed.
The drive to the hospital was excruciating. Every pot hole and every sewer made me want to vomit. Each red light meant I had to wait longer to get there. At one point Jeff started accelerating at the same time a contraction started; that was an interesting feeling. I texted a few people a quick message, and called my parents with the following message, "WE ARE GOING TO THE HOSPITAL AND THAT'S ALL I CAN SAY RIGHT NOW BYE."
The walk from the car to the ER was a blur. I remember someone standing behind me with a wheelchair, but I was basically contracting nonstop and could not muster up the energy to sit down. Whoever pushed me up to the maternity ward was incredibly kind. He/she (can't even remember) was so calm and friendly, and it was a good way to start my hospital stay. Despite my blinding contractions, I did have the mental capacity to say, "Jeff, I think you're dragging my Marc Jacobs on the floor." My wonderful husband was carrying all our belongings.
I was checked into room 212. I remember signing some things, I somehow ended up hooked to a monitor, and the next thing I knew my hands were latched to the bars of the hospital bed while I was contracting with no breaks. The nurse checked me and said, "Honey you're already dilated to a 6! No wonder! Are you sure this is your first?" My mom and sister showed up, and I am so glad they did. A nurse was asking me my family's medical history, and I did not have the brainpower to answer any of her questions. I think I just kept shaking my head, and my mom was eventually able to step in to answer the annoying lady's questions. My white knuckling the side of the bed should have been a clear indication to her to shut the F up. She didn't.
I was asked if I wanted an epidural.
My answer was "Yes." I wanted to have an all natural birth. I also knew enough about the birthing process to know that I was in transition, and transition can last from 4-6 hours. If I had to experience this for the next 4 hours of my life, I was either going to die or break something. As a result, a nurse with huge bangs attempted to put an IV in my arm, then my hand, then my other arm, then my other hand. I almost killed her. But by the time she was done I had already dilated to a 9. The doctor was called immediately. No time for drugs, and they wouldn't even give me a Tylenol.
"You guys...something's happening." I was still on my side and I felt a small urge to push. I also felt a small urge to vomit, so my mom stood by me with a bucket. I only dry-heaved, and thank goodness because that bucket was what they gave our baby his first bath in.
There really is nothing like the sensation of needing to push when you are in labor. If you have an epidural and they tell you to push, you may be missing out on what I am talking about. There is pushing, and then there is pushing. When a contraction came, I would bear down just to get the nurses to shut up and stop telling me to push harder (this was my body, my birth, and I'm going to tune you out and do this my way). Then as I felt the contraction peak, I felt this amazing urge to bear down. It is hard to explain the physical sensation, but the pushing comes from completely different places in your body.
I felt his head move further down my birth canal with every push; I felt the ring of fire; I felt the baby's head turn; I felt the amazing release when my water broke; I felt the nurses and Jeff holding my legs up, and my mom wiping my forehead with a cold washcloth; I felt his head emerge and his body quickly follow; I felt the release of the placenta. I felt everything and loved every minute of it. They say I pushed for almost 2 hours. To me it felt like 20 minutes.
Everett Simon Wirth was born at 12:48am on December 3, 2012. He was 7 lbs 4 oz, 20 inches long, healthy, and perfect.
You were placed on my chest immediately. You were so strong, so perfect, so warm. You stopped crying the moment I placed a kiss on your forehead, and I hugged you tight. I never wanted to let you go, so instead I stared in awe at your face, fingernails, ears. We knew everything and nothing about each other.
I watched in wonder as you were bathed and measured. They swaddled you and placed a soft white cap on your head. I requested that you sleep in my bed rather than in the crib on the other side of the room, and I put my head on yours when you were placed next to me. We slept together this way all night and for much of the following day. You still fall asleep like this in my arms. Looking back on my time in the hospital, I remember you clutching me in your sleep, seeing your peaceful face, and I know these were some of the best moments of my life.
And I recognize you from that other, distant time. That kick, that punch. I have felt them before. But rather than feeling them deep within the recesses of my belly, you lay with your heart beating on top of mine. As we hold each other close, I can feel us floating away from this world, drifting together alone on a sea. Neither time or space exist, only this deep, pure, and unconditional love.
Together you bond.
Each one defined as three;
All three connected as one...
A Celebration of Life.
The next day my OB/GYN piano friend texted our church choir members: "Oh Come, Divine Messiah 00:48!"
Here is my one plug: Hypnobirthing. The average labor for a woman practicing hypnobirthing is 6 hours. My labor was 5 hours, and it was my first baby (labor for first-time moms usually lasts between 16 and 24 hours). Jeff and I read the Hypnobirthing book together and it was one of the best things we could have done.